Former Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary president John Mulder suspended as minister
John Mulder last October resigned as president of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary after 21 years, citing health concerns, including some mild strokes.

A month later, the Presbytery of Transylvania, which overseas Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations in eastern Kentucky, launched an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct. Yesterday, Mulder admitted the misconduct, and was suspended from his ordained office for 14 months by the presbytery.

"In the final years of my presidency I yielded to personal temptation by inappropriately engaging in sexual conduct with adult women outside my marriage vows, my pastoral vows, and contrary to Scripture," Mulder wrote in a letter to the seminary's faculty and student body. "I ask now your forgiveness for these sins, and for the harm they have caused the Seminary."

In his letter, Mulder also noted that he is being treated for medical depression and alcohol abuse.

The Louisville Courier-Journal notes that "sexual misconduct" has a specific meaning in the PCUSA: it's "a misuse of authority and power that breaches Christian ethical principles by misusing a trust relation to gain advantage over another for personal pleasure in an abusive, exploitative, and unjust manner." But the paper says it's unknown if Mulder sexually abused his authority with seminary employees or students.

"That is not the issue, who they are," Dorothy Ridings, chairwoman of the seminary's board of trustees, told the paper. "The issue is that it happened." She did, say, however, that Mulder's actions were not criminal, and that the board knew about the misconduct when Mulder resigned, but wanted the presbytery to investigate before taking any action.

"If you go back and look at that [news] release [when Mulder's resignation was announced], everything was honest," she said. "It doesn't say everything, though." Ridings told The Presbyterian Outlook that the board's knowledge of the misconduct was "absolutely" a factor in Mulder's resignation.

Only three years ago Donald McCullough was forced to resign as president of San Francisco Seminary, another PCUSA school, for sexual abuse, which the denomination defines separately from sexual misconduct. (He was restored to active ministry in November 2001.)

This is a very sad development, not just for a denomination, but for a man who has had tremendous influence on it. Mulder, author of Vital Signs: The Promise of Mainstream Protestantism and works on Woodrow Wilson, was highly influential in bringing the PCUSA's headquarters to Louisville, septupled the seminary's endowment, and doubled its faculty.

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Muslims castigate Anglicans
African Primates of the Anglican Communion said that the church's interaction with Muslims would get much harder with the Episcopal Church USA's confirmation of a homosexual bishop. They were right. Late last week, top Islamic scholars from Egypt withdrew from a meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and other top Anglicans in protest.

"The Muslims can't understand why Christians are ignoring the revelations given to us," Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali told The Daily Telegraph. "This is very serious in the present international situation."

Meanwhile, The East African of Kenya reports that "the divisions within the Worldwide Anglican Community are not as clear cut as they appeared to be at the beginning of the ongoing debate on gay clergy." But is it true? The paper notes comments from South African archbishop Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane and his predecessor, Desmond Tutu, who both said that gay bishops were not a big deal. But orthodox Anglicans weren't all that surprised by these comments, and South Africa often sides with more liberal churches in Europe and North America rather than its counterparts in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Make no mistake: the Anglican Communion really is divided, and the Primates' meeting in October is going to be a serious one.

More on the impending Anglican breakup:

More articles

Homosexuality and Canada:

  • Marriage divides the House | The deep divisions within the Liberal government on plans to legalize gay marriage were laid bare Tuesday in the House of Commons when the Grits barely survived an Alliance motion to preserve the traditional definition of marriage (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

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Homosexuality and the church:

Parachurch ministries:

  • Teen drug rehab retools policies, retains license | Evangelical ministry Teen Reach had complaints about discipline (The Arizona Republic)

  • $250,000 chokes Liberia for Jesus | Barely two months following the presentation of the checks, executives and other officials of the LFJ have declined to disclose the name of the local bank in which the check is being deposited (The News, Monrovia, Liberia)

  • Mercy Ministries changes girls' lives | Residential program treats girls who have suffered from sexual abuse, addiction to drugs or a myriad of other problems (The Tennessean)

  • An unlikely Eden | Equipped with a hi-tech bus and DIY skills, an army of evangelical Christian youth workers has taken its brand of social healing to the housing estates of Manchester. But their efforts to breathe new life into rundown areas are proving controversial (BBC)


  • The pastor's champions | John Paul Hankins has inspired for decades, and now, as he's forced to retire, his congregation has been moved to 'acts of disobedience' in its effort to sway the bishop (Newsday, Long Island, N.Y.)

  • Revival leader starting Southlake church | Steve Hill, best known for his five-year revival at a church in Pensacola, Fla., is leaving the road (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

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  • The prophet of profit sows the seeds of wealth | Encouraged to "sow seeds" of prosperity, followers attending E. Bernard Jordan's services in Manhattan and, since July, at the church's new retreat in the Sullivan County hamlet of Woodbourne, donate or pledge sums of as much as $10,000—contributions that they expect to bring them greater wealth (The Record, Middletown, N.Y.)

Cities vs. churches:


  • Churches call for Christianity to be part of national syllabus | The Church of England, the Methodist Church and the Free Churches have written to Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, calling for an end to the current system of allowing local councils to determine what religion is taught in schools (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Robertson group sues Hueneme schools | District officials accused of religious discrimination for barring the operator of a Christian camp from distributing fliers to students (Associated Press)

  • Baylor regents throw embattled Sloan strong support | But in acknowledgement of recent turmoil, controversy and scandal, they also appointed committees to examine issues that have divided the campus, alienated alumni and donors, and caused a schism among veteran faculty and newer hires (Waco Tribune-Herald)

  • Can Baylor balance Christian mission, on-court success? | While emphasizing that no one is immune from potential problems, officials at Brigham Young and Notre Dame—two renowned universities with religious ties—say it's absolutely possible (Associated Press)

  • Speakers focus on evolution | Although not exactly the Scopes "monkey trial," scores of sometimes-unruly critics and proponents of modern evolutionary theory squared off Wednesday before the Texas State Board of Education (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

  • Board to hear exemption request again | Pastor wants to eliminate evolution being taught in public schools (The Morning News, Springdale, Ark.)

Life ethics:

  • Senate resumes consideration of abortion ban bill | After a nearly three-month delay, the U.S. Senate this week is expected to formally begin final negotiations on a bill to ban a procedure that opponents call "partial birth" abortion (Reuters)

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  • Womb 'smile' fires abortion row | Images published for the first time yesterday suggesting unborn babies smile, blink and cry months before they leave the womb have renewed calls for abortion to be outlawed (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • California cases impact raging fetal rights debate | A national debate raging over fetal rights has been influenced by two central California tragedies, more than three decades apart (The Modesto Bee)

  • State high court turns away appeal by abortion doctor | The Arizona Supreme Court has turned away an appeal filed on behalf of an abortion doctor whose manslaughter conviction prompted the Legislature to regulate abortion providers (Associated Press)

  • Russia turns spotlight on abortion | Russia could be on the point of a significant change in direction on morality and sexual issues, as a major debate looms over the rights of women and unborn children (BBC, video)

Johnny Cash:


Bono and Bush:

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  • Earlier: Bono's American Prayer | The world's biggest rock star tours the heartland, talking more openly about his faith as he recruits Christians in the fight against AIDS in Africa (Christianity Today, Feb. 21, 2003)

Garner Ted Armstrong dies:

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