Would you come?” It was 2010. What 30 Celebrities Looked Like in Their 20s, Celebrities Sound Off on What Fame is Really Like, 7 Things Celebrities Looked Like at the AMAs, The Celebrity Presidential Endorsements Roll In, 15 Celebs on What They Don't Like About Themselves. Churchome Global, which is run by app-development company Seventh Spark, also allows users, a majority of whom are single, to direct message one another, which means it sometimes functions like a dating app. ), Not that these megachurch scandals are unique to the 1980s. “I don’t know if you’ve heard of my son,” Chelsea remembers Mallette saying, “but he needs some good influences in his life. “In those dark times, the story got out there that Christians were a bit mean and harsh and judgmental and looking for the wrong in people,” says Chelsea Smith. Read More. Led by Judah’s father, Wendell Smith, the church … Fellow celeb-loved church Hillsong has come under fire for barring its gay members from holding positions of leadership within the church. One example: 2018’s pop-up sermon at Coachella, led by Judah and featuring a surprise performance of worship songs by Bieber. He is a well-known author who has published several books. According to the Smiths, their church collectively draws more than 10,000 people every week to its five locations in Washington State and California, including its Wednesday-evening service at the historic Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, where it’s not uncommon to find the front rows reserved for celebrities and the back doors staked out by paparazzi. Is their Instagrammable message truly reframing Christianity or simply helping their church rake in millions? “Thank you for sharing your story and offering hope and comfort in Jesus,” Chelsea wrote in response. It serves as a weekday residence for Chelsea and Judah, both 41, and their three blond-haired kids: Zion, 15, who looks like a young Bieber, with a buzz cut and pierced ears; Eliott, 13, a streetwear connoisseur with an affinity for rapper Travis Scott; and Grace, 10, who likes playing with purple slime and is obsessed with nail-art videos on YouTube. Judah is known around the United States and the world for his preaching ministry. So I call her up a few weeks later to ask more questions: What is Churchome’s position on LGBTQ members, for example? But the Smiths are not far behind. That messaging has been key to their meteoric rise and may be far more inclusive than the truth. On a Wednesday evening last February, the lobby of the Saban Theatre buzzed with teens, twenty-, and thirtysomethings wearing T-shirts and distressed denim. Judah Smith is the pastor of The City church in Seattle, Washington, and is known for his explosive, engaging, and funny teaching style. The L.A. services have drawn the likes of Kourtney Kardashian, Ciara and Russell Wilson, and Selena Gomez. After a long pause, Chelsea says, “We are very much in the category of ‘We love everybody. The stage was illuminated in blue and purple lights, and a keyboard stood in place of an organ. And, historically, most Christian megachurches have deemed those who partake in same-sex relationships or have an abortion to be sinners. (According to Churchome’s annual report, Judah and Chelsea are personally compensated in exchange for providing consulting services to Seventh Spark. Would Churchome be open to having a gay pastor? Tilton, who was repeatedly accused of unethical fundraising, was unsuccessfully sued for fraud. You are wonderful! We hope to be a loving home for humanity, no matter what someone has experienced.” When I ask Chelsea what she would say to a member of her congregation considering an abortion, she is quick to clarify that, unlike a priest, a pastor—at least at Churchome—isn’t meant to provide counsel. Universalism is heresy — and what Judah Smith of Hillsong and pastor of City Church in Seattle says is awfully close, if not actual universalist heresy.
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