3 Faith Stories You Can’t Miss: Prayers for Petito, Hillsong Heartbreak, Abominable Abortion

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You can count on Christian News Journal to keep you covered on the most important faith-focused stories of the day.

Here are three you need to know about right now.


ONE: Prayers Needed for Gabby Petito and Her Family

“She touched the world,” wrote a grieving Joseph Petito about his 22-year-old daughter, Gabby, who had been missing since August after taking a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, 23—who is also now missing.

On Sunday, September 20, the FBI announced at a press conference that a body found in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park appeared “consistent with the description” of Gabby Petito.

An autopsy is to be performed on Tuesday [Update: The FBI has confirmed through the autopsy that the remains found indeed belong to Gabby Petito.].

The discovery of the remains came after a multi-state search for the young woman reported missing by her Florida family captivated the nation and inspired an outpouring of prayers and concern for her well-being and her family’s.

“First and foremost, I would like to extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby’s family,” said Charles Jones, an FBI supervisory agent in Denver, at the Sunday press briefing. Police in North Port, Florida, where Petito lived with Laundrie and his family, also shared condolences.

Meanwhile, Laundrie’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, wrote in a text message to The New York Post, “The news about Gabby Petito is heartbreaking. The Laundrie family prays for Gabby and her family.”

Laundrie was named a person of interest in the case last week after he returned home alone from the trip in Petito’s van on Sept. 1—and refused to talk to authorities about his girlfriend’s absence or whereabouts.

“Your heart goes out to the [Petito] family” over this tragedy, noted Mike Rowe on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” program on Monday at midday.

See these tweets for more information and reaction.

TWO: Hillsong Heartbreak

Brian Houston, 67, founder and global senior pastor of Hillsong Church, the charismatic megachurch, has stepped down from his board ahead of a court appearance he’ll be making in Sydney, Australia.

On October 5, Houston is due in court “for allegedly concealing a serious indictable offense,” according to New South Wales police in a statement in August. 

“I thought it was important to let our church family know in the interests of transparency, and I wanted you to hear it from me directly,” Houston wrote to his congregation in an email, which was  obtained by People and reported by Yahoo News as well.

“I also wanted to let you know that I’ve made a decision to step aside from my role on the Hillsong Church boards that oversee the governance of our operations,” Houston said in the email. “I did this so that these boards can function to their fullest capacity during this season. This doesn’t change my role as global senior pastor.”

Early in August, police released a statement noting that two years ago, investigators started looking into allegations that “a 67-year-old man had knowingly concealed information relating to child sexual offenses,” Yahoo News reported.

“Police will allege in court [that Houston] knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police,” the statement went on.

See these tweets for further information and reaction.

THREE: Abominable Abortion

More than 70 House Democrats, led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), introduced a resolution recently that urges the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift—for good—the “longstanding requirements that chemical abortion drugs” be obtained in person only, as a recent analysis in CBN News pointed out.

“What does this mean?” the piece went on. “Mail-order abortion.”

This, despite the fact that there is strong evidence showing that chemical abortion poses serious health risks to the pregnant woman—never mind the obvious moral and ethical boundaries that are irretrievably breached by the sinful taking of innocent unborn life.

The CBN News analysis importantly notes, “As abortion centers continue to close all over the country thanks to pro-life efforts, the abortion industry has aggressively promoted chemical abortions as a way to skirt state and local regulations.” The CDC reported that chemical abortions rose from 27 percent to 40 percent of all abortions between the years 2015 and 2018, the same piece noted.

And as The Hill wrote earlier on this issue, “The FDA in April ended restrictions on mailing abortion pills during the pandemic, after the former Trump administration moved to keep the decades-old requirement for in-person pickup of the drug mifepristone amid the public health emergency surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. It did not, however, address whether the practice would stay in place after the pandemic.”

Pray that those at a personal crossroad find the peace, strength, and faith-filled focus to make the right decision on behalf of all precious life blessed by God.

See these tweets for more context and reaction.  

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—By CNJ Staff

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