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USA News

Pastor apologises for inviting Mark Driscoll and sword swallower to Men's Conference

by Heather Preston

A US pastor has apologised to his congregation for inviting professional sword swallower Alex Magala and pastor Mark Driscoll to the church's men's conference.

The conference organiser and lead pastor of the James River Church in Missouri, John Lindell, told congregants on Sunday that he took "full responsibility" for the decision to have the pair at their Stronger Men's Conference, which resulted in "unintended division".

Mark Driscoll, founding pastor of Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona was asked to leave the stage at the Missouri event after criticising Magala's opening performance, in which he took off his shirt and climbed a pole.

Addressing the audience, Driscoll said the behaviour resembled that of a strip club and embodied a "Jezebel Spirit".

Pastor Lindell then took to the stage to condemn Driscoll's comments, labelling them "out of line".

Speaking at a live-streamed service on Sunday night, Lindell stated:

"I want to apologize and let you know I take full responsibility for the decision that was made to invite Mark Driscoll and Alex Magala to the Stronger Men's Conference."

He added: "I am deeply saddened by the division that our invitation has brought to the Body of Christ. That was never our intent. The Stronger Men's Conference is about reaching men for Jesus Christ, and it will continue to be about reaching men for Jesus Christ."

The apology follows a public rebuke of Driscoll's actions on Wednesday, in which Lindell called him to repent of his "divisive" behaviour.

Christian sword swallower and former stripper Magala, said Driscoll's comments were "uniformed", defending his act as a "stunt performance rooted in art and sport".

Speaking on Instagram, Malaga said he has no intention of apologising for his performance.

Driscoll has since published an online sermon on "How to fight the Demonic (Jezebel Spirit) like Elijah".



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