We take a look back at what you’ve been reading on premierchristianity.com over the past twelve months

1. Update: CofE substantiates allegations in Mike Pilavachi investigation


It is hardly possible to overstate the influence that Soul Survivor festival has had on a whole generation of British Christians, so when it’s leader, Mike Pilavachi, announced the festival was closing in 2019, many were shocked. But that was nothing compared to when he was accused of abuse earlier this year. Not surprisngly, our explainer on the allegations, suspensions, investigations and conclusions, updated as the case progressed, was the most-read piece this year.

And, as Megan Cornwell, who presents our forthcoming podcast series ‘Soul Survivors’, explains, the conclusion of the official investigation was far from the end of matters.

2. The changing faith of Taylor Swift


Source: Taylor Swift

Not content with a sell-out stadium tour, smashing box-office records for an event cinema release and being named Time magazine’s person of the year, Tay-Tay also took the second-from top spot in our online reads. Barely out of our ‘Most Popular’ column since its publication in July, it seems plenty of Premier Christianity readers are intrigued by Swift’s faith journey. Is she a cultural Christian? Did she deconstruct her faith after a bad breakup? You’ll have to read it to find out.

3. Dante Bowe has been dropped by Maverick City. Here’s what we know so far

Dante bowe

Last year, the news that worship collective Maverick City had cut ties with singer Dante Bowe led to this piece becoming our most-read online article of the year. Twelve months later, this analysis of the rumours, deleted social media posts and reflection on a Christian response to the confusion remains popular. (You can also read our Profile interview with Dante, conducted shortly before he was dropped)

4. Poor reporting on Soul Survivor is damaging for everyone - alleged victims included

Soul Survivor

As the allegations around Mike Pilavachi and Soul Survivor mounted, Tim Wyatt attempted to explain why he thought that the mainstream media coverage lumped serious safeguarding allegations together with vague claims about the festival in general that showed little knowledge of evangelical Christian culture. It distracted from the seriousness of the allegations themselves and did victims no favours, he argued.

Premier Christianity’s podcast series ‘Soul Survivors’ launches in January. Listen to the trailer now

5. Grave sucking and gold dust: I spent 10 years at Bethel. Here’s the truth behind the wild rumours


Interest in the rumours that perennially surround Bethel Church show no sign of abating. In the top ten list for the third year running, Carrie Lloyd, an ex-student and teacher at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), sets the record straight on the speculation that swirls around the controversial Californian megachurch.

6. The Euphrates river is drying up, but don’t get too excited about end times prophecies


Source: Alamy AP Photo/Hadi Mizban

Apart from church scandals and the faith of celebrities, if there’s one topic that gets Christians clicking, it’s end times. In equal parts fascinating, confusing and sometimes contentious, the debate about what happens just before, as or after Jesus returns is sure to get people talking. Can we predict when our saviour is coming? The Bible says no, but that doesn’t stop some of us from trying. The latest suggested end-times indicator is the long drought affecting large parts of the Tigris-Euphrates river basin, which is having catastrophic effects on parts of Turkey, Syria and Iraq. But is it caused by climate change – or something else? Chris Follett brings some welcome clarity.

7. Rick Warren: Why I changed my mind on women in church leadership


In an interview for Premier Christianity magazine back in March, Rick Warren, then-pastor of Saddleback church, revealed why he’d changed his position on women in leadership in the church. Later that year, the megachurch was kicked out of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), over the issue, despite being one of the largest churches in the denomination. Read Rick’s reasoning here.

8. Explained: Who is former Vineyard pastor Alan Scott and what has he been accused of?


The saga of Alan Scott and Vineyard Anaheim (now The Dwelling Place) has rumbled on all year. First, Scott announced that the Vineyard movement’s flagship church in California was leaving the movement. Then came allegations against him and a lawsuit. Then, Scott’s previous church, Causeway Coast Vineyard in Northern Ireland, commissioned an independent review, which concluded that Scott displayed “repeated patterns of…manipulation”. It was a complex story, and Tim Wyatt’s report was a helpful analysis for many. We expect to continue our coverage of the developments as we head into another year. 

9. The secrets of Hillsong


The latest TV docuseries to scrutinise Hillsong’s failings also contained the first interview by disgraced former Hillsong New York pastor Carl Lentz. It was sure to get toungues wagging and fingers clicking. Our editor watched it and gave his opinion.

10. Barbie: A film that asks the questions only Christ can truly answer


Of course the film that took the world by storm in 2023 was going to make it our the top ten!

Confounding critics and breaking box office records, it wasn’t all just pink fluff in Barbieland. Our reviewer took a hard look at the tough questions that Barbie asked, and concluded that they all truly pointed to Christ.