VOL. XX NO. 3 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM March 2003
NOT LEGAL TO USE FULL NAME ON PRAYER LISTS—A new federal law
restricts Australian churches from using the full names of members on prayer
lists without specific permission from each person. Churches can't put
the names of ill members without their consent (2/6 Ala. Baptist).
Clergy can't visit patients in hospitals unless each patient signs a permission
form. This will restrict comforting the lonely and ill.
BLACKS BATTLE AIDS is the title of a somber item in the Feb. 2 Parade Magazine. It states: "The AIDS virus has taken a heavy toll on America's black community. While they make up 13% of the U.S. population, blacks account for 38% of all AIDS cases and for over 60% of the cases among women and children...." The statistics are worse in Africa.
EPISCOPAL LEADER CRITICIZES U.S. POLICY—Pres. Bush's father says he finds criticism of U.S. foreign policy by the leader of his denomination "highly offensive." Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold told Religion News Service that the world is right to view Americans as "greedy, self-interested and almost totally unconcerned about poverty, disease and suffering." Former Pres. Bush, speaking in Stamford, Conn., asked, "How can this man of God think so little of a nation that provides 60% of the world's food aid" and "does far more for AIDS than any other country?" The Episcopal Church has long been apostate. God tells Christians to "come out" of such liberal churches (2Cor.6:17).
'LEFT BEHIND II' MOVIE REVIEW—George Zeller reviews a DVD copy of this recent film. He writes: "Compared to the first 'Left Behind' movie 'Left Behind II—Tribulation Force' was an improvement. In the first movie, the name of Jesus was rarely mentioned; and the gospel message was conspicuous for its absence, and thus the gospel was sadly 'left behind.' In this second movie, a real attempt was made to present the gospel message and many salvation verses from the Bible were shared. Also man's sinful condition before God was explained to some degree. The music of the second movie was less objectionable than that of the first. I do have somewhat of a problem with 'prophetic fiction' because it sometimes is hard for the unsaved viewer to distinguish between what is Bible truth and what is merely the fanciful imagination of the writers. I am not endorsing either movie, but simply pointing out that there was an immense improvement of the second movie over the first movie with respect to the presentation of the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. Two areas of concern that I had with the first movie still apply to the second movie: 1. Vastly over-estimating the number of true believers on earth; 2. Teaching that all infants and young children all over the world are taken at the rapture." [For a fuller discussion of these "Left Behind" movies, see this Web site: http://middletownbiblechurch.org/proph/lebehind.htm ]
RAVES: LATE-NIGHT 'CHRISTIAN DANCES'—Held in warehouses and fields, all-night rave dance parties have spawned a new generation of teens and college students chanting a mantra of PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect). There are probably more ravers today than hippies in the '60s. Youth and leaders describe the rave dance music this way (2/03 Charisma): "It's worship to them—they just don't know who or what they are worshiping." "A rave is like the devil's version of church, and ecstasy [rave drug] is the devil's version of the Holy Spirit." Some call it a "whole new way to worship ['getting high on'] God," and say "It's amazing how the music can be so loud and yet I can hear God so clearly." A rave DJ says: "There is something about the repetitiveness and energy of the electronic dance music that causes people to drop barriers and let walls down."
POPE HAS BLESSED THE CHARISMATICS—Though the 35-year-old charismatic renewal in the Roman Catholic Church has waned, it today still touches at least 119 million Catholics worldwide (2/03 Charisma). Pope John Paul II has blessed the charismatics more than once (11/1/98 CC, 2/03 CC, e.g.). In a message to Catholic charismatic leaders in Rome in November, he encouraged charismatics to be "living signs of hope" and beacons of Christ's good news."
EMINEM, POPULAR PROFANE RAPPER—Eminem had by far the most popular, best-selling album of 2002, selling over 7 million copies (1/25 World). His raps about murdering his wife and raping his mother take the form to new lows of depravity (1/1/01 World). No surprise that this angry white male has been called the meanest, most violent and lawless rapper. White teens have become rap's biggest customers.
EVANGELISM (OF MUSLIMS) IS NOT A 'HATE CRIME'—Sharing the gospel in most Muslim nations is a criminal act. Trying to change someone's religion is depicted as hateful. Social ministry is seen as a mere smokescreen. From ignorance, some say Muslims do not need converting because Christians and Muslims believe in and worship the same God (2/03 C. Today). A University of Chicago Divinity School professor, years ago said Christians should not try to convert pious Muslims to Christianity. He said: "Christianity is the authentic form of religion for us in our culture, but Islam is the authentic form of religion for them in theirs." But differences between the two are more than merely cultural, and it's not a "hate crime" to point one to the one which has the true gospel.
ANOTHER HORRIFYING ABORTION PROCEDURE—Congress seems poised to restrict partial-birth abortions but should also take a hard look at the violent "dilation and evacuation" (D&E) method, in which pre-born infants are removed piece by piece (2/1 World). The doctor rips the parts of a living child out of its mother's womb, one part at a time.
GLOBAL SUPER-CHURCH EMERGING?—Church leaders from 30 denominations agreed in January on a proposal to create the broadest alliance of "Christians" ever formed in the U.S. We reported in the 6/1/00 CC that this movement was afoot. Now AP religion writer Richard Ostling reports that a steering committee of the budding effort, tentatively called Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A., will invite a wide range of national church bodies and agencies over the next several weeks to join them. The loosely knit alliance would represent five segments of U.S. Christianity, listed in the plan as "Evangelical/Pentecostal, Historic Protestant, Orthodox, Racial/Ethnic and Roman Catholic." (2/10 C. News) The U.S. Catholic hierarchy could decide on the proposal within two years, but "one sticking point" may be the largest Protestant denomination—the Southern Baptist Convention. Ostling said the SBC may be reluctant to join, though it had an observer at the Fuller Seminary meeting. Those (e.g., SBC, NAE) who disobey Biblical commands to separate from the apostasy of our day will be caught in its web of deception. Sadly, many "fundamentalists" are linking with these deceived brethren who in turn are linked to the ecumenical church of Antichrist. Rev. 18:4 warns: "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins… that ye receive not of her plagues."
NEO-EVANGELICAL IDENTITY CRISIS—Darrell Bock (David Neff article, Feb. Chr. Today) cites the Evangelical Theological Society as an example of an inclusivism that doesn't have a doctrinal statement, as such, and was founded with a single item as its "doctrinal basis"—biblical inerrancy. Roger Olson wrote that "since that at least the mid-1970s, the evangelical glue has been gradually losing its binding power." His traditionalists think the only way to avoid the slide into debilitating relativism and pluralism is to recognize firm boundaries. Both Olson and Bock deplore divisiveness and are open to the occasional need to draw lines between those who are in and those who are out. But, the difference: Olson calls evangelicals to avoid slipping back into "fundamentalist boundary-drawing" for the "sake of fellowship, of family"—Bock for the sake of mission. Here is a vital distinctive in what separates fundamentalism from new evangelicalism: Fundamentalists seek to obey separation "boundaries" set by God's Word, while new evangelicals shun boundary-drawing, opting instead for an inclusivism.
PINNOCK'S 'OPENNESS OF GOD'—Retired professor of systematic theology at McMaster Divinity College in Ontario, Clark Pinnock, is front and center of the current "openness of God" controversy which many consider "blasphemy." For example he says, "God's dependence extends even to his knowledge of the future (2/03 CT)." And: "Though God knows all there is to know about the world, there are aspects about the future that even God does not know." Romans 9:20 says: "O man, who art thou that repliest against God"? To question God's omniscience, or other attribute, is dangerous.
PRO-HOMOSEXUAL INFLUENCE IN ETS—Darrell Bock has surveyed the Evangelical Theological Society's five decades and found five hot topics that consumed its attention: science and the Bible, inerrancy, the role of historical criticism, women and the Bible, and openness theology (2/03 CT). But it has featured Thomas Hanks as ETS annual meetings' speaker who challenged members to revise their negative thinking about homosexuality (4/15/98 CC). And, Ralph Blair's pro-homosexual Evangelicals Concerned quoted "long-time member of ETS" Blair as saying: "There's more support for EC's approach than is generally thought, even though it's on the qt." (EC's Winter 2003 Record).
U. METHODIST BISHOP ACCUSED OF HERESY—Bishop Joseph Sprague of Chicago has been told to renounce his views or resign his office for his views in rejecting traditional doctrines like the virgin birth of Jesus, His bodily resurrection and His role in salvation. Sprague, a prominent liberal and social activist, has come under fire for a speech he gave at Iliff.
U.R., U.N. – WORLD CHURCH, WORLD GOVERNMENT—The United Religions Initiative began in Feb. 1993 when liberal Episcopal Bishop William Swing was asked by the United Nations to host an interfaith service marking the UN's anniversary. The URI Charter was signed June 26, 2000, as walking pilgrimages for peace were conducted in villages, towns and cities at various points over the world. The UR is now an officially chartered apostate coalition of world religions (10/02 Maranatha Bapt. Watchman). Meanwhile the UN seeks to enact a global tax, set up a world court, etc., for global governance. Nations are in such turmoil, any number of things could happen almost overnight to set up a new world order and Antichrist system. So, Christians, "Look up, lift up your heads, redemption is nigh." Maranatha!
CEDARVILLE CELEBRATES MLK DAY—We were a little surprised to note from Cedarville University's Web site that its gospel choir performed in celebration as part of its Martin Luther King Day observance. And also, that Dr. Dolphus Weary, executive director of Mission Mississippi spoke at Cedarville for MLK Day. As with Presidents Kennedy and Clinton, King is not deserving of Christian honor (see 9/15/01 CC). Christian News has had articles for over 35 years documenting his rejection of Christian doctrines, his immoral lifestyle and association with prominent communists.
SOUTHERN GOSPEL MUSIC—O Timothy editor David Cloud, on a video tape and at his Web site http://www.wayoflife.org, sounds forth an extensive warning about Southern Gospel music. But in fairness he also says: "Some Southern gospel is lovely and spiritual and seeks not to entertain the flesh but to edify the spirit….We praise the Lord for all Christian music, Southern or otherwise, which doesn't sound like the world, which has scriptural lyrics, which seeks solely to glorify Jesus Christ and edify the saints, and which is produced by faithful Christians…." Spurgeon said: "The devil has seldom done a more clever thing than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them." (1/18 AIB Newsletter.). Music is not neutral!
YWAM IS VERY ECUMENICAL—Youth With A Mission is charismatic and very ecumenical. It is endorsed by Bill Bright (Campus Crusade), Tony Campolo (liberal Eastern College), Jack Hayford, Bill Hybels (Willow Creek), Bill McCartney (Promise Keepers), and Billy Graham (the world's #1 ecumenical evangelist). Lynn Green, a top YWAM director has sought to build bridges between Christians, Muslims, and Jews. (1/03 MBW & 3/15/97 CC)
PYLE RETIRES AS PASTOR—Dr. Norman Pyle retired from his Atlanta-area pastorate on his 75th birthday, Jan. 26. He is available for preaching in churches, camps, colleges, and mission field. Dr. David Cummins, Deputation Dir., Baptist. World Mission said to Dr. Pyle: "You were an inspiration to me when I pastored a sister church nearby. In fact, you have been an inspiration not only to me, but to a host of other pastors as well. You have seen a multitude of us come and go, and yet you have stayed by the stuff and given outstanding leadership to the ministry there. Your faithfulness in editing the Christian View of the News with candor and conviction without being callous and cantankerous has been unique." You may receive CVN by sending at least $10/yr. to Bible Baptist Church, 2780 Mt.Carmel Road, Hampton, GA 30228.
EDITOR'S HEALTH STATUS—Cataract surgery scheduled (left eye) Feb. 17; right eye two weeks later—each with a permanent lens implant. Despite the ultrasound, physical therapy, and exercising, I still have neck pain from osteo-arthritis caused by the stooped posture, caused by Parkinson's disease. I am on medication to treat the PD symptoms and to give a little more strength—but it has side effects and won't slow the progression of PD. Tremors are still mild, though increasing. Please continue to pray for me and CC ministry.
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