GUNS PREVENT CRIME—Switzerland has about the same rate of gun ownership as the U.S., but has lower rates of crime and violence. It has about two million guns for its six million citizens, including 600,000 fully-automatic assault rifles. The Swiss murder rate is 15 percent of ours. Per government statistics, 90 percent of violent crimes in the U.S. are committed without a handgun (10/2 New Amer.). Of crimes committed with a handgun, 93 percent of the guns were obtained by unlawful means. There are up to 2.5 million instances a year where guns are used for self-defense and actually stop crimes --in most cases, by warning shots or threats.
JAY GARY: UNIVERSAL CHURCH BY YEAR 2000—Jay Gary's The Star of 2000 is the first book to call for global celebrations of the 2000th anniversary of Christ's birth. He cites a 1979 proposal that churches which are still divided should settle their remaining differences as we approach the year 2000 and convene a holy council in that year--the first universal church council since A.D. 787. Gary says (p46): "What a gift to God that would be!" He quotes another ecumenical: "On the opening day of the assembly they [churches] would all unite in confession of one and the same apostolic faith on the basis of years of thorough preparation. They would declare the divisions between them to be a thing of the past and then join together in celebration of the Eucharist..." The 9/4 New American mentioned an "International Initiative," which seeks "the establishment of a permanent international interreligious body--a United Religions--or a permanent Assembly of Religious and Spiritual Leaders." Such a body has long been a cherished goal for Gary's New Age Hindu Catholic hero Robert Muller. Gary has been active in evangelical circles for many years, and his book is endorsed by Campus Crusade's Bill Bright, Brandt Gustavson (NRB President), and EFCA's Paul Cedar (see 3/15 CC).
WOMEN'S STUDY BIBLE—Growth in the number of female scholars has led to new Bible commentaries that focus on women's ideas and concerns, says the 10/2 Christian News. A new Women's Study Bible project brought together a team of 80 women, 22 of which were Southern Baptist. Dorothy Patterson whose husband, Paige Patterson, is president of Southeastern Baptist Seminary, is the general editor. Other So. Baptists involved in the effort included Beverly LaHaye and Joyce (Mrs. Adrian) Rogers (9/26 I. Bapt.). Other contributors from new-evangelical denominations include: Vonette Bright, Shirley Dobson, Elisabeth Elliot, Karen Mains, Joni, Dale Evans Rogers, Jill Briscoe, and Edith Schaeffer.
FAME TO ELVIS, DEATH TO HIS MOTHER—A 1993 book by Howard Dewitt, Elvis: The Sun Years, relates that as Elvis Presley started becoming popular, the strain started taking a heavy toll on Gladys Presley's health. She was constantly hounded by the fans, and was unable to handle the pressures that resulted from his fame and fortune. As Mississippi and Tennessee preachers started using Elvis' rock music stardom to preach against the evils of the new music, her guilt increased, leading to a feeling that she had abandoned her [Church of God] religious beliefs. She began having severe headaches and became physically ill, and wished her son had taken another path. The Presleys had all the money anyone could want, but the transition to a life of luxury was actually a death sentence for Gladys Presley. Elvis led a generation of young people down a road of moral degeneracy.
DISNEY'S DANGEROUS PERVERSION—Since Michael Eisner took control of the Disney empire, the whole Disney experience has been perverted. He has said that "as many as 40% of (Disney's) 63,000 employees might be gay."(10/95 NLJ). The Walt Disney Co. will now offer health insurance to live-in partners of its gay and lesbian employees and to the partners' dependent children (10/9 HT). Some Disney films have subtle sexual messages and promote ecological spiritualism and Eastern mysticism (10/95 Charisma).
SODOMY IS 'AGAINST NATURE'—In Romans 1 we learn that God allows men to develop dishonorable desires. Lesbianism is described in verse 26 as being "against nature" or abnormal. Verse 27 says men leave the natural use of the women to be consumed in their lust toward other men. The 10/95 Gospel Standard says: "When we consider that many male homosexuals admit to having hundreds, even over a thousand, sexual contacts--many of whom are complete strangers--we realize that the word consumed is not an exaggeration. The word natural in verse 27 literally means 'inborn' in the Greek. In other words, men are born with a natural inclination toward women. Sodomites choose to leave that which is natural and instead become inflamed with lust toward males." They break God's law and must repent and go to Him for deliverance.
CHO AND HYBELS JOIN SCHULLER—Korean pastor David Yonggi Cho and Willow Creek mega-church pastor Bill Hybels are part of the faculty in Robert Schuller's 1/96 Institute for Successful Church Leadership. Schuller's self-esteem message of "possibility thinking" waters down the gospel, yet he with his Crystal Cathedral and Hour of Power is the most-watched TV preacher.
'JESUS' ACTOR HAS DOUBTS ABOUT JESUS—Campus Crusade founder Dr. Bill Bright says the Jesus Film is the result of a vision given him by God in the early days of his ministry (Jan-Feb 1993 Foundation). It is now the world's most translated film and has been seen by over 711 million viewers since its 1979 U.S. premiere. But the British actor who plays Jesus in this popular film says he has many doubts about the teachings of our Lord (10/2 Chr.News). Forty-one million people have indicated a decision to follow Christ after watching the Jesus film. The May-June Foundation cites a report of several thousand Pygmies in Zaire who professed faith in Christ but have no concept of salvation or personal sin. It warns against pseudo-evangelism methods with exaggerated statistics.
CAMPUS CRUSADE LEADERS CONFESS SINS—Some 4,000 Campus Crusade staff members met last July at Colorado State University for their biennial training. After Life Action speaker Nancy Leigh DeMoss told them that deep sorrow for one's sin is a prerequisite for serving God faithfully, long lines began to form waiting for microphone time to confess long-hidden sins (10/95 Charisma, C.Today). Campus ministry leaders continued "confessing" for about 18 hours, in two sessions. Campus Crusade founder Bill Bright said revivals in seminaries and campuses around the U.S. began the next month after his 40-day fast (to pray for revival) in July-August, 1994. He said the timing indicates a new release of God's spirit throughout the U.S. Campus Crusade partnerships ecumenically with over 450 religious groups throughout the world.
'TORONTO BLESSING' A ROAD TO THE OCCULT?—Toronto Life magazine has billed the Toronto Blessing as the top tourist attraction of 1994. Toronto's Airport Vineyard Church, the focal point for "holy laughter," has had to move to a new location just to handle the crowds. But Hank Hanegraaff says the ministry of Rodney Howard-Browne and the Airport Vineyard represent something "extremely dangerous that could be a road to the occult" because of its focus on subjective and chaotic religious experience (9/11 CT). He says the Toronto Blessing has resulted from the unintended psychological manipulation of gullible and desperate believers. His warnings have been echoed by John MacArthur and others. Warren Smith says the current emphasis on holy laughter may represent a strong delusion from Satan. A British leader says Howard-Browne's meetings resemble voodoo worship.
STANLEY'S CHURCH VOTES TO KEEP HIM AS PASTOR—About 5,000 members of Georgia's largest Baptist church, First Baptist of Atlanta, voted Oct. 1 at a members-only meeting to retain Rev. Charles Stanley as pastor. Deacons recommended it 35-3, and 86 percent of members agreed. His wife is suing for divorce, and his son questions his leadership. (10/9 Chr. News). He is trying to reconcile with his wife, and earlier promised to step down if he becomes divorced.
NEW PICKERING BOOKLET—Baptist World Mission (PO Box 1463, Decatur, AL 35602) has published a new pamphlet by Dr. Ernest Pickering, "Should We Abandon the Name Baptist?" Write BWM for a new Order Form listing 14 titles of books and booklets by Dr. Pickering on subjects such as Promise Keepers, music, Lordship Salvation--and where he answers the flawed teachings of Drs. John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, and Charles Colson. Dr. Pickering and BWM Exec. Dir. Dr. Fred Moritz also have excellent books on separation.
PROMISE KEEPERS CONSIDER CATHOLICS AS ALLIES—The 9/29 Human Events said of Promise Keepers: "Heavily evangelical in theology, it reaches out pointedly to Roman Catholics, whom it views --rightly--as potential allies in the quest to redeem America." (10/9 CN). We earlier warned of the ecumenical danger of PK, and that Catholics and Mormons participated in its rallies.
MBI'S SWEETING PRAISES BILLY GRAHAM—Dr. Jerry Falwell in his 10/95 National Liberty Journal referred to the "long and faithful ministry of Dr.[Billy] Graham"(10/15 CC). Dr. Jack Van Impe and other erstwhile "fundamentalists" have in recent years heaped praise on this ecumenical evangelist (1/1/94 CC). Now Moody Bible Institute Chancellor Dr. George Sweeting in a full-page article in the 10/95 Moody praises Graham for, among other things, remaining true to the fundamentals of the gospel and for his "unswerving loyalty to the Bible as the inspired Word of God." But actually, Graham has sadly led a generation of new evangelicals down a long road of compromise and disobedience to God's Word. He has cozied with liberals and Catholic leaders, in direct disobedience to biblical commands to separate from false-gospel enemies of God.
S.B.F. MEETING—We were able to attend a portion of the Southwide Baptist Fellowship (Oct. 3) at the Highland Park Baptist Church (Tenn. Temple) in Chattanooga. The preaching was good. The music was a mix of excellent hymns and CCM. Exhibitors were a bit disappointing and included a conservative Southern Baptist seminary, Gospel Light Publications, Word of Life, and other new-evangelical types. We were most encouraged by three strong resolutions relating to Promise Keepers, Revival/Holy Laughter, and the UN Conference on Women's Rights. The SBF still has some strong churches, but has been fragmented in recent years by the Hyles problem, and the fact that some of its prominent pulpits remain open to new evangelicals such as Jerry Falwell and Tim Lee. SBF '96 is set for Trinity Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL.
TTU TO CELEBRATE 50 YEARS—Tennessee Temple University celebrates 50 years of ministry September 22-25, 1996. Enrollment this year is 554 in the University, 92 in Seminary, and 42 in Bible school, according to TTU President Dr. Roger Stiles (10/95 Evangelist). We were disappointed that its 1995 WDYN Program Guide has so many new-evangelical ministries listed, including: Adrian Rogers and J. Harold Smith (So. Baptists), Chuck Swindoll, D. James Kennedy, Phyllis Schlafly (RC), James Dobson, Minirth-Meier Clinic, Elisabeth Elliot, Woodrow Kroll, Mark De Haan, and Jack Wyrtzen. Sadly, most of these are very ecumenical in their fellowships.
DR. HAROLD SIGHTLER PASSES—Dr. Harold B. Sightler died Sept. 27. Dr. George W. Dollar says: "He was one of the founders of the Southwide Baptist Fellowship...along with John R. Rice, Lee Roberson, E. L. Bynum, John Waters and Yours Truly. He founded Tabernacle Baptist Church [Greenville, SC] over 40 years ago and was its pastor at death. In addition, he founded The Bright Spot Hour radio program, an orphan's home, and a Bible college. He preached widely in revivals and Bible conferences and was closely associated with John R. Rice and Jack Hyles in Sword of the Lord conferences..." We have seen in the past couple of years or so the passing of Drs. Monroe Parker, Arno Weniger, Charles Woodbridge, Don McKnight, John McCormick, Curtis Hutson, Harold Sightler and others.
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