CAMPOLO: EVANGELISM MEANS SOCIAL ACTION—Eastern College Sociologist Tony Campolo says: "Evangelism has changed...Once, old-time evangelists called people to hit the sawdust trail out of fear of eternal damnation. Nowadays, the evangelist's call to come down the aisle is increasingly a call to become committed to social ministries in everyday life."(4/16 Phila.Inq.). Campolo said: "At Eastern College...becoming a committed Christian is equated with dedication to others. To hundreds of Eastern students, being "born again" has been translated as a calling to reach out to inner-city children through after-school tutoring, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, and setting up clubs to counsel troubled teens." He added: "The Old Time Religion is not what it used to be...[I]t has become a movement committed to changing society. It is no longer preoccupied with getting people ready to die. Contemporary evangelism is more and more connected with social action."
ARMSTRONG CULT MOVES TOWARD ORTHODOXY?—Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God under his successor Joseph Tkach is seeing a membership loss and a cut-back of programs due to wholesale doctrinal revisions in recent years. Cult-watcher Ruth Tucker says "Now is the time for evangelicals to extend the hand of fellowship to the WCG." This is yet premature, but it bears watching. Some predict a mass exodus.
ELLIOT: DO DOGS GO TO HEAVEN?—Popular author/ speaker Elisabeth Elliot is often featured on ecumenical platforms with liberals, charismatics, or new evangelicals (see 4/1/91 CC). She spoke at the recent NAE convention. The few times we have heard her, her messages seemed to be doctrinally sound. But in a 1989 book, On Asking God Why, she writes: "...[A] phrase I turn over and over in my mind: the redemption of creation. 'Redemption? But animals have no souls!' someone objects. Have they not? My Bible tells me of a great hope shared not only by angels and [humans], but 'all things, whether in heaven or on earth' (Col. 1:20); it tells me all is to be 'brought to unity in Christ' (Eph. 1:10). What can this mean if not that in some way unimaginable to us now the suffering sea gull, along with all feathered, furred, scaled, and carapaced creatures, will be redeemed?...Will not our ears someday hear the Song of the Animals? I think so. I pin my hopes on the vision of John.... [quotes Rev. 5:13]." We do not believe that the above verses, or any Bible passages, teach that animals have an immortal soul, or spirit, and life after death. Elliot praises Karl Barth and favorably quotes Catholics and new evangelicals in this book.
AIDS, SMOKING EPIDEMICS—The World Health Organization (an arm of the United Nations) says AIDS is the world's fastest-spreading epidemic, and that smoking is emerging as the world's largest single preventable cause of illness and deaths. Smoking kills 3 million people a year, an average of six people every minute, and is expected to increase to 10 million a year by 2020. (5/2 Huntsville Times). The WHO called smoking a preventable cause of illness and death, but should have noted that AIDS is ALSO a largely "preventable" cause of illness and death, since it is mainly contracted through homosexuality and promiscuous sexual acts.
EVANS: SOCIAL JUSTICE & BLACK PRIDE—Dr. Tony Evans is pastor of the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship (Dallas), founder of The Urban Alternative, and the first African-American to earn a doctoral degree from Dallas Seminary. He is a popular speaker at Promise Keepers, Moody Bible Institute, Cedarville College, IFCA, SBC, etc. His 1994 book Let's Get to Know Each Other is an interesting history of the black church/worship, and tells "what white Christians should know about black Christians." "Racism" is a main theme. Negatively, we will pass over his praise of sensitivity training and Promise Keepers, his reference to "low self-esteem" and his favorable quoting of a few "bad guys," and note two areas of concern. He says black evangelicals "have helped to broaden significantly the definition of Evangelicalism to include the issues of social justice." Over and over he claims a Scriptural basis for racial pride.
GRAHAM'S DAUGHTER'S SEARCH FOR SECURITY—Gigi Tchividjian, Billy Graham's eldest child, raised seven children, is "irreverent," completely apolitical, and has grown "less dogmatic" with increasing age, per the 3/11 Houston Chronicle. It said: "To young Gigi, Christianity was a blast." She grew up in Montreat, NC, a town of less than 1,000, a Presbyterian training center and retirement home for missionaries. She said: "I was raised in a protective bubble....These people made me want what they had. It wasn't a set of rules--do's and don'ts. It was always positive and fun-loving." Her father was away a lot--for six-month stretches. She said: "Yes, I didn't have Daddy growing up..." Gigi's husband is a clinical psychologist, and she is the national adviser on women's affairs for Rapha, Inc. [a psychobabble psychiatric center, praised by Jerry Falwell and Chas. Stanley.] Of her bouts with depression and insecurity, she said: "I used to feel so guilty. I mean, Christians shouldn't be depressed, right? Now we know it's chemical." Her quest for serenity continues.
CHARISMATICS TAKING OVER EVANGELICAL MOVEMENT—The two big explosive movements over the past year are Promise Keepers and "Holy Laughter." Both are strongly ecumenical and have roots in charismatic "signs and wonders" guru John Wimber's Vineyard Church. NAE speaker David Bryant praised the "laughing revival" movement at the recent NAE meeting. The NRB, Youth With A Mission (YWAM), Campus Crusade, Promise Keepers and many other new-evangelical groups are becoming heavily laden with charismatics. Charismatics are making inroads in the Southern Baptist Convention. With charismatics, experience is emphasized and doctrine is downplayed. Don Argue, April 3, became NAE's first Pentecostal chief executive. He is an ecumenical bridge-builder. In a 4/24 letter, veteran missionary-to-Catholics Wilson Ewin says: "With all the facts now put together, one must agree with classic Pentecostal author Vinson Synan that 80% of all evangelicals are Pentecostal-charismatic." [We have seen smaller percentages given, but the number is soaring.] Ewin says a third of all Canadian evangelicals are now Roman Catholics. The charismatic movement is a catalyst for building the ecumenical one-world church of the Antichrist. [Bro. Ewin has much literature on this subject, and two cassette tapes: "Witnessing to Catholics" and "The Vatican's Place in the New World Order." Order from him at P.O. Box 180, Norton, VT 05907, $4 each + postage.]
SOUTHERN BAPTISTS EMBRACE CHARISMATICS—Two So. Baptist Seminary (Louisville) professors recently said Southern Baptists shouldn't fear the charismatic movement. William Hendricks, doctoral studies program director, said churches shouldn't make a big issue out of the movement because "you could be fighting what is a legitimate experience of the Spirit." (4/ 95 Charisma). Church history professor Tim Weber agrees. He said: "Most charismatics take the Bible as seriously as Southern Baptists, although they read it differently." The professors believe the time has come for a more reasoned approach to charismatics and dialogue with them. Meanwhile, Texas SBC pastor John Avant brought "revival" to Southwestern Baptist Seminary after speaking in chapel and telling them of the "renewal" at his church after it joined in a mission project with a charismatic church (3/13 Chr.News). He said: "Southern Baptists, Nazarenes, Pentecostals, Independent Baptists and Presbyterians are getting together just to kneel and pray for revival."
OBF RESOLUTION AGAINST ECT—The 3/95 Ohio Bible Fellowship Visitor had a good resolution warning of the dangers of the 3/94 "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" pact. Jon Trainer says of ECT: "...[T]he document is poorly written. Its narrative style and loose phraseology are theologically ambiguous, discursive and confusing. Second, the endorsement many evangelical leaders make to such a theologically flawed work attests to the failure of new evangelicalism. They have come to embrace what they once only tolerated. Co-belligerence, co-operative evangelism and an acceptance of charismatic practice results in a watered down theology in which religious experience is the only common denominator. Doctrinal purity takes a back seat to moral, social and political activism. Third, many leaders of evangelicalism lack spiritual discernment. How would the signers of ECT define apostasy? If the Roman Catholic system is not apostate, what is?..."(Get reprints of this 12-page pamphlet from: OBF Visitor, 3865 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214, 10 copies for $4.50.)
SBC'S LAND & LEWIS REMOVE NAMES FROM ECT—Home Mission Board president Larry Lewis and Christian Life Commission exec. dir. Richard Land have removed their names from the controversial "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" document. They expressed regrets to Chuck Colson for having to withdraw their signatures, but saw this as the only way to eliminate the confusion and persistent perception that their agencies had endorsed ECT (4/18 Indiana Bapt.). Much of the criticism of ECT came from Hispanic So. Baptist leaders who feared Catholic leaders would use it to thwart mission efforts among Catholics.
PROMISE KEEPERS INCLUDES CATHOLICS—The main founders and leaders of Promise Keepers are members of "signs and wonders" John Wimber's Vineyard Church. Promise #6 is: "Reach beyond racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity." Bill McCartney says Promise Keepers doesn't care if you're a Baptist, a Pentecostal, or a Roman Catholic (4/24 Chr.News). A West Coast Catholic paper The Tidings (3/31) says Promise Keepers is "now being expanded to include Catholic congregations." It said: "The five-year-old program utilizes clergy presentations and group sharing in weekend workshop or retreat-style format..." A California priest, at the urging of Cardinal Roger Mahony, studied the feasibility of utilizing PK at the Catholic parish level and found no "doctrinal" issue which should cause concern to the Catholic Church. No surprise, since "ecumenical" is PK's middle name!
MBI'S STOWELL IN ECUMENICAL ORBIT—Moody Bible Institute president Dr. Joseph Stowell recently became a member of the mainline new-evangelical National Association of Evangelicals (4/1 CC). He serves in a "Leadership Chair" for Luis Palau's 6/96 ecumenical evangelism Chicago crusade. (5/1 CC). He has spoken at So. Baptist and Dallas Seminary recent-year events, and at an ecumenical National Religious Broadcasters meeting. He speaks at ecumenical Promise Keepers rallies again this year. We now see him listed (with Roman Catholics, et al.) as an "Advisory Editor" for Christianity Today. He was scheduled to participate with Bill Bright and other ecumenicals in the May 4 National Day of Prayer. He is listed in the Billy Graham Training Center "Program Guide" as a June 2-4 speaker. His topic: "Walking Faithfully With Christ."!
COLLEGE CAMPUS REVIVALS—A 'spiritual awakening' among college students is spreading across the U.S. Varying degrees of "revival" have recently been reported at the following schools: Wheaton, Liberty, Gordon, Southwestern, Taylor, Beeson, Howard Payne, Olivet Nazarene, Morehead, Murray State, and Louisiana Tech. We hope much of this is genuine, and not just charismatic "false fire" (e.g., "the Toronto Blessing").
ROBERTSON ENDORSES 'LAUGHTER', SIGNS & WONDERS—Pat Robertson promotes the "Laughing Revival", spoke at a recent "signs & wonders" conference hosted by the Assemblies of God, and unites with Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, and Jack Hayford in a July 26-29 ecumenical Orlando'95 Congress.
ACCC MEETING—The executive committees of the American Council of Christian Churches and the World Council of Biblical Churches (WCBC) met at Calvary Baptist Church, Huntsville, Ala., April 20. The preaching, by Drs. Richard Harris and E. Allen Griffith, was excellent. The fall convention is set for St. Louis. Dr. Ralph Colas is the Executive Secretary of the ACCC & WCBC.
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