ARE HOMOSEXUALS 'BORN THAT WAY'?—Eastern College sociologist Tony Campolo says homosexuals are born that way, and his wife promotes homosexual weddings. (10/15 CC). Fuller Seminary professor-emeritus Lewis Smedes, in his Sex For Christians book (1984 ed., Pp. 65-71) says the homosexual "should simply refuse to accept a burden of guilt for his condition. He is a victim either of biological accident or someone else's folly." He says the homosexual "did not choose homosexuality..." It is absurd, unscriptural, and blasphemous to suggest the homosexual is not responsible for his perverted lifestyle, or that an adulterer is not to blame for his sin. To do so implies that God is to blame. If a person was born without a choice in the matter, God (under the Law) would never have required the death penalty for homosexuality. Capital punishment was always for crimes a person committed voluntarily (see Lev. 20, etc.).
DISNEY'S 'LION KING' FOLLOW-UP—An upcoming Miramax [Walt Disney Co. is the corporate owner] movie--Kids--chronicles 24 hours in the lives of a band of thrill-seeking New York teens. The 5/15 U.S. News says: "In the opening scene, a boy known as 'Virgin Surgeon' deflowers a teenage girl. After that come graphic depictions of unsafe sex, full frontal nudity, pot smoking and racial violence, all performed by a cast of barely pubescent-looking actors." Critics already call it the most controversial film of the year/decade. If it gets the expected X-rating (NC-17), Disney may force Miramax to sell it to another distributor. Meanwhile, the 3/27 Christian News warned that another Lion King follow-up, Disney's Pocahontas, promises to be the most obviously foul ball of all of Disney's recent animated propaganda films for kids. The 5/8 Amer. Info. Newsletter says: "The homosexualized Disney empire is following up its New Age blockbuster, The Lion King... with another politically correct propaganda piece." It says Pocahontas is a blend of hard-core feminism and environmentalism wrapped up in a leftist historical revisionist package.
SO. CAROLINA'S 1778 CONSTITUTION:—"[T]he Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed...the established religion of the state." It said no religious society could be considered a church unless it agreed "that there is one eternal God and a future state of rewards and punishment; that the Christian religion is the true religion; that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of divine inspiration." S.C. also asserted that "no person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution." (4/95 Imprimis)
NEW FEDERAL POLICE POWERS MAY BE BAD—New "counter-terrorism" legislation may be bad news for law-abiding Christians. The 5/15 New American warns: "...[T]he new powers sought for the federal government will, if provided, almost assuredly be used not against those violent and subversive organizations traditionally targeted by the FBI--communists, terrorists, fascists, Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen, Mafiosi, drug kingpins--but against those Atty. Gen. Janet Reno and FBI Dir. Louis Freeh consider the real 'threats' to American security: gun owners, pro-life demonstrators, religious 'extremists,' 'anti-government' activists, tax protesters, UN opponents, hate crime 'advocates'(i.e., those who oppose special rights for homosexuals), and other politically incorrect Americans the establishment media generally categorize as 'extreme right wing."
DC TALK IN CONCERT AT FALWELL'S LIBERTY U.—The Liberty Flame supplement to Dr. Jerry Falwell's 5/95 Nat'l Liberty Journal said DC Talk--"with their mix of soul, rap and challenging lyrics"-- last year returned home to Liberty University for "one of the liveliest concerts in school history." DC Talk, founded at Liberty, is related to Falwell's stint with PTL charismatics (7/15/91 CC). The 5/21/94 World said this "hip-hop trio," called by Jay Leno "one of the hottest music groups in the country", merged their loves for rap, rock, and gospel to form the high-energy sound they're now famous for. The article's subtitle: "DC Talk takes the secular music industry by storm". A 4/9/91 Wall St. Journal article said Falwell calls himself a convert to rap, and says "I'm for it."(5/15/91 CC).
WEAKNESSES OF TAPED MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENTS—1) Eliminates the use of people. Music is a ministry, worshipping and serving the Lord in song... 2) Most tapes sound very sensual (appeal to the flesh). 3) Almost all tapes are recorded by worldly or compromising musicians. 4) Most tapes emphasize rhythm more than melody. 5) The use of tapes leaves no room for musical interpretation. You are stuck with whatever was recorded on the tape. If there is a questionable portion, you may be tempted to go ahead and use it, thus starting a pattern of compromise that will [destroy] your Biblical convictions. [Spring 1995, Flaming Torch]
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY LEFT DANGLING IN RUSSIA—Russia's Ministry of Education recently canceled the protocol that authorized the CoMission--a coalition of 85 U.S. Protestant groups who trained Russian public-school educators to promote a curriculum of Christian values. Russian Orthodox church leaders have opposed the plan.
WIERSBE ON STAFF AT GARBC'S GRAND RAPIDS—The General Association of Regular Baptists' 5/95 Baptist Bulletin said: "One of the nation's best-known and most-loved evangelical authors, radio speakers and Bible teachers, Warren W. Wiersbe, has accepted an appointment as Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary. Dr. Wiersbe will also serve as Writer-in-Residence with Cornerstone College. He will teach in the seminary's Doctor of Ministry program, speak at the annual Bible conference, speak periodically at the one-day Ministry Enrichment Renewal conferences and participate in other educational opportunities as they become available..." Wiersbe speaks at the GARB national meeting this month in Toledo (4/15 CC). The Northeast Regular Baptist Fellowship of Churches, in a 4/7 resolution, expressed "consternation that the featured speaker of the 64th Annual Conference of the GARBC is Dr. Warren Wiersbe..." It notes that Wiersbe's ecumenical itinerary seems inconsistent with the stated policy/purpose of the GARBC.
MacARTHUR, COLSON, GRAHAM SPEAK AT SBC EVENTS—The Southern Baptist Convention celebrates its 150th year in Atlanta, June 20-22. Over 25,000 messengers are expected to attend. Billy Graham speaks June 22, closing the meeting. IFCA's John MacArthur, pro-Catholic Chuck Colson, and former SBC presidents Adrian Rogers, James Draper, and Jerry Vines are slated to speak at the SBC Pastor's Conference, June 18-19. SBC president Jim Henry is expected to be re-elected without opposition. Messengers will take the first of two annual successive votes on whether to reduce the size of the SBC structure.
TIM LEE & SO. BAPTIST TO SPEAK AT SBF CHURCH—The second annual Youth Alive Conference sponsored by Tim Lee Ministries goes to Northside Baptist Church, Charlotte, June 12-15. Featured speakers include Lee ("bridge-builder to Southern Baptists"), SBC evangelist David Ring, Gary Coleman and Johnny Pope. Northside is a large Southwide Baptist Fellowship church founded by Jack Hudson in 1954 and now pastored by Bradley Price. The June 4 Founders Day speaker is Lee Roberson. Last year it was Jerry Falwell.
SMEDES TO SPEAK AT PRO-HOMOSEXUAL EVENT—Popular author/ethicist and Fuller Seminary emeritus professor Lewis Smedes is a featured speaker at pro-homosexual Evangelicals Concerned's June 2-4 ConnECtion'95 conference at Kirkridge, Pa. (EC's Spr. '95 Record). He is then the keynote speaker at a June 14-17 Calvin College conference. He has defended homosexuals, and said pre-marital nude petting may be "a delicately tuned means of mutual discovery."(1/15/86 CC). He has concluded that factors other than rape, incest and the mother's welfare may justify abortion. (9/15/86 CC). He approvingly quotes neoorthodox liberals in some of his writings.
WHEATON COLLEGE: REVIVAL, NEW AGE SPEAKER?—In a "spiritual awakening" at Wheaton College, attendance at "renewal" meetings in March jumped from 900 to 1,500 in four days (5/15 CT). But a book, The Trojan Horse, (by Brenda Scott and Samantha Smith) says Madeleine L'Engle, a New Ager with close ties to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine gave a lecture at Wheaton. It also says that Wheaton supports Ms. L'Engle so enthusiastically that she refers to it as her second home. The letter writer in the 5/6 World concluded by asking, "What am I to believe? Has Wheaton gone off to the direction of the occult to support this outstanding New Ager?"
FUROR AT SBC'S SOUTHERN SEMINARY—Southern Baptist Seminary (Louisville) president R. Albert Mohler, Jr., 35, is battling Southern's faculty and students over academic freedom. The clash began in March when he fired Diana Garland as dean of the seminary's Carver School of Church Social Work. She publicly criticized Mohler's leadership and faulted him for not hiring David Sherwood of Gordon College because Sherwood would not exclude women from pastoral ministry. Thirty-seven of 65 Southern faculty signed a resolution supporting Garland's stance (5/15 CT). Mohler's new criteria for hiring faculty includes an affirmation of the exclusivity of the Christian gospel and opposition to three things: homosexuality, women in the pastorate, and abortion. He and trustees offered an "early retirement" package to the faculty on April 19 (29 professors are eligible). Three new faculty members were hired: Craig Blaising, Daniel Block, and Mark Terry (5/2 IB). Students allege that some professors have turned classroom time into forums for disagreeing with the president.
COPPENGER TO HEAD SBC'S MIDWESTERN SEMINARY—Mark T. Coppenger has been nominated to succeed Milton Ferguson at the helm of SBC's "smallest of six" seminaries, Midwestern Baptist Seminary (Kansas City). The 5/2 Indiana Baptist says he is an inerrantist who served six years on the faculty of Wheaton College. Liberal Russell Dilday, who was fired last year as president of Southwestern Baptist Seminary after refusing a "golden parachute" approaching $400,000, called it a "buyout, almost an effort to bribe me to leave." (4/12/94 IB). Ferguson will receive his $61,000 salary and benefits to July 31, 1996 and a gift of $50,000. The search committee told news media that more balance is needed in the Midwestern faculty--with inerrantists.
NEW EVANGELICALS PRAISE 'THE MESSAGE'—Eugene Peterson's new unreliable paraphrase The Message is being endorsed as an authentic translation of the New Testament. Billy Graham praises it, and is distributing a special edition of it. J. I. Packer praises its "blend of accurate scholarship." Warren Wiersbe calls it "the boldest and most provocative rendering of the New Testament I've ever seen." Denver Seminary President Edward Hayes says Peterson "in this fresh paraphrase...highlights the 'marketing' approach of the Apostle Paul [in 1 Cor. 9:19-23]." (Focal Point). Jack Hayford endorses it. But Trinity Assistant Prof. Raymond C. Ortlund (1/9 Christianity Today) in a surprisingly candid and critical review said: "Peterson's colloquial language is too ambiguous to be helpful..."
EPISCOPAL CHURCH SCANDALS MOUNT—The liberal Episcopal Church continues to descend into ever deeper apostasy. There was the recent suicide of a philandering bishop, the shenanigans of its Bishop John Spong and the dissension over ordaining homosexuals. Now it has discovered evidence that its former treasurer embezzled over $2.2 million over five years, at a time of massive cutbacks in church programs and staff (2/17, 5/6 H.Times). The Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC adopted a statement last January drafted by Spong which read: "Some of us are created heterosexual and some of us are created homosexual [and] both can be lived out with beauty, honor, holiness and integrity." (2/11 World). O Timothy editor David Cloud documents Spong's blasphemy, and says: "He denies the virgin birth, deity, miracles, vicarious death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, yet claims to honor and serve Him...."
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