U.S. IS WORLD'S MAIN PRODUCER OF PORN—America is by far the world's leading producer of pornography, churning out hard-core videos at the shocking rate of about 150 new titles per week (2/10 USN & WR). The number of hard-core video rentals rose from 75 million in 1985 to a record high of 665 million in 1996. Availability of hard-core home video films has forced adult theaters out of business. Last year Americans spent over $8 billion on hard-core videos, peep shows, live sex acts, adult cable programs, sexual devices, computer porn, and sex magazines. They spent between $750 million and $1 billion on telephone sex. A new AdultVision cable service offers porn films 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our sex-crazed society, by such toleration of pornography, is breeding degradation of women and corruption of men's minds.

PORN TO STAY ON MILITARY BASES—A NY federal judge struck down a new law forbidding the sale of sexually explicit magazines at U.S. Military bases. Pornographer Bob Guccione sells 19,000 copies of his Penthouse on Army and Air Force installations each month (2/1 World). The federal government is America's largest distributor of pornography (4/1 CC). Most sex crimes and rapes are directly related to porn, so it is small wonder that recently these rates are soaring at military bases. Pornography demeans women, perverts youth, and destroys families.

UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE—The Dec. 1996 URI News Update said: "The United Religions Initiative [see 4/1, 8/15, 1/15, & 2/15 CCs] seeks to bring religions and spiritual traditions to a common table, a permanent, daily, global assembly. There, respecting each other's distinctness, they will seek to make peace among religions so that they might work together for the good of all life and the healing of the earth." A 2nd UR Summit Conference is set for June 23-27 at Stanford University. A specific task for this conference is to "identify the issues central to the creation of a UR and the drafting of its charter."

SELL-OUT OF HONG KONG TO COMMUNISTS—Great Britain's Margaret Thatcher flew to China in 1984 and signed a treaty that will turn Hong Kong over to Red China on July 1, 1997. Hong Kong's six million Chinese citizens were not given any voice or vote in the decision, but over 600,000 have since voted with their feet to leave (1/97 Baptist Bulletin). Pope John Paul II warned China's atheist government (that bars state-controlled Catholics from swearing fidelity to him) in January to respect the religious freedom of some 400,000 Catholics in Hong Kong (1/18 Dallas Morning News). Missionaries already see disturbing signs that their freedoms and future ministries would be severely threatened under communism.

POPE'S EVOLUTION STATEMENT—Pope John Paul II was recently quoted as saying evolution is "more than just a hypothesis." (See 12/1 CC..) Cal Thomas, in a 1/25 World article, said the Vatican news service mistranslated this and that the pope really said "there is more than one hypothesis in the theory of evolution." But the Feb. 3 Christianity Today said the Vatican newspaper that reported it this way later realized it had made a mistake and has printed a retraction. CT said: "The pope's original French text should be translated as more than just a hypothesis."; Confusing? The pope embraces evolution!

NEW ERA FOUNDER INDICTED—John Bennett was in-dicted last September on 82 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Now, under psychiatric care, he has pleaded innocent due to insanity (2/1 World). Churches, charities, colleges, and individuals including over 180 evangelical schools/organizations lost $135 million in his New Era Ponzi scheme (11/11 C.Today, 8/1/95 CC ). Some that profited from New Era before it collapsed have agreed to return millions to help offset losses of others.

AFRICA, & AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOESU.S. News & World Report (2/3) in an article entitled "The Same Old Excuses" excerpted from Keith Richburg's new book Out of America and gave "A black American's tough prescription for Africa's ills." Sample quotes: "Almost all of the Southeast Asian countries have risen from poverty to create huge and stable middle classes and enter the first tier of newly industrialized economies. Why has East Asia emerged as the model for economic success, while Africa has seen mostly poverty, hunger, and economies propped up by foreign aid?Why are Southeast Asian leaders negotiating to ease trade barriers while Africans are chop-ping up their neighbors with machetes because they be-long to a different tribe?…Africa’s children are the most likely on Earth to die before the age of 5…." Black liberal columnist Cynthia Tucker (2/2 H. Times) said prominent black activists utter scarcely a public word about black-on-black crime. She said: "Homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American men between the ages of 16 and 24 [and] most of the perpetrators are also black."

RELIGION FREEDOM AT RISK IN RUSSIA—Religious freedom in Russia has been shrinking for the last two years and likely will shrink still further even without any formal changes in the 1990 law on freedom of conscience.

RITALIN DISQUALIFIES FOR MILITARY —The 1/20 New Amer. says teens who have taken Ritalin or similar behavior-modifying drugs to control vaguely defined Attention Deficit Disorder are rejected from military service.

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY ON PROBATION—Dr. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University has had ongoing financial problems and has a current debt load of about $40 mil-lion. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed Liberty on probation for one year on Dec. 9. It said LU’s financial situation has impinged on the education program. Most of the debt is owed to around 2,000 bondholders and payments have been late the past two years. But LU Pres. Pierre Guillermin says with "the assistance of many special friends" debt should be reduced to around $20 million soon, which is "manageable."

LIBERALISM AT SBC STATE LEVEL—The 1996 Southern Baptist state convention results suggest that conservatives lead in eleven state conventions, liberals control seven, nine are mixed results, and the other twelve are new work states where the "conservative re-surgence" is not a recognized factor. The Jan. 1997 Baptist Banner (Va. SBC) said thirteen states passed resolutions opposing abortion, six opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide, fifteen opposing gambling, and ten op-posing homosexual practice and/or same sex marriage. The Texas convention sends funds to the moderate/ liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the apostate Baptist World Alliance. The SBC has already lost, or is in the process of losing, control of universities such as Wake Forest, Baylor, Mercer, Samford, and Ouachita.

PROMISE KEEPERS UPDATE—Praise Keepers is a coalition of Christian women dedicated to similar ideals as Promise Keepers. Co-founder Donna Henley says: "Women’s ministries are always bigger than the men. This will be bigger than the men’s." (12/2 Chr.News).Catholic men are forming Promise Keepers-like groups all over the country (1/4 Houston Chron.), though many Catholics also attend PK meetings. Promise Keepers seeks to break down denominational and racial walls. It is trying to form partnerships with at least six denominations. Its new reconciliation division is responsible for both racial and denominational unity efforts. Among PK’s 437-member staff, 30 percent are minorities (1/6 C.Today). Birmingham expects about 80,000 men to at-tend its PK regional meeting May 30-31 at Legion Field.

URBANA 96—InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Urbana 96 mission conference drew 19,360 attendees—36 % of color, and 60% female. When asked how inclusive it was, the reply was that Urbana serves the whole church and both Roman Catholics and Seventh-day Adventists were registered. Many liberal denominational groups were among those advertising. American Council of Christian Churches’ Exec.Sec’y Dr. Ralph Colas, who attended as part of the press, said the GARBC-approved Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary was deeply involved at Urbana with Vineyard churches and apostate, Charismatic, compromising denominations and their education and missionary agencies. He said: "A major problem associated with Urbana ‘96 is the mixture of truth and error. It is certainly a commendable goal to want to reach the people of the world with the Gospel and to challenge young people to be involved. But can we ever forget that we always must do God’s work in God’s way if we want God’s blessings upon our labors?" Dr. Colas cited II Tim.2:5 and I Sam.15:22. His several-page report will hopefully be available within a few weeks. Order from: ACCC, P.O.Box 19, Wallingford, PA 19086.

RYRIE TO SPEAK AT FAITH—Faith Baptist Bible College/Seminary is arguably the strongest GARBC-approved school. But we were disappointed to again see Dr. Charles Ryrie listed in the Fall 1996 Faith Witness as speaker for the Staley Lecture Series in April (see 1/1/95 CC). John Colyer speaks at an April Youth conference.

HANNAH FEARS EVANGELICAL CRISIS—John Hannah, chairman of Dallas Seminary’s historical theology department, is worried that the evangelical movement has "sold out to psychobabble and entertainment." (2/1 Dallas Morn.News). Yet his seminary through Minirth and Meier has promoted psychobabble. And Hannah says he is "all for seeker-sensitive churches, spiffy buildings, music that rocks and full-service mega-churches." But he fears that, to get people to church, some leaders are soft-pedaling the hard parts of theology. In- stead of coming to worship a holy God, they "come to be entertained." He says "I don’t mind if they use entertainment for an end" if members come to maturity and lead moral lives. He says evangelicals may be headed down the same path as liberals who’ve seen their numbers dwindle. Sadly, he sees the problem, but fails to see that rock music entertainment and the seeker-sensitive philosophy ("give people what they want") are part of it.

BAYLOR HONORS CHUCK SWINDOLL—Dallas Seminary President Charles Swindoll recently received Baylor University’s Spurgeon-Truett Award for Outstanding Preaching—as one of the "top 12 most effective preachers in the English-speaking world." (DTS’s Kind-red Sp.). Other recipients, ranging from liberal to new-evangelical, include: James Forbes (ultra-liberal River-side Church), John Stott, Billy Graham, Lloyd Ogilvie, and Haddon Robinson. So, this is a dubious "honor." Baylor has been a liberal Southern Baptist school for decades. Swindoll has spoken on Promise Keepers, Wheaton College, and other new-evangelical platforms.

FORMER MOODY - EDITOR PROMOTES PEALE—Eric Fellman—MBI and Wheaton grad, and former editor of Moody—is also president of the Norman Vincent Peale Center for Christian Living and author of a new book, The Power Behind Positive Thinking (2/97 Baptist Bulletin). The book builds on Peale’s legacy. Peale, who died in 1993 at age 95, was a liberal who rejected key Bible doctrines (7/15/93,1/15/94 CCs). Moody had articles by Fellman after he had joined with Peale (7/15/88 CC).

DENVER PRESIDENT’S NE TIES—Dr. Clyde McDowell, new president of Denver Seminary (12/15/96 CC), at- tended Wheaton College, has an M.Div. degree from Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and a D. Min. degree in church growth from Fuller Seminary. A son is now at Wheaton, a daughter at Westmont (Focal Pt.). McDowell is Vice-Chairman of the board of Mile-High Ministries, a group of churches organized to partner with inner-city churches. McDowell should fit well with Denver’s new evangelical stance as a Conservative Baptist (CBA) school aligned with the National Association of Evangelicals.

BRYAN COLLEGE SPEAKERS—Bryan College has featured ecumenical/new-evangelical speakers in recent years such as pope-praiser Kenneth Kantzer. Its Winter 1996 Bryan Life lists a late-July 1997 Summit featuring: Drs. David Noebel, Ron Nash, Jeff Myers and over 15 other speakers. Michael Card, who recorded a recent ecumenical duet album with Roman Catholic monk John Michael Talbot (see 10/1 CC), is also to be featured.

BURKETT,BRIGHT, MUTUAL ADMIRATION—Larry Burkett, founder and president of Christian Financial Concepts, was recently honored for 20 years of ministry at a surprise dinner. Guest speaker was Dr. Bill Bright, head of Campus Crusade where Burkett’s ministry career began (12/96 Money Matters). Another special guest was Peter Lord (charismatic pastor). Burkett calls Cam-pus Crusade "one of the largest and most respected ministries in the U.S." (2/97 MM). CFC’s seminar/workshop itinerary includes liberal, cultic, and evangelical groups.

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