VOL. XIV NO. 12 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM June 15, 1997
31,520 PROMISE KEEPERS MEET IN BIRMINGHAM—This editor attended the Saturday sessions of the May 30-31 Birmingham Promise Keepers conference, with media credentials. PK is a mixed bag. No doubt some men are helped to be better husbands and fathers in these meetings but the stress on this seems dwarfed at times by the extreme emphasis on eliminating racism and tearing down denominational walls. PK founder Bill McCartney told a group of 45 black ministers at a May 30 stadium luncheon that he believes God will eliminate racism. He said, "In the year 2000, racism will be dissolved in this nation." The 5/31 Birmingham News reported: "In addition to bringing racial unity, McCartney said he foresees Promise Keepers moving more toward social action such as feeding the hungry." [Sadly, some fundamentalists seem to be heading toward a social-action "slippery slope."] Speakers at this meeting included: Franklin Graham, McCartney, Ramesh Richard (Dallas Seminary professor), Crawford Lorrits, Raleigh Washington, Wellington Boone, and Stu Weber. The main PK focus this year is not on the 18 regional events, but on an Oct. 4 "Stand in the Gap" rally in Washington, DC. We hope to have a longer report available soon, discussing the music, the emotions, the ecumenicism, and other aspects of this "rainy" conference.
UNITED RELIGIONS AND FUNDAMENTALISM—The United Religions charter-drafting Summit is set for June 23-27 (3/1 CC). Led by Episcopal Bishop William Swing, the UR would have all faiths abandon their core beliefs and join together in a worship-the-earth form of religiosity. Former UN Ass't Sec'y Gen. Robert Muller, a New Ager, told Swing's June 1996 assembly: "Peace will be impossible without the taming of fundamentalism through a United Religions that professes faithfulness only to the global spirituality and to the health of the planet." (4/14 New Amer.). Swing says: "The purpose of the UR Initiative 2000 is that there would be one central, interfaith global body primarily constituted to strive permanently and daily for peace among religions for the sake of peace among nations and wholeness for the entire created order." (5/5 Chr.News).
DON'T BE DECEIVED—Error is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the unexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than truth itself. (Irenaeus, 4/97 Chr. Conscience)
HAVE TO SEE IT TO CRITICIZE IT?—Some say we can't criticize a bad TV show or film unless we have seen it. But I don't have to drink a whole quart of milk to know that it's sour, or stick my nose in a sewer to know it stinks!
DUTCH EXPERIENCE WITH EUTHANASIA—Marijuana and prostitution are legal under the Netherlands' liberal social policies. Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are technically illegal but physicians are generally not prosecuted (6/97FocusOnTheF.). Each year, Dutch doctors actively cause or hasten the deaths of 1,000 patients without the patients' requests (5/26 New Amer.). The Dutch experience shows that it is impossible to limit or restrain the power to kill once it is granted. Giving physicians the power to kill patients is a power no one in society can control.
SCHULLER TRAINS HOMOSEXUAL PASTORS?—The Spring'97 Evangelicals Concerned Record newsletter said: "More than 80 gay and lesbian pastors and lay leaders from the Metropolitan Community Churches participated in this year's Robert Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership at Schuller's Crystal Cathedral. Speakers included Bill Hybels, John Maxwell, and Rick Warren.
MAXWELL SPEAKS FOR SCHULLER & FALWELL—Author and motivator John Maxwell and his INJOY staff will conduct a Leadership Seminar at Jerry Falwell's Super Conference 1997. He is a Promise Keepers speaker, and was a 1/96 featured speaker at liberal false-teacher Robert Schuller's Institute, along with Bill Hybels and John Wimber (11/11 C. Today). Last February, he spoke to over 1,500 United Pentecostal Church (Oneness Pentecostal) leaders. The 6/97 Charisma said: "Rather than trying to 'fix' the UPC theologically, [Maxwell] says he simply embraces them as Christians" He added: "I don't draw lines."
CHARISMATICS: WILDER & WEIRDER—Even from its early days, the charismatic movement has been known for weird practices, and the breaking down of doctrinal walls. It serves as a catalyst for the ecumenical movement. The scandals, the extra-biblical revelations, the "signs and wonders," the barking and braying and "slaying in the spirit" nonsense of the "laughing revival" are sample characteristics of charismatism. But one of its greatest harms has been the role it played in getting rock music into evangelical churches. Lee Grady, the executive editor of Charisma, says (6/97 Charisma): "Praise and worship means shouting praises to God, banging on drums and cymbals, jamming on electric guitars, dancing, waving, laughing, weeping, raising hands in the air, bowing and even lying prostrate on the floor." He said "I'm ready to break out of the religious restrictions that keep Sunday morning worship stiff and predictable. I'm ready to do something wild, something that releases me and those around me to revel in His love with absolute abandon." A danger is that some of this charismatic "wildness" and "absolute abandon" leaves some open for demonic control.
FANINI ATTEND—Dr. Jerry Falwell's 6/97 Nat'l Liberty Journal said over 18,000 persons braved the rain to hear Dr. Billy Graham deliver the 24th Commencement address at Liberty University, May 3. Over 1,500 received degrees, including Graham's grandson. Liberty bestowed an honorary doctorate on Graham, "a man of God." Dr. Nelson Fanini, president of the apostate Baptist World Alliance, attended with his family as his daughter graduated. The NLJ reported that: "Dr. J.R. Faulkner, now concluding 50 years of leadership at Chattanooga's Tennessee Temple University, attended with his family as his granddaughter also graduated." The NLJ added: "Following commencement, Dr. Faulkner offered the invocation in a private dinner with the Grahams, Falwells, LU trustees and special friends."
GRAHAM & FALWELL—Sword of the Lord editor Dr. Shelton Smith says of Drs. Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell: "Both began as fundamentalists! Both achieved great success and were catapulted into the international spotlight! Both shifted the moorings of their ministries from their fundamentalist base to a wider circle of evangelicals. Standards and principles of separation vanished! Compromise became the norm! The ecumenicism adopted by Graham (in the 1950s) is now the established game plan at Liberty University. In such an environment truth and error freely mix. Sound doctrine is shelved for the sake of fellowship. Where once the strong voice of biblical authority was present, now the spirit of accommodation and expediency prevails."
WHO WILL EVANGELIZE CATHOLICS?—Who will take the Gospel to Roman Catholics today? Many mission agencies and parachurch groups now work jointly with Catholics to evangelize the world with a compromised, powerless gospel. The 6/97 Proclaiming the Gospel reported: "The Catholic Church is now participating [it has for decades] in Billy Graham's crusades. In exchange for promoting the crusade and using Catholic counselors, Graham promises the local bishop to send all the Catholics who come forward making a profession of faith, back home to their Catholic churches." These babes in Christ are thus fed to wolves who condemn the biblical Gospel and those who proclaim it. Charles Colson, Bill Bright, J.I. Packer, and other evangelicals more committed to unity than evangelism in 1994 signed the Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) accord with Catholics, essentially agreeing not to "proselytize" one another's flocks. So, many evangelicals will stop evangelizing Catholics, opting instead to work with them as partners. But faithful Christians will resist the "urge to merge" and the "race to Rome," and will continue trying to reach Catholics and others with the true Gospel of Christ.
NAE ACCEPTS 'FORMER' ARMSTRONG CULT—National Association of Evangelicals board members recently voted to accept the Worldwide Church of God as its 49th denominational member (5/19 Chr. News). Dr. Ralph Colas recently warned of WCG's weak doctrinal statement and of NAE's impending and imprudent move in his NRB report (see 3/15 CC; also see 10/1 CC article).
GRAHAM, WOMEN PREACHERS, HELL—We saw part of David Frost's interview of Dr. Billy Graham (5/30, PBS) where Graham responded to a question about women preachers: "I'm equally at home in a Baptist church, Anglican church, or Roman Catholic church." He then indicated that he favors women preachers if that is the custom of a given church/denomination, and it was noted that his daughter Anne is a preacher. He reiterated his long-held belief that Hell is [merely] "separation from God" no mention of fire or torment.
PENTECOSTAL PANDEMONIUM AT PENSACOLA—For two years, charismatics and others have flocked to Pensacola's Brownsville Assembly of God church to witness the "outpouring." The pastor says "God sent pandemonium in the church." John Milton coined the word "pandemonium" in 1667 as "the capital of Hell." The word literally means "place of all the demons," or "any place of wild disorder, noise or confusion." A Mar-Apr Foundation article said "the spirit at Brownsville is the same spirit that manifests itself to followers of voodoo and pagan religions." It quoted a Washington Post writer: "If it weren't for the cross and stained glass behind the altar, you might think you were at a rock-and-roll show." The 6/97 Nat'l Lib. Journal had an ad for a video with examples of young girls shaking violently, Beatles music that alters consciousness, and guided imagery praying.
ONENESS GROUP PERFORMED AT NRB—Oneness Pentecostals have been called heretics for many years based on their beliefs concerning the Godhead. The 6/97 Charisma said: "The contemporary Christian recording group Phillips, Craig and Dean is composed of three Oneness ministers." This group was featured at the recent National Religious Broadcasters convention, and performed at a local SBC church (Whitesburg) March 22.
FEMINIST VERSION OF NIV SHELVED FOR NOW—The gender-neutral translation of the New International Version of the Bible has been temporarily put on hold. Southern Baptists and others objected to the "capitulation to feminism and political correctness" by plans to change "men" to "human beings," etc. (see 4/15 CC). The International Bible Society and Zondervan announced last month that they will continue to publish the current NIV but plan to possibly publish an "updated" edition (presumably with gender changes) after 2001 (6/7 World). A British publisher has a 1996 "inclusive language" NIV, and a simplified New International Reader's Version (NIrV) a unisex translation is sold in the U.S. by the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board.
PORNOGRAPHY AT BETHEL COLLEGE?—Bethel College, a Baptist General Conference school (Minneapolis) has tolerated modernistic teachings for decades and has stood to the left of most BGC churches. Its current president is George Brushaber who is also Chairman of Christianity Today's Senior Editors. A student recently filed suit against the school charging that some of her professors used vulgar language, and said some students were asked to read books and watch films that contained hard-core violence and profanity, and explicit, illicit sex (5/24 World). Brushaber defended the use of the material, though he promised that one film and one class would be dropped. The suit charged that Bethel violated its own handbook by showing pornography which students are forbidden to possess on campus.
CHURCH WITHDRAWS FROM IFCA—The Middletown Bible Church (CT) voted unanimously last year to withdraw from the Independent Fundamental Churches of America, primarily over the latter's "denial of the eternal Sonship of Christ." It said, in a letter to IFCA Nat'l Exec. Dir. Dr.Richard Gregory: "We will continue, by God's grace, to uphold the historic IFCA position and doctrinal platform. We have not moved from where we have always stood. It is sadly ironic that in seeking to defend an organization's doctrinal statement, we are forced to leave the organization whose doctrinal statement it is." [This church has an updated list of over one hundred excellent books, tracts, and other literature items (many written by George Zeller), on various subjects. Available at cost, from Middletown BC, 349 East Street, Middletown, CT 06457. Write for free list.]
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