RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AT PERIL IN RUSSIA—The Russian Duma passed legislation June 18 which would wipe out hundreds of recently registered churches, seminaries and charities, and prohibit non-Russians from forming religious associations (7/5 World). Under the law, which still awaits final passage, all religious organizations formed within the past 15 years will lose their legal status.

WHITHER RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN HONG KONG?—We can look at Red China and see what likely lies in store for Hong Kong and maybe sooner than some think. In China, 350 million people live in poverty, per the World Bank. No communist country can support itself for long. The U.S., flooded with Chinese slave-labor goods, keeps granting China Most Favored Nation (MFN) trade status, even though its human rights record is atrocious. Forced abortions, raids of house churches, and detention and torture of religious leaders continue. Christians who fail to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party and its Communist-run church organizations risk imprisonment. Up to 30 per cent of Hong Kong's middle-aged and older pastors left earlier, fearing the worst, but some have since returned. Thousands of Chinese PLA troops that crushed dissenters at Tiananmen Square in 1989 have already arrived in Hong Kong. Red China will kill its own citizens again if its leaders ever feel threatened. But some New Evangelicals (e.g., at Wheaton College, and Billy Graham's son Ned) favor the MFN trade status for Communist China (7/5 World). Evangelist Luis Palau believes China will tolerate Christianity in Hong Kong, and said (7/97 Charisma): "There is a hope that the Lord is in the changeover to China."!

SALVATION ARMY BOWS TO 'GAY' AGENDA?—San Francisco's pro-homosexual politicians are using taxpayer dollars to punish institutions that do not toe the "gay rights" line (7-8/97 Chr. American). They recently tried to pull $65,000 in federal funds from the local branch of the Salvation Army after an official was quoted as saying that "homosexuality presents a serious threat to the integrity, quality and solidarity of society as a whole." Supervisors voted to restore the funds after the Salvation Army chapter promised it would not discriminate against homosexuals. The Salvation Army also agreed to launch pro-gay sensitivity training for its staff, work to hire more homosexuals, and review its policy on homosexuality. The Salvation Army is a member of the NAE (11/15/90 CC).

PRESBYTERIANS COMPROMISE ON GAYS IN PULPIT—The Presbyterian Church (USA), internally fractured over the role of homosexuals in the ministry, voted in June to tone down Amendment B ("fidelity and chastity" rule) which would have barred non-celibate gays from the ministry.

CATHOLIC INVOLVEMENT IN PK—Promise Keepers is going global and is developing relationships with men's groups in 40 countries. At a four-day PK Hispanic/Latino leadership summit in April, some Latinos opposed formal involvement of Catholics in PK. A Miami pastor said Hispanic Baptist pastors there have vowed not to participate in any event where Catholics are in leadership roles. Killings of evangelicals by Catholics in Chiapas, Mexico are a sore issue for many Latino Protestants. The 6/16 Christianity Today said: "This makes PK's recent appointment of Catholic Michael Timmis of Detroit to its board problematic." PK chief Bill McCartney, who was raised Catholic and now attends a Vineyard church, says Catholics are welcome if they can abide by PK's "Seven Promises," mission statement, and statement of faith.

VAN IMPE WRONG TO SAY CATHOLICS SAVED—Pastor Perry Rockwood (7/97 Gospel Std.) says: "When listening to such preachers as Jack Van Impe, one would think the Roman Catholic Church has changed for the better.It is still the same anti-Bible church leading millions to hell. Can Catholics be saved? Of course they can. But if they are saved they must leave the Roman Catholic Church for no Christian can pray to Mary; no Christian can partake of the Mass, for Christ died once for all; and no Christian can go to a priest to ask forgiveness of sins. [But] it is not popular today to point out that Van Impe is wrong in saying the Pope is a Christian and that Roman Catholics belong to the family of God." Saved Catholics will repudiate and separate from Romanism's false teachings.

YOUNG BRITISH APPROVE SEX OUTSIDE WEDLOCK - A survey of 3,000 youths in Britain, ages 16 to 18, found: Most all atheists/agnostics see nothing wrong for couples in long-term relationships to have sex outside marriage; 85 percent of Catholics and 80 percent of Anglicans felt the same (6/21 H.Times). On homosexuality, 60 percent of Anglicans and 63 percent of Catholics do not believe sexual activity between male homosexuals is always morally wrong. Half of atheists and 30 percent of Anglicans/Catholics surveyed said there are situations where adultery is morally right. The Bible says adultery and homosexuality are sins.

ANGELS USED TO RAISE FUNDS FOR JESUS FILM?—Paul Eshleman is Director of Campus Crusade's JESUS film project. In a letter from him received last month he said angels carried their five vehicles across barriers of terrain in Mozambique, and would-be robbers of their equipment in Thailand "were startled by two brilliant white beings eight feet tall and brandish[ing] flaming swords." He said "Our Lord intervened with His holy angels. Will you intervene with your prayers and gift?"

PK CHIEF HAS ADVICE ON RACISM, CONFESSION—Promise Keepers founder and CEO Bill McCartney at the May 30 PK meeting in Birmingham had this to say: "What we need to do is go into our community and cross colors. Listen to what I'm saying now. Do you know that when we cross colors we get stretched we get completed. We are not here to compete, we are here to complete each other. If you're a white guy and you don't have close and intimate relationships with men of color, you're being cheated. If you're a man of color and you don't have white men in your life, you're not getting everything. It's when we come together that we make a difference, not only in our life but in our community" In the closing invitation, he said: "Men there's two things you have to do tonight. One is you must find another man and confess your sin to him before you leave the stadium. Find another man and speak out of your heart and tell him your sin [immorality, etc.]. Ask Almighty God together to cleanse you. And then the second thing: If you're in a bad relationship call her on the phone and break the relationship. Set yourself clean, set yourself free. Let the Spirit of God do the cleansing tonight. Men, Almighty God is preparing us. We are going to stand up and take this nation for Jesus Christ. We can do it by being clean. Amen? Let's give the Lord a cheer, men [standing applause]." Host Thomas Hill then said: "Turn to your brother and confess. I believe we can imagine this rain as the blood of Jesus that is sweeping over us and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. The Bible says to confess your sins to one another so that you may be healed."

ABWE'S STANCE ON PK—Association of Baptists for World Evangelism president Dr. Wendell Kempton in an April letter said: "We approach [Promise Keepers] very much like we did [Bill Gothard's] Basic Youth Conflicts Seminars. We do not officially endorse either group" He said they are "too broad for our corporate support" but said "God has used them." In a May letter he said both groups are "too ecumenical." In a writing sent to the ABWE missionary family, Dr. Kempton said "Some of our Board members have attended" He said both groups have strong points and weak points. He said: "Our major concern is that some of the [PK] leadership comes from the group known as the Vineyard Movement, which is a proponent of 'Signs and Wonders' and is very active in Power Evangelism." This is a valid concern. But Kempton seems to believe PK's untrue and deceptive pledge. He says: "However, the Promise Keepers Board has gone on record stating they will not in any way promote Charismatics, Pentecostals or Signs and Wonders."

WOMEN'S ORDINATION FOES COST ANGLICANS $25 MILLION—Under legislation passed by the Church of England shortly before the first women priests were ordained in 1994, clerics who resign their ministry because of their conscientious objection to women priests receive a three-year stipend (5/19 Chr. News). Church officials say it will cost over $25 million to compensate these departing clergy by 2006 when the agreement ends.

CAMPOLO IN AUSTRALIA-—The 3/97 Australian Beacon said of Eastern College prof Tony Campolo: ". He is a well known admirer of Roman Catholic 'Mother Teresa' as well as promoting many immoral situations. Neither he nor his wife agree with the Biblical standards on homosexuality. He is quite favorable to the New Age movement, witness his book 'How to Rescue the Earth Without Worshipping Nature'. He is a keen supporter of President and Hillary Clinton. Now we find him at 'Festival '97' which is 'Victorian Churches working together to make an impact'. One must ask, what kind of impact can such a man have? Clearly the impact will be to turn churches more fully into the social gospel camp."

DAVID RING SPEAKS WITH CHARISMATICS—Southern Baptist evangelist David Ring who spoke at the June SBC meeting, often shares pulpits with Drs. Jerry Falwell and Tim Lee and this is, sad to say, sometimes in prominent Southwide Baptist Fellowship pulpits (e.g., see 6/1/97 & 6/15/96 CCs). We now see Ring listed as a speaker at Cecil Todd's Revival Fires conference, August 15-17, at Branson, Mo.'s Grand Palace (7/97 Charisma). Other speakers include the disgraced Bob Harrington and charismatics such as Pat Robertson and James Robison.

SEPARATION,SANCTIFICATION, LOVE—Foundations Bible College founder and president Dr. O. Talmadge Spence writes in the 6/97 Straightway: "Any definition of separation, and/or sanctification, that does not seek as its first motive and final goal the exalting of the Lord Jesus Christ in all His beauty and glory is not worthy to be called biblical separation. Also, this doctrine must be further defined as not only a separation from ecclesiastical apostasy and/or disorderly brother, but also a separation unto the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have often been asked if I love the pope, or Billy Graham, or Oral Roberts. I have always been careful to respond with gentleness: 'Yes, just as the sweet singer of Israel, David, when he slew Goliath, for I believe there are spiritually uncircumcised Philistines among the people of the Lord.' It must be remembered that the enemy is called upon to love us [also], and although there are neo-evangelicals and charismatics who have exalted love above truth, yet in reality, they do not seem to love the fundamentalist any more than they say the fundamentalist loves them."

SBC FAILED TO DEAL WITH FREEMASONRY—Southern Baptist Pierce Dodson writes in the 6/30 Christian News: "So another annual convention for the Baptists has come and gone, and with it another opportunity has passed for them as a convention to deal with the Masonic issue." He said it was safer for the SBC to act against Disney than to deal with the bigger Masonic battle. Several thousand SBC pastors (14%) and deacon board chairmen (18%) are Masons. (See 6/1/93 CC).

HAGGARD: CHARISMATICS HEADED FOR MAIN STREET—Ted Haggard, pastor of a large charismatic church in Colorado Springs, comments on which way the charismatic revival movement is headed (7/97 Charisma). He says: "We're headed toward a refreshed, faith-filled, empowered church. All of us today are enjoying the benefits of past renewals. God created a whirlwind of renewal at Azusa Street and gave people the gift of tongues. He created outrage when He used Oral Roberts to help the church understand that God wants us healed. And we've all seen the raised eyebrows when He used Kenneth Hagin to emphasize that we need to have faith in the Bible. Now these ideas are so closely woven into the fabric of the body of Christ that very few people are confused about the gifts of the Spirit, healing or the integrity of God's Word. These renewals ended up on Main Street." Today's Main Streets are slums! Haggard is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and is on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).

BOB HARRINGTON PREACHING AGAIN—Flamboyant jokester Bob Harrington, "Chaplain of Bourbon Street," is back to "preaching" again. He spoke at Jerry Falwell's church last year (7/15/96 CC), and "preached a laugh-riot revival" at Eudora, Miss. early this year. The 4/11 Tyler Morn.Telegraph said: "Harrington's nearly two-decades-old marriage to Zonnya [his second wife?] is over now [and] he lives in an apartment in New Orleans." The 7/97 Charisma lists him as a speaker, along with charismatics such as Pat Robertson and James Robison, at a Cecil Todd Revival Fires conference in Branson, Mo. in Aug.

Send comments to ccemail2015@gmail.com

Calvary Contender Home Page