VOL. XV  NO. 24  NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM  December 15, 1998

EVOLUTIONISTS DRIVEN BY RELIGION—Some evolutionists are willing to accept even a mythical theory so long as it does not posit the supernatural. Pro-Catholic ecumenist Chuck Colson in his 1997 book Burden of Truth says physicist Paul Davies has written a book The Mind of God - yet he doesn't even believe in God! Colson quotes Davies as saying the real issue "is whether or not some sort of supernatural act is necessary to start the universe off." Colson says "Davies is...admitting that for him it doesn't matter whether a scientific theory is right or wrong; it matters only whether the theory gets rid of the supernatural. This amounts to admitting that even a myth is acceptable, so long as it's a naturalistic myth - so long as it reassures scientists they don't have to worry about a Creator."

'ALPHA COURSE' WARNING—We have twice-warned (3/1 & 5/15 CCs) of the highly controversial and dangerous Alpha Course. It was devised by Holy Trinity Brompton, London, a large charismatic Anglican church. Anglican priest Nicky Gumbel began teaching it in 1990. It is now the largest evangelistic effort in Britain and has been taken up by the main denominations and spread to the U.S. and elsewhere (11/28 H. Times). J. I. Packer, Luis Palau, and other new evangelicals have endorsed it. Its philosophy is said to be New Age, leading to experiences rooted in the occult. C. S. Lewis is the first author recommended. The Alpha Course, originally intended for new Christians, is now aimed at the unchurched. But at its core is a "watered down" gospel (CRN Newsl.). It is geared less to conversion than to seeking the spurious Toronto Blessing experience.

JAMES DOBSON'S GOSPEL OF SELF-ESTEEM & PSYCHOLOGY - is a revised and retitled edition of Prophets of PsychoHeresy II by Martin & Deidre Bobgan (4137 Primavera Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93110, 248 pages, $14). They write: "Because of the tremendous influence in bringing psychology and self-esteem teachings into the church, Dr. James Dobson's work is an appropriate subject for examination. What he has written and said is examined from both a biblical and scientific point of view. There are pluses to Dobson's ministry. However, after all pluses and minuses are added together it is concluded that Focus on the Family...too often honors man and his opinion over God and His Word. Contrary to what he claims... some of [his]...teachings actually originated from secular psychological theorists whose opinions are based on godless foundations. Thus, Dobson uses the Bible as a sanction for dispensing unbiblical ideas to unsuspecting readers and listeners. The use of psychology to help people eclipses the Scriptures at Focus on the Family. Self-esteem and psychology are...major thrusts that too often supersede sin, salvation, and sanctification. They are another gospel."

POPE'S POWER RESTATED—The Vatican's "guardian of orthodoxy," Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, recently said: "Popes alone can determine the limits of their powers." (10/31 HT) But he conceded that "in the history of the papacy, human errors and grave failings are not lacking."

TM: LUCRATIVE NEW AGE RELIGION—Transcendental Meditation is the offspring of Hinduism. It is presented to the West as a "scientific" meditative method of reducing stress and finding inward peace without drugs (Watchman Fellowship Profile). Since it claims it is not a religion, Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic leaders endorse it to members. TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's TM enterprise is worth between three billion and four billion dollars.

CHINA SIGNS UN TREATY, ARRESTS CHRISTIANS—On Oct. 5, China signed a UN treaty protecting freedom of religion. A month later it arrested over 140 Protestants and beat their leaders (11/10 H. Times). China permits religious freedom only within official churches which have government approval. It persecutes Christians who meet in unapproved house churches (11/5 Ala. Baptist). A new law signed by Pres. Clinton will do little good as long as business and political interests supersede religious freedom.

UNITES STATES OF EUROPE?—On January 1, 11 European nations take a step toward economic and political convergence by adopting a common currency called the euro. This is the latest step in the march toward European unification, giving greater clout and economic growth.

RELATIVISM: 'ALL TRUTHS ARE EQUALLY VALID'—A 10/19 Christian News article listed some slogans used by those 66 percent of American adults (Barna, 1991 survey) who don't believe absolute truth exists: "Christianity's true for you, but not for me." "Everything is relative." "Who are you to judge that person?" "You can do whatever you want just as long as it doesn't hurt anybody." "Christianity is just one path among many to God." "Belief in Jesus as the only way to God is totally intolerant." Postmodernism!

DOBSON BLASTS MEDIA IN HOMOSEXUAL MURDER—Focus on the Family Pres. James Dobson denounced NBC Today Show host Katie Couric for her question to the Wyo. governor that implied Christians were responsible for the murder of a Wyo. college student, an admitted homosexual.

MacARTHUR BOOKLET—George Zeller, in a 28-page booklet, critiques John MacArthur's The Sonship of Christ booklet which was presented to IFCA leaders in 1991 and later mailed to each IFCA member. Order critique from Zeller at: 349 East St., Middletown, CT 06457, $1 postpaid.

CAMPUS CRUSADE'S BILL BRIGHT NOW LESS RIGID IN THEOLOGY?—Former Campus Crusade leaders say founder Bill Bright is no longer as rigid in his theology and leadership, but is still socially conservative. He has embraced charismatics in recent years (11/7 Dallas Morn. News). Participants in his Fasting & Prayer event (Nov.) included Pat Robertson and PK's Bill McCartney. (See 10/1 CC for others.) Bright believes prayer coupled with fasting is a powerful discipline that proves to God Christians are repentant. In a new book, he calls for "Christianizing" America. In 1996 he won the $1 million New Age related Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion (4/1/96 CC). Bright has Catholics on his staff. He signed the ecumenical ECT (Evangelicals & Catholics Together) document. He plans to step down from Campus Crusade leadership in three years, but won't reveal his successor.

WHITHER VINEYARD AFTER OUSTING TORONTO BLESSING CHURCH?—John Wimber pruned the "Toronto Blessing" church from his Vineyard movement in Dec. 1995, for its services which featured "over the edge" laughing, barking, and other animal noises (see 1/15/96 CC). He was "tired of defending a revival that Hank Hanegraaff had demonized." (12/98 Charisma). But Wimber died in Nov. 1997 and some churches have left the Vineyard, including Promise Keeper James Ryles' church (see 8/15 CC). The Charisma article tries to link "holy laughter" and other oddities to Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, and George Whitefield. Hanegraaff said the Toronto Blessing is "a great apostasy," called the church a cult, and blasted its pastor as a false prophet.

CALVER STRESSES LIFESTYLE, SOCIAL ACTION—Clive Calver spent 14 years as director general of the Evangelical Alliance of the United Kingdom. Last May 1 he became president of the NAE's World Relief arm (3/29/97 Dallas Morn. News). Moody Pres. Joseph Stowell praised him highly, and arrangements were made for Calver to speak at Moody. The 12/98 Charisma reveals Calver's stress on linking social action as part of the "whole gospel." He says: "Jesus preached the gospel and healed the sick. There was unity between His message and His life. For me, this is a crucial point. I gave my life to Jesus Christ not because of the message an evangelist preached but because of the way he lived his life."

SIDER: 'FEED HUNGRY, CLOTHE NAKED OR GO TO HELL'—Evangelicals for Social Action President Ron Sider has been called a pro-Marxist who "acts and talks like a radical socialist." Yet he parades as an evangelical (see 5/15/90 CC). He misapplies Scripture (12/98 Charisma) by saying: "Jesus said that if we do not feed the hungry and clothe the naked, we go to hell (Matt. 25:41-46)."

CATHOLIC CHARISMATICS REMAIN CATHOLICS—The 12/98 Charisma quotes the world president of the Catholic Fraternity thusly: "In the last 25 years, the Catholic charismatic renewal has moved from being seen as on the fringe of the Catholic Church right into the heart of the Church." Pope John Paul II has thanked charismatics for leading the church to embrace the "presence and power of the Holy Spirit." Covenant communities connect to Rome with their common dedication to serve the Catholic Church worldwide. They along with the pope are dedicated to fostering unity with all Christians. Catholic charismatics are said to feel an obligation to maintain their Catholicism and further the work of the kingdom by working within the Church. But God's Word commands Christians to "come out."

ERRATA—In "Binge Drinking" article in 12/1 CC, "sex" obviously should have been "six." In Ed Dobson article, his church is "Calvary Church," not "Calvary Baptist."

GROUP DENOUNCES WCC—The Association for Church Renewal, consisting of evangelical church leaders and renewal organizations, says the World Council of Churches has turned its back on Christianity and adopted an agenda that encompasses a variety of false religions (12/98 Nat'l Lib. Jrnl.). The result is an abandonment of missionary outreach, exclusion of evangelicals, promotion of syncretism, and liberalized standards on sexuality. An ACR leader said the WCC, on a path of macro-ecumenism, is becoming a vague umbrella with multiple faiths - Christianity being only one of many "religious" groups. ACR members want the WCC to "repudiate all other gods and saviors" and proclaim "Jesus Christ as the only truth...." But the ACR itself is criticized for embracing not only Christian theology, but also Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions. The WCC is meeting this month in Zimbabwe at its eighth seven-year assembly.

PK IS FALTERINGSword of the Lord Editor Shelton Smith writes: "Reports continue to indicate that the Promise Keepers organization is faltering badly. They are scrambling to regroup and find a way to recapture their momentum. Since these ecumenical organizations have such an anemic doctrinal base (they do not like the word doctrine at all) underneath them, it is difficult to sustain themselves. When unity is contrived without solid doctrine, it is a false unity and cannot produce solid results...."

FALWELL & CHARISMATICS AT TODD MEETING—Cecil Todd's 50 year celebration at Branson, MO, April 5-8, 1999 features Jerry Falwell, Bob Harrington, Rod Parsley, Jesse Duplantis, and Tommy Barnett as speakers (12/98 Charisma). Jake Hess will perform. A conference last April also hosted by Cecil and Linda Todd featured John Hagee, Jim Bakker, Bob Harrington, John Maxwell, and a couple of TBN charismatics as speakers. (5/1 CC).

CBF LIBERALISM—Southern Seminary v-p and dean Daniel Akin read from a list of charges, prepared by conservative Southern Baptists in Missouri against the moderate/liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, in an address to Alabama Southern Baptists in Nov. (11/26 Ala. Baptist). "They (the CBF) are willing to tolerate people who have radical views. They are making the tent too big." Akin charged that the CBF has leaders who deny the deity of Christ, the need for His sacrificial death and the importance of the virgin birth. He said some CBF leaders hold liberal views on abortion and homosexuality.
Tensions between Southern Baptists in Va. and Texas have resulted in conservatives establishing alternative state Baptist conventions. But Ala. conservatives endorsed the convention new nominees and warned of CBF danger.

LIBERAL 'EVANGELISM'—NAE's World Relief President Clive Calver said: "I gave my life to Jesus Christ not because of the message an evangelist preached but because of the way he lived his life." (12/98 Charisma). Ron Sider (Eastern Seminary) said if we don't feed the hungry and clothe the naked, we go to hell. Now, in the American Baptist Churches USA's paper The Christian Citizen (p5) we see this for evangelism: "Evangelism is not to preach whatever comes to our mind but to announce the coming of the kingdom with the transforming and liberating power of God." Any "evangelism" that does not include the biblical Gospel (1Cor. 15:1-4, Rom. 1:16), is not biblical evangelism, but a powerless "social gospel."

'LAUGHING REVIVAL' REPORT—The first 16 pages of David Cloud's latest O Timothy magazine gives a helpful report on the charismatic Laughing Revival, Toronto Blessing, Brownsville Revival and Pensacola Outpouring. Contact him at: Way of Life Literature, Bible Baptist Church, 1701 Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277.

PRAY FOR ACCC EXEC. SEC'Y DR. RALPH COLAS—as he goes to Zimbabwe to cover the Dec. WCC meeting!

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