VOL. XV NO. 6 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM March 15, 1998
STEVE CAMP BLASTS CCM INDUSTRYVeteran Contemporary Christian Music singer Steve Camp says CCM has lost its soul, and calls for reform in the $1 billion-per-year industry. He has issued a poster with 107 theses (modeled after Luther's list) and complains that Christian music "yodels of a Christless, watered-down, pabulum-based, positive alternative, aura-fluff, cream of wheat, mush-kind-of-syrupy, God-as-my-girlfriend kind of thing." (2/21 Dallas Morn. News). Camp laments that record labels pressure CCM artists to omit words like "Jesus," "God," "sin," etc. He says CCM "has committed a spiritual adultery in joining itself with the wayward world." But CCM defenders such as Carman say if Christian music were limited to exclusively Christian outlets, we would lose a whole generation. One said Camp may be frustrated with the his own stagnant career. The 2/95 Moody, reviewing Camp's last album, said until that album, his genre had been rock musicand that that album had several rock-oriented tunes. He has sung Beatles songs in concert, praised John Lennon, and been affiliated with Tony Campolo. Camp said within a month, he'll announce a new label that promises to produce only songs with lyrics supported by Scripture. But nowhere in the long DMN article did Camp criticize CCM's rock beat, just the lyrics.
'THE APOSTLE' FEATURES CCM STARSThe new movie "The Apostle" is about a Pentecostal preacher (an adulterer) who kills the youth pastor his wife is sleeping with, then is deposed from his church, but rebaptizes himself and flees to rural Louisiana to start a new church (2/21 World). Yet Charisma says: "This groundbreaking film is the first to show a Pentecostal preacher in a positive light." CCM stars Steven Curtis Chapman, Dino, Gary Chapman, and the Bill Gaither Vocal Band are featured. We say again: "Nothing good, comes out of Hollywood."
DANGERS FOR CHRISTIANS (ISRAEL, 'HATE CRIMES')Orthodox Jews in Israel have proposed a new law that would make it a criminal offense for anyone to persuade another person to change religionsor even to possess proselytizing materials (3/98 Charisma). *** Atty. General Janet Reno and Pres. Clinton want Congress to expand the definition of federal "hate crimes" to include crimes based on sexual orientation, gender or disabilities (2/26 Ala. Bapt.). This might make it a "hate crime" to call homosexuality a sin. The FBI says 8,759 hate crimes were reported in 1996.
NEW CWA LEADERBeverly LaHaye's handpicked successor to lead the 20-year-old Concerned Women for America, which claims a constituency of 600,000, is Carmen Pate (2/28 World). She will co-host with LaHaye the CWA's radio show. CWA is conservative, pro-life, but ecumenical.
CCM INDUSTRY: SERVE GOD AND MAMMON?The new-evangelical Christianity Today (3/2) reacted strongly to CCM singer Steve Camp's criticism of CCM's weak lyrics, calling it "naïve come-outism." CT seems to like the "new era when Jars of Clay can appear on Late Show with David Letterman and Christian singers are entertaining and witnessing in a broader context." However, the CT editorial did mention Michael English's affair and Sandi Patty's divorce, and said: "Sadder but wiser artists have learned the hard way that they need to focus quality time on their families and home congregations. Singing in other people's churches every weekend has proved to be a great way to lose your own soul." We see no criticism by Camp of the rock music of much CCM, but that newer music lyrics "doesn't have much Christ," and that it is simply marketing technique and money. The CCM industry in trying to serve both God and mammon, serves mammon!
TBN'S 'HEALTH & WEALTH' THEOLOGYTrinity Broadcasting Network, run by Paul and Jan Crouch, is the world's largest "Christian" television network. It features an unholy hodgepodge of televangelists and CCM/rock music. The Crouches preach a "success" theology in which they contend Christ and the Apostles were actually wealthy merchants. Viewers are told that if they give money, God will reward them with health and wealth. (2/28 H. Times). This "health and wealth," "name it and claim it," "blab it and grab it" prosperity gospel of some charismatics is a distortion of Scripture and a disgrace. Yet with its worldly glitz and glamour it lures some of the biggest stars in religious broadcasting. One, Benny Hinn, has even hired a veteran entertainment publicist whose other clients include Bill Cosby, Loretta Lynn and Amy Grant. Charismatics downplay the importance of doctrine. Crouch himself a few years ago said (see 8/1/91 CC): "I don't care about your doctrines as long as you name the name of Jesus ."
HOMOSEXUALS LOSE IN MAINEMaine voters repealed a law that would have allowed for punitive damages ranging from $10,000 to $300,000 levied against even first-time violators. No exceptions were added for religious groups, so churches and private schools could have been taken to court and fined for refusing to hire homosexuals (2/21 World). Some other states (Calif., Hawaii, Minn., NJ, Wisc., and DC) have "homosexual rights" laws.
WITCH JOINS MINISTERIAL GROUPThe Bakersfield (CA) Interfaith Ministerial Association voted last month to allow a practicing witch to join its ranks (2/19 B'field Californian). This happened also in Salem, MA in 1993. An Episcopal priest said nobody in the clergy group could think of a compelling reason to forbid a witch from joining!
PROMISE KEEPERS CUTS BACKPromise Keepers is laying off all 345 paid employees and will rely on volunteers, partly a result of its decision to quit charging admission fees. Last year, 40 percent fewer men attended conferences than in 1996. PK's budget was a record $117 million, but income fell shy of $70 million (2/28 World). PK founder and president Bill McCartney makes the absurd claim that God told him to ask America's churches to send $1,000 to save the PK ministry. He opens PK's 1998 regional clergy conferences to women, noting "We have learned that 13 percent of our churches are pastored by ladies (2/16 C. News). PK is a most dangerous and unscriptural, ecumenical tool of Satan in our day.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST MIAsOver half of the 15.7 million members carried on the rolls of Southern Baptist Convention congregations (America's largest Protestant denomination) are inactive, a SBC Sunday School Board study found (2/28 World). The figures show 20.7 percent of church members are listed as "resident inactives," which means they stopped attending, and 31.8 percent as "non-resident," which means they moved away but remain on the local church's rolls. Some of the latter may also be on the active rolls of churches to which they've moved, which means total membership could be somewhat inflated.
SBC NOT LEAVING BWA, INCREASES FUNDINGA committee investigating charges of liberalism in the Baptist World Alliance says the Southern Baptist Convention will not pull out of it, and recommended an increase in its funding (2/26 Ala. Baptist). *** The SBC Executive Committee recommends a $155 million unified budget to be presented at the SBC's annual meeting in Salt Lake City, June 9-11. It also recommends shortening the SBC from two-and-a-half days to a two-day format.
JEREMIAH WITH SO. BAPTISTSThe Bailey Smith Ministries ad lists as speakers three former and the current SBC president as speakers, along with Jerry Falwell and David Jeremiah (3/98 NLJ). Jeremiah is a popular author and Bible teacher and is a product of the GARBC. He was listed as a 1992 speaker at the Billy Graham Training Center and Moody Bible Institute. He seems to have a penchant for favorably quoting liberals.
PENTECOSTALISM BOOMINGPentecostal author- historian and ecumenical leader Vinson Synan says Pentecostals (most are Charismatics) are the "second largest" family of Christians in the world, and can now be called a major Christian tradition alongside the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Reformation/Protestant traditions (3/98 Charisma). He said: "When I did my research on Pentecostalism around 1965, there were barely 50 million Pentecostals in the world .that number has grown to 463 million in 1995." His new book (update of his 1971 book) is The Pentecostal-Holiness Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century.
VAN IMPE A POPE-PRAISERJack Van Impe is sadly lacking in spiritual discernment and has joined with those who praise Pope John Paul II. The 3/2 Chr. Today says he recently spent his entire broadcast defending the pope as a man of God. He warned that the next pope could be the false prophet of Revelation, and said, "We've got to stick together as brothers and sisters in Christ."
COLSON'S PRISON FELLOWSHIP HONORS RC PRIEST NEUHAUSCatholic priest Richard John Neuhaus (former liberal Lutheran) has been honored with the Wilberforce Award from Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship (2/23 Chr. News). Neuhaus and Colson are co-editors of "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" (ECT), which fostered dialogue between Catholics and evangelicals.
WCC TRIES TO SOOTHE ORTHODOXWorld Council of Churches general secretary Konrad Raiser hopes a recent visit to Moscow by WCC officials will defuse tensions between WCC and Russian Orthodox leaders. There is pressure for the ROC (largest church in WCC) to withdraw from the WCC due to its hosting of "pagan" rituals, and of being too tolerant toward homosexuality and women priests (2/14 Dallas Morn.News). WCC member churches take a variety of stances on these issues.
NATIONAL BAPTIST LEADER LYONS INDICTEDDr. Henry Lyons, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, is charged with racketeering and theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars. E.V. Hill (who speaks at PK, MBI, Dallas, and Libertyand is praised by evangelical leaders) has been a chief supporter of Lyons (11/15 CC). The NBC claims 8.5 million members and 33,000 churches, but an affidavit said it actually has 500,000 to 1 million members and 4,800 churches.
HAGEE RAISES $1 MILLION TO RESETTLE JEWSTexas pastor and author John Hagee has raised over $1 million to help Jews from the former Soviet Union move to Israel (2/23 Chr. News). Hagee boldly denounces sin and moral evils of our day, much like Jimmy Swaggart used to do. (See 2/15/97 & 6/15/94 CCs concerning his "heretical two-covenant" teaching, and links with Charismatics.)
NEWBIGIN DIESNoted missionary leader, theologian, and author Lesslie Newbigin, 88, died Jan. 30 in England. Much of his career was spent in the orbit of the World Council of Churches, but he was an important influence on British and American evangelicals. His 1979 book tilted toward universalism (see 7/1 CC). SBC's Samford Univ. honored him and featured him as a 6/97 speaker.
THE (NEW) EVANGELICAL EXPERIMENTThat's the title of a new 75-page book by Rolland Starr, and it's a sequel to his earlier book, The New Evangelicalism: The Deadliest Ism of All. He cites Dr. Charles Woodbridge's 1961 warning of changes in Evangelical/Fundamentalist circles: "First, he noted that there was a new mood among them. It was a mood of compromise and accommodation. Then, there was a new method in evangelism: ecumenical evangelism which Billy Graham had entered into some five years previously. Lastly, he warned that there would follow a new message." Sadly, Woodbridge's warnings have all proven true. Order this book from: Cornerstone Baptist Church, Box 438, Belmont, MA 02178, $3.30 postpaid.
GARBC SEMINARY PRES. AT MacARTHUR COLLEGEThe 2/98 Baptist Bulletin said Northwest Seminary president Dr. Mark Wagner would be speaking in Christian college chapels of Piedmont, Appalachian, Cedarville, and Dr. John MacArthur's Master's College. We have recently reported some of MacArthur's flawed teachings on doctrines of Christ, and are thus disappointed that Piedmont and Master's would share an itinerary. A Piedmont source stated that in light of the conflict Wagner would probably not be back. We don't expect an encouraging response from GARBC-approved Cedarville.
CRITIQUE OF MacARTHUR STUDY BIBLEGeorge Zeller has a critique of Dr. John MacArthur's new Study Bible (10/97) in booklet form (24 pgs.) now. He points out doctrinal errors and confusing teachings of MacArthur, including "new" ones we weren't aware of. Bro. Zeller has Bible study and Sunday School materials, doctrinal papers, tracts, and booklets on a variety of subjects (e.g., missions, evolution, separation, Charismatics, IFCA), available at his cost. Write for free 6-page list: Middletown Bible Church, 349 East St., Middletown, CT 06457. [MacArthur booklet is 50 cents + postage ($1.25).]
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org