VOL. XV NO. 12 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM June 15, 1998
DID DISNEY BOYCOTT FAIL?—Talk show host and movie critic Michael Medvid says the Disney boycott endorsed last year by the SBC, James Dobson, and others failed miserably (5/11 C. News). He called it "the dumbest idea Christians ever had" because its failure will now give Hollywood producers the green light to put out anything objectionable they want, more than ever. He says other movie companies have produced as much morally bankrupt fare as Disney. Medvid asks Americans to watch less TV (now 26 hrs./week), and called it a "vast toxic wasteland" producing a society with too little contact with real people.
SOPHIA'S CHILDREN, 'RE-IMAGINING REVIVAL'—Five years ago a radical feminist "Re-Imagining" event caused shock waves still felt today. It was basically a New Age celebration sponsored by the World Council of Churches and its liberal denominations. Its speakers referred to God as "she," praised the goddess Sophia as a deity, and used sacrilege concerning the Atonement. This ecumenical gathering gave a standing ovation to lesbians and caused a stir among some Presbyterian and Methodist congregations (2/15 & 4/15/94 CCs). It brought the firing of PCUSA staffer Mary Ann Lundy, a conference planner (5/4 Christian News). She is now deputy general secretary of the WCC. Several of those who attended the 1993 meeting showed up for a five-year reunion celebration in late April.
POPE DEVOTED TO MARY—Pope John Paul II's personal motto is, "Mary, I am all yours." He dedicated the whole earth to Mary in 1984. He attributed the fall of communism in Europe to her intervention and credited her with saving his life in the 1981 assassination attempt (7/15/91 CC). He thus continues in the long line of popes to ascribe divine attributes to Mary, and has taken Marian devotion to new heights (5-6/98 Proclaiming the Gospel). The New Catechism gives Mary the attributes of co-redeemer, mediatrix and advocate. But Mary herself knew she was a sinner in need of a Savior (Luke 1:46-47).
FALWELL PAPER ARTICLE CRITIQUES ECT II—SBC mission board director (of interfaith witness) Phil Roberts in Dr. Jerry Falwell's 6/98 Nat'l Liberty Journal called the latest Colson-Neuhaus "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" (ECT II) document an ambiguous religious alliance with no binding authority on Roman Catholics. He notes that it was authored by fellow Southern Baptist Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, and signed by an impressive array of 20 Catholic and Evangelical leaders - but by no bishop, Vatican official, or papal envoy. Catholics who signed ECT II have not endorsed salvation alone through faith alone, but rather have held on to a grace-and-faith, works-and-sacraments false gospel.
DECEPTIVE 'NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES'—Dr. H. Leon Greene, a Christian cardiologist and professor of medicine (U. of Wash.), in a new book says the human brain can be induced (by raising carbon dioxide levels in blood, e.g.) to produce the same experiences reported by near death experience (NDE) proponents: bright lights, a sense of detachment, a feeling of spiritual ecstasy, etc. (5/16 World). Greene is skeptical of NDEs since the Bible teaches that man will die once and after that the judgment (Heb. 9:27). He says people cling to NDEs as proof of the New Age message that death is peaceful; that there is no judgment; that God doesn't care about sin; that all religions get you to the same place. He observes that hardly anybody reports visiting hell. He says God might give visions, but that NDEs are deceptive and no proof of an afterlife. Christians must rely on the Bible as their authority on the topic - not New Age pop psychologies. Be warned, be wise, beware!
HABITAT IS ECUMENICAL—A 5/30 World article praises good things about Habitat for Humanity but says: "Habitat is the rare ecumenical effort that successfully unites conservatives and liberals .Next month when the Jimmy Carter Work Project begins in Houston - more than 100 homes will be built - organizers expect Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, and even Mormons to participate." HFH founder Millard Fuller says: "We build houses to give hands-on demonstration of our belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ." He has said: "The theology of the hammer binds us together in common ministry." (1/1/97 CC). HFH is basically a global religion.
U. METHODISTS IN TURMOIL—Jimmy Creech, the Neb. United Methodist pastor recently narrowly acquitted in a church trial for performing a same-sex ceremony last Sept. for two lesbians, will not be reappointed to his pulpit (5/30 World). His bishop cited the division his action caused. In no. Calif., 22 UMC pastors have threatened to leave parishes rather than fight the strong liberal denominational bureaucracy and growing gay-rights movement. One said there are two religions in the UMC: "One based on Scripture and one that feels we are in a new age with new truth."
HOMOSEXUALS GAIN POLITICAL POWER—Maine recently repealed a homosexual "rights" law. But the U.S. Senate has confirmed a "gay" businessman to be deputy director of the Small Business Administration. It is delaying approval of a homosexual to be ambassador to Luxembourg. In 1997, 123 homosexuals served as elected officials in 27 states and Washington, DC (6/98 NLJ). This year, four openly-gay candidates (Democrats) are seeking election to the House. Meanwhile, Notre Dame University faculty are calling for stronger protection for homosexuals (4/27 CN).
RICK WARREN'S SUPERCHURCH—Dr. Rick Warren is pastor of Saddleback Community Church (Calif.) and director of "Building a Purpose-Driven Church" workshops. Last Jan., Dr. Dennis Costella attended one of these seminars where Warren taught that the following must occur to transform a traditional church into a dramatic growing church (3-4/98 Foundation): 1) A contemporary-styled, non-threatening "Seeker Service" must replace the traditional Sunday worship service. 2) The dress must be casual. 3) The music must be contemporary. 4) The message must be only positive so saved and unsaved alike can feel better about themselves after a message that often mixes psychology and an uplifting Scripture text. 5) Church ministries must be geared to meeting needs, with support groups for depression, eating disorders, infertility, homosexuals' family/friends, post abortion, and marital separation. Warren scoffed at the idea of passing out tracts or going door-to-door since the typical "Saddleback Sam" is offended by such old-fashioned evangelism. 6) Doctrinal instruction is not given to the church as a whole on Sundays, but is available in sub-groups apart from services. 7) A spirit of pragmatic compromise must prevail. Warren was trained as a Southern Baptist, but said "It really doesn't matter your denomination, folks. We're all on the same team if you love Jesus." Such a worldly ecumenical "seeker" church may please PEOPLE, make them feel comfortable and entertained, but is unscriptural and thus displeases God. Get Foundation, Box 6278, Los Osos, CA 93412, $10/year.
RICK WARREN'S 'SEEKER SERVICE' MUSIC— Dennis Costella covered a Rick Warren "Building a Purpose-Driven Church" seminar in Jan. and reports on his "Seeker Service" music (3-4/98 Foundation): "The music must be contemporary. Not only must the lyrics of the music be more recent, but the style of music should be that which the unsaved hears on a daily basis. The entertainment composite of the [Warren's Saddleback Community Church] sound system, band, singers and presentation would rival that of any secular rock concert. Warren stated that one of first things a church should do is 'replace the organ with a band.' The purpose of the church choir should be 'backing up the soloist. That's the 90's way to use a choir rather than have them sing.'" Warren said loud, raucous music with a driving beat is the kind of music his folks listened to. He said, "We are really, really loud on a weekend service .I say, 'We're not gonna turn it down.' Now the reason why is baby boomers want to feel the music, not just hear it." He equated insisting upon the use of traditional music to the sin of idolatry, and added: "To insist that all good music came from Europe 200 years ago is thinly veiled racism cultural elitism." "Seeker service" superchurches let the world choose their "worship" music.
CHUCK TEMPLETON, APOSTATE—For over 20 years, Charles Templeton toured the U.S. and Canada (shared pulpit with Billy Graham), preaching to crowds of up to 30,000 people. He was director of evangelism for the National Council of Churches during the 1940's and '50's, but by 1956 he realized his life was based on a lie and he could no longer believe in Christianity (5/18 Chr. News). He gives his reasons for becoming an agnostic in Giving Up God. He believes Jesus died on the cross, but that "it is not possible" to believe he was resurrected. Tragically, many such liberals today remain in pulpits.
FREE BIBLE TRACTS—Rev. Ralph Blake is Exec. Dir. of Bible Tracts, Inc., having succeeded founder Dr. Paul Levin a couple of years ago. BTI has printed over 480 million free Bible tracts in its 59 years. Its 60th year anniversary month is July. For a variety of free samples, write BTI at: P. O. Box 188, Bloomington, IL 61702.
THE JOE STOWELL LEGACY AT MBI—Ohio Bible Fellowship Pastor Graydon Cox in a feature article in the 5/98 OBF Visitor says Moody Bible Institute Pres. Dr. Joe Stowell has embraced new evangelicalism. As evidence: Stowell's NAE membership; he is listed with Catholics and ecumenicals as an "Advisory Editor" for Christianity Today; he is a repeat Promise Keepers speaker; served as "Leadership Chair" for 1996 Luis Palau "Say YES Chicago" ecumenical evangelism crusade; speaks at Billy Graham Training Center (The Cove) sessions; spoke at ecumenical National Day of Prayer event; and the list goes on. In very recent years he has spoken on Southern Baptist, IFCA, ABWE and other GARBC-approved-entity platforms. Get the complete four-page pamphlet from: OBF, 3865 No. High St., Columbus, OH, 10 for $3.50.
SBC WOMEN—Baptist Women in Ministry has announced the first seven recipients of the Addie Davis Award honoring female Baptist seminary students (5/14 Ala. Bapt.). A proposed addition to the SBC's statement of faith affirms heterosexual marriage and declares the husband is responsible for the family and the wife should "submit graciously" to his servant leadership (5/21 Ala. Baptist).
BONHOEFFER LAUDED BY EVANGELICALS (GARBC SCHOOLS, DOBSON, SBC PROF)—German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer studied at Tubingen University and Union Seminary (NY). He was influenced by and studied under neo-orthodox liberal Karl Barth. He was imprisoned by the Nazis in 1943 and hanged in 1945 "for plotting against Hitler." He opposed institutional religion and stressed existential "religionless" Christianity (Wycliffe Biog. Dict. of the Church). We now see in the 6/98 Focus on the Family that its 3-hr. radio drama "Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom" was named a winner of the 57th annual Peabody Awards, and a "Bonhoeffer" CD and cassette are promoted. A Southern Baptist prof (4/3/95 Chr. Today) highly praised Bonhoeffer. The Fall 1991 Grand Rapids Baptist College/Seminary paper said a dramatic play and story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer was set for Nov. 21-23 at this GARBC-approved school (Fund. Digest). More recently, GARBC-approved Western Baptist College, staged a play depicting Bonhoeffer (1/98 BB). The 9/19/83 Chr. News said Bonhoeffer denied historic Christianity. Cornelius Van Til said Bonhoeffer's Christ is not the Christ of Holy Scripture. Biblical Discernment Ministries has a pamphlet "Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Heroic Christian Thinker & Martyr OR Poor Deceived False Prophet?" BDM, P.O. Box 6154, Bloomington, IN 47407, $1.
PRIVATE REBUKE FOR PUBLIC FALSE TEACHING?—Some think that if one Christian differs with the writings or public statements of another Christian on a point of doctrine, without rancor or any problem between them as persons, he is wrong for stating the differences publicly before going privately to the brother with whom he disagrees. That is a misconception. First of all, there is no unreconciled condition between them; they simply differ. Secondly, therefore, there is no matter of church discipline involved. Thirdly, even if this were a matter of discipline, the first party wrote or spoke publicly - he put it before the church or the world; he did not speak privately. For that reason it is as appropriate for the second brother to write or speak as publicly as the first did in refuting what he thinks is a wrong interpretation of the Scriptures and which, therefore, he believes may hurt the church if he doesn't. [Jay Adams] Jesus, Paul, and John named names, exposed error, and publicly rebuked errorists. They did this in love and concern for those who might be deceived into following such leaders. Fundamentalists have limited media access today, but must use available means to expose error affecting all believers - and continue to confront false teaching in the same public arena as it is taught.
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