VOL. XVI  NO. 23     NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM     December 1, 1999

GUNS SAVE LIVES—Guns are used more frequently in the U.S. by law-abiding citizens to deter crimes than by criminals to commit crimes. Defensive uses of firearms by citizens total 2 to 2.5 million times per year and between 25 to 75 lives are saved by a gun for every life lost to a gun (11/22 New Amer.). Medical costs saved by guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are 15 times greater than costs incurred by criminal uses of firearms. Knowledge that citizens in public could be armed would deter crimes.

MAO THE WORST MASS MURDERER EVER—The greatest massacre in human history, per the Guinness Book of World Records (20 years ago), is that of 26,300,000 Chinese during the regime of Mao Tse-tung between 1949 and May 1965. The 1971 Walker Report (by U.S. Senate), more in line with other more scholarly studies, placed the death toll at between 32.25 and 61.7 million. Yet an AP reporter describes Mao as a positive force for change and a "great" man (11/8 New Amer.) Red China receives/steals our technology but prohibits Christians from meeting in homes. It allows them to only meet in designated places, prohibits evangelism in public, and demands its government be recognized as head of the church (11/1 Chr. News). For the officially recognized TSPM "church," the government is the final authority, and this "church" must agree to uphold/promote the teachings of Marxism.

MORE GOLD DUST, GOLD FILLINGS—Charismatics around the world say gold dust has appeared on their faces, hands and clothing during worship (11/99 Charisma). In some cases it is said to be a kind of plastic film or glitter. There are also claims of supernatural dental healings where silver amalgam fillings or crowns and whole teeth have turned to gold (see 6/15 CC). Church growth expert C. Peter Wagner says miracles like these are not new.

POPE KISSED KORAN—Pope John Paul II over and over has said Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians worship the true God and can get to heaven without saving faith in the merits of Jesus Christ. According to the Pope, the god of Islam's Koran is the same true and living God whom Christians worship. Last May during his audience with three Muslims at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II bowed to the Koran and kissed it (10/18 CN).

JIM BAKKER'S PRODIGAL SON—Jay now runs a hip "ministry" in Atlanta, the Revolution Church. He began drinking at 13, the night after his dad was sentenced for defrauding PTL investors of $158 million (11/8 Relig. Today). He later began taking LSD, smoking marijuana, and hanging out with punk rockers. The first time he spent the day alone with his father was when he was incarcerated.

NED GRAHAM LOSES WIFE & BOARD MEMBERS—Within the last year, East Gates Ministries saw a string of board members and staff leave. This began soon after the wife of East Gates President Ned Graham, son of Billy and Ruth Graham, sued her husband for divorce a year ago. Early 1999, East Gates quietly resigned from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (11/6 World). East Gates works in cooperation with Red China's official China Christian Council and Amity Printing Co. Ned Graham is said to have built good relations with these Communist Party religion-control officials. Carol Graham accuses her husband of infidelity, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse. His church stopped supporting East Gates and revoked his ministerial license. We derive no joy in reporting such a tragic situation.

FASTING REMOVES UNBELIEF?—A Tacoma, Wash. church's members fasted 165 days in the first year of a "revival." The pastor said: "Fasting causes unbelief to come out of our lives." In 90 weeks, 700 new converts reportedly were baptized. The 11/99 Charisma again quotes the pastor: "I am not in control of everything that happens, so I know it is of God." This is a dangerous and unreliable way to test whether something is of God.

HARRY POTTER BOOKS—These are at the peak of popularity in schools today, but the Biblical God doesn't fit into Harry's world of wizards, witches, and other gods (10/18 CN). World had reviewed and recommended the books as wholesome, good-versus-evil fantasy as with Tolkien or C.S. Lewis, but it now (11/6) warns: "The fact that the books are not Christ-centered and further evidence that they are not written from a perspective compatible with Christianity have led us to retract [them]."

COLSON SAYS BRADLEY IS APOSTATE—A 1960s American Tract Society's pamphlet, I've Made My Choice was by NY Knicks star Bill Bradley. He wrote of giving his life to Christ and was active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He now disavows his Christian beliefs and is running for president. He still considers himself a Presbyterian, but has a more liberal creed (10/30 World). Per Investor's Business Daily, he says he "now embraces all religions" from Buddhism to Islam, if they seek "inner peace." Chuck Colson says he "has either renounced his faith entirely, or he has decided for political reasons to renounce it publicly." [10/5 Breakpoint Comm. # 91005]

ABORTION HARVEST—Congress and the Clinton administration's lifting of the fetal-tissue research ban has turned human-remains into a big business (10/23 World). Abortion labs cut up and part out dead children.

NCC: NEW LEADERS, NEW WOES—The National Council of Churches' largest member, the liberal United Methodist Church, has suspended financial support of the ecumenical agency because of concern over the NCC's debt and fiscal practices (10/25 C. News). The NCC is in a state of financial and administrative chaos (11/10 Relig. Today). Andrew Young (see 1/15-99 CC) was installed Nov. 11 in the Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland as the NCC's new president, succeeding Robert Edgar, who succeeds retiring Joan Brown Campbell as Gen. Secretary (12/31). Desmond Tutu was a keynote speaker. The new staff includes a Roman Catholic as interim general manager. Interest in the NCC has waned somewhat, in part due to its support of radical causes. The 11/15 USN&WR said: "It's not just that people are losing interest in the ecumenical movement. They're losing interest in their own [liberal] denominations…."

BBFI SPLIT?—According to various reports [in Plains Baptist Challenger, Sword of the Lord, etc.) some states are voting out, or being voted out, of the Baptist Bible Fellowship, Int'l. A Washington state BBF resolution said the BBFI has eroded its stand on ecclesiastical separation "as evidenced by the receiving of Jerry Falwell in the fellowship with open arms" [see 3/15 CC], and the "increasing involvement with Promise Keepers and other charismatic and ecumenical activities within [BBFI]." It cited a departure from the King James Bible by the BBC and among BBFI churches. With these stated concerns, Washington state BBF rescinded its affiliation with BBFI and changed its name to Northwest Baptist Fellowship.

SBC CONSERVATIVE LEADERS ARE ECUMENICAL—The Southern Baptist Convention has for two decades been under "conservative" control. Yet SBC leaders are often major participants in ecumenical endeavors such as Billy Graham or Promise Keepers meetings. SBC's theology is largely fundamentalist but its practice is new evangelical, as evidenced by its Executive Committee's recent vote to affirm its mission board's participation in the ecumenical Mission America. Sword of the Lord editor Dr. Shelton Smith comments: "An SBC pastor once told me that he was 'conservative in theology but liberal in fellowship and ministry.' In many ways that is even more dangerous because it is talking one way and walking another. When men in leadership talk 'conservative' but walk 'liberal,' they mislead the sincere folks in the pews… Prayerfully we make an appeal to good, godly men: don't be ensnared by carefully crafted rhetoric appealing to loyalty to a denomination that has long since made a left turn and doesn't appear even to be thinking about turning around…" Our loyalties must be to Christ and the Bible.

'ARM'S LENGTH' SEPARATION—IBFNA Moderator Dr. Charles Dear writes in the 11/99 The Review [754 E. Rockhill Rd., Sellersville, PA 18960]: "….It is a dangerous and faulty conclusion that being fundamental is a matter of distance, not position, when in fact the exact opposite is true. Given the continuous change of apostasy, what fundamentalists should really see is a growing gap between themselves and all compromisers. The distance between (i.e., arm's length) cannot remain the same unless we, too, are changing and moving in the same direction having silently joined their parade to spiritual oblivion. While we may find some small comfort that we are blocks, even miles, behind the Neo-evangelicals in this parade, we must also concede that we will soon find ourselves parading past milestones we had once marked as anathema to us in the past. Separation must always be a matter of doctrinal position and never a measure of distance in relation to someone else. It is not measuring ourselves by ourselves, which the Apostle Paul warned us is unwise…."

LUTHERAN-CATHOLIC ACCORD—Representatives of the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church met in Augsburg, Germany and signed a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, Oct. 31. Over 240 Protestant theologians in Germany signed a petition criticizing the agreement. Dr. A. L. Barry, President, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, called it "an ambiguous statement whose careful wording makes it possible for the Pope's representatives to sign without changing, retracting or correcting anything that has been taught by the RCC since the 16th century Council of Trent." The Catholic "clarification" says "eternal life is, at one and the same time, grace and the reward given by God for good works and merit…." This contradicts Eph. 2:8-9, etc. [Christian News, & HT] The accord brings Catholics and Lutherans a step closer to reunion. Rome today seduces evangelicals (especially charismatics) by saying they proclaim the same gospel and the same Jesus.

COUNCIL OF TRENT CURSED JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE—Rome still rejects justification by faith alone. Liberal Lutherans, in their zeal for unity, yielded to deceptive wording and betrayed the Gospel in signing the ambiguous accord with Catholics Oct. 31. The Council of Trent, meeting in three periods under three different popes 1545-1563, codified and reaffirmed the Catholic doctrine that anyone saying he is justified by faith alone was to be anathema. Canons IX, XII, and XIV said faith alone in what God has done for us in Jesus Christ is not sufficient to justify a sinner (10/25 Chr. News). Something more (good works) is needed. Rome has not budged from this and it is the liberal Lutherans who have compromised.

D. L. MOODY THE MAN—The Nov-Dec Moody praised D.L. Moody's many achievements as an evangelist, disciple-maker, missionary, and educator. But it said he refused to take sides on divisive doctrines and issues that mark various denominations. He insisted on keeping men like George Adam Smith and Henry Drummond on the Northfield speaker's roster long after their theology shifted outside the mainstream of orthodox Christianity. He advocated filling vacant church pulpits with women and urged little churches to call single women from his schools to serve. He at times displayed violent outbursts of temper, and once pushed a heckler down a flight of stairs. MBI chancellor Dr. George Sweeting (see 6/15/88 CC) said a result of the 1870s Moody campaigns was the formation of the Christian Labor movement in Britain.

HELL DENIERS—Skepticism regarding Hell usually takes three forms: questioning the nature of its fire, the reality of its place, and the length of its punishment. Annihilationists and universalists deny the biblical Hell. Pope John Paul II denies it's a place of fiery torment. Billy Graham questions the literal fire. Robert Schuller says a person is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem. Clark Pinnock thinks that hell as endless torment is an outrageous doctrine. [These are excerpts from a 6-page O Timothy article by David Cloud. He discusses the views of over 20 people on Hell. He has books on Evangelicals & Rome, CCM, etc. Order at: Way of Life Literature, 1701 Harns Road, Oak Harbor, WA. O Timothy is $20/yr.

GOD'S LEADING HAND is a new autobiography that chronicles the life story of Dr. & Mrs. J.B. Williams as missionaries in W. Africa, later as an evangelist, speaker and author. Get this 99-page book from Dr. Williams at: P. O. Box 915, Ringgold, GA 30736, $8 postpaid.

PROMISE KEEPERS REPORT—Over 306,000 attended the 15 Promise Keepers rallies this year. PK plans 12-16 conferences for 2000. It will soon announce dates/locations.

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