VOL. XVII  NO. 5      NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM      March 1, 1999

LESS FORMAL WORSHIP A POPULAR TREND - Praise and worship pioneer LaMar Boschman believes a new day has come to church worship. He calls the trend "worship unplugged." It involves participation (2/99 Charisma). People are tiring of the old model where the congregation had no role to play, he says. A Vineyard-type of revival worship that is more of a folk-based, casual, non-manipulative kind of worship has sprung up. Much of what passes for "worship" today, is a disgrace to a holy God who must be worshiped in "spirit and in truth." In their pursuit of ecumenical unity, charismatics tend to downplay truth and say doctrine (truth) divides.

EXTREME TORTURE OF CHRISTIANS IN VIETNAM - The government is stepping up an aggressive campaign of persecution against Christians in northern Vietnam. Most tribes there are Buddhist, but Christianity is growing. Police tell Christians it's illegal to worship Jesus (2/99 Charisma). Many new Hmong disciples are beaten to death. Minority language Bibles are illegal. Police have tortured believers possessing minority Hmong Bibles by pouring boiling water down their throats.

CAN ONE STATE'S COURT RADICALLY REDEFINE MARRIAGE FOR ALL? - Vermont is now ahead of Hawaii and Alaska in the race to legalize unholy same-sex marriages. Voters in the latter two states Nov. 4 rejected "gay" marriage by 2-to-1 margins (2/13 World). Vermont's court is expected to rule within the next three months 3-2 in favor of same-sex marriage. Homosexuals argue that the 1996 Defense of Marriage law conflicts with the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution which says contracts validated by one state should be honored by others. Churches could come under pressure to conform or lose tax-exempt status, and teaching the biblical view of sodomy could be considered a hate crime. Tolerance leads to acceptance, then seeks mandatory acceptance. 

ATHEIST O'HAIR STILL MISSING - Famous atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair, with son Jon and granddaughter Robin, mysteriously disappeared three years ago. The IRS seized her home and contents to pay back taxes and other debts. Jon had transferred over $600,000 from New Zealand accounts. Her son William Murray (SBC evang.) suspects foul play. Her diaries reveal a very sad person whose main goals were power, money, and fame. 

UNHAPPY WITH WCC LIBERALISM - Evangelicals and Orthodox dislike the World Council of Churches' liberalism on issues such as feminism, inclusive Bible translation language, homosexual unions and ordination, abortion, environmentalism, and population control.

RESCUE RUSSIA? - Proud Russia is bankrupt. Poverty, crime, and inflation are rampant. Powerful oligarchs milk its oil, gas, and minerals. The U.S., International Monetary Fund, Germany, and others have already given over $150 billion, but for every dollar extended, Russians have deposited at least as much in foreign banks (2/8 USN&WR). Vodka killed 32,000 in 1998. Forty percent of Russia's children are chronically ill. Three quarters of the water supply is contaminated. Stores have to pay bribes to racketeers. This is what atheistic communism does. 

WITNESS LEE ABERRATIONS - Witness Lee, who died in 1997, led the Local Church movement. Watchman Fellowship's Craig Branch says Lee followed his mentor Watchman Nee to extremes, especially in the "mystical doctrine of mingling God and man." (3/99 Charisma) He says the 150,000-member Local Church also teaches an unconventional view of the Trinity, promotes itself as the only true church in a city, and teaches that baptism must follow a certain formula and is necessary for salvation. 

IMPEACHMENT QUOTES - "The verdict of history will be that [our president's] perjury and witness tampering were true but were excused by Democrats out of partisan loyalty....He will serve out his term as a political O.J. Simpson." (Paul Gigot, Wall St. J. via 1/30 World) ** "If a sexual predator and serial liar is worthy of the highest office in the land, who could ever be judged unworthy?" (1/23 World) ** Question: Will Pres. Clinton have to obey Megan's Law when he leaves the White House and notify where he will live? This whole ordeal is so sad for our nation, and so disgraceful of our leader. Please pray.

FALWELL CALLS BJU MUSIC 'TERRIBLE'? - Dr. Jerry Falwell spoke Feb. 15th at the Midwinter Meeting of the Baptist Bible Fellowship in Midway Baptist Church, San Diego, Jim Baize host pastor. Falwell, after complimenting the CCM/rock music, said he loved Bob Jones, but that its [traditional] music is terrible. He said you're not going to reach the youth of today with their [BJU's] music, you have to have worship music to reach today's youth. He said there's a place for dc Talk (a CCM/rock group) , so "hold your nose and let them do it. Rap music is in, let go of the past." [This was reported to us (paraphrased) by Calif. pastor Dr. Arthur Houk.]

MORE CCM CONFUSION - Contemporary/rock singer and minister Kirk Franklin merges his gospel musical messages with hip-hop, rap, funk, and whatever will get kids' attention. A local reviewer (1/16 HT) said: "It's hard
for some music fans to decide if Franklin's brand of music is for shouting in church or dancing at nightclubs."

CATHOLICS IN ITALY MIX MAGIC WITH FAITH - In Italy - where 84 percent are Catholic - soothsayers, fortune-tellers, palm readers, professional dreamers, astrologers, psychics and wizards flourish (2/99 Charisma). A huge underground community of 40,000 magicians and mystics boast of revenue of $100 million a year. Italians are Catholics, but they also believe in reincarnation, visit witches, and look out for the "evil eye" bad-luck hex. Catholic leaders officially denounce the mixing of magic.

SBC AND CBF CONTRASTS - The Jan. Baptist Banner (SBC-Va.) listed several "contrasts" between the Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (the liberal/moderate breakaway group). It said the CBF has: 1) leaders that deny the deity of Christ, the need for His sacrificial death, or the importance of His virgin birth; 2) feminist theologian leaders calling for the worship of the "Christ-Sophia"; 3) leaders calling for ordination of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons; 4) leaders declaring that God sometimes commands a woman to abort her unborn child for the purpose of population control; 5) leaders advocating federal funding for abortions, or elimination of parental notification and consent laws...; 6) leaders proclaiming the Bible does not condemn all forms of homosexual behavior; 7) leaders calling for ordination of women as senior pastors; 8) leaders that have worked in "coalition efforts" with Penthouse Int'l, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Planned Parenthood; 9) leaders who refer to God as "Mother"; 10) leaders that have signed a declaration stating that biblical scholarship is an area of common ground between Baptists and atheistic "secular humanists"; 11) leaders that have worked for legislation such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act granting special workplace protection for homosexuals/bisexuals.... The article further stated that the CBF: embraces churches that ordain practicing homosexuals; is aligned with organization(s) whose leaders have openly declared their support of partial-birth abortion; is aligned with an organization that gave all of its "mission grants" last year to churches that welcome/affirm homosexuality; and is aligned with an entity whose top leader has defended the reproduction and distribution of child pornography. 

SBC VERSUS CBF - After many years of fighting, the Southern Baptist "moderates/liberals" in 1991 formed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and now claim the support of 1600 SBC churches. In SBC state conventions, conservatives lead in 11, liberals are ahead in 5, and 11 are mixed (1/99 Baptist Banner). The CBF is currently housed in the new Mercer School of Theology building in Atlanta. Mercer U. president Kirby Godsey argues that Jesus is not God, and has served on the CBF Coordinating Council. Feminist theologian Jann Aldredge-Clanton led "breakout sessions" at the 1992 and 1995 CBF General Assemblies. She states: "...Jesus is not just the last and greatest of Sophia's children, but is Sophia herself in the flesh...Sophia incarnate." The Baptist Banner concludes: "If you believe God favors abortion, homosexuality is not a sin, the virgin birth is not important, Jesus' sacrificial death was not necessary, women may be pastors, it is proper to call God 'Mother'...then...go with the CBF..."

CHARISMATIC CATHOLICS' IN ITALY - Last May, The Community Of Jesus held a Renewal meeting in Bari, Italy for Catholic charismatics. They and Protestant Italian charismatics called for unity. "Father" Carlo Colonna, a Jesuit priest, spoke of Jesus returning for "one bride" - all believers, regardless of denomination. The 10/98 Spread the Fire said: "A celebration of charismatic mass and baptism in the Holy Spirit followed." The pope has voiced approval of charismatics.

FALWELL SPEAKS AT BBF MEETING - Dr. Jerry Falwell spoke Feb. 15th at the Midwinter Meeting of the Baptist Bible Fellowship Int'l in Midway Baptist Church, San Diego, Rev. Jim Baize host pastor (2/99 NLJ). California pastor Dr. Arthur Houk attended and gave us a first-hand report as follows (paraphrased): BBF pastor Dr. Bruce Melton introduced Falwell and said: "He is a BBF pastor whether you like it or not. He is our missionary to the Southern Baptist Convention." Falwell "explained" his SBC links and said "I'm a part of all Baptist groups in America, but my roots are in the BBF." Falwell gave the old pragmatic Billy Graham refrain of speaking wherever they let him give the gospel, like Jesus did, in a Jewish synagogue, a Catholic church, etc. He said the old battle was between liberalism and fundamentalism but it's over, liberalism is gone, fundamentalists have won, and the problem today is dead orthodoxy. He said [pornographer] Larry Flynt is a lonely hurting soul and not the evil man some think he is. 

HOVIND'S ECUMENICAL ITINERARY - Dr. Kent Hovind is a very popular "Creation Science Evangelist" and seems to have free rein in liberal, charismatic, new-evangelical, and - sad to say - fundamentalist pulpits [see 11-12/98 Fund. Digest & 4/15/96 CC]. The CC editor had a 20-minute phone conversation with him, April 22, 1996, in which Hovind amazingly excused speaking in liberal church pulpits by saying when he goes into a United Methodist (e.g.) pulpit it becomes his pulpit while he's there! He compared this to Jonah going to Nineveh, and to Paul preaching in synagogues. He said Jesus said "By their fruits ye shall know them," and that souls were being saved ("fruit") in his meetings. [We asked if he would speak in a Catholic church and he said, "No, it's a cult!"] We asked if he had no concern about the confusion to his testimony caused by identifying with liberal and charismatic churches. He didn't seem concerned about what "fundamentalists" think, and said he was answerable to (and must please) only God. We were very saddened by his seeming rejection of Biblical separation commands, and the "end justifies the means" philosophy. 

MAX LUCADO WANTS TO BREAK DOWN WALLS - Max Lucado's books have sold over 11 million copies. He is pastor of Oak Hills Church of Christ, San Antonio. He says the desire to break down the denominational walls without compromising denominational convictions [an utter impossibility!] is a healthy, present-happening phenomenon. Lucado is quoted in the 2/8 Christianity Today, thusly: "I'm thrilled about ECT [the ecumenical Evangelicals & Catholics Together]. I signed that document. I don't consider myself an authority on all of that. I look up to men like Chuck Colson and others who are architects of this." Lucado was a featured speaker at the Promise Keepers Atlanta Clergy meeting (5/15/96 CC).

SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHARISMATICS - Southern Baptist leaders for years have opposed the charismatic movement, but today a new wave of renewal introduces them to a deeper experience that includes spiritual gifts and demonstrative worship (3/99 Charisma). Indeed the SBC has excluded a few churches over this problem in recent years, but Jack Taylor and pope-praiser James Robison retain SBC ties. The SBC Int'l Mission Board president, who years ago was cited for a weakness toward charismatism, says "soul competency" leaves the term "Baptist" open to redefinition. "What is 'Southern Baptist' is what any group of Southern Baptists wants to define it to be." Pastors told Charisma they limit public expressions (e.g., speaking in tongues) to avoid divisive controversy. Some feature vibrant praise and worship, anointing, deliverance prayers, and falling to the floor. 

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