VOL. XVI  NO. 14    NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM    July 15, 1999

WESLEYAN PORN COURSE—Sixty colleges in the U.S. teach pornology. Wesleyan University (Conn.) students in the spring semester could take "Pornography: Writing of Prostitutes" (5/23 HT). Students are required to create their own work of pornography as a final class project (6/99 Nat'l Lib. Journal). Hope Weissman, the self-described feminist professor, said it is not her job to halt students from expressing themselves in her class.

RELIGIOUS RIVALRY COMPLICATES MILLENNIAL PLANS IN ISRAEL—Israel has invested $500 million during recent years preparing for the largest flood (year 2000) of pilgrims in Holy Land history (6/14 Chr. Today). But this could be for naught if Muslim extremists scare Christian tourists away. Muslims are now the majority in Nazareth and want to build a mosque there. If they do, the Vatican threatens to close churches and reconsider pope's visit.

HOLLYWOOD VIOLENCE—By the time the typical American teenager turns 18, he or she has seen 40,000 dramatized murders and 200,000 other dramatized acts of violence (6/14 USN&WR). Movie, music, and video game industries seem to deliberately market violence to kids.

DEFINITION OF EVOLUTION—In a side trip from the IBFNA conference, we visited William Jewell College (SBC) near Kansas City to see Spurgeon's Library. In his vast collection of books, we found this in the 1987 The Sword and the Trowel: "Herbert Spencer, the High Priest of materialism, thus defines Evolution: 'Evolution is an integration of matter and a concomitant dissipation of motion, during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite homogeneity, and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation.' Lucid and exhaustive!" Just like today!

NewsNotes—Notorious atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair, missing since 1995, is now believed to have been killed by former office manager David Waters. *** Cities where casino-style gambling is legal show higher rates of crime, bankruptcy, divorce and suicide (6/19 World). *** Russia, China, and Cuba are already set to take control Dec. 31 of the Panama Canal, a critical chokepoint of world commerce so vital to U.S. well-being and national security (6/21 New Am.). *** U.S. Catholics now number 62 million, 23 percent of U.S. population (6/5 Dallas Morn. News). *** TM guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has begun to erect what is to be the largest building in the world. *** Jerry Falwell's 7/99 Nat'l Liberty Jrnl. has an article titled, "We Need an Army of Attorneys to Take Back America". *** A recent Canadian Supreme Court decision changes "spouse" to include homosexual partners (6/17 Ala. Bapt.).

APA BACKPEDALS ON PEDOPHILIA—The American Psychological Association under pressure has apologized for a published article which said that child molestation with "willing" children might not be harmful (7/99 NLJ). In 1975, the APA declared homosexuality to be normal.

CHRISTIAN COALITION SPLITS—Pat Robertson's powerful Christian Coalition has been forced to give up its tax-exempt status and split into two entities (6/19 World). One will operate much like a for-profit corporation, allowing it to openly endorse and support candidates. The other entity will engage in nonprofit voter education.

CATHOLICS JOIN HANDS WITH NCC—The U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference and the National Council of Churches now exchange greetings and representatives each year, and report a "growing cooperation" and continuing Catholic "collaboration" with the apostate NCC. The 6/21 Christian News reports: "In another symbol of that cooperation, the NCC's next president, former U.S. ambassador to the UN Andrew Young [pro-Marxist], will be installed into his new office at a service at the Catholic cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, in November."

AFEC STATEMENT ON EC—Dr. Bill Jackson, pres. of the Association of Fundamentalists Evangelizing Catholics, sent us the following 6/18/99 Statement on "The Gospel of Jesus Christ—An Evangelical Celebration" (EC) [see 6/14 Christianity Today]. This document has been endorsed by Charles Colson, Bill Bright and J.I. Packer, who signed the controversial ECT documents of 1994 and 1997; and by R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur and D. James Kennedy, who publicly challenged and criticized them. There are a number of helpful statements in this latest document which deal with areas which were not fully dealt with in the ECT documents. Imputation was dealt with favorably; this has been consistently opposed by Roman Catholic Councils and Catechisms. EC said, "We cannot embrace any form of doctrinal indifferentism by which God's truth is sacrificed for a false peace." But there is certainly no better example of "doctrinal indifferentism" than ECT (Ja. 1:8). Because ECT stated that "Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ," in order to be relevant, the EC document should be submitted to Roman Catholics who signed ECT. It is difficult to see how a person could subscribe to both ECT and EC. The only logical conclusion is for all who signed EC to remove their names from ECT. It seems that the evangelical ECT endorsers have been "let off the hook" by former critics. We believe EC will be used to rehabilitate those who erred in 1994 and 1997 without their having to admit or ask forgiveness for their error.

IS HYBELS, OR HYLES, THE 'GREATEST'?— In the 5/15 CC we quoted a 4/12 Christian News article which stated that Bill Hybels' Willow Creek Community Church is the largest congregation in the U.S., with 15,000 attendees. Since then we've received a couple of e-mails stating that Jack Hyles' First Baptist Church (Hammond, IN) has 22,000 attendees and is thus larger than Hybels'. Some nearby, who have visited both churches, say Hybels' is larger, and question Hyles' numbering methods. Also, the 12/8/97 Chr. Today said Hyles' church has a weekly attendance of 7,500. This may be deflated, and the truth may lie somewhere between all these numbers. Hybels' church now has a statement of beliefs on its Web site.

LETIS RE-VISITED—Dr. Theodore Letis called May 24 regarding my 1/15 CC article which quoted a stated source saying he has "identified himself at various times as a charismatic, a United Methodist, a Baptist, and is now a practicing member of a LCMS church." He denied most of this, except the LCMS part. He said he had been a member of a Wesleyan church in his early years. He praised Wesleyan conservatism and also praised the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod's conservative statement of faith. [Wesleyan University now offers a Pornography: Writing of Prostitutes course (6/99 NLJ)]. In a near hour-long mostly affable discussion, we reached an impasse on such issues as New Evangelicalism, Biblical separation, and the LCMS. As we recall, his sole stated claim to practicing ecclesiastical separation, was his practice of closed Communion. He seemed unaware of the deadly danger of New Evangelicalism in our day. He seemed satisfied that the LCMS statement of faith "officially" opposed evolution, liberalism, etc. When I gave violation examples (from the 2/22 Chr. News, e.g.) he resorted back to the LCMS "official" position stance. I pointed out that LCMS officials have long allowed pastors and professors to promote evolution and that they tolerate liberal, modernist, feminist, and conservative clergy on the LCMS "mixed bag" clergy roster. He recommended that I use a source other than [the reliable] Christian News for information on Lutheranism. We had to agree to disagree.

NEO-PENTECOSTALISM—Dr. O. Talmadge Spence, founder and president of Foundations Bible College, grew up in pentecostalism and observes (in May-June Straightway): "…[T]he greatest heresy the pentecostalists have ever espoused has been, first, the substitution of extant revelations for the Bible; and, second, the exalting of 'speaking with tongues' as the hallmark for the highest spiritual evidences of the Christian life. Also, 'speaking in tongues' has become an avenue for revelation later than the Bible for the latter days." He adds: "All of the present pentecostal movements endorse and fellowship both the Billy Graham ministry as well as Roman Catholicism."

POPE SAYS CHRISTIANS & MUSLIMS HAVE SAME GOD—Pope John Paul II spoke about religious dialog with Islam in his general audience on May 5th (6/7 Chr. News): "We Christians joyfully recognize the religious values we have in common with Islam. Today I would like to repeat what I said some years ago in Casablanca. 'We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings His creatures to their perfection…" Islam's god is not the God of the Bible. The pope may believe in that god, but Christians believe in the Triune God of the Bible—the only God that exists.

BAPTIST WORLD MISSION Web site for ordering books by Drs. Ernest Pickering, Fred Moritz, and others is:  http://www.baptistworldmission.org/bookorder.htm  . You can't order books online, but you can print the form and send it with a check payable to BWM in US funds.

SBC '99 MEETING—Several newsworthy actions were taken at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting last month. Re-elected President Paige Patterson was asked to appoint a committee to consider rewriting the Baptist Faith and Message Statement of Faith and report at next year's meeting (6/24 Ala. Baptist). The SBC rebuked Pres. Clinton, a So. Baptist, for proclaiming June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. It denounced Clinton's appointment of James Hormel, an open homosexual activist, as ambassador to Luxembourg. It called for abstinence from alcohol and other drugs. Speaker Reggie White called for ecumenical unity among the 22,000 denomination, sects, etc. Ecumenical pro-Catholic Chuck Colson spoke at the SBC Pastor's Conference. Jerry Falwell gave a benediction at the SBC. A leader of the apostate Baptist World Alliance gave a report. The SBC is an unholy mixture of New Evangelicals and ecumenicals.

IBFNA '99 MEETING—The 9th Annual Conference of the Independent Baptist Fellowship of No. America, at Kansas City, June 22-24, featured good sermons on the theme "Unconventional Warfare." A panel debated whether members should be required to break fellowship with the GARBC. A proposed constitutional amendment, to be voted on at next year's meeting, would bar members affiliated with the GARBC or some other groups. There were two workshops—one on Small Groups, and one on the Deliverance Movement. Three good resolutions were passed commending the faith of those slain in Littleton, protection of the second amendment, and commending sentencing of Jack Kevorkian. [Note: This editor, in the business meeting, praised the resolutions but requested that leaders consider having at least one resolution each year on a topic relating to New Evangelicalism, separation, etc. Such a resolution(s) would hopefully serve to publicize, and attract others to, the IBFNA biblical stance. But disappointingly the Moderator, in the business meeting, completely ignored the request.] Next year's meeting is set for Bethel Baptist Church, Sellersville, Pa.—an area where a larger attendance is expected.

BRUNSON IS NEW PASTOR OF CRISWELL CHURCHNorth Carolina pastor Mac Brunson is the new pastor of First Baptist Church (Dallas, Tex.), the large and once influential W.A. Criswell church (6/19 World). He is its fourth pastor in the past 10 years. His predecessor O.S. Hawkins left in 1997 to head up the SBC pension board.

PK SMALLER THIS YEAR—When Promise Keepers came to Memphis three years ago, over 50,000 men filed into the 62,000-seat Liberty Bowl football stadium. Attendance peaked in 1996 at 1.1 million (6/12 HT). This year, 10 of 15 rallies are in smaller indoor arenas, like the 21,000-seat Pyramid in Memphis, and total attendance is forecast at 450,000. Critics say it shows interest is waning.

PINNOCK WANTS PAPAL-LIKE LEADER—McMaster Divinity School Prof. Clark Pinnock, at a 9/97 meeting hosted by Regis College (Toronto) admitted his "implicit desire" for a Christian leader who speaks on behalf of all Christians as does the pope on issues of life values and truths (5-6/99 Fund. Digest). Pinnock's views on God, hell and other doctrines are dangerously flawed (see 1/15/98 CC).

LCMS CONSERVATIVES UNEASY WITH LEADERSPer the 6/14 Christian News, many confessional Lutherans are asking why the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's president and vice-presidents are taking no action against the many liberals, evolutionists, charismatics, and religious unionists on the LCMS clergy roster. Yet others (e.g., Dr. Theodore Letis) seem content to trust in assurances of "official" conservative statements of faith.

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