NETHERLANDS PASSES GAY MARRIAGE BILL & EXPANDS PROSTITUTION—Dutch lawmakers Sept. 12 gave homosexual couples the right to marriage and all the trappings, including adoption and divorce. Approval by the upper house is considered a formality. and the law should go into effect early next year (9/28 Ala. Baptist). Denmark was the first to allow this. The semi-socialist Netherlands also expanded its legalized prostitution (already on open shameful display) to include full-fledged brothels (10/14 World). The Dutch sex industry generates billions of dollars each year and draws millions of visitors.

HARRY POTTER LURES KIDS TO WITCHCRAFT—Witchcraft, wizardry, and other forms of spiritism are condemned in Dt. 18:9-12. But the popular Harry Potter series of occult entertainment has fueled a rapidly growing interest in witchcraft among children who crave the power and magic of Harry's wizardly ways (10/2 Chr. News). It is dangerously naïve to assume that witchcraft is merely harmless literary fantasy. A 10/23 Christianity Today letter stated that the Lord's name was taken in vain in these books, and cited the use of profanity and a vulgarism. The letter-writer found nothing of redeeming value in the books and predicted that each new installment will get darker and darker.

HALLOWEEN & WITCHCRAFT—Halloween involves demons, witches, and the occult. Though many have linked witchcraft with Satan worship and sorcery, most contemporary witches follow a nature-oriented, polytheistic belief system built around the worship of the Great Mother Goddess (10/23 C. Today). There is no such thing as a GOOD witch. And Halloween is pagan in origin and practice. It is religious (Satan's holy day) but not Christian!

CHRISTIANS OPPOSE SPECIAL RIGHTS FOR 'GAYS'—"Americans, by a vast majority, do not want homosexuals to live under the fear of physical threat…but they also believe that avowed, active homosexuals are not the role models they want to lead their virtue-building institutions. Homosexual activists and their sympathetic journalists should recognize that tolerance does not require endorsement of a cultural blank check." Bible-believing Christians know homosexuality and adultery are sins and they oppose any special privileges for either.

SIGNS OF DECLINE—America is fast going the way of other nations that forgot God. Indicators are evident: adultery, divorce, homosexuality, abortion, drunkenness, drug abuse, gangs/violence, suicide, pornography, lying politicians, lukewarm religion, worldly rock music invading churches with emphasis on entertainment, etc.

DISNEY DETERIORATES—Walt Disney Company under CEO Michael Eisner has become increasingly perverse. It retains foul-mouthed, openly satanic and drug culture bands on its record labels; is the largest stockholder of porn distributor Viewer's Choice, the pay-per-view cable company; produces unsavory and anti-family movies through its Miramax subsidiary, etc. (10/23 New Amer.) This is but the tip of the rotten iceberg.

MUSLIM MOBS BURN CHURCHES IN INDONESIA—Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous state, with the largest Muslim population of any country. Over 100 churches have been burned and thousands killed in Muslim-Christian violence since June (10/7 World). Horror stories abound. Christian villages are burned and uprooted. Muslims fear that with the number of Christians growing, Christians are trying to Christianize Indonesia.

GORE 'AN INCLUSIVIST MODERNIST'—A 10/23 Christianity Today article says V-P Al Gore's mosaic of rational spirituality "gives him the profile of an inclusive modernist…." His 1992 book (see 10/1 CC) was criticized for being a compendium of New Age religion, buttressed by universalism and pantheism. Gore blasts Western civilization as "deeply dysfunctional." In his prescription for change, he draws on Islamic, Hindu, Sikh, and Baha'i texts, along with Native American prayers to the Great Spirit. He waxes nostalgic about "a single earth goddess" who benevolently reigned in the hearts of prehistoric humans. He gave a sermon in 1992 at the notoriously liberal Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. His pronouncement that "God is not separate from the earth" brought a storm of protest (10/23 CT).

LIBERALS FAVOR HOMOSEXUALS OVER SCOUTS—The Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote affirmed the right of the Boy Scouts as a private association to exclude avowed homosexuals from leadership (10/23 CT). So homosexual activists have mounted an aggressive campaign to apply economic pressure on United Way and other BSA donors to withhold money from the Scouts. News stories in the New York Times referred to the Scouts as "almost anti-American" and "something akin to a hate group" for refusing to allow homosexuals to become scoutmasters (10/23 USN&WR). You would think for all of the bashing by liberal media that the Scouts were some communist or subversive group. Though we are not comfortable with the fact that the Mormon Church sponsors almost three times as many Scout groups as the second-ranked religious sponsor, the United Methodist Church, we feel strongly that such a private organization should be entitled to determine its own membership and leadership.

MOODY RADIO PASTOR HAS BAD ADVICE ON CATHOLIC BELIEFS—A listener asked Moody Radio Pastor Don Cole for "biblical justification" for nuns, purgatory, confessing to a priest, and worshipping the Virgin Mary. Cole's reply was that each of these is a Catholic belief or practice and said he could not speak for the Roman Catholic Church. He said he included the question "to make two points: that treatment of Roman Catholic doctrine by some Protestants is not always accurate, and that it is unfair for us Protestants…to do a monologue about somebody else's beliefs." Dave Hunt (10/00 The Berean Call) says Moody should be held accountable, and asks: "Would Cole give the same response if asked about Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses?" He said that treatment of RC doctrine by some Protestants is doubtless true, but hardly an excuse for Cole himself not to give an accurate and biblical appraisal. Hunt went on to show the absurdity of calling it "unfair" to "monologue about somebody else's beliefs." Truth is, Cole has long had a weakness toward Catholicism. In 1989 (WITW) he is quoted as saying, in response to the question "Should we accept Catholics as fellow Christian brothers and sisters in Christ?" that: "I personally accept as brothers or sisters in Christ all who acknowledge Jesus as Lord….I love and respect many Catholic Christians…." Multitudes are deceived today by Romanism's false doctrines while Cole, MBI and others refuse to give a clear warning, and criticize those who do.

HELL: ETERNAL TORMENT OR ANNIHILATION?—The 10/23 Christianity Today discussed this question in a 15-page debate and assessment (by new-evangelical "scholars") of the Evangelical Alliance's new The Nature of Hell book out of England. The CT article listed key authors/theologians on each side of the issue. Under Annihilationism, the advocates were: John Stott, David Edwards, Philip Hughes, John Wenham, and Edward Fudge. (From church history: Justin Martyr, Arnobius, Theophilus, John Biddle, William Whiston, Henry Constable, and Edward White.) Under Traditionalism, were listed: J. I. Packer, John Gerstner, Larry Dixon, Kendall Harmon, Robert Peterson, and D. A. Carson. (From church history: Tertullian, Lactantius, Basil, Cyril, Chrysostom, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Whitefield and Wesley.) Packer in a 11/11/91 CT article (see 12/15/91 CC), said he did not believe that "the essence of hell is grotesque bodily discomfort."

DR. PICKERING WITH THE LORD—On Oct. 16, Dr. Ernest Pickering, pres. of Baptist Bible College & Seminary (Pa.) from 1970-1978, was graciously ushered into the presence of the Lord he loved and served so faithfully. The cancer he so bravely fought overcame his physical body but it never touched his indomitable spirit. His life was a model of grace, faith, and obedience. In spite of the loss of sight, faltering hearing, and the erosion of his physical body, he never doubted God's goodness and sovereign leadership, nor lost his ability to encourage others. He joyfully and faithfully served until God called him home. His precious wife Yvonne, daughter Dawn, son Lloyd, and their families need our prayer support at this time. [Above is from a Jim Huckaby e-mail via Dr. Ralph Colas] Dr. Pickering had also been a pastor, president of Central Seminary, missions leader, and a prolific writer. Of his numerous books, Biblical Separation and Tragedy of Compromise are among the most popular. While serving as Deputation Director for Baptist World Mission, and a member of Calvary Baptist Church, he preached in our church several times—and, when the CC editorwas seriously injured in an auto wreck in 1994, Dr. Pickering taught his Bible class for a few Sundays. Fundamentalism has lost a true friend and trusted scholar.

TEXAS CONVENTION TO CUT FUNDS FOR SBC?—The Southern Baptist Convention is under attack by the moderate/liberal leadership of its largest state affiliate, the 2.7 million Baptist General Convention of Texas (10/14 World). A proposal to be voted on at the end of Oct. would severely cut contributions to five of the six seminaries, the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and the SBC headquarters operation. Most of these funds would be redirected to three more liberal schools (e.g., Truett Seminary at Baylor). Approval of this plan could compel the SBC to appeal directly to Texas churches for support. Power politics is involved, but revisions to the Baptist Faith and Message strengthening biblical authority is at the heart of the debate. The document is binding on seminary teachers and administrators but not on members. This all could result in a major rift in the SBC.

THE CROSSOVER: POPULAR TREND TODAY—A crossover is basically a compromising of two distinct points of view. Neo-Evangelicals sought to bridge the doctrinal gap with Liberals, particularly those in the Neo-Orthodox camp, in the 1940s. In so doing, many of them were drawn into the vortex of existential theology and lost their identification as evangelicals. Billy Graham adopted the old pragmatic "become one of them to win them" philosophy. To broaden his appeal and ministry, he crossed over to the world's style of life and music (from rock to rap) to bridge the gap between God and the world. Ralph Carmichael, Bill Gaither, Amy Grant, and other Gospel music innovators have used the crossover technique of using the world's music to make Christianity more acceptable to the world. The Fundamentalists' temptation at present is not so much the crossover to the world or even to liberalism. But our temptation will be to make the crossover into Neo-Evangelicalism. Trying to be more like them in worship, music, and lifestyle, we will have lost our identity and the distinctives that made us great in our precious Lord. Will music become Fundamentalism's crossover bridge to Neo-Evangelicalism? Only God knows. [Dr. H.T. Spence, Pres., Foundations Bible College, Adapted fr. 8-pg. article, 9/00 Straightway, PO Box 1166, Dunn, NC 28335]

SPURGEON ON INCLUSIVISM—Complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against it. If any body of believers had errorists among them, but were resolute to deal with them in the name of the Lord, all might come right; but confederacies founded upon the principle that all may enter, whatever views they hold, are based upon disloyalty to the truth of God. If truth is optional, error is justifiable.

TBN'S CROUCH COMPROMISES WITH RED CHINA—Charismatic Paul Crouch recently defended his Trinity Broadcasting Network's agreement with the communist Chinese government that allows TBN to broadcast by satellite. Critics said this ignored human rights violations in China, but Crouch is apparently deceived on China's "new openness at the top." Crouch said to a Chinese ambassador who wanted to know more about Christianity: "If you will look just at the pure teachings of Christ and not what some religion teaches about Him, in some ways Jesus was a communist. He said 'Feed the hungry, clothe the naked.'" Red China is glad to permit a "Jesus is a communist" message to be beamed to its enslaved masses.

PCB, EASTERN CO-SPONSOR ROCKFEST—The Philadelphia College of the Bible was a co-sponsor on July 20, along with Eastern college and others, of "Breakthru Music Fest 2000". The rockfest was held at Eastern College, a school loosely affiliated with the liberal American Baptist Churches (Sep.-Oct. Fund. Digest). The ABC is a member of the NCC and WCC.

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