VOL. XVII NO. 24 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM December 15, 2000
|D.A.R.E. IS A DUD—The nation's most popular drug education program
is an enormous failure. Police serve as role models and confidants, and
provide training to keep kids off drugs (11/20 Chr. News). Though
widely used in schools, DARE has failed to significantly reduce drug, alcohol,
or cigarette use and was recently called a fraud by a large-city mayor.
Recently (1/25 HT), a local former DARE officer was accused of molesting
seven youngsters he was supposed to be counseling about not using drugs.
BRAZIL'S CATHOLICISM, SPIRITISM—Of Brazil's 170 million, 130 million are Roman Catholics. Or, are they? Many will go to their Catholic Mass on Saturday and their Spiritist meeting on Tuesday. Many have been charismatics and when offered the gospel they will say yes, and will just add that to the other things they already have (12/4 Chr. Today). Brazil is considered the largest Roman Catholic country in the world, but a Presbyterian pastor says, "Brazil is a Spiritist country, not a Catholic country." There are over 14,000 Spiritist centers in Brazil. Spiritist worship takes two forms: Lower Spiritism that came with African slaves (voodoo, witchcraft, magic, etc.). The other is popular with upper-class folks, and has a New Age kind of emphasis (reincarnation, talking with dead). Catholicism seems compatible with various other false-gospel, syncretistic religions (e.g., Santeria, voodoo).
EBOLA VIRUS—The Ebola virus ranks among the most terrifying of the deadly "emerging diseases," striking rapidly and with gruesome symptoms (12/11 USN&WR). It can kill in just a few days. Victims suffer flu-like symptoms. Their organs fail and blood won't clot. An outbreak in Uganda has taken 91 lives, and some frantic ones in desperation swallow bleach to stop the lethal disease (12/4 C. Today). Churches suspended worship and Communion services for weeks. Healers use ritual dance and charms to exorcise Ebola, which they think is a curse.
GLORIA COPELAND SAYS WE DESERVE WEALTH—Gloria (Mrs. Kenneth) Copeland is known for her heretical Word-Faith theology. We quote from a review of her new book (12/00 Charisma): "Tethered to the belief that God's people deserve wealth, real estate and financial abundance, the author asserts that if those are not manifest in our lives, we are not doing the Word but reaping poor choices previously sown. Touching briefly on the law of progressive increase, Copeland confirms that little by little our obedience to God will prosper us financially, spiritually and emotionally. It is this prosperity that moves us from simply obtaining personal wealth to using that wealth to advance God's ultimate plan." This is false teaching. We are sinners, undeserving of even the least of His mercies.
TOBACCO VS. ALCOHOL HYPOCRISY—Alcohol is a major causative factor in traffic accidents, homelessness, crimes, divorces, suicides, etc. Yet our government goes after the tobacco industry bigtime, but seemingly gives the liquor industry a free pass. This is selective outrage, pure hypocrisy! We do not defend the tobacco industry, though we feel safer on the highway meeting a smoking driver than a drinking driver. And if the government is going to penalize the tobacco industry for $145 billion (e.g.), and award this to longtime smokers whose health was damaged, it should rather reward more deserving NON-smokers who have for years been damaged through no fault of their own by second-hand smoke!
EVOLUTION NOT NOW NOR EVER—Belief in evolution is a remarkable phenomenon passionately defended by the scientific establishment, despite the lack of any observable scientific evidence for macroevolution (from one distinct kind of organism into another). The lack of a case for evolution is clear from the fact that no one has ever seen it happen, not now nor in the past. If it were a real process, evolution should still be occurring, and there should be many "transitional" forms that we could observe. Evolution is not science at all, but an arbitrary system built upon faith in universal naturalism. [Excerpt, Henry Morris, 12/00 Acts & Facts]
HOMOSEXUALITY has become the cause du jour of those who seek to undermine the family. Though homosexuals comprise only 2-3 percent of the population, they exert incredible influence over the political arena. Abetted by a pro-homosexual news and entertainment media, the radical gay activists' assault on morality has reached a fever pitch. Last spring, homosexuals achieved a form of "gay marriage"[civil unions] in Vermont, and now push for recognition of same-sex unions in the other 49 states. Congress is considering homosexual "hate crimes" legislation that would set up special classes of victims based on special behavior. Under such a law, some crimes committed against heterosexuals would be punished less severely than the same crimes against homosexuals…. [Excerpt, Focus on the Family booklet]
MUSLIMS ENDANGER CHRISTIANS, PHILIPPINES—The Philippines is Asia's only nation with a "Christian" majority. About 80% of its 70 million people are Roman Catholic; 7 to 10 % are Protestant. Muslims are 8% and most live in Mindanao and Sulo Archipelago in the south (12/4 C.T.). Muslim groups have carried on a bitter and brutal insurgency since the early 1970s but this mostly ceased in 1996. But some rebel groups demand removal of all Christian missionaries in southern Philippines.
'LEFT BEHIND' FILM LEFT OUT GOSPEL—Left Behind is the most expensive Christian film ever made. It is based on a popular series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, and due for release to movie theaters nationwide in February. Those who made the film desire that it be used as an evangelistic tool to reach people for Christ. A pastor friend has viewed the video, said some positive things about it, but has some concerns. He says that in depicting worldwide post-Rapture chaos (plane crashes, car accidents, etc.) the film greatly overestimates the number of true believers in the world, and that one could get the impression there are MANY on the road to life (Jesus says FEW are). He says the movie emphasizes repeatedly that all infants and children (even of unsaved parents) will be removed from the earth, but points out that a one-year-old at the time of the rapture would be eight at the time Christ returns to earth to rule and reign—plenty old to be saved then or prior. He says some of the music is horrible—"Christian rock" of the worst kind. But the most serious problem of all is that the GOSPEL is sadly missing in this supposedly evangelistic tool. The name of Christ is mentioned only three times (during about a one-minute segment). There is no mention of the Cross, the empty tomb, no emphasis on the sinfulness of man and no clear presentation of the terms of salvation. Lastly, this pastor is concerned that the film will bring thousands of professing Christians into secular movie houses. Be warned, be wise, beware! [For an expanded elaboration and entire review, send a SASE.]
METHODISTS BAIL OUT NCC—An emergency grant of $400,000 from the United Methodist Church allows the ecumenical National Council of Churches to keep its doors open. Before the Nov. 18 vote by a UMC agency, Phil Young, the NCC's treasurer, had told reporters that if the Methodists didn't advance the cash the NCC's next job would be planning a shutdown, according to Presbyterian News Service (11/23 Religion Today). That won't be necessary now. "My guess is that there will still be anxiety and frustration in the coming six months," Young told the PNS. "But by Jan. 30, 2001, most of the anxiety and uncertainty will be behind us." He said the council has begun operating within its budget, having just laid off 12 of its 64 employees. "It is the mess of the prior management that we're trying to clean up." NCC head Robert Edgar said the council is stabilizing. At this time last year, it faced a debt of $5.9 million and had no systems in place to control spending, he said. The liberal UMC is a major supporter of the apostate NCC and its left-wing causes. God's people should "come out" of it.
POPE FAILS AT EXORCISM TRY—Pope John Paul II spent 30 minutes in conversation and prayer with a teenage girl who was "screaming insults in a cavernous voice" during a general audience at the Vatican (11/13 CT). The pope's intervention seemed to have only a temporary effect on the teen, but Catholic theologians stressed that exorcism is almost never easy or rapid. The Vatican plans to distribute a new exorcism ritual manual telling priests to spend more time praying with those possessed by evil spirits and tones down stronger language.
SBC TEXANS UPSET THAT SEMINARY PROFS HAVE TO SIGN NEW 'CREED'—Southern Baptist "moderates" in Texas object to a revised confession requiring seminary professors to sign that they agree with basic tenets of the faith. But SBC Pres. James Merritt says "We have turned our denomination away from theological liberalism…" and, "It only stands to reason that any professor teaching in a Baptist school should be willing to fully support that Baptist denomination's confession of faith." (12/4 CT) Texans are redirecting over $5 million away from SBC seminaries.
SBC BATTLES NEO-ORTHODOXY—Southern Baptist conservatives last June revised the sentence in their 1963 Baptist Faith & Message confession that made Christ, not the Bible, the criterion by which the Bible is interpreted. They say that what we know about Jesus is what the Bible reveals, and that "All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation." Moderates/liberals say that an internal experience of Jesus, apart from Scripture is adequate to judge even the biblical text itself. One of their (CBF) Council members put it this way, "We see our authority in Christ; Southern Baptists [conservatives] see their authority in the Bible." (12/00 Bapt. Banner) Some CBF moderates/liberals argue against the male-only pastorate by noting that Jesus never addressed the issue. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship liberals use the same arguments of the old neo-orthodox who believed the authority of the Word (Christ) is absolute, but the authority of the Bible is not quite so absolute. To them it is only a human witness to the revelation and never infallible. It is only a subjective authority that may become the Word of God by individual experience. Charles Ryrie said neo-orthodoxy is a theological hoax. "It attempts to preserve the message of the Bible while denying the facts of the Bible."
SEPARATION FROM COMPROMISING BRETHREN—"I have preached God's truth, so far as I know it, and I have not been ashamed of its peculiarities. That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them. What more can I do to be honest with you?…" (Spurgeon, 11/00 Plains Baptist Challenger)
NRB 2001—The National Religious Broadcasters' 58th Annual Convention & Exposition is set for Dallas, Tex., Feb. 10-13. Speakers include: James Robison (charismatic Pope praiser), Greg Laurie (PK speaker, BGEA board member), Henry Blackaby (Experiencing God), Anne Graham Lotz, Alan Dershowitz, and Ralph Neas (PAW). Campus Crusade sponsors a Public Policy Breakfast. Dr. George Sweeting, chancellor and past president of Moody Bible Institute is the NRB Anniversary Banquet and Installation of Officers speaker. Exhibitors include Catholic/charismatic and other ecumenical organizations.
HINDUS TRY TO STOP CONVERSIONS IN INDIA—Hindu nationalists want India to become officially Hindu (12/4 Chr.Today). Some seek to expel foreign missionaries.
NATIONAL DAY OF SHAME, NOV. 7—Here is the shame: It is ours, the church. It is the failure to preach righteousness, and then castigating those who are willing to. Righteousness has not disappeared because of the evil. The blessing of God has not been removed because of the wicked who rule. Sin rules, and wicked persons are in charge because the Lord and His righteousness have ceased to be the heart of our nation. The shame is in Neo-Liberalism, its liberal doctrine, its hatred of doctrine, in the dumbing-down of sin and the refusal to preach anything that sounds negative. This shame lies at the feet of pseudo-evangelical leaders who, choosing popularity, consorted with the president, giving him aid and comfort as a fornicator. To add insult to injury, they dared scold the man of God who publicly identified his sin as John the Baptist did. The shame is ours because of our failure to evangelize, to be obedient to the Lord and firmly resist the undermining of Bible authority.…God only knows if this nation will ever have another free election without wicked men tampering. If we do have another free election, it will be because men of God have decided to hate what God hates and love what God loves. [Excerpt from Dr. Clay Nuttall's 12/00 Shepherd's Staff]
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