JESUS & DEATH PENALTY—The Roman Catholic Church opposes the death penalty. Pope John Paul II last year pressured the Missouri governor to commute the death sentence of a triple murderer. Now in Alabama the Equal Justice Initiative legal group has erected eight billboards around Montgomery asking "What would Jesus do?" and including "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." (1/17 HT). This verse does not apply to capital punishment, but to a self-righteous mob, not a civil authority. "What would Jesus do?" He did not dispute Pilate's authority to deliver Him to death (John 19:10) but reminded Pilate that the source of his power was from above. God likewise is the source and authority for the death penalty today (Rom. 13:1-4, Gen. 9:6, e.g.).

ABORTIONS DECLINE, FRENCH PILL WILL ALTER DEBATE—The number of abortions in the U.S. dropped to its lowest rate in 20 years in 1997. Experts say reduced access to clinics, more use of contraceptives, and attitude changes are causes. But after years of wrangling, RU 486, the French abortion pill may change things as American women finally gain access to it this year. But drug-induced medical abortion is still abortion. Planned Parenthood is the world's largest orchestrator of abortions.

MOON'S SON DIES—A son of Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon, Young Jin Moon, fell to his death from the seventeenth floor of a Reno, Nevada hotel, Oct. 27 (1/10 C. Today). It was ruled a suicide, but Moon says God allowed his son to die as a sacrifice. Last year, Nan-sook Hong caused intense media attention with her expose of her former marriage to Moon's oldest son, Hyo Jin. She charged him with physical abuse, adultery, cocaine addiction, alcoholism, and neglect of their children (11/16/98 Chr. Today). She accused Sun Myung Moon of adultery, and complicity in his son's behavior.

MORMON TEMPLE 'SEALING ROOM'—Mormons reportedly now have 61 temples in operation and 54 more planned or under construction. A temple has a "sealing room" where Mormon couples are sealed in their marriage for eternity (12/99 The Discerner). This helps in their "exaltation," the right to become gods and goddesses and have their own planet in eternity (and privilege to continue to have children). A tithe of income is expected for the right of "sealing." A Mormon man can be "sealed" to any number of women who will be his wives in eternity. He can be sealed to the wife of another man in this life if she has not been sealed to another Mormon man. But if a sealed Mormon woman's husband dies, and she somehow becomes sealed to another Mormon man, then "whose wife will she be in the resurrection"?

FCC RULES THREATEN BROADCAST FREEDOM—Ironically, Pres. Clinton proclaimed Religious Freedom Day last month in the very week his FCC issued new regulations which could seriously affect religious TV broadcasters. Last month, without consulting Congress, it announced that non-commercial TV broadcasters have to re-configure their programming so that at least 50 percent of all air time is devoted to "educational" or "cultural" programs. The FCC ruled that "programming primarily devoted to religious education, proselytizing or statements of personally held religious views and beliefs would not qualify as educational or cultural programming." Church services—vital to homebound elderly and handicapped—are also ruled taboo. The FCC's rules are said to be "horrendous" and possibly unconstitutional. The NRB is asking Congress to reverse them, saying they single out religious broadcasting for new standards.

CATHOLICS MAY NAME KING 'MARTYR FOR THE FAITH'—Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover called "Martin Luther" King "the most notorious liar in the country." But King is honored with a holiday and is a candidate to be proclaimed a martyr for the faith by the Roman Catholic Church (1/14 H. Times). Archbishop Tutu paid tribute to him at a Dec. WCC meeting. But an article in the Jan. 3 Christian News said: "A great body of facts establish beyond doubt that King was a conscious collaborator with the Communist Party, a liar who obtained his Ph.D. degree by plagiarizing …, a practicing adulterer…, and a traitor to America who gave aid and comfort to an enemy nation….He emerged from seminary denying the real Deity and literal virgin birth of Jesus… [and] was not a believer in historic Christianity." He told a friend he was a Marxist. In his new book, I May Never Get You There: The True Martin Luther King Jr., Michael E. Dyson [an African-American] confirms some of the above [plagiarizer, adulterer, etc.] and said by the time of his death King had come to believe the answer to American inequality rested in democratic socialism (1/17 H. Times).

CLINTON'S SYNCRETISTIC PRAYER—Pres. Clinton offered a "new millennium" prayer in a service at the Washington National Cathedral (1/10 C. News): "…[W]e are all your children. Our Constitution tells us you created us all equal. Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. The Koran says we must do unto all men as you wished to have done to you, and reject for others what you would reject for yourself. The Talmud instructs us, should anyone turn aside the right of the stranger, it is as though he were to turn aside the right of the most high God. …[T]he most important fact of life… is our kinship as brothers…and our oneness as children of God…."

BWA LEADER REACHES OUT ECUMENICALLY TO CATHOLICS, CHARISMATICS?—Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Denton Lotz says: "All of our denominations need a re-examination. When Pope John XXIII called for 'opening windows' he shook the foundations of Catholic ecclesiology and did open the windows of the Vatican to new ideas and more cooperative relations with other [sic] Christians. In the same way, we need a Baptist opening of the windows, not only to let the old and worn air out, but to allow a fresh blowing of the Holy Spirit in our midst." (Bapt. World) Lotz said there are 500 million charismatics in the world and the Christian Church has to come to terms with this movement. He said "We must open ourselves up to new things that the Spirit would have us do…." The Southern Baptist Convention is a main member of the apostate BWA.

MOODY FEATURES ECUMENICAL SPEAKERS—Moody Bible Institute's Jan. 31 - Feb. 5 Founder's Week conference features new-evangelical or ecumenical speakers. Included are: John MacArthur, Greg Laurie, Crawford Loritts, Joseph Stowell, David Jeremiah, Bruce Fong, Joni E. Tada, and E.K. Bailey. Last year's roster included Luis Palau, Bill Hybels, and Franklin Graham.

A DOBSON ERROR—The following is part of a reply (1997) by Bro. David Cloud, to a Dr. James Dobson defender. "I fully understand your thoughts about Dr. Dobson. He has done much good, and I will gladly and readily acknowledge that. I have often prayed for him. You gave an excellent list of some of his accomplishments, which have benefited many people. In my estimation, though, Dobson's error is not a matter of failing in one or two matters. His error strikes at the very heart of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of many concerns I have about his ministry, my chief concern is that he refuses to clearly identify the Gospel and refuses to warn of false gospels. That is why he can be so widely popular among Roman Catholics, members of liberal denominational churches, etc. On Oct. 12, 1995, I wrote to him and asked two questions: (1) What is the Gospel, and (2) has he ever warned of the false Roman Catholic sacramental gospel, and if not, why? I said, 'The eternal destiny of millions of people depends on whether Roman Catholic doctrine is correct. Could you plainly state Focus on the Family's position? Do you believe the Roman Catholic gospel is biblical? Has Focus on the Family ever issued a statement warning its listeners of false gospels and identifying the same?…'" After a couple of weeks Bro. Cloud received a letter dated Oct. 26 from Diane Passno, V-P of Ministry Correspondence, Focus on the Family, not answering his questions, but attacking his motives and ministry. He adds: "I realize that many who could benefit from my preaching are 'turned off' because I mention key Evangelical leaders in a negative manner, and they therefore refuse to listen to what I say. I can assure you that the temptation to refrain from dealing with these men directly is always very powerful. I could have a much larger ministry, humanly speaking, and it would be much easier for me if I could deal with issues of ecumenism and compromise in a general sense and not name names. The problem is that I must name the names of those who are leading the way in the various compromises if people are to understand what I am saying and who I am warning of. A general warning is insufficient. When I name a man, it is because he is a leader, and he illustrates the particular error about which the Lord has urged me to lift the voice…." [Bro. Cloud has a 351-page book, Evangelicals & Rome with a directory of 100 Evangelical and Charismatic leaders and organizations that are ecumenically yoked with Rome. Check his Web site: http://wayoflife.org/~dcloud

SBC CHURCH HOSTS ECUMENICAL MEETING, CULTS INVOLVED—A Jan. 15 Huntsville Times article began: "Where will you find a Catholic priest speaking in a [So.] Baptist Church, with music being performed by Seventh Day Adventists and members of a Church of Christ? At the Festival of Christian Unity for the Great Jubilee Service….[T]he Christian community will gather for a time of worship and praise at First Baptist Church on Jan. 23…." Organizers hope this will be the beginning of a new ecumenical movement here. The Catholic speaker said it is not only important that the Christian "streams" of Roman Catholicism, Orthodox, Protestant and Evangelicals/Pentecostals come together for dialogue, but that they do so with people from all of the world's major religions or "we will never have peace." An SDA pastor said: "It is our hope that all barriers of divisiveness will be moved, and we will focus on the things that unite us and draw us together." God's holy Word commands separation from cultists and false-gospel adherents. "It is better to be divided by truth than united in error."

HOW DOES A MOVEMENT OR CHURCH GO INTO APOSTASY?—The remarks below are adapted from a discussion of this question by Dr. Clay Nuttall (1/8 Shepherd's Staff). History demonstrates that apostasy occurs over a period of time and not overnight. You have heard it said "a church is only two pastors away from liberalism." The first pastor comes to soften it up and the next to lead it into apostasy. There are many ways to identify churches, etc., that are moving toward modernism, but those on that road don't want to hear warnings from friends. They thus move toward apostasy because they are willing to be led there. Men won't face the obvious even when you show them that their denomination gives credence to such liberal doctrines as no literal heaven, hell or fire. They turn on faithful warners and make it a personal matter rather than dealing with the false doctrine. They call us "unloving" and "mean spirited." How does one get to apostasy? Judges 2:10 says "…there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel."

LIFE ACTION WEAKENS—Life Action Ministries is a sponsor of a May 23-27 Heart-Cry for Revival conference in Asheville, NC (1/2 Moody). Luther Rice Seminary (SBC) is also a sponsor. Charismatics (e.g., Richard Owen Roberts, son of Oral) are listed as participants. Evidence of Life Action's new-evangelical course was seen in its April 1994 Spirit of Revival, as reported in the 6/1/94 CC.

SBC HELPS VENEZUELA—So. Baptists have given $80,000 to Venezuela after flooding in Dec. left thousands dead or homeless. Alabama Baptists are working with the SBC's Int'l Mission Board in relief efforts and has formed a "partnership" with oil-rich Venezuela (1/13 Ala. Bapt.). Meanwhile Venezuela's pro-Castro Pres. Chavez recently said, before meeting with Red China's leader, "I have been very Maoist all my life." Mao was history's greatest mass murderer (1/17 New Amer.). We can help (with emergency needs, evangelism, etc.) those who suffer under communist tyranny, but need to keep in mind that God judges those nations who choose/tolerate evil rulers. We owe all the Gospel, and can minister to some other needs, but need to be wary of "partnerships" with pro-communist leaders who often divert church funds.

RECENT LITERATURE—Brad Gsell's popular book The Legacy of Billy Graham, Dr. Ed Oliver's "Should Protestants and Roman Catholics Join Together to Save the World?", and other literature items are available from: Fundamental Presbyterian Publications, P.O. Box 26164, Charlotte, NC 28221. E-mail address: fpp@bpc.org

Send comments to ccemail2015@gmail.com

Calvary Contender Home Page