AIDS EPIDEMIC HITS AFRICA HARD—AIDS has become the No. 1 killer in sub-Saharan Africa, last year claiming 2.2 million lives, 10 times the death toll from all of Africa's civil wars (2/14 USN&WR). AIDS is the fourth-leading cause of death worldwide. In developing countries, it is the fastest-growing cause of adult deaths and these are projected to increase fourfold (2/7 CT). At a Lusaka, Zambia school, half the 250 pupils are AIDS orphans.

ROCK ARTISTS BECOME MUSIC DIRECTORS—Per the Chicago Tribune, more and more churches are hiring popular recording artists to be their music directors. Rock concerts are common, with stage smoke and bright lights. Gospel Music Association president Frank Breedon said they not only minister to their flock spiritually but "also to their entertainment needs." (1/00 Bapt. Bulletin). The latter more and more takes precedence over the spiritual.

CATHOLICS LIKE ALPHA COURSE—The Roman Catholic hierarchy in the USA and Great Britain is accepting, with increasing favor, the "Alpha" evangelism course. 50 parishes in Baltimore have used its curriculum. "Alpha for Catholics" North American coordinator said "while Alpha is not a full presentation of the RC faith, there is hardly anything in the 14 videos that Catholics would find objectionable." Fundamentalist Digest editor Dr. Don Jasmin notes: "Alpha is 'pseudo' evangelism using some Biblical terminology but deleting/subtly changing imperative Bible truths regarding Salvation."

NRB HONORS DR. LAURA, SWINDOLL, McPHERSON—National Religious Broadcasters awards this year went to Dr. Laura Schlessinger (Jewish non-Christian), Aimee Semple McPherson (twice-divorced, adulterous, lying woman preacher), Chuck Swindoll (Dallas Seminary Pres.), and to Thomas Kinkade (artist). The NRB has heavy charismatic representation, so the notorious McPherson, founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, is no huge surprise. Jack Hayford and Pat Boone are famous members of this charismatic denomination. Wayne Pederson (v-p, Northwestern College Radio) replaces David Clark as NRB chairman.

JUBILEE 2000 DEBT RELIEF FOR POOR NATIONS—The G-7 nations—bowing to pressure from the World Council of Churches, Catholics, and other liberals (see 8/1 CC)—have agreed to write off over $50 billion in debts of poor countries (2/7 C. Today). The U.S commitment is $970 million, plus a large part of the 2.3 billion from the IMF's gold reserves is from U.S. taxpayers. Forced redistribution of the wealth to Marxist dictators, etc., will soon have all of us at the lowest common denominator.

NCC FAVORS SENDING CHILD BACK TO CASTRO—If the 6-year-old boy is returned to Cuba, custody will not go to his father. It will go to the state, per a Cuban-American activist (2/5 World). He will be indoctrinated so that he can serve the communist state and the will of Castro. His mother gave her life to free him from wicked Castro's clutches. World accuses the National Council of Churches of misusing Scripture, and asks it to plead publicly with Castro to allow the boy's father to travel to a courtroom here to resolve the custody battle. There is no such thing as a courtroom, as we know it, in Cuba.

CHINA RESTRICTS RELIGIONFoundation (1-2/00) states: "Registration of churches is vitally important to the Chinese government, for only then can it control what is taught so as to hinder any words of protest against the godless communist system. The communist government bases church registration on the 'three-fix' policy which requires each church to possess a TSPM-approved pastor, a fixed meeting point and a restricted area of ministry and activity. Yet even after a congregation becomes an official, registered church, the government still carefully scrutinizes the activities…and controls the 'ministry' of the pastor." Even the official churches are not free at all.

SPONG IS AN 'A-THEIST'—Episcopal bishop John Spong, who retired Jan. 29 (see 2/15 CC), says he now considers himself an "a-theist." He rejects almost every Christian doctrine (2/7 Chr. News). He said "I don't want a God that would go around killing people's little girls. Neither do I want a God who would kill his own son." He said he doesn't want to be in a church that keeps "gays" in the closet and women out of the priesthood (1/27 Daily Record, NJ). Spong's successor as bishop of No. New Jersey is John Croneberger. He battles quietly, but has waged many of the same battles as Spong (1/30 Star-Ledger, NJ). His church hosted the 1990 ordination of a "gay" priest.

AMY'S TRAGIC FAILED MARRIAGE—Two families have been torn apart against their wills, resulting from Amy Grant's and Vince Gill's divorces. They were recently seen hugging and kissing in public at Scottsdale, AZ. Amy, CCM/rock icon, says: "[I]f you have two people that are not thriving healthily in a situation, I say remove the marriage. Let them heal." (2/7 Chr. Today).

'GREATEST THEOLOG' DENIED TRINITY—Many called Catholic priest Karl Rahner the "greatest theologian of the century." While he claimed to believe in the Trinity, his Trinity and his Christ is not the Trinity and Christ of Holy Scriptures (1/31 C. News). He denied other doctrines and did not believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

LIFE ACTION RE-VISITED—The Feb. 1 CC reported a May 23-27 Heart-Cry for Revival conference in Asheville, NC. Sponsors include Life Action Ministries and Luther Rice Seminary (SBC). Participants include "charismatic bridge-builder" Sammy Tippit, Richard Owen Roberts (not Oral's son), Dennis Kinlaw, and Ralph and Lou Sutera. Kinlaw (Francis Asbury Society) was a listed speaker at the Billy Graham Training Center (The Cove) for July 1994, May 1995, and May 1998. Sadly, Life Action pursues a new-evangelical or ecumenical course (also see 6/1/94 CC) while seeking to promote revival.

TIPPIT A CHARISMATIC WHO SAYS HE ISN'T—We had an article by this title in the 10/15/94 CC which quoted from the 10/94 Charisma concerning Evang. Sammy Tippit. He was said to have the reputation of a bridge-builder, bringing charismatic and non-charismatic groups together, but he shuns the charismatic label. He said he has cast out demons, had several charismatic experiences, and has received three distinctly charismatic gifts including healing and words of knowledge. In private, he received the gift of tongues which he said "blessed me in my own devotion and praise to God." Billy Graham is said to be his inspiration. Charismatic churches have participated in his ecumenical evangelism crusades.

WHO IS RICHARD OWEN ROBERTS?—In the "Life Action Weakens" article in the Feb. 1 CC we mistakenly assumed that Richard Owen Roberts was the charismatic son of Oral Roberts. He is not, though Oral indeed has a son named Richard. Upon further research we learn that Richard Owen Roberts is a Reformed Baptist bookseller and publisher with a revival-based ministry. He is the founder and president of International Awakening Ministries formed in 1985 by Chicago-area men. Its facilities are adjacent to the Billy Graham Center on the campus of Wheaton College (per IAM's Web site). If he is a "separatist," as claimed by a defender, then why associate with new-evangelicals or quasi-charismatics?

T.D. JAKES A ONENESS PENTECOSTAL?—Last year the New York Times included T.D. Jakes in its list of the five preachers likely to succeed Billy Graham. Jakes pastors the huge Potter's House church at Dallas. Critics point to his flashy wardrobe, Mercedes-Benz, and $1.7 million house and say he peddles a prosperity gospel. (2/7 Chr. Today). He has a message about women and healing. But he has come under heavy fire for his Oneness non-Trinitarian view of the Godhead. He revised his doctrinal statement to sound more closely Trinitarian, but he still tries to have it both ways. When pinned down, he says he usually baptizes in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but he admits when he's with Oneness folks, he will baptize in Jesus' name alone. Shades of hypocrisy?

STOTT'S NEW BOOK—A Christianity Today reviewer (2/7) of John Stott's new book Evangelical Truth expressed concern that "one looks in vain for a complementary exposition of God's revelation of himself in Jesus Christ," and that Stott treats the Resurrection as little more than a "validation" of the Cross. The reviewer notes Stott's plea for unity in diversity on such things as charismatic manifestations, the sacraments, social action, and competing eschatologies but says he does show some resistance to the signs and wonders movement. Stott for years has encouraged women's leadership, including ordination, in the Church of England. Concerning hell Stott says in biblical imagery, fire's main function is to destroy and that while the fire of hell may be eternal and unquenchable, "it would be very odd if what is thrown into it proves indestructible." (2/15 CC) The Bible is clear that hell is a literal place of everlasting fiery torment.

BGEA RESPONDS TO GRAHAM'S WORRY THAT HEAVEN MIGHT BE WRONG PLACE FOR HIM—Ken Holmgren of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association expressed an understanding of concern over Dr. Graham's comments about heaven in a recent interview with Tony Snow of Fox News [see 1/15 & 2/15 CCs]. He said: "As the transcript shows, Mr. Graham made some statements that have resulted in misunderstanding. However, we want to assure you that he has no doubts about his personal salvation…." He said Graham's comments were his feelings about himself, reflecting his humility. BGEA Pres. John Corts blames chronic tiredness, personal pressures, aging, Parkinson's, confusion, etc., and said: "Under the pressure of live media, Mr. Graham may acknowledge something which he does not truly believe. In the crush of that moment, he has misspoken and conveyed an idea different than his true beliefs." Corts said media reporting is also sometimes at fault. However, in this case, the CC editor personally saw the interview, and reported the exact conversation from Fox News' Web site.

DISOBEDIENT BROTHER FORCES SEPARATION—Doctrinal differences necessitate division. However, it is not those who separate who cause the division, but those whose doctrine or behavior necessitates the separation (2/00 Frontline). The Fundamentalist (who, by definition, practices Biblical separation) does not cause division between believers. Divisions are caused by the brother who does not hold to sound doctrine (e.g., separation), and the Lord requires separation from that errant brother (2/00 Foundation). The Fundamentalist thus is forced to choose between the fellowship of light (obey God, 1 John 1:7) and the fellowship of darkness (disobey God, Eph. 5:11). It is not unloving for the Fundamentalist to choose light over darkness, God over a disobedient brother. The disobedient brother by not practicing separation (abiding in light) is the one who is unloving (1 John 2:10) and the one who causes division. If he loved his Fundamentalist brother he would abide in the light.

LOFTIS TO REPLACE KEMPTON AT ABWE—Rev. Will Davis of the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism board announces that Dr. Michael Loftis is to be the fourth president of ABWE. He becomes Pres.-elect Sept. 1, then Pres. March 1, 2001, succeeding Dr. Wendell Kempton. Loftis has been ABWE's Exec. Admin. for Central and Eastern Europe for the past 12 years.

WARNING ON BLACKABY'S EXPERIENCING GOD—Thomas Williamson has a helpful paper on the false teachings of Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God book. Available free from him at: 3131 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, IL 60608. We suggest you send $1 to help cover expenses.

BIBLE STUDY AIDS—Rev. Nolan McFadden has several studies/overviews "to help disciple, educate and inform God's people, on a variety of topics such as the New Age and Charismatic movements. Sample packet free (sugg. send $1) from him at: 9651 S. 485 Road, Miami, OK 74354.

FREE PROPHECY PAPER—A complimentary copy of the Herald of Hope, a 40-page publication relating World Events to Bible Prophecy is available from: Herald of Hope, P.O. Box 216, Marayong, NSW 2148, Australia.

BOOKLET ON SBC—A 24-page booklet titled Southern Baptists: Trend-Setters or Traditors (or Possibly Both) by Ken Johnson is available from: The Baptist Pulpit, P.O. Box 4020, Wichita Falls, TX 76308, $1.75 postpaid.

GEORGE CAREY, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY: "Unlike the birth of Christ and the crucifixion, Christians cannot know with the same certainty that He was resurrected…we cannot know that He was raised…" (WITW)

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