VOL. XVII NO. 8 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM April 15, 2000
|MICHAEL W. SMITH, THE CHARISMATIC—CCM pop/rock superstar Michael
W. Smith has performed at Billy Graham and NRB conferences. Before success,
his home fellowship for most of 20 years was Belmont Church (Nashville)
which wore the Church of Christ label before going charismatic (4/00 Charisma).
Smith tells about a Full Gospel Business Men's service that changed his
life: "I went forward because I wanted more of God….[A] guy was laying
hands on people. People started passing out and getting slain in the Spirit….And
this guy touched me, and I was out for 15 minutes….Took me forever to get
off the floor. And I laughed. I laughed for—I laughed all the way
home." Besides this "holy laughter," Smith says many more charismatic experiences
have occurred since. (He doesn't like the label "charismatic" to describe
himself—because of the negative baggage.) He relates another time of laughing,
hyperventilating, "rolling on the floor," and says: "Then everybody started
laughing ….for 30 minutes….I really believe that that was God."
PREACHING IS OUT, RADICAL WORSHIP IS IN—In charismatic churches, "worship leaders" and musicians are displacing pastors and preaching. Charisma editor Lee Grady (4/1) tells how his friend Mike Bickle resigned from pastoring a large Kansas City church and started a worship and prayer service that has been running 24 hours a day without a break since September 1999. He has two dozen full-time musicians and at least 20 singers and intercessors. Grady says Bickle believes this kind of continuous worship will soon be the norm and be a key to releasing a global spiritual revival. Grady says the Bible sanctions exuberant worship and "calls us to sing, shout, clap, raise our hands, dance, kneel and lie prostrate on the floor to show our appreciation for Jesus." Granted, some fundamentalist churches could use a little more exuberant Spirit-wrought praise and worship (without the rock music), but read I Cor. 1:17-21, II Tim. 4:2-5, etc., to see the imperative of preaching and doctrine.
BABY PARTS FOR SALE—There is a lucrative market for body parts of aborted babies. By allowing traffickers to take body parts, abortionists are saved the disposal expenses, and thus make a double profit—first a fee from the mother to perform the partial-birth abortion, and then an access fee from the trafficker to collect the parts (Coral Ridge Min. ltr.). Our president keeps vetoing Partial-Birth Abortion Ban bills. The baby parts market makes partial-birth abortions more popular than ever.
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS used in the CC is available at our Web site http://home.hiwaay.net/~contendr or send a SASE and a list of most of these will be mailed to you.
COLLEGE KIDS DRINK TO GET DRUNK—"Students used to drink to have fun, and now they drink to get drunk." Despite campaigns against alcohol abuse at colleges, heavy drinking has increased—44 percent of undergraduates are binge drinkers (3/27 USN&WR). These are 7 times as likely to miss classes and 10 times as likely to damage property as are light drinkers. Alcohol impairs the memory of college students more than that of adults. Underage drinking costs $58 billion a year in traffic accidents, crimes, and treatment. Victimless? Hardly!
INTERNET PORN—Researchers say there are at least 200,000 cybersex compulsives addicted to E-porn and millions more (many children and teens) are at risk (3/27 USN&WR). There are currently over one million easy-to-find pornographic Web sites (3/15 CC). Adult (porn) entertainment sites are the third largest sector of sales on the Internet, with between 72,000 and 100,000 sexually explicit sites available (3/15 FRC Ltr.). Of the 3,900 new Internet sites that go up daily, at least 85 sell pornography.
UN DISTRIBUTES CONDOMS—As a precaution against AIDS, the United Nations will distribute a condom a day to each of the 16,000 male peacekeeping troops it sends to Congo and Sierre Leone this year (3/19 H. Times). This decision came after pressure by our UN ambassador and in effect acknowledges that UN peacekeepers visit brothels. Walter Cronkite recently said "[W]e must strengthen the UN as a first step toward a world government patterned after our own government with a legislature, executive and judiciary, and police…." (2/28 New Amer.). But the merging of the U.S. into a world government would mean the abolition of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
ISLAM POSES DANGER FOR CHRISTIANS—The U.S. Senate has invited a Muslim cleric to open its session in prayer. The U.S. military has hired four Muslim Chaplains. Yet, Christianity is totally banned in Islamic Saudi Arabia (4/3 CT). Public religious worship by a non-Muslim is a criminal offense. Any attempt to convert a Muslim to another faith is subject to criminal prosecution. Muslims say Jesus was condemned to the cross but was not crucified. Of the 2.6 million African-American Muslims, the Nation of Islam is only about 18-20,000. Its leader, Louis Farrakhan, recently embraced mainstream Islam.
TEMPLETON PRIZE GOES TO PHYSICIST—Freeman Dyson, a physicist, won the annual Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion ($940,000). He said, "[To] me, religion is a way of life, not a belief." He is not a church member. Other well-known recipients include Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Bill Bright, and Chuck Colson.
MOONIES HONOR FALWELL—A special reception on Capitol Hill Feb. 2 honored Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon and was sponsored by his Washington Times Foundation, with members of Congress attending. The event included an "American Century Awards" ceremony. Dr. Jerry Falwell was honored with the Foundation's Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Freedom, Faith and Family and for "overcoming man's inhumanity to man." The 3/20 Chr. News article we're quoting from, said: "Falwell has appeared at three previous Moon gatherings, including one in Uruguay in 1995, and he has relied on Moon's largess to bail him out of tight financial spots. In 1997 a Moon front group called the Women's Federation for World Peace funneled $3.5 million to a non-Moon group to alleviate financial problems at Falwell's Liberty University. In 1996 a Moon publishing group lent Falwell $400,000 for use at Liberty…." Moon claims to be the Messiah sent to complete the failed mission of Jesus. Falwell says he has addressed several groups Moon attended, and said (3/1/98 CC): "I preach for the Moonies…the Mormons…the Catholics…the Jews…."
MERRITT TO BE NOMINATED FOR SBC TOP POST—Atlanta-area pastor James Merritt has agreed to accept the nomination by Jack Graham as president of the Southern Baptist Convention (3/00 Bapt. Banner). He will be the first baby-boomer to lead the SBC. Since 1985 his church (FBC, Snellville) has grown from 2,000 to 11,000 members. His "Touching Lives" is broadcast on TBN.
ASBURY FILLS LIBERAL U. METHODIST PULPITS—Wilmore, KY is a United Methodist stronghold, but its fastest growing church is a charismatic fellowship. The local Asbury Seminary fills more U. Methodist pulpits than any other school in our nation (4/1 Charisma). U. Methodist minister Dr. Maxie Dunnam became president of Asbury in 1994 and has been a member of the Roman Catholic-Methodist International Dialogue Commission (1/1/96 CC). Asbury is a member of the NAE; the U. Methodist Church is a member of the liberal NCC/WCC.
EMMAUS WALK—Emmaus Walk is a 3-day weekend retreat experience. It emerged from the Roman Catholic Church's Cursillo Movement and is charismatic and ecumenical in nature (3-4/00 Foundation). It is often sponsored by the United Methodist or other mainline denomination. The Emmaus Web site states: "The Emmaus Walk is mainstream in theological outlook…. It is a common meeting ground for the great diversity of Christians…who celebrate their unity in Christ and feel they can learn from one another, be they traditionalists, evangelicals, liberals, conservatives, activists, charismatics, and especially all those who seek to follow Christ without regard to labels and camps." An Indiana clergyman described the experience thusly: "In small table groups, we listened, took notes, and discussed each theme. What an experience it was to listen as my fellow pilgrims—U. Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Lutherans, and Baptists, wrestled with how to apply each topic to life…."
GREAT COMMISSION GLOBAL ROUNDTABLE—That's the name of a new united network formed by three international evangelical missions organizations—World Evangelical Fellowship, AD2000 and Beyond, and the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. Its list of foundational values include the need for a thorough re-examination of a theology of the church, and for a more representative platform where all members of the Body of Christ are equal partners (e.g., charismatics and non-charismatics). A March-April Foundation article notes: "This step…is yet one further example of the ecumenism that is becoming so prevalent in the name of evangelism."
NAE ALLOWS JOINT MEMBERSHIP WITH NCC—Southern Baptist Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. in the 3/25 World took the National Association of Evangelicals to task for "rescuing the National Council of Churches from irrelevance" by its decision to drop its by-law prohibiting member denominations from joint membership in the liberal NCC. The NAE in 1944 considered the NCC (then the Federal Council) a lost cause and adopted a by-law preventing member bodies from dual membership. It was argued that the NCC/FCC played word games and claimed the name of Christ while denying His deity. Mohler says the NCC since 1950 has been moving steadily to the left. It has taken liberal stands on moral issues and supported leftist causes, recently serving as an apologist for Communist Cuba concerning 6-yr-old Elian Gonzalez. Outgoing NCC gen. sec'y Joan Brown Campbell predicts a new coalition will emerge, combining liberal Protestants with Catholics, evangelicals [including charismatics], and Orthodox Christians. Even Carl Henry opined that this is the "worst possible time" to elevate the NCC. The NAE's middle-of-the-road stance veered sharply leftward under former president Don Argue, and now even more under Kevin Mannoia.
NEW BOOK SAYS WCC INFILTRATED BY KGB—A new book: "National Protestantism and the Ecumenical Movement: Church Activities During the Cold War," by Mikhail Gundyaev, based on KGB files opened in 1992, confirms that at the height of the Cold War the World Council of Churches was "infiltrated" by E. European intelligence agencies and that one of its former presidents (Metropolitan Nikodim) was a KGB agent (3/20 Chr. News). Gundyaev represents the Russian Orthodox Church at the WCC's Geneva headquarters. We ran several articles on this before and after the 1992 KGB files were opened.
SOVIET KGB SPIES INFILTRATED WCC—Tass, the former Soviet news agency, now reports that agents of the Communist KGB and East German secret police infiltrated the Conference of European Churches and the World Council of Churches, and influenced the election of Emilio Castro as WCC general secretary in 1984 (4/92 MM). As many as 3,000 church officials may have acted as informants for the communists. Some Russian Orthodox priests and leaders used their clerical garb to spy on others to save their own skins and keep their jobs (3/16/92 Christian News). The WCC has had communist church and KGB clergy members since 1961, and has funded Marxist terrorist groups (see 7/1/88 CC). A 1986-1987 FBI report said the Soviets use the NCC/WCC for their propaganda purposes, and that the Russian Orthodox Church under (communist) government control coordinated this. The 3/2/92 USN&WR said the ROC was a tool of the state under communism, and said "it appears that some Orthodox priests worked not simply as collaborators but as actual agents for [the KGB]." [This article is a reprint of a 4/15/92 CC article.]
CAMPOLO, PALAU SPOKE FOR SCHULLER—Tony Campolo, in a plenary address at the 30th annual "Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership," urged attendees to realize that their role as leaders is to "declare the kingdom of God" and to "build the kingdom" through transformation of society (3-4/00 Foundation). He mocked pastors who teach that society is deteriorating and waxing worse and worse [as predicted by 2Tim. 3:13]. Bill Hybels and Luis Palau also spoke at Schuller's meeting. Foundation comments: "Dr. Luis Palau provided an Evangelical presence that served to answer the critics who would point out the ecumenical, liberal tenor of the Institute program." Billy Graham has spoken highly of "possibility thinking" Schuller.
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