VOL. XVII NO. 11 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM June 1, 2000
|NCC A LOBBYIST FOR CASTRO?—The Washington Times (1/10)
said the "National Council of Churches should drop its religious affiliation
and register as an agent of the Cuban government." The NCC leadership believes
Elian Gonzalez would be better off in Castro's custody under socialism
in Cuba than with freedom in America that his mother died to give him.
United Methodists in alliance with the NCC were instrumental in hiring
the father's [Fidel's?] lawyer as part of a continuing solidarity with
the Castro regime (5/13 World). "The NCC has remained silent about
Castro's continuing restrictions on religious activity in Cuba" while also
praising the Cuban [Marxist] revolution (3/6 Chr. Today). Firing
squads have executed an estimated 50,000 people since Castro came to power
in 1959. 500,000 have been religious or political prisoners (5/22 CT).
Spies infiltrate churches, and the government restricts how churches can
organize and evangelize.
MEASURING THE MUSIC is the title of a book by John Makujina, a Ph.D. candidate at Westminster Seminary. Subtitled "Another Look at the Contemporary Music Debate," this 303-page volume will be helpful to those churches being swept along into adopting the trendy CCM/rock/pop secular culture of our day. Makujina critiques worldly practices related to rock music, such as erotic dancing, dress styles, stage antics, celebrity worship, etc., and warns against some of the popular "Christian" rock performers. He notes that most CCM record labels are now owned by secular companies, and says some CCM artists also sing secular rock songs and tour with non-Christian groups. Get this book at 40% off retail by calling toll-free 800/772-6657. (David Cloud also has a big book on CCM which we reviewed in the 5/15/99 CC.)
HOLLYWOOD/MEDIA CAMPAIGN TO NORMALIZE HOMOSEXUALITY—Hollywood is becoming more aggressive and "in your face" in pushing the liberal agenda. This was seen at the recent Academy Awards ceremony when American Beauty won "Oscar gold" as Best Picture of 1999. Sexual activity language used by female characters in the film was reportedly so coarse it would make a sailor or Howard Stern blush (4/10 New Amer.). AB is a semi-comic drama about pedophilia, homosexuality, and the emptiness of life (4/15 World), It "denigrates the family and extols homosexuality."
EASTERN STAR GODDESSES is the title of a 24-page booklet by Dr. Cathy Burns, available for $.50 + postage from: Sharing, 212 E. 7th St. (G), Mt. Carmel, PA 17851.
UGANDA KILLINGS—The nearly 1,000 mass "suicides" (see 5/1 CC) appear now to have been mostly mass murders.
'JESUS' CBS MINISERIES—We did not see much of the CBS miniseries "Jesus" but American Family Association reviewers cited several problems: 1) About six minutes in, there is partial female nudity when Mary Magdalene rises from her prostitute's bed after entertaining a client. Dialogue includes sexual subjects. She is later featured in another sex scene. 2) Jesus is angry at God for the death of Joseph. When Mary refers to God as Jesus' father, he declares, "Joseph is my father!" 3) John agrees to baptize Jesus if he has repented of his sins. 4) Jesus often appears confused/uncertain about his ministry. The producer said "We wanted to show he…had fun…had anger and was attracted to…women." (5/14 HT). Our local First Baptist Church pastor made promo ads for the film.
CLINTON'S LEGACY—President Clinton seems almost desperately seeking a legacy that doesn't include the word "impeached." At this point, "gay rights" has to be a main contender. He spoke via videotape to marchers who came to Washington recently marching for his campaign for the Hate Crime Prevention Act. He boasted he had presided over "the most inclusive administration in history," with over 150 homosexuals appointed to important government posts. (5/13 World) A move last year to expand the federal hate crimes law to include special protection to homosexuals died last year. But Pres. Clinton is trying to force a vote before the Nov. elections. The Bush visit to Bob Jones is cited as a factor in renewing the push for a hate crimes bill (4/25 HT). Calling Catholicism and Mormonism "cults" may soon become "hate speech." A federal lawsuit over the firing of a lesbian employee has been filed against the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children (5/11 Alabama Baptist). An SBC leader calls it "astounding and profoundly disturbing" that a Baptist ministry could be mandated to hire homosexuals.
TUFTS EVANGELICALS PUNISHED FOR REFUSING HOMOSEXUAL AS LEADER—John Leo said "Catholics, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, black Pentecostals, as well as evangelicals, do not approve of homosexuality." (5/15 USN&WR) Yet Tufts University in Medford, Mass. is punishing a campus evangelical group for acting on its beliefs and refusing to allow practicing homosexuals into its leadership positions. The acting dean of students says "gays have great power on campus and Christians don't."
CAN HOMOSEXUALS & ATHEISTS BE BARRED FROM CHURCH CAMPS?—An Illinois church camp is defending its right to deny rental of its facilities to homosexuals (5/22 CT). The controversy is whether facilities owned by religious groups and rented to outsiders are deemed public accommodations and subject to anti-discrimination laws.
FALWELL PRAISES CATHOLIC CARDINAL—Dr. Jerry Falwell is linked with both the BBF and the SBC. He has praised heretical faith-healer Benny Hinn and the Pope. He now last month called Cardinal John O'Connor "a man of courageous faith." He said they "differed on a few theological and social issues" but said "every pastor in America can learn a great lesson from this man." The pro-life Cardinal's "courageous faith" was evidently in the Roman Catholic Church's false gospel system of salvation by works. He said "I must…teach what the [RC] church teaches." (5/15 USN&WR) He had an "unequivocal loyalty to the Pope [and] an adherence to the teachings of the [RC] church…." (9/22/89 C. Today) He said of Mother Teresa: "If she is not in heaven, then I am really terrified of dying, because of all she did." (11/1/97 CC) A "courageous" faith in what? From his own testimony, sadly, it was in soul-damning Romanism.
PK MARCHES ON, BUT HAS PROBLEMS—Despite layoffs and low income for the past two years, Promise Keepers marches on. It closed its eight regional offices in Jan. and reduced its staff from 180 to 160. Registration fees were reinstated at $69 for adults and $49 for youths (5/22 Chr. Today) The Westminster Presbytery (PCA) recently upheld a complaint against a church session for its "continued support of the charismatic ministry known as Promise Keepers." (3/13 Chr. News) The complaint cited four areas that PK promotes which "clearly violate the Scriptures" and PCA standards. 1. Its pragmatic approach to worship. 2. Its denigration of doctrine. 3. Its allowing "heretics" such as T.D. Jakes to speak at PK rallies. 4. Its acceptance of the "unbiblical" role of women clergy.
MORMONS DON'T MEAN WHAT WE THINK THEY SAY—People who convert to Mormonism never understand the real meaning of the words the Mormons use. Mormons claim to believe in God, Christ, Eternal Life, Heaven, Salvation, the Gospel, etc. We use the same words but disagree on the meaning (5/1 Chr. News). That is, we use the same vocabulary but use different dictionaries. After his poor showing in the recent Republican presidential primaries, Mormon Sen. Orrin Hatch claimed that Mormons were Christians and blamed a widespread "misperception" that Mormonism is a cult for his loss. But Methodist delegates last month declared that Mormonism is not Christian. They said it has "some radically differing doctrine on such matters…as the nature and being of God; the nature, origin, and purpose of Jesus Christ; and the nature and way of salvation." The PCUSA and SBC have issued similar assessments.
SBC EVENT SPEAKERS—Campus Crusade co-founder Vonette Bright is the featured speaker for the So. Baptist Ministers' Wives Conference at the SBC's Orlando meeting. Baptist World Alliance president Billy Kim, Rick Warren, John Maxwell, Henry Blackaby, and Sammy Tippit will participate in various SBC-related peripheral events. Atlanta-area pastor James Merritt is unopposed, so far, to succeed Paige Patterson as new SBC president.
REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES WITH CATHOLICS is the name of a new book by Ron Rhodes. It is a step-by-step guide to sharing the Gospel with Catholic friends. Each chapter presents a thorough overview of a key RC tenet, provides a biblical response, and includes questions to help a Catholic friend evaluate their church's teachings in light of God's Word. The author is a Dallas Seminary grad, sometimes quotes from the NIV, and quotes a person we wouldn't (e.g., Murray Harris in one instance). But overall, the book would be very helpful in witnessing to Catholic friends. Get this 360-page book from Harvest House Publishers, 1075 Arrowsmith, Eugene, OR, 97402.
UNITED RELIGIONS CHARTER CEREMONY—The San Francisco-based United Religions Initiative (URI) , a self-described "UN of religions" (UR) , is preparing for its global charter signing ceremony, June 26, Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was chosen because it "has more bridges than any other city in North America." (5/22 New Amer.) The signing [according to its spring news bulletin] "will give birth to the global URI…[which] will be a bridge into a new era of interfaith cooperation for the good of all life."
HYBELS MEGACHURCH GROWING—Bill Hybels' Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago has seen a 20 percent increase in attendance in the past five years (4/24 CT). Attendance recently topped 20,000, up from the usual 17,000 who pack six seeker-oriented worship services. Hybels, a perennial Schuller speaker, in Jan. announced a new building project on the church's 155-acre suburban Chicago campus costing as much as $70 million. His Willow Creek Association is now an alliance of 5,200 seeker-sensitive churches.
THE NEW EVANGELICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR is the title of a 4-page pamphlet by John Ashbrook which analyzes the July 29-Aug. 6 Billy Graham Amsterdam 2000 evangelism conference. Six truths are presented: 1. The conference will be expensive, seeking $3,500 for an attendance goal of 10,000 – a total of $35 million! 2. The agenda will be solidly new evangelical, including speakers [see 5/1 CC for partial list]. 3. The conference will confuse the truth of the biblical gospel. 4. It will put a strong stress on methods. Ashbrook says: "Graham's methods have demonstrated how to get thousands saved without their ever realizing they were lost." 5. It will give no warnings about the 21st century dangers of apostasy, ecumenism, and the world church. 6. It will have a detrimental effect on fundamental missions. [Note: ACCC Executive Secretary Dr. Ralph Colas plans to attend this meeting, with press credentials, and make a report available.]
METHODISTS VOTE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY—United Methodist Church leaders May 11 reaffirmed their opposition to same-sex behavior, ordination for active homosexuals and blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples. The separate vote on each of these ran about two-to-one. The decisions are binding for the next four years (5/12 H. Times). Hundreds of liberal Methodist clergy have pledged to disobey the same-sex ceremony law.
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CULTS AND NEW RELIGIONS is the title of a new book by John Ankerberg (conservative SB) and John Weldon. It provides comprehensive information on major religious groups from both Western and Eastern traditions as well as occult and spiritistic sects. It is a very helpful and reader-friendly reference book that should be in every church library. Get this 732-page volume from Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR 97402, bargain priced at $13.00, postpaid.
AFEC CONFERENCE—The annual meeting of the Association of Fundamentalists Evangelizing Catholics is June 13-16, near Philadelphia this year. For more info, contact AFEC president Dr. Bill Jackson at P.O. Box 99141, Louisville, KY 40269, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIM LEE MEETINGS FEATURES SO. BAPTISTS—Dr. Tim Lee has two big conferences scheduled for June– one in Pensacola, and one in NC. Speakers include So. Baptists Jerry Falwell, David Ring, and Jerry Johnston.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE BIBLE is a 247-page book of 25 sermons by Ben A. Byrd about the Bible. Get this book from Dr. Byrd at: P.O. Box 1467, Hickory, NC 28603.
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