VOL. XVII  NO. 12  NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM  June 15, 2000

ROSIE: 'GO TO JAIL IF YOU OWN A GUN'—Rosie O'Donnell's shrill demands for gun control were evident in the recent "Million Mom March." In April 21, 1999, she said: "I don't care if you want to hunt. I don't care if you think it's your right. I say, 'Sorry. It is 1999. We have had enough as a nation. You are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun I think you should go to prison.'" (6/5 New Amer.) MMM organizers used figures showing 12 children were killed by guns every day. But pro-gun researchers noted most of those were 18- and 19-year-olds killed in drug-related violence (5/27 World). Law-abiding Americans use a gun to protect themselves from criminals once every 13 seconds. This year alone, armed citizens have stopped over 903,000 criminal attacks.

WHAT WILL EVANGELICALS DO IF POPE MAKES MOTHER TERESA A CATHOLIC SAINT?—When the Pope makes "Mother" Teresa a saint, will she still be on the evangelical pedestal? When he elevates Mary to be Co-Redeemer, Co-Mediatrix and Advocate of Christians with the blessing of "St. Teresa of Calcutta" what will Jack Van Impe, Chuck Colson and James Dobson say, all of whom are quoted as having believed Mother Teresa was a true believer? (May 2000 C.E.C. Journal)

'THOUGHT CRIMES'—Police in Gloucester, England are cracking down on racism by entering restaurants in disguise to listen for bigoted conversation. In the first week, one man was arrested for unacceptable table talk. Another was briefly detained for mimicking an Indian waiter but was let go. Orwell in his book 1984 foresaw a nation in which the most serious crimes would not be rape or robbery but "thought crimes" (5/22 USN&WR). Last year, an official British report proposed criminalizing racist remarks made in the family home.

ANGLICAN-CATHOLIC UNITY FUTURE A MYSTERY—A historic meeting in Toronto between Catholic and Anglican churches closed May 19 with 26 Anglican and Catholic bishops from 13 countries agreeing to create a commission to study how to unite the two churches after a 466-year rift (5/27 H.Times). Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey and Cardinal Edward Cassidy said the new commission will look into issues such as women's ordination, ethical positions and how to merge the two hierarchies. Last year, the joint Anglican-Roman Catholic Int'l Commission declared that Christians should accept the authority of the Catholic pope as a "gift to be received by all churches." Leaders of conservative groups (FBF, ACCC, Free Presbyterian, British Council of Protestant Christian Churches, and Canadian Prot. League) led a protest of the Anglican "betrayal of the Protestant faith."

SBC MINISTER HELPS PLANNED PARENTHOOD—Southern Baptist minister Bethany McLemore testified against a Va. bill requiring a 24-hour waiting period for an abortion. He is the coordinator of pastoral education and counseling for Planned Parenthood, providing pre-abortion counseling to women seeking abortions (5/00 Bapt. Banner). PP is the world's largest abortion provider.

WHITHER CCM?—The popularity of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is soaring, but some artists believe the genre depends too much on marketing tests and pop formulas and too little on a biblical worldview. World for May 13 warns that CCM leaders have tried to have it both ways. "They've created a successful industry that is trying to win mainstream appeal. But the danger for CCM is that it could be headed for the worst of all possible worlds: A Christian ghetto watering down the gospel in order to be positive, and a secular marketplace devoid of Christians." "Butterfly Kisses" became "gospel song of the year" (1997) even though it had no gospel in it.

TOLERANCE NOW MEANS NEUTRALITY—Pluralism has become forced neutrality, where no one should express any idea that could offend someone else. One pastor asked worshipers not to bring Bibles to church lest they offend seekers (5/00 Bapt. Banner). This could stifle evangelism, since "the preaching of the Cross" will offend many sinners. Many mission groups (including Youth With A Mission) are testing a new approach where converts are allowed to hold on to old religious beliefs and practices so as to refrain from offending others within their culture. (6/00 Foundation). YWAM is experimenting this idea with "Messianic Muslims."

MISSION TO CATHOLICS, INT'L is headed by converted Discalced Carmelite Friar and Priest Dr. Bartholomew Brewer. He writes: "June 16-18, 2000, ten converted Roman Catholic priests (some of their wives, too) will meet here for fellowship, mutual encouragement, and edification….Four of us will preach in some of the churches here in San Diego that Sunday." Dr. Brewer is author of the 1982 Pilgrimage From Rome book giving his true story and search for truth. He is editor of Mission to Catholics Challenger ($10/yr.), a helpful tool in witnessing to Catholics and may be obtained from P.O. Box 19280, San Diego, CA 93159. Request a free order form listing books, videos, tapes and tracts regarding RC.

TUFTS BACKS OFF—In the wake of bad publicity (over double standards, etc.) Tufts University has reversed itself and lets Tufts Christian Fellowship bar a lesbian from holding a leadership position (5/27 World, 6/1 CC).

STANLEY DIVORCED, WILL REMAIN AS PASTOR—The long-troubled marriage of Dr. Charles Stanley, senior pastor of Atlanta's First Baptist Church and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, ended last month. Stanley, whose In Touch TV ministry spans the globe, stunned his congregation by telling them he and wife Anna are divorced. When the congregation was told that Stanley, 67, will stay on as the church's senior pastor, a position he has held since 1972, it stood and applauded. Stanley's estrangement from his wife caused strife in the church in the mid-1990s because of a traditional but unwritten policy that First Baptist not allow divorced men to serve as deacons or ministers. Stanley's son Andy, now senior pastor of North Point Community Church, left his job as his father's senior associate at the time, citing concerns about his father's leadership. The elder Stanley told a 1995 meeting, "If my wife divorces me, I would resign immediately." "We hate it that things like this happen, but our church is moving right along," said the deacon board vice-chairman. "He is our pastor, and he will remain our pastor." Anna Stanley filed a petition Feb. 16 requesting a divorce on grounds that their marriage of 44 years was "irretrievably broken." The judge signed the final decree May 11. The Stanleys executed a property agreement April 5. SBC president Dr. Paige Patterson said this "ought to be a wake-up call for America…." [Adapted, 5/23 Atlanta Jrnl.-Con.] Note: Stanley is still listed in Jerry Falwell's paper as a major speaker at his Oct. Super Conference.

FALWELL SPOKE AT BBC'S GRADUATION—BBF pastor Dr. Arthur Houk sent us a news release entitled, "Well-Known Southern Baptist Pastor Speaks From the Platform of the Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. at the Jubilee (50 years) Graduation Fellowship". It said: "The date was Tuesday, May 16, in the well-attended evening service. The SBC pastor was Dr. Jerry Falwell, and he spoke from the platform for [about] six minutes. He presented a plaque to Dr. John Rawlings…honoring him as the outstanding Baptist pastor of the 20th century …[SBC-approved] Liberty University had chosen Dr. Rawlings for this recognition. My wife and I were in attendance and witnessed Dr. Falwell's presentation. Nothing was said on May 16 concerning his endorsement of ecumenical evangelist Dr. Billy Graham. Nothing was said concerning the fact that Dr. Falwell is a pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention. Nothing was said of Dr. Falwell's endorsement of Promise Keepers…." We would also further assume nothing was said concerning Falwell's reported involvement with (or praise of) Benny Hinn, Moonies, the Pope, etc. We beg BBC and BBFI leaders to break ties with Falwell and new evangelicalism.

FALWELL'S CHURCH TO PARTNER WITH NAMB—Thomas Road Baptist Church is one of five (thus far) mega-churches that are partnering with the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board to beget mega-churches in four large cities. The sponsoring church and NAMB each will be funding $250,000 for a flagship church over a two-year period. The 5/00 Baptist Banner (Va. SBC paper) comments as follows on Dr. Falwell's church: "Thomas Road first affiliated with the SBC in 1997 through its financial support of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia state convention, although it maintains relationships with independent Baptist groups. Thomas Road plans to give at least $100,000 to the Cooperative Program this year—the first year such gifts have come from the church's budget rather than designated contributions." In a 1998 interview about joining the SBC, Dr. Falwell says: "We [Liberty & Southeastern Sem.] plan to coalesce with our graduates in planting a lot of new Southern Baptist churches."

SBC COMMITTEE'S PROPOSED CHANGES—So. Baptists are tightening some boundaries on biblical interpretation. The revised statement of faith discourages ordination of women, limits the office of pastor to men, and requires people to profess personal faith in Christ as Lord to gain salvation. It rejects charismatic teachings and opposes abortion, homosexuality, and mercy killing. Changes to the Baptist Faith and Message, reflecting a continued rightward turn, will be considered at the SBC meeting in Orlando, June 13-14. The BF&M is not binding on local congregations, which are self-governing, but is an influential guide in hiring SBC employees. The revision also relaxes "Sabbath"-keeping rules. Previously, Baptists were to avoid "worldly amusements" and secular work, but the revision suggests that Baptists spend Sundays doing things "commensurate with the Christian's conscience." (5/22 Religion Today) Committee chair Adrian Rogers said the Bible "is the source of our authority, not merely a support for our historic doctrines." If this was true, and practiced, the SBC could not remain part of the apostate Baptist World Alliance.

NCC SEEKS UNITY WITH NAE, RC, PENTECOSTALS—The National Council of Churches will meet with Catholics and evangelicals to explore starting a new organization (per AP). The council's 50-member board endorsed a plan to pursue a cooperative effort with all major branches of Christianity in the U.S. The NCC is comprised mostly of mainline Protestant, Orthodox, and black Protestant denominations, but Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, and evangelicals do not belong. The future of the existing NCC is uncertain. Reformed Church in America head W. Granberg-Michaelson said: "Sometimes an organization structure has to be willing to die. We have to be willing to entertain that." (5/24 Religion Today) A notice of the proposal has been sent to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals. The latter, in a perhaps overture to the NCC, recently (see 4/15 CC) decided to allow its member denominations to be dually aligned with the NCC. NCC members at its 50th anniversary (Nov. 1999) decided a new ecumenical venture is needed.

SHERMAN A LIBERAL—Cecil Sherman was the first leader of the moderate-liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship ("split" from SBC). He is quoted in the 5/00 Baptist Banner from an earlier sermon: "I think the theory of evolution is the best explanation for the way life appeared on this earth." BB says: "Sherman does not believe the biblical account of the fall: no tree, Adam and Eve were not real people…." He eschews the "liberal" label, but in a 1983 interview (see 6/15/96 CC), he said: "Sometimes I'm a liberal and sometimes not….I'm not nearly as chained to what is orthodox as some in our denomination are. I guess that would make me a liberal."

BEWARE OF CATHOLIC 'JUSTIFICATION'—James Akin claims the Catholic Church portrays man utterly incapable of working for justification (1/99 This Rock). He quotes the Council of Trent which said that there is nothing that precedes justification, whether faith or works, that has any merit. Dr. Bill Jackson says: "That sounds good until you realize that Catholic Justification and Christian Justification are two entirely different things. A Catholic receives initial justification at Baptism, usually as an infant. Having received that initial justification, he is put in a position where he can merit."

ASHBROOK PAMPHLET—In the 6/1 CC, we reviewed John Ashbrook's pamphlet, The New Evangelical Event of the Year, but forgot to tell you to get it from: OBF Visitor, 3865 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214, 10 for $3.50.

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