VOL. XVIII NO. 2 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM January 15, 2001
|PROMISE KEEPERS SWERVES LEFTWARD?—Promise
Keepers has scheduled
16 men's conferences from June to early Nov. Its theme is "Living an
Faith." Santa Clara University Prof. Larry Iannaccone says critics who
say PK was about social and family dominance by white males are missing
the point—it is not about gender but revival (1/11 Ala. Bapt.).
PK was also about to a large degree promoting ecumenism, charismatic
music, and racial reconciliation. Iannaccone notes that PK demonstrated
far more racial diversity than NOW, its primary critic. He said far
emphasizing male dominance, PK urged men to new accountability and
to wives and children. As a result, he said, PK actually represented a
social shift to the left.
TM, AN OFFSPRING OF HINDUISM—As a meditation technique, Transcendental Meditation has its origins in Hinduism, the religion of 700 million people worldwide. Hindus recognize about 300 million gods, and believe in reincarnation. Meditators deny that TM is a religion, but present it as a "scientific" way to reduce stress, etc. So Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic leaders endorse it to members (12/15/98 CC). Fairfield, Iowa is a major world center for TM and the home of Maharishi University of Management, named after TM founding guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. MUM has 650 full-time students, half from outside the U.S. There are 20,000 TM instructors in the U.S. (1/8 C. Today), and 6 million people worldwide have taken TM classes. TM is incompatible with Christianity.
HOLLYWOOD'S POLITICAL FUNDING—The top three contributors to the Democratic Party, according to the 8/8 Wall Street Journal, are labor unions, trial lawyers, and the entertainment industry (8/26 World). Hollywood, a major filth-peddling cultural polluter, has given some $50 million since President Clinton first ran for office. One fund-raiser estimated that the national committee gets 20 percent of its funding from Hollywood.
ALL-MALE WORLDLY 'CHURCH'—A new all-male "Man Church" draws up to 170 men to monthly services in San Dimas, Calif. Holding the service in a sports bar nightclub is meant to create a non-threatening environment where men can learn to be better husbands and fathers (12/7 Ala. Baptist). A Church of Christ in our city has created a Mayberry Bible Study using Andy Griffith shows.
CATHOLICS DOMINATE U.S. CONGRESS—Catholics have been the largest religious bloc in the legislative branch since 1964, and now number 150. Baptists, with 72, are the next largest bloc. Most Catholics in Congress are from the Northeast, Great Lakes, and California.
HIP-HOP, ROCK BEATS, CHRISTIAN LYRICS—About 1,300 teen and pre-teen youth pour into Club Life each Tuesday night to sing and dance to hip-hop music with Christian lyrics, hosted by Metro Ministries (NYC). They walk and talk hip-hop—not just a style of music but a lifestyle. "Perfected in the late '70s by blacks and Latinos in South Bronx, hip-hop's musical roots are found in jazz, black gospel, reggae, and rhythm and blues." Like rock before it, hip-hop provokes our suspicions and many Christians wonder if a music and culture that so brazenly glorifies sex, violence, and vice can proffer anything redemptive (1/8 C. Today) Yet Billy Graham and other evangelists use hip-hop in their "festival" crusades.
TAXPAYERS FUND BAD ART—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities were started in 1965 as Great Society programs. Both have proven to be disasters, especially the NEA. A 10/28 World article states: "There is no reason for the NEH to fund Marxist scholarships, or for the NEA to fund anti-American propaganda, or for either to give grants that undermine American institutions, such as work that mocks or blasphemes religion. Artists are free to create such works, if they want, but taxpayers are free not to pay for them."
HOMOSEXUALS THE GOOD GUYS, SCOUTS BAD—A barrage of homosexual characters on national television makes it hard to find a program without them. Since the U.S. Supreme Court last year affirmed the right of Boy Scouts to exclude homosexuals from leadership, activists have mounted an aggressive campaign to apply economic pressure on Scout donors (11/1 CC). The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to blacklist the Scouts (1/1 New Am.). The Broward County (FL) school board recently kicked out 57 troops because Scouts exclude homosexuals from leadership (12/16 World). Duke U. (Methodist) decided to allow same-sex unions in its chapel. The vast majority of Americans do not hate homosexuals nor wish them physical harm, but believe that their perverse lifestyle prevents avowed active ones from being the role models they desire to lead our virtue-building institutions. Also, our concern is that a "hate crimes" bill would be used to silence churches from teaching morality to members.
THE BAKKERS—Former PTL leader Jim Bakker served almost six years in prison and has remarried. Wife Tammy Faye likewise remarried and is now an unofficial icon for homosexual men (10/2 CT). Son Jay is a tattoo-bedecked man with a street ministry in Atlanta. In his new book he writes that churches should not kick people out for saying a few cuss words or smoking a joint.
LUTHERAN - EPISCOPALIAN AGREEMENT—After decades of dialogue, the 5.2 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the 2.5 million-member Episcopal Church, USA celebrated a "full communion" agreement (Jan. 6). Amid declining memberships, this enables both denominations to share clergy and pool other resources, but is "more like a marriage than a merger." Christian News Editor Herman Otten comments: "Both ELCA and ECUSA are "anything goes" churches. They both support the killing of unborn infants while they oppose the right of the government to put convicted murderers to death. They both ordain women. They both allow their theologians to deny every doctrine of the Christian faith. The confessions of both bodies are no longer considered binding. The Episcopal Church includes such radicals as Bishop John Shelby Spong who promotes the ordination of homosexuals and says the Apostle Paul was a homosexual. Spong has long attacked the deity and resurrection of Jesus Christ. ELCA has…similar radicals…as Spong." Otten concludes that all "anything goes" churches should merge. He says most of the major denominations today (including the Catholic Church), either teach or allow their theologians to teach that Jesus Christ is not the only way to heaven and that Christianity is not the only true and saving faith. The ELCA and ECUSA are members of the NCC/WCC.
PALAU'S DOWNTOWN FESTIVAL—About 140,000 people filled a downtown Portland park for two days last summer for CCM/rock music, face-painting, miniature golf, skateboarding, and food—and to hear evangelist Luis Palau preach at Portland Festival 2000. Lon Allison, director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, praised the festival model for its ability to attract large crowds, including families, with less effort from churches (1/8 Chr. Today). He said "The day of the evangelist being able to attract crowds to hear him or her is over—other than Billy Graham." Most contemporary evangelists, including Palau, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, and Greg Laurie, make significant use of pop culture and music in their events. But in recent years, two changes in the methods of mass evangelism seem significant. Many events are now called festivals instead of crusades; and the location is shifting from sports arenas to city parks.
CATHOLICS' THREE AUTHORITY SOURCES—The perspective of the Roman Catholic must necessarily be different from that of a Fundamentalist Christian. The Catholic must, as his faith requires, allow for three sources of truth: The tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, Holy Scripture, and lastly, the teachings of the Magisterium, i.e., the Pope and his Bishops. Fundamentalist Christians, on the other hand, subscribe to what is commonly referred to as "Sola Scriptura"; that is, only Scripture is sufficient for all truth (CEC Journal).
EVANGELICALS' ROMEWARD RUSH—Evangelicals who used to warn of a "one world church/government" now seem intent to run into the arms of this "central authority". They refuse to recognize what the Roman Catholic Church is, and how she operates—not as a Church but as a sociopolitical empire. For example, Charles Colson, Timothy George, Os Guinness, Richard Land, Max Lucado, Mark Noll, and J.I. Packer endorsed "The Gift of Salvation" document [see 1/1/98 CC] that begins with the statement, "We give thanks to God that in recent years many Evangelicals and Catholics, ourselves among them, have been able to express a common faith in Christ and so to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters in Christ." If Christ were their Lord and Master, they would not kowtow to the papal system. [12/00 Berean Beacon, PO Box 395, Vernonia, OR 97064]
MBI FOUNDER'S WEEK, STOWELL—Moody Bible Institute's Founder's Week 2001 speakers are: Tony Evans, Jill Briscoe, Elisabeth Elliot, Howard Hendricks, John Piper, Gary Chapman, Ken Fong, and MBI Pres. Joseph Stowell. Stowell relates that while sitting next to Billy Graham at a dinner in Fort Lauderdale recently he asked Graham what he had enjoyed most in his many years of ministry (Jan.-Feb. Moody). Graham replied that it was his fellowship with the Lord and His guidance and presence. Stowell glowingly praised Graham with no word about the havoc wreaked by Graham's ecumenical evangelism Crusades, which tore down Biblical walls of separation from Catholicism and other false systems. Stowell is on Graham's board, and a member of the NAE.
ABWE LINKED WITH NEW EVANGELICALISM—For many years we have reported much evidence indicating that the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism is not separatist in its associations and practices. ABWE advisory board member, Dr. Charles Ware, spoke last year at an ecumenical conference (see 3/15/00 CC) and is again listed to speak at a May conference which includes some of the same new-evangelical speakers. ABWE was an "approved agency" of the GARBC until last June when the GARBC changed its "Approval" system to a "Partnering network" of which the ABWE became a "partner." We now see ABWE listed as a staff sponsor of Faith Academy (along with Campus Crusade, SBC, Assemblies of God, etc.) in the Philippines and that ABWE "works closely with" it. MBI Pres. Joseph Stowell spoke a few years ago at an ABWE conference in Portugal. The separation issue was the main reason Drs. Ernest Pickering, Ralph Colas, and Bill Hopewell severed ties with ABWE. So we were surprised to see an ABWE veteran missionary listed as a speaker at a major Fundamentalist conference next month.
URBANA 2000—Nearly 20,000 college students and young adults converged on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a Dec. 27-31 triennial convention sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapters in the U.S. and Canada. At least 90 denominations were part of the hodgepodge of liberal, ecumenical, new evangelical, and charismatic groups. Many schools from these compromising groups were represented, including Fuller, Bethel, Asbury, Gordon-Conwell, Denver, Biola, Grace, Grand Rapids, Moody, Wheaton, Westminster, American Baptist, and Assemblies of God. Agencies represented included Episcopal, ELCA, Presbyterian Church, USA, PCA, and Baptist General. Other religious groups such as Campus Crusade, Child Evangelism, New Tribes, and TEAM tried hard to recruit the young people for their organizations. Speakers included Ken Fong, George Verwer, and Ruth Padilla De Borst. While at some points the Gospel was Biblically defined, at others it was made to include social action projects and racial reconciliation as its core. Tony Evans in a video shown said: "Any gospel that does not speak to the issue of injustice and where people are not fed is not the gospel." The New Revised Standard Version was given to each attendee. The worship team band provided loud CCM/rock music. The above information is from an extensive first hand account by American Council of Christian Churches' Executive Sec'y Dr. Ralph Colas who attended Urbana 2000 as a member of the accredited press. His report will be available very soon, from: ACCC, P.O. Box 5455, Bethlehem, PA 18015. E-mail: email@example.com
GRAHAM MEETINGS—Billy Graham recently turned administration of his evangelistic association over to his son Franklin, but he plans to lead stadium meetings in Louisville (June) and in Fresno (October). He is now 82.
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