VOL. XVIII NO. 22 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM December, 2001
|F. GRAHAM IN TROUBLE FOR REMARKS ON ISLAM—We disagree with Franklin
Graham on his ecumenism, but applaud him for speaking out against Islam.
MSNBC says he is "in trouble" with political friends for recently calling
the entire Islamic religion "wicked, violent and not of the same God."
"I don't believe this is a wonderful, peaceful religion," said Graham.
"When you read the Koran…it instructs the killing of the infidel…those
that are non-Muslim." Asked to clarify, Graham repeated his charge that
Islam, as a whole, is evil. "It wasn't Methodists flying into those buildings,
it wasn't Lutherans," said Graham. "It was an attack on this country by
people of the Islamic faith." The White House distanced itself from his
remarks, saying Pres. Bush "views Islam as a religion that preaches peace
…." But, it practices violence toward the U.S. and Israel.
HISPANIC GROWTH RATE IN U.S. IS STUNNING—The 2000 census showed that 35.3 million Hispanics make up 12.5 percent of the U.S. population, while 34.7 million African Americans constitute 12 percent. Half of all U.S. Hispanics live in just two states, Calif. and Texas (11/12 CT). These figures have stunned church outreach groups.
ATLANTA PAPER REJECTS CHURCH AD—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will allow a church to run an ad seeking a "Presbyterian" youth pastor. But won't permit it to specify "an energetic and outspoken Christian leader" and be one that would demonstrate "contagious faith in Jesus Christ," since such language would discriminate against "some Jewish or Buddhist person who might be qualified for the job." (11/1 Ala. Baptist) Curiously, the paper approved a similar ad with the phrase, "strong atheistic or agnostic convictions required."
IRISH TERRORISM—The Irish Republic is over 90 percent Roman Catholic. Northern Ireland is 65 percent Protestant and wants to remain under British rule. It opposes becoming a minority in a united Catholic country that has a history of bloody cruelty against Christians. [Ian Paisley and other Protestants fighting Catholic rule and terrorism are cast as troublemakers by the media, and even some fundamentalists in the U.S. see these Protestants' fight as merely "political" and are unaware of the "religious" significance.] The Irish Republican Army is a large terrorist group funded largely by Irish-Americans, thanks to Bill Clinton's permission. Its roots are Catholic, but it gets arms from Libya and has a Marxist agenda (4/1/95 CC). The IRA is an appendage of Sinn Fein, headed by Gerry Adams who, per George Will (10/28 H. Times), visited the U.S. nine times since 1994. The IRA recently promised once again to disarm.
URI: 'A CAGE FOR DIRTY BIRDS' (Rev. 18:2)—The United Religions Initiative seeks to create a permanent body of religious ambassadors – a parallel organization to the UN – to address the problem of "fundamentalists in our own groups." This is from Episcopal Bishop of San Francisco, William E. Swing who also said all religions are guilty of fostering terrorism. URI was founded in 1995 and is active in 58 countries. It includes Protestants, disaffected Catholics, witches, Druids, and New Agers (10/29 Chr. News). Swing is hostile to traditional and conservative faiths, and said "proselytizing will be illegal in the UR zone." This is shades of the coming one-world religion from which Christians are to "come out of" (Rev. 18:4). UR wants to "delete" fundamentalists.
OPRAH'S SINCERE BUT FLAWED NEW AGEISM—Oprah Winfrey said during an interfaith prayer service at Yankee Stadium that victims of the terror strikes instantly became angels. Her impulse to comfort is noble, but takes license with theology. A "salvation by sudden death" clause is simplistic and unscriptural—much like telling sorrowing parents that a drunken driver killed their child because "God needed another angel in heaven."
ALPHA COURSE CONCERNS—The Alpha Course is the fastest-growing adult education program in the country (11/12 Chr. Today). Over 3,300 churches in the U.S. use the 15-session curriculum, which came here from London's Holy Trinity Brompton church in 1996. But some are worried about its adaptability. Denver Sem. Prof. Gordon Lewis is concerned that "Catholics could add tradition, Mormons could add the Book of Mormon …." An Episcopal church in Calif. added an "Alpha for the Gay Community." But Alpha leaders hope the course "which has a charismatic perspective," spreads to 50,000 U.S. churches. [Get Elizabeth McDonald's newly updated "warning" book, Alpha: An Overview. E-mail: email@example.com Web site: http://www.bayith.org
GOAL OF ISLAM: WORLD DOMINION—Islam is committed to the complete subjugation of the entire world to Allah (12/01 Moody). Muslims (especially non-Western ones) view the U.S. as a Christian nation, and so a powerful rival to their faith. For Islam, the kingdom of Allah must in the end become the unrivaled kingdom of this world. Muslims see the U.S. as exporting immorality, and being a political puppet of Israel and American Jews.
A TIMELY QUOTE TO NOTE—"We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order." – David Rockefeller (Oct. 2001 Evangelical Methodist)
TIMOTHY GEORGE, ECUMENICAL SO. BAPTIST?—Dr. Timothy George is the founding dean of Beeson Divinity School, which is on the campus of Samford University (SBC) and a member of the NAE. George is a Harvard grad and an executive editor of Christianity Today, the main new-evangelical magazine. Fuller Seminary president Richard Mouw, at the recent Pilgrims on the Sawdust Trail conference at Beeson, referred to George, the "organizer of this overtly ecumenical conference [which included Roman Catholics Richard J. Neuhaus and Jeffrey Gros as speakers], as a representative of current conservative SBC leadership." We suspect that many of the latter would disagree with this characterization. The 10/5 Raden Report said Gros and Neuhaus gave strong appeals to the validity of RCC sacramentalism, sacerdotalism, etc. In his "response" Dr. George did not rebut this perversion of biblical truth, but "repeatedly and pointedly referred to both of these professing sacramentalists as fellow brothers in Christ." Neuhaus and George said a new ECT statement, "Your Word is Truth," would be out in book form next spring.
HYMERS' REPORT ON GRAHAM'S FRESNO CRUSADE—Following are adapted excerpts from a four-page "Eye-Witness Report on the Fresno Billy Graham Crusade" by L.A. pastor Dr. R.L. Hymers Jr. who attended the first two nights and has listened to nearly 500 of Graham's sermons, read all of his books, etc. Graham spoke on "The Love of God" Oct. 11, quoting John 3:16. He did not open his Bible nor ask anyone else to open one. (Hymers' own was the only Bible he saw!) Hymers says something is basically wrong with Graham's preaching—it "has mellowed." He disagrees with Graham's ecumenical emphasis, his loud pulsating music, and his sending people into liberal and Roman Catholic churches. But he says the greatest tragedy is in his sermons themselves. "The old preachers let people know, in no uncertain terms, that they were lost—and on the way to hell." The second night (Oct. 12), Hymers said Graham gave nine different ways to be saved: 1. accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, 2. repent, 3. come to Christ, 4. come to faith in the Word of God, 5. open your heart to Jesus, 6. believe that Jesus died on the Cross, 7. get up right now and come forward, 8. acknowledge Christ publicly…, and 9. rededicate your life. Dr. Hymers concludes: "That kind of preaching doesn't get anyone saved." [Editor's note: To be saved, one must be convicted of his sin by the Holy Spirit, Who uses the Gospel (I Cor. 15:1-4), which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes (Rom. 1:16). The 11/1 Ala. Baptist noted that Charles Colson shared the platform with Graham on the final night. And, as in recent years, the final night had a youth-oriented CCM/rock concert, this time featuring dc Talk, Kirk Franklin, etc.]
PLATFORM MINISTRY SPEAKERS—Pastor Gary Freel (Berean Baptist Church, Boone, Ia.) has a good article on separation in the Sep-Oct Foundation, titled "Platform Ministries: Does it Matter Where we Go?" In conclusion he writes: "As hard as it may be, Fundamentalists must refuse to use speakers who have compromised themselves and their message by aligning themselves with apostate, heretical groups or ministries that are New Evangelical or Charismatic. Furthermore, when an institution or local church uses compromising speakers, Fundamentalists should refuse to fellowship with them or promote them until they repent (Gal. 6:1)."
J. HAROLD SMITH DIES—Dr. J. Harold Smith was a non-separatist Southern Baptist, but his Radio Bible Hour was popular among independent Baptists also. He went to be with the Lord Nov. 13 at 91. Bob L. Ross writes: "I doubt seriously if any radio preacher for the past 50-something years has preached as many sermons on the radio as Brother Smith. He was a mighty and fearless pulpiteer, pastoring churches and doing extensive evangelistic work." He preached over 70,000 sermons.
PROPHETS FOR PROFIT: ANOINTING FOR SALE?—Even Charisma magazine (10/01) warns against it! It says: "More and more ministries are 'selling' spiritual gifts to anyone willing to pay…" A conference ad: "The first 100 paid registrants will receive a personal prophecy." Peter pronounced a curse on Simon the Sorcerer who tried to buy the power of God from the apostles (Acts 8:18). Fortunetellers, psychics and tarot card readers have moved into the mainstream, using the latest technology to hawk their wares via TV and the Internet. Soothsaying has become a multibillion dollar ministry. Harry Potter has nothing on these charlatans.
CATHOLICS APPROVE MORE OF MUSLIMS & MORMONS THAN FUNDAMENTALISTS—USA Today reports that American Catholics look more favorably on Muslims and Mormons than they do on fundamentalist Christians...A nationwide phone survey of 1,508 Roman Catholics found 56 percent had a favorable impression of Islam, but only 46 percent of Catholics had a favorable view of fundamentalist Christians…(Religion Today). In the poll, 58 percent of Catholics surveyed agreed that "fundamentalist Christians tend to be religious fanatics," and 50 percent called them "not tolerant of others." [We are "tolerant" of Catholics, but not Catholicism.] Richard Land, a conservative Southern Baptist….said "If they had asked about Catholic views of evangelical Christians, they would have gotten measurably different results." Of course this is true; "evangelical Christians" would include most charismatics and new evangelicals whose leaders "tolerate" and work together in ministry with Catholics in clear disobedience to the commands of God's Word.
TOLERANCE VS. PLURALISM—There is a distinction between tolerance and pluralism. Tolerance gives us room to say, "I think you're wrong, but I'll defend your right to be wrong." Pluralism strongly suggests that there isn't any such thing as right and wrong—and no such thing as truth and error. As is practiced more and more in America, pluralism tends to require that you not only leave room for your neighbor to believe what he believes, but that you also refrain from disagreeing with it (World). While tolerating "rights" of sinners, we must not condone sin, and must expose and warn against false doctrine.
ANOTHER JABEZ REVIEW—Dr. Layton Talbert in the Sep-Oct Frontline magazine gives a balanced review of the popular The Prayer of Jabez book. But one of the philosophical flaws he noted was "a tendency to confuse 'blessing' with 'success.'" He said: "The underlying assumption seems to be that an increase in successful ministry opportunities is indicative of God's blessing, and the lack of an increasing number…denotes the absence of God's blessing. This can create an unwarranted expectation on the part of readers which, when not realized, results in confusion, frustration, and disappointment with God or an introspective assumption that there is simply something wrong with them. The Biblical emphasis is on faithfulness, not fruitfulness. Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel were explicitly forewarned that their ministries would be noticeably 'unsuccessful' in terms of tangible positive influence and results; despite that, they were exemplary successes because they faithfully fulfilled God's commission for them….Despite [the] weaknesses and its obvious New Evangelical orientation, the book contains inspirational illustrations…."
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