DEATH PENALTY TO CONVERT A MUSLIM—The supreme leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia warns that his regime will enforce the death penalty on any Muslim who converts to another faith, and said "any non-Muslim found trying to win converts will also be killed." (3/5 Chr. Today) He has ordered all statues to be destroyed. A 5-year jail sentence is decreed for anyone caught selling or distributing anti-Islamic literature.

HOLY LAND THEME PARK WORRIES SOME JEWS—Marvin Rosenthal gained notoriety with his 1990 "Pre-Wrath Rapture" book. Now, his new $16 million Holy Land theme park in Orlando is drawing protests from Jews who think it's an attempt to gain Christian converts. Rosenthal wants to use the park to reach out to people of all faiths but promises no overt proselytizing. Born Jewish, some call him a Messianic Jew but he calls himself a Hebrew Christian. Christians have a great commission to give the Gospel (not apologies) to a lost world. Indeed, Jewish leaders today, as in Jesus' day, impede efforts to gain Christian converts and thus fear this theme park.

TANGLED IN THE PORN WEB—Pornography sales now exceed $10 billion annually in the U.S. and $56 billion over the world. Porn use—specifically Internet porn—is on the rise and is claiming a high price: lost jobs, failed marriages, and destroyed families. Pastors and other Christian leaders are no less vulnerable to this addiction (3/5 C. Today). In August 1999, 11 percent of the calls received on Focus on the Family's Pastoral Care Line were about pastors and online porn. In August 2000, online porn worries prompted 20 percent of the calls. Almost 10 percent of calls are from women. Many female sex addicts get hooked through X-rated chatrooms. Pornography has become one of the most profitable ventures on the Internet with obscene profits soaring.

AT&T TRAFFICKS IN HARDCORE SMUT—AT&T known for many years as Ma Bell has become Madam Bell by offering the Hot Network—which prides itself on being more explicit than the Playboy Channel—as a pay-per-view option on its cable operations (3/5 Chr. Today). A coalition of religious investors has filed a resolution that would require AT&T to report to all its shareholders justification for peddling porn to its cable customers. It cites reports of connections between graphic (sexual and violent) media content and aggressive behavior, and says: "Manufacturers and distributors of products with perceived harmful impact on society (tobacco companies, handgun manufacturers, and alcohol advertisers and retailers) are increasingly being held liable…." The corrosive effects of hardcore pornography should be of great concern to all.

PSYCHIATRISTS SAY HOMOSEXUALITY IS EITHER MENTAL ILLNESS OR SEXUAL DEVIATION—A 1992 survey by the American Psychiatric Association's Office of International Affairs in conjunction with the APA Committee of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Psychiatrists surveyed 125 psychiatric associations around the world, family groups report. The survey found that all but three associations consider homosexuality mental illness or a sexual deviation, they said (2/26 Chr. News). Yet, many today demand that Boy Scouts accept "gays" as leaders. 

HARRY POTTER & THE BIBLE—Richard Abanes, "a well-published evangelical expert on cults and the occult," in a new book by the above name, proves that the Potter books are steeped in a thinly disguised occultism (Moody, 4/01). They "exalt morally flawed, egocentric characters who often lie, use profanity, and refuse to repent…." 

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IS RIGHT—A Mar.-Apr. Moody editorial gives some excuses for opposing the death penalty, but also lists reasons to support it. It says: "But if we impose the death penalty out of a conviction that life is not only precious but also God-given, justice requires those who wantonly take the lives of others to pay with their own." Some crimes are so heinous, death is the only appropriate penalty. Does it deter? Yes, it is the ultimate deterrent, when applied swiftly and surely (Eccl. 8:11).

WHY MUST TAXPAYERS FUND BLASPHEMOUS ART?—Jesus is shown as a nude female at the same art museum where an elephant-dung-decorated painting of the Virgin Mary was displayed in 1999. Liberals call it censorship when decent taxpayers protest being forced to pay for such anti-religious obscenity. But withholding NEA grants from filth-peddlers is not restricting free speech but funded speech. No artist has a "right" to practice his "art" at taxpayers' expense. Why should we be forced to underwrite the undermining of our values through tax-dollar "grants for garbage" to fringe freaks? 

CHINA STEALS, SELLS HUMAN BODY PARTS—Red China lacks effective laws governing organ donation and transplantation. So doctors take organs and tissue from bodies without permission, peasants hawk their own kidneys for quick cash, and authorities sell organs taken from executed prisoners (2/5 USN&WR). A bitter harvest! 

DEEPAK CHOPRA, A NEW AGER—Deepak Chopra has been described as a "spiritual guide, New Age guru and poet prophet of alternative medicine." His Hindu-based teaching is that we create reality from universal energy. [See 12/15/97 CC, and Watchman Fellowship]

THE OPENNESS DEBATE—Open theism is the idea that God does not fully know the future because humans have not yet made the choices that will affect it (2/19 Chr. Today, 9/1 CC). Bethel College (Minn.) teacher Gregory Boyd, pastor of a large Baptist General Conference church in St. Paul, is the leading proponent of open theism in the BGC. In a 1994 book Boyd claimed: "God can't foreknow the good or bad decisions of the people he creates until he creates these people, and they, in turn, create their decisions." This borders on blasphemy, but the BGC leadership said Boyd's position was within the bounds of evangelicalism so he retained his faculty post. A group led largely by John Piper believes Boyd and his views should be purged from the BGC. The BGC (& the SBC) is a member of the apostate Baptist World Alliance. Bethel's president is George Brushaber (6/15/97 CC), senior adviser for Christianity Today. A Conservative Baptist (CBA) sponsored "Seminary of the East" has merged with and is officially an extension of Bethel Seminary (1-2/01 Fund. Digest). Both CBA and BGC are members of the NAE.

PATTILLO CHOSEN FOR NCC STAFF—The National Council of Churches has elected a veteran Southern Baptist communicator from Birmingham, Ala. to its senior staff in NYC. Wesley M. "Pat" Pattillo, currently North American rep for Hong Kong Baptist University, previously served the SBC's flagship institution, So. Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville) for 14 years and Samford University for eight years. Pattillo will become NCC Assoc. Gen. Sec'y for Communications Apr. 16. He will oversee NCC's communications program and its global ministry, Church World Service. The NCC, founded 1950, is the main ecumenical entity in the U.S., comprising 50 million members in 140,000 congregations. Its 36 member denominations include U. Methodist, Presbyterian USA, Evang. Lutheran, Disciples, American Baptist, Episcopal, UCC and most black Baptist and Methodist groups, and major Orthodox groups. Since 1996, Pattillo has been the NA rep for HKBU, the sole surviving Christian university in Red China. Of his new job, he said, "It will be a privilege to join with this unique cooperative organization as it pursues a broad range of Christian ministries, rooted in Biblical faith and focused on the most challenging of human needs. The NCC's pioneering work in Christian education, relief and refugee resettlement, Bible translation, and issues of moral and spiritual witness emerges from a passionate commitment to be faithful to the Spirit of Christ in our time." NCC Gen. Sec'y Bob Edgar said, "We welcome Pat and the experience and expertise he brings to the important task of 'getting the word out' on the work of the NCC and its global service and witness ministry, CWS. We look forward to Pat's contributions…in communications, especially as the Council embarks upon its mobilization against poverty and its exploration of a broader ecumenical vision." Pattillo's wife is an ordained So. Baptist minister and a board-certified chaplain. She coordinates spiritual care for Unity Hospice, a joint program of Baptist and Catholic health systems (B'ham area). They are members of Baptist Church of the Covenant, a So. Baptist congregation affiliated with the NCC-related Alliance of Baptists. Pattillo's election came by unanimous action of the NCC's Exec. Board, meeting in NYC in Feb. [NCC 2/28 e-mail]. How can a So. Baptist leader praise and link up with the liberal NCC? Actually, all SBs are linked with the apostate Baptist World Alliance!

S. COVE SPEAKERS—Sandy Cove 2001 speakers include (also see 1/1/98 CC): Michael Horton, Woodrow Kroll, John Ankerberg, Tony Evans, Ken Gangel, Gary Oliver, Ron Cline, and Ken Ham. It is also a meeting site for Seventh-day Adventists, Campus Crusade, Young Life, etc.

WCC CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEETING—The World Council of Churches' 158-member Central Committee opened its 8-day meeting in Potsdam, Germany, Jan. 28, with an ecumenical worship service. An early-on problem for this governing body of the WCC, in its search for full communion/unity, was that both the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church consider themselves to be the official, one, holy, apostolic church established by the Lord. Neither one can recognize the other as that one true church. Relations are also strained between Orthodox and Protestant members of the WCC. Other agenda topics included globalization, syncretism, violence, justice, armed intervention, peace, racism, genocide, "unjust" debts to rich nations, and eliminating poverty. New members joined, bringing the WCC total membership to 342 churches and 60 associate councils. The WCC claims to represent over 400 million Christians worldwide. The apostate WCC is a prime builder of the ecumenical world church of the Antichrist. [Note: ACCC Exec. Sec'y Dr. Ralph Colas attended this meeting as a press member, and will have a report available soon.] 

SPURGEON—"That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them." We must separate from apostasy and from brethren who promote it.

SBC MISSION BOARD, CHARISMATIC CHAPLAINS—The Southern Baptist North American Mission Board has expanded its prohibitions regarding the endorsement of chaplains to include those who participate in any kind of "charismatic manifestations." (2/19 Chr. News). The new rules against tongues-speaking and other charismatic manifestations will apply to newly endorsed chaplains and counselors and those seeking periodic renewal of endorsement. This is mostly good, but the SBC is by no means rid of charismatics in other areas. (See 3/1/99 CC

EVANGELICALS PROMOTE CATHOLICISM MORE THAN CATHOLICS?—A Catholic journalist (12/00 First Things) says Charles Colson and Billy Graham pay more attention to the writings of [Pope John Paul II] and take them to heart more readily than do some dissenting Catholic priests and theologians. He says "Pat Robertson for a time was sending copies of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a gift to friends, while some Catholics view the Catechism as oppressive and authoritarian. It could even be argued that Campus Crusade and Prison Fellowship have done more to advance the Church of Mary than entire theology departments of some Catholic universities." (Jan-Feb Foundation) Many other notable new-evangelical leaders praise the Pope and Catholicism.

DEATHS:Richard Wurmbrand, founder of Voice of the Martyrs, died Feb. 17 at 91. A Lutheran minister of Romanian Jewish background, he was an "underground" missionary to Romanian and Eastern European Jews under communism, was arrested several times, and spent 14 years in prison (3/3 World). We have warned of his sometimes strange theology and lack of discernment (see 2/1/99 CC), but would salute him for providing Bibles and literature for decades to persecuted peoples over the world. Rousas Rushdoony, father of Christian Reconstructionism (strongly post-millennial), died at 84. Early on, he was an Orthodox Presbyterian pastor and missionary (3/3 World). He popularized the apologetics of C. Van Til, and was a pioneer and champion of homeschooling. He said Christian statecraft must be based on the Ten Commandments. He founded Chalcedon. Gary North was his son-in-law. Dale Evans Rogers died (Feb.) at 88. She and husband Roy made scores of western movies, and appeared at Oral Roberts, TBN, Billy Graham and Campus Crusade events.

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