RATHER: ‘YOU CAN LIE AND STILL BE HONEST’—CBS News anchor Dan Rather in a Fox News interview last month said he thinks Bill Clinton is an honest man, even though he lied under oath and to Jim Lehrer about the Lewinsky affair. Rather said: “I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.” (5/28 USN&WR) Evidence abounds that the mainline media are governed by this postmodern definition of honesty.

HARRY POTTER BATTLE—The Harry Potter tales of magical powers are recruiting tools for the occult. Complaints tripled last year. “The books depict witchcraft and are antifamily,” “Harry Potter teaches you it’s OK to get back at people,” e.g. (5/21 USN&WR). Several schools, mostly elementary (in Pa., Kan., Ill., and Wyo.), have banned them. It is dangerous to dabble in the occult and to na´vely assume witchcraft is merely harmless fantasy.

POPE AT ODDS WITH BIBLE ON DEATH PENALTY—The 5/7 Christian News says: "The Pope has again meddled into the business of the U.S. He’s asking the U.S. not to execute Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. The Pope does not accept what God says in His Word about capital punishment [Gen. 9:6, Lev. 24:17, Ex. 21:12, Num. 35:21, Dt.19:12, Acts 25:11, Rom. 13:4]".

ABORTIONISTS ASHAMED OF THAT LABEL—If an abortion is really no more morally wrong than the removal of a pimple, why is the “abortionist” label more offensive to liberals than the label “dermatologist”? Why must reporters call an abortionist an “abortion provider” but not call an anesthesiologist an “anesthetics provider”? If abortion is truly a “right” for women, why wouldn’t a doctor be proud to be an “abortionist”? (5/26 World) Just maybe, deep down, abortionists know that abortion is evil/murder and they don’t wish to be known as “dirty little mean abortionists” and reminded of that fact.

CATHOLICS MAKE EVANGELICALS LEAVE TOWN IN MEXICO—Catholic leaders in San Nicolas, Mexico, a town of some 4,000 people, are telling 36 evangelical families they must leave town within 90 days “or be kicked out.” (5/24 Ala. Baptist). Their water and sewer services were cut off Mar. 28. A San Nicolas spokesperson said, “What the town wants is for the evangelicals to stop spreading their religion to more people and to stop having their meetings….” Another example of Romanist intolerance!

CATHOLICS UP WORLDWIDE—The Vatican said its latest statistics (1999) showed that the number of RC’s worldwide rose by 1.6 percent in 1999 to a total of 1.038 billion, making up 17.4 percent of the world’s population.

N. KOREA: MASSIVE MILITARY, STARVING PEOPLE—With land mass less than Mississippi’s, and a population less than a tenth of the U.S., North Korea fields the fifth largest army in the world. It finances its war machine by selling missile technology to Iran, Syria, and other potential rogues (5/26 World). Famine has devastated much of the population. Since 1995, at least 2 million NKs are believed to have died of starvation. The UN spends over 30 percent of its food budget on NK. The U.S. is the largest donor of food and is sending 500,000 metric tons of grain annually. Mennonites and other church groups send massive aid much of which is used by communist NK to feed its army, buy new military equipment from Russia, etc., while its population starves.

SWEDISH GAY-RIGHTS BILL POSES A THREAT—A proposed law could make it illegal to publicly express the biblical position against homosexual behavior in Sweden (6/01 Charisma). The bill’s passage might criminalize the “reading of certain Bible verses in public” and undermine free speech. Sweden’s three largest denoms—Lutheran, Catholic, and Congregationalist, and “Christian gay” pressure groups—favor the bill. Defamatory statements about homosexuals are prosecutable in Sweden under existing law. The new bill defines homosexuals as a group in need of special legal protection against discrimination.

MINISTRIES FOCUSED ON MONEY, EGO—Charisma Editor Lee Grady, returning home from China, said “the ‘gospel’ we [charismatics] preach here is nauseating at times.” He said: “Recently I learned that a prominent evangelist routinely double-books speaking engagements and then determines which church plans to pay a bigger honorarium. Then he cancels the church that is offering the smaller amount. At many charismatic conferences, celebrity speakers demand luxury accommodations and five-figure speaking fees. Then when they ‘minister’ on the platform, they fake the anointing by pushing people to the ground after praying for them. So much of what is preached on the charismatic conference circuit is self-centered drivel. It’s all about using God to get ‘my breakthrough,’ ‘my blessing’ or…’my anointing.’” This is shameful, just the tip of an iceberg, but in lesser degrees, is not limited to charismatics. Grady’s candor is refreshing.

TALIBAN MAKES HINDUS WEAR LABELS—All Hindus in Afghanistan will now be required to wear yellow patches to distinguish them from Muslims, per a new decree by the ruling Taliban militia (6/4 USN&WR). It recently ordered the destruction of all the country’s statues. The Taliban bars women from education and from most jobs, and has always applied its radical version of Islam.

TWO SBC PROFS REFUSE TO SIGN BF&M—Two professors at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will leave their jobs rather than sign the Baptist Faith & Message as revised by the Southern Baptist Convention last year (5/10 Ala. Baptist). The two men disagree with the statement’s new prohibition on women pastors, and were told they must leave within a year. All faculty are required to sign the new BF&M.

NEWLY MERGED CHURCH SEVERS LINK TO GARBC—The First Baptist Church of Parma, Ohio recently merged with the Southwest Community Bible Church of North Royalton, OH. Senior Pastor Rev. Todd Nye states: "When the two churches were prayerfully considering the merger and trying to determine if [they] were philosophically and doctrinally compatible, we had to answer a number of critical questions. One of those…involved the affiliation of the new church with the GARBC [General Association of Regular Baptist Churches]. Due to well-documented trends in the GARBC in the areas of the use of contemporary Christian music and compromise in the area of ecclesiastical separation, the two churches voted to sever any official affiliation with the GARBC as a part of our agreement to merge." He adds: "As you can imagine, this was not an easy decision. FBCP began as a church within the GARBC and had remained in that fellowship for nearly fifty years….Our decision not to affiliate with the GARBC is in no way a blanket generalization of all GARBC churches…." We commend Pastor Nye and the new church for courageously acting on their convictions.

CHARISMATICS GROW WILDER & WEIRDER, BUT WHO CARES?—When charismatics now report that the Holy Spirit is filling teeth with gold it again shows the silly, ridiculous and phony nature of much of the charismatic movement. This August, Che Ahn (6/15/99 CC), one of the healing charismatics who claims that the Holy Spirit is filling the teeth of hundreds of charismatics with gold, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Lutheran Renewal Conference on the Holy Spirit. Apathy prevails in many denominations today. Surveys show that the majority of the members of most churches really do not care much about doctrine. The majority believes that a person must work at least in part his own way to heaven and that Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Christians, etc., all worship the same God. [Adapted, 5/7 Christian News] Some charismatics in the phony "Holy Laughter" movement bark like dogs, bray like donkeys, and other weird things.

AFFILIATED GROUPS GATHER AT SBC MEETING—Evang. Alberto Mottesi is scheduled to speak at the National Fellowship of Hispanic Southern Baptist Churches’ annual meeting June 9-11 at New Orleans, in conjunction with the SBC meeting (5/10 Ala. Baptist). Mottessi “ministers in both charismatic and non-charismatic churches.” (1/93 Charisma) His Board of Reference has included Drs. Bill Bright and Peter Wagner. Kay Arthur is the featured speaker at the Ministers Wives Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention. Billy Kim and Denton Lotz are speakers for the Baptist World Alliance Breakfast in conjunction with the SBC.

METHODIST BISHOP DOWNPLAYS CONVERSION—The chief ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Church says Christian missionaries should stop putting so much emphasis on converting people to Christ and instead focus on what it means to live with others in peace (5/1 Agape Press). Bishop Melvin Talbert said when Jesus prayed that all might be one, there was no Christian church. He said Jesus was appealing to the people of the earth to be one. The Bible tells us to preach the gospel.

MORE COMMENTS ON ‘JABEZ’—The Prayer of Jabez (see 5/15 CC) has sold over 4 million copies. There is nothing wrong in praying this lovely prayer, but it is not the only prayer we should pray, and there is no biblical evidence that it is an especially efficacious prayer. For example, the prayer of Jehoshaphat (2Chr. 20:12), one of the Apostle Paul’s beautiful prayers, or another good Bible prayer, might better apply to a given day’s problems. And might not the Holy Spirit prompt the exact prayer we need for our daily problems and praise? The 5/19 World said saying the prayer is a good thing, but warned that "some individuals read this book and come away thinking that prayer is a series of inputs and outputs." The book lists four points at the top of page 48 as true, but they are not necessarily true. Some quotes elsewhere in the book are not necessarily Scriptural: "He [God] becomes great through you.", "Without a temptation we wouldn’t sin.", "When you take little steps, you don’t need God.", "He [God] will never send someone to you whom you cannot help.", etc. "Miracles" are mentioned in at least six pages. It is this editor’s opinion that this is a dangerously subtle book that uses much of the language of word-faith and other charismatics. A 5/21 Christian News article lists some flaws and warns that Wilkinson’s book is a “particularly dangerous work from a Christian theological perspective.”

WHAT IS THE WCC?—The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of 342 churches, in over 100 countries in all continents from virtually all “Christian” traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the Assembly which meets about every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in Amsterdam in 1948. It is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser, Germany. These data are from a 5/18 WCC Press Release with a Pentecost 2001 message from the WCC presidents. An excerpt: “We rejoice in the knowledge that the ecumenical dialogue is alive among the broad families of churches…. Churches, in spite of their differences, are called to be passionate in their search for unity….” WCC presidents are: Dr. Agnes Abuom (Kenya), Rev. Kathryn Bannister (USA), Bishop Jabez Bryce (Fiji), Dr. Chrysostomos (Turkey), H.H. Ignatius Zakka I Iwas (Syria), Dr. Kang Moon-Kyu (Korea), Bishop Federico Pagura (Argentina), and Bishop Eberhardt Renz (Germany). [Note: ACCC exec. secretary Dr. Ralph Colas has reports critiquing WCC meetings he has attended in the past couple of years, available at: P.O. Box 5455, Bethlehem, PA 18015]

BUSH KEEPS COURTING CATHOLICS—When Pres. Bush travels, he often meets privately with senior members of the Catholic clergy, such as bishops and cardinals (5/28 USN&WR). In March, he attended the dedication of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., and hosted 60 cardinals, bishops, and other Catholic leaders at the White House. He gave the commencement address last month at the University of Notre Dame, and plans to visit the pope in Italy in July.

WEF IS NOW WEA—The World Evangelical Fellowship, comprised of over 100 national alliances including the NAE, recently met in Malaysia. It denounced the abuse of women, supported cancellation of third world debt, and changed its name to World Evangelical Alliance.

NRB MOURNS GUSTAVSON—National Religious Broadcasters president E. Brandt Gustavson died May 14 with terminal cancer of the liver and pancreas. Prior to serving in high positions with the NRB, he had served in high positions with other evangelical organizations— e.g., Trans World Radio and Moody Bible Institute.

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