CATHOLIC CHURCH & THE DEATH PENALTY—The Catholic Church, as a matter of official policy, has advocated and carried out the death penalty over the centuries against persons whose only crime ["heretics"] was not to be a Roman Catholic (7/01 Ill./Ind. Missionary Baptist). But the new position on the death penalty issue of "The Church That Never Changes" is one of "compassion" for the convicted murderers. The earlier victims of the death penalty were not mass murderers like Timothy McVeigh but were guilty only of holding to non-Catholic religious beliefs. Neither was theirs a painless death like McVeigh's but they were burned at the stake, often savagely tortured prior to execution.

MORMON CHOIR TOURS SOUTH—The 330-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir and accompanists tour major cities in the South this summer "to establish in the minds of people that Jesus Christ…is central to our faith…." The 6/1 Watchman Fellowship Update states: "To make Christians believe the Mormon Church is Christian has long been the goal of modern Mormonism as to do so is to break down barriers that hinder their recruiting. However, the Jesus that is central to the Mormon faith is not the Jesus of the Bible that is central to the faith of Southern Christians. The Jesus of the Mormon Church is the brother of Lucifer, a worshiper of a god that was once a man on another planet, and the product of a union between god and one of his goddess wives in the pre-existence and between god and Mary on earth. Theirs is a Jesus that won redemption, not by shedding his blood on the cross for whosoever shall come to him, but while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane for everyone, whether they believe in him or not."

HARRY POTTER BOOKS are filled with witchery, wizardry, and the occult—subjects that should concern Christians, knowing that God condemns these things (Dt. 18:10-11). So says a July Baptist Bulletin article, and rightly so, we believe. Paul listed "sorcery," or witchcraft, among the works of the flesh in Gal. 5:20-21, along with idolatry, heresies, murder, drunkenness, and so on.

TRINITY WESTERN'S STANDARDS STAY—The Canadian Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in May that the College of Teachers erred in denying accreditation for Trinity Western University's teaching program because of the school's "alleged discriminatory practices." Faculty and students of this Evangelical Free Church school (in British Columbia) must sign a contract that binds them to uphold standards forbidding gay sex, fornication, adultery, watching porn, drunkenness, swearing, abortion, lying, and involvement in the occult.

THE POWER OF MUSIC—The following is taken from a 7/16 Christian News review: Music can have a profound impact on one's belief system. Modern record producers and artists who, on the one hand, say their music cannot in anyway be responsible for someone's behavior, on the other contradict themselves by stating that their music can change the world. If music is used outside of God's intent, i.e., to promote sex, violence and the occult, it can tear down the very fabric of a society. Many of today's popular rock groups embrace/promote rebellion, nihilism, death and an occult worldview by their lyrics and lifestyles.

SUDAN DEATH TOLL—The militant Islamic regime in northern Sudan has waged a genocidal 'holy war" against the mainly black Christians and animists of southern Sudan. Brutal terror tactics include slavery, rape, forced conversion to Islam, bombing, starvation and famine (7/16 New Amer.). Over 2 million are estimated to have died due to war and repression. Sudan's death toll is larger than the combined fatalities suffered in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, and Algeria. Twice as many have perished in the past 18 years than all the war-related deaths suffered by Americans in the past 200 years.

BELIEVERS IN LAOS MUST RECANT OR FACE JAIL—In communist Laos, Christians in droves are forced to sign such a declaration as, "I unequivocally resign from this foreign religion [Christianity]," officially renouncing their faith (7/18 Relig. Today). The Bible League says those refusing to sign the document face indeterminate prison sentences under hard conditions. There are 30 to 60 known Christian prisoners in Laos now. Communist officials have declared Christianity the "No. 1 enemy of the state."

BIBLES BANNED IN TURKMENISTAN—Bibles are disappearing from bookstalls in former Soviet republic Turkmenistan after a government letter ordered vendors to remove the books from off shelves. The Koran is still widely available (7/14 World). Turkmenistan restricts all religious activity and allows only two religious groups, Russian Orthodoxy and Islam, to register legally.

THE DEATH OF EVANGELICAL PROTESTANTISM is title of a 26-page paper by George Gilbert. He discusses ECT (Evangelicals/Catholics Together) and refutes various Catholic doctrines and new teaching on Justification. Order from the author: 1668 George St., Val Caron, Ont., P3N 1H6. Cost (postpaid) is $5.50 (US), $8.50 (Can.).

SINGLES by 88 percent say there are too many divorces, but almost two-thirds endorse cohabitation before marriage as a way to avoid divorce. (July 7/14 World)

GRAHAM CENTER HOSTING MAJOR MISSIONS MEETING—The Billy Graham Center of Wheaton College is hosting a major gathering Sept. 20-23 near Orlando, Fla. "with one purpose in mind: collaborative unity." "GodsmissioncommUNITY" is the name of the gathering of some 1500 mission leaders from mission networks across North America who will attempt to bring the Great Commission community together. Major new-evangelical mission entities (e.g., EFMA, IFMA, World Vision, World Evangelical Alliance, Willow Creek) will participate. Speakers include: William Taylor, John Orme, Paul Kaughan, Michael Cassidy, Tom Houston, John DeHaan, Lonnie Allison, and Gary Schwammlein.

SINGLETON CALLED HOME—We were saddened to hear that Dr. James Singleton - pastor, educator, mission board founder, author, editor - succumbed to cancer July 13. He was an erudite Fundamentalist and a member of the FBF and ACCC executive boards. He also was a member of other organizations, e.g., the IBFNA. He pastored Tri-City Baptist Church, Tempe, AZ, for 30 years, but turned these duties over to Dr. Mike Sproul a couple of years ago. Mike's dad, Dr. Dave Sproul is the Gen. Director of the International Baptist Missions (co-founded in 1980 by Dr. Singleton) and Rev. Joel Tetreau is president of the International Baptist College, founded by Dr. Singleton. In recent years, Dr. Singleton edited and published The Whetstone. A personal note: Brother Jim was this editor's friend. He publicly promoted the CC at FBF meetings, especially during the first decade of this ministry, and invited me to use his display booth table for subscriptions. For the past 17 years, he and I would meet privately for an hour or so at these meetings to discuss trends of concern within Fundamentalism, and to share perspectives on issues of occasional controversy or disagreement. Drs. Rod Bell, Bob Jones III, Ed Nelson, Phil Shuler, Kevin Schaal, Mike Sproul, and Joel Tetreau were the July 17 funeral speakers. Our sympathy and prayers go out to his dear wife Mary and family.

'LEFT BEHIND' UPDATE—George Zeller has updated and expanded his helpful analysis of the "Left Behind" movie, video, and book series (see 12/15 CC). It is now four pages. Zeller praises the strong points, but also reveals the absurdity, confusion, and doctrinal flaws. He writes: "In the book series, there is a Catholic pope who is taken in the rapture and other Catholics as well…People might wrongly think that the gospel preached by Catholics is the same Gospel found in the Bible, when they are actually diametrically opposed." A most serious tragedy is that the Gospel is "left out" of the "Left Behind" film. This film will lure more Christians to secular movie houses. For a free copy of the review, E-mail: GeorgeZeller@Juno.com or write him at: 349 East Street, Middletown, CT 06457. (A helpful paper, Attending Places of Entertainment by Charles H. Spurgeon is also available upon request.)

NTA RESOLUTION ON MODERN TRANSLATIONS—The New Testament Association of Independent Baptist Churches met June 5-7 at Woodcrest Baptist Church (Minn.), pastored by NTA president Dr. Clarke Poorman. Dr. Richard Paige is NTA's new National Rep, succeeding retiring Dr. Earle Matteson. Next year's NTA meeting is set for June 4-6 at East Park Baptist Church of Decatur, Illinois, Dennis Komis, pastor. One of six resolutions passed at the 2001 NTA meeting pertained to Modern Translations of the Bible: "Whereas, the use of translations is a divisive issue in Bible-believing churches, Be it Resolved, that our Association continue to use only the King James Version as our only translation in all NTAIBC meetings, but not to allow the controversy surrounding Bible translations to divide us as brethren."

WOMEN CELEBRATE 'MOTHER GOD' AT CBF MEETING—At the June 28-30 meeting in Atlanta of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a CBF auxiliary group (Baptist Women in Ministry) opened its annual meeting "with songs and prayers to Mother God…." A litany read by BWIM members expressed their discomfort at calling God "Father," "Lord," and "King." (7/2 Religion Today). Participants chanted in unison that they "can say" the words Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit, "no problem," but "God the Father" is a different story. The BWIM treasurer said she believed more SBC women would be ordained to the pastorate "because I believe God is good, and She knows what She's doing." This 10th anniversary meeting reveals the CBF to be far worse than merely a moderate, disgruntled Southern Baptist group. We have long contended that it should be considered as very liberal.

FULLER SEMINARY TALKS WITH CATHOLICS—Fuller Theological Seminary and the Catholic archdiocese in L.A., have been sponsoring ecumenical talks since 1987 (WITW). This past Lent, the committee got two Pasadena congregations to join in the dialogue by sharing a common worship service. St. Andrew's church and First Church of the Nazarene sponsored the services.

DON'T EVANGELIZE CATHOLICS?—The most grievous aspect of the growing acceptance of Romanism is the effect it has on outreaches to Catholics (6/01 Berean Call). Missionaries returning from largely Catholic countries are sometimes cautioned by their support-church pastor to "go lightly" on negative experiences with the Catholic Church. This would seem to lead to a let-up in warnings against Romanist errors and false gospel.

BEN HADEN SUCCEEDED BY MICHAEL YOUSSEF—Dr. Ben Haden retired in May from his "Changed Lives" radio and TV programs. These programs will be replaced by Leading The Way With Dr. Michael Youssef. Youssef is the founding pastor of the 1,600-member Church of the Apostles in Atlanta. It is non-denominational and in the reformed, evangelical Anglican tradition. Haden was a board member of the new-evangelical Christianity Today until last fall, and pastored the First Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Chattanooga, Tenn. from 1967-1999.

PRESBYTERIANS: 'GAY CLERGY WILL HURT CHURCH'—Rev. Bill Giles, director of a conservative Presbyterian organization, predicts that hundreds of congregations will leave the PCUSA if homosexuals are allowed in the ministry (7/18 Religion Today). He said there are conservative congregations in all 50 states that don't want non-celibate homosexuals in the ministry. "We believe homosexuality is chosen and the practice of [it] is a sin," said Giles. Supporters say allowing homosexual ordination would make the church more inclusive and that all "qualified" people should be allowed ordination.

FIGHT FOR TRUTH—"If we sacrifice truth today for short-term influence we cannot guarantee what our conduct will be tomorrow. When the day to fight is postponed the very will to fight may go from us." (Iain Murray from his 2000 book, Evangelicalism Divided)

GOD'S SHEEP HEAR HIS VOICE—Apostate ecumenists say: "Our problems will be solved if we can enlarge the sheepfold and invite both sheep and wolves to come in." Compromising evangelicals say: "Enlarge the sheepfold and don't pass judgment on whether or not its occupants are sheep or wolves. Just love them all." Anti-biblical charismatics say: "Don't worry about the sheepfold—simply make sure both sheep and goats have been 'baptized with the Holy Spirit'…"(Adapted, Foundation)

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