VOL. XIX  NO. 2    NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM     January 15, 2002

WHY THE DEATH PENALTY?—Capital punishment is not rehabilitative or remedial but retributive. A main reason for it is that justice demands it. The results of the recent "most thorough study to date" suggest that capital punishment has a strong deterrent effect. An increase in any of the three probabilities—arrest, sentencing, or execution—tends to reduce the crime rate. In particular, each execution results, on average, in 18 fewer murders—with a margin of error of plus and minus 10 (Manfred Kober, Th.D., 12/01 BB). As to racial fairness, Norm Geisler says: "A disproportionate number of capital punishments is not in itself a proof of inequity any more than a disproportionately high number of minorities in professional basketball is proof of discrimination…."

MORMONISM IS STILL A FALSE CULT—Set to host the 2002 Winter Olympics, Mormons are polishing their image and seeking to appear as just another Christian religion. But their writings present a salvation-by-works gospel and teach they will one day become gods. Mormons are gaining many new converts, but don't be deceived by this false system that tries to pass itself off as Christian by using terminology designed to confuse and ensnare the unwary (12/01 Foundation). Be warned, be wise, beware!

'RELIGIOUS TOTALITARIANISM'—Gene E. Veith defines it as "the view that one faith must reign supreme and can be affirmed and held passionately only if all others are negated." (12/15 World) He says the new world war is against it. He says Christians better be ready to become unpopular and will find themselves demonized as "intolerant" if our culture drifts toward a new syncretic (multi-faith) religion. Veith mentions the 7,000-member Agape International Spiritual Center near L.A. where "intermixed with the Christian praise songs are the 'oms' of Eastern meditation. Agape calls itself a church but makes no pretension of being Christian at all.

HYBELS INVITED MUSLIM LEADER TO PRESENT ISLAM PROPAGANDA TO HIS CHURCH—As we reported in the Nov. CC , Bill Hybels provided a forum in his Willow Creek megachurch near Chicago for a Muslim leader to deceive and spread lies about Islam. The 12/01 Foundation states: "For any Christian leader to share a platform with a Muslim and blatantly allow a false teacher to propagate error is unthinkable. Hybels has completely rejected…Paul's admonition for church leaders to protect the flock and beware of false teachers and false doctrine (Acts 20:28-31). Rather, he has intentionally allowed a wolf to enter the doors of the church and deceive the flock. This…reveals the extent to which one will compromise once the Biblical doctrine of separation is rejected."

—The 9/01 Vanguard posed this question: "Have we, unknowingly, actually arrived at a position where music has replaced faith as the means by which we appropriate God's blessings and where the 'worship leader' rather than the evangelist is responsible for bringing people to God?" Churches are being filled with concert goers rather than congregations, and the music team are becoming performers rather than pastors—and often having more public presence and time with congregation members than does the pastor.

RED CHINA TO OFFER MORE FREEDOM TO CHURCHES?—Communist leaders in China are preparing to give formal recognition to unregistered religious groups, but house-church leaders are wary and wisely so. China's government brands as illegal any Protestant group that refuses to join the officially recognized TSPM church (12/3 Chr. Today). On another front, U.S. tax dollars are sent to the UN Population Fund which in turn supports China's forced abortion policies.

NO TIME FOR MORE GUN CONTROL LAWS—Even though firearm sales increased dramatically after Sept. 11, this is no time to ban guns from law-abiding citizens. In Hitler's Germany, gun laws that proved useful to the Nazi regime were enacted by its predecessor. Once a population has been disarmed by a relatively humane government, it is deprived of the most valuable means of resisting a more corrupt one (11/19 New Amer.). Simply brandishing a gun is enough to stop most crimes (World).

ABSENT FATHERS, UNWED MOTHERS—On any given day, one in three black men, ages 20-29, is in prison or jail, on probation, or on parole (compared to 12.3 percent of Latinos and 6.7 percent of whites). Many who are not incarcerated deal drugs and belong to gangs. Seventy percent of African American babies are born to unwed mothers (12/3 C. Today). A recent study indicated 29.9 percent of black boys engage in sex before age 13 (compared to 14.2 percent of Hispanic boys and 7.5 percent of white boys), and 75.7 percent do so before finishing high school. Of African American girls, 11.4 engage in sex before 13; 66.9 percent before graduating. Such sad statistics indicate Christians are failing to reach perishing souls, for whom Christ died, with the Gospel.

THE ISLAMIC JESUS VS. THE BIBLICAL JESUS—James Sundquist has compiled a comparison of the two, and gives "20 Scriptural Reasons Why the Muslim Jesus is Not the Same as the Biblical Jesus." Available from him at: Last Generation Artists, 551 Valley Road, PMB #123, Montclair, NJ 07043. E-mail virtfit@hotmail.com

—Central Baptist Seminary Visiting Lecturer John Makujina, Ph.D, in an Oct. 23 letter to Clark Pinnock of McMaster Divinity College (Canada), wrote: "I notice that you will be giving a paper at the ETS [Evangelical Theological Society] meeting in November. I would encourage you to act with integrity and resign your membership in the ETS. I cannot understand how you could sign the statement of doctrinal agreement….I have read your utterly blasphemous book Scripture Principle and cannot see how the author of such a book can sign this document. Further I think you ought to show a measure of honesty and cease posing as an evangelical. You are an inclusivist, an open theist, a conditionalist, and deny the doctrine of inerrancy—i.e., you are a liberal theologian with some evangelical leanings rather than an evangelical with some liberal leanings. Further I see you as a thoroughgoing apostate, who creates Biblical doctrine in accord with what ideals he can and cannot live with. You are as dangerous as any cult leader. I have a dear friend who was deceived into accepting open theism due to your Openness of God. I hold you, Greg Boyd, and IVP responsible for this. Further as an ex-Zoroastrian, converted to Christianity in my early twenties, I find you and your brand of inclusivism utterly loathsome. Your toleration by ETS, IVP, and the church testifies to the failure of the experiment known as evangelicalism…. I feel nothing but contempt for you precisely because you persist in masquerading as an evangelical."

—Beware of the leading Evangelicals of our day who are attempting to find a common cause with a dangerous religious system that preaches a false gospel and has enslaved millions…for hundreds of years. True believers should never support of find themselves in joint ministry with any religious leaders who are capitulating to the Roman Catholic Church, nor should they associate with or participate in dialogue with those who are attempting to find common cause with those who preach a false gospel. God's command is clear—separate, turn away, shun and avoid false teachers, for they will one day face the judgment of God as a result of their rejection of His truth (Foundation).

INTERFAITH WORSHIP VIOLATES CHRISTIANITY—NAE's Richard Cizik says interfaith services— featuring, e.g., Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, and Protestant leaders—which have sprung up increasingly since 9/11, and which see all religions as equally valid, should be rejected. Meeting organizers sometimes ask clergy to focus on only those beliefs shared by all involved, or to refrain from using Christ's name (12/17 C.News). Cizik rightly says: "We do no one a favor by appearing to support a mistaken pluralism that pretends all religions are the same."

BILLY GRAHAM AND HIS FRIENDS is the title of a new 788-page book (including Endnotes, bibliography, and index) by Dr. Cathy Burns, and subtitled "A Hidden Agenda?". This is a valuable, well-documented reference book about a popular man and his powerful influential friends. The publisher writes: "While Graham has been a beacon of hope in spiritually turbulent times and a source of comfort and solace to many in times of tragedy, we find that others have questioned his connection with the National and World Council of Churches [and] the ecumenical movement." The book has brief reports on many people and subjects, and quotes the CC a few times. Dr. Burns has a degree in Bible Philosophy and has done extensive research on the New Age movement and related subjects. Get this book from: Sharing, 212 E. 7th St., Mt. Carmel, PA 17851. Retail price is $21,95 + $2.55 postage. Mention CC and get it for $16.00 postpaid.

—Dr. Edward Hindson (Dean of Dr. Jerry Falwell's Liberty U.) says he believes the transformation model of changing society is the most biblically correct of the five basic models proposed in church history for church and society (1/02 NLJ ). He notes that ecumenical Anglican theologian John Stott calls the contemporary post-modern challenge one of living between two worlds, and quotes him as calling for the "earthing of the Word" so that the Gospel may be communicated with relevance to the secular world." Hindson adds: "Only as we speak the truth effectively within our culture can we truly build a bridge of communication to that culture." Indeed, we are to serve as salt and light in the world, evangelize it, but we are not commanded to "Christianize" or change society. The post-modern world system is headed for judgment. We are commanded to be separate from it as we seek to be effective witnesses to its lost individuals.

F. GRAHAM CLARIFIES ISLAM REMARK—Franklin Graham has clarified his charge that Islam is a "wicked religion" and said he was not talking about individual Muslims but about "the terrible deeds that are committed as a result of Islamic teaching." (1/2 C. Today)

NEW SCAPEGOAT: FUNDAMENTALISM—A good editorial in the new-evangelical 1/7 Christianity Today cites examples from the liberal New York Times and London's Guardian revealing that Fundamentalist has become a rhetorical weapon of mass destruction. It said that both papers "have devoted a bewildering amount of space to shrill essays that equate many fundamentalists (be they Christians, Jews, or Muslims) with bin Laden's homicidal minions." It said our war on terrorists is "not a war against fundamentalism, unless these armchair generals want America to wage a centuries-long reverse Crusade against all people who believe in objective truth, miracles, an afterlife, or natural law." Most Christians, even those who happily call themselves fundamentalists, respect and try to guard the freedoms of our nation.

PROMISE KEEPERS' YOUTH EVENT DRAWS 14,000—Thousands of teenage boys descended on Columbus, OH for a first-of-its-kind Promise Keepers youth rally, "Passage," an all-day conference to teach boys about integrity, courage, humility and faith. Passage features high-energy music from Jars of Clay and rap artist John Reuben, pro-skateboarding and bicycling demos, and a 12-week follow-up curriculum study led by local adult mentors in area churches (12/18 Relig. Today). Jars of Clay is a CCM/rock band whose lead vocalist said they don't want to be called a Christian band because it's a turn-off (9/15/98 CC). PK is very ecumenical and pro-charismatic.

ABUSE LAWSUITS SINK CANADIAN DIOCESE—The Cariboo (Anglican) Diocese in British Columbia was to close Dec. 31, facing $63,000(US) in monthly legal bills. This is Canada's most visible loss relating to thousands of suits charging sexual abuse (1/7 CT). The government offered to shoulder 70 percent of out-of-court legal settlements for physical and sexual abuse claims at church-run residential schools for natives. Some estimate it may cost $1.26 billion to settle suits from over 8,000 plaintiffs.

ROBERTS LIARDON ADMITS TO HOMOSEXUAL AFFAIR—Charismatic pastor-writer Roberts Liardon is stepping down from ministry for three months to seek professional and church counseling related to a recent homosexual relationship (12/21 Charismanews). Liardon, 34, cited "several situations, both personal and health-related." We do not rejoice in his fall, but have warned about his "wacko charismatic teachings." (See 9/1/99 CC).

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