VOL. XIX NO. 14 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM November 2002
FALWELL: PASTORS MAY
ENDORSE CANDIDATES, CHURCHES MAY DISTRIBUTE VOTER GUIDES—Jerry
Falwell says thousands of pastors will soon be getting Barry Lynn's
(head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State) perennial
“scare letter,” trying to intimidate churches and pastors from speaking
out on political matters. But only one church in our nation's history
has lost its tax exempt status over political wrongdoings. Churches may
legally pass out non-partisan voter guides, do non-partisan voter
registration, and many other things, but may not endorse a candidate –
only a pastor as an individual may do that.
SAME-SEX UNIONS ADS IN NEWSPAPERS—The New York Times, Boston Globe, and a growing list of other papers are opening their wedding pages to same-sex commitment celebrations of homosexuals. Another disturbing effort to normalize homosexuality was Big Brothers Big Sisters' (a mentoring group for fatherless or motherless children) recent decision to ban discrimination against homosexual applicants.
O'REILLY NOT SO RIGHT—Popular talk show host Bill O'Reilly says labeling someone as a "sinner" is contrary to American values. He has grown a large audience in recent years, including many Christians who like his conservative views on many key issues. But recently he has attacked those who say homosexuality is a sin—as the Bible does—and who would oppose such things as giving homosexuals the right to adopt children. He says the religious right has lost influence because they often "base their opinion on what they believe God wants." O'Reilly paralleled people who base their opinion on religious beliefs, and try to impose them on others, to the Taliban terrorists (10/9 AgapePress). He supports gun control, opposes the death penalty, and is said to be an environmentalist at heart. He recently spoke to a convention of “gay and lesbian” journalists. He says it's better to have a child in a stable home, even if it's run by homosexuals, than to be in chaotic foster care (9/17 H.Times). O'Reilly says: “Even if there is no God or Heaven or Hell, I still believe religion is a positive force. My [Roman Catholic] religion is comforting. [Its] traditions are magnificent.”
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOES NOT PRO-LIFE—It is a fallacy that the pro-lifer who defends the right to life of an unborn baby in the womb, but does not defend the right to life of a convicted murderer on death row, is being morally inconsistent. But there is no inconsistency here: The unborn baby is innocent, the convicted murderer is not. It is the pro-abortion/anti-death penalty liberal who is morally inconsistent, since he supports putting to death only the innocent (6/3 NA).
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PRO-LIFE ULTRASOUND PHOTOGRAPHY—Ultrasound scanners and photo studios are being set up in shopping malls where pregnant women can purchase early baby portraits. Such pictures of the baby in the womb is an unanswerable argument against abortion. A visual scan of the developing child shows it sucking its thumb, moving around, sneezing, and doing other things babies outside the womb do (9/28 World). No one who sees an ultrasound picture can deny in good faith that what she is seeing is not just a “fetus,” but a baby.
JONAH – THE VEGGIE TALES MOVIE—This is said to be an attempt to market religious values to a mainstream audience. The video appeared in 1993 and has sold 28.5 million copies. O Timothy editor David Cloud, who reviewed some of the videos, said VeggieTales will draw many Christians to vile movie theaters, will create a taste in children for rock music, and is a dangerous bridge to the world. The movie takes liberties with the biblical storyline. It softens a bit the crimes being forgiven. “While it's clear that the Ninevites do evil, the film asserts that the king of Nineveh didn't know that the things they did were wrong.” (10/5 World) The Ninevites' chief sin is said to be their habit of slapping each other with fish (10/12 HT). Be warned, be wise, beware!
ABORTION IS LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG BLACKS—Over one thousand black babies are killed by abortion every day, making it the leading cause of death for blacks. One out of three surgical abortions is performed on a black woman, killing a black child. More blacks are killed in a typical three-day period than were ever lynched in America's history (10/11 AgapePress). Yet blacks tend to vote in large numbers for candidates who support pro-abortionist legislation.
MICHAEL W. SMITH SAYS WORSHIP MUSIC DOESN'T MATTER?—Popular CCM singer and church planter Michael W. Smith is quoted in Moody: “I don't think the Lord really cares what style of music we worship Him with. If it's in the guy's gut and he's really crying out to the Lord … it's worship.” John Fischer, two pages over, expressed similar sentiments: “Sometimes I wonder if Jesus even cares what kind of music we worship with as long as we worship.” This is ludicrous, but an increasingly popular notion today. Fischer also said: “Statistics show that larger churches are not necessarily growing by converts; they are just better at more popular forms of worship, siphoning off the attendance from smaller churches that simply can't keep up. Even what used to be the all-important sermon may at times seem more an adjunct to praise and worship. Many people go to church today more to experience God than they go to hear about Him, and they feel that they experience God mostly in music.” Sad but maybe true! “For the time will come when they will not endure sound DOCTRINE…” (II Timothy 4:3) The sermon is merely an “adjunct”? “[It] pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (I Corinthians 1:21)
BBF PLUNGES TO NEW EVANGELICALISM—The Baptist Bible Fellowship's National Meeting in Fairfax, VA in September featured Southern Baptist speakers, a praise band (guitars, drums, etc.), and was the “first” to have a team of young ladies leading worship. Plains Baptist Challenger said: “They are taking a giant step toward new evangelicalism and liberalism.” Sword of the Lord editor said “In my view, they are already there.” The most famous BBF preacher, Dr. Jerry Falwell (member of both the BBF and the SBC), spoke the night preceding the meeting. Charismatic John Hagee was listed to speak at Falwell's church in July. Falwell has personally endorsed Benny Hinn (4/1/00 CC). BBF Pres. Dr. Kenneth Gillming said of churches going the contemporary route, “As long as a church subscribes to the twenty articles of faith and gives to one of the Fellowship missions projects, then they can be counted as a Fellowship church.”
A PROMISE KEEPERS MEETING—Andrew Rupert, Ass't Pastor, Bible Community Church, Mentor, OH attended a Promise Keepers rally in Cleveland in July. He summarized some problems with this ecumenical men's movement under the following subject headings: Rock music, Charismatic atmosphere, A Cloudy Gospel (e.g., by Luis Palau), Confusing Counseling, Dangerous Presumption (re salvation), Charismatic encounter (tongues), Crowd Psychology (dancing), Biker Peter, Off-Color Humor, and Evaluation. Pastor Rupert concludes: “Promise Keepers uses a watered-down Gospel which is designed not to offend. Sometimes the message sounds like the Gospel, but it is carefully tailored not to offend works salvation, baptismal regeneration, tongues-speaking, or extra-biblical revelation, or cults. Even the counseling of seekers is vague and blurred to make men feel accepted without true repentance from sin. Men leave with a false assurance of salvation. Promise Keepers may have good intentions but its commitment to unscriptural unity, worldly methods, and a cloudy Gospel make it an organization no fundamental Christian can support.” [Rev. Rupert's 4-page report is available from: Ohio Bible Fellowship, 3865 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214, 10 copies/$3.50. A 16-page tract on PK is available for $8/100 from Highways & Hedges, 201 Maple Ct., Liberty, SC 29657.]
EXPEDIENT FUNDAMENTALISTS—The late Dr. Paul N. Tassell, a former GARBC National Rep, had this to say in his 1983 Pathways To Power book (p142): “There are basically two kinds of fundamentalism in America today. One is what I call expedient fundamentalism. The other I refer to as obedient fundamentalism. Expedient fundamentalists believe in the fundamentals of the faith, but they do not want to get involved in the fight for the faith. They are interested in picking the fruit from fundamentalist orchards, but they are not willing to fight the insidious enemies of the orchards.” Tassell went on to warn about our responsibility to separate from apostasy and “compromising evangelicals.” It is sad to see how fast he and his own GARBC forsook his good advice.
FALWELL'S UNWANTED NEIGHBORS—Dr. Jerry Falwell, in a 9/19 e-mail, wrote: “Here in my hometown of Lynchburg, Va., Mel White, a de facto leader in the homosexual-rights movement, has taken up residence (with his male paramour) directly across the street from my Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC). Their quest is to compel our church members and me to alter our biblical stance that homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle. These two men accuse me of endorsing 'spiritual violence' on the homosexual community because I continue to preach the truth of the Bible, namely that homosexuality is a sin. Their in-your-face exploit has resulted in much media attention—certainly what they hoped for….”
HCJB SPEAKER NOT CATHOLIC—The cited source in the 10/2 CC article has since learned that the Catholic priest mentioned is not a Catholic priest but a Baptist who teaches Greek and Hebrew at the Roman Catholic Seminary. The information we added—that HCJB is ecumenical, a member of the NRB, and has employed over 100 Catholics still stands.
PEARSON'S DOCTRINE OF INCLUSION—Charismatic bishop Carlton Pearson's “inclusion gospel” has caused a split in his Tulsa megachurch. This doctrine teaches no declaration of belief in Christ as Savior is necessary for going to heaven, and this has caused a mass exodus from his church (10/02 Charisma). This theology questions the existence of a literal hell, and states that everyone is saved—they just don't know it (5/02 CC). Pearson's response to this is that it's “just like when [Word of Faith preacher Kenneth Hagin Sr.] says, 'You're healed—you just don't know it.'” Pearson says we are trying to convert, and we just need to convince.
'HOLY HIP-HOP'—The August Charisma featured an article on hip-hop music which stated: “The music is loud, and the beats are strong. But Christian hip-hop [an oxymoron?] artists say they're using this unorthodox sound to reach a generation for Christ.” Readers responded (10/02 Charisma): “The hip-hop revolution is ordained of Satan to destroy our youth….It saddens me that you can condone a musical style that is obviously fleshly and demonic. God is not using hip-hop to reach youth. This is clearly a situation where young people don't want to separate from the world….Hip-hop music is decidedly hypnotic….Christian leaders need to show…leadership and remove this ungodly music from their churches…Shame on Charisma for promoting music that is corrupting our youth.”
FULLER SEMINARY A HODGEPODGE OF TRADITIONS—Fuller Seminary's Focus had an interview with a Catholic nun about her experience as a student at Fuller. She said “I think Fuller is a great place for a Catholic woman to study who wants to be taken seriously as a woman in ministry.” Fuller embraces over 100 theological traditions and is renowned for its “remarkable achievement in evangelical ecumenity,” says George Marsden. Fuller no longer insists on such doctrines as the inerrancy of the Bible (10/7 Chr. News). It promotes women pastors and is open to the modern charismatic movement.
WCC IN CRISIS—Financially, the liberal World Council of Churches has spent its reserve funds, dismissed staff members and had to secure a mortgage on its property. Over half of the 342-member church bodies do not support the WCC at all. German churches account for one-third of the WCC's income. Another thorny issue for the WCC is how to keep the 20 or so Orthodox bodies in the fold. They have long chafed at domination of the WCC's theology, worship styles, social-action agenda, and decision-making processes by mostly liberal Protestants (9/21 World). Dr. Ralph Colas who attended the recent WCC meeting (at Geneva) noted an open disdain there for fundamentalists. Get his full report from: ACCC, P.O. Box 5455, Bethlehem, PA 18015. Send offering.
FORMATION OF WORLD CHURCH—Mainline Protestant, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal and Evangelical church leaders have met twice for conversations and are planning a third meeting in January 2003. The 34 church leaders issued a statement entitled An Invitation to a Journey, describing how “we see a vision of a new life together.” This vision “has led us to provisionally call ourselves Christian Churches Together in the USA because we long for greater unity.” Dr. Bob Edgar, NCC General Secretary, urged Executive Board members to share An Invitation to a Journey broadly within their member communions. “This is an important moment for coming together, and for talking about a new something that would be broader and deeper.” (Proclaiming the Gospel) The Bible teaches there will be an end-time world church, but it will be led by the Antichrist.
HUGE CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL OPENS IN LA—A new massive, 12-story Roman Catholic Cathedral opened in Los Angeles Sept. 2 amid protests of its cost ($190 million) and abuse scandal. California Catholics see it as a common gathering spot for uniting people of all faiths. The dedicatory four-hour Mass featured liturgical dance and a 6,019-pipe organ. The new cathedral has 25-ton bronze doors with symbols of various deities from around the world.
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