VOL. XIX  NO. 3      NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM      February 1, 2002

ANGLICANS: MASONRY INCOMPATIBLE WITH BEING CHRISTIAN —The Anglican parish of St. Paul's, Lithgow, (Australia) has split after an edict from the parish council that Freemasons abandon their beliefs, or "cut yourself off from fellowship with St. Paul's," per the Sydney Morn. Herald . On Oct. 28, the parish council issued a leaflet saying: "There has been a clear recognition of the spiritual dangers of Freemasonry, and that it is incompatible with being Christian." It said Freemasonry undermined the Bible, contained rituals offensive to Christianity, and denied the one true God (1/11 Religion Today). Thousands of Southern Baptist pastors in the U.S. and hundreds of thousands of laymen are Masons (see 7/15/98 CC). The SBC should demand that it's pastors withdraw from Freemasonry's religion of works.

PRISON CHAPLAIN IS A WITCH—Wisconsin's newest prison chaplain is "Rev." Jamyi Witch, who changed her name from Welch, "because I am one" (a witch). Taxpayer funds are used to pay a "wicked Wiccan witch" prison chaplain's $32,500 salary, according to a Jan. 14 Christian News article. Wicca is a very fast-growing pagan religion.

EU'S ARRESTING POWER—European Union leaders gathered at the Royal Palace in Dec. to put in place plans for a new "global superpower." Per the Dec.16 Wash. Post, the EU summit launched "a constitutional convention to design a federated Europe that could govern over a half-billion people from Dublin to Dubrovnik before the end of this decade." (1/14 New Amer. ) At present the EU claims to represent "about 380 million people in 15 countries who share a common president, parliament, court system, central bank, anthem, bill of rights and 80,000 pages of legal code." Under a new EU-wide arrest system, citizens from one EU country could be handed over to another.

VATICAN TO KEEP PEDOPHILIA TRIALS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS—Priests accused of sexually abusing children will be tried in secret ecclesiastical courts, with the Vatican overseeing cases directly from Rome, per the New York Times. The new rules are intended to "protect the rights of the accused," said a Vatican official. But the Times said some feel the rules could "instead add to the impression that the Roman Catholic Church is trying to conceal abuses…." "The problem of pedophile priests has been a huge and expensive embarrassment to the church," the Times reported. Pope John Paul II has, in the past, apologized to victims of sex abuse by priests. And one large award was given in a case involving a priest two years ago in Dallas, where the diocese had concealed the abuse of boys who were later awarded $120 million in damages by a civil court (Religion Today).

th GRADERS MEMORIZE KORAN VERSES, PRAY TO ALLAH —In the wake of Sept. 11, an increasing number of Calif. public school students must attend an intensive 3-week course on Islam, reports ASSIST News Service. The course mandates that seventh-graders learn the tenets of Islam, study the important figures of the faith, wear a robe, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own jihad. Students must memorize many verses in the Koran, are taught to pray "in the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful" and chant, "Praise to Allah, Lord of Creation." We could never teach Christianity like this….We can't even mention the name of Jesus in [most] public schools,…Can you imagine the barrage of lawsuits and problems we would have from the ACLU if Christianity were taught? [Some see] the course as a tool [indoctrination?], not only to engender sympathy and support for the Muslim cause, but for recruitment…. Islam is presented broadly and positively, whereas the limited references to Christianity are shown negatively, with events such as the Inquisition, and the Salem witch hunts highlighted in bold, black type. The portrayal of Islam omits the wars, massacres, cruelties against Christians and other non-Muslims that Islam has consistently perpetrated over the centuries. (Adapted, 1/11 WorldNetDaily]

PERSECUTION SEVERE IN VIETNAM—After South Vietnam fell to the Communists in 1975, North and South were joined and hundreds of church buildings were confiscated or destroyed. The Communist government's strategy for dealing with Christianity was eradication. Pastors were killed or imprisoned. Missionaries were expelled (1/02 Charisma). Communists now tout "religious freedom," and officially approve some churches which they control. To control the growth of unofficial house churches, Communists apply such measures as "forcing Christians to deny their faith by drinking a mixture of blood from sacrificed animals and rice alcohol in a 'Ceremony of Repentance for following Christianity.'…"

THE FRIEND OF MY ENEMY IS MY ENEMY—Red China's leader Mao used to say, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." But the title of this article might be more appropriate for today. Someone put it this way: "Seeking the help of nations like Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, China, and Iran in our war on terrorism is like joining forces with the Mafia to stamp out organized crime."

WHAT CAUSES DEATH?—Tobacco-related illnesses take 400,000 Americans annually. Over 300,000 deaths each year in the U.S. are from illnesses linked to obesity. Alcohol abuse takes over 110,000 annually (USN&WR, 1/14). Many of these and injuries and drug abuse are preventable.

LONGTIME SBC LEADER W.A. CRISWELL DIED—W.A. Criswell was a "legendary" Texas Baptist pastor, says Baptist Press. He died Jan. 10, at 92. He served as Billy Graham's pastor, and as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1968 to 1970. He founded Criswell College and pastored the First Baptist Church of Dallas. He succeeded George W. Truett at the latter in 1944. Under Criswell (1944-1991), it became one of the nation's largest Southern Baptist congregations. He was given the title of senior pastor in 1991, and was pastor emeritus since 1994. He influenced a generation of Southern Baptist preachers "to preach confidently and faithfully the Word of God." But sadly, Dr. Criswell— though a masterful pulpiteer and author of 54 books— was an ecumenical and stayed in the SBC, yoked with liberals, and endorsed a book by liberal Robert Schuller, etc. His memorial service was held at First Baptist, Dallas.

CAREY TO RETIRE AS ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY—Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans, says he will retire Oct. 31 (1/14 Chr. News ). Thorny issues for his successor will include: women's ordination, remarriage of divorced people, homosexuality, and reunion with Rome. He met with Cardinal Cassidy and others in Toronto May 2000 and they agreed to create a commission to study how to unite the two churches after a 466-year rift (6/15/00 CC). Regent University charismatic dean and historian Vinson Synan said Carey is a charismatic (5/15/00 CC).

POSTMODERNITY: LIFE WITHOUT GOD—That is the theme of the new Winter issue of Northland Baptist Bible College's 27-page Integrity . [Subscriptions are free, from NBBC at: W10085 Pike Plains Road, Dunbar, WI 54119. Phone: 715/324-6900, Ext. 3015] Excerpts follow: Rather than a distinct set of doctrines or propositional truths, Postmodernism is best seen as a mindset or a mood characterized by two things: a deep distrust of reason (thus the rejection of modernity) and a fundamental rejection of absolute truth. It has led to the rejection of objective truth—the death of truth—replacing it with multiple truths. Intolerance is the only thing that Postmodernism will not tolerate. But if truth is not what the Bible presents it to be, then there can be no biblical Christianity. Theological anarchy is seen in the toleration of an ecumenism that is so inclusive that unity can be found in such a wide theological diversity as a Catholic priest, a Protestant minister, a Native American shaman, and a Buddhist monk [and, we might add, a Muslim imam]. Postmodernism argues for the absence of God, thus, man becomes God's equal, greedily grabbing after a freedom from both authority and responsibility.

NCC FORCED TO CUT BACK AGAIN—National Council of Churches Treasurer Phil Young says it is crucial that the NCC balance this year's budget. Otherwise, he says, "We're facing a moment of very sober truth." (1/7 C. Today ) The United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church (USA), the NCC's two largest donors, are reassessing their contributions. The 52-year-old ecumenical NCC finished the 2001 fiscal year with a deficit of $2.1 million forcing severe cuts. (See 1/01 CC).

ECUMENISM AND THOSE WHO ARE INVOLVED is the title of an article by John Ballentine with Jo Ann Bevier in the new issue of The Discerner (P.O. Box 22098, Robbinsdale, MN 55422, Phone: 800/562-9153). They write: "The word 'ecumenical' comes from the Greek word oikoumene , which denotes 'this inhabited world.' In plain language the ecumenical church is the world church….They go on to show its historical rise and the involvement of the WCC, Catholicism and Billy Graham.

—The Baptist World Alliance is a fellowship of 201 Baptist conventions and unions comprising over 43 million members. BWA general secretary Denton Lotz has reached out ecumenically to Catholics (2/1/00). In the new Baptist World he refers to Catholics as Christians. It pictures former BWA president Nelson Fanini presenting a Bible study in Argentina to 13 Baptists and nine Catholic leaders in a "fraternal session." These talks were "aimed at promoting better understanding between the two groups." The So. Baptist Convention is a main donor of the BWA.

COCU BECOMES CUIC—The Consultation on Church Union, at its founding in 1960s ("Blake-Pike Proposal") with nine liberal denominations, proposed a Protestant superchurch. A new plan in 1999 (Churches Uniting in Christ – see 2/15/99 CC) would seek affiliation without merger. Now this "new" CUIC, was set to meet Jan. 18-21 in Memphis and formally replace COCU. The 1999 relationship called for eight distinguishing characteristics, such as mutual recognition of each other's churches and baptisms, shared Communion celebrations, involvement in community projects such as those addressing racism, and ongoing theological dialogue (1/12 H. Times). The nine participating CUIC members are: United Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian (USA), Disciples of Christ, African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, United Church of Christ, International Council of Community Churches, and Christian Methodist Episcopal. CUIC members have set a deadline of 2007 to solve ministry differences. These significant ecumenical events portend the building of the world church of antichrist from which Bible-believers are to separate.

CELEBRITIES DEMAND ROYAL RECOGNITIONCharisma editor Lee Grady (1/02) points to a growing new "epidemic of spiritual pride" in charismatic celebrity circles, though not just limited to them. Some excerpts, sample observations, and deserved criticism: Big-headed charismatic speakers who insist on waiting until worship is over to make their grand entry into the church service. A conference speaker who demands limousine service and a hand-made fruit basket. A mad rush to use impressive titles for church leaders. Grady warns that flawed celebrities often disappoint us, and that big names are not necessarily the people we need to follow. "What makes the spotlight usually turns out to be a distracting sideshow." He adds: "Ten of the ministry leaders we featured on the covers of Charisma in the 1980s eventually endured embarrassing scandals. Sad!

LARSON SPEAKS AT GARBC CHURCH—Knute Larson, well-known in new-evangelical circles, delivered a dedicatory sermon recently at Faith Baptist Church (GARBC) in Streetsboro, Ohio (1/02 Baptist Bulletin). Larson, speaking at the NAE's annual meeting in Dallas in 1994, used a worn-out cliché to harshly criticize fundamentalism. New evangelicals (e.g., MBI-Pres. Joe Stowell and Warren Wiersbe) speaking at a GARBC church or partnering entity is barely surprising nowadays.

SBC CHURCH TO HOST ECUMENICAL EVENT—The third annual Festival of Christian Unity was scheduled again for First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Jan. 20. Participants included Baptists, a Catholic and a Seventh-day Adventist. Interfaith Mission Service was sponsor.

TRUTH: THE IMPORTANT THING—"When truth compromises with error, it is truth that loses for error had nothing to give up in the first place." (Dr. Bob Ketcham, via Harvey Seidel) Someone else put it this way: "Better to be divided by truth than united in error."

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