VOL. XIX NO. 4 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM February 15, 2002
NETWORK COMING?—MTV and Showtime are seriously considering
an “all gay, all the time” cable network which could be launched within
the next year (1/19 World). These two networks have
been at the
forefront of homosexual programming in recent years. Has America sunk
such a depth to accept such?
TBN’S CHINA STRATEGY HURTS CHRISTIANS—The Trinity Broadcasting Network seeks to build a relationship with Communist China in hopes of getting permission to spread the charismatic “gospel” on state-sponsored cable television (2/02 Charisma). But Chinese house-church leaders complain that TBN-founder Dr. Paul Crouch spends too much time speaking friendly about the Chinese government, lobbying for China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization, instead of speaking openly about the daily torture and murder of Christians.
MIXED SIGNALS ON ISLAM—The media today send confusing signals about the true nature of Islam. We are told by some government leaders that Islam is a peaceful religion. But they also say its goal is to destroy Western civilization, particularly the U.S. and Israel. Last month we received a statement of Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek megachurch’s reaction to the articles reporting the forum at this church for a Muslim leader to present Islamic teachings. Some members were deceived by this (see 1/15 CC); others walked out when he blamed the U.S. for the recent terrorism. We do not advocate violence against non-terrorist Muslims, and seek to win them to Christ. But we find it incredible the extent to which Islamic popularity has soared following the terrorist acts, and that so many liberal leaders have opened their arms wide to include Muslim leaders in universalist meetings.
LIBERAL EUPHEMISMS—The left has successfully framed the abortion controversy as a matter of “women’s rights.” Euthanasia is termed “death with dignity.” Sexual immorality is framed as an issue of “freedom.” (1/19 World) Homosexuality is tolerated as “gay rights.”
POPE’S PEACE PRAYER EVENT AT ASSISI—Pope John Paul in one of the largest ever “Christian” groups, brought together Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Quakers, Mennonites, and Orthodox, which joined with 11 other religious groups including Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Shintoists, Confucianists, and tribal religionists Jan 24 at Assisi, Italy. About 200 made the pilgrimage and heard a call for dialogue and of creating a more economically just [communistic] world (1/24 HT). The Pope said: “There is no religious goal which can possibly justify the use of violence by man against man.” Pacifist?
WORLD DICTATES CHURCH MUSIC—The world is now dictating the church’s standards for music. The very style of music that appeals to the unregenerate has become increasingly appealing to professing believers and has crept into thousands of churches. The question we must ask is this: How can the very music that moves, energizes and fuels the fleshly appetite of the old nature of the unbeliever edify the believer who is a “new man” and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God? (Nov-Dec Foundation)
DUTCH LIFT RESTRICTIONS ON EUTHANASIA—Holland has tolerated euthanasia for decades but now a new law lets Netherlands doctors do it legally. It permits euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide in cases of “interminable and unendurable suffering,” not just in cases of terminal illness (1/26 World). It also allows parents to choose euthanasia for their children between ages 12 and 16, while allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to make their own decisions as long as they consult with their parents.
TOLKIEN’S LORD OF THE RINGS—The following are quotes or paraphrased excerpts from reviews of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings three-book fantasy series and movie trilogy. Tolkien's novels reflect a distinctly Christian [?] worldview [but], without their broader context, the movie's sorcery is unsettling in its ambiguity. Gandalf simply comes across as a "good wizard." (Focus on the Family Web site) [There is no such thing as a “good” wizard (Dt. 18:9-12).] Always a vexing problem with the fantasy genre is the use of potentially occult imagery, but Tolkien used fantasy [myth] to communicate Christian themes. (1/28 New Amer.) Berit Kjos writes in the 1/21 Christian News: “A staunch Roman Catholic, Tolkien affirmed his faith in the One God who created the universe. But his mythical God stopped creating before the work was finished, then turned the rest over to a group of gods, or ‘sub-creators’.…Many Christians argue that his spiritual hierarchy [of deities] does indeed parallel the Biblical account….But the obvious similarities tend to confuse rather than clarify Biblical truth. For Tolkien’s myth twists scriptures enough to change their meanings and muddle the true nature of God….”
NRB CONTROVERSY OVER PEDERSON REMARKS—Wayne Pederson is slated to be installed as president of the National Religious Broadcasters at its joint meeting with the NAE this month in Nashville. But trouble may be brewing within the NRB over remarks Pederson made in an interview with a Minneapolis paper in which he said he wants the NRB to downplay its political image and increase its spiritual, theological image. It disturbs him that “evangelicals are identified politically more than theologically.” (1/23 Religion Today) But Don Wildmon, head of the American Family Radio network, says “theology drives our social action.” Others such as Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery are discussing this with NRB board members and some news reports hint that the latter are “reassessing” whether they want Pederson to run the NRB. There is still some fallout from NRB’s split last year from the NAE (see 3/1/01 CC) and the repercussions that has had on NAE leadership (see 7/15 CC). ACCC Exec. Sec’y Dr. Ralph Colas plans to attend and report on the NRB/NAE meeting, health permitting.
PK USES PSYCHOBABBLE/NEW AGE WITH BOYS?—A Promise Keepers first-of-its kind “Passage” rally drew 14,000 youth leaders to Columbus, Ohio in Dec. (See 1/15 CC) Christina Hoff Sommers is author of The War on Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men and mother of a 16-year-old son. She welcomes Passage but is concerned that the curriculum contains “a little bit of boys sitting in circles sharing emotions.” (2/4 C. Today) She says: “I’d warn Promise Keepers not to go too far into the psychotherapeutic mode, treating boys as if they are fragile mental patients.” The second Passage rally is planned for this summer in Anaheim, California.
ACCC EMPHASIZES STAND AND UNITY—Dr. John McKnight, newly elected president of the American Council of Christian Churches, writes: “The ACCC is a unique organization. It maintains a biblical stand without bearing a denominational label. Ecumenists want unity without a stand. Many separatists seem to want a stand without unity. But both are important, and the Council is unique in emphasizing both. As far as I know, there is no other church organization like this.” Dr. McKnight—son of longtime ACCC leader Dr. Don McKnight—succeeds Dr. Richard Harris as President of the ACCC. Dr. Ralph Colas is its Executive Secretary.
CAREY PRAISES MUHAMMAD—Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, who is stepping down from that position next Oct. (see 2/1 CC), says we should appreciate the worth of leaders of other religions (12/10 CC). In an astounding untrue statement, he said: “I can say unreservedly that Muhammad was clearly a great religious leader whose influence on millions has been for the good.” He compares Muhammad’s teaching to that of Christ, saying they have so much in common. James Sundquist lists 20 ways they are NOT the same (1/15 CC).
BIBLICAL SEPARATION—(Dr. Dayton Hobbs, The Projector) Biblical Separation is the active and aggressive withdrawal or severing from everything that is displeasing to God or that is contrary to His nature or a violation of His commandments as revealed in the Scriptures. It is negative, that is from evil, as well as positive, that is unto God. It includes separation from sin, worldliness, error, false teaching, wrong philosophies and unequal yokes (with the unsaved; with ecclesiastical organizations that teach error or support things contrary to the Scripture; and with brethren that walk contrary to the Scripture); as well as separation unto God. Separation is not conforming, but being transformed. (Romans 12:2). Lack of separation in any area is spiritual adultery.
CATHOLICS, EVANGELICALS MEET AT WHEATON—The theme of the Eleventh Annual Wheaton Theology Conference will be “Catholics and Evangelicals in Conversation.” It is scheduled for the Wheaton College campus April 11-13. Keynote speakers include: Francis Cardinal George (archbishop, Chicago Archdiocese), Timothy George (dean, Beeson Divinity School), James I. Packer (Regent College), William Shea (St. Louis Univ.), Mark Noll (Wheaton), Susan Wood (St. John’s Univ.), Daryl Charles (Taylor Univ.), Brian Daley (Notre Dame), Gerald Bray (Beeson), Howard Loewen (Fuller Sem.), Thomas Rausch (Loyola), Ralph McKenzie (Trinity Int’l U.), Margaret O’Bara (St. Michael’s), etc. The confab is designed to facilitate discussion of themes such as the relationship between Catholic and Evangelical Christians, the doctrine of justification, the relationship of Scripture and tradition, and the call to evangelize the culture.
RE-GENDERED NIV MAKES ITS DEBUT—The Feb. 4 Christianity Today says: “The International Bible Society has released an updated English New Testament called Today’s New International Version. It comes nearly five years after conservative critics [Southern Baptists, and others] blasted another NIV translation for using gender-inclusive language.” [See 6/15/97 & 7/1/99 CCs] World magazine called it the “Stealth Bible,” and said the Committee producing its text had been “co-opted by liberals and feminists.” Under heavy criticism, the IBS withdrew plans to publish a gender-inclusive NIV. This TNIV will now compete with the recently-announced English Standard Version (Crossway) and Holman Christian Standard Bible (SBC). Bob Ross comments: “With Southern Baptists having their own translation (for the first time in history), there will be a considerable loss of NIV sales in the SBC's Lifeway bookstores [and others where SBs are predominant purchasers]. A Bible translation simply cannot succeed on a large scale in the U.S. without the patronage of the SBC customers.”
ALL RELIGIONS ARE NOT THE SAME—Buddhism, for example, is really a philosophy suggesting love and peace, but it has no god. Hinduism has created millions of gods and is such a hodgepodge that the people are left to wallow in fear and superstition. Islam offers a false god (Allah) and invariably leads by tyranny, as is illustrated by the oppressive regimes of over 50 Muslim nations (12/7 Sword of the Lord). If Islam is a “peaceful” religion, why are Christians severely persecuted in Islamic countries? In some of these, the ultimatum is: “convert (to Islam) or be killed.” Christianity is the only “religion” that has a living Savior and is the only way to heaven.
WHY BE SO NEGATIVE?—You have heard people say, “Why be so negative all the time?” when you have tried to warn them about some false doctrine, teacher or compromising leader….[But] if someone says you are too negative, he is by that very statement being negative toward you. We have often read or listened in amazement while someone has verbally ripped us up one side and down the other because we were so negative and unloving; yet, they were far move negative and unloving to us.…Is it too negative and unloving to awaken a neighbor in the middle of the night if his house is on fire? (Foundation via 12/10 C. News) Some would have us not be negative toward wolves in sheep’s clothing, who seek to devour the sheep, but would themselves instead be negative toward faithful “warners” who try to protect the flock.
WE ARE MOVING!—We plan to vacate the Sparkman Drive facility by March 1 and move to an interim location until Oct. 15 while our new facility is being built on our 21+ acre lot. For CC mail, in interim, use the Cotton Row address.
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