VOL. XIX  NO. 7      NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM       April 2002

OPRAH'S CHURCH-FREE RELIGION—Oprah Winfrey since her 1986 debut has become one of the richest and most influential people in the world. In 1998 when she began “Change Your Life TV,” her main role has become that of spiritual leader. To her “congregation” of over 22 million mostly female viewers, she has become a postmodern priestess—an icon of church-free spirituality (4/1 C. Today). Her message is partly New Age psychobabble, but it goes much deeper. Oprah clearly believes part of her talk show host role is to call her audience to a higher plane. The theological nature of that higher plane and her methods for getting there alarms many Christian critics. Her former pastor says of her: “She now has this sort of 'God is everywhere, God is in me, I don't need to go to church, I don't need to be a part of a body of believers, I can meditate, I can do positive thinking' spirituality….” Oprah has said, “One of the biggest mistakes humans make is to believe there is only one way. Actually, there are many diverse paths leading to what you call God.” This contradicts John 14:6.

WE SHOULD EXCUSE THEOLOGY & IMMORALITY OF U2 CCM/ROCK GROUP? —Probably the world's biggest [rock] band today is U2, an enormously popular Irish group whose leader, Bono, “for all of his left-leaning political posture, is remarkably open about his Christianity.” (3/23 World) “U2's theology may not be as conservative as one would like [they shun the 'Christian' label], but still, this is a long way from the Rolling Stone's 'Sympathy for the Devil.'” A 4/02 Charisma reviewer of a book about U2 wrote: “…[T]he book is effective in stating its case that artists with a spiritual message shouldn't be dismissed because they occasionally question their faith, drink, smoke and even curse. The world needs Bono as a model….”

MARRIAGE IS 'FOR BETTER'—According to a report issued Feb. 14, married folks live longer and make more money (4/1 CT). They also are less depressed, suicidal, violent, and prone to drug abuse than their single and divorced cohorts.

FOOD AID NOT REACHING STARVING N. KOREANS—Communist North Korea is the most repressive nation in the world. It receives more food aid than any (3/9 World ). The U.S. supplies 300,000 tons of food each year, but food aid is not reaching the starving; it goes to the government where it is stockpiled and used to feed soldiers and the ruling elite.

FEMALE FETICIDE IN INDIA—In India, a cultural obsession for boys drives 5 million women to kill their unborn baby girls each year, per the UN Children's Fund (4/1 CT). High-tech ultrasound equipment has encouraged a boom in female feticide. But that may be changing. Courts are confiscating assets of prenatal sex-determination clinics.

ABWE & THE PERU INCIDENT—We are glad to see that the government agencies involved have agreed to a request by ABWE and the injured families, for a “reasonable settlement with an apology and an offer for reparations to the families only.” ABWE attorney Donald Davis said the families and the missionary group had “asked the government for $35 million, but settled for a smaller sum that he described as satisfactory.” This, and all the other six or more reports we have seen, confirms the accuracy of our 3/15 CC brief neutral news report (without comment) on this. We were told by the Washington Post writer who broke the story that her source for the “$35 million” figure was the missionaries' Washington, DC attorney. ABWE president's early letter on this seemed a bit misleading and confusing.

ZIMBABWE'S WOES WORSEN—Forty percent of Zimbabwe's adult population is HIV-positive. Over 1.5 million children are orphaned as a result of losing parents to AIDS (3/25 H.Times). Catholic Marxist Robert Mugabe was recently re-elected president in a flawed election. An international ecumenical team from the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches, sent to observe the fraudulent election last month, in a summary statement said various aberrations “preclude us from confirming the election to be universal, transparent, fair or free.” (3/13/02 P. Jenks e-mail). Ironically, Mugabe praised the WCC (at its 8th assembly, 1998), hosted by Zimbabwe, for having supported his armed [Marxist] revolution (10/15/99 CC).

SEX, MEN, AND MINDS—Men struggling with impure thoughts sometimes wonder if there will ever be a time in their lives when they will no longer be tempted with lust. Unfortunately, most men never grow beyond it. Temptations are everywhere in our sex-charged society, from TV commercials to checkout counter magazines. When pornography is part of a man's history, he can find pictures coming into focus years after the images have been burned into his mind. Men with purity problems have the most trouble when they allow themselves to indulge their eyes “just a little bit.” The battle against lust is a lifelong fight for most men, but Christ gives us the power to reject evil thoughts before they take root….[Excerpts, Focus on the Family, via 4/02 CVN ] Job (31:1) said: “I have made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”

ISLAM'S ALLAH VS. CHRISTIANITY'S GOD—“Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you.” [Cal Thomas claims this politically incorrect quote was by Attorney General John Ashcroft. The latter has denied making the remark, but Thomas stands by his story. (See 4/1 CT) It's good, regardless of who said it first.]

JACK GRAHAM IS LIKELY NEXT SBC PRESIDENT—Texas pastor Jack Graham “very likely” will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention at its annual meeting June 11 in St. Louis, per Jerry Vines ( Bapt. Banner ). Graham's church, Prestonwood Baptist near Dallas, was one of the first mega-churches (has over 20,000 members) to join the newer more conservative Southern Baptists of Texas Convention while maintaining nominal membership in the “moderate” Baptist General Convention of Texas.

'MODERATE' BAPTISTS PLEDGE $1 MILLION TO MISSIONARIES WHO DECLINE TO AFFIRM DOCTRINAL STATEMENT —The moderate/liberal Baptist General Convention of Texas has pledged $1 million to a fund to help missionaries who will lose or relinquish their ministries rather than affirm in writing the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message doctrinal accountability instrument required by the SBC's Int'l Mission Board (3/7 Ala. Baptist). At least 60 missionary families have said they could not sign the statement, which opposes women pastors and says wives should “submit graciously to the servant leadership of their husbands.”

WAS JENKINS 'LEFT BEHIND'?—After the huge success of the Left Behind apocalyptic novels, Tim LaHaye will receive a reported $45 million for four new novels. But co-writer Jerry Jenkins seems to have been “left behind” on the big deal, even though Christianity Today for April 1 said he “actually wrote the series, basing the thrillers on conversations with and the nonfiction theological writings of LaHaye.”

NCC NAMES QUAKER, A CATHOLIC, TO HIGH POST—The National Council of Churches has named a Quaker and former official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ann K. Riggs, to head up theological work for ecumenical discussions (3/11 CN). The appointment comes at a critical time for the NCC as it attempts to reinvent itself to attract participation of Catholics, Evangelicals and Pentecostals. A core group of leaders plans an April 4-6 meeting to talk about the future with non-NCC member churches, including Catholics, Salvation Army and the Church of God in Christ.

MARTY A LIBERAL CRITIC OF FUNDAMENTALISM—The 3/9 Huntsville Times stated: “Huntingdon College [Montgomery, AL] will present internationally known theologian Dr. Martin Marty Tues. for the annual Stallworth Lecture Series. His topic will be 'Fundamentalism: Around the World, Down the Block, and Dividing Our Minds.' He will address the tensions caused by religious exclusivity….” The latter term refers to teaching that Jesus is the only way, e.g., and is the opposite of religious pluralism. Christian News has had many articles on Marty, showing that he for over 40 years has repeatedly attacked the Bible and that he denies the physical resurrection of Christ, supports abortion and homosexuality, and maintains that adultery is permissible in certain situations (3/18 CN). Yet he, a liberal ELCA minister, is also scheduled to lecture at the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod's Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.

CATHOLIC CLERGY CRISIS WIDENS—The scandal over sexually abusive priests continues to grow as more facts are uncovered. John Leo (4/1 USN&WR ) writes: “The sad truth is that church officials have treated sexual assaults as if they were administrative problems of celibacy violations to be covered up by offering hush money and shifting priests from parish to parish.” He says confidence in Catholic clergy is gone. And this at a time when this church faces a dire shortage of priests. The number of priests nationwide has dropped from 58,632 in 1965 to 45,191 last year, even as the Catholic population in the U.S. grew from 45 million to 60 million nationally. Celibacy remains a problem. The apostle Paul warned that in the latter times some would depart from the faith, “Forbidding to marry….” (I Tim. 4:3), and in I Cor. 7:9, said “…it is better to marry than to burn” [with lust].

CARL McINTIRE DIES AT AGE 95—Dr. Carl McIntire, fiery radio preacher (and many other titles) died March 19 in N.J. He was a staunch battler against communism, religious liberalism, and the FCC. Though some broke away from him, his “empire” at some time included the following: Int'l Council of Christian Churches, American Council of Christian Churches, Bible Presbyterian Church, 20th Century Reformation Hour (at peak, in 1960s, was on over 600 radio stations), Faith Seminary, Shelton College, ICR, and TAM. His Christian Beacon paper was a big help to this CC editor for over two decades. His “empire” today has eroded. Some entities have dwindled to obscurity, or split away from Dr. McIntire's control (BPC, e.g.), or no longer exist. The ACCC, a notable survivor, founded in 1941, wrested control from McIntire in 1968 and is still going strong today under the leadership of Dr. Ralph Colas (Exec. Sec'y) and Dr. John McKnight (Pres.). Sadly, Dr. McIntire seemed to be his own worst enemy at times. As a fallible human being, he could be cantankerous. He had major run-ins with many fundamentalist leaders (e.g., Drs. Ketcham, Rice, Jones, Paisley, and MacRae). Liberal Lutheran Dr. Martin Marty noted: “Whatever he decided was the truth he followed to the very end, no matter how few friends or colleagues were left.”

—Radical feminists “determined to destroy,” and others who desire to “broaden the evangelistic appeal” of the Church of the Brethren (member of NCC/WCC), are demanding a name change (BRF Witness). The latter group says a new name will “make us more acceptable to seekers.” But defenders say the Brethren name is inclusive and: “For the Church of the Brethren to part with the Brethren name, would be to effectively sever us from our own heritage as a denomination.”

REDEFINING EVANGELISM—Jim Henderson, a founder of a Seattle-based network exploring new forms of sharing faith in a postmodern world, wants to change the way we define and do evangelism. The movement encourages Christians to see the unsaved as “missing” rather than “lost” – the latter, he says, is often meant in a derogatory way (4/02 Charisma). Would he then also change Luke 19:10 to read: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was missing.”? *** In a recent Decision magazine interview, Ravi Zacharias said that over 90% of the Muslim converts to Christianity he has spoken to did so as a result of a dream or vision. We must stick with Scriptural terminology. Experiences are not sufficient to base our salvation on. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

WHY DOES CHINA NEED POPULATION FUNDS?—Why does the United Nations Population Fund need $34 million from us (or anyone) to promote family planning in China, a nation that slaughtered 85.5 million unborn babies and sterilized 45 million women in a mere 10 years? (3/2 World)

TWO BOOKS FROM PIEDMONT—One is by Clearwater Christian College prof. Dr. Robert Delnay, Fire In Your Pulpit (primarily for preachers/teachers). The other is by Piedmont's Dean of Education and IBFNA moderator Dr. Clay Nuttall titled The Weeping Church . It pertains to local church authority, doctrine, practices, etc. Contact Piedmont Baptist College Press (Kenny Long), Phone 336/725-8344, Ext. 2225, E-mail goodbook@pbc.edu for prices, postage, etc.

NRB MEETING REPORT—ACCC Exec. Sec'y Dr. Ralph Colas covered the recent action-packed (see 3/1 CC ) National Religious Broadcasters meeting in Nashville. Get report from: ACCC, PO Box 5455, Bethlehem, PA 18015, or: accc@juno.com

CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT is the name of a much-needed book by David Cloud. It has 450 large pages and a bibliography on Christian music. Get it from: Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061 or call 866/295-4143 to order.

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