VOL. XIX  NO. 10      NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM        July 2002

'GET KIDS OUT OF CALIF. PUBLIC SCHOOLS' —Most public schools today have become government indoctrination centers. James Dobson recently urged parents not to send their kids to public schools in California for fear they could be corrupted by a pro-homosexual agenda. His Focus on the Family last year singled out 10 “radical bills” that would “require [Calif.] teachers to tell children that homosexuality is normal and that anybody who objects is hateful.” (5/02 Baptist Banner) Dr. Laura (4/9) stood with Dobson and said: “Take your kids out of public schools.” Pat Buchanan said (3/28): “Anyone who teaches a child that homosexuality is a moral, natural and healthy lifestyle is lying to that child.”

CARTER'S TREK TO CUBA—Former president Jimmy Carter, in a five-day trip in May, became the first U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge to set foot in Cuba. He dined with Castro, praised his “superb systems of health care and universal education,” and called for the lifting of the 40-year-old U.S. embargo of the communist country. [Why didn't he lift it when he was president?] White House officials said Carter's visit was an undeserved public-relations coup for Castro (5/25 World ). Alina Fernandez, the émigré daughter of the Cuban dictator, chastised Carter for playing into the hands of her father's brutal and repressive regime (6/02 NLJ). Forget Castro's charm offensive, Cuba for nearly 10 years has been producing bio-terrorism weapons complicit with Russia (6/1 World ). Pres. Carter is not only undiscerning politically, but also spiritually so. He, as a Baptist Sunday School teacher, said it is wrong to believe that Mormon doctrine is essentially non-Christian and that Mormons are in need of evangelization (12/15/97 CC).

HABITAT: A GLOBAL RELIGION—Habitat for Humanity has built over 120,000 homes for poor people both here and overseas. It “gladly partners with people of other faiths,” and “it's not unusual to see a [Jewish] synagogue sponsoring a Habitat home” (6/10 Chr. Today). We noted (1/1/97 CC) that Habitat is ecumenical to the core and basically a global religion. We quoted its founder: “Habitat is in sympathy with the efforts of the World Council of Churches and other groups to influence churches and God's people to cooperate and work together.” Last year HFH formally launched a new partnership with the National Council of Churches (7/15/01 CC).

—White House drug czar John Walters says marijuana is not a harmless high. He says today's potheads inhale smoke that is 10 to 20 times stronger than what earlier generations used, making it addictive enough that 60 percent of “teens in drug treatment have a primary marijuana diagnosis.” (5/11 World) Walters says the drug has carcinogens, can hurt a user's concentration and memory, and is linked to tens of thousands of car accidents.

GAMBLING IS A LOSING BET—Timothy Kelly, a gambling researcher, says legalized betting costs federal and state governments over $6 billion a year in gambling-related expenses. These include funding addiction treatment centers and handling higher numbers of bankruptcies—and those costs don't include the personal hardships suffered by families whose breadwinners wager their wages away (5/20 USN&WR). Of the over 800 casinos now spanning the nation, roughly 450 are located in Nevada and Atlantic City.

GUN CONTROL IN ENGLAND—Britain outlawed handguns about 5 years ago, and since then, there has been a jump in handgun crime of 40 percent (6/3 New Amer. ). Robbers in England simply refuse to abide by the gun-control laws so the number of London's armed robbery victims rose 53 percent between April and November 2001 (6/8 World). The chances of being mugged in London are six times greater than in New York. The old prediction is true: “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns.” [The Bush administration recently defended the Second Amendment right for individuals to keep and bear arms, but subject to “reasonable restrictions.”]

MAKUJINA HAS NEW PUBLISHER FOR MUSIC BOOK—John Makujina has a new publisher for his large 303-page book on CCM/rock music. Measuring the Music (see our 6/1/00 review) is now available from Old Paths Publications, 1 Bittersweet Path, Willow Street, PA 17584, 800-999-4541.

OPRAH'S 'GOSPEL'—The gospel according to Oprah offends no one, promises everything, and asks nothing except that devotees earn their way to a nebulous salvation (5/21 CT). Oprah says, “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.” (4/02 CC)

ACCREDITATION DENIED OVER CREATIONISM STAND—Accreditation was denied Patrick Henry College, an outreach to home-schooled students, because of its stated “biblical worldview” and its instruction in creationism (6/02 NLJ). Its president, Michael Farris, said PHC is denied its freedom to think, believe, and speak contrary to the norm of academia. The rather new PHC has about 150 students. It plans to appeal.

IS HUMAN CLONING MURDER?—With the rise of bio-technology, the protection of life requires opposition to human cloning and embryo-destroying stem-cell research (5/4 World). Destroying an embryo that was created by cloning is the moral equivalent of taking a human life (5/9 Ala. Baptist ). “Human cloning is a grievous assault on God as the author of life and an insult to Him as the Lord of life. Human cloning of embryos for the purpose of destroying them for their stem cells multiplies that horror….” (1/1 CC).

SBC'S 'TENUOUS' SUPPORT OF BWA—The Southern Baptist Convention continues to provide substantial funding for the Baptist World Alliance—an organization that has ties to the one-world church movement. The BWA has ties to the United Nations and the World Council of Churches. Former SBC president Paige Patterson says the relationship between the SBC and the BWA is “tenuous” and “under continuous evaluation.” (5/15 AgapePress) He said it's always a difficult decision, do you stay in and try to keep it from getting out of hand, or do you vacate it? He adds: “And of course the independent Baptists' effort has always been to separate….”

N.A.E. TO WASHINGTON—The National Association of Evangelicals board voted May 1 to move its headquarters from Azusa, Calif. to Washington, DC. The June 10 Chr. Today said the move “marks the latest step back from the controversial tenure of Kevin Mannoia who resigned in July 2001 amid financial woes, controversy over ecumenical relations, and a sharp rebuff from National Religious Broadcasters.” (Get Dr. Ralph Colas's firsthand report on all this from: ACCC, P.O. Box 5455, Bethlehem, PA 18015.)

PRESBYTERIANS LOST 32,000 MEMBERS IN 2001—The nation's largest Presbyterian body (PCUSA) lost 31,549 members last year. This decline follows a larger steady trend in liberal Protestant mainline churches since membership peaked in the mid-1960s (5/27 Christian News), Over $4.2 million in personnel and program cutbacks were announced.

MAINLINE UNBELIEF—Archbishop Dmitri Royster, a former Southern Baptist, is now a maverick of the Orthodox Church. He observed (5/21 Chr. Today ) that many visitors to his church say they come due to problems within their own mainline [liberal] denominations. He said: “There is a weakness there, a denial of the divinity of Christ and of the integrity of the Scriptures.” He recalls an incident when he was teaching Greek to seminarians at Perkins School of Theology [U. Meth.]. “I asked the class how many believed in the divinity of Christ. After I defined it—not just that Jesus was a divinely inspired teacher, but that he was truly the Son of God—not one student in the class would agree.”

IS THE CC DEPRESSIVE?—Someone recently remarked to us, “I've quit reading the Contender , it's too depressive.” We of course understand where this friend is coming from and concede that negative news and warnings are not popular. They were not in Isaiah's day either. The people wanted to hear “smooth things,” not “right” things (Isa. 30:8-10). In the physical realm, would we not want a doctor to inform us if we had cancer? Indeed we want the truth, even if it isn't always “positive.” The doctor would not relish being the bearer of “negative” news, just as we derive no joy from reporting unpleasant news. A worn out cliché: “It is easier to be an appeaser than an opposer.” Some say the Bible is “depressing.” It mentions God's anger, wrath, fury, hatred, vengeance, and indignation about six times as much as it does His love. If we speak the truth in love, it may depress and even offend some, but hopefully will also bless and help some.

RICK WARREN'S PURPOSE-DRIVEN CHURCH MEETING—Thousands of church leaders swarmed Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church mega-campus in late May for a “how-to” church growth seminar. One pastor, transitioning to a purpose-driven model, told of replacing the pipe organ with a praise band. The Lake Forest conference drew 3,800 church leaders from very diverse backgrounds–over 93 varied denominations. The mass convergence of beliefs seemed to imply that methodology was the valued commodity here, and that doctrinal purity is much less consequential. A Saddleback executive pastor said: “We're not talking about doctrine.” “We're talking about how to do church in a way that meets people where their needs are.” (5/28 Relig.Today) Warren was a scheduled speaker at the recent SBC meeting in St. Louis.

NEW ECUMENICAL ALLIANCE SEEKS TO UNITE ALL U.S. CHRISTIANS—A “Christian Churches Together in the USA” document was signed in Chicago in April by Catholic, liberal Protestant, evangelical, Orthodox, Pentecostal leaders or representatives. Such a broad union of ecumenicals is a step in the formation of the one-world church of Antichrist.

FALWELL: 'BRIGHT IS GREATEST MISSIONARY SINCE PAUL'—Many good things could be said about Dr. Bill Bright and Campus Crusade's sincere efforts in worldwide evangelism. But to a large degree, this has been a ministry of disobedience. For, along the way, Bright has warmly embraced Catholics and Charismatics, and has linked himself with a plethora of ecumenical endeavors. Yet, Jerry Falwell's Liberty University on May 11, awarded honorary degrees to Bill and Vonette Bright for “their years of remarkable Christian service.” (6/2 Nat'l Liberty Journal) And just prior to the ceremonies honoring the 1,560 LU graduates, Falwell noted: “In my opinion, Dr. Bill Bright is the greatest Christian missionary since the Apostle Paul.”

REORGANIZED MORMONS CHANGE NAME—The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints changed its name to Community of Christ in April 2001. It rejects some Mormon teachings, such as the idea that God was a man and that man may become God, but it holds to many of the same errors as the Mormons, e.g., accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet, taking the Book of Mormon as scripture, claiming the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods were restored, believing in three levels of heaven and baptism for the remission of sins (David Cloud via C. News).

SBC UPDATE REPORT—The annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention has wrapped up in St. Louis. Below are some major events of this year's meeting: Dr. Jack Graham of Dallas was elected by acclamation to succeed Dr. James Merritt as SBC president. Some homosexuals disrupting the meeting were arrested. The gender-neutral TNIV translation was denounced. Church discipline of sex abuse in SBC ranks, and appropriate civil prosecution, was called for. Speakers included: Bill Bright (Campus Crusade), Rick Warren, Adrian Rogers, and Lt. Col. Oliver North. Setting off a firestorm of controversy was Pastor's Conference speaker Dr. Jerry Vines who called Muhammad a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives, his last one being a 9-year-old girl. It was later verified that Vines based his charges on an Islamic source, the Hadith.

DEATHS: Dr. W.E. “Bill” Dowell, 87, chancellor of Baptist Bible College (BBC), passed away May 2 in Springfield, MO. He pastored High Street Baptist from 1941 to 1963. He served for eight years as v-p of BBC, then in 1975, upon the death of BBC president Dr. G.B. Vick, he served eight years (1975-1983) as BBC president. *** Dr. Paul Tassell was born July 20, 1934 and passed away June 3, 2002. He began preaching at age 15 and earned a Ph.D. in NT Interpretation from BJU at 23. He pastored various churches, served three years as Nat'l Youth Rep, and as GARBC's National Rep for 15 years. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991.

PERSONAL NOTE —Nothing much new to report, except certain muscles are weakening. (Walking, talking, writing, driving, etc. are affected.) I am to start the last of June on a medication my neurologist wants me to try, and will then go back to him in August and decide where to go from there. I'm actually not in any pain to speak of, except in my neck, and that pain has been there since last fall, presumably related to my Parkinson's stooped posture. Tremors are mostly mild, so far. The medication will treat symptoms but won't slow the progressive, degenerative dying of brain cells. There will be side effects. Please just pray that I'll be able to continue this ministry, at least on a monthly basis, for as long as our loving Lord sees fit to enable such. Maranatha!

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