E.U. TO HAVE A GOD-LESS CONSTITUTION?—The European Union already has a currency. Now a Brussels panel is working on an EU constitution (3/1/03 World). The first drafts of articles on the EU's values, objectives, powers, and fundamental rights have no mention of God. European nations are debating this, but one diplomat said: “Putting God into the constitution is simply in the too-difficult-to-agree category.” Religion is fast dying throughout Europe.

BONO: WORLD'S BIGGEST ROCK STAR RECRUITS CHRISTIANS TO FIGHT AIDS—Bono is lead singer for Irish rock band U2. Most of his songs have references to Jesus Christ, but he doesn't attend church regularly and shuns the “Christian” label. He has always straddled Protestantism and Catholicism (his father was Catholic, his mother Protestant), looking for a “third way.” His behavior in recent years, with a “penchant for profanity” and light-hearted “endorsements of debauchery,” distressed many evangelical Christians (3/03 Chr. Today). Last year Bono, in a left-leaning political stance, visited “rich” nations seeking to drum up political support for aid for AIDS in Africa and to pressure wealthy governments to forgive third world debt. This debt largely results from corrupt third world dictators (Marxist, etc.) squandering aid and loans on themselves instead of their needy (see 5/02 CC). Though we grieve at the sad plight of AIDS victims worldwide, AIDS is a largely preventable cause of illness and death since it is mainly contracted through homosexuality and promiscuous sex acts.

ISLAMIC TERRORISTS SAY KILLING 'INFIDELS' IS ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN—Islamic terrorists who die as martyrs while waging jihad against the “enemies of God,” will enter paradise instantly, their sins washed away (World, 2/22). They believe the only sure way to heaven is to “kill the infidels” (non-Muslims, Jews, Christians). Even mainline non-terrorist Islam is a religion based on works-righteousness. The Quran anathematizes those who believe God has a Son.

SMEDES, CAMPOLO SAID HOMOSEXUALS BORN THAT WAY—The late Fuller Seminary professor-emeritus Lewis Smedes in his 1984 Sex For Christians book said the homosexual should “simply refuse to accept a burden of guilt for his condition. He is a victim either of biological accident or someone else's folly.” He said the homosexual “did not choose homosexuality…” It is absurd, unscriptural, and maybe blasphemous to suggest that the homosexual is not to blame for his perverted lifestyle, or that an adulterer is not to blame for his sin. To do so implies that God is to blame. If a person is born without a choice in the matter, God (under the Law) would never have required the death penalty for homosexuality. Capital punishment was always for crimes a person committed voluntarily. (See Lev. 20, etc.)

HISPANICS ARE 'FASTEST GROWING'—There are 37 million Hispanics in the U.S., more than the population of Canada, and they now outnumber African-Americans as the nation's largest minority (3/17 USN&WR). An estimated 9 million of them are evangelical (3/03 Charisma). Of that number, close to 70 percent are Pentecostal [mostly charismatic?].

ABORTION IS ALREADY ILLEGAL—We don't deny, Iraq is evil. But the abortion industry is also evil, with a death toll surpassing 42 million babies since the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling. If life begins at conception, as true prolifers say, then abortion is premeditated murder and all 50 states already forbid it!

COURT RULES PRO-LIFE PROTESTORS NOT SUBJECT TO R.I.C.O.—The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that a federal racketeering law was improperly used to punish pro-life demonstrators outside abortion clinics. This is a big victory for pro-lifers, but will be appealed by pro-abortionists.

LARRY KING'S PANEL ON CHRISTIANS AND WAR—Larry King had a panel (Mar. 11) of five "Christian" leaders who discussed what Christians believed concerning war. Bob Jones was one of the five, along with John MacArthur, Max Lucado, a Roman Catholic priest and a United Methodist bishop. Bob Jones of course was as straight as an arrow, as was John MacArthur (despite whatever other problems we may have with him). Max Lucado was a typical New Evangelical, trying to stick somewhat with the Bible, while rubbing the backs of the Catholic priest and the Methodist bishop. Jones and MacArthur quoted John 14:6, Acts 4:12, etc., to show that Christ is the only way to heaven. Lucado said that Christians believed in salvation through what God did for man in sending Christ to die on the cross, whereas Muslims believe we are saved by what we do for God. Lucado said that he "preferred" the Christian way. How close to the edge of the cliff can you get without falling over? The Methodist bishop stated that he believed in Christ, but that there were certainly other ways to heaven. The Catholic priest said that Christ rejoiced when people worshipped His Father; and that he couldn't imagine Christ jealously saying "look at me." Therefore, when Muslims worship God, Christ is pleased. Such blasphemy. [Brad Gsell]

HOMOSEXUALITY TO SPLIT MAJOR DENOMINATIONS?—Dr. Richard Land, who heads the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says two major moral issues—divorce and homosexuality—threaten to do serious damage to Christian churches. He predicts one, the ordination of homosexuals, is going to split some major Protestant denominations. He feels it is going to end up dividing Methodism and Presbyterianism because when the decision is made—to either ordain or not ordain homosexual men and women—those who disagree with that decision will have no choice but to leave those denominations.

RAWLINGS FORECASTS MERGER OF FOUR BAPTIST GROUPS—The Rawlings Foundation sponsors an annual meeting of Baptist Bible Fellowship state chairmen just before the Mid-Winter BBFI meeting each Feb., mainly to hear Dr. John Rawlings' [Dr. Falwell's mentor] vision for today's leaders. This year he challenged state and national leaders to reverse the trend of splitting, and “dared to forecast a coming together” of many independent Baptist groups. He invited such leaders to the 3-day pre-meeting as: Bill Monroe, David Bouler, Tom Messer, Dino Pedrone, Gary Coleman, Willie Weaver, and David Bryant. Based on their responses, a meeting was proposed for Sept., 2004, to be hosted by Highland Park Baptist Church (TTU-Chattanooga) with an invitation to pastors in the Southwide Baptist Fellowship, World Baptist Fellowship, Independent Baptist Fellowship Int'l [not IBFNA], and BBFI to participate. These four groups include the majority of independent Baptist churches in America. Rawlings proposed that the new group be called, “World Baptist Fellowship.”

PAIGE PATTERSON NAMED TO CEDARVILLE BOARD—Dr. Paige Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theol. Seminary (SBC), has been named to the board of trustees of Cedarville University (a GARBC “partner”). This follows the State Convention of [Southern] Baptists in Ohio's recent endorsement and partnering relationship with Cedarville (see 2/03 CC). Patterson has served as president of the SBC, and was a leader in the SBC's “conservative turnaround” in 1979. The SBC is still the largest contributor to the apostate Baptist World Alliance and involved in ecumenical endeavors.

WHEATON STUDENTS MAY DANCE, STAFF MAY DRINK—Wheaton College (Billy Graham's alma mater) has lifted its ban against on-campus dancing and has decided to allow its faculty and staff to drink alcohol and smoke off campus. President Duane Litfin said the policy needed a review in light of cultural changes on Christian campuses and new laws.

VAN IMPES PRAISE GRAHAM, POPE—Jack Van Impe and wife Rexella have heaped lavish praise on Billy Graham and Pope John Paul II for about a decade (e.g., see 1/1/94 & 4/15/95 CCs). More recently, on his Nov. 11 TBN telecast he said: “I thank God for Billy Graham…This man has done more for the Christian faith than any other man in the 20th century.” But ecumenical evangelist Graham is a papal promoter, and religious apostates and Catholics help sponsor his crusades (Jan-Mar Fund. Digest) Rexella some time ago called Pope John Paul II “The Holy Father.” Sadly, Dr. Van Impe, the once great evangelist, is now evidently ecumenical.

E.V. HILL DIES—Dr. E.V. Hill died from pneumonia Feb.25. He pastored Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church (L.A.) (National Baptist Convention, NCC) for four decades. Dr. Jerry Falwell called him a “most dazzling and effective preacher,” and said Hill was a frequent guest speaker at Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University. Hill spoke at Promise Keepers rallies and was on Billy Graham's board. He was also on the NAACP and SCLC boards, and endorsed the 1984 candidacy of Jesse Jackson. He defended NBC president Dr. Henry Lyons who was convicted in 1999 of swindling over $4 million, and other crimes. Hill was 69.

RELIGIOUS BELIEFS RISING—Per a David Barrett and Todd Johnson report the world is becoming more religious with each day. The annual growth rate of religious belief in the world is at a steady 1.2 percent, compared to the growth of atheism, which is less than 1 percent. The fastest growing religion is Islam, followed by Hinduism. Christianity is the third fastest growing religion, with a 1.3 percent annual growth (3/6/03 Alabama Baptist). According to the report by these American statisticians, more than 26 percent of the world's population has not heard the Christian gospel, despite the fact that nearly five billion Bibles are distributed annually throughout the world. “I speak this to your shame!”

PROMISE KEEPERS PASTORS AND LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE—American Council of Christian Churches Executive Secretary Dr Ralph Colas attended this conference in Phoenix, Feb. 18-20, and has written an extensive report —on which most of the following is based. True to form, PK is very ecumenical and has a strong charismatic contingency. Doctrine is deprecated, fellowship (unity) is primary. Its leader Coach Bill McCartney at the first press conference said: “Denominationalism distinctives are a big obstacle and so in Promise Keepers our distinctive asked is simply 'Do you love Jesus?'” A PK v-p put it this way, “It does not matter if you are Baptist, Methodist or Catholic.” Keynote speaker Max Lucado said: “It does not matter about your denomination—it's all about God.” The Catholic Church and thousands of liberal Protestant churches deny the doctrine of salvation by grace alone. And how can we welcome as fellowshipping partners those who are confused about the Holy Spirit and extra-Biblical revelation, with visions and dreams, and speaking in tongues and healing crusades? We are confronted with a choice between a limited message or a limited fellowship—favor with men, or favor with God. [Get Dr. Colas' helpful report from: ACCC, P.O. Box 5455, Bethlehem, PA 18015. Keep in mind that funds are needed if Dr. Colas is to continue these costly trips and first-hand reports.]

PK SPEAKERS, 'PARTNERS'—Promise Keepers claims to have reached over 5,000,000 men during the past 12 years of conferences. Even though they have 18 events planned for 2003, the attendance and interest are declining. Only 9 or 10,000 showed up at Phoenix, though 50,000 had been predicted. Ecumenism was evident by the speakers, who, for the most part, were among the best communicators of our day. They include: Bruce Wilkinson (Jabez fame), Max Lucado, Joe Stowell, Jack Hayford (moderator), Bill McCartney, Tony Evans, James Merritt (former SBC Pres.), and Messianic Jewish rabbi Jonathan Bernis. “Partners” with this PK conference included: Alpha, Answers in Genesis, BGEA, Campus Crusade, Focus on the Family, Jews for Jesus, Mission America, World Vision, Seventh-day Adventists, NAE, and American Bible Society. World Vision is liberal, SDA is cultic. We are admonished in Eph. 5:11 to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Dr. Ralph Colas, whose first-hand report is the basis for most of this article, said the PK meeting began (the first night) with the big beat of the Maranatha! Promise Band and Marcus Witt as Worship Leader. He said “For over 30 minutes the large group clapped, cheered, raised their hands and swayed back and forth to the pulsating beat of the music.” This “big beat” music is fast moving into churches.

MORAL MAJORITY CONTINUES AFTER 23 YEARS—The Liberty Alliance, founded by Dr. Jerry Falwell in 1986, became the successor to Moral Majority, founded in 1979. Ed Hindson, writing in Falwell's National Liberty Journal (Jan.), says most evangelical Christians are involved in politics today to improve society. He said: “Most of us believe it is our mandate from God to help make the world a better place to live, and to use Christianity as a force for good in this world until Jesus comes.” A noble goal, to a point, for us as “salt” (and light) of the earth. No easy answers, but our goal should not be to join ecumenically with Catholics, etc., to clean up this world. This world is headed for judgment. “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse….” (2 Tim. 3:13)

MOODY MAGAZINE CEASES PUBLICATION—Moody Bible Institute announced Feb. 24 that its legacy ministry MOODY magazine will cease print publication within the next six months. A crowded magazine field, the resultant decline in subscriptions and the ongoing need for significant subsidization were key factors in this difficult decision. Its heritage dates back to 1891. It became Moody Monthly in 1938. Its name was shortened to Moody magazine in 1990 and six years later became a bi-monthly. For years it (and MBI) has positioned itself into the new-evangelical orbit.

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