GAMBLING'S DARK SIDE—Nationwide, there are over 5 million problem gamblers. The 3/31 USN&WR says an army of lobbyists has anted up huge contributions to political candidates touting gambling as the answer to education and other problems. But it also mentioned gambling's “dark side,” which includes: increased crime, betting addictions, trouble for local businesses, create a younger generation of gamblers, and other hidden costs. Gambling has left a trail of broken lives, homes and families (Canadian Revivalist). Money can't buy happiness. The wealthiest are also some of the most miserable. Gambling is an addictive epidemic and is almost always associated with covetousness and deceit.

PENNSYLVANIA'S HATE CRIME BILL—Pennsylvania's governor signed a bill Dec. 3 that gives homosexuals statewide protection against hate crimes and verbal harassment (3/03 OBF Visitor). According to Ellen Sorokin of The Washington Times, the bill targets preachers who use biblical texts against the homosexual lifestyle.

FONDA HONORED BY PLANNED PARENTHOOD—In recent years, much was made of the conversion of activist actress Jane Fonda. But her sincerity was jeopardized with many pro-lifers by her gift of $4 million to help elect pro-abortion candidates in the last national election. Now she has been honored by Planned Parenthood with the Margaret Sanger Award. Pro-lifers had welcomed the news of her “conversion” and hoped that Fonda was changing her ways. But last month's award—the highest Planned Parenthood gives—leaves to question the validity of her conversion. Sad to say, but Hanoi Jane's actions, promoting the killing of the unborn, indicates she is still fighting on the wrong side.

WILLOW CREEK, HYBELS, RENOVARE, FOSTER—In a 12-page informative paper entitled Protestant No More: Willow Creek is Infiltrated by Renovare Mary Fairchild presents a “partially insider” revealing look at two dangerous movements of our day. She writes: “I went back to Willow Creek earlier this year only to discover my plans to be serving in the women's ministry as a 'Biblical Titus 2 woman' were, in actuality, going to be serving as a 'New Age spiritual guide.' Mystic ways of praying (repeating and meditating) were being taught along with frequent references to Quakers and Catholics. New Age authors like mystic Quakers Parker Palmer and Renovare founder Richard Foster were quoted frequently…” Foster, a Fuller Seminary psychologist, teaches quietism, mantras, centering, Buddhism, Yoga, etc., yet is promoted in thought and books at Willow Creek. Bill Hybels is a popular speaker and has been featured by Moody and by liberal Robert Schuller, e.g. You may access the 12-page report at the Web site http://home.attbi.com/~mfairlady or e-mail the author at mfairlady@attbi.com for more information.

U.N. IS DANGEROUS—The goal of the United Nations from its inception was to be a vehicle for establishing a world government. It has been an enemy of freedom and of our nation's sovereignty. “While the U.S. fights terrorists, the U.N. harbors them.” Yet, the General Board of the apostate American Baptist Churches USA has urged prayer for the pro-terrorist, anti-American UN that it might “continue to be a voice, a forum and instrument of peace.” (3/31 C. News) The SBC is yoked with the ABC in the Baptist World Alliance.

ALPHA COURSE WARNING—The Alpha Course, a very popular adult education program imported from England, has a charismatic bent and is “open-ended,” meaning that doctrines such as inerrancy and salvation through grace alone are neglected (3/10 Chr. News). The Alpha Course claims to take people through Bible terrain but in reality turns them inward to their emotions and experiences (3/17 Chr. News).

FEDERAL GUIDELINES ON RELIGION IN SCHOOLS—The U.S. Department of Education issued a 4-page “Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Schools” Feb. 7 which included: Schools may neither encourage nor discourage religious activity, and must avoid both promotion and hostility. The heart of the law is official neutrality. Private speech endorsing religion is protected; only government speech endorsing religion is forbidden (4/03 CT). Students may read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray or study religious materials during noninstructional time to the same extent that they may engage in nonreligious activities. Students may organize prayer groups, religious clubs, and “see you at the pole” gatherings before school to the same extent that students are permitted to organize other non-curricular student activities groups. Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written or oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content….

N.A.E. AND M.A.C. FORM ALLIANCE—America's two largest evangelical associations, the National Association of Evangelicals and the Mission America Coalition, are joining forces to form a strategic alliance that will focus attention and resources on evangelism. Paul Cedar is Chairman of MAC and Ted Haggard is Pres. of the NAE. The NAE has about 43,000 congregations from 51 denominations and individual congregations from an additional 27 denominations, as well as several hundred independent congregations and para-church organizations. It represents some 27 million Americans.

BOOKLETS ON JABEZ & LEFT BEHIND—Biblical Discernment Ministries has issued two new book reviews of Prayer of Jabez (16 pages) and The Left Behind Series (8 pages). Order from: BDM, 2702 Willowwood, Valparaiso, IN 46383. Suggest $2/each to help with postage/printing, rambdm@csinet.net

BWA FACES CRISIS OVER SBC-CBF CONTROVERSY—The Baptist World Alliance is an umbrella organization of 200 Baptist unions and conventions worldwide, representing 45 million baptized believers in 193,000 churches. The Southern Baptist Convention is its largest contributor (Ala. Baptist). The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a moderate-liberal denomination-like breakaway from the SBC, has applied for membership in the BWA, causing the SBC leadership to reduce its current $425,000 annual contribution by 30% ($125,000). This SBC-BWA rupture, coupled with today's economic down-turn, leaves the BWA facing a crisis. An SBC Executive Committee's study committee noted that it is not recommending withdrawal from the BWA at this time but anticipates the SBC will continue its membership and an annual contribution. The BWA is laced with liberals. The SBC has long shown it can tolerate non-CBF liberals.

CHARISMA PRESENTS CATHOLICISM FAVORABLY?Charisma magazine caught some heat in its April issue for a report in its Feb. issue on charismatic Roman Catholics. One writer asked how long it would continue to “indirectly endorse charismatic Catholics,” and asked “Why would you present [RC] favorably or even with a neutral attitude”? The writer chided Charisma for seemingly endorsing the “world's largest cult.” Another wrote: “Do you honestly not know that the Catholic Church is not Christian and never has been nor will be? Catholics pray to idols and Mary. Their materials openly admit there is no salvation outside Mary.”

GREG LAURIE, 'JESUS FREAK,' IS A CHARISMATIC—The 4/03 Charisma has a long article on Greg Laurie titled, “California's Jesus Freak.” He pastors Harvest Christian Fellowship (Calif.), the fifth largest church in America, and is sometimes mentioned as a successor to Billy Graham. Laurie doesn't mind calling himself a charismatic—he believes in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaks in tongues, and prays for the sick—and he has stern words for non-charismatics who deny the gifts of the Spirit can operate today. He prays using his devotional “prayer language” privately, and believes speaking in tongues in this manner edifies him spiritually. He is critical of emotional excesses, including “holy laughter” and Toronto-style shaking, but believes in being “slain in the Spirit.” Laurie has been featured as a speaker at Promise Keepers and other such ecumenical events.

HINDUISM'S MILLIONS OF GODS—Hinduism is the world's third largest religion and the dominant one in India and Nepal. It has 900 million adherents and about 1 million now live in the U.S. Hinduism seems polytheistic because Hindus worship many gods and goddesses. But Hindu gurus say that when they are worshiping those small gods—at least 33 million in all—they are actually bowing to Brahman, the supreme god, the impersonal ultimate reality, the world soul. They say the many gods merely represent various incarnations and manifestations of the supreme god. Hindus believe that the soul never dies and reincarnation enables one to complete a journey to nirvana, a oneness with God. Hindu gurus describe their religion as monistic, which means there is no essential difference between God, man, and animals. They say everything is part of God, and that the universe is one unitary, organic whole (3/8/03 World). Those in darkness need the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ. (2 Cor. 4:4).

TODAY'S WORLDLY CHURCH—Today the church is more beset by traitors within than by foes without. Satan is not fighting churches, he is joining them. He does more harm by sowing tares than by pulling up wheat. He accomplishes more by imitation than by outright opposition. The world is accepted into the church and its programs endorsed. Worldly celebrities are called in to enhance the gospel and preachers participate in the performances of the ungodly. The same popular singer combines sensuous publicity in the papers with the gospel songs in the record shops. Preachers make clowns of themselves and churches become theaters. [Vance Havner]

MAXWELL TO SUCCEED BRIGHT AT GPN—Bill Bright has been battling pulmonary fibrosis for over a year. He is the founder of Campus Crusade and, more recently, launched the ecumenical Global Pastors Network. John Maxwell is the founder of the Injoy Group (Atlanta) and has been named to succeed the ailing Bright to head up the GPN following Bright's death. Maxwell speaks for Jerry Falwell, Promise Keepers, various charismatics, and for the liberal Robert Schuller. Maxwell appears to be ecumenically compatible with Bright and a logical replacement for him to head GPN.

HAGGARD IS NEW N.A.E. PRESIDENT—Ted Haggard, an Oral Roberts U. grad and a charismatic, was recently named president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is pastor of New Life Church (largest in Colo.) and president of the World Prayer Center. C. Peter Wagner who taught church growth at Fuller is the “general” who leads Christians in spiritual warfare at the WPC (5/15/99 CC). One NAE speaker, Martin Marty, has been shown by Christian News articles for over 40 years to be a liberal who attacks the Bible, denies the physical resurrection of Christ, and supports abortion and homosexuality (4/02 CC). Other speakers included pro-Catholic Chuck Colson, Bethel College & Seminary president George Brushaber. Christianity Today editor David Neff, and Assemblies of God leader Thomas Trask. Marty also spoke at the 1992 NAE meeting and another liberal, Robert Schuller, is scheduled to speak at next year's NAE meeting. Ralph Colas attended this year's NAE, the Promise Keepers Pastors and Leadership, and NRB meetings. Reports are ready from ACCC (PO Box 5455, Bethlehem, PA 18015) on some of these and are forthcoming, as funds permit, on others. Further information is available from

UNIVERSALISM—Universalism is basically the belief that all people will be saved. Jesus' death and resurrection will automatically, or at least eventually, save the whole human race. Personal repentance and faith in Christ are not necessary for going to heaven. The Christian mission is reduced to announcing to people the “good news” that they are already saved. [4/03 Charisma] Many liberals today teach this false doctrine, thus denying Christ's exclusionary claim (John 14:6) that no one comes to God the Father except by Christ.

CHRONICLING CEDARVILLE'S COMPROMISE—The 3/03 Ohio Bible Fellowship Visitor has a 4-page pamphlet on Cedarville University & the New Evangelicalism by Pastor Dan Greenfield, from which we excerpt: “Institutions never stay the same. Change will occur, either suddenly or gradually, over time. Cedarville is no different. Over the course of the last 30 years it has slowly dulled its militancy and made subtle compromises in its associations. It has been infected by the virus of new evangelicalism and this can be seen in four areas: the speakers it utilizes in chapel, the music it promotes on campus, the ministry emphasis it teaches, and the associations it has made.” Cedarville now has partnering agreements with both the SBC and GARBC. Reprints of this vital feature article are available from OBF, 3865 North High St., Columbus, OH 43214, 25 for $6.00.

HEALTH REPORT—I still have double vision, but blurring is not as bad now. I have to do much of my reading/writing (especially on computer) with one eye closed, or covered. Good news is that my distance vision is vastly improved. For me and the CC, however, it would be better the other way around. But we have to trust the Lord in situations like this, realizing He makes no mistakes. I hope my new glasses prescription will gradually help. I just read in a new PD newsletter that my Parkinson's could possibly cause my double vision and blurring. If so, I probably can't be helped much by glasses. Please continue to pray. Also, since writing, for me, is slower now (both longhand and computer), please spare me from questions requiring long, complicated answers, unless they relate to a CC article. Often, some questions could be answered by using the Search feature of our Web site. Thanks!!

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