VOL. XX NO. 6 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM June 2003
CHINA INCREASES ONE-CHILD PENALTYCommunist China uses fines to force women to terminate pregnancies in its one-child policy. The penalty for one province has raised fines for second children without permission from twice combined incomes to eight times combined incomes (5/05 Christian News). Communist authorities are proud that 300 million births have been prevented since early 1980s.
DOES CONSTITUTION PROTECT HOMOSEXUALITY?In Texas two homosexuals are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make it unconstitutional for individual states to criminalize homosexual conduct. Until the 1960s, every state had a law criminalizing homosexual conduct. Now just 13 states do. Homosexual sodomy was a capital crime under Roman law (David Gibbs, 5/03 NLJ). Now, since 1961, homosexual conduct has gone from being a crime in all 50 states to where the Supreme Court will decide whether it is a crime in any state.
ANIMALS HAVE SAME RIGHTS AS HUMANS?Until recently, the animal-rights movement has been viewed as little more than a radical fringe group. But in truth it has a serious agenda with a serious impact on the public. In the last election, Florida's ballot had a constitutional amendment to outlaw housing pregnant sows in stalls so small the pigs can't turn around. Amazingly it passed54 to 46 percent. Germany last year passed a law "obliging the state to respect and protect the dignity" of animals just as it does humans (4/03 Chr. Today). In England, the farming of animals for fur was recently outlawed. A recent poll found that just over half of all Americans think primates should have the same rights as human children. Some humane changes may be needed, but radical groups (e.g., PETA) go way too far with these.
LARRY CRABB'S FLAWED TEACHINGPsychologist Larry Crabb's teachings are discussed in an 8-page article in the May Christianity Today. It says his chronic fascination with the unseen forces at work in people drove him into spiritual direction and turned his back on diagnostic counseling methods, therapy, etc. Martin & Deidre Bobgan, in a 210-page book (1998) said Crabb continues, at that time at least, to integrate psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies with the Bible. They said he tries to make psychological counseling better by adding the Bible, and Christianity better by adding psychology (see 9/1/98 CC). Crabb says sin "is not what you do wrongit's looking at God and saying, 'You're not enough, and I'm going to find some way to make my life work without you!'" (5/03 CT) The Bobgans argue that Crabb has psychologized the gospel, and in his teaching they write: "The gospel becomes the good news that Jesus meets the needs/longings/passions which motivate all behavior from the unconscious. Sin becomes wrong strategies for meeting the needs/longings/passions." In 1988, Crabb was asked to leave Grace Seminary (Ind.).
THE 'RIGHT' IS WRONGPhysician-assisted suicide became legal in 1997 in Oregon and 21 people died in 2001 by this new "right." This "right" will endanger society and send the false signal that a less than perfect life is not worth living. Christians should seek a better way to deal with dying than either keeping the patient alive as long as extremely possible or eliminating his suffering by eliminating the sufferer.
NEW STUDY ON EFFECTS OF VIOLENT MUSICThe American Psychological Association has released a new study on the effects of violent music lyrics. The study found that college students who listened to violent songs were more likely to engage in aggressive behavior and have angry thoughts (5/19 Agape Press). Lead researcher Craig Anderson, a professor at Iowa State University, says he is not surprised by the findings, but urges parents to take note of the results.
BRAZIL CATHOLICS WELCOME WCC 2006 MEETINGThe Roman Catholic Church is not a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC), but works cooperatively with it. The Brazilian Catholic Church has pledged its full support for the WCC's upcoming ninth assembly, slated for Porto Alegre in February 2006. The pledge was made by Dom Sinésio Bohn, the Catholic bishop of the diocese of Santa Cruz do Sul, at a meeting with WCC general secretary Dr. Konrad Raiser. Raiser is currently in Brazil visiting the city where the assembly will be held, and met with Bohn and representatives of WCC member churches. [5/16 Agape Press] Bohn was formerly responsible for ecumenism in the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB) and represented it at the meeting. The Conference is a member of the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil (CONIC), the body that invited the WCC to hold its ninth assembly there. At the meeting, Raiser said that one of the main reasons for choosing Brazil was the excellent ecumenical relations in the country. The assembly meets approximately every seven years.
TERRORIST NATIONS MEMBERS OF UNThe United Nations recently put communist Cuba on the Human Rights Committeefurther proof that UN ideals are just a myth. Freedom Alliance's director Fred Gedrich feels the UN is the farthest thing there is from a peace-loving organization. He points out that the United Nations Charter says membership is open only to "peace-loving" nations and at least 47 UN members are the worst dictatorships in the world. "Seven are identified as 'terrorist states' by the U.S. government," Gedrich says. "We shouldn't put that institution on a moral plane with the United States, and certainlyunder no circumstancesshould we ever defer to that body to decide
what is in our national security interests." Gedrich says it's time for America to entertain the idea of vacating the United Nations (5/13 Agape Press). Does it make sense for the U.S. to fight terrorists but support the U.N. which harbors them?
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY, THE FIRST 32 YEARSDr. Jerry Falwell founded Lynchburg Baptist College (later became Liberty U.) in 1971 as a "fundamentalist" school, but in the intervening years it has taken the new-evangelical stance of its founder. Both founder and school are now solidly Southern Baptist and New Evangelical. Dr. Adrian Rogers recently brought the commencement address. The statistics are impressive from a worldly view. In its 32-year history, it has been provided with $3 billion, enabling the purchase of a 4,421-acre campus. Dr. Jerry Prevo is its new chairman of the Board; Dr. Bailey Smith is the new Executive Committee chairman. Due to space limitations, Liberty can only accept 3,200 freshmen this fall (from an applicant total of 11,177). Falwell's goal is 25,000 resident students and 25,000 external students for a world-class university of 50,000. Dr. Rick Warren will utilize Liberty's 2003 Super Conference to kick off (Oct. 11) his "40 Days of Purpose" national campaign.
NEW EVANGELICALISM IS NOT NEWDr. Layton Talbert writes in the Mar-Apr Frontline: "New Evangelicalism is not new. Its mindset, its most distinctive traits and guiding philosophies, can be traced back to examples in both the New and Old Testaments. Jehoshaphat was the 'New Evangelical' of his day. His defining flaw was his habitual alliances with the enemies of God's Word, alliances that he forged and defended in the interest of unity (2 Chron. 18:3; 2 Kings 3:7). But they were alliances that had a devastating impact ."
ROBISON WARNS OF PROSPERITY GOSPELJames Robison, erstwhile bold SBC evangelist, writes in the May Charisma: "One of the huge deceptions in some personal prosperity teaching is the notion that everybody is going to have a big house, big car or big income. This concept promotes a 'sameness' mentality, and it simply is not scriptural." Robison in the late 1980s started cavorting with Charismatics and Roman Catholics, praised the Pope, etc.
LOTZ FAINTS WHILE PREACHINGEvangelist Anne Graham Lotz says nothing like it has ever happened to her before. The 54-year-old daughter of Billy Graham fainted recently while preaching to over 6,000 people in Lexington, Ky. It is unclear what caused the collapse. But when she regained consciousness, Lotz told aides surrounding her, "It's the devil." After sitting on the platform steps for about five minutes, Lotz retook the stage and gave the rest of her sermon seated in a chair. Lotz told the audience that she had felt fine before the episode and apologized for scaring them. But she said it is a reminder that death or the second coming of Jesus could be a heartbeat away. Unlike her father, who preaches one sermon per day, Lotz typically preaches three sermons and leads a Bible study at her seminars. [Agape Press, 4/28]
HODEL SUCCEEDS DOBSON AT FOCUS ON FAMILYLongtime president of Focus on the Family James Dobson has expanded his role as chairman and passed on the presidency to former Christian Coalition president and Reagan Cabinet member Don Hodel (5/1 Alabama Baptist). John Paulk, controversial "ex-gay" leader, left Focus May 6.
SBC NEWSSouthern Baptist Convention membership has reached an all-time high of 16.2 million. *** When SBC Int'l Mission Board last year mandated that its missionaries affirm the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message doctrinal statement a large majority complied automatically. But 13 who refused to sign were fired. *** A No. Carolina church accused of baptizing two unrepentant homosexuals was removed from the Cabarrus Baptist Association April 28 by a vote of 250-11. *** SBC president Jack Graham says Christians need to quit arguing over styles of music in the church.
DOROTHEE SOELLE DIESLeading feminist & professor at Union Seminary and Hamburg, Germany, Dorothee Soelle, recently died. She defended Marxism, repudiated Christianity, was a theological atheist, yet spoke at the 1983 WCC assembly.
POPE CONTEMPLATES JUDGMENTA top Vatican official for the first time publicly acknowledged Pope John II suffers from Parkinson's disease. He "puts himself in the hands of God and feels God and the Madonna (Virgin Mary) by his side in the path of life." (5/18 H.Times) Bob L. Ross comments: "How would you like to face what the Pope is going to face when he goes out to meet God? A life spent in claiming to be God's 'voice' to mankind, while concealing the Gospel of Christ from millions in the world, and magnifying Marianism instead of exalting the Mediatorship of the Lord Jesus Christ...what a great judgment faces the Pope!"
METHODIST & CATHOLIC LEADERS DIALOGUEUnited Methodist and Roman Catholic leaders have met once again to discuss how the two groups can be drawn closer together. At a recent gathering in Dallas, seven members of each group's dialogue team talked about what divides the two bodies and what both have in common. Methodist Bishop William Oden was there and said Catholics and Methodists support each other in several efforts. "We are, of course, separated by some of our theologies, and also, our politythat is, how we function as a church. But we are really cooperative in mission, especially. We work together in a lot of activities in the Dallas area where the two churches share different missions together." The Methodist and Catholic World Dialogue is the oldest dialogue between two denominations that still exists. Bishop Oden says the dialogue in the U.S. has been going on for years and has produced some good understanding and a number of significant theological papers. (5/13 Agape Press)
CALIFORNIA PRO-HOMOSEXUAL BILLA bill passed the California Assembly April 21 that would mandate fines upwards of $150,000 against business owners who refuse to hire cross-dressing or transsexual job applicants (5/8 Ala. Bapt). If passed into law, this bill would apply to Bible book-stores and nonprofit organizations such as local Boy Scouts.
U.M.C. TOP LEADERS DEMAND BUSH 'REPENT'Top officials of the United Methodist Church, President Bush's denomination, are demanding that he "repent from domestic and foreign policies" they claim are not in line with the teaching of Jesus. UMC bishops and the head of the UMC's Board of Church and Society recently signed a full-page ad in Christian Century magazine accusing President Bush of contributing to "spiritual forces of wickedness." Mark Tooley (Institute on Religion and Democracy) says to the "religious left," the fact that the president believes Jesus is his Lord and Savior is not nearly as important [to you] as the fact that he took the nation to war against Iraq or is not an enthusiast for the welfare state. Describing the officials' comments as "pretty outrageous," Tooley says they confirm his group's basic critique of the religious leftthat is, "they measure Christian orthodoxy not by what one may believe about Jesus Christ and God, but by what one's politics are." Tooley says once again this is an example of church leaders who are wedded to the political fads of the 1960s and who never really progressed beyond that. (4/22 Agape Press)
IBFNA CONFERENCEThe 13th Annual Conference of the Independent Baptist Fellowship of No. America is set for Norwich, CT, June 24-26. Speakers include: Ralph Colas, Richard Harris, Dan Brown, Robert Delnay, Tom Hamilton, Jerry Johnson, Paul Gustine, and Jeff Bailey. Songleader is Mark Strangman. Special Music is by Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Jeff Bailey is Moderator. Call his church, Grace Baptist Church for more information: (508) 222-6283.
FBFI CONFERENCEThe 83rd Annual Meeting of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship, Int'l is set for Concord, NH, June 17-19. Speakers include: Rod Bell (FBFI Pres.), Bill Hall, John Vaughn, Bob Jones, Les Ollila, Ron Comfort, Matt Recker, and Dave Parker. Special workshops are scheduled. For more info, call: (603) 225-3999, Ext. 180.
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