CHRISTIANITY FADES IN THE WEST—In England, the percentage of citizens who are in church on a given Sunday is 27 percent. West Germany has a church-going rate of 14 percent. In Denmark and Norway, only 5 percent bother to attend church on Sunday mornings. In Sweden, Iceland, and Finland, only 4 percent go to church. Theological liberalism is at the core of this decline. (Gene Edward Veith, 7/26 World)

HOLLYWOOD STARS' WAY TO SLOW DIVORCE RATE—Marriage is the foundation of civil society. When the family falls apart, so does the nation and culture. Many Hollywood stars have slowed their divorce rates by simply living together and having children without getting married. A strong effort is afoot to reinvent marriage, extend it to couples of the same sex, form domestic partnerships, and live together (Veith).

BOOK OF MORMON A FRAUDChristian News for July 21 says: "The Book of Mormon is not a Christian document. It is founded on fiction and lies concocted by Joseph Smith, a lying adulterer. Mormonism rejects such basic Christian doctrines as the Trinity and justification by faith alone in the merits of Jesus Christ. It is a work-righteous cult." Its Book of Mormon is replete with fiction and contradictions. Next to Islam, Mormonism is the fastest growing religion in America.

CATHOLIC CLERGY ABUSE SUITS—The Boston archdiocese offers $55 million to settle over 500 clergy sex abuse lawsuits (8/9 Huntsville Times). A judge in Louisville approved a $25.7 million settlement from the Louisville archdiocese to 243 people sexually abused by its priests and employees (8/2 H. Times). The scandal involved certain bishops not only turning a blind eye to numerous priests accused of molesting young parishioners but reassigned them to other parishes where they continued to do harm.

BENNETT: 'GAMBLING'S NOT A SIN IN MY CHURCH'—Former secretary of education, drug czar and author of Book of Virtues—Bill Bennett—for years has squandered time and millions of dollars in gambling. He now apologizes, says he is done with gambling, but says "Gambling's not a sin in my church." But Catholic Bingo often leads to a sinful gambling habit that equates to addiction. Be warned, be wise, beware!

GAMBLING LEADS TO OTHER SINS—The Internet has hooked millions of teens to easily-accessible gambling (e.g., lottery tickets, sports-betting). Experts say those who start young are the most likely to develop addiction problems (7/14 Huntsville Times). A study shows that gamblers are more likely to drink, smoke, and do drugs. Over 80 percent of American adults gamble at least occasionally—a possible reason for a worrisome tolerance of youth gambling.

PEOPLE GROWING WEARY OF SODOMY MEDIA HYPE—Americans' acceptance of homosexuality has plummeted one month after the Supreme Court ruling banning state sodomy laws. New polls show that 49 percent do not consider homosexuality an acceptable alternative lifestyle and that 57 percent are opposed to homosexual civil unions. Blamed in part is the ever-increasing promotion of sodomy in the media and in education circles (8/7 Ala. Baptist). A senior policy analyst says the poll may indicate that "people
are getting sick and tired of the media and Hollywood shoving homosexuality in their faces at every turn."

WOMEN'S SUPPORT FOR ABORTION DECLINING—A new study shows that American women's support for abortion rights is declining – that 51 percent of women now believe abortion should be legally prohibited in the overwhelming percentage of cases (7/24 Ala. Bapt.). Overall, the survey found 68 percent believe there should be more restrictions on abortion.

FIRST OPENLY GAY EPISCOPAL BISHOP—The 2.3- million-member Episcopal Church (ECUSA) is a branch of the 75-million-member Anglican Church. The election in August of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, now threatens a crisis that could lead to a worldwide split. He is a divorced father of two and has been living with his male partner for over 13 years. Some are already breaking relations over the homosexual issue. Leaders say more congregations and clergy would leave the ECUSA if they weren't tied to property (they would lose it if they left) and pension benefits, including medical insurance. (8/16 World)

'SAFE SIN'?—Safe sin is a flat contradiction. It would be like talking of a "healthy disease" or "harmless poison" or "clean dirt" or a "lively death." It would be like a mouse talking about a safe mousetrap or a fish speaking of a safe hook or a pig thinking of a safe slaughterhouse. SIN IS NEVER SAFE. It is always dangerous, destructive, damning and always brings with it disastrous consequences. Yet people today say: "It is all right to sin as long as you practice SAFE SIN. Drunkenness is OK as long as someone sober drives you home. Narcotics are OK as long as you use clean needles. Sexual deviation is OK since it exists and so it should be approved. Promiscuity is OK as long as you take safe precautions. It is all right to sin, but please, play it SAFE!" The Bible gives the true perspective: "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death….For the wages of sin is death" (James 1:15; Rom. 6:23). Is there safety for sinners? Indeed! God has good news for those "whosoevers" (John 3:16) that recognize their need for God's righteousness. [An adapted excerpt from a quarter-page ad placed in USA TODAY by the Middletown (CT) Bible Church, circulation 3 million].

PEARSON: 'SATAN HIMSELF MAY GO TO HEAVEN'?—At its annual meeting in May, the International Communion of Charismatic Churches "affirmed and confirmed" that Bishop Carlton Pearson of Tulsa, is a member in good standing. He recently caused a firestorm for preaching universal reconciliation, which says no confession in Jesus as Savior is needed to go to heaven. The statement said "We …recognize him [Pearson] as a valuable leader in the body of Christ." Universal reconciliation was not discussed at the meeting, but a signatory said the statement is an endorsement of Pearson and not his doctrine. Pearson recently said he believes Satan himself may go to heaven.

CBF JOINS BWA, SBC CUTS BWA FUNDS—The Southern Baptist Convention voted at its June meeting in Louisville to reduce its support of the Baptist World Alliance by 30 per cent ($125,000), and the BWA at its meeting in Brazil accepted the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship into full BWA membership. The CBF, a rather liberal breakaway group of SBC dissidents, was opposed to SBC's "conservative" leadership and the SBC was opposed to the CBF, which often criticized the SBC. The SBC remains the apostate BWA's biggest giver (8/2 World).

SBF AGAIN TO FEATURE SO. BAPTIST SPEAKERS—The list of speakers for the Oct. 6-8 Southwide Baptist Fellowship again includes Southern Baptists (Junior Hill and Johnny Hunt, e.g.). This conference, at Tennessee Temple University, is promoted in a half-page ad in Jerry Falwell's 8/3 Nat'l Liberty Journal, and also features Gary Coleman, Dino Pedrone, David Bouler, etc. Conservative So. Baptists are our brethren in the Lord and are to be loved on a personal level, but we cannot minister with them ecclesiastically without compromising and confusing our testimony. Spurgeon preached separation from error and compromise. He said: "That I might not stultify ['to make seem foolish'] my testimony I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them." We do great harm to the cause of Christ by appearing to condone the disobedience of those unequally yoked with unbelievers.

SIGHTLER'S WISH FOR THE SBF—The following is an excerpt from the July 18, 2003 Sword of the Lord message of Dr. Harold Sightler at the 1985 Southwide Baptist Fellowship: "I hope that as long as I live the Southwide Baptist Fellowship will always take an uncompromising, fundamental stand, a separated stand. I hope I will never live to see the day when a non-Baptist or a Southern Baptist will occupy the pulpit of the Southwide Baptist Fellowship. Why would we need to call for a Southern Baptist to preach at the Southwide Baptist Fellowship, an independent movement?" [The SBF was born in 1954 at Highland Park Baptist Church.]

VAUGHN ELECTED NEW PRESIDENT OF FBFI—Dr. Rod Bell, Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International President since 1977, announced Dr. John C. Vaughn as his successor at the board meeting in New Hampshire last June. He had served as the Exec. Director and Exec. V-P for the last several years. He has pastored Faith Baptist Church in Taylors, SC for over 25 years. He will remain President Elect until the national meeting in 2005 when Dr. Bell hands over the sword and becomes President Emeritus.

KENDALL HEADED DOWN CHARISMATIC PATH—Dr. R.T. Kendall has a new book describing his 25 years at Westminster Chapel (London), the G.Campbell Morgan and Martyn Lloyd Jones church. The book confirms that Kendall indeed continues to forge ahead on the "Toronto Blessing," charismatic highway (10/15/01 CC). He comes across as very sincere, but drifting year by year into extreme charismatism (5-6/ Reform. Today). The services today are completely charismatic in format. An interesting but sad book!

CHARISMATIC HEALER CAN'T HEAL DAUGHTER— "Laughing Evangelist" Rodney Howard-Browne has dubbed himself a "Holy Ghost bartender" serving up the "new wine" of Pentecostal fervor. He said (2/1/99 CC): "One night I was preaching on hell, and [laughter] just hit the whole place. The more I told people what hell was like, the more they laughed." He should know that hell is not a joke nor a laughing matter. Howard-Browne, who teaches that God promises physical healing, does not intend to change his doctrine after his 16-year-old daughter, who had cystic fibrosis died last Christmas. He believed to the end that she would be healed (July Bapt.Bulletin). He said "The more she suffered, the more we attacked the enemy." He said her dying was the worst career move the devil could have made.

McINTIRE GETS BELATED APOLOGY FROM PROMINENT NEW EVANGELICAL—Dr. Carl McIntire was a tireless enemy of communism and religious liberalism. He was often castigated by liberals, and by many new evangelicals, but Fuller Seminary Pres. Richard Mouw after McIntire's death (March 2002) candidly cast McIntire in a more favorable light. He said of McIntire (5/21/02 Chr. Today): "[His] insistence that ecumenical leaders—in both the National and World Council of Churches—were giving aid and comfort to the enemy when they warmly embraced visitors from the Soviet Bloc's Orthodox churches. 'These are agents of the Communist government, folks!' he would insist…Like the ecumenical leaders…I dismissed his accusations as fanatical rantings….[But] we know now that many of those Russian Orthodox leaders were indeed conscious leaders of their Marxist government….To my knowledge, no one in the world of ecumenical Protestantism ever apologized for the cavalier manner in which they dismissed his charges. I, for one, believed we owed him an apology….You were right, Dr. McIntire!"

PATTERSON IS PRESIDENT OF SOUTHWESTERN, NEAL I S PRESIDENT OF SOUTHEASTERN—Former SBC president, and Southeastern Seminary president, Dr. Paige Patterson was elected June 24 as president of SBC's Southwestern Seminary (8/14 Ala. Baptist). He succeeds retiring Kenneth Hemphill at Southwestern, and Bart Neal was named as interim president to succeed Patterson at Southeastern.

FUNDAMENTALISTS, WAKE UP!—"It is not enough to be orthodox: we must awaken to action. We have more apologists than apostles. Too many fundamentalists are sound—sound asleep! Our theology needs to go up into doxology. We have the facts but not the fire. We have talked much farther along than we have walked. We defend the truth, but we do not demonstrate the truth. We ponder it instead of proving it." (Vance Havner, 6/03 Faith & Freedom)

WHY GOOD MEN COMPROMISE—Heb. 2:1, "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip." The idea here is not that they slip away from us but that we drift away from them….This drift away from truth, that is, the very Word of God, is the essence of compromise…Good men often have blind spots in certain areas. This is something concerning which we must all be careful, as none of us are immune to the problem. Some areas of blindness may be regarding friendships, tolerating evil, trimming to seek love, giving "soul-winners" the benefit of the doubt, fellowships, or kinships, and many others. These all probably fall in the category of trimming our ways to seek love. Jer. 2:33 "Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? Therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways." Jehoshaphat obviously had a problem in this area….[Dayton Hobbs, The Projector]


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