MORMONS LEAVE BECAUSE OF DNA EVIDENCE—Recent DNA evidence questioning the accuracy of Mormon history is providing an open door to evangelism of Mormons. The Book of Mormon describes how Israelites emigrated to the Americas 2,600 years ago, with the now extinct Lamanites and Nephites becoming the ancestors of American Indians. But anthropologists say there is no match of Jewish DNA with that of American Indians. An inaccurate Book of Mormon creates questions about the foundation of Mormon teaching (2/04 CT). Reportedly about 300 people have left Mormonism partly because of evidence presented from interviewing eight scientists including a Mormon scholar.

MEL GIBSON'S NEW MOVIE 'THE PASSION'—Billy Graham praises it. Most reviews speak of it in glowing positive terms (e.g., Schuller, Campus Crusade, Dobson, Hybels, etc). Most all the criticism we've heard has centered around the “anti-Semitism” issue. But our main concern is the big “C” question – Catholicism! It's a Catholic film! Reasons for our concern: 1. Gibson's Catholic roots, staunch RC heritage. While filming, he, cast and crew members regularly attended Catholic Mass together. He said there is no salvation for those outside the [RC] Church. (New Yorker, 9/15/03) 2. Big emphasis on Mary, strong Marian imagery. The actor who played Jesus in the film prayed the Rosary to Mary every day. He said for him, being a Christian is a continual conversion process. 3. The film is not based entirely on the Bible but also on visions of RC nuns/mystics. 4. It equates church with Catholic Church, and links Crucifixion to Last Supper to highlight “Holy Communion” sacrament. In conclusion, we do not doubt that many will be saved as a result of this movie, and we rejoice in this. But many will be confused about Catholicism, and others will use the film as a shortcut to supplant other forms of evangelism (“It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”)

TRASH MTV—What happened at the recent Super Bowl halftime show was in most part what raunchy MTV is all about—what they do every day. By week's end it was admitted that the disrobing was done by design. Hip-Hop music is salacious at best, pornographic and prurient at worst—the grinding, bumping, groping rebelliousness of it is cause for concern by any society concerned about decency.

SAN FRANCISCANS DEFY 'GAY' MARRIAGE LAW—Some 1,700 same-sex couples recently got “married” since Feb. 12 despite a 2000 state law banning such unions (2/17 BP). Mass. likely will issue same-sex licenses sometime in May.

THE BAPTIST CHALLENGE by M.L. Moser (Little Rock, Ark.) is again being published and is on the Internet at this Web address: www.centralbaptistchurch.org/challenge.htm

O.K. TO KEEP TEACHING ISLAM IN CALIF. SCHOOL—A federal judge has ruled that a California school district may continue requiring seventh-grade students to make believe they are Muslims, wear Islamic garments, memorize Quran verses, etc. (2/04 NLJ) The school's chief counsel said: “While public schools prohibit Christian students from reading the Bible, praying, displaying the Ten Commandments, and even mentioning the word 'God,' students in California are being indoctrinated into the religion of Islam.”

ALPHA, PAPACY MOVE CLOSER, UNITED BY MARY-WORSHIP—The latest Alpha News reveals ever-closer ties between the growing Alpha phenomenon and the Roman Catholic Church. A recent sermon exalted Mary, not Christ. The Pope's June encyclical on Europe concluded: “There must be entrustment to Mary. The whole Church looks to Mary.” The papacy now has its own Alpha office (1/04 Faith And Freedom). Alpha founder Nicky Gumbel (3/1/98 CC) says “the differences between Protestants and RCs are totally insignificant compared to the things that unite us.”

TOLERANCE OF HERESY BETTER THAN SCHISM?—The Episcopal bishop of Virginia has told his diocese's annual meeting that it's better to live with heresy than split the denomination over homosexuality. He is one of 60 Episcopal bishops who voted last summer to approve the appointment of V. Gene Robinson, the denomination's first openly homosexual bishop (2/04 Agape Press). As liberal ECUSA leaders depart from biblical standards, conservative Episcopalians, instead of obediently separating from liberals are forming a “church within a church” and remaining “unequally yoked” (2Cor. 6:14) with the unbelievers. Someone has said: “Better to be divided by truth than united in error.”

UNBELIEVING PASTORS—A new study by the Barna Research Group found that 49 percent of Protestant pastors reject core biblical beliefs (2/7 World). Barna put together a bare-bones list of basic biblical teachings that all should have been able to affirm: There is absolute moral truth based on the Bible; biblical teaching is accurate; Jesus was without sin; Satan literally exists; God is omniscient; salvation is by grace alone; Christians have a personal duty to evangelize. In the two largest denominations, So. Baptists had the most pastors, percentage-wise (71), who hold a biblical worldview; Methodists had the fewest (27). Barna says it is discouraging that one in four SB preachers does not take Bible teaching seriously.

LABEL THIEVES—Homosexual activists keep stealing Christian terms. For example, the once-good word “gay” now is used to describe a sinful lifestyle. Other terms they have co-opted include: the rainbow (God's sign to Noah), the triangle (Christian symbol for the Trinity), and, lavender.

LUIS PALAU FESTIVALS—Five years ago ecumenical evangelist Luis Palau scrapped his evangelistic crusades in favor of citywide festivals. He wants to make evangelism “more accessible, active and contemporary.” Last year over 700 Florida churches sponsored a Fort Lauderdale “Beachfest,” geared much toward spring break college students (2/03 Chr. Today). As in Billy Graham crusades, Roman Catholics were often involved in leadership roles (e.g., his 1996 8-week Chicago crusade.)

CBC-FINDLAY WITHDREW FROM GARBC—On July 15, 2001, the Calvary Baptist Church of Findlay, Ohio voted unanimously to withdraw from the GARBC. A revised report dated Oct. 28, 2003, prepared by Pastor Gordon Dickson, gives reasons for the withdrawal: 1. The GARBC has drifted from its original Scriptural mission statement, and attempts to correct this drift have failed. 2. The GARBC has drifted from Scriptural obedience by refusing to confront doctrinal error in its ranks. The recent dissolution of the approval system demonstrates this unwillingness to confront error. 3. The GARBC has drifted from its correct Scriptural view of the autonomy of the local church by placing those who did not officially represent local churches on their governing councils. 4. The Bible commands us to withdraw from fellowship with unbelievers. Developments at GARBC schools (prior to dropping of the approval system) indicate there are unbelievers in the ranks. In addition, if a brother in Christ will not obey 2Cor. 6:14-17, the Bible further commands us to separate from this brother who is walking “disorderly.” Our brothers have refused to separate from apostasy in the ranks. We pray that they will reverse the dangerous course...

BOBGANS' NEW BOOK—Martin & Deidre Bobgans' new book, Christ-Centered Ministry versus Problem-Centered Counseling, reveals the origins and faults of problem-centered counseling and encourages local congregations to minister as God has called them to do….Get this 136-page book at special price of $9 and a free newsletter from Eastgate Publishers: 1-800/216-4696.

A MILITANT FUNDAMENTALIST is simply someone who is unwilling to tolerate unbelief and compromise, either by the person holding an error put out of an organization or church or by leaving himself if the error is being tolerated and others in the organization are unwilling to do anything to remedy the problem. In other words, a militant fundamentalist is unwilling to work in religious endeavors with those who are unregenerate or compromisers of the truth. He will have a sense of outrage at the piracy that has taken place in an institution or organization in which control has been taken over by unbelievers or compromisers who are unwilling to obey the commands of Scripture to separate, resulting in either the expulsion of those teaching or practicing the error or the conscientious departure from that ministry by those who have remained true to the Scripture. [The above is an excerpt from an article by Pastor Gary Freel of Boone Iowa, in the Jan-Feb Foundation magazine.]

EDITOR'S HEALTH—My EYES, after the cataract and lens replacement surgery last year, were much better for awhile, but now the blur and double vision problems are recurring, albeit not as bad as before. PARKINSON'S DISEASE UPDATE—My PD symptoms are increasing. My medication was doubled a few months ago but doesn't seem to help much. And, of course, there are the usual side effects from the medication. Please pray that my neurologist and I, when I see him in April, will know what medications might be added or changed. It now takes almost twice as long for me to do the CC.

BWA LEADERS BEG SBC TO REMAIN MEMBER—Baptist World Alliance leaders are making a strong emotional appeal to Southern Baptist leaders for the latter to, with their money of course, remain within the liberal BWA fold. It seems ironic for liberals, when they start losing power and control of a somewhat conservative organization, to start making pompous claims to spirituality. We hope and pray that SBC “conservatives” will stick to their decision to withdraw from the apostate BWA—instead of capitulating, as has the SBC's Women's Missionary Union, to pressure to affirm its relationship with the BWA. By a 62-10 vote Feb. 17, the SBC Executive Committee approved recommending that the SBC at its June annual meeting go ahead and withdraw from the BWA. Meanwhile, BWA Pres. Billy Kim and BWA Gen. Sec'y Dennis Lotz are speaking in prominent moderate/liberal SBC churches to rally support for BWA.

BARTH'S FLAWED THEOLOGY—A darling of many New Evangelicals, Karl Barth was hailed by Billy Graham as a great theologian (12/1/03 Chr. News). Yet, despite Barth's greatness as a theologian, he denied the Trinity, the physical resurrection of Christ and other Christian doctrines. He also led a disgusting lifestyle.

CHURCH UNITY OR CHURCH PURITY?—No question is receiving so much attention at the present time in all branches and revisions of the Christian church as the question of church unity. It is being written about, talked about, and preached about. Now we are all agreed, surely, that the Christian church should be one, that she was meant by God to be one. And therefore, we must agree, further, that it is a tragedy that division ever entered into the life of the church. In addition, we must all regard schism as a grievous sin. That is common ground, but having said that, one must also point out that there is obviously great confusion, and much disagreement, as to what constitutes unity, as to what the nature of unity is, and as to how unity is to be obtained and preserved. [Excerpt from June 1962 sermon by Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, which, in turn was excerpted from an article by Dr. Bud Talbert appearing in the Sep-Oct 2003 Frontline Magazine]

WCC WANTS BROADER ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT—The World Council of Churches has extended an invitation to Roman Catholics, Pentecostals and Evangelicals to meet and consider new ways in which they might better work together in the future. According to an Ecumenical News International report, leaders from several WCC member churches and agencies issued a report on November 24, 2003, calling for representatives from the RCC as well as Pentecostal and Evangelical churches to meet prior to Nov. 2004 “to discuss forming a new network of relationships.” The WCC is looking for new ways to “reconfigure the ecumenical movement” in order to create a broader umbrella of ecumenism with churches and agencies not currently affiliated with the WCC. [Jan-Feb 2004 Foundation]

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