GIBSON'S PASSION TOPS THE LISTS—Evangelical enthusiasm for The Passion of the Christ film may surprise some since it was shaped from start to finish by a devout Roman Catholic and by a rather medieval Catholic vision. It seems to matter not with many Christians that it is a Catholic film and a huge money raiser for Rome's coffers. Those who buy tickets are giving money to promote a false works-righteousness salvation. From interviews we learn that Gibson calls Mary "Co-redemptrix" and "Mediatrix." He identifies with a Catholic traditionalism that rejects many Vatican II reforms. Traditionalists believe only Catholicism is the true path to salvation, though Gibson seems confused on this at times. It's another case where "the Book is better than the movie."

ROME REJECTS JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE—"We have the same vocabulary but a different dictionary" is what we used to say to Mormons who used Biblical terms but deceptively ascribed new meanings to them. Catholics and others today are making great inroads for their false-gospel religions by adopting this ruse (e.g., Passion movie). Mike Gendron had the following quote, in his Jan-Feb Proclaiming the Gospel, by John MacArthur: "Catholicism is a false system. It is not the church of Christ, it is the church of anti-Christ. If you follow Catholic theology you'll go to hell. I am not saying that to be unkind but to be truthful. Being truthful is the only way to be kind. People need to come out of that system. It is a system that exalts Mary and is a system of paganism mingled with pseudo-Christianity."

TAMMY IN NUDE FILM?—Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, of scandal-ridden PTL notoriety, and porn legend Ron Jeremy [he has starred in over 1,600 pornographic movies] were to be in an upcoming episode of "Surreal Life 2" shot at a Palm Springs desert nudist resort (Daily Haggis via Desert Sun). They were to be told they have to play naked. A bad "sign of our times!" Tammy in recent months has championed homosexuals / homosexuality.

WORLD VISION IS CHRISTIAN IN NAME ONLY?—World Vision International, "the world's largest international Christian humanitarian organization," is a member of the liberal World Council of Churches. But it is said that one could conclude WV is "Christian" in name only. The March-April PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter states: "The extreme ecumenical spirituality promoted and the secular and psychological strategies recommended demonstrate that World Vision is not a Christian organization in the biblical sense." WV former president Robert Seiple said the UN fills a necessary role and Christians should support it [1/1/96 CC].

DR. JOHN C. WHITCOMB: "Truth cannot be perpetuated through compromise, and compromise cannot be avoided without separation."

ABORTION OF CHILD OK, BUT BETTER NOT DESTROY AN EAGLE EGG!—It's legal to kill a human baby by a horrendous procedure: the D&X. Yet in California it's illegal to destroy an eagle egg, and there's a large fine. We hear no debates about at what stage the eaglet becomes an eagle or has "meaningful life." You break an eagle egg, you kill an eagle. It's all so simple. [12/03 Reader's Digest].

GAY TV—The pornographic MTV is forging ahead with plans for an all-homosexual television network that will be on all basic cable plans. Outlet, the name of the 24-hour network, will feature gay-themed lifestyle and entertainment programming. MTV apparently thinks homosexuality now has mainstream acceptability…. [2/28 World Magazine]

CHURCHES SHIFT TO CONTEMPORARY—According to a newly released study, the typical Protestant church service in the U.S. has become more modernized and diversified in recent years as more churches incorporate non-traditional music, diverse styles of worship, and modern technologies into their worship experience. A report on a new study shows a big increase in contemporary worship styles in America's Protestant churches over the last five years. While 44 percent reported no significant change, 15 percent said their churches had moved in much more contemporary direction, while another 36 percent said their worship had become a little more contemporary. Only 5 percent said their worship had become more traditional during the time period. Contemporary worship outpaced traditional by eleven to one. Larger churches and churches led by younger ministers were most likely to have shifted toward more contemporary, and Pentecostal churches were over twice as likely to move that way. A big change found was in the use of electronic media—computer graphics, music videos, movies, drama, etc. Praise and worship choruses during worship rose from 38 percent in 1999 to 74 percent today. The use of Christian rock, pop, or country music in worship rose from 9 percent five years ago to 25 percent today. The greatest growth was in worship elements that, nevertheless, are used by fewer than half of the churches. The study revealed that the most popular elements of worship continue to be in some churches: 95 percent of churches pass an offering basket or plate; 88 percent sing traditional hymns; 89 percent celebrate communion; 85 percent use a printed bulletin or order of service; and 78 percent use hymnals at least once a month. "Even traditional elements such as hymns, altar calls, and communion celebrations have become more common as churches diversify. Much has changed about Protestant worship over the past five years, but one thing has remained fairly uniform—the length of the pastor's sermon. Today the average minister preaches for about 31 minutes. [Adapted, Agape Press]

WELCH TO BE NOMINATED NEW SBC PRESIDENT—Alabama native Bobby Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, will be nominated as president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the SBC's annual meeting in June in Indianapolis. Gerald Davidson, an "opponent of liberalism," will be nominated as vice president. A new name for the SBC will be studied.

SCHULLER AN N.A.E. SPEAKER—Robert Schuller spoke at the National Association of Evangelicals' annual meeting last month (2/04 BB). He received a standing ovation. But some conservative theologians were concerned over his reinterpreting doctrines of Scripture "to conform to his self-esteem philosophy." In his Self-Esteem book, Schuller says positive Christianity does not hold to human depravity but to human ability, that to be born again means we must be changed from negative to a positive self-image, and that sin is any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her "self-esteem." Further, hell is "the loss of pride that naturally follows separation from God." Some say Schuller is an apostate and universalist. ACCC Exec. Sec'y Dr. Ralph Colas covered the NAE meeting and his report will be ready as soon as free-will-offering funds are available. When you read the quotes from Schuller in Dr. Colas's report next month, you may wonder why the NAE would schedule him and honor him as a speaker!

BIBLE SOCIETY SPONSORS ROCK CONCERT—The American Bible Society sponsored a "hip-hop" rock concert at Bayfront Park in Miami. An expansion of the sensual ungodly "rap" music, "hip-hop" incorporates key elements for a whole life-style from dress to music to language and "everything" in the current cultural scene that's "in." ABS is "working on effective ways to use hip-hop music and lyrics" that are often used as a "challenge to moral norms," as "constructive and compelling expressions of Christian faith and values." (Feb. 04, Faith And Freedom) The "dress, music and language" of hip-hop are satanic in source….The ABS forsook its Biblical heritage decades ago."

ZASPEL AND FUNDAMENTALISTS—When the fundamentalists lost in their battle to save their denominations from apostasy, the fundamentalist became a man who not only believed right, but also a man who separated himself from unbelief and apostasy. *** There never would have been a need for the word "Fundamentalist" had there not been a great departure from "the Faith once for all delivered." [Dr. James A. Zaspel, January-February FrontLine Magazine]

EARLY GRAHAM ECUMENISM EXAMPLES—In a 1962 Sao Paulo Crusade, a Roman Catholic Bishop blessed converts as they came forward. At the benediction of a meeting in Yugoslavia in 1967, a Roman Catholic priest, a Lutheran minister, two Orthodox priests, and a Presbyterian held hands on the platform and sang Blessed Be the Tie that Binds. In his 1973 St. Louis Crusade, 50 nuns served as counselors. Graham's crusade in the Philippines in 1977 was sponsored in part by the liberal National Council of Churches of the Philippines. In the 1983 Orlando Crusade, Graham's staff gave about 600 decision cards to Catholic churches for follow-up. In the 1987 Denver Crusade, 80 Catholic counselors were used. A crusade counselor supervisor stated that Catholics have trouble with the expression, "born again," and he tries to work at the crusade "to help Catholics express their new and renewed faith in their mother church." [Scott Williquette, Jan-Feb FrontLine] Graham once said: "I have found that my beliefs are essentially the same as those of Orthodox Roman Catholics."

GARBC UPDATE—The GARBC has come full circle with the partnering vs. approval system—that is, if things go as presently planned with no problem from the floor as happened at last year's annual meeting. In the Jan. Baptist Bulletin, Dr. John Greening discussed the GARBC partnering issues and the relationship between Cedarville University and the Ohio SBC. Overall, it was a good statement, but we wish he had gone a step further in his discussion of the SBC to cover the partnering of GARBC's Western College with SBC, and the unbelief still remaining in SBC colleges, etc. It will be interesting to see how all this plays at the annual conference. *** We were disappointed in the positive review of The Passion of the Christ movie in the GARBC's March Baptist Bulletin. The reviewer said it could "potentially become the masterpiece that will visually define the crucifixion for generations to come." *** Another disappointment was in seeing the "Gen. Association of Reg. Baptists" on a "Partial List of Denominations offering ALPHA." We have had several articles exposing the ecumenical, Catholic, and charismatic links of the Alpha Course.

BAYLOR GAY MARRIAGE CONTROVERSY—Baylor University student paper wrote (Feb. 27): "Gay couples should be granted the same equal rights to legal marriages as heterosexual couples." The editorial board voted 5-2 in favor, but Baylor President Robert Sloan opposed the paper's statement and said same-sex "marriage" is out of step with the vast majority of Baylor's 14,000 students and 100,000 alumni. Baylor is a "moderate/liberal" Baptist school located in Waco, Tex. [Baylor is hiring Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faculty, per a letter in the March CT. The writer said conservative Baptists have far more in common with conservative Roman Catholics than with liberal Baptists, but concedes that they differ vastly in certain areas.]

WORLD HAS CONVERTED THE CHURCH—Through "contemporary Christian music" and "contemporary worship," the church has been converted to the "religion" of the world! Some of the largest presumably evangelical churches have designed their Sunday morning services based upon what the ungodly want. Missing are the fear of a holy God's wrath against sin…Seeker-friendly churches must not "offend" with the Truth, but pamper with the flattering "gospel of self-esteem, self-love, and positive thinking—a "gospel" that cannot save. As Paul foretold, "they will not endure sound doctrine…" (2Tim.4:3). Creating large, rich churches is not new….[T]he Roman Catholic Church—the world's largest and wealthiest—grew out of a marriage between the Roman world and the church, making "Christianity" the state religion. Historian Will Durant explains: "…the world converted Christianity….[Paganism] passed like maternal blood into the new religion, and captive Rome captured her conqueror…" [Adapted, Dave Hunt, 2/04 Berean Call]

WHO'S TO BLAME FOR SBC SPLIT FROM BWA?—After a time of wrangling and finger-pointing trying to assess blame for the recent rift within Baptist World Alliance circles, some say all three groups (BWA, SBC, & CBF) are guilty. Of course, with the SBC, we hope it is a step of obedience to Biblical separation commands. The mostly liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship broke away from the mostly conservative SBC and applied for membership in the liberal BWA. The BWA then, amid strong protest by the SBC (biggest BWA donor), approved the CBF for membership, setting off a storm of protest by the SBC and resulting in SBC's recommending dropping financial support and severing ties with the BWA at the SBC June meeting. An SBC official has denied exhibition space to BWA at the SBC's annual meeting.

Send comments to rbhall52@gmail.com

Calvary Contender Home Page