ILLEGAL IN CANADA TO OPPOSE HOMOSEXUALITY?—Bill C-250, a repressive, anti-free-speech measure that is on the brink of becoming law in Canada, would add “sexual orientation” to the Canadian hate propaganda law, thus making public criticism of homosexuality a crime (4/19 USN & WR). It is sometimes called the “Bible as Hate Literature.” It could ban publicly expressed opposition to gay marriage, etc. The bill has a loophole for religious opposition to homosexuality, but few scholars think it will offer protection. As our northern neighbor liberalizes we're usually not far behind.

CHINA'S CRACKDOWN ON CHURCHES—Red China's public security bureau has launched a new crackdown on unregistered churches, arresting several top leaders following the release of a new video and book that document huge growth among Christians outside the officially permitted church (4/4 Chr. Today). China's constitution guarantees freedom of religious belief, but requires all religious organizations to register with the government. It brands those groups that do not register as illegal or cults. In addition, China has the world's largest bloc of people with no religious affiliation: 625 million individuals.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE OPENS DOOR FOR POLYGAMY—Pro-family advocates are worried that legalizing homosexual marriage will lead to other perversions of the family. They feel there is cause for concern among defenders of traditional marriage that legalizing same-sex marriages could lead to a push for polygamy. [Agape Press, 3/17/04]

HAGEE: ALL JEWS TO BE SAVED—In a long series of articles in the April Charisma, John Hagee said his views on the Jews are based on chapters nine through 11 of Romans. “Paul says the Jewish people have been blinded to the identify of Jesus by the hand of God for the benefit of the Gentiles, and they remain blinded to this day.” Hagee believes that in the long run “all Israel will be saved.” Charisma said “Thus, he believes Christians have no duty to evangelize Jews….” As to the charismatic movement, he distances himself from preachers who promote a “prosperity gospel.” He believes in “the spiritual gifts as taught in Scripture—tongues, interpretation, prayer languages and the rest.”

'BE RIGHT WING, OR WILL BECOME LEFT WING'—John Leo (4/12 USN&WR) writes: “Many advocacy groups start out straight, then drift ineluctably left.” He gave several examples, and said “Call this 'mission creep.' A group starts out with a clear mandate that commands respect across most of the political spectrum. Gradually it moves to a broader and vaguer agenda, typically headed left.” Leo calls this “O'Sullivan's First Law,” after a National Review former editor who stated it this way: “All organizations that are not actually right wing will over time become left wing.” Let us stand unwaveringly and be on guard against drifting leftward.

OVER 10,000 MINORS ABUSED BY PRIESTS—Roman Catholic Church leaders said Feb. 27 that 4,392 priests have abused 10,667 minors in the past half-century, with at least $657 million paid in legal settlements and treatment costs.

CHRISTIAN NIGHTCLUBS ARE POPPING UP—Faith-based night spots for youth are popping up as safe hangout spots. Sure, cigarettes and alcohol are banned and these popular entertainment venues are called “Christian.” But the worldly rock music is just as addictive and poses great harm.

JUST CALL US THE YOGA NATION—Yoga is now practiced by 7 percent of U.S. adults, or 15 million people, up 28.5 percent in the last two years alone (H. T. 3/26/04). Many perhaps don't know that it has become mainstream, nor are aware of its Hindu roots. It is a means of reaching an altered state of consciousness—a doorway to the occult.

IS ABORTION, RELIGIOUS APATHY, SEXUAL PERVERSION BEGINNING OF END FOR AMERICA?—Over 2,500 years ago, lonely prophet Habakkuk watched as the nation of Judah spiraled downward into the depths of spiritual and physical depravity. Heart broken and soul wretched, he mourned and penned the words of Hab. 1:3-4. On Feb. 12, 2004, during what homosexual activists claimed as “Freedom to Marry” week, the San Francisco mayor ordered the city clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, on the pretense of “justice” and “equal rights.” Over the next week, over 3,000 homosexual couples received marriage licenses, and most of these couples were immediately “married” by San Francisco city officials…. In 1994, Jim Nelson Black authored a book When Nations Die. He said in the past 2,000 years every empire—even those that seemed invincible at the height of their glory—collapsed into ruin. Every one of these empires had three factors in common before they fell: civil society devalued human life, forsook religious belief, and celebrated sexual immorality. These three factors took root in the U.S. in the early 1960s. The seeds sown 40 years ago have ripened into bitter fruit…. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” We as a society today do not hate evil, we embrace it. This is seen in the acceptance and celebration of homosexuality, abortion and pornography—and in the rejection of the knowledge of God. Acceptance of same-sex marriage represents a paradigm shift in American culture, and may well signal the beginning of the end of western civilization. Christians are commanded to be salt and light, which means to preserve virtue and expose sin. Yet we have failed miserably in this task…. [Adapted excerpts from Agape Press, April 16, 2004]

MAX LUCADO DROPS 'CHURCH OF CHRIST' NAME—Over 50 of his books have sold a combined 33 million copies, but to some in his Church of Christ denomination Max Lucado is an errant theologian whose positions on baptism and instrumental music are problematic (3/20 H.Times). So last October his Oak Hills Church of Christ dropped “Church of Christ” from its name – “an effort to reach people hesitant to attend a Church of Christ.” Since the name change, average Sunday attendance has jumped to about 4,500, up from 3,300. Lucado is a popular speaker for the charismatic Promise Keepers and told a PK event: “It does not matter about your denomination—its all about God.”

DIET GURU GWEN SHAMBLIN DEFENDS COUPLE OF MURDER—Gwen Shamblin is creator of Weigh Down Workshop diet and author of related books. She lost followers and her publisher in 2000 after publicly rejecting the Trinity (10/15/00 C.News, 4/4 CT). She founded Remnant Fellowship. Based in Nashville, she now defends a boy's parents who are charged with murdering him last Oct. Parents say he died accidentally after hitting his head on a banister.

ARE CONSERVATIVE SOUTHERN BAPTISTS FUNDAMENTALISTS?—That's the title of an excellent timely pamphlet by Dr. George Houghton and available from Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (1900 NW Fourth St., Ankeny, IA 50021) or from the Web site www.faith.edu. This is the best and most vital paper we have seen on this subject. You will want to order a copy and then make copies for your church members. Two prominent GARBC schools (Cedarville & Western) have recently entered partnership agreements with Southern Baptist state conventions. Dr. Houghton has researched his subject very well and provides ample documentation for his reasoned conclusion.

SOUTHERN BAPTISTS ARE NOT FUNDAMENTALISTS—Dr. George Houghton, based on the following and other evidence, concludes that conservative Southern Baptists are not Fundamentalists: 1) They disavow the fundamentalist label. 2) They Disavow Biblical Separation. 3) They are Committed to “Conventionism.” 4) They Still Tolerate Great Theological Diversity 5) They Endorse Doctrinal Latitude in Some Areas. 6) They are Sympathetic to Aspects of the New Evangelicalism. Conservative Southern Baptists are our brothers, but they are not fellow fundamentalists.

SBC GROWTH IN MEMBERSHIP, CHURCHES—The Southern Baptist Convention reports a record membership of 16.3 million, up .41 percent over 2002, and grew to 43,024 churches, an increase of 249 new congregations. The number of new churches represent a .58 percent growth (4/12 BP). The number of baptisms declined, and over 10,000 Southern Baptist churches did not baptize a single person last year.

SBC NAME CHANGE—It is widely anticipated that the Southern Baptist Convention in June will approve changing the name of its Annuity Board to Guide-Stone Financial Resources. When that is done, all four major SBC boards will have new names (3/18 Ala. Baptist). This, along with the recent decision to withdraw from the BWA, could pave the way for Southern Baptist to become a worldwide denomination. Another delay is that most of the names found attractive have already been taken by other U.S. Baptists.

THE POISON IN THE PASSION is the title of a 70-page booklet by Dr. Terry Watkins which is “A Bible Believer's analysis of Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ.” We have read numerous such analyses of this film, but this is the most thorough. Many prominent Christian leaders have praised this movie as the greatest evangelical event in modern history! You may order the book from its author: 5990 Willow Ridge Rd., Pinson, AL 35126, (205) 681-9956.

FBF & IBFNA MEET IN JUNE—The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship, Int'l's annual conference is at Bethel Baptist Church, Schaumburg, IL, June 15-17. Speakers include FBF President John Vaughn, V-P Chuck Phelps, Bob Jones III, Tim Jordan, Fred Moritz, Mike Harding, Gordon Dickson, Stephen Jones, and Craig Hartman. *** The Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America's Annual Conference is in Minneapolis (Bloomington), June 22-24. Speakers include Matt Olson, Kevin Bauder, Jeff Bailey, Richard Harris, Willard Benedict, Gary Freel, Mike McCubbins, and Scott Reeves. Current officers are: Jeff Bailey (Moderator), Tom Hamilton (Treasurer), Dan Brown (Secretary/Clerk); and Dave Reinhardt is Editor of the IBFNA's paper, The Review.

MISUSE OF 'LOVE' TO COVER COMPROMISE—New Evangelicals espouse an unbiblical view of “love,” divorced from doctrine and truth and from obedience and purity. In the 1950s Fuller Seminary President E. J. Carnell said, “the mark of a true disciple is love, not doctrine” (5/1/96 CC). But Jesus and John made obedience (doctrine) the defining mark of love (John 14:21, I John 5:3). James 3:17 puts purity (holiness) first, then unity (love). New Evangelicals embrace a false view of love which allows them to disobey, in the name of “love,” separation commands and unlovingly excoriate fundamentalists who expose their compromise. Biblical love operates in the bounds of doctrine and truth. New-evangelical “love” disregards separation commands, elevates unity above truth, and produces ungodly alliances and a diluted message. Jack Van Impe and others in recent years emphasized new-evangelical “love” as their ministries became ever more ecumenical. Yet they continued “unlovingly” criticizing fundamentalists for exposing their compromise, calling them “unloving,” “judgmental,” etc. We must “speak the truth in love,” but we must indeed speak the truth, exhort and lovingly warn those deceived by error.

METHODISTS DISAGREE OVER LESBIAN PASTOR—The president of a women's movement in the United Methodist Church says the acquittal of self-avowed lesbian pastor Karen Dammann could very well split the denomination. A UMC jury from the largely ultra-liberal Pacific Northwest conference effectively nullified church law by the acquittal.

RABBI BUILDS BRIDGES BETWEEN EVANGELICALS, JEWS—Orthodox Jewish rabbi Yechiel Eckstein has lectured in new-evangelical schools and has been praised by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Paul Crouch for his ministry of building bridges between evangelicals and Jews. Eckstein defends the ancient Pharisees who Jesus said were of their father the devil, but he says Jesus never said those words recorded in John 8:44. Eckstein in 1994 plainly said: “But I'm not a Christian, I'm a Jew…I'm still a rabbi…” He frowns on evangelism of Jews and says Jews can be saved without Christ. He is president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and calls himself a bridge-builder. Recently, 2,000 Christians and Jews met to pray for the peace of Jerusalem at First Baptist Church (SBC), Raytown, the largest Southern Baptist Church in Missouri. (4/6 BP).

NRB & NAE REPORTS—ACCC Exec. Secretary Dr. Ralph Colas attended the National Religious Broadcasters and the National Association of Evangelicals conferences with press credentials. (Get reports from: POB 5455, Bethlehem, PA 18015.) He usually gives us a pre-release copy of his worldwide conference reports. Liberal Robert Schuller was a main speaker at both the NAE (Charlotte) and the NRB (Nashville). Chuck Swindoll, Franklin Graham, Adrian Rogers, and John Piper were other main speakers at NRB. Ted Haggard, a charismatic, is the new head of the NAE. Those who embrace Schuller's self-esteem psychology (“possibility thinking”) reject the truth that man is not inherently good but, after the Fall, is inherently sinful and needing redemption.

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