WHAT'S WRONG WITH CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN ROCK MUSIC?—This question was posed to us by someone who “happened to stumble across” an article I had written on the subject. He said “It seems as if you are very narrow minded. I bet your church probably has no instruments [He's wrong; and his letter is full of grammatical errors and boasting.] He said, “You see, I attend World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio. We sing ANY song that glorifies our Lord and Savior. I don't listen to ANY secular music, but I love to listen to Christian rock…It magnifies the man that died on a cross for me. Its churches like yours; with such religious traditions, which cause people to run away from God.” We have warned of the danger of CCM/Rock—how it's even worse than secular rock. The writer is from a charismatic church (Rod Parsley, pastor) and does not lack for audacity. He says: “God doesn't live in your little box you try to keep him in. See, you live in the back woods of Alabama [Huntsville, Space City, USA!], I am from…Detroit….”

MASSIVE AID BUT NORTH KOREA STILL STARVES—The U.S. is the largest donor of food to North Korea (1/15/01 CC). Southern Baptist religious liberty specialist Richard Land recently called for "a complete cessation of all aid to North Korea by the U.S. until the fair distribution of that aid can be monitored and assured.” He said: "Kim Jong Il, free your people, feed your people, care for your people, and the world will rush to your aid. Until then, we cannot, we must not, we will not enrich you further while your people starve and suffer.” (4/29 Baptist Press) The world's suffering and poverty today are typical results of atheistic communism.

'TEACH CHILDREN ATHEISM, LET THEM DECIDE'—The Institute for Public Policy Research recommends that atheism be added to British school curricula and explicitly taught. A similar change has already been made in Scotland. The report says (3/04 Faith and Freedom): “Children should be taught atheism and then allowed to make up their minds on the validity of religion or atheism on the basis of which is best supported by the evidence.” Britain is now a secular society (Rom. 1:28) with “only 7% of the population attending a place of worship each week.” Evolution and humanism are already standard fare in most U.S. textbooks.

ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOPS WON'T ACCEPT FUNDING FROM 'APOSTATES'—Anglican archbishops in Africa have delivered a stinging rebuke to the Episcopal Church (ECUSA). The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) voted to reject funds from any diocese that recognizes homosexual clergy (5/1 World) and to refuse cooperation with any missionary who supports ordaining gay priests. The consecration (by ECUSA) of Gene Robinson (an open homosexual living with his partner) last year set off a global fracas that may split the ECUSA and worldwide Anglicans. The CAPA leader said “we will not on the altar of money” mortgage our conscience, our faith, our salvation.

HOMOSEXUAL MASTER PLAN TO DESTROY FAMILY—Homosexual activists' goals for the destruction of the family include: universal acceptance of the gay lifestyle, destruction of Scriptures that condemn homosexuality, muzzling of clergy and Christian media, special privileges in the law, overturning laws prohibiting pedophilia, indoctrinating children through public education, etc. (Dr. James Dobson newsletter, 4/04). Some danger points: 1.With the legalization of homosexual marriage, all public schools will be required to teach that this perversion is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage 2. Foster-care parents will be required to undergo “sensitivity training” to rid themselves of bias and must affirm homosexuality in youth 3. The impact of homosexual marriage will spread through the world and lead to polygamy 4. It will create millions of motherless and fatherless children. So far, only Belgium, the Netherlands, and Canada [and Mass.] have authorized homosexual marriage.

ABORTION NOTE—The Center for Disease Control reports that the teenage birthrate has declined by 30 percent in the last decade, while our abortion rate declined by almost half (4/0 CT).

DISNEY WORLD TO CELEBRATE 'GAY' FATHERS DAY—Disney World, which has hosted an annual “Gay Day” celebration each June for several years, attracting over 100,000 homosexual men and women, is now going to celebrate Father's Day as a second homosexual event, June 17-20 (5/04 BB). It is specially designed for lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender parents and their families.

SBC TO NO LONGER ENDORSE FEMALE CHAPLAINS?—The Southern Baptist Convention currently has about 196 female chaplains from among about 2,500 endorsed by the mission board. The SBC executive committee voted to part from the Baptist World Alliance, saying it has become too liberal, and advocates “aberrant and dangerous theologies.” This will be presented in June at the SBC annual meeting.

'METHODISTS SHOULD SPLIT BUT WON'T'—Over 1,000 delegates met in Pittsburgh April 27-May 7 for the quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church. One issue (homosexuality) dominated the meeting. It is also dominating other liberal mainline denominations including the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Episcopal Church. The UMC Book of Discipline says the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, and “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals shall not be appointed to serve” in the UMC. There were suggestions of splitting, schism, and a lopsided vote for a unity resolution (869-41) drew the conclusion that “we're not ready to talk about an amicable separation” and, “the church should split, but won't.”

GAMBLING: NO WINNERS—If you gamble and win, you are taking money that someone else cannot afford to lose. If you gamble and lose, you are still supporting an industry that is destroying individuals and families. Gambling is a catalyst for domestic violence, divorce, and bankruptcy. The crime rate in gambling communities is nearly double the national average. [OBF Visitor, 3865 N.High St., Columbus,OH 43214.

MINISTRY GOES TO EXTREME TO ATTRACT YOUTH—Tulsa's Church on the Move, is a charismatic megachurch, “big on show and short on spirituality,” There is dancing, worship, video games, but no “hokey singalong” games. The ministry is called“ Oneighty” and Blaine Bartel is its national director. He “makes the Bible more accessible.” Instead of saying, “Thou shalt not whatever,” he'll say, “This is what you shouldn't do.” This entertainment-based approach draws a crowd but has little effect on long-term spiritual growth.

THE SUBTLE DANGER OF THE ALPHA COURSE—The Alpha Course is a form of “religious science,” with millions of followers in thousands of churches—Catholic, Protestant, and evangelical. It was conceived by Nicky Gumbel of Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican Church in England after Gumbel got the “power” through the “Toronto Blessing,” later passed it on to Steve Hill, who started the “revival” at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola. Alpha has been endorsed by church leaders from Robert Schuller and the Archbishop of Canterbury to J.I. Packer and Leighton Ford. Alpha presents the gospel at times, but its “conversion” is more to a Christian lifestyle than to Christ the way, the truth, and the life; and its major aim is impartation of “supernatural power,” especially healing and speaking in tongues. Participants look forward above all to the big weekend when thy will receive Holy Spirit empowerment. I remember the “testimony” of a man devoted to Eastern Mysticism who “got the Holy Spirit” that weekend—but clearly remained unsaved. [May 2004, The Berean Call].

RICK WARREN: PURPOSE & PRAGMATISM—Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven Church and Purpose-Driven Life seem fairly innocuous upon cursory examination. His books have been at the top of the nation's best seller lists for months. Churches across America are jumping onto the 40-day bandwagon, incorporating the Purpose-Driven model into their church structure. On the surface “purpose” doesn't seem like such a bad idea. God has a “purpose” for every life, great or small. A local church should come to understand God's “purpose” for its existence. The common definition of “purpose” once meant intention, aim, resolution or determination. This isn't what it means anymore. “Purpose-Driven” is the tip of a massive iceberg. The context in which to properly place the Purpose-Driven format is within a much larger initiative to transform local churches worldwide. “Seeker-sensitive” churches, Bill Hybels Willow Creek model, and many others build upon the basic underlying principles for church restructuring. The Purpose-Driven model originated from some radical philosophies about the nature of man and society. These are bent upon transforming the workplace, schools, government, and churches in our society. This new postmodern church growth movement, by its gospel of pragmatism, seeks to justify the use of worldly tools as long as “spiritual” fruit is being produced. A new 48-page paper The Pied Pipers of Purpose (by Lynn & Sarah Leslie and Susan Conway—Conscience Press) examines the influence of business guru Peter Drucker on Rick Warren, and was the basis for this article as well.

FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES—A Christianity Today reader, after praising CT for its candor in acknowledging that evangelicals distanced themselves from their fundamentalist brethren (see Feb. & April CTs), then wrote: “Yet wasn't it Ockenga who, in his historically famous speech at Fuller Seminary defined evangelicalism as 'a ringing repudiation of separatism'? Being a fundamentalist myself, I'm confused: evangelicals separated themselves from the fundamentalists? Because they considered themselves too...intellectual…?” Was it because they practiced that nasty doctrine of fundamentalism?

NEW BOOK: From Pathos to Paradise: A Commentary On Revelation, by Dr. Stewart Custer, 392 pages, BJU Press.
NEW VIDEO: Dangers of Contemporary Worship Music, by David Cloud, founder/director of Way of Life Lit., 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061. http://www.wayoflife.org

NOTE: The CC will be on shorter 8 ½ x11 paper this summer.

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