PERSECUTION IN INDIA—Though Bible sales have doubled in India in the last five years, persecution has risen alarmingly. Open-air evangelism and literature distribution have largely ceased, especially in the north (5/04 Chr. Today). “Freedom of religion” bills of four states outlaw or strictly regulate Christian conversions. Until repealed in May, conversion made you a traitor to your family and community. Harassment of evangelists and pastors is common. Persecution and outright violence breaks out frequently.

SBC SEVERS TIES WITH BWA, CONCERNS REMAIN—Southern Baptist Convention messengers at its annual meeting voted overwhelmingly June 15 to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance. Study committee member and Southwestern Seminary president Paige Patterson said “We have noted, with sorrow, a continual leftward drift in the BWA.” The committee also cited BWA's “increasingly anti-American stances, tolerance of liberal theology and disregard for its own procedures in accepting the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as a member in 2003.” Patterson said the SBC can no longer afford, in a day when gay marriage is on, to be in an alliance of any kind with denominations which support it in any form or fashion. He said: “Nor is it possible for us to be any longer in affiliation with some BWA denominations that do not believe in inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture and regularly question it.” The committee recommendation called for the SBC to “withdraw its membership up from the BWA, effective Oct. 1, 2004….and to continue studying how the SBC may establish an even closer bond of fellowship with conservative evangelical Christians around the world.” Bible-believing fundamentalists likewise desire unity and fellowship with conservative Southern Baptists but not at the expense of disobedience to Bible commands—SBC schools/colleges are rife with liberals! (See how to obtain Dr. George Houghton's SBC articles in the May 2004 CC.)
HOMOSEXUAL FACTS (9/03 TBC Extra)—In 1988, 74.9% of Americans thought sex between two members of the same sex was wrong. In 1998, only 54.6% felt that it was wrong. The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas claims to be the world's largest homosexual church, with 3,000 members. The Harvey Milk High School will open this fall in New York as the first homosexual public school. The Median Age of Death for a Gay Male is 42; Gay Male with AIDS 39; Heterosexual Male is 75; Gay Female is 45; Heterosexual Female is 79. (See these verses: Lev. 18:22, 20:13, Dt. 23:17, 1Ki. 14:24, Mt. 15:19, Rom. 1:18-32, Gal. 5:1-21, 1 Tim. 1:9-10.)

THEATER CHURCHES—Too often today the Lord's House is turned into a concert hall and the service of song made a device for filling pews. The minister comes to his duties in the pulpit after the world and the flesh and the Devil in a sideshow have set things moving to their liking. Small wonder that preaching in such circumstances saves few souls. It is like expecting harvest with the enemy invited to go before the reaper sowing tares, and to follow him snatching away the seed. A pastor from yesteryear put it this way: “To make the song and service of God's house showy and entertaining was an abomination in God's sight.” [An adapted excerpt from the Feb. 2004 Evangelical Methodist]
PERILS OF ISLAM: Telling the Truth is a book by Gene Gurganus who worked with Muslims for 17 years. It answers questions as: Why do Muslims hate the U.S.? What is their ultimate aim? Who are the good and who are the bad Muslims? Is Islam a threat to our freedom and faith? Why are we a main target? Can they be won to Christ? Will Islam succeed in Islamizing America? Brother Gurganus' book is available from Truth Publishers, P.O. Box 1525, Taylors, SC 29687.

ARE YOU A 'WATCHDOG'?—The Bible commands each believer to “watch thou in all things.” This results in discerning the error and compromise that are flooding the world today, and warning unsuspecting believers of the unscriptural doctrines that are flourishing today. “A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw God's truth attacked, and yet remained silent without giving a sound.” (3/15/93 CC) A watchful, discerning servant of Christ will be one who warns—always! A faithful testimony will be marked by watchfulness and warnings, and will be a ministry that practices Biblical separation from error and from those who embrace it. We must be alert “watchdogs” (not as those blind, sleeping, ignorant, dumb dogs of Isaiah's day that could not bark). We must expose error and lovingly warn those who are deceived by it. (1/1/01 CC)

JOEL OSTEEN EXPECTS 100,000—Joel Osteen pastors Lakewood Church, the biggest megachurch (charismatic) in Houston, succeeding his Southern Baptist father in 1999. The church has grown from 8,000 to 30,000 since 1999. His wife grew up in the Church of Christ (6/04 Charisma). Joel says, “Make church relevant.” “Give them something to take away. I find today people are not looking for theology, [though] there's a place for it.” The growth is said to be part of a divine process in which the mix of races is vital. It's the “cross-cultural” (diversity) approach to how church is done there—the effort to “overcome cultural and denominational barriers.”

WCC LEADER TO DEEPEN CATHOLIC RELATIONS—Sam Tobias, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, said ecumenical unity is growing even as the form and structure of ecumenism is changing (Foundation). Regarding the future RCC/WCC relationship he said, “Membership is not what is most critical here, but rather the deepening of our collaboration.” He added, “A renewed commitment must be given to the visible unity of the churches.” The RCC is currently not an official member of the WCC but WCC leaders are considering ways the WCC structure could change to accommodate Catholics, Evangelicals and Pentecostals without bringing them under the official WCC umbrella. Last year a WCC leader said the co-existence of religions is becoming shaky, and said fundamentalism is “the greatest enemy of religion and the most dangerous force of our time.”(10/03 CC)

CHRIST'S ONE SACRIFICE—We quote from an article by Dave Hunt, June, The Berean Call: “….If Christ, as Peter says, is gone into heaven, 'where Stephen saw Him when He was stoned to death (Acts 7:55,56), how can He continue to be offered (immolated) on Roman Catholic altars? What of Catholics who really love Christ, believe that He died for their sins, but have believed Catholic doctrine that the wafer becomes the body and blood of Christ and that He continues to be offered? Could they be saved in spite of such ignorance or misunderstanding? What are the limits of the error that can be held within the gospel, and does it matter? Would it matter if they believe that Christ died for our sins yet participate in the 'sacrifice of the Mass,' imagining that Christ is still being offered for our sins and that they are ingesting Him into their stomachs when they take that wafer and cup? Yes, Scripture says Christ 'suffered once' for our sins—but is it so serious an error to believe that He continues to be offered? Yes, it is!...” [Heb. 9:26,28, 10:12,14,18]

FOURSQUARE & MCPHERSON—The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel was founded in 1923 by flamboyant Pentecostalist preacher Aimee Semple McPherson. Jack Hayford's Church on the Way is the largest Foursquare church. Pat Boone has served as elder. Foursquare was one of the first to fully embrace the charismatic movement. Foursquare teaches healing, tongues-speaking, prophecy (3/15/93 CC). “Foursquare” referred to McPherson's understanding of Christ's role as savior, baptizer, healer, and coming king. Scandal repeatedly touched her personal life. Thrice-married she may have participated in a staged kidnapping of herself in 1926. Foursquare delegates in June elected Hayford as new president (6/14 C.News). He has spoken at Lausanne II, a Robert Schuller conference, and other ecumenical events.

ASHBROOK'S NEW NEUTRALISM—Pastor Dan Greenfield (3/04 OBF Visitor) listed three examples for fundamentalists: Robert Kecham, Richard Clearwaters, and William Ashbrook. He said: “It is my firm conviction that every young man preparing for the gospel ministry today needs to read William Ashbrook's The New Neutralism. Is it dated? Perhaps. But the book will provide the student with a scriptural and historical analysis of the new evangelicalism. Today's evangelicalism is built upon that foundation, and Christians need to see that a lack of militancy, doctrinal compromise, and failures in ecclesiastical separation never bring God's blessing…. Each of these fundamentalists [named above] separated from and exposed apostasy and those who compromised with it, faithfully preached the gospel, and considered new evangelicalism to be the greatest menace to Christianity.”

'HATE CRIMES' BILL—A dangerous "hate crime" amendment is being inserted as an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act 2004 (S.1382). This bill would censor any discussion or debate about same-sex marriage or special rights, even teaching children the homosexual lifestyle—and would even designate comments supporting traditional values AND even parts of the Bible as "hate speech"--a crime punishable by fines and even jail! Canada and Sweden already have such hate crime laws on the books and the results are disastrous! A Swedish pastor was arrested at his church because he read Bible verses that referenced homosexuality.

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