VOL. XXII NO. 6 NEWS & VIEWS, NOTES & QUOTES, TO WARN & INFORM June 2005
WHERE EUTHANASIA IS LEADING US—Terri Schiavo died a slow and
painful death from dehydration and starvation forced upon her March 31
at age 41 by a judge and court order authorizing a barbaric act not
legally done to an animal or to a convicted mass murderer. Per her
legal spokesmen (Gibbs & Gibbs) her husband, wanting to kill Terri,
had major conflicts of interests including living with another woman
and having two children by her over a ten-year period (5/05 NLJ).
Whether a person will “ever get better” should not be a valid reason to
end their life under the law. The right to life should not become a
right to kill.
PEOPLE WANT TO BE ENTERTAINED—After the Lord “delivered him out” of organized crime about ten years ago, church record producer Terrance Levi turned to “Christian entertainment but concluded that a lot of it didn't relate to the unchurched (AB 5/12). He said, “People want to be entertained, if it's not entertaining, they won't pay any attention to it.” Sad, but mostly true!
RENOVARE & RICHARD FOSTER—A full-page ad in the April Chr. Today promoted a Renovare “With God” international conference June 19-22 in Denver. It seems related to New Age, and the word itself from the Latin means renewal. Richard Foster is its founder and is a Quaker by heritage. He draws material from Catholic mystics and has been at Fuller for years (2/15/98 CC). Over a dozen other speakers are scheduled, including Dallas Willard, Tom Oden, and Craig Blomberg.
NKJV BEST SELLER—For the first time since its original imprint in 1982, the New King James Version is in the top spot of a best seller list thanks to an evang. initiative called the Million Bible Challenge—a contest between Nelson Pub. & CBA to sell NKJVs at $1 each.
WCC CONFERENCE WORLD MISSION, EVANGELISM—This major conference was organized by the World Council of Churches for May 9-16, Athens, Greece. Participants came from WCC-member churches, Roman Catholic Church, as well as Pentecostal and evangelical churches. In an April 20 letter, WCC head Samuel Kobia wrote (to new Pope): “In unison with our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers, we praise our common Lord Jesus Christ for your election as the Bishop of Rome, the 264th successor of Peter, the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.” Many Pentecostal and evangelical churches not belonging to the WCC were in attendance and, for the first time at such a conference, a substantial delegation of 42 representatives from the Catholic Church came not as observers but full members. A German bishop said “The future of Christianity can only be an ecumenical one.” The world church is speedily being assembled. Satan and his forces are clamoring for a false unity. God says, “Be ye separate.”
LOVETT LEAVES LIBERTY—Danny Lovett was dean of Jerry Falwell's Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, a deeply compromised Southern Baptist school, for the past twelve years. Liberty affiliates with radically ecumenical organizations such as Promise Keepers and Rick Warren's Purpose Driven ministry, features prominent New Evangelical speakers such as Billy Graham and holds Christian rock concerts. Lovett recently became President of Tennessee Temple University, succeeding David Bouler who remains as pastor. With Lovett as president, TTU completes its decades-old journey toward complete capitulation to New Evangelicalism. It was soft on separation as far back as the 1970s. [Adapted, Baptist Bible Trumpet]. Note: TTU on April 21 held a “Christian rock” concert in Highland Park's main auditorium. (Sword, 5/05).
SCHOOLS PUSH ACCEPTANCE OF HOMOSEXUALITY—The Southern Baptist Convention at its June meeting in Nashville asks churches to investigate whether schools are promoting acceptance of homosexuality. A resolution says schools promote acceptance of gays through officially sanctioned gay clubs, diversity training, anti-bullying, safe sex and safe schools programs (5/14 H. Times). It says if churches find that public schools are teaching acceptance of homosexuality, parents should remove their children and either home school them or enroll them in Christian schools.
RUSSIAN CHRISTIANS FACE DISCRIMINATION (Sergei Blavog, 5/25 R.T.)—A small group of Christians in Russia protested against policies that violate their religious freedom. Some 200 members of an evangelical church demonstrated in downtown Moscow, against difficulties their church had in getting authorities to approve the allocation of land for places of worship. Their task was to “teach people how to defend their rights.” The protest concerned freedom to worship, where some Protestant groups are lumped with sects and all regarded as troublesome. Police in April raided a Pentecostal church seminar, briefly detaining dozens of believers. In a district south of Moscow, Baptists struggle to hold on to their new church, built to replace their previous one, destroyed by arson last September. Similar attacks occur elsewhere. Two U.S. lawmakers recently expressed concern about threats of violence against the congregation and official efforts to bulldoze the newly rebuilt places of worship. In its annual report last month the U.S. Commission on Int'l Religious Freedom said conditions in Russia “have deteriorated in recent years.” Growing government authoritarianism and favored treatment of the Russian Orthodox Church are problems. Some religious groups were prevented from registering—a legal requirement—and from practicing freely. Anti-Semitism was also a troubling issue. Russian officials have criticized “totalitarian sects” and accuse the U.S. of using such groups to undermine the state. Among diverse groups lumped together as “imported sects” are: Salvation Army, Scientologists, JWs, and Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church (“Moonies”). A Moscow school textbook accuses the SA, a “mainstream Protestant organization, as “posing as an evangelical Protestant Church.” Officially, the Russian constitution has ended Soviet-era religious persecution. “The fall of communism” in 1991 brought a “revival” in the Russian Orthodox Church and growth of other groups. Many Russians became fearful of some of these groups and passed the controversial law “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Association” in 1997. This law was backed by the Orthodox Church and other religious groups (Vatican, human rights advocates and Western governments. The law, which ostensibly targets cults and requires religious groups to prove they had been operating in Russia for at least 15 years—a requirement that undercut most groups but favored the ROC (the dominant religion), and granted secondary status to other “traditional faiths.” Groups failing to meet the 15-year requirement are unable to distribute literature or invite foreigners to preach. They are also barred from establishing educational centers, or media outlets. ROC Patriarch Alexiy II has praised the law.
RECENT CATHOLIC POPES WERE CHARISMATICS?—It is important to remember that, long before the Pentecostal and charismatic movements of recent decades, Catholicism had a deeply mystical stream that kept alive the supernatural wonders of Scripture. There were liturgies for healing, casting out demons and impartation of the Holy Spirit. The devoted spoke openly of visions, signs and wonders, miracles, and revelations. Pope John Paul II addressed Catholic charismatic groups on more than 25 occasions. Pope Benedict XVI has said that he supports charismatic renewal. (June, Charisma).
LUCADO ONLY PARTIALLY CHURCH OF CHRIST?—Popular author Max Lucado recently changed the name of his church from Oak Hills Church of Christ to simply Oak Hills Church. In his Church of Christ, musical instruments are used (though there is still one a cappella service). His church has a baptistic view of baptism—it isn't required for salvation. He is a popular speaker at ecumenical meetings such as recent Global Day of Prayer.
EVANGELICALS REJECT SEPARATISM, EMBRACE ECUMENISM—From the beginning, evangelicals have stated in no uncertain terms their disdain for ecclesial and cultural separation. The vast theological diversity of the movement is a natural result of its emphasis on unity rather than doctrinal purity. Evangelicals formed the NAE in 1942 as a reaction to the separatistic spirit of the fundamentalists. [Wenz] said: “The NAE was unwilling to embrace the separatism that became the hallmark of fundamentalism.” Even today, evangelicals are known for their refusals to separate from ministry endeavor with churches or ministries that embrace doctrinal error. Evangelicals believe they can unite with any who claim to “call Jesus, 'Lord,'” regardless of what one believes about important biblical doctrines. This anti-separatistic attitude is a hallmark of evangelicalism. (March-April/2005 Foundation)
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY—Millard Fuller founder of the house-building organization “Habitat for Humanity” is founding a new house building ministry called “Building Habitat.” He and his wife Linda were dismissed recently after several months of strained relationships with the Habitat board of directors. He says “Building Habitat” is not intended to compete with HFH. (See March CC for HFH's ecumenical promotion).
PHARMACISTS REFUSE TO FILL PRESCRIPTIONS—Abortion rights supporters claim that over the last six months, an average of one pharmacist per day has refused to fill a prescription, usually for contraceptives or abortifacients, for reasons of religion or conscience (6/5 CT). In response, the words of some who support a “woman's right to choose are getting just plain silly. Legislators are seeking a solution.
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