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Fundamental Evangelistic Association


[WORLD AND NATIONAL RELIGIOUS NEWS VIEWED FROM A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE - This information is intended to inform Bible-believing Christians of important current events which affect the Church, the nation and the world. All comments and questions regarding these articles should be directed to the Editor, FOUNDATION magazine, P.O. Box 6278, Los Osos, California 93412. FOUNDATION is published monthly by the Fundamental Evangelistic Association in Los Osos, CA. It is free to those who regularly support the FEA ministry. Articles appearing in "NEWS and VIEWS" may be reprinted with proper credit given.]


Fundamental Evangelistic Association
P.O. Box 6278
Los Osos, California 93412 U.S.A.
Telephone 805-528-3534 : Fax 805-528-4971

 

 

Fundamental Evangelistic Association

Watchman's Trumpet - 2000
©FOUNDATION
A MAGAZINE OF BIBLICAL FUNDAMENTALISM

Dennis W.Costella, Editor; Karel Beyer, Production Manager; Matt Costella, Copy Editor
M.H. Reynolds, Jr. (1919-1997), Founding Editor


Index of Articles

Foundation Magazine : Current and Past Issues

1997 Watchman's Trumpet Index
1998 Watchman's Trumpet Index
1999 Watchman's Trumpet Index

Foundation Magazine : Jan - Feb 2000

A Charismatic Vision Of The Church For The New Millennium
Anglicans, Roman Catholics Discuss Unity
Chicago Interfaith Council Challenges Evangelism Efforts
Graham Says He Admires Pope's Attempts At Religious Reconciliation
Hinn Says TBN Will Bring Dead Back To Life
Homosexuality Is Sin—Not A "Gift From God"
Parliament Of World Religions Meets To Discuss Need For Unity Based On "Global Ethic"
Theologian Clark Pinnock’s Heretical Statements Concerning God And Salvation

Foundation Magazine : Mar - Apr 2000

Baptist World Congress Stresses Evangelism, Unity and Social Justice
Beware Of Ecumenical Weekend Retreat Movements
Inclusion Of Church Of Christ Materials In Bible-Believing Churches Is Dangerous
New Book Confirms Link Between KGB and WCC
"New Image of God" Sought by Leading Religious Scholars
New Network Formed To Emphasize Ecumenical Evangelism At A Global Level
New Unity Sought Among Church of Christ Movements
Pentecostal Leaders Visit Vatican, Build Ties With Their "Historical Grandparents"
Pope Opens Basilica Door And Leads Ecumenical Movement Into Next Century
Religious Leaders Endorse Pro-Homosexual Statement

Foundation Magazine : May - Jun 2000

Beware Of The Teachings And Writings Of New Age/Alternative Medicine Guru Deepak Chopra
Beware Of The Theology Underlying Bill Gothard's Basic Life Principles Seminars
Founder Of New "Church-In-A-Bar" Encourages Pastors To "Take Risks"
Society Embraces Interfaith Councils, Redefines “Tolerance”

The Evangelical Free Church Of America Rejects Separatism, Embraces Ecumenism

Youth With A Mission Experiments With New, Unscriptural Missions Strategy

Foundation Magazine : July-Aug 2000

Clinton Declared June 2000 To Be "Gay And Lesbian Pride Month"
Deceased Roman Catholic Cardinal Praised By Leading Evangelical Leaders
Episcopal Church Votes To Approve Full Communion With Lutherans
Evangelical Leaders Urge Christians To Stop Using “Warfare” Metaphors And Terminology

NCC Proposes Plan To Form New Organization And Unite All Streams Of Christianity In The United States

Foundation Magazine : Nov-Dec 2000

Deceased Roman Catholic Cardinal Praised By Leading Evangelical Leaders
Episcopal Church Votes To Approve Full Communion With Lutherans
Evangelical Leaders Urge Christians To Stop Using “Warfare” Metaphors And Terminology
Millennium World Peace Summit Unites Religious Leaders from Around the Globe
NCC Proposes Plan To Form New Organization And Unite All Streams Of Christianity In The United States

A Charismatic Vision Of The Church For The New Millennium

        The December 1999 issue of Charisma magazine contained a revealing article titled "A Church for the 21st Century" in which author Robert Steams, a Charismatic, describes what he believes the church will look like in the next millennium. The article's subtitle reads, "As we move into the new millennium, we must renounce old religious ideas and embrace the Holy Spirit's new strategies. Here are 10 ways we must change." This statement, and the subsequent article, says much about Stearns' hopes for the future of Christianity in America and about his attitude (and the attitude of most Charismatics and New Evangelicals) toward that which is defined as "traditional." Notice the following observations: Stearns said the 21st century church will once again hear God's audible voice-"Sadly, many denominations in this century have actually taught that God does not speak anymore—except through the pages of the Bible," he added; he also said the church will "unleash the power of creativity" as it brings forth a generation that will "rise up with new anointing and authority in the creative domain" and "casts off the restraints of the spirit of religion." He said the new church will be a "city church" where all denominational walls are broken down in order to experience unity for the cause of Christ and that "mature spiritual warfare" will be waged against demonic forces. He also added that the 21st century church will "worship with abandon" and that such worship will especially manifest itself in the area of dance as Americans distance themselves from the "cultural entrapment" of equating dancing with sex.
        In a related Charisma article entitled "New Year's Resolutions for a New Millennium," Ted Haggard, pastor of the charismatic New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, listed ten resolutions that he believes should be embraced by today's Christians as they enter the new millennium. One resolution involves churches purposing to "work together strategically rather than competing." Haggard said much emphasis is already being placed on "unity" and added, "we have more churches working together for the spread of the gospel than ever before. " He cited his own city of ministry as an example of effective ecumenical evangelism: "Here in Colorado Springs churches from virtually every background-Baptist, Presbyterian, Interdenominational, charismatic, Catholic, Methodist, and so on-come together regularly for city-reaching efforts." Haggard also said believers should resolve to "look to megachurch leadership rather than consensus-forming pacifists to develop city-wide strategy" in the2lst century. Haggard said the visionary mega-church leaders, unlike the "consensus-forming pacifists" who usually lead city-wide networks of churches, possess the sufficient drive and purpose for city-wide church unification. Haggard also urged the church to resolve to follow visionary, courageous leaders' He wrote, "Thankfully, many Christians have rejected the spineless, weak pastors who often dominated our pulpits in past years and have flocked to Christian leaders with courage such as Bill McCartney and James and Shirley Dobson." He continued, "We enjoy Bill Hybles, Joy Dawson, T. D. Jakes, Larry Stockstill, Tommy Barnett, Rick Warren, Chuck Colson, Bill Bennett and others because they are actually saying something; they have backbone."
        The ideas, aspirations and strategies of both Steams and Haggard are similarly embraced by millions of New Evangelicals, Charismatics and even some professed Fundamentalists today. While it is true that many church growth tactics, church unity programs and "new strategies of the Holy Spirit" will attract multitudes of people, most of those programs and strategies contradict the teachings of the Word of God and only serve to foster an attitude of irreverence and worldliness that already permeates many churches and ministries today. Christ bought the church with His own blood, and He has called it to be separate from the world and obedient to His Word, regardless of whether or not such obedience fails to attract multitudes of people. The church in the 21st century must practice separation from unbelief and compromise, not infiltration. It must obey the Word of God, not twist It in an attempt to change society or find approval for man's philosophies of witness and ministry. FOUNDATION Magazine - Jan-Feb 2000, pp. 39-40 

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Anglicans, Roman Catholics Discuss Unity

        Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold of the Anglican church met privately with Pope John Paul II in November 1999. Griswold said he and the pope discussed the future of Anglican-Catholic relations as well as the need for unity and acceptance of the pope's ministry among all people. The January 2000 issue of Episcopal Life, the church's national monthly newspaper, contained the following information concerning Griswold's meeting with the pope:

Griswold said he expressed support for the pope's recent document that stressed the need for the Western Hemisphere to be seen as "the Americas," with a need for a greater sense of interconnection and relationship between the continents and a more global vision of what it means to be community.

"We also talked about how the pope's ministry could be 'a ministry of service' to those outside the Roman Catholic Church—how it could be a gift to the wider Christian world," Griswold said.

        Prior to his meeting with Pope John Paul II, Griswold met with Cardinal Edward Cassidy and other Vatican officials to informally review the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission and discuss the role of the Anglican Center in Rome as a place of "meeting between the Roman Catholic Church and Anglicans around the world."
        Notice Griswold's words concerning his (and the pope's) desire for the unity and "interconnection" of the entire Western Hemisphere. Also notice his desire for those non-Catholics "of the wider Christian world" to accept the "gift" of papal ministry. It is becoming obvious to the discerning observer that the Anglican (Episcopal) Church and other religious communions are serving as accomplices in the formation of a one-world church which will find itself under the ultimate authority of Rome. The role of the papacy is no longer viewed as a liability to the church of Rome but as a "gift" to all including those outside the Roman Catholic Church. Sadly, Pope John Paul II does not need to serve as the lone voice for such a united one-world system and for universal toleration or acceptance of papal authority, for others such as Griswold are doing it for him. FOUNDATION Magazine - Jan-Feb 2000, p. 34

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Baptist World Congress Stresses Evangelism, Unity and Social Justice 

        The Baptist World Alliance's 18th Baptist World Congress, held January 5-9, 2000, in Melbourne, Australia, featured a mixture of evangelical terminology and social gospel theology. The Baptist World Congress, held every five years, is organized by the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) which unites 196 Baptist conventions around the world and represents an estimated 43 million Christians. This year's Congress witnessed the election of Dr. Billy Kim as the new BWA president. Kim, who serves as pastor of the 13,000-member Central Baptist Church in Suwon, South Korea, and president of the Far East Broadcast-ing Company-Korea, gained notoriety in the United States when he translated for Dr. Billy Graham in a 1993 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association crusade.
        This year's Congress began with "the chant of aboriginal singers and dancers from Australia's outback," according to a January 5 BWA press release. The release noted that outgoing BWA president Nilson Fanini welcomed the Congress by saying, "Our languages and cultures are various. Yet as God's Word affirms, there is but 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism.' The bonds which unite us are stronger than the differences that identify us." As ecumenical observers from the Anglican, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Reformed, Churches of Christ and Salvation Army churches looked on, speakers at the Congress continually stressed the need for unity amidst cultural, ethnic and doctrinal diversity, and BWA officials emphasized the diversity of organizations that exist even within the BWA itself (Ecumenical News International, 1-5-00). Fanini said, "Theology often divides Baptists but our commitment to evangelism unites us" (BWA press release, 1-5-00). He told 5,000 individuals at an evening worship service that no Baptist convention could stand alone and make a difference in all the world. "To reach our world we must have the cooperation of all Baptists..." (BWA press release, 1-7-00). General Secretary Denton Lotz emphasized the need for unity among all professed Christians when he told the Congress, "Christians enter a new millennium divided. The division between Catholic, Orthodox, ecumenical and evangelical is in some cases worse than at the beginning of the 20th century. We, as Baptists, must work for the unity of God's people" (BWA press release, 1-7-00). He added, "Whenever Baptists unite, it is around evangelism and mission. Doctrinal uniformity and creedalism divide us, but proclaiming Christ unites us."
        Besides stressing the need for unity despite doctrinal differences, the Congress also championed the need for the social gospel, that is, that the purpose of the church is to change society by alleviating social ills. Baptist Press reported that at the opening night's keynote address, H. Beecher Hicks, Jr., of Washington, D. C., told the audience that "'The gospel of Jesus is an invitation' both to salvation and to a moral vision to minister to the needs of suffering people" (Baptist Press, 1-10-00). He said God pours out wonders, miracles, healing and anointing "on those who are faithful to God's Word" (BWA press release, 1-5-00). Frederick Haynes, pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church of West Dallas, Texas, told the Congress that "the church is at its best when it recognizes the link between salvation and liberation" (BWA press release, 1-7-00). He challenged those in attendance to work for social justice. "The world will be a better place when the church leads the fight against social injustice," he said. "We're not to walk home from this BWA congress, but to fly home-to correct social injustice." Other speakers during the congress included female preachers such as Anne Graham Lotz and Jill Manton, associate pastor of Ashburton Baptist Church in Victoria, Australia who lectured on "Spiritual Formation," flowering her speech with New Age terminology and ideas and even quoting a 14th century mystic.
        Sadly, the BWA is a dangerous mixture of truth and error and is home to both liberals and conservatives. While the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) comprises the largest Baptist communion in the BWA, it is also the most conservative. The American Baptist Churches USA, the Baptist General Conference and the National Baptist Convention, USA are also members of the BWA. During the convention, one unnamed retired Baptist pastor from the United States told an ENI reporter that he was "shocked" by the statements made by the SBC's Randy Springer who spoke about the need to evangelize even when evangelism is unwelcome in certain areas (Springer referred to the attack against SBC evangelism efforts by an interfaith group in Chicago, Illinois. See Jan.-Feb. 2000 Foundation). The unnamed pastor said Springer's comments about evangelism did not reflect the views of Baptists in the United States outside the SBC. Such an account exemplifies the sad mixture of truth and error that permeates the BWA. Believers who desire to honor Christ should have no part of an organization such as the BWA that is home to such compromise and theological error.

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Beware Of Ecumenical Weekend Retreat Movements

        Weekend retreats that emphasize spiritual renewal are becoming increasingly popular with church members, but believers must beware of the teachings and fellowships that are often experienced at such meetings. While many Christians with good intentions may think a renewal weekend will help their Christian walk and witness, many such weekend retreats are Charismatic and ecumenical in nature. Three movements that have become popular of late are Tres Dias, The Emmaus Walk and Chrysalis (aimed at teenagers). These retreat movements have emerged from the Roman Catholic Church's Cursillo Movement and are now often sponsored by mainline denominations. The Tres Dias Movement, which broke off from a United Methodist Cursillo Movement in the 1980's and is now nondenominational, describes itself in the following manner: "Christian, ecumenical, similar to the Cursillo movements, a Christian support group movement, a prayer/study/action small group movement."
       Recently, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) warned its members to be wary of the Cursillo-type movements, saying that such movements are secretive and divisive. SBC's Tal Davis told Baptist Press that the focus of those who attend the Tres Dias weekend retreats "is no longer on the gospel or evangelism, rather the experience they've had" (BP, 12-29-99). According to Baptist Press, Davis has heard from a number of SBC churches who have reported problems as a result of the retreats. "Some church members have done extreme things, selling possessions, becoming secretive. It's almost like the weekend retreat has become the focus of their spiritual lives," Davis said. Paul Mason, pastor of Central Baptist Church (SBC) in Douglasville, Georgia, said those within his church who attended the retreat were secretly inviting others to attend. When he asked about the retreat, those who attended told him it was a secret and that they could not discuss what happened during the weekend of the retreat.
        Mason noted that "one area of concern is the potential for participants to manifest Charismatic tendencies" (BP, 12-29-99). Defenders of the Tres Dias and other Cursillo-type movements reject the notion that these movements are Charismatic and secretive. Wilson Burton, Jr., a member of a Church of Christ congregation and a member of Tres Dias' international board, told Baptist Press that even though some who attend the retreats experience Charismatic manifestations ranging from laughter to healing, Tres Dias is not Charismatic. "It is an encounter with the Holy Spirit," Burton said. "The ministry is ecumenical in nature and actively seeks the participation of persons from all Christian denominations" (BP, 1-18-00). He also told Baptist Press that Tres Dias does not preach one theology but rather stresses what all denominations hold in common.
        A careful look at the orientation, history and essentials of the Tres Dias movement, and other Cursillo-type retreat movements, reveals that such movements are unashamedly ecumenical in scope. One Baptist Press article noted that "Baptist, Lutheran, Church of God or Catholics, among others, may be represented on any given weekend" (BP, 1-18-00). Likewise, such retreats are often dominated by Charismatics within each of the denominations. No Bible-believing Fundamentalist should have any part of such a fellowship

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Beware Of The Teachings And Writings Of New Age/Alternative Medicine Guru Deepak Chopra

        Best-selling author and alternative medicine specialist Deepak Chopra has amassed a great following in the United States mainly due to his popularity among high-profile Hollywood clientele.  The founder and CEO of the Chopra Center for Well-Being is gaining much notoriety and respect of late as Time magazine selected him in 1999 as one of its 100 icons and heroes of the 20th century.  In his latest book, How to Know God (already a best seller in the United States), Chopra enunciates his views on man, God and spirituality.  Why would believers especially need to beware of Chopra's teachings concerning the aforementioned issues?  Because his book is full of false teaching, yet he claims that a devout Christian could read his latest book and agree with his conclusions.
        On March 18, 2000, Larry King interviewed Chopra for a full hour on Cable News Network's Larry King Live Weekend program.  Chopra discussed his book and his beliefs concerning God and spirituality.  His man-made religion draws from a mixture of the teachings of New Age mysticism, Eastern religions, Christianity and Judaism.
        Concerning Jesus Christ, Chopra claims that "Christ was one of the greatest mystics of all time who knew everything that has been ever said in the Eastern traditions." He told King, "I don't think Christ was a Christian" but noted that Christianity was merely an ideology, a dogma, "that came for political reasons afterwards."
        Concerning man's connectedness with the ecosystem, he teaches that all humans are part of a larger "web of life" who possess a unique "harima" or special relationship with the ecosystem.  He told King:

Because the Earth, and the planet and cosmos is your extended body-the trees are your lungs in a sense, and the Earth is your mother, etc.-because we're all inseparably connected, once we damage that larger web of life ... we're abusing our larger self, we end up hurting ourselves.

        Concerning death, Chopra is an avid proponent of the Hindu belief in reincarnation.  In describing what happens when a human being dies, he said:

The soul goes into a period of incubation ... it goes into what is called the virtual domain, which is just a field of possibilities.  The context, the meanings, the relationships, the archetypal energies incubate, and then the soul takes a creative leap into a new context, a new set of relationships, a new pattern, a new location, in space time, a new body.

        Concerning God, Chopra believes God is only an experience which he defined as "the absolute certainty of the immortality of existence.  " He said, "God is that part of our awareness, where we experience our universality, where we experience love, where we experience healing, where we experience the world of the magical and the miraculous." Chopra gave an illustration of where man can find God: "Next time you look at a flower, see that it is also rainbows and sunshine and earth and water and wind and the infinite void and the whole history of creation.  Go beyond that and you'll feel the presence of spirit.  If you can't find God in a flower, you're not going to find God in a book of religion." He said he does not believe in the existence of a God who judges mankind and sends men and women to either heaven or bell.  He also rejected the idea that man must believe in God.  He told King, "If something is real, you don't have to resort to belief ... nor should I have to believe in God to experience God."
        Concerning evil and tragedy, Chopra believes two forces are always competing with each other-entropy, or decay, and creativity, or evolution.  He told King, "We participate in the balance of these forces by our collective choices." When King asked Chopra how to explain tragedies, disasters and the evil deeds that men inflict upon one another, Chopra said that humans actually create everything that happens and explained it in the following manner:

When our collective choices damage the biosphere or the ecosystem, then you see havoc in nature ... your mind and the information and energy fields of your mind are part of nature's mind ... we are not outside nature ... When we have great turbulence in our collective psyche, when we have a collective madness, when we have a collective psychosis, then we create tyrants.  We create the Saddam Husseins, we create the Hitlers ... we collectively participate in the creation of everything that happens.

        Deepak Chopra is certainly a false teacher who is leading millions of people away from eternal life revealed only through Jesus Christ who is "the way, the truth and the life." Chopra rejects the truth of God's Word, yet he quotes Christian terms and Bible verses throughout his books and speeches, making his teachings and writings only more deceptive and dangerous to both the saved and unsaved alike.  His latest book How to Know God will, actually, only direct men and women away from God.  Do not become enticed by the smooth sounding New Age rhetoric of Chopra and other self-help gurus.

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Beware Of The Theology Underlying Bill Gothard's Basic Life Principles Seminars

        Bill Gothard, leader of the renowned Institute in Basic Life Principles seminars, is a popular speaker in many churches today.  He conducts his seminars either in person or by videotape in a variety of Evangelical and even Fundamentalist churches throughout the United States.  Gothard has amassed many faithful followers who would strongly object to any warnings given against any aspect of his ministry.  Yet Fundamentalists should be aware of several theological and practical problems that exist in Gothard's teachings and institute programs, which are often ecumenical in scope and founded upon a combination of Gothard's faulty theology and human psychology.
        One of the foundational problems with Gothard's teaching of which the believer must beware is his unbiblical emphasis on the Old Testament Law in the life of the New Testament believer.  Gothard's undue and unbiblical emphasis upon the Law stems from his failure to either understand or accept the dispensational distinctives between Israel and the church.  His misunderstanding, or rejection, of dispensational truth are revealed not only by his principles and theology but also by his misuse of Scripture to support his teachings.
        In his advanced seminar handout titled "Appendix on the Place of Old Testament Law in the Life of New Testament Believers," Gothard makes it clear that he does not believe that keeping the Old Testament Law will save any individual.  Yet he advances the idea that the Old Testament Law plays a vitally important part in the life of the believer who desires to fulfill God's will.  He said Jesus "understood the continuing value of the Law in the lives of believers" and added, "The Holy Spirit will guide our daily lives by all Scripture, including the Law, and give us the power to obey His Word." He believes "the [Old Testament] Law is God's infinitely wise and masterful 'blueprint' for success in personal living, financial decisions, marriage, family, health and community life." Gothard plunges into great detail to explain his ideas, but he continually uses Scripture out of Its proper, dispensational context or even edits the Scripture verses so as to force the text to support his own theology.
        Fundamentalists should be extremely wary of any who teach that God requires the practice of the Old Testament Law or portions thereof in order to become successful in one's spiritual life.  On the contrary, the apostle Paul tells believers that they are "delivered from the Law" and are "become dead to the Law" (Rom. 7:4).  He adds, "Now we are delivered from the law ... that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter' (Rom. 7:6).  The Law revealed sin (Rom. 7:7) and served as a "schoolmaster," pointing forward to Christ.  The New Testament believer is to derive his instruction for "successful" living from the New Testament, realizing that the power to accomplish the obedience of faith comes from the Holy Spirit.  Mixing law and grace inevitably results in the confusion of basic, theological principles. (An in-depth exposé of the teachings of Bill Gothard can be obtained from Biblical Discernment Ministries at http://www.rapidnet.com/-jbeard/bdm/).

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Chicago Interfaith Council Challenges Evangelism Efforts

        The Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago has issued a letter to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president Paige Patterson urging the SBC to refrain from sending missionaries to the Chicago area next summer with the intent of spreading the Gospel. According to SBC spokesman Herb Hollinger, the SBC has launched a "Strategic Cities Initiative" program in which thousands of missionaries are scheduled to be sent to various cities to witness through door-to-door evangelism and neighborhood block parties. The Council's letter to Patterson states, "While we are confident that your volunteers would come with entirely peaceful intentions, a campaign of the nature and scope you envision could contribute to a climate conducive to hate crimes."
        According to a December 4, 1999, Religion News Service (RNS) report, Rabbi Ira Youdovin, chief author of the letter, said the SBC plan to evangelize Chicago "could disrupt the pattern of peaceful interfaith relations in our community, and unwittingly abet the designs of those who seek to provoke hate crimes by fomenting faith-based prejudice." Other signers of the letter included Cardinal Francis George of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago; Paul Rutgers, Presbyterian minister and director of the interfaith council; Bishop C. Joseph Sprague of the United Methodist Church; and Bishop Iakovos of the Chicago diocese of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. According to an Associated Press report, Sprague said the Baptist approach to evangelism "smacks of a kind of non-Jesus-like arrogance" (AP, 11-29-99). He told the Chicago Tribune, "I'm always fearful when we in the Christian community move beyond the rightful claim that Jesus is decisive for us" to the "presupposition that non-Christians are outside God's plan of salvation." In another written attack against the evangelization of the lost, Cardinal Francis George wrote in the Chicago archdiocesan newspaper, "Proselytizers speak before listening. Evangelizers listen before speaking, since the Gospel cans us to respect each man and woman and to listen first to their spiritual journey before engaging them in conversation about who Christ is" (Religion Today, 12-2-99).
        The interfaith council's efforts to hinder evangelism is one tragic example of the consequences of disobeying the Word of God and attempting to forge unbiblical unity rather than separating from those who preach a false gospel. The eyes of those within this council have been blinded by Satan who has deceived them into believing that the lost do not need to hear the Good News of Christ's substitutionary sacrifice on Calvary's cross and His subsequent resurrection from the dead. To be deceived into thinking that evangelism of the lost "smacks of a kind of non-Jesus-like arrogance" or that believers are to "listen first to [the story of an unbelievers'] spiritual journey before engaging them in conversation about who Christ is" can only be described as a Satanic attitude of unbelief and infidelity that results from disobedience to the Word of God and an unregenerate heart. FOUNDATION Magazine - Jan-Feb 2000, pp. 38-39 

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Clinton Declared June 2000 To Be "Gay And Lesbian Pride Month"

        United States President Bill Clinton, for the second year in a row, issued a proclamation declaring June 2000 to be Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.  Clinton is the first president in U. S. history to declare a national Gay and Lesbian Pride month.  In the official presidential proclamation, Clinton boasts that within his administration, "more openly gay and lesbian individuals serve in senior posts throughout the Federal Government than during any other administration." He continues his proclamation:

"This June, recognizing the joys and sorrows that the gay and lesbian movement has witnessed and the work that remains to be done, we observe Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and celebrate the progress we have made in creating a society more inclusive and accepting of gays and lesbians.  I hope that in this new millennium we will continue to break down the walls of fear and prejudice and work to build a bridge to understanding and tolerance, until gays and lesbians are afforded the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans."

        Noting that "with each passing year the American people become more receptive to diversity and more open to those who are different from themselves," Clinton urged Americans to observe Gay and Lesbian Pride Month with "programs, ceremonies and activities that celebrate our diversity."
        Of course, all individuals regardless of their lifestyle should enjoy basic civil liberties, but the declaration of a Gay and Lesbian Pride Month only serves to endorse the homosexual and lesbian lifestyle rather than simply affirm their right to basic freedoms. Likewise, Clinton's declaration implies that any who oppose such behavior are intolerant or bigoted.  Believers who take God's Word for what It says and define homosexuality and lesbianism as sin are increasingly coming under attack for their beliefs by those, such as the president, who actually glorify such perversions that God says are an abomination to Him.  Today, to be "tolerant" and "understanding" requires that one actually agree with the homosexual and lesbian communities, which claim that their lifestyle is normal and even acceptable to God.  Yet a God-honoring Christian cannot and must not affirm that either homosexuality or lesbianism is approved by the Lord.  Christians must stand firm on the Word of God and call homosexuality and lesbianism sin.  The Bible clearly reveals not only that homosexuality is sin but also that men and women can be delivered from such sin through faith in Jesus Christ as they are strengthened and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

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Deceased Roman Catholic Cardinal Praised By Leading Evangelical Leaders

        The recent death of Cardinal John O'Connor, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York and close Vatican ally of Pope John Paul II, elicited a flurry of praise for O'Connor's ministry from several Evangelical leaders.  Following O'Conner's death on May 3, Jerry Falwell called the former archbishop a "true American hero" for his stance on homosexuality and abortion.  Falwell said that although he differed with O'Connor "on a few theological and social issues,” he was "grateful that John O'Connor—a man of courageous faith—had such a profound influence on the Catholic Church through his 55 years of ministry." He added, "I pray that another pro-life, pro-family minister can be found to fill his significant and substantial shoes" (The Falwell Confidential, 5-4-00).  A May 5, 2000, Charisma News Service (CNS) report noted that Charles Colson, Pat Robertson and Billy Graham also honored O'Connor for his moral courage as well as for his effort to bring unity among Catholics and Evangelicals.  According to CNS, "Robertson said that O'Connor did more to bring a feeling of harmony and love between Roman Catholics and Evangelicals than anyone else he knew."
        Sadly, O'Connor preached a false gospel and led many people down the road to eternal damnation.  While he may have been an extremely religious man and unwaveringly dedicated to moral values and the rights of the unborn, he was an enemy of the true Gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone in the finished work of Christ on Calvary's cross.  Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians do not differ with Roman Catholics "on a few theological issues," as Falwell stated, but rather on the definition of the Gospel Itself—a difference between eternal life or eternal damnation!  Falwell, Colson, Graham and Robertson did not simply pay tribute to a man, but as the CNS report reveals, they praised his ministry as well.  All who are dedicated to a false religious system must not be praised but shunned.  To laud the ministry of O'Connor is to imply the viability of the Roman Catholic Church.  God's Word declares that all who preach a false gospel are to be avoided and rebuked, not praised.

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Episcopal Church Votes To Approve Full Communion With Lutherans

        The Episcopal Church overwhelmingly approved the "Called to Common Mission (CCM)" document at its 72nd General Convention in Denver, Colorado, in July.  This means the Episcopal Church now enjoys full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  The Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported that "the approval of Called to Common Mission completes more than 30 years of discussion between the two denominations about mutual opportunities for ministry" (ENS, 7-8-00).  While the agreement does not mean the two denominations will merge into one, it does mean that they will share clergy and sacraments and will cooperate more closely in various missions and ministries.  The agreement also means that the ELCA now accepts the historic episcopate, a belief that only bishops who can trace their succession back to Jesus' apostles can ordain new bishops.  Episcopal Bishop Christopher Epting, a member of the CCM's drafting team and a member of the ecumenical relations committee, told ENS that "the historic episcopate now promises to be a common sign of the apostolic connection for both churches" (ENS, “House of Bishops Approves Full Communion with Lutherans," 7-7-00).  Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, spelled out the significance of the agreement and its meaning and implications:

I am delighted that both Houses of our General Convention have now passed "Called to Common Mission," the proposed revision of the Concordat of Agreement, together with the related constitutional and canonical changes.  This means that the Episcopal Church is now, as of today, in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on the basis of a shared ministry in the historic episcopate and for the sake of common mission in proclaiming and serving the Gospel.  Constitutional changes will be implemented as of January 1, 2001.

The agreement will be a very significant sign to the ecumenical community that our two churches can live in communion with one another for the sake of a greater unity in the service of a common mission.  Besides allowing an interchange of ordained ministers, this agreement gives us the confidence to go forward together in a sharing of our resources and traditions for the sake of a greater good in evangelism, witness, and service.  This is the mission that is now before us, and I pray that we can proceed toward its implementation in a timely manner.  In obedience to the Lord we serve, I now call on all of us, even those who may have had some doubts or hesitations, to join in this process (ENS, "Statement on 'Called to Common Mission,"' 7-8-00).

        The ecumenical unity occurring among the major denominations is a clear sign of the one-world religious system that is now openly coming to fruition.  Bishop Epting accurately summarized the manner in which this ecumenical system is coming to pass.  Epting told ENS, "I think we've moved in the ecumenical movement generally from a concept of one giant 'superchurch' to what we now call a 'communion of communions."' He added, "The great coming church of the future will always have its own uniqueness.  There will be different ways in which individual communions will exercise their worship and their common life.  But we really are one church in the larger sense of that word" (ENS, "Episcopal Church Approves Full Communion," 7-8-00).
        Both the Episcopal Church and the ELCA are permeated with liberalism.  Yet both denominations are striving to reach out to others and find common ground in order to forge ecumenical unity.  Fundamentalists must be aware of the fact that many Christian movements and ministries today, including many Evangelical and Charismatic organizations and churches, welcome cooperation with Episcopalians and liberal Lutheran churches. Those who desire to honor the Lord and obey His Word will have no part of any such association but will rather "blow the trumpet' and "warn the people" about such compromise.

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Evangelical Leaders Urge Christians To Stop Using “Warfare” Metaphors And Terminology 

        Mission agency and church leaders from over 20 international missionary organizations met at Fuller Theological Seminary June 1-3, 2000, to "think and pray together about the words, metaphors and images evangelicals use to communicate about the missionary mandate and endeavor." The official  statement released by those who participated in this "Consultation on Mission Language and Metaphors"calls for today's church to refrain from using language and metaphors, whether Biblical or not, that would either be offensive to the unsaved or that would keep them from receiving the Gospel message.  The statement says:

We regret that certain words and images long employed to all the church to mission have increasingly caused offense to the very people with whom we are seeking to share the Good News.  Some of these words and images are biblical; some are motivational tools from the secular arena that we use to inspire involvement and action.  Many are military in nature: "target," "conquer," "army," "crusade," "mobilize," "beachhead," "advance," "enemy," "battle."

        The writers then ask, "Can we find more reconciling, redemptive words and images in Scripture and elsewhere that will aid us in expressing love, respect and effective witness for Christ, rather than creating an atmosphere of adversarial confrontation?" Citing Jesus' language in His parables, they state:

We encourage Christian mission agencies and local churches to re-examine scripture and restate their global task in terms consistent with the teaching and mission of Christ. Alternate words and images including blessing, healing, inviting, sowing and reaping, fishing, restoring family relationships, becoming reconcilers, peacemakers and ambassadors [emphasis added]. 

        Notice that the writers imply that to use language other than the language of Christ is inconsistent with the teaching and ministry of Christ.  Therefore, to quote Paul, John, James and Peter who often use "warfare" terminology is not consistent with the teaching and mission of the Lord Jesus.
        These Evangelical leaders are calling on Christians to refrain from using "unwise language choices," whether Biblical or not, regardless of whether or not they are speaking to unbelievers or about unbelievers amongst other Christians.  Notice their words

We can no longer maintain a dichotomy between what we say to the "home folks" and what we say to the world.  The world, we assume, will read or hear whatever we say to our own.  Are we willing not to use language behind the back of unbelievers concerning their culture and location that we would not use face to face in sharing the message and love of Christ?

        It is obvious that the authors of this statement are attempting to twist the Scriptures and give the impression that to use Biblical "warfare" terminology even among fellow believers is "talking behind the back" of unbelievers.  But this is certainly not true.  The apostle Paul tells believers that because they "wrestle ... against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12), they are to go to battle against the foe with "the whole armour of God" (Eph. 6:13-17) as "good soldiers) of Jesus Christ" (2 Tim. 2:1-4).  Jude uses "warfare" language when he commands the faithful believer to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).  Of course, Christians must never cause undue offence to those whom they wish to reach with the Gospel, but believers cannot "pick and choose" between which Biblical terms and metaphors they choose to repeat and which they choose to reject, whether in the presence of unbelievers or other believers.
        Those churches, educational institutions and mission agencies represented at the Consultation on Mission Language and Metaphors include: AD 2000 and Beyond; International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention; Association of Vineyard Churches; Operation Mobilization; International Ministries; Back to the Bible; OMF International; World Evangelical Fellowship Missions Commission; Task Force for Global Mission, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada; U. S. Center for World Mission; Fuller Theological Seminary; Columbia International University; and Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.  Watch out for these organizations that are attempting to water down the Word of God and tone down a militant attitude that the Scriptures require of every believer.

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Founder Of New "Church-In-A-Bar"Encourages Pastors To "Take Risks"

        First, a Roman Catholic priest gained attention and applause when he began a Bible study in a Michigan pub (Sept.-Oct. 1999 Foundation).  Now, a Southern California pastor has gone one step further by opening a Sunday evening church service in a dance club/bar in Camarillo, California.  A March 17, 2000, ReligionToday feature story contained a description of the new services as well as excerpts from an interview with Norm Pussehl, associate pastor at Sonrise Christian Fellowship and founder of the new church-in-a-bar.  The service meets at Dimensions Night Club, a Camarillo dance spot, and those who attend "can sip a cold one at a barstool or table while taking in the contemporary Christian music, live one-act dramas, videos about Christ, real-life testimonials, and a short message from a hip pastor," the article stated.  Pussehl has also scheduled Christian rap bands and other alternative rock bands to perform at his services.
        Describing the "sermon," the ReligionToday article stated, "Pussehl spoke briefly from the Bible, explaining to patrons bellying up to the bar that they can come to God just as they are.  'If you're waiting to be good enough for God, you're going to have a long wait,' he said." Despite the fact that the church service takes place in a bar, Pussehl told ReligionToday that he makes sure patrons feel safe during the service.  "No one is going to beat them over the head with a Bible, " he says.  During the Sunday evening church service, the bar is open for those who attend the service, but non-alcoholic beverages are also served.
        Pussehl is a pastor with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, a Pentecostal denomination, and says he knows all about "Christian comfort zones and predictable, safe services which he refers to as 'club church."' But he says he wants to encourage believers to take risks.  Many who attended the Sunday night services told Pussehl that they had been looking for something like this for a long time.  Pussehl said, "God is blessing our obedience" and added. 'I say, 'Rock on, God.  You are large and in charge."'
        Christians should beware of any such attempts to mix the Word with the sinful course of this evil world.  Plussehl's pragmatic approach may indeed appeal to many unsaved men and women, but his actions and even blasphemous words are a reproach to the Gospel of Christ and to the testimony of all who desire to honor and obey God by separating from worldliness and harmful behavior.  Of course, it is natural for the unsaved to enjoy the worldly music and the alcoholic beverages that appeal to their flesh, but those believers who refuse to preach about such sinfulness, which directly opposes God's command to "be ye holy, for I am holy" (I Pet. 1: 16; Rom. 12:1, 2), are disobeying the Scriptures and hindering the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit.

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Graham Says He Admires Pope's Attempts At Religious Reconciliation

        In a recent interview with Associated Press (AP) reporter Richard Ostling, world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham said if he were to choose a "man of the century," he would probably choose Pope John Paul II. Graham told the AP that the current pope "has brought the greatest impact of any pope in the last 200 years." He added, "I admire his courage, determination, intellectual abilities and his understanding of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox differences, and the attempt at some form of reconciliation" (emphasis added).
        Reflecting on a century of changes, Graham highlighted many barriers that have been broken down. "The ecumenical movement began to bring Christians together from different backgrounds and theologies, " Graham said, adding that the change in Catholic attitudes toward Protestants "is like night and day." According to the November 17, 1999, AP report, Graham also said he believed Islam is growing faster than Christianity worldwide and noted that Christianity is at a competitive disadvantage in areas such as the United States and Western Europe because, in such areas, the Christian faith coexists alongside "our absorption of materialism and our worldliness, which the Bible warns us of."
        Graham's statements concerning the pope and ecumenism are certainly sad but not surprising, for Graham has already publicly bowed to the pressure of accepting Roman Catholicism as a viable "Christian" faith and proclaiming Pope John Paul II as one of the world's great evangelists. Catholics are an integral part of Graham's evangelistic crusades, and crusade organizers even admit that unity among all denominations is a benefit of the Graham crusades (see Nov/Dec. 1999 Foundation). But what is surprising is that Graham admits worldliness is challenging today's Christian church in America, yet he encourages such worldliness through his Christian rock "Concerts for the NeXt Generation" at each of his crusades and through other worldly New Evangelical programs. FOUNDATION Magazine - Jan-Feb 2000, pp. 40-41 

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Hinn Says TBN Will Bring Dead Back To Life

        Charismatic evangelist Benny Hinn recently told Paul and Jan Crouch and an audience of millions of viewers of Trinity Broadcasting Network's Praise the Lord television broadcast that God would use TBN to raise the dead in various parts of the world. Hinn claimed to have received a vision from God in which God told him that TBN programming was to serve as a representation of Heaven to all the earth and that God would even use TBN to bring those who had died back to life. The following transcript details Hinn's exact words on the October 19, 1999, Praise the Lord program:

Here's what I see for TBN. You're going to have people raised from the dead watching this network. You're going to have people raised from the dead watching TBN ... I'm telling you, I see this in the Spirit. It's going to be so awesome-Jesus I give you praise for this-that people around the world-maybe not so much in America-people around the world who will lose loved ones, will say to undertakers, "Not yet. I want to take my dead loved one and place him in front of that TV set for 24 hours." ...

I'm telling you, I can feel the anointing talking here. People are going to be canceling funeral services and bringing their dead in their caskets, placing them-my God! I feel the anointing here-placing them before a television set, waiting for God's power to come through and touch them. And it's going to happen time and time-so much it's going to spread. You're going to hear it from Kenya to Mexico to Europe to South America, where people will be raised from the dead. So much so that the word will spread that if some dead person be put in front of this TV screen, they will be raised from the dead and they will be by the thousands ...

I see rows of caskets lining up in front of this TV set and I see them bringing them closer to the TV set and as people are coming closer I see loved ones picking up the hands of the dead and letting them touch the screen and people are getting raised as their hands are touching that screen.

        Such words coming from the mouth of Hinn are completely foolish and unbiblical. God does not speak today through new "visions" or heavenly messages, nor would He ever contradict His own Word. Hinn's statements clearly contradict Scripture, for the Bible teaches that the next resurrection for which the believer is to await will occur when Jesus Christ comes again in the air to catch away His own (I Thess. 4:16-17). At that time, the bodies of those believers who have died will be raised from the dead, and they will receive their new, glorified bodies. After this rapture of believers, God's Word says amazing, miraculous manifestations will occur on earth, but those miracles are energized by Satan himself and are used for the purpose of deception (2 Thess. 2:6-1 0). God is not the author of such works. in fact, these miracles will be used against the true God, for these forthcoming miracles and manifestations will occur in a "religious" context but will be used to deceive all who do not have a "love for the truth" (Rev. 13:14-15). Do not be deceived by the speculations of men or the supposed revelations of the Spirit to Charismatic dreamers and schemers. The only word we have from the Lord today is the written Word, the Bible. FOUNDATION Magazine - Jan-Feb 2000, pp. 43-44 

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Homosexuality Is Sin—Not A "Gift From God"

        The determination of the so-called "Gay Movement" (homosexuals and lesbians) to legitimize their unscriptural, immoral behavior poses a grave threat to a moral society and to every true Christian who views sin, any sin, as that which is a reproach in the sight of God. Historically, Bible believers have universally recognized these same-sex relationships not only as heinous sins about which God's Word warns but also sins which will inevitably bring God's judgment upon those who refuse to repent and accept God's forgiveness and cleansing. God's judgment upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Lot (as described in Genesis 13-19 approximately 1900 years before Christ's birth) was thereafter referred to throughout the Old Testament as an example of God's judgment upon these sins (see Deut. 19:23; Isa. 1:9 and 13:19; Jer. 23:14; Lam. 4:6; Amos 4:11 and Zeph. 2:9). Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry, also referred to and warned about these sins (see Matt. 10:15 and 11:24; Mark 6:1 1; Luke 10: 12 and 17:29). In Romans 1:18-32, along with other sins which bring God's judgment, both lesbianism and homosexuality are specifically mentioned and described in language which cannot be misunderstood (vv. 26, 27). Second Peter 2:6 specifically mentions the judgment of God upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and the entire chapter prophetically reveals the very situation that exists in the world today (note especially verse 19 where a false liberty is promised by those who are themselves the servants of corruption). In Jude 7, notice that the reasons for God's judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah included not only "going after strange flesh" (homosexuality and lesbianism) but also sex outside of marriage ("fornication").
        Throughout history, men and women who flatly reject God's Word have sought the acceptance of the societies in which they lived with considerable success. Today, however, for the first time in history, homosexuals and lesbians who profess to be true believers are claiming that these heinous sins are not sins at all but rather special gifts of God to those who choose to practice this kind of immorality. Many recent examples of this kind of falsity and hypocrisy could be given, but the following excerpt is especially typical of the attitude of many within professing Christendom today. An article entitled "Homosexuality Is a Reality of Life" in the Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay Concerns' February 1994 issue of More Light Update states:

There is a continuing stream of letters to the editor that condemn homosexuality. All of them refer to the Bible and its various passages as the authority. With that subject and other human sexuality matters having come out of the closet and commanding more public discussion, there needs to be some thought-provoking light shed on them. To begin with, we must ask ourselves, "Just what is wrong with homosexuality?" It we answer that, using the intelligence and common sense which as human beings we are supposed to have, there can be only one answer-nothing.

        Even more recently, a coalition of gay and lesbian religious organizations has decided to give an annual award to a heterosexual religious leader who has served as an outspoken advocate of "homosexual rights." The Paul H. Sherry Leadership and Courage award is named after its first recipient, Paul Sherry who recently retired as president of the United Church of Christ. The Interfaith Assembly of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucuses and Affirming Organizations will distribute the award each year at the National Council of Churches' (NCC) general assembly meeting. Both Eileen Lindner, associate general secretary of the NCC and Gwynne Guibord, ecumenical officer of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC-A primarily homosexual and lesbian denomination), told Ecumenical News International (ENI) that the UFMCC "has been making quiet inroads within the Unites States ecumenical movement." Lindner said, "Informally there have been great advances" (ENI, 12-2-99).
        What disturbing statements and advances by those who claim to be Christians! The homosexual and lesbian movements stand at the forefront of those movements that are strongly and deceptively attempting to twist God's Word in order to justify disobedience. Believers who purpose to uphold the truths of God's Word must stand firmly against homosexuality and lesbianism, reminding everyone that God never condones any form of sin but also telling all of the forgiveness and cleansing from all sin for any who will trust Christ as Savior. When one is born again by the power of God, that same power can change the life as well (1 Cor. 6:9-11; I John 1: 5-10). FOUNDATION Magazine - Jan-Feb 2000, pp. 41-42 

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Inclusion Of Church Of Christ Materials In Bible-Believing Churches Is Dangerous

        A practical warning must be given regarding the books and literature that find their way into churches and into the hands of individual believers who would ordinarily have no agreement or interest in the false teaching of the Churches of Christ. It is alarming to hear of Bible-believing, Fundamentalist churches using the Sunday School, Bible School and Christian education curriculums of Standard Publishing of Cincinnati, Ohio, whose trade catalog lists and recommends the writings of Alexander Campbell, founder of the Church of Christ, and others who share his aberrant views. Standard Publishing prints many of the literature items distributed by the Churches of Christ that expound their unscriptural positions and views. Some tract titles include: "Why I Belong to the Church of Christ" and "What Is Expected of Me as a Member of the Church of Christ?" In response to our letter of inquiry as to their doctrinal beliefs, Standard Publishing gave a typical Church of Christ response: "You requested a doctrinal statement that expresses the beliefs of our writers and editors. Frankly, we do not have one! ...Since we claim all of the Bible, but only the Bible as our doctrinal statement. ... we have elected simply to use the Bible in its entirety as our doctrinal position." While such a reply sounds good, their denial of fundamental Bible truths concerning the church, prophecy, salvation and much more often surfaces in Standard Publishing materials, even though they try to market their products to as wide a Christian audience as possible.
        Fundamentalists must also beware of the writings of Max Lucado, the extremely popular communicator of religious ideals. While he is often embraced as a theologically conservative evangelical, Lucado is a minister of the Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio, Texas, and has been a seven-time featured speaker at Pepperdine University's Lectureships (a long-standing Church of Christ ministry). He is also applauded by Abeline Christian University, another stalwart Church of Christ-related institution. Lucado does not intend for his books to indoctrinate but rather to appeal to as wide a readership as possible with his positive approach to a somewhat generic method of Christian living. The problem with accepting Lucado's books or relying upon the writings of anyone who is not straight on basic theology, however, is that one opens the door to lending credibility to the errant beliefs of the writer. Truth mixed with error never profits the child of God.

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Millennium World Peace Summit Units Religious Leaders From Around The Globe

        Over 1,000 notable religious leaders from around the globe recently gathered at the United Nations for a four day conference to pray together, dialogue and find consensus on social issues ranging from poverty to world peace and from globalism to the environment. A primary thrust of the summit was to address the evils of war and violence that occur in the name of religion. Called the "Millennium World Peace Summit," the August 28-31, 2000, gathering was not an official United Nations event but served as a forerunner of what participants hope will become a permanent council of religious leaders that will advise the U.N. on preventing and settling disputes between countries (Reuters, 8-29-00). The official Millennium World Peace Summit Fact Sheet related the purpose for the summit in the following words:

This landmark event will seek to coordinate religious leadership as a driving force for building tolerance, fostering peace and encouraging inter-religious dialogue among all regions of the world. In addition to inviting religious leaders to sign a Declaration for World Peace, the Summit will create the International Advisory Council of Religious and Spiritual Leaders that is designed to serve as an ongoing interfaith ally to the United Nations in its quest for peace, global understanding and international cooperation.

        The gathering was notable in that it was the first time such a group has gathered in partnership with the United Nations to discuss how to bring about world peace (ReligionToday, 8-29-00). The summit convened just days before the Millennium Assembly of the United Nations which has been called the largest gathering of world leaders in history.
        Businessman Ted Turner, whose U.N. Foundation helped fund the summit, served as the honorary chairman of the event and gave the keynote address. Turner, who once said Christianity was "for losers," told those in attendance that he was born in a Christian family and even aspired to become a pastor but was disillusioned with the fact that his religion taught that only Christians would be in heaven. "I thought heaven was going to be a mighty empty place," Turner said. "Now I believe there may be one God who manifests himself in different ways to different people" (Associated Press, 8-29-00). Apparently alluding to the narrowness of Christianity, he told the crowd, "The religions that have survived don't have blood sacrifice, don't have hatred behind them. The ones that have done the best are the ones that are built on love" (Reuters, 8-29-00).
        During the summit, participants from a variety of religious backgrounds shared specific problems being faced by those within their respective countries and pled for harmony, unity and an end to divisiveness and proselytization. According to a Religion News Service report, "the most impassioned remarks came from Hindus from India, condemning what they said was continued proselytizing by Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians to India" (RNS, 9-7-00). Ken Welborn of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board said that on numerous occasions throughout the summit participants voiced "very negative comments regarding proselytization" (Baptist Press, 9-6-00). Richard Cizik, who represented the NAF at the summit, said such declarations against proselytization were met with "vigorous applause" (BP, 9-6-00). Cizik told Baptist Press, "What I think was also unfortunate was that the representatives of Christianity were joining that same call to denounce proselytizing, in particular Joan Brown Campbell [former general secretary of the National Council of Churches]. She came out with a strong statement that proselytizing must be renounced." According to a ReligionToday news summary report, a Buddhist leader "received a standing ovation when he condemned all attempts at religious conversion" (RT, 8-31-00). While Welborn and Cizik were disappointed with much of the anti-proselytization rhetoric at the summit, Baptist Press reported that both men concluded that "the purpose of the summit was positive" and that the potential for conflict between religious groups needs to be addressed but only when more Evangelicals are invited to the table of dialogue.
        Other notable religious leaders that participated in the interfaith summit included Cardinal Francis Arinze, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Israeli Chief Itabbi Meir Lau; Evangelist Anne Graham Lota; Konrad Raiser, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC); Abdullah Salath Al-Obaid, secretary-general of the Muslim World League and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Notably absent from the list of delegates was the Dalai Lama. Controversy immediately surrounded the summit when organizers refused to invite the Dalai Lama for fear of offending China which sent a seven-member delegation to the event. China has accused the Dalai Lama of creating turmoil" in Tibet and looks upon the leader of the world's Tibetan Buddhists as a political enemy of the state. The Dalai Lama sent a representative group of Tibetan Buddhists to the summit, but the Chinese delegates walked out when they addressed the gathering (Ecumenical News International, 9-4-00).
        Pope John Paul II did not personally attend the summit but did deliver a message through Cardinal Francis Arinze in which he urged unity and joint leadership among the leaders of the represented religions. The pope's message stated The problems facing humanity now are so large and complex that no single people or nation can solve them in isolation, nor can the building of peace be the work of politicians and diplomats alone" (Reuters, 8-29-00). Konrad Raiser, despite his contention that the summit lacked the detail it needed, also raised the gathering as a "rich experience" and said religious leaders needed to provide "affirmation and backing for the essential mission of the United Nations" and was pleased that the summit showed religious support for the work of the U.N. (ENI, 9-1-00). He said the "WCC's commitment to promoting inter-religious dialogue is firm, and we will continue to be open to all of those who walk on the same path."
        At the end of the four-day summit, the religious leaders committed themselves to establishing a new religious advisory council to the United Nations but concluded that in order to do so, a steering committee to oversee the establishment of the council would first need to be formed. Participants also signed a formal "Commitment to Global Peace," a document highly socialistic in nature, in which they pledged to respect other religions, condemn religious violence, strive for the elimination of nuclear weapons and worldwide poverty, promote he equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations and push or greater equality between men and women.
        The entire Summit was a blatant attempt on the part of mankind to move toward a one-world religious system which stresses religious tolerance and acceptance of all faiths and rejects any form of religious absolutes. The unity for which the participants are striving centers around common social and cultural values and a commitment to unity and peace. No Christian should have any part of such an endeavor nor unite in prayer, dialogue or common cause with those who approve and defend such wickedness. Peace will abound on earth only when Jesus Christ Himself is sitting on His throne in Jerusalem, but until then, believers are required to preach the Gospel to all people regardless of their religious beliefs, teach the Word of God to believers and earnestly contend for the faith. The Lord strictly forbids unity and dialogue with those who preach a false Gospel and who sacrifice truth for an attempted man-made peace.

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NCC Proposes Plan To Form New Organization And Unite All Streams Of Christianity In The United States

        The National Council of Churches' (NCC) executive board has approved a proposal to consider establishing a new organization that would unite all major Christian bodies in the United States, including Roman Catholics, Pentecostals and conservative Evangelicals who are not currently members of the NCC.  The possible changes come as a result of the NCC's financial crisis and its future uncertainties as an organization.  Robert Edgar, general secretary of the NCC, told Ecumenical News International (ENI), "Maybe we need a new name and a new vision for a new century ... I'm not sure what we'll invent" (ENI, 5-30-00).  In a May 22 press briefing, Edgar said, "What I do know is that there's a lot of energy among our churches ... to sit around the same table with Roman Catholics, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, to dream a new ecumenical future together" (PCUSA News, 5-24-00).  He said that whether or not the change involves a strengthened NCC or a completely new body with a new name, NCC leaders agreed that it is 'time to build on the last 50 years-not to recreate it, but to open it to Catholic, Pentecostal and Evangelical communities" (ENI, 5-30-00).  He added, "It's time for the Christian community in the U.S. to kiss and make up and covenant."
        So far, the NCC has notified the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops about the proposal and said the Southern Baptist Convention would also be notified.  ENI reported that some ecumenical observers believe that the NAE and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops would welcome the idea of a new, more inclusive organization since these two groups have made frequent contacts with the NCC over the past several years.  Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, chief executive of the Reformed Church in America, told ENI, "We want to talk with everybody." He said it is much easier today to discuss and explore new ecumenical endeavors due to the increasing acceptance of ecumenical unity at the local church level.  "Ecumenical reality has evolved more quickly locally than nationally," he said.  According to ENI, Granberg-Michaelson "pointed out that local and state councils of churches across the United States had Catholic, Evangelical and Pentecostal representation.  " He added, "The local groups are regularly crossing these kinds of ecumenical lines."
        The NCC's motion to form a wider ecumenical body is similar to the World Council of Church's new plan to create a global forum called "Common Understanding and Vision" which would allow Catholic, Pentecostal and Evangelical churches and organizations to unite in dialogue and common cause with those churches that are currently members of the WCC.  Both the NCC and WCC are now realizing that a unified, ecumenical, one-world religious system will result from consensus and agreement on that which the various churches and religions hold in common rather than a global institution or denomination. God's command, however, is to separate from error and false teaching.

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New Book Confirms Link Between KGB and WCC

        A new book by three German scholars documents the fact that the World Council of Churches (WCC) was infiltrated by communist agents during the Cold War period. National Protestantism and the Ecumenical Movement: Church Activities During the Cold War, co-authored by Gerhard Besier, Armin Boyens and Gerhard Lindemann, draws upon KGB files as well as archives from the WCC, the Lutheran World Federation and the East German state secretariat for church affairs. The authors, who spent several years of research before writing and publishing the 1074-page book, stated that WCC president Metropolitan Nikodim, a leader in the Russian Orthodox Church, served as an agent of the KGB, the Soviet Union's secret security agency. Nikodim was elected as one of the WCC presidents in 1975 and also served on the WCC's central and executive committees before dying of a heart attack in 1978. According to Ecumenical News International (ENI), Nikodim "played a major role in the Russian church's decision to join the WCC in 1961" (ENI, 2-2-00).
        In December 1999, Besier promoted the book in Berlin and explained the purpose behind the WCC's socialist agenda. He said during the Cold War, the WCC believed it could improve the world's social and economic condition through the implementation of social and political programs. "Many ecumenists used ecumenical social ethics based on 'socialist' models, he claimed, to criticize the Western model of society" (ENI, 2-2-00). He added that the WCC should, in the future, focus on theological issues rather than social issues.
        Several WCC officials are attempting to discredit the new book and even deny the fact that Nikodim served as a KGB agent. Mikhail Gundyaev, who represents the Russian Orthodox Church at the WCC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, told ENI that although he had never seen the KGB files, he found it "impossible to imagine" that Nikodim worked for the communist government, although he did admit that he would not reject the possibility that "some of the people in our church" may have had connections with the KGB. WCC spokesperson Karin Achtelstetter discredited the work of the authors by telling ENI that they did not utilize all the source material available to them and, therefore, portrayed the WCC-Cold War situation inaccurately.
        For decades, the FEA warned about the communist infiltration and the communist sympathizers within the WCC. The FEA particularly sounded a warning about the duplicity of Metropolitan Nikodim, who not only served as a WCC president and member of the central and executive committees but also as president of the communist-sponsored Christian Peace Conference. Russian refugees had identified Nikodim as a KGB agent, but liberals would not listen. Nikodim deceived the United States and the world when he held a press conference in New York in 1967 and said the communist revolution in Russia "released the Christian church" and "sought to serve clearly Christian purposes" (FEA News & Views, Nov.-Dec. 1967). Despite his 1975 claim to a Nairobi newspaper in which he stated, "I'm not a KGB agent," his pro-communist stance was clearly evident in a 1966 speech in Geneva, Switzerland, at the WCC's World Conference on Church and Society in which he said,

Christians in the Soviet Union ... have not only accepted the socialist revolution that took place in our country, but have and are active builders of a classless, socialist society, which is free from exploitation, racial or other inequality, and every member of which possesses equal rights as well as the opportunity for individual development and an active participation in the life of the whole society" (Foundation magazine, Sept.-Oct. 1982). 

        The world now knows that such statements were completely untrue, yet the WCC served as a platform for such lies and propaganda during the Cold War period. Even today, the WCC still champions socialist causes and criticizes the political and economic foundations of the free world. Believers must continue to beware of the liberal political and social agenda of the WCC.

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"New Image of God" Sought by Leading Religious Scholars

        Seven notable scholars from various religious backgrounds gathered at Oregon State University (OSU) February 11-12, 2000, for a two-day conference titled "God at 2000." The conference served as a forum to discuss "the need to change the face of God" in the new century. The participants were invited to the university campus by Marcus Borg, one of the Jesus Seminar scholars, who serves as professor of religion at OSU. Former South African archbishop Desmond Tutu participated in the conference and gave a speech on the "Christian" view of God. In a press conference prior to his speech at OSU, Tutu urged leaders of all religions to work together in order to find a new image of God. "No religion can claim to have the whole truth about the mystery [of faith]" he said. The Associated Press said Tutu "urged Christians to embrace other faiths" (AP, 2-12-00).
        A second Associated Press report highlighted the unprecedented nature of the gathering by stating that "in 16th century Europe, the conversation would likely have resulted in people being burned at the stake" (AP, 2-14-00). In fact, even the conference participants  "remarked that such a gathering in a secular academic setting would have been unthinkable even a few decades ago." Participants included five "Christians" (including Borg and Tutu), a Jew and a Muslim. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a Muslim professor at George Washington University; Diana Eck, an author and Harvard professor; Joan Chittister, a psychologist and Benedictine nun; Lawrence Kushner, a Jewish rabbi and Karen Armstrong, a former nun who now serves as a television commentator in Great Britain were among those who were invited to speak at the conference.
        According to the AP articles, Borg summed up his conclusions concerning God by saying he found that "the true essence of God was more of a duality-a distant and transcendent force that encompasses the universe while simultaneously dwelling inside each person." He added that "such a God was beyond religion, existing everywhere, touching the consciousness of all things, without need for churches or even prayer." The February 12, 2000, AP article said Borg "challenged Christians to open themselves to other religions ... and to reject 'supernatural theism.'" Other participants agreed. Eck talked about "the richness of Hindu imagery" and told the audience that "none of us owns the universe of faith." Chittister mocked the idea of God as "Father" rather than as "Mother." She said the world needs a more feminine image of God. Kushner said that while various religions offer a multitude of paths to God, "they all get to the same place." Armstrong said compassion and the Golden Rule are more important than searching for God in a church or through religion.
        How sad it is to see those who profess to be "Christian" reject the very tenant of the Christian faith-that Jesus Christ is The Way, The Truth and The Life. How sad it is to also hear professed Christians claim that no religion possesses the whole truth and urge fellow believers to embrace other faiths. Such blasphemy should come as no surprise, however, for unregenerate men and women such as these participants in the "God at 2000" conference are blinded by Satan. They are filled with high-minded philosophy and vain deceit and do not have a true knowledge of Jesus Christ. Therefore, they cannot speak the truth because they do not possess the Truth.

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New Network Formed To Emphasize Ecumenical Evangelism At A Global Level

        Three international evangelical missions organizations have formed a new united network in an effort to cooperate more closely in the coming millennium. The World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF), the AD2000 and Beyond Movement and the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization have formed the Great Commission Global Roundtable in order to "hear, serve and connect diverse segments of the Body of Christ in hopes of achieving closer coordination and cooperation in sharing the Gospel" (WEF press release, 11-8-99). According to an April 16, 1999, WEF press release, the three organizations met in Norway in March 1999 in order to discuss their new platform for cooperation, a platform described as an "open, inclusive partnership designed to encourage wide participation and facilitate collaboration between geographical and functional groups." Described as a meeting in which "historic differences were laid aside" while "core values which they shared in common" were emphasized, the Norway meeting established the "Foundational Values of the Global Evangelism Roundtable" which must be accepted by all who are willing to become part of the new forum. The list of foundational values reads as follows:

  • Our common goal for and passionate commitment to world evangelization;

  • Our dedication to a life of prayer and unleashing the entire Church into global intercession;

  • The proclamation of a wholistic, transforming Gospel, underscoring the centrality of the church for world evangelization;

  • The need for a new relational "wineskin" within a context of continuity and not based on position nor structure;

  • A manifestation of unity grounded in the partnership of equals around the globe;

  • The need for a thorough re-examination of a theology of the church;

  • Regional and national networks that also have a global focal point;

  • The need for a more representative platform in which all members of the Body of Christ are equal partners (for example: charismatics and non-charismatics, male and female, younger and older, academics and practitioners);

  • The need for one cooperative vehicle that supports a plurality of ministries;

  • Our obedience to the Holy Spirit for empowerment, guidance and recognition of leadership;

  • Our commitment to a biblical and accountable stewardship of resources;

  • Our decision to communicate our unity to every level of our various networks, and to the wider Body of Christ.

        Later in August 1999, representatives from each of the missions organizations met in Dallas, Texas, to pray for the Holy Spirit's leading concerning the development and formation of the new network and that it would become a "viable, servant-spirited, low profile entity serving the Church of Christ worldwide and facilitate the fulfillment of the Great Commission." In November, International Task Force members were chosen, and the new network was officially titled the Great Commission Global Roundtable.
        This step by the World Evangelical Fellowship, the AD2000 and Beyond Movement and the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization is yet one further example of the ecumenism that is becoming so prevalent in the name of evangelism. Any who desire to become a part of this new Roundtable are encouraged to participate so long as they can ascribe to the aforementioned "foundational values." The very purpose of this new Roundtable is to show greater unity among Christian churches, even among churches which are Charismatic and Pentecostal in nature and churches which are associated with compromised organizations such as the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches. Believers who desire to maintain a holy, separated testimony must not become a part of such an ecumenical endeavor.

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New Unity Sought Among Church of Christ Movements

        After decades of division, the "a capella" Churches of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ are attempting to lay aside their differences and establish unity around their common message and heritage. A December 21, 1999, Disciples News Service (DNS) press release reported that six members of each of the three church groups met in Indianapolis, IN, from November 29-30, 1999, and "shared worship together and spent time getting acquainted with each other." The Indianapolis meeting served as the first of three scheduled meetings called the Stone-Campbell Dialogue. The stated purpose of the Dialogue is to "develop relationship and trust within the three streams of the Stone-Campbell movement through worship and through charitable and frank dialogue 'that the world may believe.'"
        The purpose of the first meeting was to discover what could have been accomplished differently in the past in order to have avoided division among the three movements. Historically, the primary differences among the groups center around music and missions. In addition to pinpointing past mistakes, those in attendance agreed that more attention needed to be given to the Gospel and less upon that which has divided them in the past. One participant stated, "Division is essentially an attitude. So is unity. I pray that these meetings will promote an attitude of understanding and unity...." The second dialogue meeting will be held in June 2000, and participants will gather to discuss the "common ground" that exists between the three movements.
        The Stone-Campbell Dialogue is a representation of the many attempts at unity that have become so popular in recent years among a great number of churches, denominations and para-church organizations. Churches that formerly held fast to their doctrinal and ministerial convictions are now rejecting any form of dogmatism or absolutes and, rather, are attempting to unite around only that which they hold in common with others.
        Believers must beware of the dangers of the Stone-Campbellite churches, which not only teach that baptismal regeneration is a necessary step for salvation but also reject the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer and are adamant in their rejection of dispensational theology. Furthermore, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), unlike the Churches of Christ, is extremely ecumenical and is a member of the World Council of Churches and often associates with many compromised evangelical groups as well. The fact that the Stone-Campbellite churches are striving for unity with each other, and even with those outside their fellowships, means that believers must be especially careful that they do not become involved in a church or program that accepts the Stone-Campbellite churches or unites with them for worship or evangelism.

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Parliament Of World Religions Meets To Discuss Need For Unity Based On "Global Ethic"

        Over 7,000 individuals from a wide variety of religious traditions met in Cape Town, South Africa, December 1-8, 1999, in order to dialogue, worship and listen to world religious leaders discuss a platform for world peace in the new millennium. Robert Henderson, spokesman for the Parliament of World Religions (PVM), referred to the gathering as "the birth of a new system of the organization of the world's religions. " He added, "We have thousands of people representing all the religious traditions in one place. For the first time, they are giving birth to a common vision of their spiritual and redeeming purpose" (Ecumenical News International, 12-10-99). The parliament met for the first time in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893 and convened once again in Chicago in 1993. Organizers of the gathering said the purpose of this third meeting was twofold: "To facilitate understanding and [inter-religious] dialogue and to call on government institutions to move towards a global ethic" (Reuters, 11-30-99).
        Much of the meeting centered around debate and discussion of a 48-page document titled "Call to Our Guiding Institutions" which calls for the cooperation of secular and religious institutions in order to establish a "just, peaceful and sustainable world." The document says the world now finds itself open to "the possibility of a new level of creative engagement between the institutions of religion and spirituality and the other powerful institutions that influence the character and course of human society." While the parliament does not possess any binding authority on matters of religion, it seeks to lay a foundation for the acceptance of a worldwide "global ethic" which, according to Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung, consists of "a minimum of common values and attitudes which could be affirmed by all religions and be supported by non-believers" (ENI, 12-8-99). Kung, a lecturer at the parliament gathering, is president of the Global Ethic Foundation in Tubingen, Germany.
        Much of the discussion at the parliament will continue in August 2000 when 1,000 of the world's religious leaders will gather at the United Nations for a "Millennium World Peace Summit." The gathering will be the first such gathering in the 54-year history of the United Nations. Bawa Jain, executive coordinator of the world peace summit said, "Our dream is to get the preeminent religious leaders to the UN so they can support the peace process in concert with the political bodies there" (ENI, 12-3-99).
        Besides Kung, other notable religious leaders participating in the parliament included South African Muslim activist Fatima Meer, United States Sikh leader Balwant Singh Hansra, chief rabbi of South Africa Cyril Harris, Chinese Buddhist leader Hsin Tao, Muslim scholar Iqbal Ansari, Anglican interfaith pioneer Marcus CR Braybrooke and DePaul University professor Elizabeth Stewart who led a program entitled "Holy Foolishness-A Christological Paradigm for the New Millennium." Those in attendance also heard speeches by former South African president Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.
        The danger with such an unholy mixture of paganism and professed Christianity lies within the new tactics of the ecumenists and the new strategy for religious unity. No longer do ecumenists strive for one unified religion, but for unity through diversity and agreement on the need for a "global ethic." For example, South African Rabbi Cyril Harris said, "By joining this parliament we do not have to give up the beliefs and practices of our faiths, but we do have to give to the human family of which we are all a part" (Reuters, 12-1-99). Likewise, Dirk Ficca of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, which organized the gathering, added, "We are not out to create one religion. We want convergence of purpose, not consensus" (Los Angeles Times, 12-4-99). Such an excuse for religious unity is completely contrary to the Word of God which commands all true believers to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11).

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Pentecostal Leaders Visit Vatican, Build Ties With Their "Historical Grandparents"

        Pentecostal leaders from 27 denominations took a pilgrimage to the Vatican in order to build closer ecumenical relations with the Roman Catholic Church.  Over 170 members of the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops attended Pope John Paul II's general audience at the Vatican on February 9 and worshipped in a Roman Catholic church on February 13. The pope told the pentecostal bishops, "I am confident that your visit to Rome will help strengthen ecumenical relations between Catholics and Pentecostals" (Associated Press, 2-9-00). Bishop Carl H. Montgomery II of the United Pentecostal Churches of Christ, told the Associated Press that the pilgrimage to Rome "is our way of saying we recognize the Catholic Church as our historical grandparents." Montgomery added, "I don't think God is concerned with labels ... the Spirit is an experience that transcends denominational barriers." Prior to the pilgrimage, Larry Trotter of the Sweet Holy Spirit Full Gospel Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, told the Chicago Tribune that both the Catholics and Pentecostals can learn from each other. "We come with a fervor and fire they may be missing, but they come with order and structure we may be missing," Trotter said.  The bishops told the Tribune they needed to recover some of the ancient traditions practiced by the Roman Catholic Church.

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Pope Opens Basilica Door And Leads Ecumenical Movement Into Next Century

        Pope John Paul II and representatives from 23 other Christian churches, communions and organizations celebrated the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the Year of Jubilee 2000 by joining in an ecumenical worship service in Rome where the pope opened the "holy door" of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls basilica. During the January 18 celebration, the pope reminded those in attendance that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity had begun and said he hoped that the upcoming ecumenical year of Jubilee 2000 would "be for all of Christ's disciples an occasion for a new impulse for the ecumenical movement" (Vatican Information Service, 1-18-00). He noted, "We, representatives of diverse peoples and nations, of various Churches and ecclesial communities, know that we are still divided brothers, but we have put ourselves with a decisive conviction on the path which leads to full unity of the Body of Christ." Pope John Paul II then asked Christ to forgive "all that in the history of the church prejudiced His plan for unity." The worship service included readings from a Russian Orthodox theologian, George Florovsky, and from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor hanged by the Nazis in 1945.
        Those who participated in the ecumenical worship service included representatives from several Orthodox communions, the Anglican Communion  (led by Archbishop George Carey), the World Lutheran Federation, the World Methodist Council, the Disciples of Christ, the Pentecostal Church and the World Council of Churches which represents over 330 member churches. Ecumenical News International (ENI) noted that the January 18 meeting in Rome was "the first time in history representatives of the Anglican and Orthodox churches have participated in a key ceremony in Rome marking an official Catholic jubilee year" (ENI, 1-19-00). The ENI report added that "many commentators stressed that such widespread participation in an event in Rome was unprecedented." Despite the seemingly widespread acceptance of the pope's pleas for unity, two worldwide Christian organizations-the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Baptist World Alliance (BWA)- refrained from participating in the event due to the pope's recent pronouncements concerning the need for indulgences. While the WARC did not participate in the ecumenical celebration, WARC spokesperson Paraic Reamonn told ENI, "Like many Protestant communions, WARC warmly welcomed the new relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches ... we have been engaged for many years in official bilateral dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church. This will continue."

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Religious Leaders Endorse Pro-Homosexual Statement

        Over 1000 liberal religious leaders in the United States signed a document calling for the full inclusion of homosexuals and lesbians into all aspects of Christian ministry. The document, sponsored and drafted by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and publicly released in the New York Times on January 18, 2000, was endorsed primarily by liberal Protestants and Unitarian Universalists, but some Roman Catholic and Jewish leaders also added their signatures. Called the "Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing," the SIECUS document calls for increased sex education in schools and seminaries, for "full inclusion of women and sexual minorities in congregational life, including their ordination and the blessing of same sex unions" and for "a faith-based commitment to sexual and reproductive rights, including access to voluntary contraception, abortion and HIV/STD prevention and treatment." The document calls sexuality in any form (including homosexuality and lesbianism) "God's life-giving and life-fulfilling gift" and concludes in the following manner: "God rejoices when we celebrate our sexuality with holiness and integrity." According to Ecumenical News International (ENI), those who signed the statement "said the document was significant because for the first time a group of U. S. religious leaders had collectively called for a re-examination of sexual ethics and sexual morality" (ENI, 1-28-00). They added that this was also the first time "so many religious leaders had, as a group, signed a formal declaration countering traditional theological positions on sexual issues."
        Notable signers of the document include John Thomas, president of the United Church of Christ; Nancy Hastings Sehested, former Southern Baptist pastor; Paul Sherry, former president of the United Church of Christ; Peggy Campolo, council member of the homosexual/lesbian advocacy organization Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists and wife of Tony Campolo; Virginia Mollenkott of the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women's Caucus and Mel White, co-chair of Soulforce, Inc. Faculty members and administrators from the American Baptist Seminary of the West, Harvard University, Union Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University Divinity School and many other seminaries also signed the document. How any true Christian who reads and understands the Word of God can say such a document is a "Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality" is incomprehensible. The Bible explicitly calls homosexuality and lesbianism sin and condemns abortion, the murder of an unborn child. The document, on the other hand, excuses both homosexuality and abortion as viable alternatives. 

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Theologian Clark Pinnock’s Heretical Statements Concerning God And Salvation

        Clark Pinnock, a Baptist professor of theology at the McMaster Divinity School in Ontario, Canada, has authored several controversial books published by InterVarsity Press, but his latest statements at the November 17-19 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society only serve to confirm his unorthodox views of God and salvation. Pinnock presented a paper at the meeting in Danvers, MA, which, according to Baptist Press (BP), calls "for a 'more inclusive' evangelical understanding of the last things which includes the salvation of many who never come to faith in Christ" (BP, 11-23-99). The BP report added:

Speaking of "various paths to Jesus Christ," Pinnock said that "for Jesus, saving faith is not only remotely possible to pagans but is operative among them" since "many already belong to the kingdom of God." Rejecting the doctrine of justification through faith alone, Pinnock said God's standard of judgment is the individual's "participation in Christ's loving way of life which manifests itself in the service of others."

        Pinnock described himself at the meeting as a "universal opportunity person" rather than a universalist, but regardless of the label he chooses to wear, his statements are utterly unbiblical in nature. Besides embracing a heretical view of salvation, Pinnock also holds to the "openness of God" doctrine which argues that God is not omniscient concerning future things nor did He possess complete control of past events. Also a committed ecumenist, Pinnock recently wrote an article published in the Summer 1998 issue of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies entitled, "Does Christian Unity Require Some Form of Papal Primacy?" In his essay, Pinnock argues that Baptists need to seriously consider the advantages of accepting papal authority in order to reach the goal of full Christian unity. "For myself I would say, John Paul II is already my pope," Pinnock wrote. "Were the churches to be renewed in unity, this very [papal] office could contribute to its effectiveness and visibility."
        Pinnock, who used to be a professor at the Southern Baptist Convention's New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and an outspoken opponent of liberalism within the SBC, is a prime example of one who refused to separate from error and now embraces and even promotes apostate liberal theology.

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Society Embraces Interfaith Councils, Redefines “Tolerance

        The emergence of "interfaith councils" within many cities in the United States is nothing new.  Interfaith councils, or groups of men and women comprised of religious leaders from various faith traditions who meet regularly to foster religious tolerance and social cooperation among their faith groups and the community at large, have existed since the ecumenical movement began to take root in the United States earlier in the century.  But many interfaith councils today seem to have moved beyond the concept of encouraging tolerance and cooperation and now actually advocate the idea that all religious barriers must break down and that no division should exist between any religions at all.
        A recent example of this "one world religion" agenda surfaced in the February 19, 2000, edition of California's Antelope Valley Press newspaper.  An article titled "Interfaith Council Breaks Down Barriers" related how over 100 individuals gathered at a California mosque to "discuss tolerance and love between differing faiths and to dispel negative stereotypes that surround Islam.  " According to the news report, the leader of the mosque, Imam Mohammad Jamal Daoudi, said he believes "the barriers that have existed among [Muslims, Jews and Christians] must break down." He told the interfaith congregation, "Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews," adding that "when Muslims refer to Allah, they refer to the name of God." The article noted, "This barrier must come down to establish a global community to help all mankind come to know God, Daoudi said." Notice that Daoudi said Christians, Muslims and Jews must help form a global community for a specific purpose: "To help all mankind come to know God.  " The problem, however, is that each of these religions disagree on how mankind can know God.  Others at the conference agreed with Daoudi.  The Antelope Valley Press noted, "The Rev. Don Welsh of the Antelope Valley Church of Religious Science and president of Antelope Valley Interfaith Council said people must do more than just tolerate the beliefs of other faiths" (emphasis added).  He said, "We are all spiritual in nature.  We communicate spirit to spirit." Welsh added that truth "is expressed in various words according to the culture in which they were spoken."
        Welsh's attitude expressed in the words "people must do more than just tolerate the beliefs of other faiths" clearly enunciates the unbiblical philosophy of ecumenical interfaith dialogue today-that tolerance itself is no longer acceptable.  In fact, the entire concept of "tolerance" no longer implies that one simply allows another to voice his beliefs, but rather it has come to mean that one must embrace all beliefs and opinions as viable truth.  To do otherwise is considered "intolerant.  " To possess any firm convictions and to believe that one religion or faith is correct and all others are false is now considered intolerant "bigotry.  " Society as a whole, not only interfaith movements, has moved beyond the traditional definition of "tolerance" and has concluded that all men need to embrace all beliefs as truth because truth is now relative rather than absolute.
       Consider the recent attacks leveled against Bob Jones University for its "anti-Catholic" position by many diverse segments of society.  Because Bob Jones University does not agree with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church but actually refutes such teachings as a false gospel (a Biblical position which has historically been held by Protestants and Evangelicals for centuries), several members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives recently introduced a resolution "condemning Bob Jones University for intolerance and criticizing its many visitors for staying silent on its anti-Catholic views" (New York Times, 2-29-00).  New York congressman Peter King said Bob Jones University "is a bigoted school" and added, "It's not an acceptable religious belief to say that Catholicism is a cult, that the pope is the anti-Christ, comparing the pope to the devil and to Judas.  That's clear bigotry" (Cable News Network's Crossfire, 2-28-00).  Likewise, the Interfaith Alliance, a self-described "national grassroots organization of people of faith and goodwill drawn from over 50 faith traditions dedicated to promoting mutual respect, cooperation and civility in the life of our nation" issued a February 18, 2000, press release in which it condemned Bob Jones University for its beliefs and statements concerning "Catholicism and organized religion in general." Notice that the Interfaith Alliance went even beyond condemning Bob Jones University's views on Catholicism and condemned its views on "organized religion in general." Apparently, it is no longer acceptable or appropriate to disagree with a particular religion or theological system and publicly voice such disagreement without being considered "intolerant" or "bigoted."
        Recall the aforementioned statement by congressman King: "It's not an acceptable religious belief to say that Catholicism is a cult... (emphasis added).  " However, notice that King himself is judging what is or is not acceptable for men and women to believe.  He is simply proving to be an advocate of the prevalent philosophy that religion and speech are free only to the extent that the said religion and speech do not find themselves in conflict with the "acceptable" norms of society.  In other words, one cannot hold a firm conviction except the firm conviction that it is wrong to hold a firm conviction.  Such hypocrisy is contemptible, and believers must not only recognize it but address it as well.
        No Bible-believing Fundamentalist or Evangelical should participate in any way with any interfaith councils or interfaith dialogues, nor should he unite with organizations, churches or ministries that do.  At the same time, Fundamentalists must continue to stand up for the truth, exercise their freedom of speech and freedom of religion and warn about the dangers of false gospels and false religious systems, despite the political incorrectness of such speech.  Fundamentalists must continue to declare that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6) and that any other religion or theological system that teaches otherwise is wrong.  Fundamentalists must also continue to name the names of false religious systems and liberal churches, denominations and ministries so as to keep people from becoming ensnared and walking the "broad way" which only leads to death.  Stand up!  Speak out!  Separate from all that is contrary to God's Word!  Do not allow a godless society to define the parameters of what is “acceptable" to believe or enunciate.

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The Evangelical Free Church Of America Rejects Separatism, Embraces Ecumenism

        In many cities, the local Evangelical Free Church is extremely popular with the saved and unsaved alike.  The New Evangelically-styled programs and activities embraced and practiced by most Evangelical Free Churches attract many people who claim to be conservative Evangelicals and even appeal to some who may call themselves Fundamentalists.  However, the 1,250-church denomination known as the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) is staunchly opposed to the Biblical doctrine of separation and states its antiseparatistic position in no uncertain terms.  Yet, sadly, many Fundamentalists are deceived into believing that an EFCA church is a viable alternative for service and worship since the EFCA doctrinal statement is, in many ways, extremely conservative and similar to many doctrinal statements used even by Fundamentalists.  Yet notice the following statements from the official EFCA website describing three of the six distinctives of the EFCA:
        "The Evangefical Free Church of America is inclusive not exclusive." According to the EFCA documentation, "fellowship and ministry opportunities in the local church are based solely on one's personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, trusting in Him alone for salvation.  " In contrast to this statement, the Word of God teaches that fellowship and ministry opportunities are also based upon adherence to sound doctrine, obedience to God's Word and the lifestyle and conduct of the believer rather than salvation alone.  The EFCA statement says church members must commit to the EFCA statement of faith but "a person is not excluded from membership because he or she does not agree on every fine point of doctrine." It adds, "Within the EFCA, there is allowance for legitimate differences of understanding in some areas of doctrine."
        "The Evangefical Free Church is evangelical but not separatistic." According to the EFCA documentation, the denomination has "deep convictions based on the authority of God's Word, but we do not draw battle lines over minor points.  Nor do we make minor issues of doctrine a test of fellowship in the local church.  " Of course, they do not list the "minor points" because to do so would certainly cause division rather than inclusivity.  The statement adds, "We believe in separated living and personal holiness.  But we are not separatistic."
        "The Evangefical Free Church of America is ecumenical in spirit though not in structure." The EFCA believes it must retain its distinctives and identity as a denomination of local churches, but it joins with other denominations "in common goals and ministries to accomplish the Great Commandment and the Great Commission." EFCA churches are prominent participants in the majority of ecumenically-styled ministries and programs today, including Promise Keepers, the March for Jesus rallies and Concerts of Prayer.
        Prominent EFCA members include Chuck Swindoll and Paul Cedar.  Fundamentalists must realize that the EFCA is no friend to Biblical Fundamentalism.  Cooperation with those who reject vital doctrines of God's Word such as Biblical separation from false doctrine and errant brethren is inexcusable.

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Youth With A Mission Experiments With New, Unscriptural Missions Strategy

        Several international missions organizations, including Youth With a Mission (YWAM), are testing a new approach to missionary work in areas where Christianity is unwelcome.  A March 24, 2000, Charisma News Service report said some missionaries are now making converts but are allowing them to "hold on to many of their traditional religious beliefs and practices" so as to refrain from offending others within their culture.  The Charisma article noted: "'Messianic Muslims, who continue to read the Koran, visit the mosque and say their daily prayers but accept Christ as their Savior, are the products of the strategy which is being tried in several countries." One particular church planter in Asia related how 50 members of a Muslim family accepted Christ as Savior and formed their own fellowship.  He writes in YWAM's staff newsletter, "They continued a life of following the Islamic requirements, including mosque attendance, fasting and Koranic reading, besides getting together as a fellowship of Muslims who acknowledge Christ as the source of God's mercy for them." According to the Charisma report, the church planter said these "Messianic Muslims" also "meet according to mosque traditions in a style that would horrify many Western Christians." Yet he claimed that this method is Biblical because in the early church at Jerusalem, "Jewish followers of Christ became more zealous to keep the law and Jewish customs." He noted that other issues still need to be addressed, such as Mohammed's place in the life of the new believer.  The Charisma report added that "YWAM is also adopting the approach in India, where a team is working with a Hindu holy man."
       This new approach in which the missionaries or church planters teach new converts that it is acceptable to continue to adhere to pagan beliefs and practices is completely contrary to Scripture.  God's Word declares that a believer becomes a "new creature" in Christ at the moment he is saved and commands the believer to therefore separate from the "unfruitful works of darkness" that once held him in bondage.  Certainly many Jewish Christians in the first-century church at Jerusalem and elsewhere did need a better understanding of grace vs. law, but those Judaizers who espoused the idea that newly professing Christians needed to become more zealous in law-keeping were diametrically opposed to the apostolic instruction for the church.  They actually became the chief enemies of the apostle Paul as he sought to evangelize all men with the same Gospel of God's grace apart from works and establish New Testament churches comprised of Jews and Gentiles alike (Rom. 4:16-25; Eph. 2:11-18; Gal. 3:10-14; 5: 1).  Paul emphasized the fact that the law was "bondage" but that life in Christ is "grace and peace." Those who come to Christ must reject, turn from and separate from other gods and unbiblical beliefs and practices, no matter how "culturally established" such practices and beliefs may be. Of course, the new believers were to refrain from causing undue offense, but a difference certainly existed between causing undue offense and actually continuing to live, act, worship and believe as the unsaved Jews or Gentiles.

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