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The Christian Sentinel E-update - August 2004

   
NEW PRODUCT ON DVD!  
BILL ALNOR SPEAKING OUT ON THE ALIEN AGENDA AT SUMMER ROSWELL UFO CONFERENCE...


Bill Alnor's July 2004 talk in Roswell, N.M. now available on DVD. During the Ancient of Days biblical UFO conference over the July 4 weekend, Bill presented UFO enthusiasts' contactee experiences "in their own words" and found them wanting -- and unbiblical.  Bill convincingly showed the UFO agenda for what it really is: the promotion of an anti-Christian religion that alters of the person, nature and work of Jesus Christ under the guise of fellowship with so-called benevolent aliens. Bill also talked about the history of UFOlogy and how it has gone in an increasingly religious direction. The DVD also shows Bill under fire from a few spirited skeptics. (Bill is also scheduled to speak at next year's UFO conference in Roswell, considered to be the UFO capital of the world.) In recent years Roswell has been hosting the annual UFO festival to commemorate the alleged UFO crash nearby in 1947. Cost of Bill’s DVD is $15: To go to the order form, click here. (Since this is a new product and not produced by The Christian Sentinel, allow several weeks for delivery since it is a new product.) The conference was hosted by the Alien Resistance Headquarters (headed by Guy Malone) that operates opposite the Roswell UFO museum that seeks to give Christian answers for the UFO phenomenon. Websites: www.alienresistance.org and www.ancientofdays.net.
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Bill Alnor Successfully Defends Doctoral Dissertation at Temple University over the Summer. 
Bill would like to thank all the readers who prayed for him regarding his successful defense June 22 of his doctoral dissertation at Temple University in Philadelphia. This means that Bill, an assistant professor and the director of the journalism program at Texas A&M University - Kingsville, now holds an earned Ph.D. in Mass Media and Communications.  His 428-page dissertation was titled "Borrowed or Stolen? A Study of Plagiarism in Religion, with an Emphasis on Contemporary Religious Media." On his Ph.D. committee were Drs. Patricia Bradley (chair), John Lent, Robert Schneider, and the outside reader was Dr. Francis Beckwith of Baylor University. According to the dissertation abstract the dissertation "shows through tables and charts, line by line plagiarism by such contemporary religious media figures as Hank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute, Kenneth Hagin, Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Falwell, Chuck Missler, Richard Abanes, W.A. Criswell, Jack Van Impe, Charles Ryrie, Spiros Zodhiates, Tim LaHaye, and several nonevangelicals such as Deepak Chopra. It also looks at plagiarism allegations directed against the late Baptist minister and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. This is framed in the context of pulpit theft in religion." For those wishing to read the complete 350-word abstract (or for those wishing to know more about his research, including how to obtain a copy of the dissertation), click here.
· Bill's research also concluded that Gretchen Passantino, Elliot Miller and Hanegraaff issued deceptive statements about the Hanegraaff plagiarism. Click here for details.
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Personal note from Bill Alnor:
As a long time former reporter, author and now journalism professor, many people over the years have wanted me to critique their poems. Frankly, I don't like poetry (in general) and I am always trying to be diplomatic in looking for reasons NOT to critique poems. But Martha K. Miller, one of our supporters, recently sent me an astonishing poem set to the tune of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" that you got to read. It expresses my sentiments exactly. I thank Martha for granting me permission to share it. She can be reached at MimiKayIsBack@aol.com

The Night Before Judgment
by Martha K. Miller
(c) June 29, 2003
(derived from the poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" --or "A Visit from St. Nicholas"-- by Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas the night before Judgment, when all through God's house
not a person was stirring 'cept one weary, faithful "mouse".
The oil lamps weren't trimmed, nor had they any oil to spare
but they thought the Master should supply it when He comes there.

The congregation was nestled all snug in their pews
While visions of prosperity kept their minds amused.
And the choir in their robes and the pastor in his suit
had all become well-seasoned "Bless Me Club" recruits.

When in the eastern sky a sound just like thunder
never woke the sleeping church out of their oblivious slumber.
Outside of the window, He flew by like a flash,
Caused the ground to shutter, as He gave His trumpet a blast.
His countenance was brighter than the sun on new fallen snow.
His sword pierced the Earth, to release the dead ones He did know.

But what to His grieving eyes did appear
Only several martyred souls and a few who had ears to hear.
Upon a white horse He did ride
conquering the Earth with every stride.
All who witnessed this magnificent scene
burst into tears and fell to their knees.

More rapid than lightning His army came
As he shouted a war cry and called each by name.
"Now Peter, Now Stephen! Now David and Moses!
Come Isaac! Come Jacob! Come Adam and Joseph!
From this present age to the time before the fall
Come mighty warriors! Come one, come all!"

As eagles, that above the storm do fly,
they mounted their wings and flew toward the sky.
So up past the mountains far above the plains
they flew toward the one who called them by name.

And then in a twinkling He entered the church
with the congregation seated and the pastor at his perch.
As He dawned the platform and looked around
Everyone was unfit, and there were no soldiers to be found.

They were dressed in their finest from their head to their foot.
Their clothes were neatly pressed, with no traces of soot.
Their hands and necks glistened with diamonds and gold,
And they looked proper and polite, but their hearts were cold.

Their faces were fixed toward the prize of their god, money.
Their bodies were fat from consuming too much milk and honey.
They had forgotten the poor, and the many lost souls
And their hearts were tainted, black as coal.

His eyes scanned the room to and fro, shouting his war cry once again
hoping to find one, but it seemed to fall upon the ears of deaf men.
Until from the corner of His Father's house
He heard the response of the weary "mouse."

"I am but a mouse, small and weak. But I have heard your cry to war.
Though I be weary and tired from all my struggles, I will fight with you, my Lord."
With the mouse standing firm and sincere, the Master marveled at what he heard.
Then with a smile, the Master gave the weary mouse the word.

"Come unto me you who are weary, and I will give you rest.
I know your works, faithful servant, for you have done your best."
With these words, He took the mouse in His hand
taking him out of the church built on golden sand.

He mounted his horse, and as he lifted his sword,
he gave his troops the order to move forward.
As they drew closer to the final battle, He did cry,
"Glory be to God, the true King and the Most High!"

The Greater Grace World Outreach organization, a controversial Bible-based sect founded by Carl Stevens continues to be at the center of accusations. Recently ex-members and critics have formed a lively Internet discussion board to air out their grievances against the sect.  Many say Greater Grace is an abusive shepherding group with cult-like tendencies. To follow the controversies go to the discussion board by clicking here. However, the church has taken notice, and recently the Christian Sentinel received an E-mail post from "The Truth about Greater Grace." It pointed to a new web site established by the church to combat the criticism. It's at http://www.carlstevens.org. While the post noted, "feel free to list this web site designed to provide a fair and balanced view of Carl Stevens and his many ministries," our firm position is to not endorse Stevens and Greater Grace. We believe the case against the church is well documented.

Family Radio's Harold Camping has done it again.  He picks the year 2011 for the end of the worldOn his July 22, 2004 "Open Forum" Broadcast he said 2011 is a very likely candidate for the end of the world.  Of course that's what he said about 1994 in the early 1990s, even writing a book about it.  Camping is an obvious false prophet who has urged Christians to leave all churches in recent years. 

Go to  http://www.thenetteam.net, which is a new resource on radio preacher/cult leader R.G. Stair, who is facing sexual abuse charges.  It states: "This is an account of a crooked preacher, Ralph G. Stair, who is on AM/FM and short wave radio. He preaches and calls people to come and give all their possessions in the name of religion exchange for a place to live together with others. Not a bad deal until he is caught going behind the backs of parents for many years sexually abusing teenage sisters."

The Christian Sentinel to Resume Publishing
In our last E-update released in June we told of our desire to resume publishing a hard copy of The Christian Sentinel in September.  However, we still don't have the funds to do that, and so we are now contemplating a January 2005 start up date.  To contribute send your tax deductible contribution to The Christian Sentinel, PO Box 3, Bishop, TX 78343 (USA). If you would like to see past issues go to our website at www.cultlink.com and go to the Christian Sentinel pages.  All past subscriptions will be honored.

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Read Christian Sentinel President Bill Alnor's latest book, UFO Cults and the New Millennium.  Price slash to $5 continues. 



In this 1998 book, which normally retails for $14.99, is now available for $5.  

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To go to the order form click here.

 

News items this issue:
· LEAD STORY: A Scourge of Phony Degrees and Suspect Credentials Plague the Church, Including With Some who Practice Apologetics.
Cited are Prominent Researcher James White, Fringe Creation Researcher Kent Hovind, and Fringe Researcher Noah Hutchings.
· A Look at the Scandalous Nature of Honorary Degrees in the Church.
· Trinity Broadcasting Network Cofounder Jan Crouch Claims a Levitation Experience; Critics Decry it as Occultic.
· Family Radio President Harold Camping Picks a New Date (2011) for the End of the World!
· The Money Grab Continues:  Christian Research Institute (CRI) President Hank Hanegraaff gets another fat raise, along with wife, Kathy.  Earnings of the duo top $410,000 yearly.
· Is CRI moving to Charlotte, N.C.?  Despite Scandals of 2003, Hanegraaff begs for more than $500,000, claiming CRI is in the red.  Meanwhile with the CRI Missionary budget cutbacks and employee lay-offs, Hanegraaff invests in a Multimillion Dollar Gated Community and Golf Course in North Carolina.  
· False Statements About Hanegraaff Plagiarism Accusations Revealed. (Gretchen Passantino and Elliot Miller)  
· Food for the Soul: "'Twas the Night Before Judgment."
· Missions Corner: The Church in Sri Lanka Attacked and Persecuted by Buddhists.  How can you help Missionaries. 
· Discernment Resources on the Greater Grace World Outreach (Carl Stevens) and on Jailed Accused Child Molester/Cult Leader R.G. Stair. 
· Christian Sentinel Publisher Bill Alnor Successfully Defends Doctoral Dissertation; Offers More Information and Resources on Plagiarism Project.

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Lead Story by Bill Alnor:  (Part I)
A Scourge of Suspect Credentials and Phony Degrees is Sweeping through the Church. It has become rampant within evangelicalism, and especially within the Pentecostal and charismatic traditions. According to Christian Sentinel publisher Bill Alnor, evidence of this is abundant. One can open their latest copy of Charisma magazine and check the upcoming conferences splashed across its pages and note the names of many leaders calling themselves doctors.  However, many do not hold earned degrees. Charisma along with many other publications, have a long time practice of selling ad space to questionable organizations in the degree and credential selling business, including even ministry ordinations for sale. 
    Additionally, Alnor notes, walk into a Christian bookstore, especially one carrying books from charismatic/Pentecostal writers and check out the titles. It turns out that many of the Christian authors claiming to be "doctors," hold no doctoral degree (such as a Ph.D., Th.D. D.Min., Ed.D., etc.) from a regionally accredited university at all. Some of these "doctors" have not even attended a day of college.  Others have not completed a two-year's associate's degree or a four-year bachelor's degree. 
   These "Christian" leaders are deceptive and are knowingly bearing false witness. "They know what they are doing; they insist on calling themselves `doctors' to imply scholarship and professional credibility," Alnor said.  "Some of them also know what the truth often is: they are not capable of doing doctoral work even if they were admitted into a legitimate doctoral program. They are just blowhards who puff themselves up, trying to impress their audiences." 
   Of course, self-aggrandizing behavior similar to this is denounced in Scripture, Alnor said. We are challenged to be humble servants, even "slaves of Christ." Paul warns us to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, and Jesus denounced the self-promoting behavior of the doctors of the law and the scribes repeatedly in the gospels, with one of his most stunning rebukes located in Luke 20:46-47.
   Sadly, this has affected some of those involved in apologetics and discernment ministries, who are supposed to serve as the eyes of purity in doctrinal and moral issues within the church. Some very prominent apologists writing books do not have accredited doctorates, yet they are referred to as "doctors." On July 14 in a Southwest Radio Church broadcast dealing with apostasy in the church, Dr. Larry Spargimino exposed some of the facts about prominent apologist and author James White of Arizona. The show stated that White’s degree is from an "unaccredited correspondence school" -- the Columbia Evangelical Seminary that has "no library," "no curriculum committee," "no bookstore," and has "no course review procedures." The broadcast claimed that many of those holding phony degrees do so for "purely mercenary motivations." "Fake degrees are a betrayal of the public's trust.... These degrees aren't worth the paper they are printed on. You don't want someone with a fake degree working in Homeland security, teaching your children and designing your bridges." To listen to the broadcast go to http://www.swrc.com/broadcasts/2004/july.htm, click on July 14 and go to the very end of the broadcast.
   It is interesting to note that while White’s website (http://www.aomin.org) repeatedly lists his title as "Dr." James White (as he also identifies himself on his radio broadcast), White's evangelical publisher refuses to list him as "Dr." on one of his recent books.  White has addressed this issue on his web site, defending his credentials and has privately corresponded with Bill Alnor about it some time ago.  However, Alnor found his explanations to be woefully inadequate.  Nevertheless, he is now publicly giving White a chance to respond, and he will reproduce White's answers in a future E-update without editing his response as long as White answers all the questions.  Click here to see Bill's questions he has presented to White.  Bill would also place on the record that he has a high esteem for much of White's work, particularly in the areas of the "King James Only" debate and "Roman Catholicism."
   The irony of it is that Noah Hutchings, the host of the regular Southwest Radio Church (SWRC) broadcast that blasted him on July 14, has made false, grandiose claims about himself.  Hutchings, the president of the ministry that boasts of being the "watchman on the wall,"  claims the title of "pastor," but he also claims to be "Doctor" Hutchings. The "Dr." title is bestowed on him repeatedly throughout the ministry's website (http://www.swrc.com), and even graces the covers of some of his published books under the by-line "Dr. Noah Hutchings." Yet he is not a doctor and holds no earned graduate degrees at all.  What makes it even more hypocritical is that on June 15, the day after his attack on White's educational credentials, Larry Spargimino publicly referred to Hutchings as "Dr." on the broadcast. 
    Additionally, the SWRC carries many editorial products that make sensational and wild, false claims written by a slew of men and women with suspect doctorates and credentials.  Frequently SWRC's daily broadcast features radio guests holding phony degrees.  (Bill Alnor would also like to place on the record that he has no esteem for the ministry of Southwest Radio Church, which he deems to be untrustworthy and a waste of listener's contributions to keep on the air.)
   When Bill Alnor called Hutchings several weeks ago to discuss the issue Hutchings conceded that he holds no earned doctorate, but instead has a bachelor's degree in accounting from a university in Oklahoma. However, Hutchings said he holds two honorary doctorates from St. Charles school in California and American Christian University in Oklahoma City, both of which do not hold regional accreditation. Although Alnor did not check these claims out by press time, he has long noted that Hutchings is a long time veteran of dishonest reporting and sensationalism as reported his 1989 book, Soothsayers of the Second Advent.  Alnor referred to the SWRC as "The National Enquirer of Christianity." 

To read part 2 of this this article that gives a critical look on the scandalous nature of granting honorary degrees in the church, click here.

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Trinity Broadcasting Network cofounder Jan Crouch claims to have levitated during a recent mystical experience. But some cult experts are labeling it occultic and have accused Crouch of teaching people to participate in spiritism (specifically forbidden by Scripture) and guided imagery. As Crouch wrote in TBN's recent July newsletter: "I suppose it was about three in the morning.  I’ve been awakened a lot in the past year and when it happens I just talk to Jesus a while and usually fall back asleep — but this was different. I felt as if I was lifted up off my bed — not far, maybe one foot or so — but I felt as if I were floating and hands were holding me." How should we respond to such a claim?  To read Jackie Alnor's analysis of the Crouch levitation, click here.

Despite the scandals of last year when the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability accused the Christian Research Institute (CRI) of not being in compliance of several of its standards, the Hanegraaff money grab continues at CRI. According to the latest IRS 990 forms filed by CRI that covered the 2002-2003 fiscal year, while CRI brought in more than $57,000 less in gifts and contribution than the previous year (that forced layoffs and ministry cutbacks, according to published reports), president Hank Hanegraaff and his wife, Kathy, received stunning increases, that have them pulling in more than $411,727 in compensation -- up from the $358,447 of a year earlier.  That is an increase of more than $53,000!  CRI Vice President Paul Young, who abandoned his wife in Canada approximately a decade ago incurring the disappointment of his home church and the former president and coworkers at CRI Canada, received almost a $25,000 raise, placing his salary at $155,600.  But the way the Hanegraaff compensated was reported in the IRS forms required some creativity:  Hanegraaff's on paper "salary" actually went down from $251,886 to $227,167, but despite a slow speaking schedule (Hanegraaff does not speak at many churches and conferences) his expense account zoomed from $17,301 to $53,164!  Meanwhile Kathy Hanegraaff's salary as "director of planning" went from $87,600 to $107,500, and her expense account went from $1,660 to $3,896.  But hidden in the 990 form is the fact that Kathy Hanegraaff was the only one at CRI to receive an extra $20,000 in "contributions to employee benefit plans and deferred compensation."   Also keep in mind that according to one of the exposés of last year many CRI employees were unaware of Mrs. Hanegraaff's role at the ministry; some complained that they seldom ever saw here, and others didn't know she worked there.  Yet since her hiring approximately four years ago in the newly created position, the 990 forms claim that Mrs. Hanegraaff, a parent of nine children, works more than 50 hours per week at CRI! 
   To critics these financial shenanigans at CRI are a shocking outrage so grievous that it is way off the scale of proper behavior from a Christian ministry.  Many believe CRI's purpose has been diverted far away from its founder, Walter Martin, particularly in light of the fact that in recent years CRI has dropped its traditional strong support for overseas missions.  Outreaches in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Brazil have been eliminated as money that people think they are giving to God's work is increasingly being used to enrich Hanegraaff. The Christian Sentinel's position has not changed.  We continue to call for the removal of Hanegraaff as president of CRI and we urge everyone to stop giving to the ministry.  Better yet, contact your pastor and Christian leaders everywhere to insist they not support CRI under Hanegraaff's leadership. 
   While some might argue that the increase in Hanegraaff's expense account does not represent a raise, the exposés of 2003 in Christianity Today, The Christian Sentinel and the Los Angeles Times that detailed the wild spending at CRI, seems to tell a different story.  (In addition, the 990 forms going back for the past five years indicates that the CRI president and his wife had no expense accounts until three years ago.  Suddenly then, the expense accounts began.   For background on the scandals see Bill's editorial by clicking here, and follow the links.)  CRI leaders had to engage in significant reimbursements to the ministry's coffers after it became know that donors' contributions were being diverted to pay for such things as Lexus for Hanegraaff, his country club fees, $8,000 in flooring for his home office, money for his vitamins and flowers he sent to his mother, and for maintenance bills in excess of $1,000 for Hanegraaff's children's computers.  The 990 form reveals other significant salaries at CRI as John Stoffel's $67,500, Elliot Miller's $60,000, Stephen Ross's $52,000 and Valerie Julius's $50,250.     

Are things getting too hot for Hank Hanegraaff and the Christian Research Institute in Southern California?  Norman Geisler of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte told a supporter that Hanegraff is moving CRI to the Charlotte area.  In addition, the April 4, 2004 Charlotte Observer reported that Hanegraaff, an intense golf enthusiast, has become one of the investors in a multimillion dollar gated community and golf course called The Club at Longview in Union County, which contains a "signature" golf course personally designed by Jack Nicklaus.  Other investor include former Charlotte Hornets star Dell Curry, former Carolina Panthers quarterback Steve Beuerlein, Coca-Cola executives Bill Elmore and Frank Harrison, Wachovia executive Paul Grube and Bank of America vice chairman Bill Vandiver. To read more about The Club at Longview go to its website by clicking here.  Also click on the clubhouse ground breaking slide show at that site.  Golf Magazine gives a run down of the prices of the homes in the gated community:  "Three of the planned five stages of development are currently in progress, many with views of the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. The neighborhoods include: Colonnade Custom Homes, 83 featured homes priced from the mid-$600,000s; Estate Home sites, 83 custom home sites, many with views of the course; Village Homes of Longview, maintenance-free 2,700-square-foot to 4,000-square-foot homes priced from the mid-$900,000s; and Estate Home sites, most offering spectacular Nicklaus course orientations."   To revisit last year's scandals involving Hanegraaff and CRI as reported in the Christian Sentinel, go to our June, July and August 2003 E-updates.  Sadly, this proposed move to Charlotte flies against the grain of founder Walter Martin's vision that CRI should be based in Southern California, one of the most active hotbeds of cultic activity in the Western hemisphere.  It also threatens the dozens of employees working at CRI's headquarters.  Will they be forced to move or laid off?  We will keep up with the story.  

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Missions corner: The Church in Sri Lanka under attack by Buddhists.  Christians are increasingly under attack by Buddhists in Sri Lanka, the island nation just south of India. According to the June 25 "Missions Insider" produced by the Christian Aid Mission organization of Charlottesville, Va., persecution against Christians stepped up since the death of a Buddhist monk last December, and though he died of a heart attack, rumors spread that Christians murdered him. Since the incident  there have been widespread attacks on Christian churches and prayer centers throughout the Island. This is just one of many places throughout the world where Christians are being persecuted because of their faith, often by cultists, government officials, and especially by those in authority in such false religious systems as Islam. And the attacks against evangelicals are often more severe in Roman Catholic countries, with the Roman church often sanctioning them. The Christian Sentinel asks that we pray for the church in Sri Lanka as they go through their time of fiery trials, sometime literally, as some churches are being burned down.
   Meanwhile we believe that part of the going forth of the Gospel in these last days includes an apologetics approach by believers seeking to reach the lost. The false religious systems need to be exposed for what they are -- lies that will lead millions to an eternity separated from God. We also believe that the true Christians in those lands where the Gospel is but a faint light need to be equipped to learn how to defend the faith from attack. There is precedence in the book of Acts where the Gospel went forward and clashed with an occult-filled world of false religionists. The Gospel always won; the new believers in Christ burned their occult books publicly (Acts 19:19). A good source for believers to keep abreast on the hotspots of missions activities and tales of persecution throughout the world is to sign up for Christian Aid’s free E-mail updates by going to http://www.christianaid.org/ourstory.asp
   We recommend the following ministries who support overseas outreaches with an apologetics emphasis: The Centers for Apologetics Resources, The Institute for Religious Research, Watchman Fellowship, The Spiritual Counterfeits Project, and others. We need to be mindful of the words of the late Walter Martin who said the cults are the world’s greatest mission field.

Why am I receiving this E-update? 
If you have received this E-mail from Bill Alnor and cultlink.com and did not want to receive it, we apologize to you.  Most people were added to this list by signing up for it from our home page.  If you want to be removed write bill@cultlink.com and place remove in the subject line. 

Price slashed to $10 for August 2004 E-update readers on our popular video documentary 

The Great Apostasy: The Lost Sign
For us to send it to you today and invoice you for $10, plus $1 shipping, write Bill by clicking here. Click here to print out the August 2004 order form to mail in. 

This video documents the rise of religious deception within the church from the beginning of the 1900s to the present day.  Length: 90 minutes.  It is filled with actual film footage of preachers caught in deception. Jesus warned us of the great falling away.  Yet, many are convincing Christians this very deception is an outpouring of revival.  See for yourselves how the spirit of Antichrist is within our churches.  

 

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