religion, christianity, articles
homosexuals, Carroll Osburn, Churches of Christ, Oklahoma Christian University, Benjamin J. Stein, religion,
Samuel Ehrenhalt, Episcopal Church, Don Feder, Restoration Forum, Abilen Christian University

Potpourri, May 1993

religion, articles, christianity
Good News! A Warning Against Cultural Relativism
There's a Moral Here Somewhere Homosexuals
How's That? Odds and Ends

We continue to receive a flood of mail commending the Firm Foundation for its unbending but kind stand in favor of biblical truth and in opposition to religious liberalism in the churches of Christ. Some tender souls consider it too hard to quote a false teacher and point out his error. The Bible implores us to "mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned: and turn away from them" (Rom. 16:17). It is not possible to mark the false teacher anonymously. He must be named. As good journalists we must tell who said what, when, and where. It is cowardly to refuse to name the source. The Firm Foundation does not deal in rumors, gossip, or derogatory insinuation. What we print we can prove. When a false teacher publishes his flawed and mistaken views, we will publish a correction of his delusion. The people have a right to know. We are not ostriches. A conspiracy of silence when false teaching runs rampant does not become a soldier in the Lord's army. We are glad to account for what we print. Among recent comments from our readers are the following: "I want to subscribe to your paper for one year ... The Firm Foundation continues to be a source of encouragement to me ... Without these voices from the 'seven thousand,' some of whom are heard from through your paper, some of us would be as despondent as Elijah in his cave ... I have read and heard many things that caused me concern, but nothing so angered me as your editorial, 'They've Gone Too Far' ... Thousands will never bow to your creedal dictates but rather will continue to search for truth ... I have enjoyed the Firm Foundation for about 30 years ... I appreciate your stand for truth ... I always look forward to the Firm Foundation ... Keep up the good work and may God richly bless you ... Brother Whitten, I thank God for you and brother Dobbs ... we are in the fight of our lives ... we cannot let up on preaching the truth and opposing error."

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Good News!

  • Quinton Jenkins and his good wife, Johnnie gather clothing, blankets, quilts, shoes, and Bibles from churches in Oklahoma and Texas and distribute them to destitute people in Arizona and New Mexico. He told of how a Spanish woman asked, "May I have a blanket for my daughter; she sleeps under a horse blanket?" She was given two blankets and tearfully smiled her thanks. Another asked for a bedspread she had never had one - and hugged her bedspread as she walked away. A young girl asked for a Bible. The Jenkinses and their many partners are quietly doing a great work. Their address is P.O. Box 127, Gould, OK 73544.
  • Daniel Hung and a group from Oklahoma Christian University plan to go to China soon. He writes, "We will be there for a month. We will try to help build a base for Chinese missionary work." The door of opportunity is slowly opening in mainland China. Perhaps it will swing wide, and the people will eagerly embrace the Gospel, as is happening in Russia. Brother Hung can be contacted through the Memorial Road Church of Christ, P.O. Box 36000, Oklahoma City, OK 73136.

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There's a Moral Here Somewhere

Benjamin J. Stein in the December 1992 issue of The American Spectator tells the following story:

Tom, as I call him, had grown up in Singapore, where his father worked for a commodities firm. Then he had come to Chicago for school. Now he was out, and he was working at a "home" for homeless children. John Coyne had a good question about whether kids with guns who are 18 years old should be called "children," especially after they have just killed someone in a robbery.

Tom's views were fascinating. "I work with kids who have never known anything but violence and abuse. That's their lives. Getting hit, being mistreated, being abandoned. It really doesn't scare them to go to prison. They're used to very tough surroundings. What's amazing is that any of them, any of them at all, actually go to work in the morning, save money, and eventually get an apartment and have a life. Where that comes from is incredibly mysterious."

"Is there any hope for most of them?" I asked.

"If there is, I don't see what it is," he said. "It would have to come from a society entirely different from what ours is now."

I asked Tom what Singapore would do with lazy, rebellious, sullen, violent kids.

"They wouldn't be allowed to be sullen and lazy, he said. "The whole society makes young people work and be disciplined. The parents can be severely punished if the kids aren't doing their work. The kids are ostracized, and no one will talk to them if they don't work. I've been thinking about this, and the whole time I was in Singapore, I don't remember any kids who were bad kids. The goal of social organization there is to make people learn and work and save, not to allow people to hurt themselves. That means a lot of repressed people. But it also means a society that's amazingly safe and productive, and where young people rarely hurt anyone. If they do, they get hit really, really hard."

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How's That?

  • "If people here were not getting killed on the job in homicides, we would have quite a low rate of fatalities" (Labor Department official Samuel Ehrenhalt, on findings that murder is the top cause of on-the-job death in New York City - quoted in Newsweek).
  • "I feel strongly that society needs to condemn a little more and understand a little less" (British Prime Minister John Major, following the murder of a 2-year-old boy and the arrest of two 10-year-old boys for the crime.).
  • "Divorce and remarriage, women in the church remain unsolved but such must remain mere issues and not be allowed to shape our emerging identity. Instrumental music will remain an issue, but it is certainly not deserving of center stage, and it never ever was. There is something grossly distorted about religion that depends for its cohesiveness upon paltry issues that kill he spirit" (Carroll Osburn, distinguished professor at ACU, speech given at Restoration Forum X - a conclave with Christian Church preachers - transcribed from the tape).
  • "The world," a wit has said, "is divided into two kinds of people: those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who do not." I say, "The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who apologize to apostates for the Bible teaching on singing in worship to the exclusion of instruments of music, and who reject the teaching of the Scripture on woman's role in the church and society, and those who do not."
  • Henry James said, "Life is effort, unremittingly repeated."
  • "To sit by in silence when they should protest is what makes cowards out of men" (Abraham Lincoln). Revelation 21:8 says that "the cowardly ... will have their part in the lake of fire."

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  • Following is a quote from a speech made by Abraham Lincoln on March 6, 1860, in New Haven, Connecticut. We have adapted the quote to fit the current situation by substituting the word abortion where Lincoln used the word slavery.

Said Lincoln:

What we want, and all we want is to have with us men who think abortion is wrong. But those who say they hate abortion, and are opposed to it, but yet act with the Democratic Party - where are they? Let us apply a few tests. You say you think abortion is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think is wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as wrong? Why are you so careful, so tender of this one and no other? You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong! We must not call abortion wrong where it is practiced because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that would be bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong can properly be called wrong.

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A Warning Against Cultural Relativism

  • Don Feder has written a book entitled A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan America. He wrote, "In the early part of the 20th century, an Italian Communist by the name of Antonio Gramsci theorized that it would take a 'long march through the institutions' the media, the universities, public interest groups, and religious and cultural institutions - before socialism and relativism would be victorious. By capturing those institutions and using their power, cultural values would be changed, morals broken down, and the stage would be set for the political and economic power of the West to literally fall into the hands of the radical left. The idea, according to Gramsci, was to change the way society thinks about problems. For starters you have to subvert and undermine the belief in God. Chip away at the assumption that there is a set of divinely inspired moral absolutes, and everything more or less begins to fall into place for the Socialist-relativist hordes."
  • "What we are facing in America today," Feder writes, "is a crisis of values so severe it threatens the very foundations of our society. The root of the crisis is a growing spiritual anesthesia primed by an unholy crusade to purge all vestiges of Judeo-Christian ethics from the public sector."

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  • Item: Homosexuals must now be allowed to march in New York City's Saint Patrick's Day Parade. The city's "Human Rights Commission" ruled October 27 that parade sponsors must admit the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization. The Ancient Order of Hibernians said there may not be a parade in 1993.
  • Item: The District of Columbia's "Human Rights Statute," which protects racial minorities, women, homosexuals, and the disabled but omits other "groups" from protection against discrimination is being tested in a suit over a pro-gay ad which a local country-western radio station has refused to air. The station asserted its right to determine its own music and advertising under the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. - The Washington Post.
  • Item: Police had to be called in to remove demonstrators when the D.C. Council failed to overturn the district's anti-sodomy law. The council repealed the city's sodomy law a decade ago, but Congress didn't approve the action. This time the proposal to make sodomy legal failed on a 5-5 vote, though it appears likely to come up again. - The Washington Times.
  • Item: The Canadian Department of National Defense, marching ahead of U.S. President Clinton, recently declared: "Canadians, regardless of their sexual orientation, will now be able to serve their country without restriction." -- The Washington Times.
  • Item: Australia's government has also scrapped a ban on homosexuals joining the armed forces after months of debate. - The Washington Times.
  • Item: Canadian Anglican Bishops will continue to study homosexuality and human sexuality in general until at least the spring of 1994. In the interim they plan to "collaborate" with U.S. Episcopal Church bishops to "explore the nature of the Gospel in a changing church and culture." The Canadian bishops said they will review their guidelines on ordaining homosexuals in 1994. --Anglican Journal.
  • Item: Rev. Jane Spahr, a lesbian woman, has vowed to fight for homosexual rights in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She made the pledge after the church's top judicial body widened prohibitions, saying church law prevents all practicing homosexuals from becoming "pastors" - even those, like Spahr, who were ordained before a 1978 church action made the policy explicit. Spokespersons for both gay rights groups and conservative organizations predicted that the fight is not over yet but will move to the Presbyterian General Assembly. - Religious News Service/Christian News.

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Odds and Ends

  • The Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR) is seeking new office space. Their current Washington D.C. home is a Methodist building. It became a hot topic at last spring's Methodist convention when an effort to pull out of RCAR was narrowly defeated. The Methodists founded RCAR as a post-Roe v. Wade project in 1973. RCAR has 17 Protestant denominational members, 13 Jewish, six Unitarian, the YWCA's national board member and a representative from the American Humanist Association. - The Washington Post.
  • If you cannot legislate morality, as some say, then God certainly did not know it. He gave the Ten Commandments and the law of the Spirit of life in Christ.

You can write any member of the U. S. House of Representatives by simply addressing your letter to Rep. (Whoever), House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. To reach a senator by mail, address it to Senator (Whoever), Senate Office Building, Washington D.C. 20510. Keep your letter short and to the point. They all get a lot of mail, but somebody does read it, and it can have an effect.

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