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Potpourri, April 1996

religion, articles, christianity
WVBS Segregation
Now About That? Keep Your Eyes Open
New Hymnal Southwest Lectureship
Same Sex Marriages Our Friends to the North
Hell a Big Void Progress?
Radicals on the Left How Old?
Drugs Breakfast Everyone?

The Firm Foundation is continuing to grow in number of readers. Each month we move up a little-not near enough-but some. Any progress for a publication in today's world is good, but we look forward to the time when our subscription list will be larger than it has ever been. Your help is needed for us to realize this goal. The commendation of our faithful readers keeps us going. When we open the mail and read such things as "Thanks for the good work you are doing, ... I have been taking the Firm Foundation many years, except when Lemons got off the track so bad. You fellows are staying the course. Enjoy the paper much. It is on the right track. I love this paper," we are confirmed in our unwavering determination to stand fast in earnestly contending for basic Bible teaching.

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World Video Bible School distributes video tapes at a price below the cost of materials. This is possible because good brethren are willing to give unselfishly of their time and ability. Dr. Adron Doran of Lexington, Ky., has recently finished a series on Restoration History. He is an expert in the field and the tapes are informative and helpful. The tapes can be ordered at a modest cost from World Video Bible School, RR 1 Box 121, Maxwell, TX 78656-9797, or call (512) 398­5211. We thank God for the good work being done by WVBS.

Also, Everrett Donaldson announces the publication of his new book, The Legacy of Raccoon John Smith, which can be ordered from North Ridge Publishing, 232 Ridge Road, Mt. Sterling, KY 40353 at a cost of $13 for paperback and $20 for hardback.

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Now About That?

Michael Pearson, Associated Press Writer, says that the Reformed Presbyterians do not use mechanical instrument of music in worship. Jerry O'Neil, a Reformed Presbyterian preacher, explains: "The purpose is to present worship that's pleasing to God, not what's pleasing to us. God doesn't need all the instruments to know there's real praise going on. There's an absolute standard, and it's the Bible."

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New Hymnal

The United Church of Christ (liberal denomination) has issued a new song book. Its purpose is to present a genderless God and a pacificist attitude. They have removed from the songs printed in the new book words like "darkness" and "blindness" as offensive to African-Americans and the visually challenged. The hymnal avoids male pronouns for God. It presents a new song titled "Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth." In the new book the song, "Be Thou My Vision" no longer exclaims, "Thou my great father, I thy true son / Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one." The revised lyrics read, "Mother and Father, you are both to me / now and forever, your child I will be." In "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," the first line concludes, "Glory to the Christ­Child bring," instead of "Glory to the newborn King." The reason is male hierarchs, like kings, are doubly dubious to the editors of the new hymnal (Newsweek, Feb. 12).

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Same Sex Marriages

On a recent episode of "Friends," two women exchanged marriage vows. And last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors offered its blessing, voting to grant gay couples the right to a symbolic civil wedding ceremony. Couples who pay $35 to register with the city as domestic partners can pay $30 more to have a simple ceremony at the county clerk's office. The nuptials will not constitute a legal marriage.

Before it becomes law on March 21, the bill must be heard again by the board. No state currently recognizes same-sex marriages, though a court case pending in Hawaii could change that next year. But New York City and Madison, Wis., already provide non-binding ceremonies for domestic partners. And hundreds of municipalities, academic institutions and businesses-including Hertz, Disney, Lotus, Levi Strauss, and AT&T-grant employees and customers some domestic partnership benefits (U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 12).

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Hell a Big Void

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Jan. 18) reports that a Church of England commission has rejected the idea of hell as a place of fire and screams of unending agony, describing it instead as annihilation for all who reject the love of God. The report says, "Hell is not eternal torment, but it is the final and irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely and so absolutely that the only end is total nonbeing."

Shucks, the Jehovah's Witnesses and Edward Fudge (The Fire That Consumes), elder of the Bering Drive church in Houston, are way ahead of the Church of England. They have been saying the same thing for years. Wonder how long it will be before they decide that "eternal" reward is the same as "eternal punishment" and relegate heaven to nonexistence.

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Radicals on the Left

John Leo (U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 12) reports that a group at Williams College decried "supposedly correct capitalization" as ways of "trying to control women that lead directly to their subjugation." They say, capitalizing the first letter of a written sentence unfairly prioritizes that letter at the expense of the other underprivileged letters that follow. He also reported that two female professors at California State University at Chico said a university help-wanted ad seeking "a dynamic classroom teacher" was unfair because many women, Asians and Hispanics operate in a subdued and non-dynamic manner. "Dynamic," the two female professors thought, is a code word for white males. The article tells about a new version of the New Testament and Psalms (Oxford University Press) that has the Lord's prayer begin, "Our Father-Mother in Heaven." The 63rd Psalm's "Thy right hand upholds me" made lefthanders feel bad is now "your strong hand upholds me." "Kingdom," an overly male word, is now "dominion." The word "darkness" when referring to evil or ignorance has been removed out of deference to dark-skinned people. Leo claims that "language from the House welfare-reform bill-'marriage is the foundation of a successful society'-seemed harmless, but aides of Sen. Packwood thought it might hurt the feelings of divorced and single people, so they changed it to 'marriage is a foundation of a successful society.'" Finally, a former Mouseketeer is suing Disneyland because her three grandchildren were traumatized when they saw Disney characters disrobing and were shocked to see they were simply human beings in disguise.

The Firm Foundation understands that these are extreme positions of far-to-the-left radicals and are not typical of most members of the church. We read about such nonsense and smile. Still, they are straws in the wind and give an indication of where our society may go, if not headed off. Some feminists (and misguided university professors) seek to circumvent the divine mandate that "the head of the woman is the man" (1 Cor. 11:3). Undercurrents, coming from radical­feminists and homosexuals, seek to destroy the underpinnings of the Bible concept of marriage and family. In a misplaced attempt to protect the rights of women, the sovereignty of an Almighty Heavenly Father is under attack, and this erodes the authority of the Bible. When we subscribe to the nutty idea that little children think that cartoon characters are real people and that animals can communicate through language, we have subtly endorsed evolutionism and humanism.

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Parents need to take note that there is an increase in the use and abuse of drugs in the United States. Children, if not warned and watched, may be caught up in this vicious vice. There is an excellent article in the Reader's Digest (Feb. '96) which gives some good information about what's going on among some teens. The reporter, Daniel R. Levine, helps us understand that there is no such thing as an innocent, recreational drug. He says, "Marijuana is also a 'gateway' drug: few cocaine, LSD or heroin users did not first smoke pot. One reason is that the teen who uses marijuana is more likely to come into contact with users and sellers of harder drugs." Levine continues, "Moreover, teen­age marijuana use is linked to criminal behavior. In 1993, 26 percent of all male teens arrested in major cities tested positive for marijuana." A word to the wise.

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A black woman was barred from a meeting of White Women Against Racism because the presence of a black woman would make whites uncomfortable as they examined their racist ways.

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Keep Your Eyes Open

It is reported (Human Events, Feb. 2, 1996): "The heavy hand of homosexuals has been laid on the New York City public schools HIV/AIDS curriculum. It now covers kindergarten through the 12th year; ... it is of the same piece as the earlier guides emanating from a well­meaning advisory council appointed by the New York City Board of Education." The "guide" as quoted in Human Events is not fit to be read by anyone, much less by small children in elementary school.

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Southwest Lectureship

The Southwest Church of Christ will present its annual Lectureship April 14­17. During the event a demonstration of the Firm Foundation on computer CD­ROM will be given. Other displays will show various materials available for teaching the sanctified and the lost. Gary Colley is the lectureship director.

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Our Friends to the North

An arm of the Canadian government that runs the radio and television programming has brought cases before the Superior Court seeking to have the Bible banned from broadcasting. Saskatoon lawyer Janet Epp Buckingham said, "Currently Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission policies ... have more than once been used to block Christian programs because of comments on homosexuality. Freedom of religion is now seen by many as no longer an absolute right. Christians should not be complacent. There is an on-going attempt to silence everyone who believes in absolute morality." Be watchful. If it can happen in Canada, it can happen in the good old USA.

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Newsweek (Jan. 8, 1996) says that the divorce rate (per 1,000 people) increased from 3.5 percent in 1945 to 4.6 percent in 1996. Not good, but not as bad as many may have expected. But - listen to this - the rate of children born out of wedlock increased from 3.9 percent in 1945 to 31 percent in 1996. That is horrible! About one third of the children born today are ... well, illegitimate. What has happened to the morals of the people of America?

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How Old?

Astronomers became spin doctors as the academic battle over the age of the universe heats up. "Any confusion we are experiencing is just because so much is being learned so fast," astronomer Vera C. Rubin said as she attempted to clean up the space dust generated by a battle between those who think the universe is a prepubescent 8 billion to 12 billion years old and those who peg it at 15 to 20 billion. Well, what's 7 to 8 billion to an astronomer? That's only about a 40 percent margin of error. So who cares? It is only science. If a Bible writer did something that silly, he would be tortured, and ridden out of town on a rail.

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Breakfast Everyone?

Jon Gary Williams of LaVergne, Tenn., advises that Nashville-area preachers were invited to a breakfast meeting at the Belmont church building to learn what God is doing in the lives of several "Nashville pastors." Among these "pastors" were Jerry Sutton (Baptist), Don Finto, a self proclaimed "apostle" and well-know charismatic, and Rubel Shelly.

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H. A. (Buster) Dobbs