Potpourri, October 1996
Enclosed is an order and a check for two more gift subscriptions to the Firm Foundation. This is the fourth gift subscription plus my renewal extension since April 19 (written June 19). It is my intention to send at least one gift subscription each month as long as the Lord blesses me with the ability to do so because I believe the Firm Foundation is the best vehicle available to inform brethren of the false teachers at work in the Lord's church today" (A Subscriber).... I just wanted you to know how much the Firm Foundation means to me and to all who love the truth of Jesus Christ. I can see in every issue your faith and loyalty to Jesus.... The February issue was very timely with the article on the Promise Keepers." These are a few excerpts from the many—very many—letters of encouragement the Firm Foundation received in the past few weeks. We need your help to continue to hold high the banner of truth. Thank you.
Sister Aline Walker Bradshaw wrote a brief note to say that Glendon W. Walker passed away February 13, 1996. He lived at Sherman, Texas. Brother Walker preached the gospel for 60 years and enjoyed reading the Firm Foundation. That unseen world of the righteous dead is richer.Return to top
Brother J. A. McNutt, a pillar in the church at Memphis, wrote a letter to Bailey McBride, editor of the Christian Chronicle in response to a three page article (Minister's Beliefs, a Special Report; July 1996). In the article, astounding information is displayed. It is the summation of the response to a survey sent out by professors at Abilene Christian University of 348 preachers and 138 youth ministers. Of those answering the survey, 31 say they do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus; 27 say they do not believe the devil actually exists; 44 say that Adam and Eve are not historical characters; 53 say the Bible has errors and mistakes in it; 12 think the Bible teaches premillennialism; 30 deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus; 105 think it is biblical to have women preachers in the church and 452 say it is not wrong for a woman to preach; 450 claim to have direct revelation of the Holy Spirit in their lives today; 98 think instrumental music in worship of God is scriptural, but 350 say it is not sin and its use will not condemn; 307 think Christmas and Easter are religious holidays (we are not making this up—it is in the report—we are happy to say that apparently no readers of the Firm Foundation were included in the survey).
If the survey is accurate, it indicates big problems: Why would the Christian Chronicle devote three full pages to this folly with no apology? Do we really have preachers and men leading and training our children who do not believe such fundamental Bible doctrines as the virgin birth and the resurrection? (Members and parents need to ask some questions of elders, preachers, and youth workers.)
The biggest problem of all may be brought into focus by a request in brother McNutt's letter, "I would like to suggest that the same survey be submitted to all the professors in our Christian Schools, and perhaps we will learn the source of some of our problems in the brotherhood."
The danger facing the church today is great.
"Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old."Return to top
Intellectual sodomy, which comes from the refusal to be simple about plain matters, is as gross and abundant today as sexual perversion and they are nowise different from one another (Edward Dahlberg, U.S. author and critic).
Intellectuals can tell themselves anything, sell themselves any bill of good, which is why they were so often patsies for the ruling classes in nineteenth century France and England, or twentieth-century Russia and America (Lillian Hellman, U.S. playwright, Unfinished Woman, ch. 13).
"I think, therefore I am" is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches (Milan Kundera, Czech author, critic, Immortality, pt.4, ch.11).
When a thought is too weak to be expressed simply, it should be rejected (French proverb).
Everyone says he's sincere, but everyone isn't sincere. If everyone was sincere who says he's sincere there wouldn't be half so many insincere ones in the world and there would be lots, lots, lots more really sincere ones! (Tennessee Williams, U.S. playwright).Return to top
President Clinton's picture was on the front page of The Advocate, a magazine that favors homosexuals (June 25, 1996). In an interview, he spoke in generalities when questioned on homosexual issues. Ann Lewis, the 1996 Deputy Campaign Chairman for the Clinton-Gore campaign and sister of Rep. Barney Frank (an out-of-the- closet homosexual in the U.S. Congress), says she "is working on a positive, campaign-oriented, program of assistance to Democratic candidates in our critical elections this year."Return to top
The Wall Street Journal reports that The House of Representatives voted 342-67 to pass the Defense of Marriage Act, a measure conservatives introduced to head off a Hawaii court case that could make that state the first to recognize homosexual marriages.Return to top
Lucado is working on a novel based on a fictional account of Jesus life as if he were born in the South in the United States today. Lucado says he's thinking of titling it The Gospel According to Manny (Manny being short for Immanuel). Lucado's only concern for this title is that "Manny doesn't sound like a Southern name" (June/July Release). The interviewer of the Release article suggested to Lucado that he might want to change the title to The Gospel According to Manny Joe-Bob, to better reflect Jesus' fictitious Southern heritage. Lucado said he liked that idea.
Max Lucado said in a note to the editor of the Firm Foundation, "Thanks for the inquiry about the fiction project. That book is on hold. If it's ever published, we won't use The Gospel According to Manny. I appreciate your concern for accuracy."Return to top
James Dobson to prove "that miracles still occur every day" referred to Cliff Barrows and his new bride accidentally stumbling across Billy Graham while on their honeymoon. Dobson says of Barrows and Graham, "They met that evening for the first time, and a lifetime partnership was formed. As the Christian world knows so well, Cliff and his wife, Billie, have been members of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ever since that evening."
Dobson calls that a miracle! Under that definition any chance meeting that turns out well would qualify. This story shows two things: Dobson is shallow; and shallow people don't know what miracles are. As James D. Bales might have said: "Miracles or Mirages."
To call the Barrow/Graham meeting a miracle belittles walking on water, calming stormy seas, raising the dead, curing the leper, giving sight to the blind, causing the deaf to hear and feeding thousands with a few loaves and fishes. Such a double-jointed definition of a miracle makes the supernatural acts of Jesus and the apostles a joke.Return to top
An erstwhile brother and his wife, Kregg and Karen Hood (he has a Ph.D. and is an executive vp at Sweet Pub.), claim to have been baptized in the Holy Ghost (minus: the sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, tongues of fire, and ability to speak in foreign languages they had not studied). They say the Spirit of the Living God gives them the words they speak and enables miracles to confirm the message. That is nothing less than revelation. They are not one whit behind the very chiefest apostle ... and I don't mean Don Finto.
"The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men" (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Autocrat of the Breakfast- Table, ch. 6). A scholar "has the common feeling of his profession. He enjoys a statement twice as much if it appears in fine print, and anything that turns up in a footnote ... takes on the character of divine revelation" (Margaret Halsey, With Malice Toward Some). "A reading machine always wound up and going, he mastered whatever was not worth the knowing" (James Russell Lowell, A Fable For Critics).Return to top
University of Houston officials have said they will appeal a ruling that a Russian immigrant was expelled from the school's graduate history program because of his ideas, not his performance. State District Judge Don Wittig ruled in favor of Fabian Vaksman, 37. Vaksman has waged a three-year state and federal court battle seeking to complete his doctorate in history. Vaksman said he fell into disfavor with the department because he ... asserted anti-Marxist views. This conflicted with the orthodox Marxist philosophy he said had been prevalent among many history professors.Return to top
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has revised its non-discrimination code to include pedophiles as a protected minority. In 1990-91, the school's Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Policy contained a clause specifying that its protections "shall now include persons whose sexual orientation includes minor children as sex objects." Two things are disturbing about this. First, why protect pedophiles? (Is it now okay for a man to sexually harass a 7-year-old boy, say, but not a 27-year-old woman?) Second, why the term sexual orientation? Does this mean we are in for braind-warfing debates about whether pedophilia is chemical or choice? Will there be—in the compulsory Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Studies courses of the future — seminars on Humbert Humbert, as the Ahab of pedophiles, trying to lampoon a sweet young thing? Is there no behavior which U Mass and other enlightened campuses will agree deserves simply to be called deviant?Return to top
Mike Cope, co-editor of Wineskins magazine and top-preacher at the 5th and Highlands church in Abilene, in a sermon delivered Sunday morning, April 21, 1996, spoke approvingly of several denominational preachers ... Billy Graham ... Tony Campolo ... Richard Foster ... and John Stott. In talking about the question of how devout and sincere men in denominations are to be regarded, Cope said:
Hey, wait a second, Mike, have you never heard of Cornelius? Devout, prayerful, generous Cornelius? But guess what? ... He was lost! (Acts 11:14). John Stott, as good as he is, like Cornelius, is lost. Good and lost. You needed to do what Peter did—preach the Word to him. Did you? Or did you let him leave with the impression that you approved his denominational error—from sprinkling babes for baptism to accepting the authority of the primate of the Anglican Church—the archbishop of Canterbury.
When the editor of the Firm Foundation inquired, M.W. Cope responded to the above blurb:
The editor answered: "How about Stott? Is he lost? Does he need to respond to the message of Christ through repentance and baptism? If yes, why didn't you say so in your April 21, 1996, sermon instead of leaving the impression he was OK?"
Cope responded with total silence.Return to top
dis·in·gen·u·ous Adjective. Not straightforward or candid; crafty: "an ambitious, disingenuous, philistine, and hypocritical operator, who ... exemplified ... the most disagreeable traits of his time" (David Cannadine). (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition).Return to top
Transcribed from a tape recording of the sermon. Copy of entire transcription available upon request to: Firm Foundation, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.Return to article