religion, christianity, articles
Max Lucado, Abilene Christian University, Vatican, Pope John Paul II, religion, Bible, Christianity, church, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost, faith, salvation, baptism, Christian, Church of Christ, Baptist, Catholic, Non-denominational, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, inspiration, agnostism, divorce, Calvinism, premillennialism, evolution, creation, morals, homosexuals, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma,
Australian Museum, Exotic Dancers Alliance, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Alameda County, 
Episcopal Church, Pasadena College, Lenin, Donelson Church of Christ, Zondervan Publishing House, New International Version

Potpourri, October 1997


religion, articles, christianity
La Kay Dough News from Down Under Message from Earl Davis
Vatican Anonymous Non-Judgmental
Funny People Joke? Lenin
Going Down EDA Donelson
Indian Affairs Here Come Da Judge Fair and Square

WOW! So much stuff and so little room. We are not going to take space printing the large number of letters bragging on the Firm Foundation and its astute, kind, comprehensive, loving, loyal, and forthright presentation of Bible truth and difficulties facing the church. Our cram­full and running over mail pouch has a large number of letters telling us how great we are-of course, we already knew that, and so do you. There is not much reason to repeat what is everywhere conceded. Anyhow, we do wish to thank our many friends who have sent words of encouragement and commendation. God bless you.

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La Kay Dough

Jon Gary Williams, of LaVergne, Tenn., sent a message that includes a critique of a Nashville television station announcement by Max Lucado (July 2, 1997). Lucado said, "I really believe in baptism. Jesus was baptized. The Bible teaches baptism. I just don't believe that it saves you. I believe Christ saves us. And baptism is one of those ways we celebrate our salvation. It's really the initial step of a faithful believer."

Well, thank you, Max. Billy Graham believes exactly the same thing. You obviously do not agree with Simon Peter who wrote that baptism "cloth now save you" (The scripture reference, in case you have forgotten, is 1 Peter 3:21.)

Shall we obey God or men?

Lucado, featured speaker of the 1997 Nashville Jubilee, at Lubbock, TX, December 1996, encouraged his listeners to pray the sinners prayer (which calls on God to save at the point of faith, before and without baptism. Lucado then said, "If today is the first day you've prayed a prayer like that, could you do me a favor? Could you write me a letter? ... I want to encourage you to find a church. I want to encourage you to be baptized. I want to encourage you to read your Bible. But I don't want you to do any of that so you will be saved. I want you to do all of that because you are saved."

Max, by the way, was ACU's alumnus of the year last year.

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Vatican

Pope John Paul II has appealed to Russian President Boris Yeltsin to halt legislation that would curb the Roman Catholic Church's activities in Russia.

The communist­led lower house of Russia's parliament approved a bill restricting the activities of what it calls "foreign" religions. It would prohibit them from owning property and may ban public worship. (Chicago Tribune, July 18, via Earl Davis).

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Funny People

Richard Vara, a Houston Chronicle religion writer, observed that the Episcopal denomination rejected ordination of active homosexuals and rites for blessing of same-sex unions by a count of 57 to 56- the narrowest of margins.

Newsweek (July 28, 1997) in an article by Kenneth Woodward pointed out that the General Assembly of the United Church of Christ tabled a resolution that would have "encouraged fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness" for all ordained ministers. He also said the Presbyterian church debated an amendment to its constitution requiring all church officials to be faithful in marriage and chaste if single.

It is a sad day when mainline Protestant denominations cannot agree that preachers ought to be sexually pure-everyone should be morally clean, decent and modest, even the President of the United States.

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Going Down

The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that the population of earth grew by only 79.6 million in 1996. That is around 20 million less than had been predicted by alarmists. Let's see, we aborted 18,000,000 babes in the United States alone, so that accounts for most of the decrease. If we keep killing human babies, the population could go all the way to zero.

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Indian Affairs

Gregory E. Pyle was sworn in as chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma on June 7, 1997. He is a powerful force in shaping the fortune of the Indians of America. Gregory E. Pyle is a faithful member of the church and teaches a Bible class in Durant, Okla. We congratulate our brother on his many accomplishments.

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News from Down Under

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) ­ The lawyers marched two by two into Federal Court as a geologist launched a fraud case against a creationist who says the earth is 6,000 years old and all living species emerged from Noah's Ark.

"It is the first time in the world a scientist has sued creationists," said Melbourne University geology professor Ian Plimer, who filed the case. He has lined up scientific and theological experts to press his case. His witnesses will include Dr. Alex Ritchie of the Australian Museum, and Professor Neil Archbold, who is a Presbyterian elder and lay preacher.

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Anonymous

Since it has been a few months since an unsigned letter has arrived in our Firm Foundation offices, I thought it might be a good time to let the world know how we handle such mail. In the first place, we always look for a return address on the envelope. If there is none, when the letter is opened, we look for a signature. If there is none, we throw it unread in the garbage - where it belongs.

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Joke?

How many liberals does it take to change a light bulb?

As many as can be gathered to a scholar's conference to exchange learned papers on whether the light bulb exists. The group must then consider the question: If the light bulb does exist, will changing it alienate those who may prefer other forms of light? The conference will then unanimously authorize the statement: "We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb however, if in your own journey you have found that a light bulb works for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship to your light bulb and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three­way, long­life, and tinted; all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence through Jesus Christ. We believe in unity, and sincerely hate legalists, who are of the opinion that light is better than darkness, and would probably change the light bulb to better read their Bibles. Legalists cause division and disrupt the peaceable kingdom. Even if the light bulb did exist and could be changed, we would not do it because, being under grace, we are free from works. Free in Christ. Amen! Hallelujah! Put your hands over your head and sway to the music. See how much better it is in failing light. Who needs light? Not us! Not us!"

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EDA

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ­ Bay Guardian says that Exotic Dancers Alliance, or EDA, recently sponsored a show for sex workers. Some performers gave readings, one performed with a snake, and another lit a fire, bathed in ketchup and then showered under a watering can to a Janis Joplin tune.

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Here Come Da Judge

Stephen Goode interviewed Robert Heron Bork, author of Slouching Towards Gomorrah, and reported it in a recent article in Insight magazine (July 28, 1997). Here is part of the interview:

Insight: You've criticized American intellectuals for their quest for utopia and for their radical egalitarianism, arguing that their ideas, in part, derive from not living in the real world. Don't they live in the real world?

RHB: Well they don't, really. You're talking about professors. You're talking about people in the media. You're talking about Hollywood. You're talking about the church bureaucracies, foundation staffs, museum staffs and so on. And that's a culture of its own. They don't come in contact much with the rest of the world, except to find the rest of the world unsatisfactory.

Insight: In Slouching Towards Gomorrah you refer to a "flummery of professors." Want to talk about professors for a while?

RHB: Sure. But I want to find "flummery" first. [Looks in dictionary.] Flummery. The second meaning is "flattery ... humbug." I could have said a "humbug of professors!"

I think since World War II the enormous increase in the size of universities has permitted them to form their own culture. It's an antibourgeois, anti­American culture, and the reasons for that have been identified by [German sociologist] Max Weber and his analysis of intellectuals and why they are constantly looking for transcendent meaning in life.

Once religion disappears or is badly weakened, then this necessarily means left­wing politics for intellectuals, though not for everybody else.

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Message from Earl Davis

People who regularly attend religious services live longer than those who don't, according to a 28­year study of more than 5,000 Alameda County, Calif. residents. The lower death rate is explained by improved health practices, increased social contacts and more stable marriages (Chicago Tribune, July 22, 1997).

Bishops of the Episcopal Church selected Chicago Bishop Frank T. Griswold III as their new leader, choosing a gentle voice of liberalism to lead the 2.5 million member denomination. The denomination is in the midst of a struggle over the roles of women and homosexuals in the church. Griswold's approach to these controversies is conciliatory (Chicago Tribune, July 22, 1997). (The Firm Foundation staff wonders how women like being linked with homosexuals-are they in the same class? We think not!) Thanks, Earl! Children

He hanged himself with an electrical cord.... Kids who'd seen him the day before said he was happy, in fine spirits. But the next day, drunk and alone, he fell into some emotional chasm, stepped from a chair and died (USA Today, July 16, 1997).

Children killing themselves-not just isolated cases, but again and again. Alcohol abuse, neglect, and trouble with the law are usually part of the problem.

Why so many self-inflicted deaths? Crime, violence, drugs and gangs are part of life in many communities. Family structures deteriorating along with spiritual values. Kids are self-centered, blasé, even nihilistic as they strut about in baggy pants, backwards sport's caps and Starter jackets. They seem incredibly lost and sad.

What we are seeing isn't a problem with the kids; rather it's a reflection of our own collective dysfunction. Things have gone terribly wrong. A world without God or an ideal or purpose or hope is wretched and worthless. The answer, as always, is in the word of God.

Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.

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Non-Judgmental

Prof. Robert Simon says that many of his students refuse to make moral judgments. They say such things as: "Of course I dislike the Nazis, but who is to say they are morally wrong?" They [the students] acknowledge the fact of the Holocaust but can't bring themselves to say that killing millions of people is wrong.

Kay Haugaard, who teaches creative writing at Pasadena College in California, says that her current students have a lot of trouble expressing any moral reservations or objections about human sacrifices. The subject came up when she taught her class The Lottery, a short story about a small American farm town where one person is killed each year to make the crops grow.

One male student said the ritual killings in The Lottery "almost seems a need." Asked if she believed in human sacrifices, a woman said, "I really don't know. If it was a religion of long standing." Haugaard writes: "I was stunned. This was the woman who wrote so passionately of saving the whales, of caring for the rain forests, of her rescue and tender care of a stray dog" (U.S. News & world Report, July 21, 1997).

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Lenin

U S NEWS & WORLD REPORT, July 21, 1997-Boris Yeltsin wants to re­bury Vladmir Lenin in a "Christian funeral." Lenin promoted godless communism with force and died an atheist, but Yeltsin wants him to be buried (again) with Christian dignity. Joseph Stalin ordered that Lenin's remains be preserved and put on display. "Stalin wanted to set up Lenin as an icon of the alternative Bolshevik religion," says Peter Reddaway of George Washington University. Lenin was to be a Christ like figure.

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Donelson

The Donelson church in Nashville, sponsor of the 1997 Jubilee, heard a rebuke of its liberalism when Ronnie Crocker, speaking on the 24th Annual National Prison Workshop, marked Lucado, Shelly, Cope, Woodruff, and other Jubilee speakers as false teachers. There was no small disputation. Gaylord Broadcasting recorded the event, but erased all of Crocker's comments from the tape in an expression of true liberal fair­mindedness.

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Fair and Square

Word Magazine exposed Zondervan Publishing House and The International Bible Society (IBS) for planning to revise the New International Version of the Bible and make it "gender inclusive." Zondervan brought charges against Word in the ad hoc court of the Evangelical Press Association.

Joel Belz, Word's editor, asked, "Why are Word's wrists being slapped like this in public? It is because of the perverse assumption now so dominate among evangelicals that feelings, attitudes, and relationships are all more important than truth. Unity is a higher priority than orthodoxy. Division, even for truth's sake, becomes the most offensive of heresies."

Belz says that the four issues between Word-affirmers and Word-doubters are: "Creation, feminism, homosexuality, and universalism." He complains that the thunderous response to Word's opposition to a gender inclusive revision of the Bible is: "You're being divisive!" Never mind what the truth of the matter is. "You're spoiling the party."

Zondervan and the IBS abandoned the effort to make the NIV gender inclusive, but castigated and accused Word for its mistake.

Belz wrote, "Word treasures both relationships and truth. But in a showdown between the two, we'll go with truth any day of the week.... Sure, what happened divides. But the kingdom of God is damaged more by falsehood than it is by division. I'm sorry for bruised feelings - but I'm not sorry that efforts to bend God's words have in this instance been thwarted. From the bruises of these sharp exchanges, we can recover quite soon. But from the bruises of trying to live by words that only pretend to be the actual words of God, there might be no recovery at all."

Amen!

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H. A. (Buster) Dobbs