[2]
WORLD SURVEY OF RELIGIOUS EVENTS

SOUTHERN BAPTISTS IN ROMAN CATHOLIC DIALOGUE

In an RNS dispatch from Menlo Park, California, where 25 Roman Catholics joined 25 Southern Baptists in the fourth conference series, sponsored by the SBC Home Mission Board, one Baptist leader was quoted: "I am discovering that in spite of our differences, Baptists and Catholics have a foundation on which to debate these issues. We are closer together in our view of the inerrancy of the Bible than we are in any other group."

We wonder what such a statement means in the light of the declaration by SBC Mill Valley prof., Dr. Fred Fisher, who said, "The Bible is not a revelation of God."

BOMBSHELL DROPPED AT TONGUES MEETING

At the 5th annual meeting of the scholarly Society of Pentecostal Studies at Ann Arbor, the big jolt came at the banquet when main speaker, Nazarene clergyman Timothy Smigh, renounced John Hopkins, historian, challenged his audience of old-line or "classic" Pentecostalists and modern-day charismatics to abandon the use of tongues. Smigh nevertheless declared that the modern use of tongues is a "mistaken bypass" based on a misunderstanding of Scripture. He maintained that glossalalia in the New Testament refers to known dialects, not unknown tongues - the entire thrust of Scripture is is "reasonableness and clarity," he argued, and unknown glossolalia would defeat understanding. Concluding that there is "no evidence of (such) religious glossolalia in the New Testament, the early Church, or in history," Smigh called on Pentecostal leaders to "use intellectual honesty to responsibly face this issue." Christianity Today, 2-1-76.


ORAL ROBERTS AND BILLY GRAHAM HONOURED

Oral Roberts told 3,000 persons attending the United Methodist National [3] Bicentennial Congress on Evangelism that he was glad to be a Methodist again. "I don't know about them and what they feel about me, but I'm having a hallelujah good time. I really feel at home," he said. The United Methodist Church no longer insists that its clergymen accept such doctrine as the deity, virgin birth and resurrection of Christ. Dr. Roberts and Southern Baptist evangelist Billy Graham were given "Philip Awards" by the Association of United Methodist Evangelists during the congress. Dr. Roberts said the renewal of the Holy Spirit in the United Methodist Church is not a dream, but a reality." Christian News, 26-1-76.

POPE PAUL'S NEW AUTHORISED PRAYER TO THE VIRGIN

(As found in the Catholic Voice for December 29, 1975, p. 11):

"Mary most holy, immaculate in your conception, beloved above all creatures, daughter of God the Father Almighty, raised to the highest place in His merciful plan for all mankind. Listen, O Mary, to our filial voice, echoing sentiments of the whole Church on this tenth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and at the happy conclusion of this Holy Year, as we earnestly implore your special heavenly assistance in this critical hour for the spiritual and civil destiny of the world. To you, the Mother of the Church, we entrust our commitment to reconciliation. To you, Mary, the fountain of life. Intercede for all those who have been redeemed by Christ but who as yet do not know the light of the Gospel."

ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP CITES GRAHAM'S ESTEEM

St. Louis (RNS 3-23-76): "A bishop said here that Roman Catholics should go about the task of saving the spirit of America, emboldened by the knowledge that evangelist Billy Graham considers them the 'most influential institution on earth.' Speaking at the annual convention of the St. Louis Archdiostsan Council of the Laity the bishop said (referring to Graham's statement) 'Doesn't it give you a sense of pride?"'

ROMAN CATHOLIC WANTS CHOU EN-LAI CANONISED

A controversial Mexican Roman Catholic bishop who has often been criticised for his socialist views has suggested that Premier Chou En-Lai of China, who died in January, 1976, [4] should be "canonised." "It would not be totally unusual," said Bishop Sergio Mendez Arceo of Cuernavaca at a Sunday Mass there.

COMMENT: It should be remembered that Chou was responsible for more deaths in China in his liquidations and purges than Hitler killed Jews in Europe - and he was a monster.

TYNDALE HOUSE JOINS THE ROMAN CATHOLICS . . .

in a joint project on the Living Bible. The Living Bible is now available in an edition containing the eight apocryphal books considered to be a part of the canonical Old Testament by Roman Catholics. The paraphrases were prepared by Our Sunday Visitor in co-operation with Tyndale House. Our Sunday Visitor is one of the leading Roman Catholic papers in the USA.

NEW EVANGELICAL - ROMAN CATHOLIC ECUMENISM

The Latin American Mission sent out this form letter. "Dear Friend, One of the young Costa Ricans whose editorial gifts are utilised by LAMP, is a vibrant, growing Christian. But the amazing thing is that he is remaining in the Roman Catholic Church. He finds spiritual nourishment, fellowship, and opportunity for witness and service in one of the informal 'communities' which are thriving among enlightened Roman Catholics in his city. One of LAMP's translators, an outstanding missionary who has ministered in Latin America for many years, reportedly was healed recently of a physical ailment in her shoulder by a charismatic layman."

THE TRUE NORMAN VINCENT PEALE

Dr. Peale's interview in Modern Maturity for Dec.-Jan. 1975/6:

Question - Does the Reformed Church believe people are inherently good or bad?

Answer - They're inherently good . . . the bad reactions aren't basic. Every human being is a child of God and has more God in him than evil . . . but circumstances and associates can step up the bad and reduce the good I've got great faith in the essential fairness and decency . . . you may say goodness . . . of the human being.

Question - How do you regard Jesus?

Answer - I accept calling Jesus "Son of God" . . . but I like to describe [5] Him as the nearest thing to God.

If this be correct, Dr. Peale should then be designated for what he is a theological modernist. This theology is not a part of the teachings of Jesus nor of the Word of God, nor of the historic Christian Faith.

NEW EVANGELICALS HONOUR WM. BARCLAY AGAIN

In a feature article in Christianity Today, 1-16-76, written by an unbelieving theologian, J. D. Douglas said of him: "He is a universalist. 'Like most people brought up in an evangelical home,' he says in "A Spiritual Autobiography" (Eerdmans), "I did not at first know that there was any other way of thinking of the Atonement except in terms of substitution . . . But there were things about it that left me unhappy. It seemed . . . to present me with a God who was out to punish me and a Jesus who was out to save me . . . (and) that the whole conception starts from the wrath of God, while the New Testament starts from the love of God."' That one paragraph is enough to prove his rejection of the heart of the Gospel. Some day the New Evangelicalist preachers, evangelicalist educators and publishers will have an awful day of accounting for giving Christian honour and recognition to men who are apostate from the Christian faith. Barclay demonstrates in one paragraph that he is an apostate one who departed.

NEW BOOK BY WORLD COUNCIL OFFICIAL

We are saddened to hear that Eerdman Publishing Company of Grand Rapids, is publishing "Christians and Marxists" by Jose Miguez Bonino, vice-president of the WCC of Buenos Aires. In promoting the book Eerdmans state: "Jose Miguez Bonino, a Latin American Christian theologian, often finds himself working side by side with Marxists in a common struggle for human equality and liberation. But he acknowledges that with such co-operation there exists an uneasy tension . . . Miguez argues however, in this provocative book, that there are areas where Christianity and Marxism can, and indeed must, be brought together. Miguez is first of all a Christian . . . And it is his contention that certain fundamental insights, perspectives, and socioanalytic tools of Marxism are indispensable for revolutionary change . . . It is likewise a challenge, urging Christians to repossess their revolutionary heritage, and Marxists to see their understanding of revolution is not revolutionary enough."

This is sad evidence of the inherent leftward drift in New Evangelicalism. [6]


What Popery has done for Rome

ROME - Is Rome, diocese of the Pope and world centre of Roman Catholicism, a religious city?

The city that has elected a Communist Mayor and a left-wing municipal government is also the birthplace of ferociously anti-clerical jokes, a writer in the prestigious Turin daily, La Stampa, has noted.

In 1969-70 a group of Jesuits conducted a socio-religious survey which revealed that only between 30 and 40 per cent of Roman residents regularly attended Mass on Sundays.

A more recent survey by ACAP, a cultural association of generally left-wing Roman Catholics, indicated that Roman religious practice - at least among the working class - has fallen since 1970.

Responses to the ACAP questions suggest that many Roman Catholics in Rome know next to nothing about their religion.

To the question, "What is the Church?" 37 per cent of the interviewees replied that it was a building, 15 per cent that it was an Organisation of "priests." The rest settled on "a spiritual body," "religion," or "the home of Christians."

Eighty-three per cent of those interviewed did not know what was meant by "dogma." Eighty-five per cent did not believe in the infallibility of the Pope. Almost no one knew what a council was, and still fewer were aware of the reforms introduced by the Second Vatican Council.

- The Irish Catholic, 2/9/1976.

Fearful Objections to the Ecumenical Movement

An extract from Dr. G. Archer Weniger's address to the Congress in Edinburgh. (Continued from last issue)

Who is leading for reform and decriminalising of abortion laws, sex laws, divorce laws, capital punishment laws, but the ecumenical leaders. The spectacle we face now is that the church, instead of being the bulwark against immorality, is now involved in the ecclesiastical defence of immorality - yea, even the promotion of immorality. The doctrinal, spiritual and moral confusion of the ecumenical movement is almost complete.

7. Their acceptance of the inclusivist church.

The ecclesiastical disease which is common to all ecumenical denominations is that of inclusivism. Instead of the Church being composed of those who are saved and regenerate it is an inclusive company open to all comers. The best definition of inclusivism I have found is this: "that evil religious policy which operates in the religious realm affecting executive appointments, missionary personnel and program objectives which gives equal recognition and honor to all shades of belief and unbelief alike, without penalty or discrimination." They repudiate the Biblical principle of the purity of the Church. In Titus Paul tells us that the reason for His giving Himself on the Cross was that He "might purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Listen friends, every Biblical demand about sound doctrine, every passage revealing a godly attitude toward heresy, every Scripture calling for separation. the Biblical requirement of a regenerate church membership, and the commendations concerning discipline in the seven churches of the Revelation are all evidence that God expects and should have a pure church. [8]

Sod Cut at Seymour Hill

Digging sods isn't the easiest job in the world. Ask Dr. Ian Paisley, MP. And sometimes it matters not what foot you did with either! The Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church was in Dunmurry to cut the sod on the site of the new church but despite a methodical approach the rock-like surface made life difficult. [9]

A Stirring Sermon by Alexander Peden

THE FAMOUS PROPHET OF THE COVENANT

"But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel." St. Luke 24:21.

Where is the Kirk of God in Scotland the day? It is not among the great clergie folk. Sirs, I'll tell you where the Kirk of God is - wherever there is a praying lad or lass at a dykeside in Scotland. A praying partie will ruin them. Yet, sirs, a praying partie shall throw the storm. But manie of you in this countrieside ye ken not these things. The weight of the broken Kirk of God in Scotland never troubles you. The loss of a cow, or two or three of your beasts, or an ill market day, goes nearer your hearts nor all the troubles of the Kirk of God in Scotland. Well then, thou poor bodie, that will resolve to follow Him, pray fast; if there were but one of you, He will be the second; if there were but two of you, our Lord will be the third. Ye need not fear that ye shall want company; our Lord will be your company Himself. He will condescend as low as you like to you that will resolve to follow Him in this stormie blast that is blowing upon His poor Kirk in Scotland the day. But there is some of you that is come here the day, the next day, when ye cannot get a meeting of this kind, ye will run away to your hirelings again. Take heed, sirs, do not mock God; these indulgences will lead you away from Christ as well as the curates. O the base drag the Kirk is getting from manie of the ministers in Scotland in our day. About thirty-six years ago, our Lord had a great thick backing of ministers and professors in Scotland; but one blast blew six hundred of our ministers from Him at once, and they never came back to Him again. Yea, manie lords and lairds and ladies followed Him then, but the wind of the storm blew the ladies' galantries in their eyes and their ears both, which put them both blind and deaf, that they never saw to follow Christ (since), nor to hear His pleasant voice. The lords and lairds and ladies were all blown o'er the brae. Alas! for the apostacie of nobles, gentles, ministers, and professors in Scotland - Scotland ere long shall [10] run in streams of blood; yea, many of the saints' blood shall yet we shed ere long. But yet the blood of the saints shall be the seed of a glorious Church in Scotland. O sirs! what are ye doing in this countrie-side? Christ's followers in throw Clydesdale yonder they have ventured for God, and they have given a great testimonie. They have burned the Test and the Acts of the cursed Parliament. There was a poor widow in that countrie-side as I came through that was worth many of you, and when she was asked how she did in this ill time, "I do verie well," says she; "I get more good in one verse of the Bible now nor I did in it all langsyne. He hath casten me the keys of the pantrie door, and bids me take my fill." Was not that a Christian, indeed? O sirs, I would leave you taking heed what ye are doing now, when the blood of the saints is running so fast.

Now, sirs, the observation that I would have you take home with you is this: It is aye a poor bodie that Christ hath done a good turn for that will follow Him in a storm. And now people of God, ye ken this. Mary Magdalene, that is here spoken of in this chapter, He cast a legion of devils out of her in a morning. I trow she never forgot that till she went to glorie. Think ye not but it was a sore heart (to her) that morning when she missed Him, and got a tomb and an empty grave? O! what would ye have thought to have seen this poor woman running through the bands of soldiers, But that was not the thing that troubled her, neither the Roman guard that was about the grave, nor the charge under the pain of death, that they should not touch the grave. Na, na, sirs, love to God goes beyond all that. He was her Lord and she dought not (ie could not think to) want Him. The note that I would have taken with you is this: If ye have gotton good of Jesus Christ, ye would go through hell at the nearest to be at Him. O sirs, those that have suffered for Christ in Scotland they ken this best the day. They got a stormy rough sea indeed, but a choice pleasant shore, and the Captain of their salvation to welcome them heartily home. O sirs, Christ had a wheen o' (ie number of) noble worthies in Scotland not long ago, that set the trumpet to their mouth, and gave fair warning in His name. He had a Welch, a Cameron, a Cargill and a Wellwood, a noble party of them proclaiming His name in Scotland. O sirs, if ye could be admitted to see and speak to them, they would tell you that it is nothing to suffer for Christ. They are all glancing in glory now. They would fley (ie frighten) you out of your wits to behold them in these white robes, and glorious crowns and palms in their hands. Follow fast if He call you to suffer for His name. But what shall I say? The most part of you know nothing of this. Ye that are lying in black nature, yet dought not (ie could not think to) bide in heaven if [11] though few were in it; ye would give a thousand worlds, if ye had them, to be out of it again.

And now, sirs, take heed what ye are doing, for it is a strange time we live in (so to speak) it is hard keeping touches with God, when He is travelling up and down several shires in Scotland, saying to this man and that woman, "Go, seal My truth with thy blood." He hath taken few out of the shires of Galloway or Carrick to a scaffold to witness for Him yet. I think we should be, counted with the rest of the kingdom, and yet we know not what is coming. I pray you, if He come to seek a testimony from any of you, deny Him not, for He denied none of you that are the elect when ye were between the tineing and the winning, (ie the losing and the getting).

People of God, I have this to tell you, and so I leave you: That there are as glorious days yet coming to Scotland as ever were, and that the children of the persecuted captivity shall yet be the beginning of a glorious Kirk in Scotland. The people shall be zealous for the reproached truths ol' God, and those ministers that have betrayed the work of God shall no longer wear a rough garment to deceive. And now the Lord Himself bless these things unto you, and make you steadfast, that ye be not led away with the apostasy of the times, and these time serving ministers that, Demas-like, have forsaken the way of the Lord, and embraced the present world.

Now the Lord Himself make you consider these things, and fasten a conviction of them upon your hearts, that ye may be watchful and steadfast to the day of His coming. Now, unto the Lord, who is able to keep you from falling, be everlasting praise, Amen. [12]

Free Presbyterian Church Opened at Victoria Bridge

It was time for shirt sleeves, summer dresses and rousing hymn singing at Victoria Bridge, on Saturday, 21st August, when a new church was officially opened by Dr. Ian Paisley, Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church.

The Covenanters' Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, at Mulvin, was packed to the doors and several dozen people had to listen to the service from outside.

The church, which is the 42nd Free Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland was officially opened by Dr. Paisley before the service.

Several other ministers took part in the service. Rev. William McCrea was the soloist and accompanied himself on the accordion. Rev. James McClelland led the congregation in prayer and the Scripture reading was by Rev. Ivan Foster.

Mr. Desmond Monteith was the organist.

Dr. Paisley told the congregation that he trusted that all who crossed the thresh-hold of the building would experience the power of the "living Christ."

He hoped that the opening service would be a great blessing to all.

Dr. Paisley said that the church had been used for worship since 1837 by the Reformed Presbyterian Church. One of the church elders, Mr. Andrew O'Neill and other members were present in the congregation.

The church had not been used for a few years and it was decided by the Free Presbyterians to purchase the building. A figure of 3,000 was agreed upon and it took only six months to raise the money. Dr. Paisley said that he had received 800 from a church in Phoenix, Arizona, towards the church at Mulvin.

He had only returned from holiday in Scotland and a church in Wick had given him 30 towards the church.

Dr. Paisley said that the Free Presbyterians Church had a vital role to play in Northern Ireland.

"We need a multitude of changed men and women," he said. "The politics and politicians have failed. Man-made leaders and man-made leadership has failed.

"If this land is going to be delivered it will be delivered by the power of God alone."

Dr. Paisley said that the Free Presbyterian Church had fire and fight. It was going forward. Other [13] denominations were closing churches but they were building them.

He said that people had asked him what would happen the church when he died.

"The Free Presbyterian Church does not depend on one man," he said. "When I am finished this church will still be going marching on. There is a coming generation of Free Presbyterians. Thank God for the young people of our church. They know what this battle is about.

"The second generation of Free Presbyterians will be more free than you have been."

Dr. Paisley had a word of warning about "peacemakers." He said that many people were crying for peace but he would believe them when they accepted the RUC.

Peace would come to the land when truth prevailed. There had been a lot of liars in control. One of them had gone that week.

Mr. Drew McIntyre, an elder of the Castlederg Free Presbyterian Church, thanked Dr. Paisley for coming to Mulvin. He also thanked everyone who had helped to redecorate the building. Mr. McIntyre also paid tribute to everyone who had donated chairs for the service.

The collection during the service raised 600. [14]

Popov on Persccution of Religion in the USSR

Popov, who was pastor of the largest Protestant church in Bulgaria, was in Washington to offer testimony before the joint Committee on International Relations. Rep. John Buchanan, is sponsoring a bill whose objective is to appeal to the Soviet Union to show good faith in its international promises to guarantee real religious freedom to all its people.

Like others who testified verbally, Popov's written statement was a plea for the release of dissident Baptist Georgi Vins, a Ukrainian serving his third prison term in Siberia because he cannot in good conscience obey Soviet laws which put atheist government officials into the governing role of churches whose mission is to proclaim God's love.

This is to Vins and thousands of unregistered believers of numerous faiths an anomaly that is unthinkable, no matter how much easier it might be for them to conform.

Popov, because of his religious convictions, served 13 years of unbearable torture in Communist prisons. Fourteen others were arrested with him. That was in 1948.

SACRIFICE

"We were only 15 of the millions who have been sacrificed to build the brave new world of Communism," Popov said. "Times have changed since then, but the principles of Communism have not. Modern technology has simply enabled it to use more sophistication and subtlety in terrorising and oppressing its people."

But what about all the reports by visitors to the Communist countries that the churches are full and that religion is vibrant and vital? That may be so for the religious groups which conform to atheistic administration in their internal affairs, but the non-recognised groups such as Pentecostals, the big Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the underground Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses, among others, end up on the run constantly or in prison.

Or the grave.

"In order to realise Communism's goal of world conquest," he said, "the Soviet Union has presented to the world an appearance of tolerance and freedom. It guarantees freedom of belief in its own constitution because even the mass slaughter (under) [15] Stalin could not eliminate the truth of God from the hearts of the people.

VINS


"It tries to make the world think it respects freedom of belief by the signing of the Helsinki Agreement while ignoring international demands for the release of Georgi Vins. Its word is given by the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and yet, in a secret trial, sentences one of its citizens, Vladimir Osipov, to eight years of hard labour because of his Orthodox Christian faith.

"He has joined the tens of thousands of political prisoners in the growing Gulag."'

Popov then listed the names of people he knew who recently have been murdered for a faith that has been expressed outside the parameters of the party-monitored and controlled recognised churches.

DESTROYING THE MIND

But he says that murder isn't really necessary to suppress that kind of belief. The most modern tools of repression are being used. Psychiatric prison walls and the use of mind destroying drugs are used to turn many thousands of dissidents either away from the follies of their ways or into drug-induced vegetable matter.

The reppression of the Cburch, he said, is well documented. Visitors see the many churches which are open in the large cities but forget that 100,000 Orthodox churches alone have been closed.

"Official policy allows freedom of religion," Popov said, "but unofficial policy has had specific objectives" to disallow it as much as the traffic will allow.

THE GOAL


The unofficial policy, he said, is to:

Control and destroy the Church.

Separate the Church from state, school and social involvement especially by prohibiting the instruction of children and the distribution of religious information by any media.

Reduce church attendance by closing churches, by not building new churches, and by social and economic pressures so that those with families, jobs and a hopeful future "will not dare step inside a church."

Restrict the celebration of holy days and religious ceremonies.

Convert believers and non-believers to atheism through widespread propaganda efforts.

Create the ideal citizen who is a militant atheist and "a brave new builder of Communism."

"In the light of these blatant denials of human rights, the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union must be re-evaluated in all its implications," Popov said. [16]

OUR RESPONSIBILITY

"Neither a nation nor a people can long ignore broken agreements without denying justice itself. The responsibility rests on one to restore the agreement and on the other to demand its restoration.

"Spokesmen like Georgi Vins represent the thousands behind the Iron Curtain who have had the courage to stand for what they believe in, for the principles that a free people cannot live without. We dare not demand less."

Popov is president of the Evangelism to Communist Lands mission and often is on the road three months at a time, bringing his message and appeal to hundreds of churches in the United States, England and Canada.

"As long as there is oppression, as long as there are people like Georgi Vins," he said, "it is not right for me to sit still or any of us to sit still. We cannot afford to be naive about what is going on."