Friday, July 25, 2014

20 years ago: Israel and Jordan end their enmity by signing the Washington Declaration

On July 25, 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan signed the Washington Declaration, formally ending the state of war that had existed between the nations since 1948, and starting negotiations to achieve a lasting peace between Israel and Jordan. U.S. President Bill Clinton also signed the Declaration in a ceremony on the White House lawn. Go here to see the full text of the Washington Declaration.

The negotiations culminated in a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan signed on October 26, 1994.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

30 years ago: God strikes York Minster Cathedral with lightning three days after the consecration of heretic David Jenkins as Bishop of Durham

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. II Peter 2:1

On Friday, July 6, 1984, the Church of England consecrated Rev. David Jenkins as Bishop of Durham. As reported by Associated Press, July 8, 1984:

York, England--A former theology professor who said he did not believe that Jesus physically rose from the dead has been ordained as one of the highest-ranking bishops in the Anglican church.

"One of the glories of the Church of England is that it has always allowed many different shades of opinion within it," Archbishop of York John Habgood told reporters Friday after ordaining the Rev. David Jenkins as bishop of Durham.

The appointment of Bishop Jenkins to the fourth most important bishopric in the church has created one of the fiercest Anglican controversies in decades.

The new bishop has said that some central elements of the Christian creed--such as the virgin birth and the resurrection of Jesus--are symbolic rather than literal truths.

He also said in an April television interview that while he believes that Jesus was both God and man, other Christians are not obliged to do so.

Midway through the two-hour service, the Rev. John Mowll of Congleton seized the lectern, edging aside a church official who was about to read the decree by Queen Elizabeth II appointing Bishop Jenkins to the post in northern England.

Two church wardens rushed forward, argued with Father Mowll and then escorted him out of the historic York Minster Cathedral.

Earlier, a sole protester in the audience of 1,500 people shouted that the service should be stopped, provoking cries of, "Shame" from the new bishop's supporters. The protester also was escorted out.
On Saturday, July 7, the General Synod of the Church of England, meeting at York, declined to take any action. In his Sunday morning sermon in the Minster, Archbishop of York John Habgood did not rebuke Mr. Jenkins. Later in the day, a strange cloud began hanging over York Minster Cathedral, and hung there for hours. In the early hours of Monday, July 9, 1984, God decided to make His own comment, as reported by BBC News:

A massive fire has devastated large parts of York Minster causing an estimated £1m damage.

Shortly after 0200 BST the alarm was raised and 150 fire-fighters from across north Yorkshire spent two hours bringing the blaze under control.

The fire was concentrated in the 13th Century South Transept and left its roof destroyed.

The cause of the fire is unclear, but early suggestions are that the medieval cathedral was struck by lightning.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

25 years ago: U.S. Supreme Court upholds Missouri law restricting abortion

On July 3, 1989, the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold a Missouri law that restricted a woman’s right to have an abortion. The court majority, in the case of Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, upheld a Missouri law prohibiting public employees from performing abortions unless the mother’s life was endangered; barring abortions in public buildings; and requiring medical tests on any fetus more than 20 weeks old in order to determine if it could live outside the womb.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing for the majority, said that any restriction on abortion should be judged by whether it "permissibly furthers the state’s interest in protecting potential human life." The reader will notice that Mr. Rehnquist actually weakens the pro-life case with his use of the term "potential human life" to describe a fetus rather than "human life," which is what a fetus actually is. "Justice" Harry Blackmun, author of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made up a woman’s "right" to an abortion, wrote in dissent, "I fear for the future...The signs are evident and very ominous, and a chill wind blows." The reader will notice that "Justice" Blackmun’s argument is emotional rather than legal.

Monday, June 23, 2014

St. Louis Roman Catholic Archbishop claims he didn't know that sexual abuse of minors was a crime

As reported by Lilly Fowler of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 10, 2014:

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson claimed to be uncertain that he knew sexual abuse of a child by a priest constituted a crime when he was auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, according to a deposition released Monday.

During the deposition taken last month, attorney Jeff Anderson asked Carlson whether he knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child.

“I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Carlson replied. “I understand today it’s a crime.”

Anderson went on to ask Carlson whether he knew in 1984, when he was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, that it was a crime for a priest to engage in sex with a child.

“I’m not sure if I did or didn’t,” Carlson said.

Yet according to documents released Monday by the law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates in St. Paul, Carlson showed clear knowledge that sexual abuse was a crime when discussing incidents with church officials during his time in Minnesota.

In a 1984 document, for example, Carlson wrote to the then archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John R. Roach, about one victim of sexual abuse and mentioned that the statute of limitations for filing a claim would not expire for more than two years. He also wrote that the parents of the victim were considering reporting the incident to the police.

In a statement, Gabe Jones, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, said “while not being able to recall his knowledge of the law exactly as it was many decades ago, the archbishop did make clear that he knows child sex abuse is a crime today.”

“The question does not address the archbishop’s moral stance on the sin of pedophilia, which has been that it is a most egregious offense,” Jones said.

Anderson took Carlson’s deposition as part of a sexual abuse lawsuit in Minnesota involving the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona, Minn.

The plaintiff in the case, only identified as “Doe 1,” claims to have been abused in the 1970s by the Rev. Thomas Adamson at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St. Paul Park, Minn.

Later in the deposition, when asked about an incident of alleged sexual abuse of a minor by another priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Rev. Jerome Kern, Anderson asks Carlson:

“But you knew a priest touching the genitals of a kid to be a crime, did you not?,” referring to what a 1987 church memo said about the alleged incident.

“Yes,” Carlson replied.

Carlson went on to admit that he never personally reported any incidents of sex abuse to the police, though he encouraged parents to at least once.

Carlson also said that even in 1996 he did not know that pedophilia was a disorder that couldn’t be cured.

“I did not know that, but as a pastor, I was becoming increasingly concerned,” Carlson said...

...But over and over, throughout the deposition, Carlson claimed to not remember answers to questions posed by Anderson — for a total of 193 times.

Anderson asked Carlson if there was any physical condition or illness that was impeding his memory.

“I can’t make either a psychological or a physical diagnosis, other than to say I have had seven cancer surgeries. Each time, I received some kind of chemical to put me out for that. If that’s impeded my memory or not, I have no idea,” Carlson answered. “My concern is that what I say to you would be accurate.”

Anderson has also taken Carlson’s deposition for a priest sexual abuse case scheduled for trial July 7 in St. Louis. That deposition is under seal.

According to Anderson, Carlson was involved in handling sexual abuse cases in Minnesota for 15 years.
The Archdiocese, however, claims that Archbishop Carlson's statements have been taken out of contest, as reported by Ms. Fowler, June 11, 2014:

Statements by St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson about not knowing whether sexual abuse of children by priests was a crime that have ignited outrage were taken out of context, a spokesman for the archdiocese said Wednesday.

The spokesman, Gabe Jones, said the comments Carlson made in a deposition last month had been misconstrued in news reports to suggest the archbishop didn’t know it was a criminal offense for an adult to molest a child.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Jones said.

“When the archbishop said ‘I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,’ ” Jones said, “he was simply referring to the fact that he did not know the year that clergy became mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse.”

The deposition is part of a sexual abuse lawsuit in Minnesota involving the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona, Minn. Carlson was responding to questions from plaintiff attorney Jeff Anderson...

...Mandatory reporting is an issue that concerns Carlson. He has admitted that he never personally reported any incidents of sexual abuse to the police, though he says he encouraged parents to at least once.

Beginning in 1988, according to Minnesota law, clergy were required to report any suspicions of sexual abuse to the authorities.

Still, Anderson said in an interview Wednesday, Carlson has always had an obligation to report what he knew.

“To say it’s not a crime doesn’t relieve you of an obligation to protect children,” Anderson said. “He made a conscious choice to do the wrong thing.”

Church documents show Carlson discovered in 1980 that Adamson, the priest at the center of the Minnesota lawsuit, had a history of sexual abuse.

Both as a teacher and principal at parochial schools, and as a priest in churches across southern Minnesota, Adamson claimed victims, according to the civil lawsuit.

Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Adamson admitted to officials at the Winona diocese that he had sexually abused children, according to the civil lawsuit.

Once he asked two boys to disrobe; another time he tried to grab a boy’s genitals at the local YMCA; still another time he touched a boy’s genitals while in a sauna or whirlpool, the civil lawsuit says.

Adamson, in turn, was repeatedly transferred and sent to treatment, the suit says. Then, in 1976, he began working at St. Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul Park, Minn., and allegedly abused the plaintiff in the case, known only as “Doe 1,” an altar boy.

In 1984 Carlson, who had heard about Adamson abusing a different child, recommended the priest be sent for treatment.

“It is obvious to me in dealing with Father Adamson at this time that he has little remorse other than the fact that we found something else out and completely minimizes the entire situation,” Carlson wrote in a church memo.

Carlson’s statements in the deposition, made public by Anderson on Monday, prompted a small protest Wednesday in front of the green-domed Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Many of the protesters said they still believed in the faith of the Roman Catholic Church, though not in the leadership.

At one point, Wendy Casagrande, 76, stepped in front of the crowd and in a booming voice that belied her small, frail frame, yelled “Liar, liar pants on fire!”

"Liar, liar, pants on fire!" said Wendy Casagrande, of Foley, as she addressed the crowd during a vigil on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, outside the Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End condemning the recent statements and actions of Archbishop Robert Carlson on clergy sex abuse cases. "The Bible tells us not to lie," Casagrande continued. She stood next to David Clohessy, National Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Those gathered at the Cathedral Basilica, however, did not talk about Carlson’s relationship to Adamson specifically.

They spoke in more general terms about their continued frustration at the lack of transparency in the church and the fact that it takes depositions such as the one Carlson is now defending — and documents released as part of lawsuits such as the one involving Adamson — to gather information about their institution and the child sexual abuse scandal...
Archbishop Carlson has offered a Maxwell Smart defense ("Would you believe...?"). My response is the same as that of those to whom Maxwell Smart would offer his comments: "I find that very hard to believe." I haven't seen such failure of memory on the witness stand since the mid-1970s prosecutions of various figures associated with the 1972 break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. and the subsequent cover-up. One Watergate defendant--Dwight Chapin, I think--was convicted and sentenced to prison because his inability under oath to remember things was not regarded as credible. I suspect that Archbishop Carlson has been advised by his attorney to say "I don't remember" rather than "I don't want to risk getting into trouble by saying anything that may contradict previous statements of mine that are already on record."

Archbishop Carlson made his statements in a videotaped deposition in the Circuit Court, City of St. Louis, Twenty-Second Judicial Court, State of Missouri, on May 23, 2014. The reader may go here to read the transcript of Archbishop Carlson to see if his statements (see pages 109-110) have been taken out of context. Go here to see then-auxiliary Bishop Carlson's 1984 memo to St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Roach.

40 years ago: Chuck Colson is sentenced to prison

In Washington D.C. on June 21, 1974, U.S. District Court Judge Gerhard Gesell sentenced former White House counsel Chuck Colson to 1-3 years in prison and fined him $5,000 for attempting to obstruct justice and influence the trial of former Defense Department employee Daniel Ellsberg. Mr. Colson had agreed to cooperate with Leon Jaworski, the Special Prosecutor investigating the 1972 break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. and the subsequent cover-up. In return, Mr. Jaworski had agreed to drop criminal charges of conspiracy against Mr. Colson for alleged involvement in the Watergate cover-up and participation in the 1971 break-in at the office of Mr. Ellsberg's psychiatrist.

At the sentencing, Mr. Colson expressed regret and contrition for his offense, and also stated that President Richard Nixon had urged him "on numerous occasions" to commit the acts for which he was being jailed. However, Mr. Colson said he was confident that Mr. Nixon had acted in what he believed to be the national interest, and confessed that he had failed the President because "I never really questioned whether what he wanted done was right or wrong." The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee announced that Mr. Colson's statements made it imperative that he be called as a witness in the inquiry into the possible impeachment of President Nixon.

Mr. Colson came to faith in Jesus Christ before he'd ever been charged with any crimes, and not, as many may believe, in prison.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

40 years ago: U.S. President Richard Nixon declares hope for lasting peace in the Middle East

On June 12, 1974, U.S. President Richard Nixon, who was being threatened by impeachment over his involvement in the scandal surrounding the 1972 break-in at the headquarters of the Democratice National Committee at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. and the subsequent cover-up, arrived in Egypt to begin a visit to the Middle East. The following day, Mr. Nixon and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, meeting in Cairo, agreed to hold a series of bilateral meetings involving the Arab countries, U.S.S.R., and U.S.A. before the next round of Middle East peace talks in Geneva. On June 14, the two presidents concluded three days of talks in Cairo. The two countries announced, as part of a sweeping declaration of friendship and cooperation, that the U.S. had agreed to provide Egypt with nuclear technology to be used for peaceful purposes. Mr. Nixon then stopped in Saudi Arabia, where King Faisal warned him that there could not be real peace in the Middle East until all occupied Arab territories had been liberated and the people of Palestine regained their rights and were free to return to their homes.

On June 16, Mr. Nixon and Syrian President Hafez al-Assad announced in Damascus that their countries were resuming diplomatic relations, which had been severed after the Six-Day War in 1967. Both men described the decision as the first step toward lasting peace in the Middle East. Mr. Nixon then went to Israel, where, in an extensive communique, he assured Israel of long-term military and economic assistance from the United States, and indicated that the U.S. would offer Israel some technological aid and a supply of nuclear fuel. In Israel, Mr. Nixon encountered his first protesters, who made reference to the American President's Watergate difficulties.

On June 18, Mr. Nixon concluded his tour in Jordan, where the United States and Jordan agreed to form a joint Jordanian-American commission to review cooperation between the countries on a regular basis.

On June 19, Mr. Nixon, who had been enthusiastically greeted by people and leaders in Arab countries, returned to Washington and said "a profound and lasting change has taken place in that part of the world...where there was no hope for peace there is now hope." As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

13-year-old Indian boy with a tail is worshipped as a god

For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. Psalms 96:5

In the absence of worship of the true God, the natural alternative is not atheism, but idolatry. Submitted for your approval, the following video:


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

60 years ago: U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower adds "under God" to Pledge of Allegiance

On June 14, 1954, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the order inserting the words "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge, written by socialist minister Francis Bellamy in 1892, read:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
It was altered in 1923 to read:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The 1954 version, which is the one used today, reads:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
A lawyer named Rex Curry has a site that's quite critical of the Pledge (the site used to be much more comprehensive, but what remains is better than nothing). One of the criticisms offered by Mr. Curry was that, thanks to the Pledge, the flag no longer belonged to the people, but the people now belonged to the flag. As for "one nation, indivisible," so much for the founding principle that the states were sovereign states with the right to leave the Union if they so desired.

I urge the reader to click the links on Mr. Curry's site to see the salute that originally accompanied the recitation of the pledge--the revelation may be shocking. For more evidence of what the original salute was, you can see an example of it in this excerpt from the trailer for the movie Joe Smith, American (1942), starring Robert Young:




Thursday, May 1, 2014

30 years ago: Carl McIntire critiques Evangelicals for Social Action's Chicago Declaration

Carl McIntire (1906-2002) was a leading fundamentalist figure of the 20th century, serving as President of the International Council of Christian Churches from its founding in 1948 until his death at the age of 95. He was also the Editor-in-Chief of the weekly newspaper Christian Beacon. The following item is from Volume XLIX, Number 8, March 29, 1984, pp. 1, 3-4 of that paper (bold inserted by blogger). The Vancouver meeting to which Dr. McIntire refers is the assembly of the World Council of Churches that took place in Vancouver, British Columbia in the last week of July 1983. Dr. McIntire led an ICCC protest of the WCC assembly.

Liberation Theology With Evangelical Coating

By Carl McIntire

The prominence now being given to the Evangelicals for Social Action, led by Ronald J. Sider, reveals the promotion of their views by the religious press. The reason is that the evangelicals are calling for all to support the World Council of Churches and to remain in it. At the Vancouver meeting of the World Council of Churches, Ronald Sider was on the program.

Reproduced is the declaration adopted in a meeting in Chicago called the Thanksgiving Workshop on Evangelical and Social Concern, held in Chicago the Thanksgiving weekend of 1973. In a report by Sider, he makes his acknowledgments, also reproduced.

Sider called it a historic moment for Biblical and social concern. The strategy used is to make positive statements which an evangelical would accept and then twist their meaning around to support the Marxist attack upon freedom, free enterprise and American capitalism. The thrust is against the social structure which produces injustice. It is an evangelical coating of Liberation Theology. All of the usual themes are included, unjust social structures, racism, peace, feminism. This analysis takes the document section by section.

The entire document is here analyzed with direct quotes.

1. As evangelical Christians committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and the full authority of the Word of God, we affirm that God lays total claim upon the lives of his people. We cannot, therefore, separate our lives in Christ from the situation in which God has placed us in the United States and the world.

This statement is typical of evangelicals, and the words "committed" to Christ and "full authority" is their language. Wherever the words, "full authority," are used, they are a substitute for "infallibility" and "inerrancy of the Scriptures."

This opening sentence standing alone, does express the responsibility of Christians for the welfare and the moral standards needed to maintain a decent country, free and with "in God We Trust" on its currency.

2. We confess that we have not acknowledged the complete claims of God on our lives.

Every Christian will recognize his failure and can accept such a statement as it stands, yet every Christian does desire to make Jesus Christ Lord of all things. This is the approach made to catch the eye and lead the evangelical along.

3. We acknowledge that God requires love. But we have not demonstrated the love of God to those suffering social abuses.

Yes, God does require love of one's neighbor. It is required by the Law, but the statement now moves into "those suffering social abuses." Now we move into the thrust that leads us to a Marxist solution to these social abuses, not a Christian.

4. We acknowledge that God requires justice. But we have not proclaimed or demonstrated his justice to an unjust American society. Although the Lord calls us to defend the social and economic rights of the poor and the oppressed, we have mostly remained silent. We deplore the historic involvement of the church in America with racism and the conspicuous responsibility of the evangelical community for perpetuating the personal attitudes and institutional structures that have divided the body of Christ along color lines. Further, we have failed to condemn the exploitation of racism at home and abroad by our economic system.

This lengthy paragraph leads the evangelicals into the heart of the battle raging over our free enterprise and capitalist system. God requires justice, and it is under the terms, "peace and justice," that the Marxists are carrying on their revolution over the world. America, they say, had an unjust social system, and it has an economic system of exploitation. The name of the Lord is used "to defend the social and economic rigts of the poor," which requires, first, in the name of justice, the removal and destruction of this "unjust American society." The burden of this section is that poverty and racism are tied together and that "institutional structures" and the present economic system are primarily responsible for it. This is Liberation Theology, deceiving evangelicals to support revolution. This declaration is repeating pronouncements of the World Council of Churches, which reflects the influence of the presence of the Soviet clergy in its midst.

5. We affirm that God abounds in mercy and that he forgives all who repent and turn from their sins. So we call our fellow evangelical Christians to demonstrate repentance in a Christian discipleship that confronts the social and political injustice of our nation.

God does abound in mercy; He does forgive sin; and again the evangelicals affirm this sentence. But "repentance" is in confronting the social structure of injustice. To repent means to join the forces of revolution that would produce a new society of so-called economic justice and equality, which is nothing more than a sanctified Cuba. These evangelicals are summoned "to confront the social and political injustice of our nation."

6. We must attack the materialism of our culture and the maldistribution of the nation's wealth and services. We recognize that as a nation we play a crucial role in the imbalance and injustice of international trade and development. Before God and a billion hungry neighbors, we must rethink our values regarding our present standard of living and promote more just acquisition and distribution of the world's resources.

Yes indeed, Christians must confront the materialism of our culture. But to deal with the maldistribution of the wealth of the nation moves into the realm of government regulation and control, which the Soviets have resolved with their Marxist structure. This removal of what is called the "imbalance and injustice of international trade" is the endorsement of the new economic order which Moscow first brought to the United Nations, which then Secretary Kissinger endorsed, and which the Reagan administration has rejected. The remainder of this statement promotes a world social order with some power at the top outlining the 5-or-10-year plan.

7. We acknowledge our Christian responsibilities of citizenship. Therefore, we must challenge the misplaced trust of the nation in economic and military might--a proud trust that promotes a national pathology of war and violence which victimizes our neighbors at home and abroad. We must resist the temptation to make the nation and its institutions objects of near-religious loyalty.

Christians do have a responsibility for citizenship, but this responsibility is the exact opposite of what these evangelicals are promoting. Scripture makes it clear that there has to be peace by strength and there has to be economic and military strength to deter the action of the [Soviet] Union and their allies against the United States. The last sentence of this quote reflects the attack of the secular press on what is called civil religion.

8. We acknowledge that we have encouraged men to prideful domination and women to irresponsible passivity. So we call both men and women to mutual submission and active discipleship.

This section deals with feminism, no longer is man to be the head. Such statements as these reveal that this New Evangelical pronouncement has separated its actual policy and position from the clear commands of the Word of God. This destroys the family relation God has ordained and opens the door to divorce and unfaithfulness.

9. We proclaim no new gospel, but the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, frees people from sin so that they might praise God through works of righteousness.

By this declaration, we endorse no political ideology or party, but call our nation's leaders and people to that righteousness which exalts a nation.


So they proclaim no new Gospel. This is a part of their deception in the same vein in which they opened the declaration. It is another Gospel. It has been called the social gospel, but they call their fraud "the gospel," and they speak of "the power of the Holy Spirit." Then they come around to what is called "works of righteousness." The candy thy offer has an evangelical coating, but the heart is arsenic to destroy the U.S.

10. We make this declaration in the biblical hope that Christ is coming to consummate the Kingdom and we accept his claim on our total discipleship till he comes.

So it ends as it started, Christians are to abandon their responsibility as outlined in the Ten Commandments and accept the Marxist philosophy in relation to human society and the state control in the lives and property of its citizens.

What these evangelicals have done is to abandon the Ten Commandments. The summary and exposition of these and the Larger Catechism defends individualism under God and makes man responsible for his neighbor's welfare and wealth. Having departed from the Word of God, these evangelicals in their blindness have joined the revolutionary forces whose basic philosophy is rooted in the rejection of God and His will for His creatures. Righteousness does exalt a nation but not the phony righteousness of Marxism that would first destroy capitalism with its free and private enterprise and then replace it with the all-powerful state exemplified in the Soviet Union. There the church leaders in the Russian Baptist Church and Russian Orthodox churches claim that their new state order is fulfilling the righteousness and kingdom of God.

The Chicago Declaration is dangerous, diabolical, and will enslave the very evangelicals they are promoting. Christianity does involve the total life of the believer, but his life must be dedicated not to destroying the freedom God gives, but in defending it. When President Reagan in Orlando in 1983, appearing before the National Association of Evangelicals, spoke of the Soviet Union as an "evil empire" and the "focus of evil," it was Ron Sider, a member of the NAE, who led the assembled evangelicals not to endorse or even commend the President's statement concerning the destructive nature of Communism.

The Chicago Declaration reveals how successful the ecumenists have now become in getting these evangelicals who basically question the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible to join their caravan for a world church with the evangelicals constituting a wing in world religion...
Dr. McIntire astutely observes that the Chicago Declaration uses statements that any evangelical would agree with, and then twists the meaning to support their social gospel agenda--and any resemblance to the emerging church of the 21st century, is, of course, purely coincidental. I had a similat reaction to the Chicago Declaration as Dr. McIntire; there are statements in it I agree with, but then it goes off in the direction of the social gospel, which is, as Dr. McIntire states, a false gospel. See also my post, "Today's Evangelicals, Tomorrow's Liberals"--A Warning from 1983.

A few years after Dr. McIntire published his article, Ron Sider was boasting about his participation in the "Witness for Peace" program in Nicaragua, in which the participants acted as human shields to impede the efforts of the Contras who were fighting against Nicaragua's Sandanista regime. The actions of the "Witness for Peace" participants had the effect of aiding the Sandanista regime, a regime that committed genocide against the Miskito Indians and was persecuting Christians. For information on the Sandanistas' treatment of Christians, I recommend the book Breaking Faith: The Sandanista Revolution and its Impact on Freedom and Christian Faith in Nicaragua by former Sandanista Humberto Belli, published in 1985. Mr. Sider's participation in "Witness for Peace" gives the lie to his claim as a member of ESA to "endorse no political ideology or party." "Witness for Peace" was a project that resulted in de facto support for Marxism and the Sandanista regime. When Mr. Sider claims to be a Christian while supporting a regime that persecutes Christians, I think I'm entitled to ask whose side he's on.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

700 years ago: The execution of Jacques de Molay

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
II Corinthians 6:14-17

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11

On March 18, 1314, Jacques de Molay, believed to be 70 years of age, was burned at the stake upon a scaffold on an island in the River Seine in Paris, along with Preceptor of Normandy Geoffroi de Charney. Mr. De Molay was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, leading the most powerful of Roman Catholic military orders from 1292-1307, when the order was dissolved by order of Pope Clement V, who was under the threat of military action by King Philip IV. Mr. De Molay and other leading Knights Templar were arrested and accused of various crimes, to which they confessed after torture. Messrs. De Molay and De Charney were executed after retracting their confessions. Mr. De Molay's last words included a declaration that those who had condemned them to death would soon be hit by calamity; King Philip IV and Pope Clement V were both dead before the end of the year.

The Freemasonic youth organization DeMolay International, also known as the Order of DeMolay, founded in Kansas City, Missouri in 1919 by Frank S. Land, was named in honour of Jacques de Molay. According to its website:

What is DeMolay International?

DeMolay is an organization dedicated to preparing young men to lead successful, happy, and productive lives. Basing its approach on timeless principles and practical, hands-on experience, DeMolay opens doors for young men aged 12 to 21 by developing the civic awareness, personal responsibility and leadership skills so vitally needed in society today. DeMolay combines this serious mission with a fun approach that builds important bonds of friendship among members in more than 1,000 chapters worldwide.
The female equivalents of DeMolay International are Job's Daughters International, founded in Omaha in 1920 by Ethel T. Wead Mick; and International Order of the Rainbow for Girls (IORG), founded in McAlester, Oklahoma in 1922 as a result of a speech there by Rev. Mark Sexson, a Freemason.

The DeMolay Hall of Fame includes politicians Bill Clinton, Mark Hatfield, Mel Carnahan, Carl Albert, Henry Jackson, and Jim Wright; astronauts Frank Borman, Vance Brand, and Edgar Mitchell; sports figures Pete Rose, Fran Tarkenton, Harmon Killebrew, and Tom Osborne; and media and entertainment figures Walt Disney, John Wayne, and Paul Harvey. Other famous DeMolay alumni include astronaut Neil Armstrong; basketball player and politician Bill Bradley; baseball player and manager Alvin Dark; football player Terry Bradshaw; and even rock music legend Vince Furnier, better known as Alice Cooper.

One might wonder what DeMolay's idea of "personal responsibility" is, given the presence of Bill Clinton and Pete Rose in their Hall of Fame (Mr. Rose, of course, is ineligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame because he doesn't meet its entry standards of integrity and character--however low those standards may be in their application in the case of some who have been inducted in years past). It's worth noting that both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Rose were honoured by DeMolay before their biggest scandals came to light. One might think that, in light of what's happened since these two were inducted, that DeMolay might consider rescinding their Hall of Fame membership, or at least not boasting about it, but there they are, publicly mentioned among the honourees.

Some of the men mentioned above profess to be Christians, and maybe some of them are (although I recognize a couple of Mormons in that list), but in view of DeMolay's relationship with Freemasonry--which worships a false god and proclaims a false gospel of salvation by works--real Christians should disassociate themselves from the organization in obedience to II Corinthians 6:14-17.

The fact that DeMolay International is a Freemasonic organization, and that the Bible forbids being unequally yoked with unbelievers, hasn't prevented evangelist Billy Graham from praising the order:

...there are thoughtful, concerned young people--who seek to correct the errors in moral navigation that have been made by their elders, intelligently and responsibly. There are the young people upon which the hope of America's future rests and DeMolays are part of this group...May God richly bless all DeMolays as they continue their good work. Forrest D. Haggard, The Clergy and the Craft, 1970, p. 127.

When I was in high school and was a young and ignorant Christian, I was invited by a professing Christian friend to join DeMolay. I didn't pursue the opportunity--not because I had keen Christian discernment (although I thought DeMolay was a strange name for a society), but more because of apathy and because I'm not much of a joiner (it might also have been an unconscious holdover from my days in Cub Scouts, when I quit after two years because we never did anything interesting). Looking back, I think it was a case of God using my indifference to joining DeMolay to protect me from the deception of that society and its parent organization.

There are a number of excellent critiques of Freemasonry from a Christian perspective. A couple that this blogger has found useful are The Facts on the Masonic Lodge (1989) and The Secret Teachings of the Masonic Lodge: A Christian Perspective (1990) by John Ankerberg & John Weldon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Life imitates art as 2014's Noah sounds like a real-life version of 1994 spoof ...And God Spoke

In the same vein in which the "mockumentary" movie This is Spinal Tap (1984) made fun of rock music documentary films, ...And God Spoke, which opened at the Festival of Festivals in Toronto in 1993 and went into general release in 1994, pokes fun at fictitious movie producers who who decided to make a movie based on the Bible. The producers know next to nothing about the Bible and are too lazy to read it (the director asks a Catholic worker on the set how many disciples Jesus had), but they think they'll be able to get by. The production falls behind schedule after the first day, and before long, saving money takes precedence over faithfulness to the source material.

Gaffes abound, forcing the production further behind schedule, e.g., the actress who plays Eve has a prominent tattoo, and the replica of the ark is built inside a factory and then proves to be too big to get through the factory door and onto the outdoor set. In order to raise more money for the production, the producers decide that some product placement is necessary, so Moses (played by Soupy Sales) is shown coming down a small hill (they couldn't afford a mountan) carrying the tablets of the Ten Commandments in one hand and a six-pack of Coca-Cola cans in the other--not exactly accurate period detail. The movie finally gets finished and released, and is a total disaster, but eventually becomes a cult hit through midnight screenings (a la The Rocky Horror Picture Show), with fans showing up at the theatres in costumes resembling those of the movie's characters.

Flash forward 20 years, and we have Noah (2014). I have no intention of seeing it, but numerous Christian commentators and bloggers have seen it, and there are too many well-informed critiques available from them to mention here. It seems as though producer/director/writer Darren Aronofsky has spent about as much time in the Bible as his fictional counterparts in ...And God Spoke. Even secular reviewers have noticed that Noah isn't exactly faithful to the source material.

Katherine Monk of Canada's Postmedia News states, in her March 28, 2014 review:

...Given all we've heard about the cost of production and big-budget effects, Noah had to deliver two spectacles in grand fashion.

We needed to see an ancient flood that made our feet feel wet, and we needed to see realistic animals loaded onto a gigantic ark that looked plausible from a mariner's perspective.

Aronofsky only half-delivers the goods because it seems a lot of money went toward creating Watchers - characters made of stone and stardust that protect Noah from the marauding hordes.

Here Aronofsky brings a little Judaic Shul to the mix by interpreting the Nephilim, or angels, in the form of Golem - mud monsters. These cartoonish creatures are by far the most insane part of this crazy ride - and not just because the central rock man is voiced by Nick Nolte - but they fit the Dungeons and Dragons landscape, which in turn peels the Noah story away from sacred scripture and reinvents it as a grim fairy tale.

If only he'd been able to pull it all together as something other than an awkward, rectangular box, Noah might have had some real style and gone somewhere interesting...
As an amusing sidelight, Ms. Monk tweets that she got a little taste of the real thing as she left the theatre:

God must love Noah.... just got out of Aronofsky screening and walked into a downpour, then a hail storm.

And according to Adam Nayman in the Toronto newspaper The Globe and Mail, March 28, 2014:

...In Noah, the director takes perhaps the most spectacular chapter of the Greatest Story Ever Told and renders it utterly underwhelming. The drab, under-lit look of Noah, which was shot by Aronofsky’s talented long-time cinematographer Matthew Libatique, represents an attempt to ground myth in reality – to quite literally ground it in acres and acres of mud...

...The gravitas of Noah’s knowledge that the majority of life on Earth is about to be wiped out clashes with the oversized absurdity of much of what’s going on around him, including the clan’s collaboration with a group of giant rock monsters (actually fallen angels), who, whatever their actual scriptural origins, look and sound like creatures from other high-end blockbusters – gigantic refugees from The Lord of the Rings.

These and other gimmicky touches suggest that Aronofsky is trying to justify his project’s massive cost, and yet it’s obvious that what he’s really after is a sense of intimacy. The film’s second half, set inside the Ark as the storm rages outside, is basically a sea-bound psychodrama that finds Noah wrestling with a form of survivor’s guilt and channelling it against the other passengers...

...Aronofsky and his co-writer Ari Handel struggle to create authentic drama and so fall back on action-movie clichés. The point at which Noah stops dead so that two burly movie stars can roll around on the ground pummelling one another is when some viewers may start to suspect that the director is piloting his own gigantic vessel on cruise control.

The film is not without its moments: One shot of a rocky outcropping teeming with people trying to escape the rising tide is borderline-Boschian, and an intelligently designed recap of the Creation myth provocatively overlays Old Testament language on images of evolution. But most of what’s on offer here feels depressingly familiar, especially Crowe’s performance, which doesn’t deviate from the actor’s track record of hard, manful glowering; frankly, he was much better playing a man caught between his loved ones and a larger sense of duty in The Insider (which also featured some more authentically visionary hallucinations to boot).

As for the other actors, they’re badly wasted, especially Connelly, whose screen time mostly consists of grinding herbs to put the Ark’s non-human passengers to sleep (which also cuts down on the special-effects budget, since that means we never really have to see the critters in action)...

...Noah never quite achieves the grandeur it’s reaching for, maybe because in the end the director isn’t really stretching all that far. He has upped the weight, but he hasn’t raised the bar.
There are of course, two major differences between Noah and the fictitious epic in ...And God Spoke: Noah had a much bigger budget, and is a big box office hit. I have no intention of seeing Noah, so I'll have to go by the reviews that give the impression that it's a miserable piece of work. I'm one of the few people who's seen ...And God Spoke, and it was a lot of fun--especially for those who know the Bible--and probably at least as Biblically accurate as Noah.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

20 years ago: Evangelicals and Catholics Together

On March 29, 1994, Evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders signed the joint declaration Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the 3rd Millennium. Dave Hunt provided an excellent commentary on the event in The Berean Call's May 1994 newsletter, The Gospel Betrayed.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Charismatic pastor drops dead immediately after confessing marital infidelity

A bishop then must be blameless... I Timothy 3:1a

Confession may be good for the soul, but may also be fatal to the body, at least in the case of the late Bishop Bobby Davis. As reported by Daniel Tepfer of the Connecticut Post, Bridgeport, March 13, 2014:

BRIDGEPORT -- A congregation loudly confronted its longtime pastor about his alleged infidelity -- and in the midst of their yelling, the pastor dropped dead.

That's what happened Sunday at the Miracle Faith World Outreach Church, according to members of the congregation and police sources.

Bishop Bobby Davis, pastor of the Harriet Street church since its founding in 1967, was pronounced dead at Bridgeport Hospital.

"After the service on Sunday the bishop's family asked us to remain in the church and the bishop confessed to us something that happened long ago," said Judy Stovall, an elder at the church. "He wanted to come clean with all of us. He wanted to ask our forgiveness."

Members of the congregation were very vocal with Davis just before he passed out, but they were shouting support for him, Stovall said.

"We were shouting, `We forgive you, we love you,' but the stress of all of it -- he had a heart attack," Stovall said. "I held his head as he lay on the floor," she said, her voice cracking with emotion. "Our congregation is hurting now."

The cause of death is pending further review, according to the Office of the State Medical Examiner.

Police spokesman William Kaempffer would only confirm that a detective has been assigned to the case. "The circumstances are under investigation," he said.

Stovall conceded that the shouts from the congregants did get loud. A woman, who wouldn't give her name, said she had been outside the church at the time and heard yelling coming from inside, but didn't know what was being said.

Davis founded the church with his wife, Christine. The couple, of Monroe, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last June.

According to a church biography, the couple initially held prayer meetings in the home of Christine Davis' mother in Stamford. In 1987 they moved to the Harriet Street building and in 1998 they opened a new church facility at 754 Main St. in Monroe.

That building is no longer in use for church services, parishioners said.

Bishop Davis graduated from the Vision Christian College of Ramona, Calif., with a doctorate degree in ministry and a master's degree in theological studies. He was is a certified marriage and family therapist.
Bishop Davis's public confession may not have been as voluntary as it seemed, as reported by Leonardo Blair of the Christian Post, March 13, 2014:

...One source, who asked not to be identified during an interview with The Christian Post on Thursday, said the confession wasn't that clean-cut based on what they were told, and feels the situation could have been handled better.

"He (Bishop Davis) had confessed it (infidelity) personally to his wife prior to the service, and she called a meeting after church with just the members and the members stayed. He wasn't there at the time, he was somewhere else apparently, neither of them were in the service that morning. They had one of their pastors do the service," explained the source.

"From what I was told, she (pastor's wife) told the congregation what he had done. And so, when he comes through the door he had no idea what he was walking into. So it wasn't even. 'We're gonna make an announcement today' ... in a unified way as a couple," the source continued.

"I'm told that when he walked through the door she basically told him, 'Tell them what you just told me,' which is what induced the heart attack, because it's not like he was walking into it knowing," the source explained.

"She said it and he said, 'Yes, that's right.' She asked him to say who exactly it was. And he said, 'Well, it doesn't matter [because] that person has passed. God forgive, let's get past it.' Apparently it was his family members who reacted out in anger, from what I understand. It was not the congregation," the source noted.

"It got physical. One of the sons attacked him. I was told one of the daughters poured water on him. It was like something out of, not even like the Old Testament, but a bad reality TV show," said the source. "My heart is so devastated because it could have been handled in a private manner."

The source, whom Bishop Davis once pastored, said his confession must have been difficult for the family to handle because he was "a very black and white preacher."

"There was this expectation for us growing up as kids. If we fell short we should be able to know that, as our church family, we can confess it in public and kind of move on from there," noted the source.

CP reached out to the Bridgeport Police for an official account of what happened on Sunday and spokesman William Kaempffer said they responded to a medical call at the church on Sunday.

"A detective was assigned to the case. Over the last two days dozens upon dozens of people have been interviewed. Detectives were able to review video from inside the church that was taken by a member of the church. And based on what we observed, there is no criminal aspect to it. This was a medical call and the case is closed," he said.

When asked about the cause of death, Kaempffer responded: "You would have to call the medical examiner for that. That is what it appears to be, but we are not doctors."

Bishop Davis and his wife told the New York Times in 1999 that it was a miracle that inspired the start of their church in 1967 after Mrs. Davis' mother was cured of cancer following prayer meetings at her home.
Bishop Davis's alma mater, Vision Christian College, is affiliated with Vision International College, founded in Tasmania in 1974 by Ken Chant, brother of well-known Australian charismatic leader Barry Chant. The college operates Internet Bible College.

The perceptive reader will note that Miracle Faith World Outreach Church has at least one female elder, an unscriptural practice common among charismatic churches. However, this is the first time I've ever seen a pastor's wife referred to as a church's "First Lady." One might also wonder why a church that goes by the name of Miracle Faith World Outreach Church wasn't able to summon a miracle and raise Bishop Davis back to life.

March 29, 2014 update: It seems that I'm not as up to date as I should be. The Praise Centre, a Pentecostal church in Maple, Ontario (Greater Toronto Area) has Michelle E. Meredith, the pastor's wife, listed as "First Lady"--a position not found anywhere in the Bible. I don't know if this is now a common practice in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, or just among churches of that ilk that are led by people of a certain race.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Scientists discover brain activity related to out-of-body experiences

It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
II Corinthians 12:1-4

It seems as though scientists have discovered that some people have voluntary out-of-body experiences, and that he experiences are related to brain activity. As reported by Lucy Scholey of Metro News, March 10, 2014:

An out-of-body experience might sound like something from a paranormal movie or a religious cult, but a pair of researchers from the University of Ottawa have the science to back the curious case.

Claude Messier and Andra Smith conducted a study on a woman who can voluntarily have an out-of-body experience. It had become common practice for the 24-year-old, who said she started doing it when she was a child to help her fall asleep.

Messier and Smith conducted functional MRI scans of the woman while in this state and found that there’s brain activity linked to the feeling of being lifted out of one’s body or seeing one’s body while outside of it. They had her imagine she was doing jumping jacks or roll over while in this out-of-body state.

Normally, when one imagines doing jumping jacks, both sides of the brain are active. But in this woman’s out-of-body state, the scanned images showed activity predominately on the left side of the brain.

“That was a cue to us that we were just doing something different than just regular imagery,” said Messier.

“It was a bit of a surprise and we certainly didn’t expect anything special,” he said, adding that they tested her twice. “We were a bit unsure, skeptical, that this was actually happening.”

This woman was an interesting case, said Messier, because most people have out-of-body experiences following a traumatic event or drug use. While typically frightening – especially for those experiencing them for the first time – this woman was able to do it on her own terms.

Since this study was published, Messier said he’s heard from other people who say they can voluntarily have out-of-body experiences. He’s also seen blog articles that link this study to religion or paranormal activity, but he said those are misleading.

“There’s science that backs the idea that the brain generates our body image and that changes in the brain, very often pathological, can induce the out-of-body experience,” he said.
Click on the link to see the full text of the original article Voluntary out-of-body experience: an fMRI study from Human Neuroscience, February 10, 2014.

In the case of the experience reported by the apostle Paul in II Corinthians 12, it should be kept in mind that he didn't know if he was in or out of his body when he had the experience. More important, Paul didn't initiate the experience--it was a revelation given to him by God--and nowhere are Christians encouraged to seek such experiences. To deliberately attempt to have out-of-body experiences may make a person vulnerable to spiritual deception.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Antichrist Ambrose University College continues on its downward, leftward, and Romeward course

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Matthew 7:17-19

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them
. Acts 20:29-30

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
II Corinthians 6:14-18

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
II John 9-11

It comes as no surprise to this blogger to find that, thanks to Brannon Howse's Worldview Weekend broadcast (with guest Mike Gendron) of March 3, 2014, Ambrose University College in Calgary, Alberta, the denominational school for both the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada and Church of the Nazarene Canada, is using its Global Impact Week of March 4-8, 2014 to engage in ecumenical activities with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary. I've been warning about Ambrose for five years (see links at the bottom of this post), and predicted that the college would go in an increasingly Romeward direction when Jesuit-educated Gordon T. Smith was named President in 2012. From Ambrose's home page item on Global Impact Week (See also the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary item):

March 4 – 8, 2014
“Catholics and Evangelicals in God’s Mission – Together”
Ambrose University College and the Calgary Catholic Diocese

Keynote Speakers:

Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP is Director of the Paulist Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in Washington, DC. He did his graduate studies in theology at the Washington (D.C.) Theological Union and the University of Geneva. Ordained a Paulist in 1975, he served in campus ministry at the Ohio State University (Columbus) and at McGill University (Montreal, QC.), prior to directing the Montreal-based Canadian Centre for Ecumenism for 14 years and working in all ten provinces of Canada. He spearheaded the founding of Unitas in Montreal, an ecumenical center for spirituality and Christian meditation co-sponsored by eight different denominations.

Rev. Dr. Gordon T. Smith is President and Professor of Systematic and Spiritual Theology at Ambrose University College and Seminary, in Calgary, Alberta. Previously he served as Vice President and Dean of Regent College, Vancouver; more recently, he has been the President of reSource Leadership International. He is an ordained minister with The Christian and Missionary Alliance, and served with the Alliance as an international worker in the Philippines. He has been the senior pastor of two congregations and is the author of a number of publications, including Called to Be Saints: An Invitation to Christian Maturity (IVP, 2013) and Courage and Calling: Maximizing your God-given Potential, rev. (IVP, 2011).

Why this topic?

“Catholics and Evangelicals in God’s Mission—Together” is an unprecedented opportunity to come together to talk about Christian unity and mission. Church unity is a global issue that matters: Jesus prayed in the closing hours of his life for the unity of his followers, and the church’s vocation is to be a sign in our world of God’s reconciling power. The truth is that Evangelicals and Catholics share much more in common than not. The events, talks, and opportunities of Global Impact Week 2014 invite us to rejoice in the gifts of God present in our Christian communities and affirm our shared mission.

Tuesday Chapel, March 4 – 11:15am

Dr. Gordon T. Smith: “ONE LORD, ONE FAITH—ONE MISSION, THE MISSION OF GOD”

With all the diversity between church traditions, it is vital that we affirm our common faith, in response to one Lord – Jesus, the Christ. From this affirmation two things follow: we resolve to learn from each other; we resolve to witness together, in word and deed, to the reign of Christ.


Chapel, March 6 – 11:15am

Fr. Tom Ryan: “THE SPIRITUAL GIFT EXCHANGE”

Some gifts from different traditions of Christian faith--Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Orthodox, Catholic –will be lifted up in the spirit of "receptive ecumenism" with an eye towards an exchange of Spirit-given gifts for the growth and development of disciples in each tradition.


Thursday Evening March 6, 7PM Public Lecture

Fr. Tom Ryan: “CATHOLICS AND EVANGELICALS: LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD, ASSESSING THE RELATIONSHIP”

An overview of each of our origins and theological tendencies: differences that can’t be ignored, commonalities we share, and creative challenges we offer one another for our mutual enrichment.


Friday Evening March 7, 7PM Public Lecture (Location: St. Anthony’s Church, 5340 4 St SW)

Dr. Gordon T. Smith: “VATICAN II – FIFTY YEARS LATER: AN EVANGELICAL RESPONSE”

Vatican II is one of the most significant church councils in the history of the church – significant for all Christians, not just Catholics; it opened up new learnings and an extraordinary opportunity for conversation between Christians of diverse traditions, including Evangelicals and Catholics. (Note: For students wishing to attend this lecture and “The 17th Avenue Post-Vatican II Friday Night Food-Fest,” bus leaves Ambrose at 6:15 pm. See “Student Events” section for more details.)


Saturday Morning, March 8, 10AM Public Forum at Ambrose

Dr. Gordon Smith & Fr. Tom Ryan: “ECUMENISM AND EVANGELIZATION: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES”

This session will be an informal discussion of obstacles, opportunities, and unique challenges for Catholics and Evangelicals where they are called into mission together. For example: What can we learn from each other about Christian mission? What mistakes have we made and what have we learned from them? Why do many evangelicals continue to proselytize Catholics, especially in developing countries? Is the reverse a problem too? Who has a vision for what practical expressions and initiative for shared mission looks like? What is the vision? (Coffee and refreshments will be served at 9:30 am.)


Tuesday, March 4 – 6:30 pm

The Serving Together Event

Ambrose and Catholic university students will be serving together at The Centre of Hope in Calgary’s East Village (420 9 Ave SE). The Centre of Hope provides life-changing social services and programmes every day, providing practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life, and providing shelter for homeless people and rehabilitation for people who have lost control of their lives to an addiction. Ambrose students: Please meet in the Sylvester Atrium at 6:30 pm. Contact: Tasha Klassen, tashaklassen@yahoo.ca


Thursday, March 6 – 2:30 – 4pm

Open Class: “HEALING OURSELVES, HEALING OUR WORLD”

Open to all students regardless of program, Fr. Tom Ryan will reflect on his Reconciliation and Unity study tour to Northern Ireland; Coventry England; Geneva, Switzerland; and Taize, France—all areas of our world where people are working for healing and reconciliation. Come and get a big-picture view of inspirational things happening in our world today that could fuel your own energy and vision. Location: Classroom A2210


Friday, March 7 – 6:15 pm

The 17th Avenue Post-Vatican II Friday Night Food-Fest”

Board the bus to go hear Dr. Smith’s talk “An Evangelical Response to Vatican II” at St. Anthony’s Church, followed by a downtown food-stop at Clive Burger and The Big Cheese Poutinerie. No cost for the first 48 students who register for this event. Bus leaves in front of Sylvester Atrium at 6:15 pm. Book your free ticket by emailing: giw2014@ambrose.edu


Presented by Ambrose University College and the Calgary Catholic Diocese
The blog Muddy Streams has an informative post on the strange and definitely non-Christian resume of Fr. Thomas Ryan, CSP. I'd like to know how Ambrose U.C. knew Fr. Ryan as someone to invite for this event. It reminds me of Rick Warren bringing New Agers to Saddleback Community Church to help in his "Daniel Plan" weight-loss program in 2011. How do they know these people? Such associations strike me as very suspicious.

I have problems with some of the things mentioned above. When it comes to evangelicals and Catholics sharing "much more in common than not," the same was true of Christians and Judaizers in Galatia in the 1st century, but the apostle Paul, writing under divine inspiration, condemned the Judaizers for proclaiming a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). Christianity and Roman Catholicism don't share a "common faith."

The question is asked above, "Why do evangelicals continue to proselytize, especially in developing countries?". The perceptive reader will notice that this is presented as a "problem." I prefer the word "evangelize"--"proselytize" seems to carry a connotation of coercion. The reason that evangelism is still done among Roman Catholics in backward nations developing countries is because the missionaries are often those who, like the Reformers, were Roman Catholics, and when they heard the true gospel, realized that they weren't saved within Roman Catholicism, came to saving faith in Jesus Christ, and then left the Roman Catholic Church.

Many people, including Christians, are under the erroneous impression that the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) resulted in the Roman Catholic Church becoming more liberal in its doctrine, but that just isn't so. From Lumen Gentium--Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, November 21, 1964:

CHAPTER VII

THE ESCHATOLOGICAL NATURE OF THE PILGRIM CHURCH
AND ITS UNION WITH THE CHURCH IN HEAVEN

...

51. This Sacred Council accepts with great devotion this venerable faith of our ancestors regarding this vital fellowship with our brethren who are in heavenly glory or who having died are still being purified; and it proposes again the decrees of the Second Council of Nicea,...the Council of Florence...and the Council of Trent.


The Council of Trent was the Counter-Reformation council that took place between 1545-1564. For a sample of the doctrines that the council promulgated, go to The Council of Trent: The canons and decrees of the sacred and oecumenical Council of Trent, Ed. and trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848): SESSION THE SEVENTH, Celebrated on the third day of the month of March, MDXLVII: DECREE ON THE SACRAMENTS, pp.54-58. These pages contain canons on sacraments in general, and canons on baptism and confirmation. In these few pages you will see several dozen anathemas--ecclesiastical curses accompanied by excommunication--against the Biblical gospel. The passage from Vatican II cited above says that the decrees of the Council of Trent are still official Roman Catholic teachings today.

Global Impact Week is just the latest example of Ambrose's ecumenism. Go to Ambrose's Chapel Schedule Winter 2014, look at the entry for January 23, 2014, and you'll see that Ambrose's chapel speaker that day was Adrian Martens, Coordinator of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary. Mr. Martens is the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary's contact person for Ambrose's Global Impact Week; he was speaking during Ambrose's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

And what is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity? It's an ecumenical event with Roman Catholic roots. Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, A Ministry of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, has this to say about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
(January 18–25, 2014)

Has Christ Been Divided?
(cf. 1 Corinthians 1:13)

The Church Unity Octave, a forerunner of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, was developed by Father Paul Wattson, SA, at Graymoor in Garrison, New York, and was first observed at Graymoor from January 18-25, 1908. Today, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity invites the whole Christian community throughout the world to pray in communion with the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” (John 17:21).

In 1966, the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Vatican Secretariat (now Council) for Promoting Christian Unity began collaborating as a common international text for worldwide usage. Since 1968 these international texts, which are based on themes proposed by ecumenical groups around the world, have been developed, adapted and published for use in the United States by the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute. The theme of the 2014 Week of Prayer, ‘Has Christ been divided?’ was chosen and worked upon by the Christian Churches in Canada.
On the theme for 2014, GEII says:

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2014

Chosen Theme: Has Christ Been Divided?
(cf. 1 Corinthians 1:13)

The 2014 theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity finds its origins in 1 Corinthians 1:1-17. The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is 18-25 January. Those dates were proposed in 1908 by Paul Wattson to cover the original days of the feasts of the Chair of St. Peter (January 18) and the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25) , and therefore have a symbolic significance. The initial work on the theme for this year’s week of prayer material was prepared by a group of representatives from different parts of Canada, brought together at the invitation of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism. The texts were approved at a meeting of the International Committee composed of members of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting of Christian Unity. Being faithful to Christ’s desire for the unity of his disciples, has led to this year’s theme which focuses on Saint Paul’s provocative question in 1 Corinthians: “Has Christ Been Divided?” We continue to be divided by doctrine, polity, and practice, and to maintain our own religious identity, yet our pilgrimage towards unity continues under God’s guidance.
The statements and information packages regarding the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are identical for the World Council of Churches and the Vatican. For the statement from the WCC, go here; for the statement from the Vatican, go here. For the information package from the WCC, go here; for the information package from the Vatican, go here.

Here's what the Canadian Council of Churches said about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:

Launch of Human Trafficking Resource & Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Celebrated in Calgary

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an internationally celebrated time of prayer, reflection, and study bringing together Christians from across denominations and around the world. This year’s materials were prepared by a Canadian writing team and focus on a theme from Corinthians, “Has Christ Been Divided?” Major Canadian celebrations include a series of Calgary. The Rev. Victor Kim of local host Grace Presbyterian Church notes, “It’s a chance for us to discuss and celebrate what we all have in common, identify what role our beliefs have in today’s ever-changing society, and how it can apply to everyday teachings and situations.” A number of officiants from across Alberta will lead prayer and discussions.

This week will also see The Canadian Council of Churches present its leadership and learning kit for churches on human trafficking in Canada. This resource facilitates adult learning, theological reflection, and common action on human trafficking through a series of reflections, awareness raising exercises, bible studies, and background materials. “With rising incidences across the globe, and within our own borders, we need to understand that human trafficking is human rights abuse, economic injustice, violence; and organized crime,” says The Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary of The Canadian Council of Churches. She continues, “As a national council, we have heard from all churches of Christian faith across the country in their desire to become educated in the signs and solutions for human trafficking in our country.” Rev. Hamilton will be in Calgary to preach at an ecumenical gathering on Sunday, January 19th.

All are welcome at the Week of Prayer events listed below, including the public launch of Human Trafficking in Canada: A Leadership and Learning Kit for Churches.

For more information, please contact the Rev. Victor Kim at 403.244.5861.

Events

Sunday, January 19 7:00 PM
Grace Presbyterian Church. 1009 – 15 Ave. S.W.
Evening Grace Worship
Officiant: The Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary, The Canadian Council of Churches

Monday, January 20 Noon
Press Conference with Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton
Public Launch of “Human Trafficking in Canada: A Leadership and Learning Kit for Churches”
A resource from the Canadian Council of Churches
Grace Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, January 21 7:00 PM
Prince of Faith Lutheran Church. 2523 – 56 St. N.E.
Officiant: Pastor Scott Peterson

Wednesday, January 22 12:00 PM
University of Calgary
The Loft – 4th Floor McEwan Center, University of Calgary
Officiants: The University of Calgary Chaplains

Wednesday, January 22 7:00 PM
“Conversations of unCommon Grace”
Screening of human trafficking documentary “Not My Life”
And conversation with representatives from Action Coalition on Human Trafficking, ACT Alberta
Grace Presbyterian Church
Information and tickets: www.uncommongrace.ca

Thursday, January 23 11:15 AM
Ambrose University College Chapel Service. 150 Ambrose Circle S.W.
Officiant: Adrian Martens

Thursday, January 23 7:00 PM
St. Mary’s Cathedral. 219 – 18 Ave. S.W.
Officiant: Bishop Fred Henry

Sunday, January 26 7:00 PM (preceded by international/intercultural dinner at 6:00 PM)
St. Matthew’s United Church. 2035 – 26A St. S.W.
Officiant: Pastor Vincent Yellow Old Woman, Siksika Nation

On January 15, 2014

While the abolition of human trafficking is a worthy cause, it's not a cause that's distinctively Christian. However worthy the cause may be, the World Council of Churches and Canadian Council of Churches (which is part of the WCC) are notoriously liberal and apostate, and real Christians should have nothing to do with these bodies or any of their initiatives.

It hardly needs mentioning that the Roman Catholic Church's idea of "Christian unity" is to bring "separated brethren" back into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church. When the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church invoke I Corinthians 1:17 to ask, "Has Christ Been Divided?," my answer is that Christ hasn't been divided, but the Roman Catholic Church and the liberal churches in the WCC and CCC aren't part of the body of Christ. While Christ hasn't been divided, Christ Himself does divide: He divides families (Matthew 10:34-36); true from false (John 8:12-55); the church from the world (John 17:9); and sheep from goats (Matthew 25:31-46). Any real Christians who are still in the Roman Catholic Church or churches in the WCC or CCC should "come out and be separate."

HT: Worldview Weekend

See my previous posts on Ambrose:

Why is an Alliance-Nazarene college named after a Roman Catholic saint?

The Ambrose-contemplative connection

Ambrose University College trains Nazarene pastors using materials from a company with ties to Mormonism

Ambrose University College and "Transformation"

The Outhouse (aka The Shack) in God's house

Ambrose Seminary teaches contemplative spirituality in 2009-2010

Ambrose University College hires Jesuit-educated contemplative spirituality proponent as its new president

Ambrose University College's "Jazz Day" provides evidence of increasing worldliness in evangelical schools

Friday, March 7, 2014

10 years ago: Vicky Gene Robinson becomes first openly sodomite U.S. Episcopal Bishop

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:18-32

This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour,...
I Timothy 3:1-2b

He told me his name was Vicky Gene
And he caused a scene...

--with apologies to Michael Jackson

On March 7, 2004, Vicky Gene Robinson, who had put the fulfillment of his homosexual lust ahead of his marriage vows and duties to his family, was invested in Concord, New Hampshire as the Episcopal Church U.S.A.'s first openly sodomite bishop.

10 years ago: John Jay Report reveals the extent of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic clergy

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:18-32

On February 27, 2004, the first version of a study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice--popularly known as the John Jay Report--was released on the Internet and reported that 10,667 children in the United States had made allegations of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests between 1950 and 2002.

The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, based on surveys completed by the Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States. Go here for a copy of the report.

30 years ago: Jesse Jackson and "Hymietown"

On February 26, 1984, Rev. Jesse Jackson, veteran civil rights activist and a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States in the November 1984 election, apologized to Jewish voters for having referred earlier to Jews as "Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown." Rev. Jackson's had initially denied uttering the slurs, but recordings of his comments made further denial impossible.

The main thing I remember about the incident was the lack of major outrage expressed by the liberal mainstream media in the United States. It's amazing what one can get away with if one is a member of a politically correct racial minority, and a political and theological liberal. I imagine the reaction from the American political, media, and religious establishment would have been somewhat different if anti-Jewish slurs had been uttered by, say, Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ambrose University College's "Jazz Day" provides evidence of increasing worldliness in evangelical schools

With each passing day, it becomes increasingly difficult to notice anything distinctively Christian in evangelical schools. As evidence, I submit the following item. Ambrose University College in Calgary, Alberta is the denominational school for both the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada and Church of the Nazarene Canada.

All Jazz, All Day

The sound of jazz was heard throughout the Ambrose campus recently, as 40 students gathered for a full day jazz clinic featuring instrumental lessons, ensemble time, a student open mike session, and a faculty concert to end the event. Event attendee Joel Untinen felt that “it was a great experience to learn with other students, share ideas, and play together. It was also amazing to see the Ambrose jazz faculty perform together.”

The day’s faculty team consisted of clinicians Ralf Buschmeyer (guitar), Tyler Hornby (drums), Stefano Valdo (bass), Allistair Elliott (trumpet), and Pat Beliveau (sax) from Ambrose, as well as Carsten Rubeling (trombone) and Michelle Grégoire (piano). The special guest clinician was John Daversa (trumpet), head of the jazz program at the University of Miami. “As a newcomer to the jazz world, it was exciting to meet and play with those involved in the local scene and learn from some of the best in the city,” commented James Sylvester, who also attended the day-long event.

Students were divided into groups for instrumental lessons and ensemble time. In the late afternoon, all of the students were able to participate in an open mike session. “They would have performed all evening if possible,” noted event coordinator Barbara de Bruyn.

Many students in attendance heard about Ambrose for the first time, with some now even considering attending Ambrose next year. Ambrose is one of the few schools in the city that offers jazz studies and clinics like this are an opportunity to draw students in as they experience first-hand what Ambrose music offers. Given the success of the first Jazz Day, the Music Department is already in discussion and planning for next year’s event...
...Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 10:23am
Just one question, Chief: Is there a kind of jazz that could be described as "Christian jazz?"

Friday, February 28, 2014

David Yonggi Cho, founder of the world's largest church, is convicted and sentenced for embezzlement

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
I Timothy 6:9-10

For more than 30 years I've been hearing David Yonggi Cho (formerly Paul Yonggi Cho) held up as an example of a Christian leader, the assumption apparently being that the bigness of a church is in direct proportion to God's blessing upon it. Whether or not the doctrines taught in such a big church are biblical doesn't seem to be important. Mr. Cho has a long history of teaching New Age doctrines, such as man creating his own reality through creative visualization. Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon, in The Seduction of Christianity (1985), critique several examples of Mr. Cho's false teaching.

Mr. Cho's ability to visualize, or, in a word that he likes to use, "incubate," seems to be failing him lately. As reported by Yonhap News, February 20, 2014:

A Seoul court on Thursday sentenced a pastor of one of the world's largest Christian churches to three years in prison with a five-year stay of execution for embezzling large amounts of church funds.

Rev. Cho Yong-gi, the founder and pastor emeritus of Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, was found guilty of causing some 13 billion won (US$12 million) worth of losses to the church by instructing church officials to buy stocks privately owned by his eldest son, Cho Hee-jun, at prices four times higher than market value, in 2002.

The elder Cho was also convicted of dodging 3.5 billion won in taxes in the process.

The Seoul Central District Court also ordered the 78-year-old disgraced pastor to pay a fine of 5 billion won.

In the same ruling, the court handed down a prison term of three years to the junior Cho, the former CEO of the church-affiliated local daily Kookmin Ilbo, for colluding with his father in the embezzlement scheme.

An investigation into the Cho family was launched last year after a group of members belonging to the church filed a suit for breach of trust and tax evasion.

The church, which claims it has around 800,000 members, has often made headlines in the recent past over a series of internal feuds and various corruption allegations.
Mr. Cho addressed the church on the first Sunday following the verdict, as reported by the Gospel Herald, February 24, 2014:

Pastor David Yonggi Cho, founder of the world's largest Pentecostal congregation, gave his reflection during the first Sunday Service after a South Korean court found him guilty of breach of trust, corruption and tax evasion, and sentenced him to three years in prison with a five-year probation and 5 billion won (US$4.67 million) in fines.

The 78-year-old disgraced megachurch pastor said that it was the hardest day of his 50 years of ministry when he heard the verdict on Thursday.

"Through this suffering, I've learned a homework. An individual shouldn't possess anything," Cho told his congregation at Yoido Full Gospel Church on Feb. 23, 2014. "Besides health, status, fame, authority, money... these are all matters that are outside the body and unworthy of any pursuit..."

...Cho did not argue against the judgment, but, instead, examined himself from the perspective of faith.

"God forbid, if God calls me back today, I will still be able to go to the Kingdom of God," he said. Cho then asked that the congregation to pray for his successor pastor Young Hong Lee.

In his sermon, Lee apologized to the congregation for the negative impacts that Cho's case have brought upon them. He encouraged them to forget the past and press on towards the future, and to continue the spread of the Gospel to those who have yet to receive the great love of Christ.

Senior pastor Lee said that Yoido Full Gospel Church was purchased with a heavy price - the blood shed by Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore no power of darkness can divide the church. Lee encouraged the congregation to become one body in the Holy Spirit and to be more diligent in the Lord's Holy work.
As might be expected, Mr. Cho's conviction doesn't prevent his supporters from defending him, and blaming everybody but David Yonggi Cho for the scandal. As reported by Luke Leung of the Gospel Herald, February 26, 2014:

News of Pastor David Yonggi Cho's indictment has spread like wild fire among the global Christian communities, where followers of the disgraced South Korean megachurch pastor searched for an explanation on how did their spiritual leader became entangled in the crime of breach of trust and corruption, embezzling $12 million of church funds.

Dr. Bob Rodgers Sr., pastor of Evangel World Prayer Center in Louisville, Ky., is a close confident of Cho, and he and his father have served on his church growth board for a combined 38 years. With the hope of restoring the public's trust towards Cho, he published a letter disclosing details surrounding the case that were disclosed behind close-door meetings which have not yet been made public.

Cho's eldest son, Hee-Jun, was indicted for the same charge and sentenced to three years in prison. He was immediately taken into custody following the court order, because he was considered a flight risk, Rodgers wrote.

"Cho has three sons. The second and third are very productive and work in church-related ministries. His eldest son has been the prodigal. He has been married four times and has been involved in sexual scandals with national personalities," he said, noting that he has closely followed the trial in Seoul. "In addition, he has served prison time for investment scams and embezzlement. His scandalized life has been an embarrassment to his family and the church."

In 2002, while serving as chairman of a church-affiliated newspaper Kookmin Ilbo, Hee-Jun sold the church 250,000 shares of stock in 1-Service, a cleaning company, at four times more than the market price. He "purposely defrauded" the church of more than $12 million, according to Rodgers, president of Church Growth International of the Americas.

"[David Yonggi] Cho testified that he trusted his elders and son and didn't check and read the thousands of pages of paperwork, which was prepared for him to sign," he wrote. "Because Cho relied upon the direction of his choice elders and son, he signed the paper. He never received any monies from the transaction."

However, the prosecutors, representing a group of elders from Yoido Full Gospel Church, had identified Cho as an accomplice to his son's embezzlement scheme, claiming that he used the money to help his son recover losses made in stock investments, the hankyoreh reported. In addition, they claimed that Cho had allegedly directed the transaction to be dealt with as quietly as possible despite his full knowledge of the potential "uproar" from the elders and congregation.

In light of these reports, Rodgers provided the presiding judges' final ruling, "The court considered that even though Pastor Cho had the final say in the church, he never took the lead in any of the crimes, including tax evasion, committed on the suggestion of the accounting firm.

"The court also considered Cho's life journey as a religious leader and his long-term contribution to social welfare as mitigating circumstances on his behalf. The court ruled that his son, Cho Hee-Jun, was the instigator of the crime related to the purchase of the shares of 1-Service stock."

Cho, 78, founded Yoido Full Gospel Church in 1958 and it now claims more than 450,000 followers. His disciples have built their own "disciple churches" across the country, creating a congregation of roughly one million people, with Cho as the leader.

Rodgers shared in conclusion that Cho lives a simple life in a 1,000-square-foot- church apartment and does not own a car, and he has raised and given personally to the church more than $170 million.

Taiwanese Pastor Mao-Song Chang, who pastors Top Church in New Taipei, Taiwan, has close ties with Cho and his church, released a statement, providing further details of the court verdict. He said that one of Yoido's church elder[s] had visited him in January and explained in detail about the case to him. Then, Pastor Lee also visited him in mid-Feb.

"First, when the elders filed a lawsuit against Cho, accusing him of embezzling $20 million, Cho knelt before the congregation and apologized, admitting his mistake for not having a good family testimony, resulting in the harm to church," he wrote.

Second, Cho faced the court honestly, he wrote. "Some elders from the incident have either passed away or no longer work as elders; some said that they don't remember. However, around 1,000 other elders testified that 'Pastor Cho is innocent,' and they asked why the judge doesn't believe in the testimonies of 1,000, but of 30."

"Third, the presiding judge once told Cho, 'We know that this case is not your problem. You just need to blame it on your son, then you will have no responsibilities,'" Change wrote, adding that Cho refused, "My son can be unrighteous to me, but I cannot be unrighteous to my son."

"Fourth, Yoido Full Gospel Church's position is to continue their full support of Pastor Cho, advociating for his innocence!"

Chang urged all to maintain an objective perspective towards the case and not to judge Cho because of his son's crime...