Christian Research Newsletter

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1. Research Notes
2. International

by Ron Rhodes, Bob Lyle, and Paul Carden

columns from the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 3: Number 4, 1990.

The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.

Christian Scientists David and Ginger Twitchell Convicted of Manslaughter in Boston.

The previous Christian Research Newsletter (Volume 3, Issue 3) noted that the controversial Boston trial of Christian Scientists David and Ginger Twitchell had just gotten underway. Two months later, the July 14, 1990 Los Angeles Times reports that the Twitchells "were convicted of manslaughter in Boston last week. They were found to have recklessly and wantonly caused the death of their 2 1/2-year-old son, Robyn, by relying solely on Christian Science spiritual healing to treat his five-day [bowel obstruction] illness."

The Christian Science Church saw the Twitchell case as a challenge to its religious rights. The Los Angeles Times reports that the case "has rekindled debate on whether the government should overrule religious beliefs that affect children." According to the July 6, 1990 Orange County Register, "Harvard law professor John Mansfield, an expert on church and state issues, says recent US Supreme Court cases reflect a trend away from protecting religious beliefs as the nation moves toward a more secular society."

During the trial, Mr. Twitchell gave five days of testimony. He said of his son: "if medicine could have saved him, I wish I had turned to it." According to the July 5, 1990 New York Times, Mr. Twitchell testified that "if Robyn had shown life-threatening symptoms despite treatment through prayer, he would have taken the boy to a hospital."

The jury of eight women and four men began deliberations on the afternoon of Monday, July 9, after hearing testimony from 33 witnesses over two months. The Twitchells were found guilty of manslaughter after more than 14 hours of deliberation. Medical experts applauded the verdict, saying it would help protect other children.

Special Prosecutor John Kiernan "recommended probation for the couple -- who could have received up to 20 years in prison -- and that their other children's health be monitored," according to The Orange County Register. Judge Sandra Hamlin of Suffolk County Superior Court followed the recommendation and sentenced the couple to 10 years probation. She ordered that their three remaining children have regular medical examinations.

The Church of Scientology Provides High-tech, Doomsday-Proof Protection for the Writings of L. Ron Hubbard.

The June 24, 1990 Los Angeles Times reports that Scientology is using state-of-the-art technology to preserve the writings of best-selling science-fiction author and Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. "The movement has spent more than $15 million to protect Hubbard's original writings, tape-recorded lectures and filmed treatises from natural and man-made calamities, including nuclear holocaust."

In charge of the preservation task is "the Church of Spiritual Technology." The organization has purchased land in New Mexico, Northern California, and the San Bernardino Mountains (east of Los Angeles) to store Hubbard's materials.

The Los Angeles Times reports that, "the New Mexico site has a 670-foot tunnel with two deep vaults at the end. The tunnel is protected with thick concrete and has four doors with 'maintenance-free lives of 1,000 years.' All this to house mere copies of the original works, which include 500,000 pages of Hubbard writings, 6,500 reels of tape and 42 films. The originals themselves are being kept under tight security on a sprawling Scientology complex near Lake Arrowhead [in the San Bernardinos]."

And how are the originals being preserved? "First, the original writings are chemically treated to rid the paper of acid that causes deterioration. Next, they are placed in plastic envelopes that church officials say will last 1,000 years.

From there, they are packaged in titanium 'time capsules' filled with argon gas to further aid preservation.

Hubbard's writings also are being etched onto stainless steel plates with a strong acid. Scientology officials said the plates are so durable that they can be sprayed with salt water for 1,000 years and not deteriorate.

As for Hubbard's taped lectures, they are being re-recorded onto special 'pure gold' compact discs encased in glass that, according to Scientology archivists, are 'designed to last at least 1,000 years with no deterioration of sound quality.'

Foreign Influence Grows in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church now has 6.2 million members worldwide, and has grown by about 40 percent over the last five years, according to the July 17, 1990 New York Times.

"According to church statistics, Adventism has grown by 1.8 million members since the church held its last world convention in 1985, although the rate of growth is much higher abroad than in the United States. In 1989, for example, there were 90 conversions to the faith each day in North America, while there were 361 a day in East Africa," the Times reports. F. Donald Yost, the denomination's director of archives and statistics, claims that conversions to Adventism abroad have been exceeding those in North America since 1922. Today, the article says, "only 12 percent of Adventists live in North America. About 30 percent live in Africa and 40 percent in Central and South America and the Caribbean."

An indication that foreign influence is growing as a controlling element within the sect is evident in the recent resolution not to ordain women. "At a 10-day convention at the Hoosier Dome that was attended by church members from 184 nations, delegates resoundingly rejected a resolution favored by members from the United States that women be ordained as full-fledged ministers," the Times reports. "That vote was the most striking sign that overseas Adventists hold increasing power in the church and are not afraid to use it."

Captain Herman Loris Kibble, an Adventist minister who is a Naval chaplain based in Oakland, California, commented about the resolution: "It's not only ironic but appalling that we can't ordain women when our leading founder was Mrs. White, someone we quote more than St. Peter or St. Paul."

The Reverend Mario Veloso, an Adventist official based in Brazil, responded: "But Mrs. White never accepted ordination. Instead, she followed the biblical pattern in which only men were ordained for service by God."

Unification Church's Global Assets Could Be as High as $2 Billion.

According to the May 30, 1990 Boston Herald, the business interests controlled by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church form a vast empire that "ranges from auto and weapon parts plants in South Korea to Lobster boats on Cape Ann and news outlets in Washington, D.C." Business analysts estimate that the total value of Moon's rapidly expanding empire may be as high as $2 billion. The Herald reports that "the money allows Moon to finance the expensive conferences and projects that are gaining him international clout, observers say."

Which Bible Translation Can You Trust?

We receive many inquiries at CRI concerning the inerrancy of the Bible -- especially in regard to the reliability of various English translations. Which Bible, we are asked, is inerrant (or without error)? The King James Version (KJV)? The Revised Standard Version (RSV)? The New American Standard Bible (NASB)? The New International Version (NIV)? Or some other translation? To answer this question, let us consider the following points.

We realize this is a sensitive subject with many people. It can easily be perceived that one is denying the authority and inspiration of the Bible when making these important distinctions. We must be careful, however, to state the facts clearly.

Which translation is the best? There are many good English translations available today. In order to study the Scriptures without the benefit of knowing Greek and Hebrew, perhaps it is best to use two or three English Bibles together -- such as the KJV, the NASB, and the NIV. CRI does not advocate ridding the pews of KJVs, nor do we suggest that any one translation should be used to the exclusion of all others. Again, no Christian will be led into doctrinal error by using any of the English translations mentioned above. And, although the KJV is probably based on slightly inferior manuscripts, no doctrine of the Christian faith nor Christian practice is compromised in it. Contact CRI for more information.

CRI Brazil's Expanding Radio Outreach

Brazil is a vast land, covering some 3.2 million square miles -- roughly the size of the continental U.S. with an extra Texas thrown in. How can a relatively small ministry reach out and equip over ten million evangelicals in such an immense nation?

The answer: Radio.

We talked with CRI Brazil's director, Paulo Romeiro, to find out more about the ministry's blossoming radio strategy.

We must find a way to reach all of Latin America.

International Fund Established

CRI has established a special account for those who would like to contribute to its overall international outreach. Current projects include sending the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL and other materials to seminaries and Christian leaders in Eastern Europe and the Third World, as well as the preparation of special literature to warn believers about the advance of the cults in former communist nations. Now you can take part in this outreach by designating your gifts to CRI toward that end.

End of document, CRN0022A.TXT (original CRI file name), "Research Notes" and "International" release A, June 30, 1994 R. Poll, CRI

A special note of thanks to Bob and Pat Hunter for their help in the preparation of this ASCII file for BBS circulation.

Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute.

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