articles from the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 3: Numbers 4 and 5, 1990.
The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
Christians and "the Cult of Gossip"
From the From The President column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 3: Number 4, 1990)
I have frequently made the statement that the second most dangerous thing in the world is a loaded revolver; the first is the human tongue. Yet, during the past year as the president of CRI, I have seen the deadly accuracy of this statement from a whole new perspective. I now have come to view this statement not only in light of individual gossip, but corporate gossip as well.
It is unfortunate that, all too often, those who have dedicated their lives to Christian ministry have become involved in what we might call "the cult of gossip" -- wreaking grief and havoc on countless lives in the process. It is no wonder why the apostle James urges us to "consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell" (James 2:6, NIV).
Yet, despite this stirring admonition, I have personally witnessed the misuse of the tongue by otherwise credible ministries and their leaders. During the past year, I have repeatedly seen firsthand the devastating results that come from inaccurate and often sensationalistic statements resulting from improper research and inadequate documentation. This, in turn, serves not only to destroy the offending ministry's credibility, but also drags the name of our Lord Jesus Christ through the mud. Churches, ministries, and Christian leaders should therefore make every effort to check their sources before "shooting from the hip" and making unfounded statements. The following illustrations amplify the significance of such caution.
Moody Press recently published The Agony of Deceit, a multi-authored book edited by Michael Horton and dedicated to CRI's founder, the late Dr. Walter Martin. The book was based in part on research procured from CRI and even contains a chapter by Dr. Martin. Based on these facts alone, one might naturally infer that this book is endorsed by CRI. Yet, despite our strong affirmation of much of the content of this book, we cannot endorse it because it contains some significant inaccuracies and sensationalistic claims.
As a case in point, Pat Robertson's words (taken from his book, Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions) were sorely twisted out of context and then used to brand him a heretic by Michael Horton. Robertson was accused of denying salvation by grace alone through the finished work of Jesus Christ, along with other indiscretions. Such unfounded assertions not only discredit significant points made by other authors in The Agony of Deceit, they also spread unnecessary strife among believers. (See my book review of The Agony of Deceit in the Summer 1990 CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL for a detailed critique.)
In this same light, during the past several years I have heard incredible statements being made about freemasonry. Undeniably, many Masonic authors have demonstrated a strong anti-Christian bias and have used their writings to promote the occult. And freemasonry is clearly becoming more and more pagan in its perspective and its practice. Nevertheless, many who speak out against freemasonry today stand guilty of spreading fantastic stories that contain not a shred of evidence.
For example, many anti-mason books and tapes claim that freemasonry originated from ancient pagan religions, and that the fraternity was invented by witches, satanists, and Luciferians. The truth of the matter, however, is that the roots of modern masonry stretch back only as far as A.D. 1717, to a common London tavern. Dr. Robert Morey provides solid documentation for this fact, having researched literally hundreds of books on the origins and teachings of freemasonry.
Regrettably, many people are more inclined to gravitate toward the fanciful rather than the factual. My point here is not to whitewash or endorse freemasonry, but rather to make a clarion call for Christians to deal with the facts with honesty and integrity -- to ensure that what they set forth as accurate is, in fact, true.
To show how prone human beings are to accept as well as perpetuate sensationalistic claims and inaccurate rumors, a story circulated by a prominent televangelist and reported on national television should serve to make the point. The story involved the alleged discovery of hell by scientists in Siberia. This story, supposedly documented by a scientific journal from Finland, claimed that scientists who drilled nine miles through the earth's crust had broken through into a place so hot that it registered over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, they called this place "hell."
As incredible as this claim was, no one seemed ready or willing to do the necessary research to verify it's authenticity. In fact, no one even bothered to question what the scientists were thinking about when they supposedly shoved their microphones into the blazing inferno and (as they claim) detected human screaming. (Presumably, they had some rather unique microphones to accomplish this amazing feat!) The story turned out to be nothing more than a fabrication concocted by a school teacher outside Oslo. And while we may laugh at this far-fetched story, there are multitudes of unwary Christians who willingly swallow such unbelievable tales.
As the president of CRI, I have personally experienced the brunt of unfounded claims. Shortly after taking my current post, a "reliable source" close to CRI accused me of being an infiltrator who was secretly conspiring with New Age strategists. Not long after this, rumors circulated that there existed documentation proving my denial of the Trinity and belief in modalistic monarchianism, the Sabellian heresy of the third century. As incredible as these allegations may seem, they are made even more shocking by the fact that reputedly honest men and women were responsible for their genesis.
All this brings me back to my main point: churches, ministries, and Christian leaders must make every effort to carefully research and document their statements -- whether they involve cults, heresies within the church, or remarks about fellow believers. We must never forget the admonition given by the apostle James: "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless" (James 1:26).
The Cult of Compromise
by Hank Hanegraaff
From the From The President column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 3: Number 5, 1990
At times it seems like the warnings will never cease. Over the past few years, warnings have poured in to CRI with ever-increasing frequency. I've been repeatedly cautioned about my vocal stance against groups ranging from established sects such as Mormonism to fraternal organizations such as the Masonic Lodge. On one occasion, I was advised that I risked putting myself in personal jeopardy -- as well as endangering CRI's ministry -- if I spoke out publicly against Scientology.
The Los Angeles Times recently validated such warnings as they chronicled story after story of those who had dared to speak out on the Church of Scientology and are now facing the consequences of their "indiscretion." The series makes mention of "teams of private detectives [who] have been dispatched to the far corners of the world to spy on critics and rummage through their personal lives -- and trash cans -- for information to discredit them."
Yet, despite all the warnings that have come from cultic and occultic groups, none have been more persistent than those I have received as a result of speaking out against heretical movements within the church -- particularly those associated with "positive confession" or the "word-faith" teachers.
According to a prominent "televangelist" (arguably one of the most influential and powerful leaders in the church today), God killed Dr. Walter Martin as a direct result of his relentless "attacks on God's anointed" -- men such as Robert Tilton, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, and Frederick Price, to name but a few.
Another televangelist had the temerity to liken Walter's death to the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira (see Acts 5:1-11). He went on to say that the apostle Peter "had the power to raise Ananias and Sapphira from the dead, but judged that the whole church was better off with them dead."
The implications are crystal-clear: not only does God destroy those who speak out against the torchbearers of positive confession, but the church is better off without ministries like CRI and without men like Dr. Walter Martin. CRI is being increasingly pressured by radio and television station managers, bookstore owners, church leaders, and Christians in general to stop speaking out against these powerful televangelists and proponents of positive confession. We have been threatened with censorship, along with other measures that hint of impending disaster for the finances of CRI.
Even more alarming, however, is the fact that credible ministers of the gospel who preach solid, biblical messages are caving in to the pressures placed upon them by these wolves in sheep's clothing (Matt. 7:15ff.; see also Acts 20:29-31). One of these pastors recently told me that if he did not bow to this pressure, he might as well get out of Christian television because, in his own words, "they own the airwaves."
Airing Christian programming on secular television is becoming increasingly expensive. Couple this with the fact that many of the outlets for broadcasting Christian television are controlled by those sympathetic to the word-faith teachers, and the problem becomes apparent. The result is that many otherwise uncompromising ministers of the gospel have chosen to conveniently "overlook" the heresies their broadcasters continue to promote in order to keep their own programming on the air. Rather than withdraw their affiliation from such company, they have decided to continue their course, thereby lending undue credibility to the aberrant doctrines espoused by those who "control the airwaves."
What is the scriptural admonition relevant to such a predicament? The Lord Jesus Himself commanded us to show our brother his faults. If he still refuses to listen, Jesus instructed us to bring along two or three additional believers and try again. If the offending brother persistently ignores the pleas, we are then to "tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector" (Matt. 18:17). In other words, if all recourse has been exhausted to no avail, we are to have nothing further to do with that individual.
Doctrinally sound Christians cannot afford to "sell out" by a silence that results in complicity. We must not undermine the foundations of the faith and turn our backs on Scripture in order to just survive. For if we do, we end up (by our silence) endorsing the severely distorted view of God espoused by the word-faith teachers.
The present popularity of such teachers brings to mind the words the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: "The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around themselves a great number of teachers to tell them what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Tim. 4:3, 4). Paul therefore exhorted Timothy to "keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, discharge all the duties of your ministry" (v. 5).
As an organization, we at CRI are committed to standing for truth and not selling out to the "cult of compromise." We recall Jesus' stern indictment against the church of Laodicea for their "lukewarm" disposition (Rev. 3:14ff.). Rather than face such consequences, we prefer to brave the repercussions of exposing heretical teachings. We choose, as Paul did, to remain faithful to the teachings of God's Word and to proclaim without any hesitation "the whole will of God" (Acts 20:27).
We are deeply thankful for the numerous men and women worldwide who are willing to stand with us in the battle. And, though there are those who have already stopped broadcasting CRI's "Bible Answer Man" program on their stations, and others who are threatening to do so, we are grateful to God for those courageous station managers who stand with us in our commitment to earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
May God sustain all those who seek to stand for truth, rather than yielding to convenience. As Dr. Martin once said, "We are the church, which is Christ's body. Ours is the responsibility to speak the truth in love -- but nevertheless to speak!" Regardless of the consequences, we will by God's grace endeavor to never give in to the cult of compromise.
End of document, CRN0029b.TXT (original CRI file name), "Christians and 'the Cult of Gossip'" and "The Cult of Compromise" 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.
If you desire to reproduce less than 500 words of this data file
for resale or the enhancement of any other product for resale,
please give the following source credit: Copyright 1994 by the
Christian Research Institute, P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa
Margarita, CA 92688-7000.
This data file is the sole property of the Christian Research Institute. It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as "freeware," without charge. All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright notice (i.e., "Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute"). This data file may not be used without the permission of the Christian Research Institute for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold. This includes all of its content with the exception of a few brief quotations not to exceed more than 500 words.
If you desire to reproduce less than 500 words of this data file for resale or the enhancement of any other product for resale, please give the following source credit: Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute, P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-7000.
P.O. Box 7000
Rancho Santa Margarita
Visit CRI International Official Web Site: