columns from the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 5: Number 4, 1992.
The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
What's New in the Headlines
Is the Million-Dollar Ministry of Author and Comedian Mike Warnke Built on a Lie?
That's the question being asked by stunned Christians in the wake of a lengthy investigative report on Warnke's life in Cornerstone magazine. In its July-August issue, the respected magazine claims that a two-year investigation "uncovered significant evidence contradicting [Warnke's] alleged satanic activity," his supposed academic credentials, and more.
Warnke's best-selling 1972 book, The Satan Seller, recounts his shocking experiences as a Satanist, including his role as high priest over a coven of 1,500 witches in three California cities during the 1960s. The story of his conversion to Christianity propelled him to national recognition as an expert on the occult and eventually led to a lucrative career on the evangelical entertainment circuit.
But Cornerstone is calling for Warnke's repentance and withdrawal from public ministry: "Mike has sinned against the public for years, and the public is entitled to know the truth about his claims and actions. The misinformation about Mike's testimony is still in circulation, influencing how Christians view contemporary Satanism. For the sake of the Church and the watching world, it must be corrected."
On August 8 the Head of the Dominican Order in Rome Decreed Matthew Fox's Dismissal Due to His New Age Teachings.
The August 29 Los Angeles Times reports that "the action follows a five-year fight between Fox and Catholic authorities that included a one-year sentence of silence imposed by the Vatican in October, 1988." The expulsion now awaits the formality of Vatican approval.
Fox has long been an advocate of "Creation Spirituality" -- a blend of Catholic mysticism, feminism, environmentalism, and panentheism (the view that God is in all and all is in God). Since 1990, Fox has repeatedly been ordered by Catholic superiors to return to his home province of Chicago from Oakland, California, where he has lived and headed the Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality since 1983.
Fox, who has been a Dominican for 32 years and has vowed to obey its mandates, rejected the relocation order as a device "to silence my work." Fox stated in the Los Angeles Times article: "I cannot acquiesce to this request. It is against my conscience."
Rajneesh's Commune in Poona, India Is More Prosperous than Ever since His Death.
Some cult observers thought Rajneesh's commune would splinter and wane following his death, but they were wrong. "The Osho commune has never been more prosperous. Thousands of dusty-footed, ratty-bearded men and women pour through the gate every day, from Europe, America, Australia, and Japan. As in the past, some come for enlightenment, 'self-realization,' or to learn meditation from the Bhagwan, who left behind, along with his body and beard, a near-eternity of video-taped lectures," the August 6 Wall Street Journal reports.
People come to the commune for a variety of reasons. Indeed, "many come for weight training, dance, martial arts, or to work on their backhand. They lie around the pool in bikinis and read Sidney Sheldon. Some seek companionship at the weekly movie night or the commune's cappuchino bar. A local entrepreneur has opened a disco for communers, which is, in all probability, the closest thing to an AIDS-free disco in the world. (Proof of a negative AIDS test is required to enter the commune, with one exception: There is a daily 30-minute tour for those who are merely curious and those awaiting the results of their AIDS test."
JAPAN. The New Age movement means big money in Japan, according to the July 6 Los Angeles Times. "As those in Japan search for meaning in their lives, Americans are happy to sell it to them. New Age psychics, channelers and healers are doing a bang-up business there." Although the Japanese have a long tradition of "seers and shamans, communicating with the dead, reincarnation and karma," one observer said that they "are particularly drawn to the American movement because it is more light and bright than Japan's gloomy mysticism." Another way in which America's New Age thinking is "radically different from traditional Japanese spiritual concepts" is that "rather than relying solely on the authority of an external God or Buddha figure, New Age adherents are urging the Japanese to follow their own voice within....As a result, in this group-think, authority-centered society, the New Age message amounts to revolution."
SOUTH KOREA. "Cymbals crashed and trumpets blared as Rev. Sun Myung Moon tied the knot...for about 20,000 couples from 131 nations in the world's largest mass marriage," held August 25 in Seoul, reports the August 26 Orange County Register. "In addition, 10,000 couples were married by simultaneous satellite hookups to five other countries -- Brazil, the Philippines, Zaire, Kenya and Nigeria." The August 24 Wall Street Journal states that although 12,000 of the couples had never met before Moon matched them, only about 1 percent object to their chosen partners. The Journal also estimates that the wedding could bring $24 million in revenue to the cult, which claims 3 million members worldwide.
CHINA. Although activities that "involve superstition, fortune telling, communication with ghosts, and other traditional beliefs are considered 'feudal' and banned" by the Communist government, polytheistic folk religion is enjoying a revival in parts of China, says the August 10 Wall Street Journal. Among the folk deities: Chairman Mao, who "may be the first atheist to become a god. The most obvious signs of Mao's new status are the photos of him that millions of car and truck drivers display on their vehicles as good-luck charms. In some areas a third or more of vehicles bear the Mao portrait, and throughout China stories buzz of people miraculously surviving terrible accidents because of their Mao photos," the June 2 New York Times reports.
-- Paul Carden
End of document, CRN0047A.TXT (original CRI file name), "Headline News" and "International" release A, June 30, 1994 R. Poll, CRI
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