articles from the Headline News and International columns of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 6: Number 1, 1993.
The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
Frederick W. Franz, President of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Died on December 22, 1992 at his Residence in the Society's Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York at Age 99.
The December 24, 1992 issue of The New York Times reports that Mr. Franz "was elected president of the society in 1977 and remained in the post until his death. Despite impaired vision in his mid-90s, he remained active in administration and continued to contribute to the society's publications."
CRI contacted Robert Johnson, a general information representative at the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in Brooklyn, New York, to obtain information about Franz's replacement. It was learned that on December 30, 1992 the Watch Tower announced that Milton Henschel -- a vice president for the organization since 1977 -- had been selected to replace Franz.
Henschel, 72 years old, is a 3d generation Jehovah's Witness whose grandfather knew and worked with Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the sect. Henschel was ordained as a minister with the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1934 and is a member of the Governing Body.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is now functioning with only one vice president, W. Lloyd Barry (normally there are two vice presidents). At press time, no announcement had been made regarding who will take Henschel's place.
Johnson said that no changes in doctrine or policy are expected in the Watch Tower Society under Henschel's presidency.
Spiritual and Metaphysical Books Are Expected to Increase in Sales as the Turn of the Millennium Draws Near.
In an article entitled "Horizon 2000," the December 7, 1992 issue of Publisher's Weekly magazine focuses on what publishers of spiritual and metaphysical books expect in their field as we draw near to the year 2000. In interviewing leaders in the field, a few common themes emerged. "Chief among them is these publishers' sense that, as one millennium yields to another, Western societies are undergoing a period of profound change. While taking care to eschew the millennialism associated with, say, fundamentalist Christians, they speak of the year 2000 -- or, strictly speaking, 2001 -- as an authentic cultural milestone," the magazine reports.
Sam Bercholz, the president and editor-in-chief of Shambhala Publications, is quoted as saying that "the millennium seems to bring on an interest in the genuinely spiritual -- and also in the bizarrely occult and the metaphysical." Shambhala publishes a wide array of Eastern spiritual texts and has recently begun publishing "classics" in the mystical tradition, such as the works of Meister Eckhart and Hildegard of Bingen.
Barbara Moulton, a senior editor at Harper San Francisco, is quoted as saying that "many feminists see the millennium as the time of the reintegration of the Goddess into our world, the time when feminist ideas finally trickle all the way down."
Cheryl Woodruff, a senior editor at Ballantine, sees the coming millennium as a time when spiritual and political concerns will be more fully integrated. She is presently editing a book entitled Spiritual Politics: Social Activism at the Millennium. She says the book is about "creating a model for a future that allows activism to be rooted in spiritual values from all the religious traditions."
The article notes that Bear & Co., founded in 1979 by Catholic New Age leader Matthew Fox, plans to publish a number of books that "critically address the Judeo-Christian tradition." Indeed, beginning next year "Bear will aim to publish books aimed at those readers who are, in some sense, 'recovering' from their religious upbringings." Barbara Clow, a spokesperson for the company, said, "We're very interested right now in books that focus on the breakdown of Judeo-Christian structures."
Interest in Native American culture and spirituality is also on the rise. The article notes that "books about Native American culture and spirituality have become a strong-selling publishing subcategory, garnering their own section in many West Coast bookstores....there is little evidence that interest in Native American culture has peaked."
In coming years, it is expected that the purely New Age bookstore will become a thing of the past. "Mainstreaming is the byword for what [alternative booksellers] generally see happening to the category in the next decade, as general trade publishers and general-interest book-sellers, in response to growing demand, continue to embrace the kinds of books now found on New Age bookstore shelves."
The Mormon Church Has Begun Expelling Extremists and "Ultraconservative Followers."
The December 21, 1992 New York Times reports that "some experts on the [Mormon] church describe the action as a purge, an effort to do away with extremists whose talk of conspiracies and impending world ruin do not square with a fast-growing faith eager to enhance its standing in the American mainstream." According to the article, hundreds of dissidents have recently been expelled in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah.
The November 30, 1992 St. Louis Post-Dispatch cites Don LeFevre, a spokesman for the Mormon church, as saying that "church leaders have become increasingly concerned about 'super patriots' and survivalists, many of whom have quit their jobs and moved their families to mountain retreats." The article notes that during the church's annual conference in October, Apostle Boyd K. Packer "cautioned members not to be deceived by people who 'tell of impending political and economic chaos, the end of the world.... They are misleading members to gather to colonies or cults.'"
The Dispatch article also noted that during a meeting of church leaders, Elder Malcolm Jeppson outlined a profile of dissidents: "Among activities on the list are home schooling of children, belonging to the John Birch Society, holding religious study groups or seminars outside the church, performing church rituals outside the temple, reading doomsday books, and quoting an exact day of the coming of Jesus Christ."
In recent years, the Mormon church has been seeking to promote a more "mainstream" view of the faith. The New York Times article reports that "the church pays for an extensive campaign of television commercials...that deal with everyday issues, like the demands of parenting, rather than heavy-handed religious appeals."
Jim Harmston, a retired college professor who was recently expelled by Mormon leaders, says "the church wants to be more acceptable to the rest of the world...This is all about image management," the New York Times reports.
Psychics' Predictions for 1992 Fail to Come to Pass, as Predicted.
The December 30, 1992 Orange County Register -- in an article entitled "It Was Predictable: Psychics Dropped the Crystal Ball in 1992" -- reflects: "Remember 1992? It was supposed to be [according to top psychics] the year George Bush won re-election, the United States logged the biggest economic boom ever recorded, and both Cher and the entire cast of 'Beverly Hills, 90210' underwent sex-change operations." Other failed predictions include: "A plant found in a Brazilian rain forest would be found to cure baldness, Mikhail Gorbachev would become a US citizen, a massive hurricane would topple Fidel Castro's regime, and the AIDS epidemic would wipe out entire [sports] teams, 'threatening to end professional sports.'"
The article reports that "the lack of success may explain why scientists have been unable to find convincing evidence that psychics really have the ability to see the future. When psychics are tested under conditions that eliminate luck or fraud, they fail the test."
Announcing "Project EUROPA"
You can help Christians in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in their struggle with the cults and aberrant movements through CRI's new international outreach, Project EUROPA.
The need has never been greater. Mark Elliott, editor of the East-West Church & Ministry Report, writes that "the new freedoms [in formerly communist Europe] mean that both the worst and the best the West has to offer is pouring in to the vacuum left by the fall of Marxist regimes. Christians in particular bemoan the influx of Western and Eastern cults [and] pseudo-religions such as astrology and clairvoyance....Free societies inevitably will include those who abuse freedom. Nevertheless, Western evangelical Christians should do everything in their power to encourage responsible, culturally nuanced, cooperative efforts on behalf of the cause of Christ in the East."
CRI is rising to this pressing challenge through several initiatives. And with your help, Christians in Eastern Europe will be able to develop biblical discernment skills to understand and combat the counterfeit religious systems being imported from the West.
Now, for a gift of $20 to Project Europa, you can equip a pastor or Christian worker in the former Soviet Union with a copy of the new Russian-language edition of The Kingdom of the Cults. Your gift will also provide the means for CRI to develop and translate tracts and other badly needed materials into Eastern European languages.
Just mark your gift "Project Europa" to indicate your desire to be involved in this groundbreaking opportunity. And if you'd like to receive updates on this ministry outreach, please write to CRI's International Division.
You can also order your own copy of "The Kingdom of the Cults" in Russian from CRI for $10. Request item # B-001RU.
End of document, CRN0067A.TXT (original CRI file name), "What's New In The Headlines" and "Announcing 'Project Europa'" release A, July 15, 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.
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