articles from the Headline News and International columns of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 6: Number 3, 1993.
The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
Reports of the Death of Religion Are Greatly Exaggerated, a New Survey of People in a Dozen Nations Indicates.
The May 22 New York Times reports that "a majority of people in all but the former East Germany said they believed in God. Belief was most pervasive in the United States, Poland, and Ireland, where 90 percent or more of the respondents in each country said they believed in God. In the former Communist-ruled East Germany, slightly more than a quarter of those surveyed said they were believers."
The survey was conducted by the Rev. Andrew Greeley, who concluded from his research: "It is too early to write an obituary notice for religion....God didn't die; not even under socialism."
Islam Continues to Grow at a Fast Pace in the United States.
The New York Times recently ran a four-part series on "Muslims in America," May 2-7. Part One in the series indicates that at present there are between three and four million Muslims in the United States. "If recent trends continue, they are likely to surpass the six million Jews here sometime early in the next century." As well, "there are now more than 1,100 mosques in the United States; almost every state has at least one, and a recent study indicated that about 80 percent had been founded within the last 12 years."
"Islam is an American religion," Professor Yvonne Y. Haddad, an expert in Islamic studies at the University of Massachusetts, is quoted as saying in the article. Haddad "sees Islam taking on an American flavor, and at the same time influencing the nation's culture." Indeed, "many thousands of American citizens face Mecca and pray to Allah five times a day, and some girls in public schools are wearing head covers in traditional Islamic fashion. There are tens of thousands of children for whom religious teaching is not catechism or lessons in Hebrew, but an introduction to the Five Pillars of Islam and the Arabic language."
A New National Survey Indicates that Only 1 Percent of Men Are Gay.
The April 26 issue of Time magazine reports that this survey, one of the most thorough studies on male sexual behavior ever conducted, "found that only 1% of the 3,321 men surveyed said they considered themselves exclusively homosexual."
For years the gay movement has fervently argued that 10 percent of the population is gay. The article notes that "in seeking to win political clout and public acceptance, gays and their leaders have long sought refuge in numbers -- specifically in the 10% figure for homosexuality that Alfred Kinsey turned up in his 1948 study of human sexuality."
The article notes that some researchers had already been skeptical of the 10 percent statistic for homosexuality. "In their book Kinsey, Sex and Fraud, Dr. J. Gordon Muir and his two co-authors pointed out that 1 out of 4 of Kinsey's male subjects were former or present prisoners, a high proportion were sex offenders, and many were recruited from his own lectures." This is obviously not a representative sampling of the general public.
Recent surveys conducted in France, Britain, Canada, Norway, and Denmark indicate a homosexual population "in the 1% to 4% range," Time reports. As well, "one of the most comprehensive surveys of sex in America ever done will be released next year by University of Chicago researchers. So far, it shows that of the 1,500 men surveyed, only 2% had engaged in sex with another man in the previous 12 months."
In the Aftermath of the Fiery End of David Koresh's Branch Davidian Cult in Waco, Texas, Major Religious and Civil Liberties Organizations Have Issued a Joint Statement Opposing Any Government Attempt to Define What Is a Valid Religion.
As reported in the May 8 New York Times, "Government has no business declaring what is orthodox or heretical, or what is a true or false religion," the statement said. "History teaches that today's 'cults' may become tomorrow's mainstream religions." The statement continued, "In the midst of our national mourning, we must fend off any inclination to shrink from our commitment to religious pluralism or to seek security at the expense of liberty."
James M. Dunn, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee, who initiated the statement, recalled that following the 1978 suicide of 911 members of the famous Jonestown cult in Guyana, there were numerous attempts by government agencies to evaluate religious beliefs. "We fully anticipate there will be such attempts this time," Dunn said, "and we wanted to say loud and clear and with the greatest consensus possible that government needs to try harder to understand religion, but you don't need to get into the business of assessing religion."
The joint statement does not absolve religious groups from responsibility. "Religion is no excuse for violent or criminal conduct that harms other people or threatens public safety or welfare. Absent compelling justification, however, the government should not restrict religious exercise. And force -- if ever appropriate -- must be employed as a last resort," the New York Times reports.
CRI Brazil Equipping Christians to Answer Faith Movement
The remarkable growth of evangelical Christianity in Brazil has been reported with wonder and enthusiasm in both secular and Christian publications. But the nation's millions of believers are in constant danger from a host of cults and aberrant doctrines.
The Faith Movement. One particularly serious threat is the Faith movement, which has spread rapidly over the past five years. More than twenty of Kenneth Hagin's books are now available in Portuguese, and a host of Brazilian and Portuguese disciples and imitators are promoting his theology over the airwaves and in print -- with tremendous success.
Pastors whose ministries were once exemplary are now thoroughly infected with the Faith message. Benny Hinn has been scheduled for his second Brazilian appearance at the Full Gospel Business Men's convention in Rio this August. And the pastor of Sao Paulo's historic downtown Methodist church is bringing Kenneth Hagin to Brazil later this year.
To respond to the growing damage and confusion left in the Faith movement's wake, CRI Brazil director Paulo Romeiro wrote SuperCrentes: O Evangelho Segundo Kenneth Hagin, Valnice Milhomens e os Profetas da Prosperidade (SuperBelievers: The Gospel According to Kenneth Hagin, Valnice Milhomens, and the Prophets of Prosperity). In it he fairly but forcefully exposes and refutes the teachings of positive confession and related doctrines in the light of Scripture.
Reaction to SuperCrentes has been remarkable. A number of Brazil's top evangelical leaders quickly and enthusiastically endorsed the book, and its entire first printing sold out in only a month! (The third printing is already in preparation.) One church ordered 300 copies. Phones at CRI Brazil ring steadily with expressions of thanks from callers, some tearful, who describe how the book has touched their lives.
One such person is the manager of a Christian bookstore in Sao Paulo who lost his brother to cancer. He told Paulo Romeiro that right up until his brother's death, followers of positive confession were constantly telling him that his brother was healed. He added: "I had to bear the pain of the death plus the pain of the guilt." Now, thanks to the book, the pain of the lie is gone, and the manager's walk with Christ is back on track.
One Presbyterian pastor in Sao Paulo was fired for promoting the book from the pulpit. Other ministers and churches are abandoning the Faith message after reading it.
SuperCrentes is now available from CRI in the U.S. for $7 plus $1 for shipping and handling. Call or write CRI and order item # B-015PO. (Supplies are limited.)
Other Cultic Movements. According to the May 12, 1993 issue of )IstoE, a leading newsmagazine, Brazil's Roman Catholic hierarchy is developing an ambitious counteroffensive to the rapid growth of evangelical churches. The Catholic strategy includes not only such conventional means as radio and television, but features the use of elements from Afro-Brazilian spiritist cults in the mass in order to increase its appeal!
Meanwhile, the May 24 edition of the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reports that the Mormon church has announced the construction of "the largest missionary training center in South America," to be located in Sao Paulo. The center will cost $2.6 million and should be finished in 18 months. Groundbreaking was set for June 10, and construction is scheduled to begin in October. "When operating at full capacity, the new center will graduate 10,000 missionaries per year, increasing [the church's] current capacity by 500%."
-- Paul Carden
End of document, CRN0069A.TXT (original CRI file name), "What's New In The Headlines" and "CRI Brazil Equipping Christians to Answer Faith Movement" 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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