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Alcohol is Big Factor

Reuters, April 6, 1998

Alcohol abuse is a factor in nearly 40 percent of violent crime in the United States... four in 10 violent felonies, approximately three million annually, were committed by someone who had been drinking. Some were almost three times over the allowable blood-alcohol limits and were described as heavy drinkers. The study tracked murders, rapes, sex assaults, robberies and assaults. "Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise." (Proverbs 20:1) Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. (Isaiah 5:11)

Fascinated by Hollywood

Reuters, October 12, 1998

A French teenage couple fascinated by the Hollywood film "Natural-born killers" were sentenced to long prison terms late on Friday on charges of killing a classmate in especially perverse circumstances. It was the second murder trial in Paris in recent weeks in which the popular Oliver Stone film about a couple who go on a killing spree was cited. Another young French couple who were also fascinated with the film went on a killing spree after it was released murdering three policemen and a taxi driver. Oliver Stone, producer of this movie, denies that movies have any ability to influence. Our multimedia presentation "Entertaining Excess" deals with this overall issue of influence.

What Makes Us Happy.

Reuters, October 6, 1998

After spending 11 years analyzing thousands of questionnaires, Oxford Professor Michael Argyle believes he has found what makes people happy. Marriage was one of the most important guarantees of happiness, especially for men, and the least happy in society were those who are divorced or separated, his research found. Extra-marital affairs brought unhappiness because of the damage they did to the marriage. For Christians and non-Christians alike, living in the way God has said to be right will bring blessing and happiness. How much more for those that love God. Psalms 128:1-4 "Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD."

Pope Embraces Ancient Philosophy

T&T, (AP), October 17, 1998

Encyclical letters are the most authoritative form of papal teaching. In the latest one (Pope John Paul's 13th, Fides et Ratio / Faith and Reason), as usual, the 78-year-old pontiff shows he's keeping up on religious and intellectual trends worldwide.

Fides et Ratio casts a skeptical eye on various contemporary "isms." He is especially worried about what he sees as a form of fideism labeled "biblicism," in which the study of the Bible becomes "the sole criterion of truth." This section is a thunderbolt for Christian ecumenism.

A synonym for biblicism is Protestantism, which follows Martin Luther's dictum that "Scripture alone" is the final source of God's revelation. The Pope doesn't mention that.

But the most militant and successful form of his "biblicism" is the conservative evangelical movement, which competes keenly with Catholicism, especially in Latin America.

In line with Catholic teaching, John Paul insists that divine truth comes through three sources: the Bible, the sacred tradition of the church, and the Magisterium, a term that refers to the Catholic hierarchy's (i.e. the Pope's) authoritative interpretation of the Bible and tradition. Regarding other faiths and religions... These other paths may contain truth, he says, but it takes careful philosophical work to find it.

I was stopped by a new Christian a few days ago, who just wanted to talk (and our van makes it quite clear what we believe). He told me that he had trusted in Jesus only a few months before -- and like most new Christians was excited about his new faith, though still struggling with many areas in his life. He brought up his background in the Catholic church and stated that he was glad that God had opened his eyes to this false religion. But he was also concerned for his wife, who was not a Christian, and was caught up in Catholicism still.

He then said something that amazed me. Like many new believers, he was looking to hear more of the gospel, and he had been listening to a prominent Christian TV evangelist, who said that "the pope is a born-again believer." This man, who by the power of God, had his eyes opened to the truth of scriptures couldn't believe that this was so.

When baby Christians, and even the secular press, can see that Catholicism is opposed to biblical Christianity, isn't it about time that the rest of the church woke up?! I spoke also with some Latin American missionaries in the last month, they too will tell you that paganism is not their greatest opposition, it is the polluted message and spiritual bondage of the Roman Catholic church.

Regardless of what any well meaning, but uninformed, Christians, denominations, or groups may say -- the Roman Catholic church can never be reconciled to evangelical Christianity -- as long as the Catholic church holds to it's belief that the Bible is not the final authority on life and faith (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This is not negotiable. Any belief, tradition, or custom of men, that is not found in God's word needs to be exposed for what it is... a lie.

TV Vets Find TV Lacking.

Associated Press, October 12, 1998

Who is really happy with broadcast television these days? ... not such TV veterans as entertainer-author Steve Allen, the original host of NBC's "The Tonight Show," and producer Norman Lear of "All in the Family" fame. Ask these two 76-year-olds, separately, about the state of the medium and they are blunt about what each sees as its short-changing of viewers. And they have something to say about how to fix what is broken. A series of newspaper ads (in about 50 newspapers now, 70 more later) is running nationwide with his photo and this call to arms: "TV is Leading Children Down a Moral Sewer. How you and I Can Stop It." Allen condemns TV for "steamy unmarried sex situations, filthy jokes, perversion, vulgarity and violence," and asks parents to pressure advertisers to shun such programs." "Seven-year-old children are watching this garbage. Nobody yet has told me that's good news for our nation." As for Norman Lear, he was asked... But if the viewers seem satisfied with empty fare that's heavy on titillation, aren't they getting the shows they deserve? "I'm the last one to believe they get what they deserve," Lear said. Viewers with busy lives shouldn't be burdened with having to take the lead, he says; that's the task of "Those in positions of leadership." With even media industry voices decrying the state of our television, isn't it about time for Christians to be reevaluating what they're watching in the name of entertainment. We can't leave it up to "those in positions of leadership" -- we're responsible for our own actions and thoughts and for the upbringing of our children. "...we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)"

Shooter is Satanist

Fayetteville Observer-Times, June 12, 1998

Luke Woodham testified Thursday that he opened fire on his Pearl High School classmates after becoming involved in satanism, which he said bestowed "power over many things."

When (he and his girlfriend) broke up about a year before the shootings, Woodham said through tears, he was devastated. ... shortly after that Grant Boyette, an older friend, confided that he worshipped Satan and asked Woodham to join his group, saying that Woodham had "the potential to do something great." (His girlfriend was one of the people Woodham shot). With rock stars like Marilyn Manson promoting Satanism, it is finding a new popularity among many teens and young adults. A desire for power and rebellion are the two primary reasons for joining.

Halloween retailers target adults

CNN, Oct. 30, 1997

Look out kids. Halloween is being taken over by your parents and their friends. Halloween produces the second-largest holiday related sales, behind only the Christmas season. Consumers are expected to spend more than $2.5 billion this year on Halloween themed products, from traditional candy and costumes to beer parties and Count Chocula cereal sales.

In recent years, retailers and food companies have been pitching the holiday as a month-long excuse for a party for adults. Their strategy is working: Halloween is now second only to New Year's Eve in the number of (adult) parties thrown, according to industry experts.

The Halloween marketing charm also works for the pizza business. Capitalizing on its scary sounding name to boost sales, Tombstone Pizza (Kraft), saw it sales go up 32 percent in the last week of October.

For more on Halloween contact us for our popular booklet entitled Hell-o-ween -- or see our multimedia presentation by the same name.


Edited by Brent MacDonald of Lion Tracks Ministries. All editiorial comment is in italics. (c) 1998. This electronic version is formatted different than the original. Feel free to duplicate as long as the source is cited.