In retrospect we view the year just past with grateful hearts and realize “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psa. 121:2‑4) “He showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.” (Psa. 147:19,20)
As we review the year 1999, the last year of the century and the millennium, we recall that it was an eventful year of the world: The war in Kosovo, two terrible earthquakes in Turkey and others in Mexico and Taiwan, hurricanes and unprecedented flooding, both here and abroad, as well as the threat of a serious disease epidemic in New York. These are some of the occurrences of the year preceding the start of the new millennium which have caused many people to think this will be the end of the world. They are fearful for what might transpire.
In spite of all the bad things that happened in the past year, there was the gratifying knowledge that there were many good people who came to the assistance of those in the troubled areas, sacrificing their own interests and some risking their lives. This reminds us that there are still some who have a vestige of “his own image” (Gen. 1:27), in which God created man. For this we are very thankful.
1999 IN REVIEW:
(1) President Clinton is acquitted of impeachment charges.
(2) The world prepares for potential Y2K computer crisis.
(3) Columbine high school is devastated by a mass shooting.
(4) John F. Kennedy Jr. is killed in a plane crash.
(5) The Microsoft trial ends with a judge ruling that it is a monopoly.
(6) Egypt Air flight 990 crashes killing 217 persons.
(7) Hurricane Floyd devastates eastern North Carolina.
(8) NATO launches air strikes on Kosovo.
(9) The federal government enjoys a growing surplus.
(10) Golfer Payne Stewart is killed in bizarre jet crash.
(11) There is a nationwide movement toward accountability in education.
(12) Allegations surface about alleged Chinese theft of U.S. nuclear‑missile secrets.
(13) Venezuela had widespread floods and mudslides that have killed 20,000 to 30,000.
(14) Vermont Supreme Court grants homosexual couples spousal benefits.
“HURRICANES: CAN POWER BE SHUT OFF? Scientists are looking into covering the ocean with temporary film that would block the exchange of heat and moisture, sapping hurricanes’ strength before they hit land. MIAMI – In an attempt to give man an advantage over nature, scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are experimenting with ways to thwart the power before it hits land.
“Hurricanes draw their power from warm ocean waters, and if that source of energy were cut off, the storm might die.
“This new idea has its skeptics. Some wonder what would happen if the plan went awry and somehow made the storm worse.
‘III suspect that the public might view with concern humans playing God with such potentially destructive aspects of nature,’ said Roger E. Kasperson, director of The George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., which studies natural and technological hazards.” (Excerpts from The Orlando Sentinel, July 5, 1999)
We welcome any science that can help mankind. However, in Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Dent. 29:29)
“BILLIONAIRE DIES IN MONACO BLAZE: 2 armed men set Edmond Safra’s penthouse on fire after he locked himself in. MONTE CARLO, Monaco – Edmond Safra, one of the world’s richest men, was killed in a fire Friday when two knife‑wielding, hooded intruders burst into his Riviera penthouse before dawn and then set the place ablaze after Safra sought refuge in a locked bathroom.
“The 67‑year‑old Lebanese banker and founder of the Republic National Bank of New York had clients in the United States, Latin America and Russia. His slaying shocked the banking world and sent shudders through this quiet principality.
“Safra and his nurse, Viviane Torrent, fled to a bathroom in the two‑story penthouse after the 5 a.m. intrusion, and both suffocated in the fire, Daniel Serdet, the chief prosecutor of Monaco, said at a news conference. His wife, Lily, and her granddaughter hid in another room and were unharmed. Safra’s male nurse, who had called police, received two minor knife wounds in his leg and stomach during a scuffle with the intruders, Serdet said.
“The billionaire’s bodyguard, who was supposed to be in the apartment, was being questioned by police Friday night about his absence at the time of the attack, Serdet said.
“The motive for the attack on Safra, who led a discreet but opulent lifestyle, was not immediately known.
“Forbes magazine this year listed Safra as one of the world’s top billionaires – No. 199. He was believed to control more than $2.5 billion and was an official resident of Monaco, a principality used as a tax haven by the very rich.
“The prosecutor said the male nurse alerted police of the presence of the armed men. Safra, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, managed to hole up in the bathroom with his female nurse.
“Unable to reach Safra, the attackers set a fire outside his penthouse, police said. The blaze quickly spread to the domed roof of the building.”
(The Orlando Sentinel, December 4, 1999)
Comment: We have been told that Edmond Safra contributed to Israel liberally.
1999 was another record year for the economy. The stock market has been strong all year and the market hit a record high in late December. Stocks rose amid fresh signs that the U.S. economy is growing at a moderate rate. The federal government tell us that our inflation rate has been lower this year. In fact, the prime rate was raised this year to keep inflation down. There is still a good chance that in the year 2000 we will have inflation and some predictions are that we will have a soft economy starting in the second quarter of 2000.
U.S. industry output continues to grow, but factories and businesses are not stocking up to avoid supply problems that could develop from a potential year‑2000 computer glitches.
Economist David Orr, of First Union Corporation in Charlotte, N.C., pointed to recent uptakes in capacity utilization for the manufacturing sector, which was 80.12 in November, as cause for potential Fed concern. The overall figure is often disrupted by weather-dependent utilities, he said. The labor market is already very tight, and the increasing utilization of industrial capacity could give Fed policy makers another indication that the economy is reaching its limits, Mr. Orr explained. That makes Fed policy makers more likely to gradually raise interest rates which is expected in early 2000.
In the year 2000 we will have a presidential election in the U.S. There are a lot of promises being made. One that has a lot of appeal is by George W. Bush, who is Governor of Texas, and is now running for his first national election. He is recommending an across the board tax reduction. Under the Bush plan, there would be four tax brackets: 10%, 15%, 25% and 33%. The rates now run from 15% up to 39.6%. While the upper income bracket would fare very well, the lower income bracket would have more money. Under this plan, the lower income persons would have more money than under the bill that was vetoed by Clinton. However, these lower rates would be phased in and probably would be effective after 2005. Bush is proposing to raise the current $500 cap on education from IRAs to $5,000 and expand it to cover pre‑college school. That would be great as the country is having the highest high school dropout rate in history. Also, under Bush’s plan, estate and gift taxes would be repealed gradually over the next nine to ten years. However, all politicians make great promises.
Overall, the economy is good, however gold is still at an all time low which is hard to understand. The world is operating on debt. The Fed reported business debt accelerated to a 10.4% rate.
What we can do to be prepared in this Time of Trouble is to “watch and pray” (Mark 13:33) so that we will not be caught “unaware.” (Luke 21:34)
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES: In their December 1, 1999 Watchtower, page 9, they advertise “GLAD TIDINGS” FROM THE APOCALYPSE, citing Scriptures in Revelation Chapters 20 and 21 which refer to the Thousand Year Reign of Christ and His Kingdom government and the human society where death and mourning and pain will be no more, and quote Revelation 20:6 and 21:1,4.
The Witnesses say they are really the mouthpiece of a symbolic heavenly messenger whose mission is also described in Revelation 14:6 and 11:15,17,18, which they quote. The message of the Kingdom was given by Brother Russell and his co‑laborers, and since his death Bible Student groups have continued to teach the Kingdom on earth. That Servant told us the Time of Trouble started in 1914, and it has continued to increase in intensity ever since.
With all the changes the Witnesses have made over the years, they continue to teach the great multitude of Revelation 7 as themselves – as an earthly class. The whole seventh chapter of Revelation gives two heavenly classes. The saints are the overcomers who are more than conquerors. While the great multitude, whom we call the Great Company, are overcomers but are not more than conquerors. The Great Company consecrated under the High Calling but they were crown‑losers, so are remanded to a lower heavenly class and will serve before the throne, rather than on the throne. The prototype of the Witnesses is Papacy. They too claimed to be An Angel of Light and deceived the whole world. “And ono marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Cor. 11:14,15)
THE LAYMENS HOME MISSIONARY MOVEMENT: They are still teaching their newcomers that they can consecrate in the Camp and be ahead of the Jews in the earthly Kingdom. Not many of the Lord’s people seem to know about the Tabernacle Types. When Brother Russell read and studied 1 Cor. 10:11 he then studied the Tabernacle. When he got acquainted with the types and understood the antitypes he wrote Tabernacle Shadows. Knowing the Tabernacle types and antitypes enabled him to write the Six Volumes of Studies In the Scriptures. Too, the antitypes of the Tabernacle are a condition and not a place. The Camp condition is not for consecration until the Kingdom. Some who believe that they are now consecrated in the Camp may be in the Court condition, if they are working to develop a character fit for the Master’s use.
“THE REAL MESSAGE OF CREATIONISM: It brings religious values into schools by the back door. Why not the front? When the Kansas Board of Education voted recently to eliminate evolution from the state science curriculum, the sophisticates had quite a yuck. One editorial cartoon had an ape reclining in a tree telling his mate, “We are descended from the Kansas School Board.” The decision has been widely derided as a sign of resurgent Middle American obscurantism, a throwback to the Scopes ‘monkey trial.’
“Well, to begin with, the Scopes trial is not the great fable the rather fictional Inherit the Wind made it out to be. The instigators of the trial were not bluenosed know-nothings wanting to persecute some poor teacher for teaching evolution. They were officials of the American Civil Liberties Union so eager for a test case to overturn a new Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution that they promised to pay the expenses of the prosecution) The ACLU advertised for a volunteer and found one John Scopes, football coach and science teacher, willing to take the rap. He later said he was not sure whether he’d ever even taught any evolution.
“Son of Scopes is not quite what it seems either. The twist in the modern saga is the injection of creationism as the scientific alternative to evolution. So, let’s be plain. Creationism, which presents Genesis as literally and historically true, is not science. It is faith crudely disguised as science.
“It is not science because it violates the central scientific canon that a theory must, at least in principle, be disprovable. Creationism is not. Any evidence that might be brought – fossil, geological, astronomical – to contradict the idea that the universe is no more than 6,000 years old is simply explained away as false clues deliberately created by God at the very beginning.
“Why? To test our faith? To make fools of modern science? This is hardly even good religion. God may be mysterious, but he is certainly not malicious. And who but a malicious deity would have peppered the universe with endless phony artifacts designed to confound human reason?
“Creationism has no part in the serious curriculum of any serious country. Still, I see no reason why biblical creation could not be taught in the schools – not as science, of course, but for its mythic grandeur and moral dimensions. If we can assign the Iliad and the Odyssey, we certainly ought to be able to assign Genesis.
“But can we? There’s a rub. It is very risky to assign Genesis today. The ACLU might sue. Ever since the Supreme Court decision of 1963 barring prayer from the public schools, any attempt to import not just prayer but biblical studies, religious tenets and the like into the schools is liable to end up in court.
“That is why the Kansas school board decision on evolution is so significant. Not because Kansas is the beginning of a creationist wave – as science, creationism is too fundamentally frivolous and evolution too intellectually powerful ‑but because the Kansas decision is an important cultural indicator.
“It represents the reaction of people of faith to the fact that all legitimate expressions of that faith in their children’s public schooling are blocked by the new secular ethos. In a society in which it is unconstitutional to post the Ten Commandments in school, creationism is a back door to religion, brought in under the guise – the absurd yet constitutionally permitted guise – of science.
“This pedagogic sleight of hand, by the way, did not originate with religious folk. Secularists have for years been using biology instruction as a back door for inculcating their values. A sex‑ed class on the proper placement of a condom is more than instruction in reproductive mechanics. It is a seminar – unacknowledged and tacit but nonetheless powerful – on permissible sexual mores.
“Religion – invaluable in America’s founding, forming and flowering – deserves a place in the schools. Indeed, it had that place for almost 200 years. A healthy country would teach its children evolution and the Ten Commandments. The reason that Kansas is going to have precisely the opposite the worst of both worlds – is not because Kansans are primitives, but because a religious people has tried to bring the fruits of faith, the teachings and higher values of religion, into the schools and been stymied.
“The result is a kind of perverse Law of Conservation of Faith. Block all teaching of religious ideas? O.K. we’ll sneak them in through biology.
“This is nutty. It has kids looking for God in all the wrong places. For the purposes of a pluralist society, the Bible is not about fact. It is about values. If we were a bit more tolerant about allowing the teaching of biblical values as ethics, we’d find far less pressure for the teaching of biblical fables as science.” (By Charles Krauthammer, Time, November 22, 1999)
God’s word is true, therefore scientific. However, all translations have errors made by man. We appreciate Charles Krauthammer wanting to put in creation as the Bible teaches. So far as creation of a 24‑hour day is debatable because many do not know that a year with the Lord is a thousand years, and the seven days of creation are actually an epoch, a period of seven thousand years each. We have two articles on Creation, No. 390 and 391, which we would be glad to send anyone that requests them.
“FALWELL: ANTICHRIST IS ALIVE: WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA – The Rev. Jerry Falwell said that the antichrist is probably alive today and is a male Jew. He also said he believes that the second coming of Christ will probably be within 10 years.
“In a speech Thursday about the fears people have over the new millennium, Falwell told about 1,500 people at a conference on evangelism at Kingsport, Tennessee, that the antichrist is male and is a Jew.
“‘Who will the antichrist be? I don’t know. Nobody else knows,”’ said Falwell, the minister of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg.
“‘Is he alive and here today? Probably. Because when he appears during the Tribulation period he will be a full‑grown counterfeit of Christ. Of course he’ll be Jewish.”’ (Winston‑Salem Journal, January 16, 1999)
Comment: We have an article on Antichrist, No. 394, that tells us who he is.
“CHURCH AND HEALTH: Duke University has done a study that shows that elderly people who go to church live longer. But before you commit to trading in the golf course for a church pew on Sunday morning, you should perhaps listen to the words of the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Harold Koenig, a psychiatrist at Duke:
“‘These studies do not show that if they (the elderly) are going to church for health reasons, their health will improve. But if people go to church for religious reasons, they have better health and survive longer.’
“In other words, God can tell which of you are hypocrites. If you start going to church, you better mean it.” (A mini editorial, Winston‑Salem Journal, July 24, 1999)
CATHOLICS: “DID A WARTIME POPE ANTICIPATE A NAZI VICTORY?: Few states guard their archives more closely than the Vatican. But as the United States and other nations continue declassifying their World War II documents, more and more details of the behavior and attitude of the Vatican’s wartime leader, Pope Pius XII, have come to light.
“Now it appears that during some of the most crucial moments of the war, the Vatican believed that Nazi Germany would probably defeat the Allies. In a recently rediscovered coded cable sent to the State Department on June 29, 1942, Harold Tittmann, the U.S. envoy to the Holy See, reports that ‘a highly placed Vatican official has intimated to me for the first time... that he did not (repeat not) believe that the Allies were in a position to win the war in Europe...’
“This latest insight into the Vatican view of nazi power – combined with Pope Pius’s obsessive fear of Soviet communism – lends new understanding to the wartime pope’s refusal to unequivocally condemn the Nazi slaughter of the Jews. It also adds a new dimension to controversy over the extent of the Vatican’s participation in the postwar ‘rat‑line,’ odious underground railroad that smuggled ‘anti‑communist’ Nazi war criminals and sympathizers from Europe to Latin America – together with major parts of loot plundered from Jews and other victims of Naziism.
“A soon to be released Argentine government report confirms the Holy See’s hand in seeking Latin American visas for fleeing Nazis...
“Booty: The Vatican especially interceded on behalf of Croatia’s Ustasha Nazis, including Anton Pavelic, the Ustasha “fuhrer” who played a major role in the extermination of tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. The new Argentine government report, the result of three years of intense research, confirms that senior Vatican ‘personalities’ pressed for the postwar ‘escape to Argentina of Pavelic, together with a relatively important retinue of followers and looted assets.’ Included in those assets: almost $50 million in jewelry as well as gold coins and ingots, much of it plundered from Yugoslav Jews, and part of as much as $250 million in Ustasha booty believed stashed for ‘safekeeping’ in the Vatican treasury at the end of the war.” (By Richard C. Chesnoff, U. S. News & World Report, November 15, 1999)
“INDEFENSIBLE: The Vatican has announced plans to release an archival book defending the wartime actions of Pope Pius XII. The book, Pius XII and the Second World War, is intended to counter the recently published book, Hitler’s Pope, which portrays the Pontiff as an anti‑Semite who helped Hitler consolidate power. History records that Puis XII failed to publicly denounce the Nazi persecution of the Jews.” (World Jewry, November 1999)
“POPE: HELL ISN’T HOT, BUT IT’S REAL: VATICAN CITY – Forget the flames and the devils with pitchforks. A week after telling the Roman Catholic faithful that heaven was not up in the clouds, Pope John Paul II said Wednesday that hell was not a physical place either.
“Lest sinners think they can get off lightly, though, the pontiff said hell is for real and, rather than being inflicted by God, it is something sinners bring on themselves.
“‘Hell is not a punishment imposed externally by God, but the condition resulting from attitudes and actions which people adopt in this life,’ he said.
“‘More than a physical place, hell is the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy,’ the pontiff said in a weekly audience. “‘So eternal damnation is not God’s work but is actually our own doing.’
“Churches around the world are filled with frescoes depicting tormented souls denied access to heaven populating a hideous wasteland to be tortured and suffer for all eternity.
“The pope described hell instead as ‘the pain, frustration and emptiness of life without God.’ But demons do exit, the pope said.
“‘Christian faith teaches us that there are creatures who have already given a definitive no to God. These are the spirits which rebelled against God and whom we call demons,’ he said.
“Such creatures serve as a warning for human beings, he said: ‘Eternal damnation remains a real possibility for us, too.’
“The pontiff’s end‑of‑millennium guidelines on hell came a week after he told pilgrims heaven was not ‘a physical place in the clouds but a living and personal relationship of union with the Holy Trinity,’ and that a foretaste could be had on earth.
“‘If we are able to enjoy properly the good things that the Lord showers upon us every day of our earthly lives, then we have begun to experience the joy which will be completely ours in the next life,’ he said.
“The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the good go straight to heaven, serious sinners go to hell and those who have not led perfect lives go to purgatory, a period of purification before they can enter heaven.” (By Jude Webber, Reuters, 1999)
Comment: It is Jezebel painting her face (2 Kings 9:30) in antitype.
“VATICAN ISSUES A NEW MANUAL ON INDULGENCES: Church says it won’t hurt its new agreement with Lutherans on faith. VATICAN CITY – The Vatican issued an updated manual on indulgences, offering new ways of receiving forgiveness for Catholics who courageously manifest their faith.
“Vatican officials also insisted that the new attention on indulgences – the forgiveness of sins through good works – should not harm recently improved relations with the Lutheran church.
“The new manual incorporates the pope’s directives on indulgences, including advice that individuals can do penance by such simple acts as giving up smoking for a day.
“The cardinal in charge of indulgence policy, William Wakefield Baum, was asked if this new attention to indulgence could hurt relations with Lutherans.
“‘I’m convinced that exposition of true Catholic doctrine on indulgences is a great contribution to ecumenical dialogue,’ especially with Lutherans, the cardinal said.” (Excerpts from Winston‑Salem Journal, September 19 1999)
“ORTHODOX WANT AN APOLOGY: ATHENS, Greece – Pope John Paul II must apologize for centuries of perceived Roman Catholic misdeeds against the Christian Orthodox to receive a religious welcome in Greece, Greek Orthodox Church leaders said yesterday.
“A spokesman for the synod, metropolitan Kallinkos, made clear that if the pope wants to visit he must show ‘humility and repentance’ for what some Orthodox clerics consider a long history of Vatican‑sponsored aggression and arrogance. The demand opens rifts that could embarrass political leaders and encourage anti‑papal demonstrations.” (Excerpts from Winston‑Salem Journal, September 7, 1999)
BAPTIST: “JEWISH LEADER SAYS BAPTIST RELATIONS SOUR: NEW YORK – Official relations between Judaism and America’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, are the worst they have been in decades, a Jewish leader says.
“The rift with America’s largest Protestant group widened when its 1996 annual meeting issued a resolution urging Baptists to ‘direct our energies and resources’ to evangelism among Jews, said Rabbi A. James Rudin, the interreligious affairs director of the American Jewish Committee.
“More recently, Jewish leaders were angered when the Baptist foreign mission board issued a guide asking church members to pray for conversion of Jews to Christianity during this month’s High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
“Other U.S. Christian denominations have downplayed or repudiated such evangelism. There is little formal discussion between Southern Baptists and Jews at the national level, said Rudin, who was raised among Baptists in northern Virginia and has held many talks with conservative evangelicals in his 31 years as a participant in efforts at dialogue with Christians. ‘They’re out to convert us, so what’s there to converse about?’
“He stressed that there is great variety among the 15.9 million Southern Baptists. Many have excellent relations with Jews in local communities, he said.” (The Orlando Sentinel, September 30, 1999)
METHODIST: “RELIGION IN THE FAST LANE: The latest issue of the magazine of the American Enterprise Institute takes note of the sponsorship by the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church of a race car on the Legends circuit, where you can now see cars advertising cigarettes, beer, laundry detergent and the Methodist Church (complete with the phone number for a 24‑hour dial‑a‑prayer service).
Marketing may be called something else when it comes to religion, but its objective is the same: Get the message out. One small glitch is that the driver of the Methodist car, Sam Beam, is a Presbyterian.” (Winston‑Salem Journal, October 16, 1999)
EPISCOPALIAN: “DISPUTE OVER A PLACE FOR HOMOSEXUALS LEADING TO SCHISM IN EPISCOPAL CHURCH: BROCKTON, Mass. – When the Episcopal diocese of Massachusetts decided to bless same‑sex marriages and allow ordination of homosexuals, the parishioners at St. Paul’s wanted no part of it.
“They stopped paying the church’s annual assessment. They aligned themselves with a conservative retired bishop. And they voted to secede from the diocese and align themselves with the Episcopal Synod of America, a group of conservative bishops arid parishes.
“Last week they held services on the sidewalk after the diocese got a court order forcing them to give the building’s keys and records to a new minister.
“The dispute lays bare a growing nationwide schism between conservatives and liberals in the Episcopal Church that some conservative church leaders predict will end with a formal split between the two sides.
“‘There’s an increasingly hostile climate for orthodox Christianity within the Episcopal Church,’ said the Rev. Samuel Edwards, the executive director of the Episcopal Synod of America, based in Fort Worth Texas. ‘It’s a very serious problem.’ Edwards said that the synod already has 70 member congregations.
“Now, with more and more dioceses allowing homosexuals to become priests, dissent in the church has grown louder.
“Last summer, an international conference in Canterbury, England, approved a resolution declaring homosexual behavior incompatible with biblical teachings.
“The conference was of bishops leading the 70 million Anglicans in the world, including Episcopalians in the United States.
“After the Canterbury vote, the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese voted to oppose the resolution.
“Edwards of the Synod said he thinks the issue will lead ‘sooner rather than later’ to a split in the Church. ‘We’ve recognized for some years that eventually what will emerge is a distinct orthodox Anglican province in North America,’ he said.” (The Associated Press, March 21, 1999)
LUTHERAN: “GENTLE PERSUASION: According to a recently aired Finnish Broadcasting Company documentary, some of the country’s leading churchmen were swayed by Nazism in the 1930s and 1940s.
“According to the program, as a result of close contacts between some Finnish and German Lutheran theologians during the Nazi era, some Finnish Children in Sunday schools during World War II were taught that it was a Jewish lie that Jesus was born a Jew.” (World Jewry, October 1999)
“DEBATE OVER: Lutherans approve alliance with Episcopal Church. DENVER – After years of debate, the nation’s biggest Lutheran organization voted yesterday to form an alliance with the Episcopal Church under which they will exchange clergy, recognize each other’s sacraments and cooperate in missionary projects. The Episcopalians are expected to approve the agreement during a convention next year.
“Opponents objected to the agreement’s requirement that Lutherans follow an ordination practice known as the historic episcopate, in which a bishop is installed by a laying‑on of hands by three predecessor bishops from a line believed to extend back to Christ’s apostles.
“Lutheran teachings do not require such historic succession, and many of the world’s Lutheran bodies do not practice it. This is the first time that any U.S. Protestant body has approved such a relationship with an American denomination that follows the historic episcopate. Catholic and Orthodox churches also follow the practice.
“Supporters said that the time had come for a change. Two years ago, the Episcopal Church overwhelmingly approved a similar alliance, but it fell just short of passage by the Lutherans. The agreement has been slightly reworked since then.
“The Lutherans have previously approved similar agreements with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ.” (Excerpts from Winston‑Salem Journal, August 20, 1999)
Comment: “Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.” (Isa. 54:15)
“HINN IS CUTTING TIES WITH ORLANDO: Flamboyant televangelist Benny Hinn is closing his Orlando ministry and church, the World Outreach Center, four months after moving his headquarters to Texas.
“Hinn told his congregation during the summer that he was moving his headquarters to Texas because ‘God has spoken.’
“Hinn, 46, already had moved his television operation and his personal residence to Southern California.” (Excerpts from Mark I. Pinsky, The Orlando Sentinel, November 27, 1999)
Comment: Jesus healed at no charge, and even raised the dead. Jesus will resurrect everybody in due time, with no charge. (John 5:28,29 and Acts 24:15)
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION – Do you think the Kingdom is imminent.
ANSWER – When the Time of Trouble is over the Kingdom will be even at the door. But we do not know when that will be. We know the Lord has an appointed time. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry [it seems to us], wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Hab. 2:3)