At the beginning of the New Year we again express our appreciation and gratitude for His overruling Providence and blessings of the past year. “O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord.” (Psa. 117:1,2)
Crime is escalating in big cities as well as small towns, despite the fact that our good officers risk their lives to protect us and bring the criminals to justice. Diseases are also a problem, especially for the needy, although medical science has been a great help. However, medical science has been unable to cure terminal disease such as ALZHEIMERS, AIDS, etc. They are still diligently searching for cures.
“Northern Italy Ransacked By Rains: ROME – The government promised more than $1.9 billion in emergency relief Tuesday for areas devastated by flooding and mudslides that have claimed at least 58 lives in northern Italy.
“Rescuers reached all but 11 villages isolated by the devastation caused by torrential rains, defense authorities said.
“Ten thousand people were left homeless and several dozen remained missing. Treasury police joined the army of civil defense workers guarding against looters and price gouging. Cheap rubber boots were going for the equivalent of $65 in the Piedmontese town of Asti, RAI state television said.
“Two days after the worst of the rains, much of the north presented a devastated landscape. Upside-down cars floated down mud-churned rivers. A television set was lodged in a tree, and a dead pig hung halfway out of a farm-building window.
“The Cabinet met in emergency session Tuesday and decided on a $1.9 billion relief package. The expenditure comes as the government is proposing unpopular budget cuts to cope with a $100 billion deficit.
“Damage in Piedmont alone amounted to $3.5 billion, officials said. The regional council called it the ‘worst natural calamity that has befallen Piedmont in the memory of man.’
“Most devastated in the three-day deluge was the Piedmont’s rich agricultural area, famed for its red and sparkling white wines, truffles and Fiat cars. Fields, wineries, cattle farms, small businesses and factories across the region were destroyed.
“Fiat, based in Piedmont’s main city of Turin, stopped an assembly line because parts couldn’t reach the plant. It was thought to be the first weather-related stoppage since World War II.
“The Ferrero confectionery company, one of Europe’s largest, shut down – coated with mud. The company put the damage at $65 million.
“Rain tapered off Tuesday but clouds filled the skies and showers were scattered.” (The Orlando Sentinel, November 9, 1994)
The disasters with floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and fires, have brought much grief to many people. Some have lost their lives, and many have lost their homes. The courage manifested by people who have suffered much from these disasters is commendable to behold. We are grateful for the good people who have gone to their aid. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Prov. 15:3) “The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.” (Psa. 145:9) We have deep sympathy for those who have suffered and are still suffering from these disasters. “We weep with them that weep.” (Rom. 12:15)
God will bring peace and happiness to mankind in due time. Man is unable to solve these problems. “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:6,7) The “desire of all nations” will come to the Jew, Catholic, Free Mason, Protestant and Moslem – to the whole world. It will be the answer to our prayers, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10)
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Hab. 2:3) “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)
“On Abortion, Science And Scripture Agree: ‘God is pro-life’ was tattooed on his hand. He was slightly disheveled and held a Bible as he crawled on his hands and knees in my direction. I was locked arm in arm with fellow pro-choice activists, defending an abortion clinic against a ‘rescue.’ Looking down on this man who had wrapped himself around my legs, I couldn’t help but wonder about the religious fervor that provoked such extreme behavior.
“Their signs scream: ‘Abortion is Murder.’ Those crawling masses believe it, so deeply in fact that they are willing to get arrested for it. And so we learned last week with the second murder of an abortion doctor at a Pensacola clinic, some of these zealots are even willing to kill for it.
“Abortion as murder is taught as doctrine of the Catholic Church and fundamentalist Protestant faiths. The Catholic Church defines abortion as any intentional termination of a pregnancy after the moment of conception.
“Throughout history, science has confounded religious doctrine. From the biblical account of creation, to the belief that the Earth is the center of the universe, the scientific method has been used over time to repudiate much of what organized religion deemed the absolute truth or God’s law.
“Today’s scientific community is overwhelmingly pro-choice. In the 1988 Webster case before the U.S. Supreme Court, 167 distinguished scientists and physicians, including 11 Nobel Laureates, submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the idea that a fetus devoid of brain development cannot be medically deemed a person. According to the scientists, the emergence of brain cells in the neocortex, in which the process of thought, emotion, and consciousness occur, do not begin formation until approximately the 28th week of pregnancy.
“Embryologist Charles Gardner wrote in a 1989 article in the Nation magazine: “The fertilized egg is clearly not a prepackaged human being... The information required to make an eye or a finger does not exist in the fertilized egg. It exists in the positions and interactions of cells and molecules that will be formed only at a later time.
“If the fertilization of an egg by a sperm is a person at that moment, then it is God, not man who is the most monstrous ‘murder of innocent children’ as up to 50 percent of fertilized eggs do not implant in the uterus. Of those which do implant, between 10 percent and 50 percent miscarry. These ‘persons’ are DOA; most are flushed as effluent, often without the mother’s knowledge.
“But it is not just science that takes persuasive pot shots at the conception-equals-personhood theory. Biblical text disputes the claim as well.
“In his Saint Louis University Public Law Review article ‘Abortion and Public Policy,’ John Swomley, professor emeritus of Christian Social Ethics from the Saint Paul School of Theology, writes that the Bible declares human life begins with breathing. ‘In Genesis 2:7, God ‘breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being’ (in some translations, ‘a living soul’). The Hebrew word for a human being or living soul is Nephesh, the word for breathing. Nephesh occurs hundreds of times in the Bible as the identifying factor in human life.’
“Breathing obviously cannot occur before the maturation of lungs and, according to those 167 scientists, this doesn’t happen in a developing fetus until approximately the 24th week of gestation. In the United States a majority of abortions are performed before the eighth week of pregnancy. More than 91 percent occur before the end of the first 12 weeks; and more than 99 percent by 20 weeks.
“Moreover, Swomley points out, in Christian scriptures, the Incarnation, or the ‘Word made Flesh’ (John 1:14), was celebrated at Jesus’ birth, not his conception. In modern times, by counting age from the date of birth, we are following the biblical tradition.
“Science is a strong debate partner. When science is paired with religion it is irrefutable. Some may choose to tattoo anti-abortion shibboleths on various body parts, crawl around outside medical facilities and call it ‘saving babies.’ But the weight of modern biological science and ancient biblical exegesis says they’re wrong.” (By Robyn E. Blumner, executive director of the ACLU of Florida)
A year ago, we talked about how the present order of things is deteriorating rapidly. 1994 has been a very unusual year. Companies are laying off people each week, and big companies like IBM and General Motors are cutting back. Conditions look gloomy. And then the stock market hit an all time high in 1994.
Through November non-farm payrolls rose by 350,000. Unemployment rate dropped 5.6%, personal income was up 1.4% through October, 1994, the 3rd quarter GDP (Gross Domestic
Products) growth was up 3.9% and consumer confidence was at the highest level in 4 years. Help wanted advertisements rose to its highest level in 4 years. There was 51,000 new jobs in manufacturing and 71,000 new jobs in construction. Over 3.1 million new jobs have been created this year. That is the strongest gain in a decade, and it is predicted that it will remain strong through 1995.
The United States may be on the road to economic health, productivity, employment and total national income is up, but recently released Census Bureau data indicated that the median family income has declined each year since 1991. According to many economists, this phenomenon is contrary to the established pattern that economic expansion leads to rising incomes for middle-class and poorer citizens. All regions of the country were affected by this decline in income. The northeast had the largest drop, over 11% from 1989-1993.
And the present administration believes that emphasis on job skills training and investing more money in education will lead to a greater rise in median family income, but that will be extremely costly and will take many years to achieve.
The world economy is growing. Twenty-four years ago, the U.S. stock market represented over 60% of the total value of the world’s stocks. Now the situation is reversed, with 62% of the world’s stock market value outside of the U.S.
Gold has declined in value. The recent increase in interest rates is certainly going to put pressure on expansion of businesses. Other nations were investing money in the United States because they felt like it was safe. People are investing money capital in all areas around the world – especially in Asia. The United States is not the safe and secure place for investments that it was considered in recent decades.
The manufacturing leaders in the U.S. oppose the Federal Reserve Boards last increase in interest rates. They predict it will cause the economy to slow down.
The U.S. has the most expensive healthcare system in the world. Industrial nations continue to struggle with crime, poverty and social problems. Poverty among the elderly, virtually unknown in other industrial countries, stands at 11% in the U.S.
There were over 6,000 businesses that failed during the month of September, 1994, in the U.S. But this is called good times because in September, 1993, it was 21% higher than it was the year before.
The U.S. doesn’t face up to the enormous debt that it has accumulated each year and to the fact that the National Debt for the American people is still growing. Not since the early 20’s has the peace time tax rates on the individual been so high. And now the new congress is talking about tax cuts. This is the condition now, but things can change rapidly in the world economy.
“Goddess Worship Angers Evangelicals: Methodists and Presbyterians are upset that women in their Churches are embracing paganism.
“During a theological conference for women held in Minneapolis last November, more than 2,000 participants recited a liturgy to ‘our maker Sophia,’ a female deity. Then, in a ritual that resembles holy communion, the women partook of milk and honey to honour the goddess. ‘Sophia Creator God, let your milk and honey flow,’ the women chanted.
“The conference might have gone unnoticed if it had been sponsored by some obscure New Age group. It wasn’t. Most of the participants represented mainline Protestant denominations including the United Methodist Church (UMC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, while the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) gave $66,000 to defray meeting costs.
“Conservative Church members reacted to news of the conference with disgust. Already some Churches have begun withholding funds to their denominations in protest. A conservative Methodist group has called for disciplinary action against attendees, and evangelical Presbyterians want officials to fire a Church staffer who helped organize the meeting. Charisma – May 1994” (Christian Action for Israel – 2nd Quarter 1994)
Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Watchtower of November 1, 1994, under Be Tenderly Compassionate, says, “Satan who knows his time is short, ‘is misleading the entire inhabited earth.’ (Rev. 12:9,12) Hence, particularly those outside the true Christian congregation are in danger of losing their lives, and the Bible rules out any hope of a resurrection for those executed during God’s coming day of judgment. – Matt. 25:31-33,41,46; 2 Thes. 1:6-9.” (Excerpts from first paragraph of Watchtower, November 1, 1994, page 16)
If the Witnesses are referring to Armageddon as the “judgment day” for individuals of this present evil world, they are teaching gross error. The “judgment day” for individuals of the world is future, when Satan is bound and will not “blind the minds of them that believe not.” (2 Cor. 4:4) As the Witnesses have suggested, “Satan knows his time is short” but even so he is still “blinding the minds” of the people. God does not judge mankind until they come to a knowledge of the truth: “Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Isa. 26:9) And in Isa. 11:9 we are assured that “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” As we all know, crime and evil of all sorts are rampant the world over. But in the Kingdom there will be peace and safety, as well as freedom from error.
“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31) God is indeed more merciful – “Tenderly Compassionate” – than man: “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” (Rom. 11:32) He will have mercy to the individuals of the world during the Kingdom, which is future.
In the Watchtower, December 1, 1994, last page, under Voices for Belief Brother Russell is mentioned as “One prominent voice.” The Witnesses also say “Millions read his 1886 volume The Divine Plan of the Ages.” This is indeed a powerful book – a veritable key to the understanding of the Scriptures. It is just as true today as it was in 1886. Truth does not change, nor does the Bible – the inspired Word of God.
If they would use this book in their witness work, they would indeed bring Good Tidings of Great Joy to all who have an ear to hear. The “good news” of the future Kingdom (Acts 17:31) would be a true witness of God’s Word. Their followers would be enlightened if they would read this book. Quite a few of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses have learned the Truth by reading The Divine Plan of the Ages.
MORMONS: “Mormons’ beliefs are basic yet widely divergent: Mormons spend their Sundays in church, abide by the Bible and view Jesus as the cornerstone of their faith.
“But beyond such basics, the practices and beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints widely diverge from others who call themselves Christians.
“The bishop who leads services, for example, is not paid by his church. Bread and water, not wine, are considered a sacrament. Women can speak at services, but they cannot be priests.
“There are significant departures in Mormon theology, too. Mormons believe that Jesus’ authority on Earth was lost for a time but restored through the work of Joseph Smith. They believe Smith, the son of a New England farmer, received divine revelations in the early 1800s and was given golden tablets that he translated into the Book of Mormon, now read by Mormons along with the Bible. Among Smith’s revelations was a strict code of behavior that shuns alcohol, coffee, tea, tobacco and drugs.
“Church members don’t believe in the three-in-one concept of the Trinity. They believe in God the Father, Jesus his son and the Holy Ghost, but consider them to be three distinct beings. They believe God is a living, eternal being with a glorified body of flesh and bone, not a spirit.
“They also consider Howard W. Hunter, president of the church headquartered in Salt Lake City, to be a living prophet.
“Mormons use their temples for special services, distinct from those held at chapels each Sunday. One temple ritual is an endowment, where they promise to abide by the principles of the gospel. Temple marriage ceremonies, called sealings, are believed to bind a couple together for eternity.
“During temple baptisms, known as ‘redeeming the dead,’ Mormons get baptized as representatives of ancestors who have already died. They believe this baptizing by proxy gives their ancestors an opportunity to accept the Gospel after death. Mormons are known for their genealogical research, which helps them learn of ancestors for whom they can perform such rites.
“When the open house for a new temple just outside Orlando ends September 30, the building will be open only to active Mormons.
“‘That’s in some ways the heart and soul of the sort of cosmic work of the church,’ said Dennis Owen, assistant professor of religion at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
“So it’s not surprising that access to it would be limited once a temple is consecrated.” (By Adelle M. Banks – The Orlando Sentinel, September 6, 1994)
CATHOLICS: “Priest An Apostle Of Death In Battle Over Abortions: An Alabama clergyman says the Bible justifies killing abortion doctors to save lives of the unborn: MOBILE, AL – After saying grace over his pancake breakfast in a crowded fast‑food restaurant, the Rev. David Trosch explained his chain of logic for the theory that an ordinary citizen could be morally justified in killing abortion clinic doctors and staff members.
“‘There is full human life, by Christian common belief, in the womb following conception,’ said Trosch, a Roman Catholic priest. ‘They are persons worthy of defense, like any born person, and they must be defended by any means necessary to protect them, including the death of the assailants, which in this case would be the abortionists and their direct accomplices.’
“The views of Trosch (pronounced trohsh) have embarrassed the archdiocese of Mobile, which has stripped him of a church job and salary, and has barred him from saying Mass with anyone present.
“Trosch said he had no plans to act violently himself, and he denied that he is advising others to kill. ‘I believe I have a calling to educate,’ he said.
“In the wake of two killings of abortion clinic doctors in the past 18 months in nearby Pensacola, Trosch has emerged from relative obscurity to become the most public theoretician for the most radical fringe of the anti‑abortion movement. He mixes talk of ‘justifiable homicide’ with quotations from Scripture and bulwarks of moral theology such as the writings of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.
“The archbishop of Mobile, Oscar Lipscomb, said in using church teachings to justify his views, Trosch was ‘as wrong as he can be.’
“‘In the name of the church, I have contradicted him, repudiated him, disciplined him,’ Lipscomb said.
“Helen Alvare, planning and information director for the U.S. Catholic Conference’s Pro‑Life Activities office in Washington, said of Trosch, ‘He is absolutely unrelated – in fact, in opposition – to the work and the spirit of the pro-life movement.’
“In contrast to his rhetoric, Trosch is a man of unremarkable appearance: stocky and balding, with wire‑rim glasses, and given to speaking in even tones. He describes himself as a lifelong Catholic, who spent two years in college in Texas, and then 14 years running a bookbinding business in Los Angeles, before entering the seminary at 42.
“Earlier this month, the FBI began an inquiry into whether several people, including Trosch, might be involved in a conspiracy to use force against abortion providers.
“Trosch, who denied involvement in any conspiracy, began his rise to national notoriety a year ago. He tried to buy advertising space in a local newspaper to display a drawing that showed a gunman pointing a pistol at a doctor who held a knife over a pregnant woman. The drawing contained the phrase, ‘Justifiable Homicide?’
“The newspaper declined to print the advertisement, but it wrote about Trosch. Afterward, Lipscomb told the priest either to be silent or quit his position as a parish administrator.
“A week later, after The Mobile Register published an interview with Trosch, Lipscomb removed him from his post and sent him to a monastery for a period of reflection. But within a month, Trosch left the monastery without the archbishop’s permission.
“Trosch said he had become ‘good friends’ with Paul J. Hill, the former minister who was charged last month with two counts of first‑degree murder in the killing of Dr. John Britten and his escort.
“Trosch’s name and that of an organization he founded, Life Enterprises Unlimited, appeared as signers of a petition circulated by Hill, stating that ‘all godly action’ to defend innocent life was justified, ‘including the use of force.’
“After Trosch left the monastery, Lipscomb wrote a letter of pastoral instruction to Catholics in his diocese citing the biblical commandment against murder.
“In the letter, the archbishop stated that although abortion is a ‘moral evil,’ in a democracy its opponents must use political means to combat it.
“The archbishop said that Catholic teaching declared that no good could come from an evil intent and that anarchy would result if citizens usurped the role of the civil authorities and took the law into their own hands.
“In an interview, Trosch dismissed the archbishop’s arguments, saying that God’s law supersedes civil law.
“He also drew a historical analogy to the French Resistance during World War II. ‘When they killed the enemy soldiers, did anybody ever admonish them?’ he asked. ‘In fact, they were considered heroes.’
“In recent weeks, Trosch has elaborated his views in letters to religious and secular authorities. Writing last month to members of Congress, he warned of a possible civil war marked by ‘massive killing’ of abortion doctors and their staffs.
“A month earlier, in a letter to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he sounded an even more apocalyptic note, warning of unspecified ‘coming catastrophes’ that would wipe out at least a fifth of the Earth’s population.
“In the interview, he said that these catastrophes could begin as early as Nov. 29. On what basis did he offer this prediction? ‘Just an impression that’s been coming to me over the period of about a year or so,’ he said.”
(From the New York Times, The Orlando Sentinel, Sunday August 28, 1994)
“Pope’s honoring of Waldheim provokes outrage: ROME ‑ Pope John Paul II has drawn Jewish and Israeli outrage by conferring a papal knighthood on former Austrian president Kurt Waldheim, whom the United States has accused of serving with a German army unit that committed atrocities in World War II.
“The bestowal of the Order of Pius IX in the Vatican’s embassy in Vienna on July 6 seemed a remarkable contrast to efforts at reconciliation between the Vatican and Israel, which established diplomatic relations in June after centuries of animosity between Catholics and Jews.
“The Vatican has given no formal explanation of the move, despite a protest on Thursday by Shmuel Hadas, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, who expressed ‘concern and surprise’ the pope had conferred the order on Waldheim.
“The Order of Pius IX is one of five orders that the pope may bestow. The Vatican Embassy in Vienna said Waldheim received the knighthood in recognition of his efforts for peace during his tenure as United Nations secretary general from 1972 to 1980.
“Many Jewish organizations, however, took issue with what seemed further evidence of an enduring and somewhat mysterious relationship between the pope and a man who stands accused in the United States and elsewhere of helping Nazi occupying forces.
“Earlier this year, a Justice Department report accused Waldheim of having served with units that massacred civilians, executed prisoners and identified Jews for deportation. Although Waldheim has denied responsibility for war crimes, he has been barred from entering the United States since 1987.” (The Orlando Sentinel, August 6, 1994)
“Vatican Establishes Relations With PLO: ROME – Seeking broader influence in the Holy Land, the Vatican on Tuesday established a form of diplomatic relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization to balance its ties with Israel.
“But in setting up what is called ‘permanent and official’ relations with the PLO, the Vatican withheld gestures that might be deemed by Israel to constitute recognition of a Palestine state.
“Vatican officials said the distinction avoided the issue of a Palestine state. At the same time, the statement reaffirmed the Vatican commitment to Palestinian ‘freedom and independence’ as ‘inalienable rights.’
“Beyond all the diplomatic niceties, the Vatican’s central interest is to secure access to as many Middle Eastern players as possible as peace efforts increase.
“The Vatican formally recognized Israel in January, and established diplomatic relations with Jordan in March.” (Excerpts from The Orlando Sentinel, October 26, 1994)
“Vatican City, Rome (November 14, 1994): Pope John Paul II, in a letter on plans for the year 2000, said Monday the church should admit past sins and suggested in a reference to Nazism that many Catholics had acquiesced in the excesses of totalitarianism.
“The 74-year-old pope, who has been plagued by health problems, also made clear that he is determined to live to see the start of the third millennium and preside over what he called ‘The Great Jubilee.’
“He announced a string of church gatherings in Rome, the Holy Land and around the world to prepare for the jubilee, which will mark 2,000 years of Christianity.
“The pope said he still intended to make trips to Sarajevo, Lebanon, and to Old Testament sites in the Holy Land and beyond.
“‘Everyone is asked to do as much as possible to ensure that the great challenge of the year 2000 is not overlooked,’ he said in the optimistic 70-page letter, called ‘The Coming Third Millennium.’
“A significant part of the letter was dedicated to the need for the church to ‘become more fully conscious of the sinfulness of her children, recalling all those times in history when they departed from the spirit of Christ...”
“Calling on Catholics to examine their consciences, he said: ‘Acknowledging the weaknesses of the past is an act of honesty and courage which helps us to strengthen our faith.’
“Speaking of the church in the 20th century, the pope said: ‘How can we not lament the lack of discernment, which at times became even acquiescence, shown by many Christians concerning the violation of fundamental human rights by totalitarian regimes?’
“This appeared to be a reference to human rights abuses under Communism, which sought to wipe out religion, and under Nazism, which attempted to exterminate the Jews in the Holocaust.
“Jews have often accused the Vatican of not having done enough to stop the Holocaust. The church says it acted, often behind the scenes, to save Jews.
“The Polish pope said that in preparing for 2000, Catholics should repent for the ‘intolerance and even the use of violence in the service of truth’ in certain centuries.” (By Philip Pullella, Reuters News Service)
“All But Elderly Shun Church Services: Churchgoing declines among all age groups except the elderly.
“Roper Starch Worldwide finds that 28% of those attending religious services during the week preceding a recent survey were 60 or older, up from 23% in 1976. The 1994 figure is five percentage points greater than the elderly’s share of the population...
“The overall figure for the total population for 1994 was 39%, compared with 42% earlier.
“Roper’s analysts believe that the hectic pace of modern life means people want more leisure time, instead of going to church. Moreover, they suggest, many Americans, increasingly skeptical of all institutions, are turning from church to books, videos and other self-help materials for help with problems.
“Women are still far more likely to be churchgoers than men, the survey shows, and white-collar workers, professionals and managers much more than blue-collar workers. The South is still by far the most church-going region.” (By Alan L. Otten, The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 1994)