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Rev. Kleyn is pastor of Trinity Protestant Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Michigan.

Teens Targeted with Porn

With full motion video from the internet now available on cell phones and iPods, the porn industry is becoming even more accessible.

Harvey Kaplan, who directs a company that sells two-minute hard-core video clips for download to portable devices, sees the mobile world as an opportunity for his industry. He says that “people aren’t going to go out and buy a cell phone that streams video so they can watch a trailer of a Disney movie,” but they will, he thinks, buy that phone if they have five minutes of quiet time to view sexually explicit video at 22 cents a minute. David Joseph, CEO of several “adult entertainment” companies, says, “Like other forms of entertainment, consumers want to watch programming that interests them at their convenience, so we expect that people will watch porn films in places other than the privacy of their bedroom.” The target market is especially the youthful iPod and cell phone users.

Bob Knight, director of Culture and Family Institute of Concerned Women of America, says,

This is a nightmare for parents who are trying to protect their kids from early exposure to porn. In terms of delivering smut, the hand-held gadgets are already making the Internet look like a quaint old steam engine. Parents need to know that they are potentially putting an X-rated porn shop right into their kid’s hands when they buy these [portable video players] for them.

Do our teenagers need these devices?

(Herald Tribune, 9-17-2005; WorldNetDailywww.wnd.com, 1-29-2006) 

47,000,000 Abortions in the USA

In what can only be described as tragic, the United States likely experienced its 47 millionth legal abortion at some point in 2005, more than three decades after the Supreme Court issued its infamous 1973 Roe. v. Wade decision legalizing the killing of the unborn. The statistic is based on data since 1973 gathered by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute and on estimates by the National Right to Life Committee. In the first full year of abortion legalization nationwide (1974), Guttmacher counted 898,600 abortions. That number reached a peak of 1,608,600 in 1990, before falling to 1,293,000 in 2002. Since 1975, the United States has witnessed more than 1 million abortions each year. Unless the nation’s laws are changed, the number of abortions post-Roe will pass 50 million in 2008.

Let’s put this in perspective. This is almost 3000 murders per day—about the same number that were killed in the 9/11 tragedy. This is happening every day, and is considered legal. The tragedy is not simply that American culture is missing the talent, creativity, and productivity of these lives, nor is it simply that these children are missing out on life and opportunity, but the tragedy is the disobedience and defiance to God’s word “Thou shalt not kill!”

(www.bpnews.net, 1-20-2006) 

Biotechnology—When will men stop meddling in the things of God?

According to The Guardian newspaper, “Scientists, including Professor Ian Wilmut who cloned Dolly the sheep, are planning to use rabbit eggs instead. It gives new meaning to that old phrase ‘breeding like rabbits.’ They want to clone human embryos in rabbit eggs, and then destroy the embryos to get their stem cells.” The problem is, while this solves one ethical problem (getting eggs from women), it raises a worse one—out of the frying pan, into the fire. The embryos that result from this process will not be entirely human. They will be what are called “chimeras”—part human, part rabbit. Mostly human, of course, but not all.

(www.christianitytoday.com, 1-20-2006)

Focus on the Family and Gay Rights 

According to Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute (FRI) Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is wavering on homosexuality.

While Dobson has strongly denied supporting gay rights in any way, Cameron maintained the Colorado bill proposed by Sen. Shawn Mitchell—legislation that Dobson has endorsed—”grants homosexual couples some of the benefits currently reserved for married couples and their families.” 

Cameron asked: “How long can Dr. Dobson maintain the illusion that he has not endorsed special rights for homosexuals? Senator Mitchell, The Denver Post, the gay-rights movement—all understand the special pleading of this bill. Pro-family activists around the country are awakening to the reality that the leadership of Focus on the Family has—for some time and in a variety of ways—been leading the pro-family movement in a slow but steady retreat.”

(Christian Newswire, 2-14-2006)

Evolution Sunday 

February 12, 2006 marked the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin. The day was labeled by many as “Evolution Sunday” and churches across the country had good words for Darwin and evolution. Obviously, this meant bad words for Bible-believing creationists. Patricia Templeton, who closes her mind to God’s Word by taking the office of minister in the church, said in a sermon, “A faith that requires you to close your mind in order to believe is not much of a faith at all.” Theoretically, she is correct. But in her open mind to evolution, she closes her mind to Scripture.

(New York Times, 2-13-2006)

Worship Seminar at Calvin College 

The Last 30 Years: What We’ve Learned Along the Way” was the theme of a day-long seminar at Calvin College in late January. According to Witvliet, who opened the session, the goal was to “see what God is doing in the church today” and to avoid a “blindness to other ways God may be at work.”

The panel of speakers included one Roman Catholic scholar (Joyce Zimmerman), one Orthodox Presbyterian historian (Larry Sibley), one president of an African Methodist Episcopal Zion seminary with roots in the United Methodist church (Albert Aymer), one reputable practitioner of “spiritual theology” (Eugene Peterson), one pastor from the seminal mega church Willow Creek (Nancy Beach), and the leading spokesperson of the Emergent church movement (Brian McLaren).

The day was one of open dialogue between the different speakers, and they and their audience were supposed to learn, not from the mistakes of the last 30 years, but from each other and the way others were doing things in worship. At the end of the day, Nancy Beach was able to say, “I can’t say enough about this kind of gathering, because I think one of the most important virtues that we could walk out of here with [is] humility and grace towards one another. I see too many Christians shooting their own, and I don’t understand that.”

Certainly there is something to learn from changes in worship in the last 30 years—and that is that the change has not been good for the church. When we talk about worship, we need to be learning first from God’s Word. He will not be worshiped in any other way than He has commanded in His Word. That’s Reformed.

(www.christianitytoday.com, 1-31-2006)

Gibson’s Profits 

What is Mel Gibson doing with all the money he made from “The Passion of the Christ”? Three things,

1. Apparently, he’s starting his own breed of Catholicism which rejects Vatican II.

Last year, according to federal tax filings, Gibson parked $5 million of his “Passion” profits in his tax-free private foundation—the same vehicle he’s used to pour millions into a 17-acre religious compound he’s building in Agoura Hills, Calif., at a “secret” rural location. The setup now includes his very own 9,000-square-foot Holy Family Catholic Church. The church has about 70 members and a collection of buildings under construction.

2. He’s financially supporting his father’s setting up of a similar church in Pennsylvania. In this, Gibson seems also to be endorsing his father’s controversial beliefs about the holocaust (Hutton Gibson says, “It’s all—maybe not all fiction—but most of it is”).

3. He has made a new film, Apocalypto, and is readying it for release this spring. (www.foxnews.com, 2-13-2006)

WCC Begins Meeting 

The World Council of Churches began its 2006 meeting in Porto Allegre, Brazil on Tuesday, February 13. It seems that there is some internal tension amongst the 350 member-denominations. At this meeting, the WCC wants to reach out to Pentecostals, cooperate with Roman Catholics, and seek to mend rifts with Anglicans. The two main sticking points are dialogue with Islam and the ordination of homosexuals. The goal, of course, is to help churches to be more open-minded, and at the same time, less biblical. (ABC News International, 2-16-2006)

Evangelical Center in Jerusalem 

Pro-Israel Evangelicalism is reaching across religious lines to Judaism again. The goal is obviously to get a foothold in Jerusalem, with the hopes of the millennial kingdom having some connections there.

The Jerusalem Municipality has authorized the temporary establishment of an Evangelical Christian center for worship on the Mount of Olives for the benefit of those visiting the Holy Land, according to the city and the organizer. 

The prayer tent, the brainchild of a Jerusalem-based Evangelical Christian leader who is directly involved in contacts between Asian Evangelical Christians and the Holy Land, will be able to host up to 500 people at a time. 

Its establishment comes at a time of burgeoning ties between Israel and the predominantly pro-Israel Evangelical Christian community around the world. 

Organizers hope that the center will become a permanent fixture and that the city will extend the interim permit.

(The Jerusalem Postwww.jpost.com, 2-12-2006)

Missionaries Leave Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez has ordered the expulsion of a team of 40 missionaries from Venezuela. The missionary group, known as New Tribes Mission, has been accused of spying for the CIA and exploiting indigenous communities. The government has not backed up the accusations with any evidence. Chavez simply claims that the indigenous people will be better off without “that organization of imperialist penetration.”

Alexander Luzardo, a professor of anthropology at Venezuela’s Central University, has denounced the missions for what he calls “cultural genocide,” accusing them of terrorizing Indians into adopting Western practices and beliefs.

Of course, this is politically motivated, but it shows also an opposition to Christianity and the spread of the gospel.

(Associated Press, 2-12-2006)