Headlines (November 26)

As Christians we have generally grown accustomed to the use of mainstream music in our faith and in our worship. Christian rock, once a fringe movement, has become widely-known and I suspect most Christians now listen to some form of contemporary Christian music. If you’ve ever spoken to unbelievers about this music, you know that the very mention of it tends to illicit giggles and raised eyebrows. Well, if you want to try to understand what they think about Christian music, try reading this article about Muslim rap music. It seems as foreign to me as Christian rock must seem to unbelievers.

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I’m probably one of only a handful of people who reads the web sites of both James White and David Cloud, so hopefully not too many people are following their ongoing argument. It began a couple of weeks ago when Cloud wrote about White and Dave Hunt’s book Debating Calvinism and praised Hunt while subtly mocking White. White took offense, of course, and challenged Cloud to a debate on the issue. And they’ve now gone back and forth. Cloud recently published a rather lengthy article dealing with why he will not hold a debate. I hope the two of them can just lay this rather embarrassing conflict to rest. I’d love to see the debate, of course, but it clearly isn’t going to happen, so I would encourage the two of them to forgive each other, forget it, and move on.

A couple of weeks ago Billy Graham was honored with the Prince of Peace Award given by the Prince of Peace Foundation which “seeks to encourage and assist those who pray with Saint Francis “Make me an instrument of Thy peace” — something that Billy Graham has endeavored to do during his extraordinary life!” The award has previously been given to Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, King Hussein of Jordan and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Graham accepted the award and donated the half million dollar prize to the Los Angeles Crusade held last weekend. Graham gave a short acceptance speech where he said ““I knew two of the recipients of this award. There have only been three. One was King Hussein and I knew him over a period years and about a week he left the Mayo Clinic to go back home for the last time and I talked to him on the phone for quite a while. I never knew a man I respected more than King Hussein and his wife Queen Noor. And then Mother Teresa — I remember we were in Calcutta and Calcutta is called a City of Joy because it is such a terrible place. We went to see Mother Teresa and when we got there at her House of Charity, she was holding a dying man in her arm and she could see us right then but about 15 or 20 minutes later she came in and she was so gracious and so spiritual that I felt like kneeling down in her presence. I was so overwhelmed…want to say in closing that all the glory goes to Christ. He is the Prince of Peace and there is not going to be any peace anywhere until he comes back and sets up his Kingdom. We see today that Mr. Arafat has now gone. Great turmoil is on in the thinking of all sides and the only one who can solve it is Jesus. He will be the King of Kings and the Prince of Peace, I want to lay whatever awards that I have received at His feet. Because it His doing, not mine.” Don’t make me comment on his desire to kneel in Mother Teresa’s presence. Read more here.

I’ll close today with a wonderful quote from John Bunyan as quoted in a biography of him. Bunyan speaks of the temptation to assume that a person who is less-than-perfect can preaching about offenses to God of which he is guilty himself. But he soon realizes that when he preaches he does so by the power of God and not by his own power. “The tempter tried to silence him by telling him that what he was going to say would condemn himself, and he would go “full of guilt and terror even to the pulpit door.” “‘What,’ the devil would say, ‘will you preach this? Of this your own soul is guilty. Preach not of it at all, or if you do, yet so mince it as to make way for your own escape.'” All, however, was in vain. Necessity was laid upon him. “Woe,” he cried, “is me, if I preach not the gospel.”