Church & World

“GREATER SCRIPTURE AVAILABILITY’ GOAL OF MERGING MINISTRIES
PRM International and Audio Scriptures-International merge to form Audio Scripture Ministries to foster increased audio Scripture production and distribution around the world

HOLLAND, MI, November 21, 1996 PRM International (based in Holland, Michigan) and Audio Scriptures International (based in San Diego, California) have merged to become AUDIO SCRIPTURE MINISTRIES to enhance the production and distribution of Scripture cassette tapes for mission and church use around the world.

PRM has a 29-year history as a mission pioneering in providing specialized technical equipment and services for mission and church use in the US and 150 other countries, and pioneering in the production and distribution of Scripture recordings. New Testaments and other portions have been produced in 170 languages for countries especially in Africa and Asia—where most people are unable to read.

ASI has a 7-year history of providing Scripture tapes for persons now living in North America who best understand the language of their family homeland. ASI has pioneered the creation and production of one-cassette presentations of the Christian message using specially selected Scripture passages. These have been recorded and made available in more than 100 languages to date.

Both PRM-I and ASI have shared cooperative activity such as through sharing master recordings produced by each for use by both, sharing volunteer sources of solar panels used by both ministries. 

Both PRM-I and ASI have shared a mutually held goal since the founding of each, to make the Old and New Testaments of the Bible readily understandable to those who cannot read, to the blind or to others who need to hear the Scripture if they are to understand and respond to its message.

The stated purpose of merging these two organizations under the new name of AUDIO SCRIPTURE MINISTRIES is to combine their specialized and complementing resources, facilities, capabilities and experience in numerous countries which God has given each organization and to join together in pursuing their shared purpose to more widely and effectively serve the needs for God’s Word in audio form in each of the languages into which the Bible has been or will be translated. And the name AUDIO SCRIPTURE MINISTRIES was chosen to clearly indicate the purpose of this merged ministry.

AUDIO SCRIPTURE MINISTRIES will be headquartered in PRM-I’s Michigan location and will continue its current services as ASM’s Technical Equipment/Resource Center. ASI’s California location will continue its current services as ASM's Audio Scripture Distribution/ Resource Center. Current overseas Recording/Distribution Centers operating in Bangalore, INDIA; Nairobi, KENYA; Dhaka, BANGLADESH and in Singapore will continue their production and distribution of Scripture on cassettes in the local languages of each region. Serving as President of AUDIO SCRIPTURE MINISTRIES is Ronald W. Beery, Ph.D. (founder of PRM International). Harvey T. Hoekstra, D.Miss. (founder of ASI) serves as Senior Vice-President of Audio Scripture Ministries.

Contacts may be made to:
AUDIO SCRIPTURE MINISTRIES
760 Waverly Road
Holland, Michigan 49423 USA
Phone: (616) 396-5291
Fax:(616)396-5294
e-mail:asm-mi(@xc.org

 

PHOENIX INDEPENDENT REFORMED CHURCH

You are invited to worshiping in the Valley of the Sun. We are a newly formed congregation committed to Biblical preaching and reverent worship.

We meet at the Solano School which is located at 1526 W. Missouri Avenue (enter off Montebello). Rev. Bradd L. Nymeyer leads our Sunday worship services at 10:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

For more information about PIRC contact:
Mr. Bernie Kamerman, clerk
2106 W. Montebello
Montebello Phoenix, AZ 85015
PH: (602) 242-5108
Kamerman.B@worldnet.att.net

 

WORLDS LARGEST NEW AGE FESTIVAL IS TARGET OF CHRISTIAN OUTREACH

SYNEY, Australia (EP) — The Mind * Body * Spirit Festival held in Sydney, Australia, is billed by its organizers as “the largest and most highly attended even of its kind in the world.” The festival, now held twice a year, attracts hundreds of exhibitors and over 60,000 visitors. Many of the visitors are seeking New Age teachings — but some of them will find Christianity instead, thanks to a Christian outreach aimed at New Age teachings.

“Australia is becoming ver spiritual but it is not embracing Christianity,” said Philip Johnson, founder of the new Christian ministry New Age Mission. “If anyone thinks New Age is a passing fad, the evidence shows this is not so. The swing towards postmodern, New Age, neopagan and Buddhist style spiritualities in Australia is much stronger than overseas. Whether we like it or not, New Age is here to stay and the church cannot ignore what this signifies.”

Since 1991 Philip Johnson and the Rev. Ross Clifford, president of the New South Wales Councile of Churches, have coordinated the Community of Hope booth at the festival. Earlier this year, New Age Mission was established to help Christians reach New Agers with the gospel nationwide. A recently released training video, “New Age Mission,” has sold out across the country as has their book of Sacred Quest (Albatross).

“Australians have never had a spirituality they could call their own, and the church has largely been on the fringe of society,” Johnson explained. “I believe that this massive swing into New Age says a lot to the church about our togetherness and relevance.”

He concluded, “There has been a vast spiritual vacuum here which the church has not effectively touched. The vacuum is now being filled up by New Age spirituality. The Body of Christ must address the issues raised by New Age and continue to pursue ministries which touch the whole person in their everyday affairs. We need the prayers and support of Christians to keep up our outreach.”

 

Geneva, Switzerland (EP) — The World Council of Churches (WCC) is facing a serious financial crisis and will have to make significant cuts, leaders of the ecumencial boyd were told Sept. 12. WCC General Secretary Konrad Reiser told the WCC’s Central Committee that revenue has declined nearly 50 percent since 1991. “Income is no longer sufficient to maintain the present level of activities of the WCC,” he said. Without providing details, Reiser blamed much of the decline on unfavorable exchange rates and losses on investments, but Reiser also rebuked member churches which have failed to pay their agreed-upon annual support fee.

 

MUSKEGEON, Mich. (EP) — Officials of the Reformed Church in America voted 27–23 to peacefully separate from Richard Rhem and his 2,800-member Christ Community Church in Spring Lake, Michigan. Rhem disagrees with the denominational teaching that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. The denomination must still negotiate a financial settlement regarding the church’s property, and determine what to do for roughly 100 members of the church who want to remain with the denomination.

 

RECENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDS GIVE TANTALIZING GLIMPSES OF BIBLE TRUTHS

JERSALEM, Israel (EP) — The Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, the Exodus and moneychangers in the temple can all be glimpsed in recent archaeological finds which lend credence to the historical accounts of the Bible.

A former NASA scientist has rediscovered a river that has been dry for most of recorded history, and some Bible scholars believe it is the Pishon river described in Genesis as one of the Rivers feeding the Garden of Eden. Farouk EI-Baz discovered the river while assessing Gulf War damage to the Kuwaiti desert, after noticing smooth pebbles of basalt and granite that were out of place. Analysis of satellite photos turned up a dry channel that was probably once a river.

The second chapter of Genesis says the Pishon “winds through the land of Havilah, where there is gold.” According to an article for Biblical Archaeology Review by archaeologist James Sauer, the Hijaz Mountains near the river site “do produce gold, and the river passes a city called Hadiyah.” Sauer added that the discovery will make it harder for skeptics “to ignore the possibility that the Biblical texts accurately preserve many earlier traditions.”

Sauer, former curator of the Harvard Semitic Museum’s archaeological collections, also notes that new evidence of climate changes in the ancient Near East suggest that the region may once have known alternating periods of wet and dry, fitting with early Bible accounts.

Sauer said evidence of floods in Mesopotamia dating back to 3,500 B.C. support the Bible’s flood account, and suggest a historical source for the story in Genesis. Sauer's research in Yemen found areas of dark soil nearly 10 feet thick and filled with decayed organic matter soil produced by wet conditions. He also found that in Saudi Arabia before 3,500 B.c., ancient lakes existed in what is today the world’s largest desert. In addition, he found evidence of a period of draught late in the third millenium before Christ which could support Genesis accounts of the severe famine during the time of Joseph.

Two archaeologists writing in the journal, Nature, say they’ve discovered evidence that Joshua did in-deed fight the battle of Jericho during the early 16th century B.C. Radiocarbon dating of cereal grains in debris left by the destruction of Jericho support several aspects of the Exodus account, Hendrik J. Bruins and Johannes van der Plicht write in a brief letter to Nature.

“Some geologists have suggested that some aspects of the Exodus such as the parting of the Red Sea and the plague of darknes—could be explained by the eruption of the Thera volcano on the Mediterranean island of Santorini in 1628 B.C., perhaps 45 years before the destruction of Jericho. That time difference could coincide with the 40 years of wandering in the desert mentioned in Exodus,” noted Bruins (professor at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negeb in Israel) and Van der Plicht (from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands). Bruins and Van der Plicht estimated the date of Jericho’s destructionby dating grains excavated from the debris of the city. The date of the eruption of Thera is known more exactly through tree ring counts. Archaeology comes out of academic journals and into day-to-day life at a new archaeological park unveiled in J erusalem. A 70-yard stretch of road that was Jerusalem’s main street during the time of Jesus has been uncovered by archaeologists digging on the western side of the site of the Jewish Temple.

The street was covered with limestone blocks sent tumbling down from the Temple Mount by Roman soldiers when the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Some of those stones are on display, along with tiny stone-walled shops, and ancient coins called prutot probably used by moneychangers.

Leaders of the dig say the stalls may have been used by moneychangers who turned the foreign currency of pilgrims into local silver shekels, but noted that the Biblical story of Jesus overturning the tables of moneychangers probably took palce within the walls of the Jewish temple, rather than in the street where moneychanging was used for commercial transactions.

The park contains reconstructions of two ancient devices probably used in the construction of the Second Temple, rebuilt by King Herod shortly before the birth of Jesus. A 30-foot wooden pulley and a set of wooden wheels about six feet across were constructed from the manuscripts of the Roman builder Vitruvius.

Archaeologists worked their way through nearly 20 feet of soil to reach the street. The excavation is partially funded by Detroit businessman, William Davidson.

 

SEATTLE, Wash. (EP) — Those Christian crusaders against rock music who claim that subliminal messages in the music are warping the minds of children may have a scientific leg to stand on. A study reported in the Sept. 20 issue of Science found that subliminal messages can indeed influence how people think — but only for a brief time and only if the message is limited to one word. A team led by University of Washington psychologist Anthony Greenwald, presented subliminal messages to 300 people who were asked to identify 500 target words on a screen as pleasant or unpleasant, or as male or female. The researchers found that subliminal messages of more than one word were ineffective, but that when asked to make split-second decisions, volunteers were more likely to give the answer that had been presented subliminally. The next step in the research will be to determine if repeated exposure to subliminal messages has a cumulative effect.

 

NEW YORK, N.Y. (EP) — Controversial pop singer Madonna says she’ll baptize her new daughter, Lourdes, as a Catholic, but isn’t sure what role religion will play in her upbringing. “There are things about Catholicism that I disagree with, but there are a lot of things I’m still intrigued by. I still go to church and light candles. The church provides a kind of santuary and a sense of community. I’ll teach her about Catholicism but also about all religions, especially Buddhism, Judaism and the Kabala (Jewish mystical teaching). My own religion combines all those. I would rather present the Bible to my daughter as ‘Some very interesting stories you could learn from’ rather than ‘This is the ”

 

LONDON, England (EP) — Women who have had abortions are more likely to commit suicide, Finnish researchers reported in the British Medical Journal Dec. 6. Mika Gissler and other researchers at Finland’s National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health used national records to check the suicide rate for up to one year after the end of a pregnancy, whether through birth, miscarriage or abortion. They concluded, “The suicide rate after an abortion was three times the general suicide rate and six times that associated with birth.”

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (EP) — State Farm changed its policy on granting good student auto insurance discounts to home schoolers in September after Rutherford Institute agreed to provide legal assistance to a California man who was denied the discount because his daughter was homeschooled. “The Rutherford Institute is committed to fighting discrimination against parents simply because they choose to exercise their fundamental right to homeschool their children,” said Brad Dacus, western regional coordinator for the Rutherford Institute.

 

Hawaii Judge Legalizes Gay Marriages; Decision on Hold Pending Appeal

HONOLULU, Hawaii (EP) -A Hawaii judge ruled Dec. 3 that the state’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to samesex couples constitutes illegal discrimination, but issued an order the following day forbidding officials from granting licenses for homosexual couples while the case is appealed. The appeal could take a year.

First Circuit Judge Kevin Chang ruled in favor of three homosexual couples, saying the state failed to present a “compelling reason” to justify its policy banning same-sex marriages.

The case began in 1990 when the three couples were denied marriage licenses. They filed a lawsuit, and in 1993 the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that denying marriage licenses for same-sex couples constituted gender discrimination and violated the equal protection clause of the state constitution. That court ordered the case back into a lower court and said the state must show a compelling interest if it wanted to continue its ban on same-sex marriage.

The state argued unsuccessfully that the ban on same-sex marriages is not gender discrimination, since both men and women can get marriage licenses. “The law does not discriminate on the basis of sex. It makes distinctions on the basis of sexual orientation, not sex,” said Deputy Attorney General Rich Eichor who represented the state. “Nothing in the constitution prohibits such distinctions.”

The state also was unsucessful in arguing that it had a compelling interest in promoting optimal development of children in traditional families. "We believe the evidence has shown that male-female relationships are the most likely to promote child development," Eichor said during closing arguments. "Children need a mother, father, and male-female influences in their home."

Eichor added, “The state is entitled to identify the structure we believe is reasonable. If marriage is reduced to love only, then why not allow three, four, or more people who love each other to marry?”

Because the US Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause requires states to honor contracts made in other states, there was a chance that the Hawaii decision could have forced other states to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed in Hawaii. To foreclose that possibility, the Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and allows states to ignore homosexual marriages performed in other states. Also, 16 states have passed laws denying recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states, and two others have executive orders in place to that effect.

In response to the Hawaii decision, California state Senator Pete Knight promised to reintroduce a bill blocking recognition of samesex
marriages in California. “If we don’t act soon, our public policy will be undermined when same-sex partners bring Hawaii marriage licenses back to this state and demand that their relationships be recognized as somehow equal to traditional marriage,” said the Republican legislator, whose bill was passed by the state Assembly but fell short in the Senate.

The American Center for Law and Justice called the ruling an “outrage.” Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the organization, said, “We’re extremely disappointed that Hawaii chose to unravel a 6,000-year-old institution of marriage consisting of a man and a woman.”

Sekulow added, “The issue of same-sex marriage has become the championship bout of legal battles involving the family. This issue—and the Hawaii decision—strike at the core of who we are as a people in this country.”

Robert Knight, director of cultural studies for the Family Research Council, criticized the ruling and Chang’s fitness as a judge. “This is part of a continuing pattern in America in which activist judges with a sweep of the pen overturn laws and initiatives that have the support of the people. It’s judicial arrogance and tyranny,” Knight said. He said homosexuality is “unhealthy and destructive. That’s why society discourages its practice ... just as drug use and alcohol abuse are discouraged.”

The Rev. Louis Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition, said the ruling “marks the beginning of a llational debate which will decide the central moral issue of our civilization—the fate of the institution of marriage.” He added, “This is only the beginning. No reasonable American will support this extreme effort to sanctify and sanction something which is sinful and unnatural.”

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