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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

January 2008

Catholic-Baptist Dialog

Catholic-Baptist dialog would have been much less likely in past decades, but things are changing now.

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 6, 2007 For dialogue between Baptists and Catholics to move forward, points of disagreement must be confronted in a spirit of openness, respect and fidelity to the truth of Christ, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today upon receiving in audience a delegation of the joint international commission sponsored by the Baptist World Alliance and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, meeting in Rome through Saturday.

The talks constitute the second round in the second series of conversations between the Baptist World Alliance and the Vatican. The theme of the meeting is "The Word of God in the Life of the Church: Scripture, Tradition and Koinonia."

The first series of talks took place between 1984 and 1988. The current series, which began in December 2006 in Birmingham, Alabama, will continue through 2010. ("Catholic-Baptist Dialogue Moves Forward," www.zenit.com, Dec. 6, 2007)

The question might be, whose interpretation of the Word shall constitute the "truth of Christ"?

Inspired Commentary

Commenting on Revelation 13, one author reminds readers:

The Word of God plainly declares that His law is to be scorned, trampled upon, by the world; there will be an extraordinary prevalence of iniquity. The professed Protestant world will form a confederacy with the man of sin, and the church and the world will be in corrupt harmony. (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 975)

TV and Video Game Violence Damaging Children

A recently published study confirms what many observers already knew:

Violence depicted on television, in films and video games raises the risk of aggressive behavior in adults and young viewers and poses a serious threat to public health, according to a new study.

After reviewing more than 50 years of research on the impact of violence in the media, L. Rowell Huesmann, of the University of Michigan, and his colleague Brad Bushman concluded that only smoking posed a greater danger. ...

Huesmann said children spend an average of three hours watching television each day and more than 60 percent of TV programs contain some violence, including 40 percent showing extreme violence.

"Children are also spending an increasingly large amount of time playing video games, most of which contain violence. Video game units are now present in 83 percent of homes with children," he added.

The findings, which are reported in the Journal of Adolescent Health, support earlier research which showed that children who watch violent television shows and who identify with the characters and believe they are real are more likely to be aggressive as adults. ...

Although not every child exposed to violence in the media will become aggressive, he said it does not diminish the need for greater control on the part of parents and society of what children are exposed to in films, video games and television programs. ("TV, film and game violence seen as a threat," yahoo.com (Reuters), Nov. 28, 2007)

Inspired commentary

The admonition of Proverbs is valid in both positive and negative applications.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Relief from Pergatory

One of the issues of the Protestant Reformation is still an issue.

Pope Benedict XVI is offering relief from purgatory to Roman Catholics who travel to Lourdes over the next year, the Vatican said yesterday.

Pilgrims to the shrine in south-west France will receive "plenary indulgences" from the Pontiff, which the Church says reduce the time spent being "washed" of sin after death. The indulgences will be available from this weekend until Dec. 8, 2008.

The Church teaches that people who do not go directly to heaven must spend time in purgatory, where they can be purified of residual sin.

It is the latest initiative to get more pilgrims to the shrine, famous for the reported healing properties of its water. In August the Vatican opened an airline service offering pilgrims direct flights from Rome to Lourdes.

For those who cannot make the journey to France, the Pope will also grant indulgences to Catholics who pray at places of worship dedicated to the Madonna of Lourdes from Feb. 2 to Feb. 11. Indulgences may also be granted under special circumstances to people too sick to visit the shrine, the Vatican said. ("Trips to Lourdes to cut time spent in purgatory," www.telegraph.co.uk, Dec 6, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

The Protestant Reformers denied that "Pergatory" even existed. (see www.wikipedia.com on "pergatory").

Papists place crosses upon their churches, upon their altars, and upon their garments. Everywhere is seen the insignia of the cross. Everywhere it is outwardly honored and exalted. But the teachings of Christ are buried beneath a mass of senseless traditions, false interpretations, and rigorous exactions. The Saviour's words concerning the bigoted Jews, apply with still greater force to the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church: "They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." Matthew 23:4. ...

The worship of images and relics, the invocation of saints, and the exaltation of the pope are devices of Satan to attract the minds of the people from God and from His Son. ...

It is Satan's constant effort to misrepresent the character of God, the nature of sin, and the real issues at stake in the great controversy. His sophistry lessens the obligation of the divine law and gives men license to sin. At the same time he causes them to cherish false conceptions of God so that they regard Him with fear and hate rather than with love. (The Great Controversy, p. 568, 569)

Natural Disasters More Frequent

More than four times the number of natural disasters are occurring now than did two decades ago, British charity Oxfam said in a study Sunday that largely blamed global warming. ...

The world suffered about 120 natural disasters per year in the early 1980s, which compared with the current figure of about 500 per year, according to the report. ...

"This is no freak year. It follows a pattern of more frequent, more erratic, more unpredictable and more extreme weather events that are affecting more people."

She added: "Action is needed now to prepare for more disasters otherwise humanitarian assistance will be overwhelmed and recent advances in human development will go into reverse." ...

Floods and wind-storms have increased from 60 events in 1980 to 240 last year, with flooding itself up six-fold.

But the number of geothermal events, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, has barely changed. ("Natural disasters have quadrupled in two decades: study", www.Breitbart.com, Nov. 25, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:25-27)

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