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Court Upholds Rutherford Institute Case

By Editorial Staff
Published January 2, 1988

Reiterating that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech … at the schoolhouse gate,” a U.S. district court on December 4, l987, ordered Pennsylvania school officials to allow three students to distribute a religious newspaper in their junior high school.

“Free speech is one of the most protected clauses in the Constitution,” said John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute and one of the attorneys who successfully defended the students. The Virginia-based nonprofit organization specializes in the defense of religious groups and individuals.

Bryan Thompson, Marc Shunk and Christopher Eakle, currently ninth-graders at Antietam Junior High School in Waynesboro, were suspended two years ago when they passed out copies of Issues and Answers in the school hallways before class. Issues and Answers is a free monthly newspaper published by Student Action for Christ.

The three students and their parents, represented by Rutherford attorney Larry Crain, later sued the Waynesboro school district, charging infringement of their First Amendment rights.

While school officials may lawfully impose “content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions” on students’ free speech activities, Judge Sylvia Rambo stated that testimony by Antietam principal Robert Mesaros “indicates that the religious content of the paper definitely influenced” the decision to ban its distribution. Mesaros admitted in his deposition that he feared some parents would object to their children’s exposure to the newspaper.

Judge Rambo, however, quoting from a 1969 Supreme Court ruling, pointed out that banning “a particular expression of opinion” had to be justified by “something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint.”

Judge Rambo’s November 24 opinion rejected the school district’s claim that permitting students to hand out Issues and Answers would imply that the school endorsed religion, in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

The judge reasoned that since administrators already permitted other student clubs to meet in the school, “passive accommodation of one more group that was organized on the basis of religious interest would not have the effect of advancing religion.” The students would simply be allowed “to avail themselves” of the limited public forum set up by the school “to promote the intellectual and social development of its students,” Rambo stated.

School officials are expected to appeal the court’s decision, but Rutherford attorneys expressed confidence that the ruling will hold up. “Judge Rambo provided a thorough analysis of the free speech issue,” Whitehead said, “and it gives good grounds for success on appeal.”


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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.

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In The Days of These Kings (Book)

Perfect-bound Paperback — 740 pages

The Book of Daniel in Preterist Perspective

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The overarching message of Daniel is that Jesus the Messiah is even now ruling over the nations. He is the King of kings. Daniel tells us that Messiah’s kingdom will advance in the whole world from “generation to generation” (Daniel 4:4,34). Christ’s dominion is “given to the people of the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:22). Our purpose then is to see “all people, nations, and languages … serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:14,27).

This comprehensive work offers a fascinating look at the book of Daniel in preterist perspective. Great attention is paid to the writings of ancient and modern historians and scholars to connect the dots and demonstrate the continuity of Daniel’s prophecy with all of Scripture.

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 200 pages

A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.

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