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Supreme Court to Reexamine View of Church-State Relations

By Editorial Staff
Published November 1, 1989

WASHINGTON, D.C. (FR) – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a number of cases exploring the relationship between church and state during its current session which began on October 2.

The Court will decide the constitutionality of the Equal Access Act, passed in 1984, which requires schools to open their facilities to religiously-orientated student groups if they permit non-religious student clubs.

On July 3, 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case called Westside Board of Education vs. Mergens. The Court will examine equal access in the Mergens case, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled in favor of a Christian student group that had been forbidden to meet on school grounds. The Court could also review the Garnett case, a similar case, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against a Christian student group.

The Court is expected to uphold Equal Access by a wide margin.

Another case that may appear this session, but is not yet scheduled for review, involves Larry Witters, a disabled man from the state of Washington who wants to use funding from a state educational assistance program to pursue a seminary education. Previously the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that his individual choice to use a state education grant at a religious school did not pose a constitutional problem. But the Washington Supreme Court has since overruled the decision, claiming that the state’s constitutional prohibition of establishment of religion is stricter than federal legal codes.

Witters’ case is expected to win review because it involves a conflict between state and federal standards, and because the lower state court is acting out of accordance with the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jordan Lawrence, litigation director for Concerned Women for America, thinks that Witters’ case could lead to a landmark decision by the Court. “I think it has significant implications,” Lawrence said. “The case is innocently asking for the Supreme Court to review this whole area once again and adopt a constitutional principle that if the government makes money available to anyone, as an individual, they can use it to attend a religious institution. It could produce a very important decision.”

Other decisions made recently by lower courts have upheld the religious freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In Denver, Colorado, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch ruled that students have a constitutional right to distribute a publication at their high school that promoted Christian principles. In New Orleans, Louisiana, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a public library in Oxford, Mississippi may not prohibit a Concerned Women for America prayer chapter from using its facilities because of the religious content of the group’s meetings.

These cases and other upcoming decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court promise to reestablish and uphold the constitutional right of religious freedom, which had been denied to millions of Americans in recent years.

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

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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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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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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

Special Two-Disc Set!

After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.

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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California

“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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