National Religious Broadcasters
55th Annual Convention and Exposition
Sheraton Hotel, Washington, D.C.
January 31 - February 3, 1998
Reported by: Dr. Ralph G. Colas, Editor (Adapted by BDM)
Fundamental News Service
American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC)
P.O. Box 19, Wallingford, PA 19086-0019
(610) 566-8154 (voice)/(610) 892-0992 (fax)/email@example.com
The NRB (National Religious Broadcasters), born on April 12, 1944, as an affiliate of the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals), held its 55th Annual Convention and Exposition January 31-February 3, 1998, in Washington, D.C. This year's convention theme was "Declaring Christ." There were 4,650 registrants, some of whom came from several countries outside of the U.S.A.
The NRB has grown in the past year from 858 members to over 1,000. The organization claims to represent at least 1,200 radio stations and more than 100 television stations. The board of directors meeting, which is closed to all but NRB members, adopted several resolutions -- "Free Air Time for Political Candidates," "Moral Foundation of America," "Memoriam" (which listed those who died during the past year -- including John Wimber, founder of the hyper-charismatic, "signs & wonders" Association of Vineyard Churches) and a short resolution on "The Partial Birth Abortion." No resolution calling attention to the 25th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade was adopted, nor was there one that dealt with the curse of abortion.
At the first press conference, NRB's Vice President, Michael Glenn, related that the convention's new feature of "boot camps" went "beyond our expectations and [these] were overwhelmingly successful." These sessions were designed for those beginning in the industry or if they were in need of a refresher course. Glenn also asserted that religious broadcasters face a challenge to be current, and "God has always given Christian broadcasters the opportunity to get in on the ground level of anything that's developed."
The Expo Hall of Sheraton was filled to capacity with more than 200 exhibitors who were eager to pitch their programs and peddle their products in the 100,000 square feet of space. There were 35 exhibitors who were unable to secure space at this year's convention.
Numerous awards were presented that evening to several individuals, programs, and organizations. Former NRB Executive Director Ben Armstrong was inducted into NRB's Hall of Fame. The Radio Program of the year was "Proclaim" (produced by Moody Broadcasting Network), and Dr. Joseph Stowell, Moody Bible Institute president, accepted the award. The TV Program of the year was "Coral Ridge Hour" (produced by D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries in Fort Lauderdale, FL). The winner of the William Ward Ayer Distinguished Service Award was C. Donald Cole, "Radio Pastor" of Moody Bible Institute.
Keynote speaker at the opening general assembly was Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA, and host of "In Touch." Speaking on the theme "Declaring Christ," he urged his listeners to declare Him accurately, passionately, dynamically, and creatively. He stated "Paul was willing to be all things to all men to try to reach people" and added "It is not what a few do; it is what everyone does together, in the spirit of oneness that counts."
Sunday morning activities began with the Israel Ministry of Tourism Breakfast. The large banner behind the speaker's platform read "Where Heaven and Earth Meet." Dr. Tim LaHaye was the speaker at this function that included numerous dignitaries from Israel as well as several Jewish leaders from the U.S.A. LaHaye, who has been in Israel nine times, said "God is not a respecter of persons, but He is a respecter of places."
The worship service on Sunday was led by NRB secretary Wayne Pederson. Musicians involved at this service were Discovery House Music (Radio Bible Class) and Friends IV. Shirley Dobson, of the National Day of Prayer, spoke of the "moral crisis" facing the White House. She encouraged everyone to get involved with the National Day of Prayer. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee gave his testimony, declaring his relationship with Christ as "the greatest thing that ever happened to me." Dr. Jack Graham, pastor of the 14,000 member Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX, spoke on Jabez (I Chronicles 4). Graham said Jabez had a burning ambition, a bold faith and a practical faith. "Prayer," he said, "is the slender nerve that moves the muscles of God." [Who is sovereign here -- man or God? Biblical prayer is man lining up his will with the will of God, and then doing it.]
Monday, February 2, began with the 17th Annual International Christian Prayer Breakfast celebrating Israel's "Year of Jubilee." This event was sponsored by the Religious Roundtable. Before Senator Sam Brownback introduced Senator John Ashcroft, keynote speaker, three women led in prayer. Not one of these three ladies mentioned Jesus Christ in her prayer. However, the fourth individual to pray was Southern Baptist pastor Dr. Adrian Rogers of Memphis, TN, and he challenged the audience to confess personal sin and "Ask Him in the name of Jesus to forgive you." Many present at this breakfast were Jewish rabbis. The survivors from Adolph Hitler's death camps were recognized and honored with a standing ovation. Senator Ashcroft said "God has given us freedom which comes from our Judeo-Christian heritage." He went on to say that "Without God, we cannot succeed but with God we cannot fail." The Ambassador from Israel to the U.S.A. was introduced by Mrs. Bobbie James, first lady of Alabama.
The World Fellowship Luncheon featured Rebecca St. James, whose singing was accompanied not only by loud, big-beat music, but also with psychedelic lighting. Dr. Charles Swindoll, President of Dallas Theological Seminary and speaker on "Insight for Living," spoke on the Good Samaritan of Luke 10. He concluded by declaring "What determines what you are determines what you see, and what you see determines what you do."
The "Evening Celebration" was the highlight on Monday evening's schedule. The emcee was Dr. Dennis Swanberg, a humorist known as "America's Minister of Encouragement." He imitated several political, television, and religious figures like Billy Graham. Music that evening was provided by the John Hagee Family, Anointed, and Carman. Bishop Carlton D. Pearson, a hyper-charismatic pastor in Tulsa, OK, was the speaker. He related that Oral Roberts was one of his mentors. He asked these questions: "Do we have God in a box?" and "Do we reach across denominational lines?" He added, "We need to stop judging whether they be Catholic or Evangelical as well as black and white."
The final day began with the "Public Policy Breakfast." A special guest was Michael Reagan, who is the host of the top-rated radio program in San Diego. Keynote speaker was William Bennett, Empower America, Washington, D.C. Bennett, who is a Roman Catholic, spoke strongly against the practice of abortion.
A special press conference was called by Dr. John Hagee, charismatic pastor of Cornerstone Church, San Antonio, TX. Using his television audience, he had raised funds and then presented a check for $1,071,352 to the United Jewish Appeal. The money is to be used to transport Jews from Russia to Israel. No mention was made by Dr. Hagee of any ministry to win these Jews to Jesus Christ. (Hagee holds that, under two covenants, Jews were saved by keeping the law while Gentiles are saved by the work of Christ on the cross.)
The Anniversary Banquet (optional black tie) featured Amy Grant and Janet Paschal as musicians. When Amy Grant was introduced, the numerous Dove and Grammy awards she has received were mentioned. However, nothing was said about her latest album, where she warns the radio stations: "As far as the lyrical content is concerned, there's no evangelical bent, no mention of God. If the music you play has to have either of those two elements, you might not want to play it." Elizabeth Dole, President of the American Red Cross, was the speaker. Dole has served five U.S. Presidents and was identified as one of the world's most admired women.
In conclusion, here are some of Dr. Colas's observations regarding the NRB's 55th Annual Convention:
1. NRB's 90-member board of directors represents the Who's Who of [neo-]evangelicalism. While some would claim to be fundamentalists, their identification and association with those who remain in the National and World Councils of Churches belie their claim. A large number are a part of the Charismatic movement.
2. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) featured no less than nine Southern Baptists in prominent roles at this NRB Convention. Dr. David Clark, Chairman of NRB, explained that "Southern Baptists have the best preachers in America and therefore have much to offer NRB."
3. The Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship exhibit was a very busy place. They offered a new video, "Go Inside the Toronto Blessing," which portrays activities taking place in their services. Worshipers laugh, cry, bark like dogs, and roll around on the carpet -- supposedly controlled by the Holy Spirit. One issue of their monthly publication, Spread the Flame, promoted women becoming pastors and also to declare God's new revelations given to this generation. Don Rousu, the author of one major article, is co-pastor with his wife of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Edmonton, Alberta. Rousu wrote with a prophetic word that "you women have been held captive in the church. Men dominated the church for hundreds of years. We brought a male bias to the translation and interpretation of Scripture. But, it also appears that the Sovereign Lord has allowed the enemy a hand in this as well. Could it really be all three? Man, the devil, and God Himself?" He went on to say, "The time has come to break the yoke of oppression, fear, bitterness, enmity, prejudice and distorted teaching."
The pastor of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, John Arnott, in the same issue of Spread the Flame related that "Two of my 'heroes in the faith' are Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple-MacPherson." If anyone takes an in-depth look at both of these women, the evidence reveals doctrinal errors as well as moral sins. Their followers continued on with heretical teachings. It is no wonder that the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship continues to promote anointings, laughing revivals, dancing, and making sounds like barnyard animals when their pastors John and Carol Arnott hold up as role models two women who brought embarrassment and shame upon Christendom.
4. AWANA Clubs International was once again an exhibitor and an official sponsor. AWANA provided delegate badges for all in attendance. AWANA, like the NRB, allows churches to be a part of its organization even if membership is retained in the National and World Councils of Churches. AWANA uses in defense of this compromise, that they only charter NCC/WCC churches that claim not to be "supportive" of these liberal and apostate church councils. This is only "begging the question," for any church that remains in the NCC/WCC is practicing compromise and disobedience.
5. Pat Boone was in attendance at this NRB convention but was not given a major role as at previous ones. His heavy metal music album was a bit too much for even some evangelicals. But Boone told a member of the press that "Too many Americans are apathetic to the moral fiber of this country." One can ask if heavy metal music groups strengthen the moral fiber of the U.S.A.