History of ‘Take Heed’ Ministries
A few months after my conversion on 19th August 1984 I moved house to live in Carryduff and there I met a Christian called Jim McCormick who for many years had sought to warn people of the false teachings of the religious cults and the occult. Jim was in the process of establishing a formal base for his ministry which up until then had been run from his home. Premises were planned for a piece of land situated close to what was the well-known shopping centre Supermac (now Sainsbury’s Forestside) and as the opening approached Jim asked me to do deputation work on behalf of the soon to be opened building to be known as Breda Centre. The Centre was formally opened in September 1988 and although the intention was that most of the speaking engagements on cults etc. would be carried out by Jim I was able on a few occasions as my own knowledge of groups increased to speak at meetings. Sadly for all connected with Breda the Lord called Jim home to glory on 17th August 1989 and he was actually buried on my spiritual birthday. A few months later I left secular employment to serve the Lord full-time and after a period of waiting on Him I was led to establish “TAKE HEED” MINISTRIES on 1st September 1990 based on the Lord’s warning “take heed that no man deceive you” Matthew 24:4. As the work of “Take Heed” was similar in a number of areas to that of Breda Centre I met with the trustees of Breda and arranged to spend a portion of my time working each week along with Breda in a role that developed into what might be termed a cult-consultant. That was the situation until March 1999 when due to the workload of “Take Heed” I relinquished my role with Breda to devote all my time to “Take Heed” [working from home].I am grateful for the help and support given to me by all at Breda. The work carried on at “Take Heed” has evolved over the years into a number of differing strands of ministry such as those listed overleaf.
- LECTURES ON CULTS
Talks on a wide range of cults have been given to groups such as mens/womens/youth fellowships; Christian/scripture union groups; Church mid-week groups/Church house groups; School RE classes; Amongst the subjects covered are Mormonism; Jehovah’s Witnesses; Roman Catholicism; Seventh-day Adventism: Hare Krishnas; Bahaism; Cooneyites; Church of God; Prosperity ‘Gospel.’Topics other than cults which have been addressed include:-The “Toronto Blessing”; The dangers of “Subtle Ecumenism”;The New Age Movement; The “Faith” of Glen Hoddle; The Occult.
- OVERSEAS OPPORTUNITES
From 1993 onwards the Lord has opened doors of service in a number of locations. In July of that year at the invitation of SLAVIC GOSPEL ASSOCIATION I travelled to Poland to spend 2 weeks lecturing on various cults at a summer youth camp. These lectures in English with a Polish translation were recorded (audio and video) and are still being used in Poland to help counter the influence of the cults. Two years later again at the invitation of SGA my wife Margaret and I travelled to Slovakia for 11 days where I lectured exclusively on the New Age Movement in 4 separate towns across the country. Then in January of 1998 again working with SGA I went to Romania to give a number of lectures on cults to trainee pastors/church planters in 2 centres – Oradea and Tigur Mures.
In the midst of the “Toronto Blessing” epidemic I was invited to speak on the topic in Glasgow and afterwards a group of young people who had just witnessed strange goings-on at meetings near Ayr expressed particular gratitude for help received through my talk.
In October 1997 I was privileged to be invited to be the first speaker at a Bible Conference hosted by Reformed Bible Church in Vermont USA. A number of cults + “Toronto” (including its sequel in Pensacola, Florida) were spoken to and feedback has been positive (a recently baptised Mormon quit the cult after listening to the tape of my talk and has been sharing it with other Mormons in his family). From there I travelled to Los Angeles where I was the opening speaker for a 2-day conference devoted entirely to Roman Catholic evangelisation. The headline speakers included John MacArthur and Dave Hunt and most of the other speakers were ex Roman Catholics including former priests and nuns. 1998 and 1999 saw me back again in the USA both debating and speaking at several conferences.
- HOSTING VISITING SPEAKERS
An important dimension of the work of “Take Heed” which has developed is the practice of inviting experts in particular areas of ministry to come and speak or debate. The first visitor in July/August of 1994 was Dave Hunt who is well known for his writings on amongst other topics The New Age Movement and Roman Catholicism. His visit partially overlapped with the visit of Bart Brewer, former Roman Catholic priest and author of “Pilgrimage From Rome.” During their time here Dave lectured on a number of topics whilst Bart shared his testimony but they came together to debate with an ecumencial (Protestant) minister and a Jesuit priest on the topic of joint worship between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Later that year as “Toronto” took a firm grip in the Province I invited Alan Morrison (then Baptist Pastor in Crich, Derbyshire) to come and speak in 4 locations warning people of this dangerous deception and each venue was packed. In 1995 I hosted the first of several visits to the Province by Rob Zins, director of “A Christian Witness To Roman Catholicism”, author, and teaching elder at Reformed Bible Church, Vermont, USA. During that first visit Rob spoke at length on “Apostate Evangelicalism” and debated on 3 occasions with Roman Catholic priests on a wide range of topics (‘Getting To Heaven’; ‘The New Roman Catholic Catechism’; ‘Purgatory’; ‘Indulgences’; ‘Mass’.) Rob was back again in 1996 and 1998 taking part in a further debate on the topic of ‘Mary’, delivering 3 excellent talks entitled ‘Reasons for the Reformation’ ‘Reaction to the Reformation’ and ‘Reversal of the Reformation’ and updating people on the gathering pace of world-wide ecumenical apostasy. The closing speaker at the ‘Reformation’ day was Pastor Bill Hughes from Glasgow who warmed the believers’ hearts with ‘Rejoicing in the Reformation.’ For 2 weeks in September 1996 I played host to Richard Bennett a former Dominican Roman Catholic priest for over 20 years until the Lord graciously saved him in 1985 and as well as testifying Richard also gave two talks on the gospel of and for Roman Catholics. In February 1997 I was pleased to welcome Frank Eberhardt, a former trainee Roman Catholic priest until the Lord saved him in 1972. We managed to squeeze in 29 meetings in 26 days and knew the Lord ‘s blessing in a real way. Frank was back in October 1998 for a another full schedule of meetings. For a week in September 1997 I welcomed one of my favourite authors, Dr.Eryl Davies (principal of the Evangelical Theological College of Wales) and we enjoyed good crowds at each of the 5 locations where Dr.Davies spoke on “Christ and The Cooneyites.” In November of that year Chris Hand was able to accept my invitation to come for a week and relate in 5 separate churches his personal story entitled “From Toronto to Truth “.
- RESOURCE MATERIALS
Details of a wide selection of leaflets, booklets, books, audio and videotapes (including the meetings detailed above under ‘Hosting Visiting Speakers’) are available upon request.
- MINISTRY NEWSLETTER
4 times each year a ministry newsletter called “NEWS FROM THE FRONT” is issued with the purpose of alerting people to particular deceptions with which they may be confronted and to keep readers abreast of the ongoing work at “Take Heed.” This newsletter will be sent free to all that request it.
- CONCLUDING THOUGHT
The ‘spirit’ of the present age could be summed up as one of ‘tolerance at the expense of truth’ – our prayer is that we shall be kept from that and, because “we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts” (1st Thessalonians 2:4).