Dear praying friends and supporters of ‘Take Heed’,
in recent years when issuing my Annual Review Letter, I have normally deferred quoting from encouraging feedback until quite late in the letter. However, this year I want to begin by quoting extracts from a very encouraging email I received because it will also serve as a lead into quoting in full a short article that I penned on what has become I believe a very ‘hot topic’ for Christians to consider. First the email extracts –
‘there was discussion on the Sermonaudio.com comments and I was surprised at the number of folk claiming God had spoken to them through dreams, some from a Reformed background… Then I was watching a YouTube video, Nabeel Querishi and his testimony, – a Muslim convert, – but again (it included) dreams and visions and something seemed to be missing. I was then providentially on your own website and glad to read your own article on “Dreams, visions, divine voices and appearances”, (probably a year ago now), and was blessed by the article and (I also) listened to Phil Johnson (via a link included in the article). This confirmed everything that I believe as convinced from scripture… Then… I was struck by… Nabeel Querishi’s ecumenism and his cousin being an RC priest… quite alarming if such a noted Muslim educated convert and now major theologian etc is still blind to the cult of Roman Catholicism. I note he is… a global speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries… You previously wisely said:
“Ravi Zacharias was asked this question – What are the most influential books you have read? And this is part of the reply from Ravi Zacharias – ‘I think the most influential books that I have read generally come from authors who introduce me to many other authors other than themselves. If I were to list a handful of writers who have had a profound impact on me I would say Malcolm Muggeridge, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis…In my present reading, I think the book that I have most recently picked up which has thoroughly impressed me is one that is called ‘Asking the Fathers’ and that is by Alfred Squire. He is of English stock and Cambridge…Oxford educated I think and now lives in the U.S. West Coast, he’s a Dominican monk.’ In the light of these ‘revelations it’s frightening to think that Ravi Zacharias is viewed by many as a solid ‘evangelical’!”
Your ministry is always so helpful. I have just read your piece on tattoo’s which is very wise, something I had been thinking about last week and I was thinking upon the very same (lines that) our original creation in the image of God (was) ‘very good’! Well it took me nearly a year to thank you for the most providential article on ‘Dreams etc’ – I am thankful for you Berean faithfulness!! WR
This matter of people claiming to have been converted (especially Muslims) through having ‘dreams or visions of Jesus’ is worrying in that these testimonies are so often readily and quickly accepted without first being put to the ‘test of scripture’ which I believe makes clear that such occurrences today are ‘not of God’ (see Hebrews 1:1-2). It was encouraging to read of how my article on the subject and also the audio link provided in the article had been of reassurance to my correspondent. He also referred to an article I wrote on the subject of ‘tattoos’ and so I want now to reproduce it here
TATTOOS: ‘To do or not to do?’
I received an email inquiry concerning the subject of ‘TATTOOS’ – the practice of adding these ink markings to human bodies has to be honest reached ‘epidemic’ proportions. So how do we as Christians react to this current fad? Well, herewith is the email I received together with a copy of my reply and I hope it may be helpful to fellow Christians if asked about this subject.
Mr. Andrews, I am writing to you to understand your opinion on receiving a tattoo as a Christian. Recently one of the youth in my group received a tattoo that reminded them of a scripture verse that means a lot to them and they have been able to create a lot of conversations with their friends through this. It is a personal addition to them which they have found an encouragement and has helped them further with their walk for God. I was just wondering what the view of your ministry is towards this as I personally have not developed a view on it. Obviously there are verses in Leviticus that talk about markings but these were markings that people were getting to identify their ‘master’ and in Leviticus 19:28 God tells them not to as He is their master and they are not slaves anymore. I have seen this verse quoted as a means to tell people not to get tattoos today but I don’t see the relevance and feel it is a misquote of Scripture. I look forward to hearing from you.
Hello XXXX, Thank you for your email. Obviously this is not really my normal ‘line of ministry’ but setting that aside I’ll share with you my own personal views on the matter. As the line in a well-known song says “Let’s start at the very beginning” and in Genesis 1:28 we read of the creation of human beings and I think it is correct to believe that we were created without any added skin markings such as tattoos. That being the case it is significant to note that as God reviewed the handiwork of His creation in verse 31 His verdict on it was that it was “very good”. Everything was permanent, in place and just as He intended it to be. Our physical appearance was a permanent testimony to our bodies being in God’s view “very good”. Sadly because of the fall and the entrance of sin human bodies are often not as “very good” as when first created but still fallen humanity are born with bodies devoid of markings such as added tattoos.
In relation to the Leviticus 19 verses you are right that they relate in particular to pagan practices and idolatry. Some markings related to expressing grief and respect for those who had died. Tattoos were usually linked to specific pagan deities and in general were regarded by God as signs of apostasy. Unregenerate people today are unwittingly servants of ‘the god of this world’ as Paul outlines in Ephesians 2:2-3 and so it comes as no surprise to find that many unsaved/unregenerate people today add tattoos and often they are linked to something or someone they ‘idolise’. That being the case I think a Christian should always think long and hard about adding a tattoo knowing the ‘idolatrous’ history associated with them.
In many ways, my final point follows on from the last one. The prevailing ‘culture’ is steeped in adding tattoos (it is a ‘boom’ industry) and everywhere there is evidence for this whether it be as you walk down the high street, or watch sport on TV or a multitude of other scenarios – tattoos are ‘in’ and VERY trendy. Paul tells Christians not to be “conformed to this world” (Romans 12:1-2) and specifically mentions our “bodies” in verse 1. I like what John MacArthur says about this verse – ‘Under God’s control, the believer’s yet unredeemed body can and must be yielded to Him as an instrument of righteousness’. As Christians, we are called not to follow the fads of this world if they could be construed as dishonouring our Creator God. Not for one minute do I doubt the sincere motive of the young person in question but I believe they are wrong on this issue and I would never recommend a believer to add a tattoo to their body which when first created by God was declared by Him to be “very good”. I hope these few thoughts are helpful.
Your servant for Christ
In addition, another 11 articles have been posted to the ministry web site. This table gives details of some topics covered and also short extracts from the related articles
UNDERSTANDING MORMON VOCABULARY
‘One of the difficulties with assessing the views of differing religious groupings such as ‘The Mormons’ is that they use vocabulary that is familiar to true Christians but the problem is that they actually define that vocabulary in distinctly scripture-denying or scripture-contradicting terms’
A recent edition of the BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’ contained a short feature on the famous authoress Beatrix Potter and what caught my attention was the reference made to the fact that she was a UNITARIAN. This is a religious grouping that I have rarely made mention of in my writings and so this article seeks to address that ‘omission’.
TONY CAMPOLO: Publicly separates from Evangelical Christianity
‘So, TONY CAMPOLO has ‘come out’ and declared that he no longer views himself as an ‘Evangelical Christian’. Well at least he’s acknowledging what he never was and what in my view he probably currently is not… In my reply to one of the comments posted I made reference to an appearance on local TV here (UTV) that TONY CAMPOLO made. I shall post a link to it and, as you will hear, TONY CAMPOLO was fully committed to false ecumenism with Rome, to whole-hearted endorsement of former President Jimmy Carter who has publicly stated several times that Mormons are Christians, to a false view of the character and witness here on earth of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to revelling in questionable humour.’
DAVID ICKE: A Christ-rejecting fantasist
‘Whilst recently converting a short TV interview that I had on video tape of Tony Campolo on a local UTV programme called ‘Kelly’ I came across another interview from another ‘Kelly’ programme that aired some two weeks later on 25th March 1994. In this case the person being interviewed was DAVID ICKE. This is a man who used to present sports programmes on TV and then gave it all up to share his own peculiar views and philosophy… By way of comment I’ll just say this – early in the interview DAVID ICKE mockingly rejects the notion of someone like the Lord Jesus Christ coming from on high to judge this world – he would do well to ‘take heed’ to these scriptures – Psalm 98:8-9 and Revelation 20:12.’
THE CHURCH: Satan’s Sustained Subversion
‘On 19th March 2013 Dr E S Williams (author of the excellent book ‘The New Calvinists: Changing the Gospel’) gave a very informative, enlightening and topical talk on how Satan has been continually seeking to subvert the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In his talk, he charts the impact upon the true Gospel of the likes of ‘Higher Criticism’, ‘New Evangelicalism’, ‘The Church Growth Movement’, ‘The Purpose Driven Movement’, ‘The Lausanne Movement’ and ‘The Emerging Church Movement’… I commend this presentation to you and you may view it on this link’
‘EMMERGENT ERRORS’ And ‘FRIENDLY FADS’
‘In recent decades several distinct ‘groupings’ have appeared on the professing Christian scene and amongst the designations ascribed to them are ‘The Emergent Church’ and ‘The User-Friendly Church’. Trying to explain, consider and then critique their views in the light of God’s Word is no easy matter but two videos have been made in recent years that attempt to do just that and from an orthodox Biblical Christian perspective. The videos are titled ‘The Real Roots of The Emergent Church’ and ‘Church of Tares’ and (can be viewed on)
MARIAN APPARITION MESSAGES ‘CONVERGE’ WITH NEW AGE VISIONS
‘Back in 1998 when ROB ZINS was my guest here… we were also joined for a few days by a friend of Rob’s called TIM KAUFFMAN. Tim, like Rob, had been raised as a Roman Catholic but he like Rob had been gloriously saved and converted…During his years as a practising Roman Catholic TIM had been particularly drawn to ‘Marian Devotion’… TIM KAUFFMAN spoke at a USA conference and told of how he had come to see a ‘convergence’ between the messages of the Roman Catholic ‘Marian Apparitions’ and those of the New Age ‘Visions of Mary’ The talk is on
Returning once more to the subject of encouraging feedback let me begin this final page of my letter by citing a couple of other messages I received in recent times –
I listened to this (Tim Kauffman’s talk on Marian apparitions and New Age Visions) yesterday. Excellent. I was in the Marian apparition groups for some time. I even lived in such a group for several months until the Lord delivered me out of it and began to teach me through His Word and dropped the Roman Catholic scales from my eyes. AA
Thanks for posting this (The ‘Emergent Error and Friendly Fad’ article) Cecil. It’s very helpful in understanding the EC psyche. AC
This has been the best hour I have spent in a long time (Watching the talk by E S Williams on ‘Satan’s sustained Subversion’. Thank you for sharing this Cecil. I like Tim Keller preaching but was beginning to have my suspicions about him… Needed to watch this. RMcC
Visits to the Ministry web site and YouTube site continue to grow as these statistics show (Bracket figures for June 2016) thus proving “The word of God is not bound” (2 Timothy 2:9)
Ministry web site visits 1,133,126 (962,302)
YouTube videos/audios 181 (162)
You Tube Viewings 745,895 (621,051)
YouTube subscribers 2582 (2238)
With the last several ‘Annual Review’ letters I have usually enclosed a DVD focussing on some relevant subject. This time I am enclosing a CD of a sermon I preached a number of times this year on ‘THE GOSPEL’ as I felt a great need to biblically set the record straight on this terminology that is so often ‘used’ but so often ‘abused’. I hope it will be a blessing to all. Online readers can view this talk on
In conclusion let me just round up some general ministry matters. In October, I had to ‘lay to rest’ the desktop computer (and associated printer) that had served the ministry so well since January 2006. It finally ‘succumbed’ to the major advances in technology and had to be replaced. A new printer was also purchased as the old one was incompatible with the new technology. Other helpful programmes (such as converting videos to DVDs and copying CDs and DVDs) had to be replaced with latest versions so it was quite a major outlay for the ministry. So as 2016 ends, your prayers for the Lord’s continuing protection and provision will be greatly appreciated. This was yet another landmark year as visits to the ministry web site passed the I million mark. I want to thank each of you for your support of ‘Take Heed’ that has sustained the work over 26 years now, whether prayerful or practical, and in so many cases, both. Once again, if you would like to continue to support practically then please make use of the enclosed yellow **‘support letter’**.
With every good wish in Christ
** For ‘ONLINE’ readers, if you wish to support the ministry, this ‘support letter’ can be printed off from the next page. [PDF] Alternatively, you can make an ‘ONLINE DONATION’ via the ministry web site by going to this link – http://www.takeheed.info/donations/