In recent weeks the Belfast Telegraph has published articles in which professing Christians, Derick Bingham and Alf McCreary have expressed some very strange views from a Christian perspective.
Set out below are the articles penned by each author together with copies of letters that I submitted to the Belfast telegraph but which to date have not been published.
THERE are times when you hear a story that touches something deep inside. I heard such a story recently and I now share it.
A friend of mine was at a dinner at which the speaker was the international Evangelist Luis Palau. He said that a Christian man was at a Formula One racetrack one day and saw the late George Harrison of The Beatles there.
He happened to have a Christian Devotional in his pocket called “Daily Bread” and decided to give it to George as a witness.
He also gave him his name and telephone number and told him to get in touch if he wanted to talk.
According to Palau, George read the Devotional and was deeply interested. He rang the gentleman in question who later was used to lead George to personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Palau also maintains that George Harrison said that he wanted to dedicate his song ‘My sweet Lord’ to the Lord Jesus. I have often heard the song and the haunting beauty of its chords and wondered who the song was about. Now, it is alleged, the song has had a conversion!
As Easter recedes, I have been thinking of the moment when Mary Magdalene, who had a remarkable conversion herself, was stepping away from the man she supposed was the gardener when He said: ‘Mary!’
Of all the novels ever written, of all the films ever scripted, of all the plays ever acted, of the articles ever penned, of all the events that have ever happened, there never has been or ever will be again anything to quite equal what that one word conveyed: ‘Mary!’
We never meet Mary again in Scripture but the last glimpse we have of her is going to find those doubting, erring men and bursting in with the words ‘I have seen the Lord!’
Now, to borrow a line from George Harrison’s song my desire is: “I really want to see you, Lord!’
That moment is what I and millions of others across the earth look forward to more than life itself.
Derick Bingham – Published in the Belfast Telegraph 26 April 2003
Letter sent to Belfast Telegraph on 1 May 2003
The statement in Derick Bingham’s ‘Thought For The Weekend’ [26 April] that George Harrison had been “led to personal faith in Jesus Christ” came as somewhat of a surprise to myself and I would suspect to many other readers.
I contacted the ISKCON authorities in England and invited their comments on the claim. In their reply they stated ‘Whether George wanted to dedicate “My Sweet Lord” to Jesus, Krishna or indeed both is a matter completely up to George himself…The song’s famous chorus changes subtly from “Hallelujah” to “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama”. I see this as George praising God in a non-sectarian way. I would suggest that it would have been perfectly possible for both Krishna and Jesus to be the object of George’s affection because the teachings of the Hare Krishna movement is a non-sectarian one [ie respecting all bona fide religious figures]… In the forward to the “Krsna book” printed and published at his expense, George writes “Everybody is looking for KRSNA. KRSNA is God, the Source of all that is, was, or ever will be. As GOD is unlimited, He has many names. Allah-Budha-Jehova-Rama: All are KRSNA, all are ONE. By serving God…and by chanting His Holy Names the devotee quickly develops God-consciousness”.
As regards the ‘joint dedication/joint praise’ of “My Sweet Lord” the Christian God says “I am the Lord: that is my name and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to carved images” [Isaiah 42:8]. As regards ‘joint affection’ the Christian God says “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” [Exodus 20:3]. As regards those truly ‘led to faith in Christ’ from idolatrous religions the Christian God speaks of those who “turned to God from idols to serve the true and living God” [1 Thessalonians 1:9]. As regards ‘God-consciousness’ by chanting, the Christian God says this is only possible through a ‘born again’ conversion by the Holy Spirit [John 3:3-8].
In closing, the words of Christ in Matthew 7:21 seem rather apt “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven”.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – Ballynahinch
Under a heading of MARCHING TO A DIFFERENT TUNE the following article by Alf McCreary was published in the Belfast Telegraph of 3 May 2003
Every month a mountain of religious magazines lands on my desk and I try my best to keep in touch with developing religious trends in the Province and much further afield.
Recently the magazine of the United Kingdom Baha’is caught my eye with a feature on a Baha’i school in Belfast.
The magazine states ‘Every Sunday morning for the past 15 years, children have been travelling across Northern Ireland to attend a Sunday School in Belfast. They come from towns as far apart as Rostrevor, Magheraflet and Lurgan…the school has a curriculum that has been refined over the years and is based on Baha’i principles teaching the unity of religions and the unity of humanity. The school is named after the famous Irish Protestant clergyman George Townsend who became aBaha’i’.
I am not a Baha’i but as a Presbyterian I welcome the spread of faiths in our small Province that for too long has been obsessed by the differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants – as if there were only somewhat differing versions of one faith and nothing else.
Those who think that their version of spiritual truth is the only one will have a rude awakening on the other side.
Alf McCreary – Belfast Telegraph – 3 May 2003
Letter sent to Belfast Telegraph on 5 May 2003
The information updates given by Alf McCreary, as part and parcel of his profession as a journalist, on the activities of non-Christian faiths, are on the one hand quite understandable. However, his personal analysis of these activities, in the light of his published profession to be ‘a Presbyterian’ [and so presumably a Christian] are on the other hand quite incomprehensible.
In his report on Bahai activity [‘Perspectives’ 3 May] Mr McCreary welcomed ‘a spread of faiths in our Province’ so he is personally welcoming a ‘faith’ that rejects both the inherent divinity in the impeccable life of Jesus Christ and the redeeming value in the atoning death of Jesus Christ. He welcomes a ‘faith’ whose founder’s name, Baha’u’llah, means ‘The Glory of God’.
Unlike Mr McCreary, the Apostle Paul wrote to the people of Corinth [a multi-faith and multi-cultural community] “I determined not to know any thing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified” [1 Corinthians 2:2] – no welcome here for ‘a spread of faiths’. This same Paul wrote to the people of Galatia “But God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Galatians 6:14] – no scope here for a rival ‘Glory of God’.
At ordination, Presbyterian ministers and elders publicly affirm the Bible and the Westminster Confession of Faith to be their Supreme and Subordinate Standards for Faith and Practice. There is no ‘welcome’ in either of these Standards for ‘faiths’ that do not glorify Christ alone as the only Saviour of sinners. Sadly those who do not embrace and contend for what Jude refers to as “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” [Jude 3] – the only ‘version of spiritual truth’ that genuine Christians acknowledge and welcome – are those who will, in Mr McCreary’s own words, ‘have a rude awakening on the other side’.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – Ballynahinch
There is no doubt that the cause of Christ and Christian truth is ill served by these ‘Christian’ penmen.
Cecil Andrews = ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 17 May 2003