News From The Front – December 1999

Dear praying friends,

In a short time most of the world will be working itself into a frenzy as humanity prepares to bid farewell to the 1900’s. The world today is not overwhelmed by atheists – most people have an attachment to some kind of spiritual philosophy – but in reality they fall into the category of “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” [2 Tim.3:5]. What is “the power” they deny – it is what is described as “the power of God unto salvation” in Romans 1:16. Most spiritual people today reject “the gospel of Christ”. Not only are these rejecters found amongst the non-Christian religions, false cults and New Age Movement but also amongst supposed Christian groups such as Roman Catholicism, Orthodox and Protestant denominations and the Word- Faith Movement. A grand coalition of many of these “gospel of Christ” rejecters is taking shape under the Primacy of the Pope and would appear to be gathering momentum and going forward in unstoppable fashion but their fate is assured. Through the preaching of the true “gospel of Christ” Christ’s true church will be built and the forces opposed to Him will one day be destroyed with the brightness of His coming. Until then let us “take heed” to our Lord’s instruction “Occupy, till I come” [Luke 19:13] and may our prayer be as we say farewell to this particular era “Even so, come Lord Jesus” [Rev.22:20].

Your servant for Christ

CECIL ANDREWS

  •  COPELAND ‘CAVALCADE’

 In my June 1998 NEWS FROM THE FRONT I wrote this concerning my visit to the New Age centre located at FINDHORN near Inverness – ‘I doubt if I have ever felt as spiritually uncomfortable as I did during our time there and after about 15 minutes we left as the feeling of oppression was intense’.

As I write this article [Saturday 23 October] I am once more recovering from what I might describe as a ‘bruising spiritual encounter’. This time it occurred in my hometown of Belfast. This week witnessed the first visit in person of KENNETH and GLORIA COPELAND who for 3 days ‘ministered’ in the prestigious Belfast Waterfront Hall. In total they held 6 meetings from Tuesday evening through to Thursday evening. My intention was to sit in on the Wednesday and Thursday meetings but I was only able to manage the Wednesday meetings [3 in total]. When Margaret collected me around 10.00pm on Wednesday evening I just said to her ‘That’s it – I’ll not be back – I couldn’t take any more’.

Wednesday comprised of a morning meeting with Kenneth, an afternoon meeting with his wife Gloria and then an evening meeting with Kenneth again. At the morning and afternoon meetings there were around 250-300 people present in the hall that holds over 2200. The evening meeting was attended by around 900 and according to a steward on duty there had been a similar number there the previous evening. As I sat amongst the crowd that evening I turned again to 2 Peter 2:1-3 where Peter warns of “false teachers” and there I read “And MANY shall follow their pernicious ways”. What were my impressions of the meetings I attended? I would describe them with 3 words – ‘slick’ and ‘professional’ but also ‘nauseating’.

At all 3 meetings I attended one constant theme was hammered home incessantly – ‘{good} HEALTH AND {great} WEALTH’. No matter what scriptures were dragged in it was almost always with the purpose of justifying how a believer should be constantly illness and debt free.

I used the word ‘nauseating’ and this brings to mind the evening meeting where we were exhorted to ‘make much of the blood’. For a true believer the theme of “the precious blood of Christ” [1 Peter 1:19] is glorious but this abuse of ‘the blood’ to claim supposed rights to perfect health and profuse wealth was hard to stomach.

When the Lord Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on Calvary’s cross was it to ‘pamper the body’ and ‘prosper the finances’ of anyone who refers to that blood by some mantra-like formula? No! – It was to ‘protect the soul’ and ‘pardon the sin’ of His sheep.

As the heresy was put forth I called to mind scriptures such as “it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul” [Leviticus 17:11] and “this is my blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins” [Matthew 26:28].

Also as Mr Copeland spoke about ‘the Lord’ and ‘his blood’ I had to remind myself of Mr Copeland’s teachings [false] on these subjects. The ‘Jesus’ of Kenneth Copeland did not finish the work of redemption on the cross. The ‘Jesus’ of Kenneth Copeland was ‘born again’ in hell after being punished for 3 days and nights by the devil and his companions. The ‘Jesus’ of Kenneth Copeland never claimed to be God whilst here on earth. According to a letter written on 12 March 1979 the shed ‘blood’ of the ‘Jesus’ of Kenneth Copeland when it was poured out ‘DID NOT ATONE’ [‘A Different Gospel’ by D.R.McConnell page 120].

The KEY to unlocking all the pampering and prospering is of course the principle of ‘sowing seed’ [ie giving money for the sake of the gospel]. Prior to the lifting of the evening offering [offerings were lifted at all meetings] Mr Copeland made lengthy reference to the parable of the sower in Mark 4 and encouraged all to expect great things in return for sowing great ‘seed’. The example of the widow and her two mites was for the second time that day made reference to. In the afternoon all were encouraged as they clasped their planned offering to privately name the reward they were looking for in return for their giving. They were to expect practical ‘fruit’.

It’s interesting to read in the Lord’s explanation of the parable of the sower what He says in Mark 4:18-19. “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world [like poor health] and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things [we were ‘treated’ during the morning meeting to a 10 minute video of Mr Copeland’s latest private jet plane to the majestic strains of Amazing Grace] entering in, choke the word, and it becometh UNFRUITFUL”. Concern for wealth and worldliness is not conducive to the Word of God producing ‘fruit’ in the life of a believer – exactly the opposite of what Mr Copeland teaches!

For each offering an army of volunteers armed with plastic buckets appeared and with slick precision soon had their mission accomplished. Needless to say I didn’t trouble them and Margaret jokingly said before we retired on Wednesday evening that I needn’t bother checking the post next day as I had sown no ‘seed’. Can I testify that the next morning, as if to emphasise the untruthfulness of the ‘plant a seed’ rip-off, my faithful God, through the kindness of a reader of NEWS FROM THE FRONT, brought a generous gift by post to the ministry.

Fruit in the life of a believer is not to be measured by the quality of their health or the size of their bank account – it should be measured by their conformity to the Person of Christ. Paul wrote concerning believers in Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” and we learn from the writer to the Hebrews [7:26] that Christ is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners”. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:15-16 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, be ye holy for I am holy”.

A particular daily devotional book that I use rounds off each day with a quotation by some Christian that is relevant to the passage under consideration. For 20 August the quotation is by William S Plumer and it reads ‘The greatest wisdom on this earth is holiness’. For 26 August we find this simple but profound statement by George Swinnock – ‘Sow holiness and reap happiness’. That is ‘seed sowing’ that is scriptural and does produce a harvest of godly fruit.

In the run-up to these meetings I was asked who was sponsoring the visit. Kenneth Copeland Ministries is of course self-sponsoring but other ministries represented by literature tables at the venue were. The Great Commission Training Centre [Pierre and Linda Meyer, Moneymore]. Abundant Life Ministries [Mike Bambrick, Banbridge]. Jordanstown Christian Centre [Cecil Stewart – reference was made in this literature to the reception in February when Mr Stewart received a PhD. Amongst his invited guests {Ulster Tatler – March 1999} was Monsignor Tom Toner who some years ago conducted the funeral service for the terrorists shot dead in Gibraltar]. Bethel Christian Fellowship [Brian McDowell, Belfast]. Living Rivers [Paul Brady; Neil McBride, Broughshane – Article 9 of their Statement of Faith reads ‘Giving determines the amount of our increase’]. Christian Channel Network [Rory and Wendy Alec, Gateshead].

Fortunately I did not recognise too many of those attending although there were a few. It is to be hoped that the literature sent our earlier this year had some effect in keeping people away. I have no doubt that there were true children of God attending for whatever reason and it is to be hoped that they like me were grieved in their spirit by what they heard. At the beginning of this week I received a letter from an elderly sister in South Africa and she was lamenting about the crowds that attend Copeland’s meetings when he is there. In an earlier letter to me she wrote ‘I have been to Rhema bible school [run by Kenneth Hagin Ministries] but praise God He opened my eyes’.

In this week’s letter she pointedly wrote ‘My goodness, how people can remain in Rhema deception – such a sad place to be. I thank God for His mercy. “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul” Psalm 106:15. “So they did eat and were well filled; for he gave them their own desire; They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them” Psalm 78:29-31. I do believe God is giving them what they ask and want’.

This dear sister has learned the truth of what Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6 “Godliness with contentment is great gain”. These meetings were a ‘slick’ and ‘professional’ cavalcade as each person [musicians, singers, family members, offering-lifters and main speakers] entered on cue and ‘did their thing’. For me it was one more reminder that “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” James 5:8. It was also a call to all the more “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” [Jude 3] as we see before us “evil men and seducers waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” 2 Timothy 3:13. A final quote from my devotional book is rather fitting –

  •  3 November by C T Studd

‘I fear money. Mother Hubbard’s cupboard is safe.

A full cupboard is very risky.

  • “New Faces” In Northern Ireland

 At speaking engagements I am often asked for my opinion of people who are now being seen and heard locally, either in person or via television [usually satellite]. This next section deals briefly with 2 names that have cropped up regularly in recent times.

JOYCE MEYER

This lady whose ministry is based in St Louis has certainly been in popular demand judging by adverts in the American charismatic publication CHARISMA. The back cover of the May 1997 issue listed Joyce Meyer as the special speaker at a ‘Women’s Luncheon’ held in Tulsa in June 1997. The meetings were being held under the auspices of International Charismatic Bible Ministries and other speakers listed to appear at the conference were Oral Roberts and his son Richard, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, Marilyn Hickey, Paul Crouch and Jerry Savelle – all of these people would promote the heretical ‘Health and Wealth Gospel’. Later that month Joyce Meyer was speaking at Dominion Camp Meeting [Columbus, Ohio] in the company of R W Schambach [a local ‘ministry’ supplies videos of Mr Schambach and one is entitled ‘HOW TO RAISE THE DEAD’]. Another speaker at both these meetings along with Joyce Meyer was Benny Hinn – need I say more?

BISHOP T.D. JAKES

Again Bishop Jakes is in popular demand as a speaker judging by his mentions in CHARISMA. The back cover [July 1997] had him listed as a speaker at the Victory Word Explosion [Tulsa – August 1997] in company of Joyce Meyer, Richard Roberts, Jerry Savelle and Benny Hinn. Locally Standard International Ministry [Ballymena] and Bible Christian Centre [Bangor] have promoted his ministry.

I have reports analysing the errors associated with both these people and will send them out free upon request. If you have internet access you can obtain them from the web site of Personal Freedom Outreach – http://www.pfo.org

  • SHOULD WE EVANGELISE ROMAN CATHOLICS?

 In the wake of the growing list of ‘Evangelicals and Catholics Together’ documents the question is cropping up more and more – ‘Is it right to evangelise Roman Catholics? Are they not our brothers and sisters in Christ?’ In reply I want to publish extracts from the testimony of a German brother in Christ who was raised as a Roman Catholic.

“My wife and I grew up in the Catholic Church. Both of us became ‘born-again’ Christians while in college and then several years after we got married we left the Catholic Church. For quite a period of time both of us thought that it might be possible to be a ‘born again’ Christian and remain in the Catholic Church – IT DIDN’T WORK!

While I was still in college [USA] in December 1986, while reading a Christian track and a sinner’s prayer on the back of a little green Gideon’s bible I wrote my name down on the bottom line that I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. While still a devout Roman Catholic I thought the most honourable thing to do was to go to seminary to become a priest. I knew little about the differences between Catholic doctrine and what the bible taught.

Even though I was involved in bible studies with Campus Crusade for Christ, I was very naïve. Only a couple of people in Campus Crusade actually questioned and challenged me about my Catholic faith. I didn’t quite understand it all myself. I still believed that the Catholic Church was the One True Church as they taught it to me and that ‘Protestants’ were the ‘separated brethren’ but they ‘subsisted within the Catholic Church’ as Vatican 2 taught. So I saw little conflict at the time. Furthermore I was influenced partially that it didn’t really matter what I said or did because I was forgiven and ‘saved’. I could simply go to ‘confession’ if I sinned. IN REALITY I WAS LEADING A DOUBLE LIFE!

I was also in the middle of a sinful relationship with a girlfriend. After graduating [1990] I was very close to signing the papers prior to entering the Catholic seminary. Suddenly I just couldn’t do it. There were many unresolved issues that surfaced in my life that summer. God put me in crisis and I had no other recourse except to turn to Him. I suffered from anxiety attacks. Sometimes these attacks were really bad. I lost my concentration and eventually my job.

But God also confronted me with the bad relationship with my girlfriend. It was as if my life came to a crashing halt. If God really changed my life through the ‘new birth’ during my college years then He was zeroing in on this one issue. I broke up with my girlfriend and went through a period of mourning over my sinful past. I was able to get encouragement from godly people and through God’s Word, the bible, that I was forgiven of my sins.

One such woman who helped me during this time eventually became my wife! Elisabeth and I met at college [USA] while she was an exchange student from Germany. We even played guitars together at Campus meetings. Anyway, while I was in this period of mourning for my sins and for offending God and in searching the Scriptures, I was beginning to have serious doubts about my Catholic faith. I started to visit several evangelical churches in the Southern California area searching for help.

In 1992 I moved to Germany to get married to Elisabeth who helped me so much in my time of trial. Slowly my anxiety attacks began to disappear after my move to Germany. Elisabeth and I were married in 1993 and now have 2 sons. We still reside in Germany. Elisabeth also went through a period of struggle with her Catholic faith and especially the relationship with her devout Catholic mother. Most of Elisabeth’s family members are strong Catholics. Her uncle is the Bishop of….and formerly the auxiliary Bishop of ….! This doesn’t make things easier.

We attend an English-speaking non-denominational church in Munich. Our pastor at the time was very kind to us and firm in his faith. He was a Reformed Baptist who preached both faith in Christ alone and repentance.

Dr Larson invited us to his house for dinner one evening and showed us in the Scriptures about how the Lord Jesus challenged the Pharisees because they made their traditions equal to God’s Word. Our pastor showed us how this parallels Catholic traditions so that it is now impossible to see the ‘gospel of salvation’ anymore. Over the next weeks we studied the Scriptures in more detail with Dr Larson and asked him lots of questions. He loved us and prayed for us to see God’s truth.

In 1995 we participated in a believer’s baptism at the Olympic swimming pool in Munich. Later Dr Larson found a good book for me to study. It was ‘THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ROME’ [by Jim McCarthy – an ex Catholic]. After reading this book I was finally convinced that it was worthless to remain in the Catholic Church. As time passed we went to the local authorities and by German law we officially left the Catholic Church.

We got some pressure and criticism from my mother-in-law and my uncle. When my ‘best’ friend heard what we did he wrote a very scathing letter and condemned us for leaving the Catholic Church and for offending the Virgin Mary. I wrote back and recommended him to read Jim McCarthy’s book – he refused and we have lost contact ever since.

Despite all the struggle and hardship Elisabeth and I have grown so much in our Christian faith and hope to be an example to others who are now struggling. Even though we are still the only Christians in our large German Catholic family we are now adopted into a greater and larger family of God’s elect – His own personal and chosen people – chosen even before the creation of the world. It is great to know Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord, His finished work on the cross, the forgiveness of all our sins and having eternal life with Him both now and forever with Him in heaven. I want to praise God for Dr Larson and for Jim McCarthy and his book.

KPH – Munich area, Germany. [August 1999].

PS Jim McCarthy’s book can be obtained from our ministry [price £10.00 including p&p].

  • 31st October 1517 – ‘A Day Of Gospel Glory’
  • 31st October 1999 – ‘Quite A Different Story’

Early in the 16th century, John Tetzel, a Dominican monk, claimed

“Indulgences are the most precious of God’s gifts. Come and I will give you letters, all properly sealed by which even the sins that you intend to commit may be pardoned. There is no sin so great that an indulgence cannot remit; ONLY PAY WELL and ALL WILL BE FORGIVEN”.

[‘Martin Luther – The Reformer’ p141 published by John Ritchie – Kilmarnock]

What is an ‘indulgence’? We find this definition in the [doctrinally approved] POCKET CATHOLIC DICTIONARY by John A Hardon S.J.

“The remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned, which the followers of Christ with the proper dispositions and under certain determined conditions* acquire through the intervention of the Church which, as minister of the redemption, authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ AND the Saints”.

[Pope Paul V1 – Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences]

On page 14 of my March 1999 NEWS FROM THE FRONT I listed some of the conditions outlined by the present Pope for obtaining a Jubilee Indulgence in the year 2000. According to a report in the Daily Mail of 18 September 1999 “The gates to Heaven will be open to people who give up smoking…The revelation came with the launch of the Vatican’s manual of indulgences – a do-it -yourself guide for 2000 on how to earn eternal forgiveness for sins. In the book the Pope says Catholics can earn penance by spontaneous acts of self-sacrifice such as refusing to light up for a day”.

Indulgences are today still as lethal to the true biblical teaching on the sufficiency of the Gospel of Jesus Christ [including a sinner’s Justification] as they were in Luther’s day – Rome has not changed – it has simply updated the conditions for indulgences to take into account modern-day living [and sinning].

On 31st October 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ‘95 theses’ to the door of the church at Wittenberg and sparked the flame that fanned into The Reformation. In 1517 Luther’s anger was directed at the teaching that Rome could for payment remit the penalty supposedly still due for sins that had already been forgiven. At this point in his understanding he still accepted the idea of people needing to discharge a penalty [‘temporal punishment’] for ‘forgiven sins’ – his problem was that such discharge could be bought from the church. From this you will see that Luther was really only beginning the journey that would eventually lead him to a biblical understanding of The Gospel and in particular Justification. That [Justification] would eventually become the main issue and it has remained as THE central issue of division between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity.

On 31st October 1999 high-ranking officials of the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation signed a ‘Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification’ in Augsburg. Those familiar with the ‘Stand’ taken by Martin Luther for biblical truth against Roman Catholic error will be aware of the significance of both the date and place of signing of this declaration. It appears to be a calculated insult to his memory – like dancing on his grave!

When the document states ‘Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith* in Christ’s saving work* and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God’ and then later and separately it says ‘Through Christ** alone are we justified’ it is important to note what has NOT been said. Where marked * you will note that the word ‘alone’ is not included and then where marked ** you will note that although the word ‘alone’ is added to ‘Christ’ there is then no reference to His ‘saving work’. This is a most subtle and devious example of equivocation that enables Rome to hold to its false teachings.

The Vatican [June 22nd] confirmed the absence of any RC change when commenting on the then forthcoming agreement. They said that it “does not represent a repudiation of the past” [The Berean Call – October 1999].

So who has changed? Obviously the answer is The Lutherans and for this reason we read in para.41 ‘The teaching of the Lutheran churches presented in this Declaration [key expression] does not fall under the condemnations from the Council of Trent. The condemnations in the Lutheran Confessions do not apply to the teaching [unchanged] of the Roman Catholic Church presented in this Declaration’.

Despite this removal of past mutual ‘condemnations’ don’t think that Rome has universally withdrawn her ‘anathemas’. The following Trent Anathema still applies to those who reject Rome’s teaching on Justification ‘If anyone says that the justice received [through water baptism] is not preserved and also not increased before God THROUGH GOOD WORKS but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained but not the cause of its increase [and thereby the grounds of acceptance by God] let him be anathema’ [Session 6:24].

31st October 1517 marked the beginning of a spiritual reformation for Martin Luther that would eventually lead him to know and possess “the blessedness of the man unto whom God IMPUTETH righteousness without works” [Romans 4:6]

This declaration of 31st October 1999 sadly will only serve to keep countless hundreds of thousands imprisoned in the damning chains of “another gospel which is not another” Galatians 1:6-7.

If the Lutheran World Federation had one ounce of conscience they would in deference to the memory of Luther remove any reference to his name from the title of their Federation.

  • ENGLAND – A LAND OF DELIGHTS, DISAPPOINTMENTS & DANGERS

Just after 8.00am on Tuesday 30 November I arrived back in Belfast after an exhausting 3-week trip to England. Almost 1400 miles were covered and I spoke at 18 meetings. The ‘delights’ refer in particular to the hospitality and kindness extended to me by God’s people as I travelled from location to location. I was also ‘delighted’ at the interest shown in the work of “Take Heed”, at the requests for inclusion on the mailing list and the assurances given of future prayer. The ‘disappointments’ relate to the frustrations expressed by some Pastors at the level of apathy amongst some people – a number seem to have no ‘stomach’ for the fight and feel that perhaps some of the issues spoken on really didn’t involve them – we need to remember that God’s people are “one body” [1 Cor.12:12] and an assault/attack upon one “member” is in reality an assault/attack upon the entire “body”. The ‘dangers’ are reminiscent of Paul who wrote “in perils of robbers…in perils in the sea” [2 Cor.11:26]. Overnight in Crich {27-28 November} someone decided to steal the car loaned to me for the trip by a brother in the Lord. I discovered this at 10.30am – 15 minutes before I was due to preach. I told the congregation it was time for me to apply Romans 8:28. Thankfully, after the service ended, there was a phone message from the police to say the car had been recovered in Belper some 8 miles away. Damage was not too bad – around the drivers door lock and the ignition area. Personal and ministry materials to a value of around £300 were stolen – but please pray that the Lord will use these materials [videos/booklets/resource books etc] to even reach those who carried out this theft. As for “perils in the sea” let’s just say that the weather conditions for my sailing home from Liverpool were quite windy.

  • PLEASE PRAY FOR PAWEL

In 1995 many of you generously responded to an appeal to help fund a vehicle for Pawel Rabinek, pastor of a church in Swinoujscie where I spoke at a Youth Camp in 1993. Earlier this year Pawel [and family] moved to St Petersburg [Russia] to serve the Lord working for Friends of Israel – they would value your prayers at this time.

  • When Catholics Die’ by Richard Noll

Earlier this year someone asked me if I knew of the above book – at that stage the answer was “no”. However I now know where it can be obtained – if you were the inquirer please contact me again and I will pass on the details to you.

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