Dear praying friends,
The ‘lead’ article in this newsletter focuses on the initiative that was known as Power To Change and lack of space has prevented me from saying all that I would have liked to have said so I want to share here with you an additional example of the worrying influence of this event. In Bangor, a Power To Change guest speaker was James Ryle who was for a time a board member of the ecumenical Promise Keepers and in 1990 stated ‘The Lord has appointed me a lookout and shown me things that I want to show you…The Lord spoke to me and said “What you saw in the Beatles, the gifting and the sound that they had, was from me…It was my purpose to bring forth through music a world-wide revival that would usher in the move of my Spirit in bringing men and women to Christ”’. Mr Ryle on another occasion claimed he had a vision of a Beatles concert where people were “screaming the name, Jesus”. In a bygone age, Mr Ryle would have been taken out and stoned to death! Commenting on Luke 5:4 “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught” C H Spurgeon wrote ‘In the saving of souls, God worketh by means; and while the present economy of grace shall stand, God will be pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe’ and as my own Pastor often says ‘and all God’s people said – Amen’! Thank you so much for another year of support and encouragement, please pray on, and may He in 2003 continue to “perfect that which concerneth you” [Psalm 138:8]
Your servant for Christ
REFLECTIONS ON ‘POWER TO CHANGE’
Well, what one of the leading organisers claimed was going to be ‘the biggest event in the Christian calendar in 2002’ [Basil Good – Chairman of ‘Power to Change’ Republic of Ireland on RTE TV 13 January 2002] has come and gone. It would be impossible in the few pages available to me in this issue to adequately evaluate this initiative but I will try to pass on ‘reflections’ – not just from myself but also from others who were likewise concerned.
One of the former loyalist paramilitaries who withdrew his testimony from the original ‘Power to Change’ booklet because of its ecumenical nature [as mentioned in my ‘Spin Doctors’ enclosure in September] made this very telling comment to me – ‘My suspicions have been confirmed also that the campaign is a purely horizontal one – change from what to what? Just better people, not sinners to saints. What a lost opportunity!’
In my reply to him I wrote – ‘As I have seen the banners going up saying ‘Jesus give YOU the power to change’ I thought of how wrong they are theologically. The truth is that ‘JESUS changes people first and then gives them power to live a changed life as a child of God’.
The error of ‘purely horizontal’ change is clearly seen on the back cover of the ‘Power to Change’ booklet where they wrote ‘Be honest. There’s probably at least one thing you’d like to change in your life. Perhaps it’s your job, your friendships or even your outlook on life. Deep down you desire to be a better person’. Most of the TV and billboard adverts reflected this ‘horizontal’ change where people claimed now to have ‘purpose and direction’ in life or to have had ‘a void’ filled. Not once did I hear anyone testify that Jesus ‘saved me from my sins and gave me eternal life’.
This whole initiative played right into the hands of Rome’s false ‘gospel’ of man’s ‘grace energised [via their sacraments] co-operation’ with God to enable him ‘to clean up his act’, become godly and eventually reach a point where God would then justify [acquit] him. One advert by a Roman Catholic stated ‘God gave me the grace to forgive them’. Those who know the circumstances will know that not only must this statement be understood in Roman Catholic ‘grace’ terms but the reality is that this man had no biblical mandate to forgive those in question as they have never publicly repented as required in Luke 17:3.
An additional worry relating to this man, Michael McGoldrick’s ‘testimony’, was highlighted in a letter from Rev Stephen Dickinson that was published in the Ballymena Guardian [16 October]. In it Mr Dickinson wrote ‘Michael McGoldrick…in his testimony says “At the funeral I went to say my final words to my son before they closed the casket. I put my hands on his and said ‘Goodbye son, I’ll see you in heaven’. At that moment a great power went out of my son’s body and shot through mine. I recognised that it was the power of God.’ Mr Dickinson commented ‘Is Power to Change some religious form of the occult or black magic where power can be transferred from a dead corpse & change a living person’s life and introduce that person to God?’
Could this be why there is a cavity in Roman Catholic altars, where the Mass is performed, to house a ‘relic’ from a dead ‘saint/martyr’? Here is an extract from the service of CONSECRATION OF A FIXED ALTAR as outlined on the Catholic Encyclopaedia website ‘When the relics have been carried to the church, the consecrator anoints with holy chrism, at the four corners, the sepulchre of the altar, in which the relics are to be enclosed, thereby sanctifying the cavity in which the venerated remains of the martyrs are to rest, and then reverently places therein the case containing the relics and incenses them’. Are these bones the source of a priest’s claimed ‘Power to Change’ the elements? As I read of Mr McGoldrick’s experience I was reminded also of what Hank Hanegraaff wrote about Benny Hinn on page 30 of his book [H/B] ‘Christianity in Crisis’ – ‘When it comes to style however, Hinn gravitates more toward such faith healers as Aimee Semple McPherson and Kathryn Kuhlman. The influence of these women on Hinn’s life and ministry is so great that he still visits their gravesites and experiences “the anointing” which he claims emanates from their bones’.
One of the staunchest advocates of ‘Power to Change’ from beginning to end was local Evangelical Alliance representative Stephen Cave. At the annual New Horizon event, Stephen Cave in a promotion of ‘Power To Change’ stated publicly words to the effect that ‘Power To Change is not an ecumenical plot/ploy’. In view of the fact that I opened my article ‘The Leaven in Power To Change’ with these words ‘The latest ploy to involve ‘Evangelical Catholics’ as full ‘partners’ and ‘participants’ in mainstream so-called Evangelical Mission efforts is being progressively launched over the next months’ I felt it only right to respond to what Mr Cave said. In an article on our web site I stated – ‘Ecumenism’ in the professing Christian world has always been understood as being ‘co-operative effort’ to promote Christianity. Historically faithful ‘evangelicals’ did not get involved in such ‘co-operation’ when the Roman Catholic church was involved for the simple reason that Rome does not preach Biblical Christianity. So, when it comes to ‘Power To Change’ is there ‘ecumenical co-operation’? – Mr Cave apparently says ‘No’. In support of my assertion that it is ‘ecumenical’ I simply asked –
1. When the various committees [comprised of Protestants and Roman Catholics] met together to plan for ‘Power To Change’, did they also pray together for ‘Power To Change’?
2. When various churches [Protestant and Roman Catholic] registered for ‘Power To Change’ and contributed the £100.00 [or more] requested by ‘Power To Change’ were their financial contributions lodged to separate ‘Protestant’ and ‘Roman Catholic’ ‘Power To Change’ bank accounts?
3. When the prayers prayed for and then submitted to ‘Power To Change’ were being added to the running total – was there a separate ‘Protestant’ total and a separate ‘Roman Catholic’ total or were they all just tabulated together?
4. When ‘Protestant’ churches are handing out the ‘Power To Change’ booklet do they first remove the ‘Roman Catholic’ testimonies from it and when the ‘Roman Catholic’ churches hand out the ‘Power To Change’ booklet do they first remove the ‘Protestant’ testimonies or do both groups simply hand out the booklet in its entirety?
The answers to these questions are I believe obvious and show clearly that ‘Power To Change’ is ‘ecumenical’ as understood in the historical sense of the word and Stephen Cave is wrong to say that it is not ecumenical.
In the light of other actions Evangelical Alliance has clearly forfeited any right to describe itself as ‘Evangelical’ as was evidenced by their contribution to events under a title of Face Values. Their invited guest was Jim Wallis of a ministry called Sojourners based in Washington DC. On the web site of Sojourners it states ‘Sojourners includes evangelicals, CATHOLICS, Pentecostals and Protestants; liberals and conservatives; blacks, whites, Latinos, and Asians; women and men; young and old. WE ARE CHRISTIANS who want to follow Jesus, but who also sojourn with others in different faith traditions and all those who are on a spiritual journey’ The ongoing, disastrous, downward decline in Evangelical Alliance was reported in an article by Edgar Andrews published in Evangelical Times [November 2002] under the title ‘Re-defining the gospel’. Mr Andrews wrote ‘Joel Edwards, director of the Evangelical Alliance explains….I was at a meeting recently where we were looking at a strategy to respond to the spiritual state of our culture and we were saying “At what point do we recognise and draw upon the experience of the Roman Catholic Church with its 2000 years of history?”’ Astutely Mr Andrews wrote in response – ‘What experience does Joel Edwards have in mind I wonder? The experience of purges and persecutions of Protestants that continue today in some parts of the world? The self-confessed experience of losing members at an unprecedented rate? The experience of declining applications for the priesthood? The experience of world-wide child abuse scandals that have plunged the Roman Catholic Church into crisis on several continents? Perhaps I could add this – The experience of denying the truth of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to the Scriptures alone to the Glory of God alone? In the same article Mr Andrews drew attention to the plans by Nicky Gumbel and ALPHA to have ‘a preacher to the Papal household [‘Father’ Raniero Cantalamessa] as guest speaker at Holy Trinity Brompton’s “holiday week” in July 2003’.
Many ‘ecumenical’ events were listed on the ‘Power To Change’ web site such as the Larne and District ALPHA course, which would involve not just Protestant and Roman Catholic denominations, but also the Seventh-day Adventists. The Belfast Telegraph certainly ‘went the extra mile’ to promote Power To Change when it gave its editorial comment over on 28 September to promoting it under a heading of ‘Christian Message Gets The Hard Sell’ and its religious affairs correspondent Alf McCreary did his bit to push it with articles published on consecutive Saturdays in which he downplayed [like any good ‘spin doctor’] what was in reality a MAJOR SETBACK to this initiative when RTE TV refused to broadcast the Power To Change adverts as they would violate the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland. This decision was challenged by Power To Change in the courts in Dublin and Roman Catholic, Paddy Monaghan [of PTC] stated that he expected Power To Change to win the appeal – they didn’t! Alf McCreary also personally did his bit for the ecumenical dimension when he was listed on the Power To Change website as the guest speaker in St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Greencastle. To return to ‘the occult’ theme, what about this for a Power To Change event – Halloween Fancy Dress: ‘Saints & Scholars’: Toners, Baggot St, Dublin.
Let me close with this comment from a brother in Christ ‘Cecil, Basil Good’s comment “we won’t tell you what doctrine to teach” sums up Power To Change – imagine spending £1million sterling to promote such a farce’.
CATHOLIC CATECHISM CORNER
Amongst the items included in the Roman Catholic Zenit news agency report for happenings on 11 October was the following
CATECHISM A KEY FRUIT OF VATICAN II, SAYS JOHN PAUL II Marks 10th Anniversary of Its Publication VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2002 (Zenit.org).
On the 10th anniversary of its publication, John Paul II described the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a “choice gift” for all the faithful.
The following extracts of what the Pope had to say show how highly he values the role of this Catechism, not just in the professing Roman Catholic community but also in a wider-world context.
Meeting with some 250 cardinals, bishops and theologians at the International Congress on Catechetics, the Holy Father [said] ‘The catechism has a “collegial magisterial” nature’.. This catechism, the Pope said, “still today maintains its reality of ‘choice gift,’ placed at the disposition of the whole Catholic Church, offering every man who asks and wishes to know what the Catholic Church believes, reasons for the hope that dwells in us.”.. “The good reception and wide diffusion that it has had in this decade in various parts of the world, including in non-Catholic realms, are a positive testimony of its validity and continued importance,” the Holy Father said. Because of this, John Paul II urged an intensified commitment to its “greater diffusion, more joyful reception, and better use in the Church and the world.”
When having conversations with professing Evangelical Christians I am often soon painfully aware of how little they actually know of the teachings of the Roman Catholic religion. I believe that if they truly knew what Rome teaches they would have a much greater appreciation of just how far Rome is wide of the mark of being classed as a Christian Church. By way of ‘education’ I plan on a regular basis to include an item in my newsletter that will focus on a particular teaching from the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church.
NON-CHRISTIAN TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CATECHISM 
For our first look at a non-Christian teaching in the Catholic Catechism I want to quote Paragraph 460. ‘The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. ‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of Man: so that man by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship might become a son of God. For the Son of God became man so that we might become God. The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity assumed our nature, so that he, made man might make men gods’.
I felt this was a rather apt portion to begin with as it repeats one of the first lies told by the devil in the Bible, as found in Genesis 3:5, where Satan said to Eve as he tempted her – “Ye shall be as gods”.
True believers, who have been spiritually resurrected, when formerly they were ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ now have a Holy Spirit driven inclination towards holiness and godliness – that’s what it means to be a ‘partaker of the divine nature’ as can be seen from the preceding verse 3 of 2 Peter 1.
Matthew Henry commenting on these verses wrote
‘Those who receive the promises of the gospel, partake of the divine nature. They are renewed in the spirit of their mind, after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness; their hearts are set for God and His service; they have a divine temper and disposition of soul…Those in whom the Spirit works the divine nature are freed from the bondage of corruption. Those who are, by the Spirit of grace, renewed in the spirit of their mind, are translated into the liberty of the children of God’.
John wrote in 1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God’ but he also wrote in Revelation 21:3 concerning the future eternal state “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people and God himself shall be with them and be their God”.
Rome’s teaching ‘For the Son of God became man so that we might become God’ is a repetition of the same devilish lie of Genesis 3:5 and is totally rejected by the testimony of the rest of Scripture.
The variety of topics that we are contacted on by people seeking help or information can be very wide-ranging at times. In the matter of a few days in early October I had inquiries as follows. A minister who is involved in a particular committee of his denomination asked me if I had any information on a group called ‘CHERUBIM and SERAPHIM ETERNAL SACRED ORDER’ and after some investigative work I was able to unearth a number of revealing items that I was able to forward on and subsequently the minister contacted us to pass on his thanks for our assistance.
Then I was contacted by someone concerned for their friend who had become interested in the strange teachings of a man called ‘ANDREW COHEN’. This man has a worldwide following that is drawn to his mystical views and teachings, which are expressed in his magazine ‘What is enlightenment’. Having looked at some of his articles there are clearly aspects of ‘New Age’ thought running through what he believes. My research unearthed not only Mr Cohen’s teachings but also the reflections of some former but now disillusioned, ‘disciples’.
Next, a local missionary worker contacted me, concerned for a friend in New Zealand who had come across teachings relating to what is called the ‘LATTER DAY RAIN MOVEMENT’ and specifically to the early contribution to it of a man called ‘GEORGE HAWTIN’. Thanks again to some books in my growing library I was able to respond with suitable information.
Finally a friend in Texas inquired if I could supply anything on the subject of ‘THE INTERNATIONAL CHURCH of CHRIST and BAPTISM’ and I was able to send on a suitable article together with the web site address of a ministry that had other informative articles relating to this particular grouping.
Should any reader require the information that I unearthed and supplied in relation to these ‘general inquiries’ I will be very pleased to forward it on to them upon request.
RELIGIOUS PLURALISM GOOD or BAD?
Another few weeks will mark the end of the Queen’s Year of Jubilee and I have no doubt there will be much reference to it in the Queen’s annual television Christmas Broadcast to the Nation and to the Commonwealth. As coverage of the various events has been unfolding over the course of the year on television it is clear that a deliberate effort has been made by the Royal entourage to focus attention upon the extensive multi-racial and multi-faith make-up of the United Kingdom – particularly highlighting how this ‘mix’ has dramatically increased since the Queen first became monarch after the death of her father in 1952. The following report that appeared in the October issue of Evangelical Times serves to illustrate well this drive by the Queen and her advisers to make her Year of Jubilee an ‘all embracing and inclusive’ one.
QUEEN VISITS MOSQUE
The Queen has visited a British mosque for the first time. As she slipped off her shoes to enter the prayer room at the Scunthorpe Islamic Centre, she asked ‘Which direction is Mecca?’ The Queen and her advisers chose the north-Lincolnshire centre as the first-ever visit to a British mosque by a reigning monarch after it was vandalised following September 11. Windows were smashed and ‘Kill Muslims’ was written on walls during angry scenes after the terrorist attacks in America. ‘We are British Muslims and she is our Queen’ said Jawaid Ishaq, the executive member at the Scunthorpe Islamic Centre who wrote to Buckingham Palace inviting the Queen. ‘Her visit is not only a tribute to the 5,000 Muslims living in the Scunthorpe area but also to the 3.5 million Muslims living throughout the UK’ he said. After unveiling a plaque commemorating her visit, she was presented with a copy of the KORAN in Arabic and English.
This concerted attempt by the Queen during this special year to identify with all races and faiths has been further evidenced by similar visits to for example the Hindu and Sikh communities and their respective places of worship. As a Christian I have no problems in rejoicing at being part of a multi-racial society such as is found in the United Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven itself will be made up of “a great multitude” drawn from “all nations and kindreds and peoples” [Revelation 7:9]. However, as a Christian, I have no cause whatsoever at rejoicing to be in the midst of a multi-faith society. In marked contrast, the view held by those in positions of authority in our land, not only regal and political but also religious, is that ‘religious pluralism is good’. In the eyes of the One true God, what constitutes being referred to or regarded as ‘good’? In Psalm 19:1 we read “The heavens declare the GLORY of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork”. God’s creation GLORIFIED God and in Genesis 1:31 we read “And God saw everything that he had made and behold it was very GOOD”. From God’s perspective, that which is ‘good’ ‘glorifies’ Him. That’s why we read the exhortation to believers in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your GOOD works and GLORIFY your Father who is in heaven”.
As I stated, not only in the regal and political palaces of Buckingham and Westminster, but also in the religious ‘palace’ of Lambeth is the ‘virtue’ of ‘religious pluralism’ extolled. A few years ago the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, said ‘it can help us to recognise that other faiths than our own are genuine mansions of the Spirit with many rooms to be discovered’. How can a nation that was formerly regarded and recognised as a bastion of Biblical Christianity, have become so misguided where the religious thinking of professing Christians in positions of influence and authority is concerned. I believe in this area of its thinking they have fallen victim to ‘The Vanishing Conscience’. In a tremendous talk given under that title, John MacArthur focussed on a number of consequences that flow from the present-day practice of people suppressing their God-given conscience. Before identifying the consequences, he detailed some expressions of a ‘suppressed’ conscience. One was the promotion of ‘self-esteem’ [for a fine example of all that is scripturally wrong with this idea just read an article promoting it called ‘Self-Esteem’ by Adam Harbinson, the Editor of ‘Faith for Life’ [issue 8:p16]. Another was where people and society actually celebrate and approve of ‘religious pluralism’ and reject and rebel against any notion of a singular, absolute religious truth. In God’s Word, His revealed truth, ‘religious pluralism’ is identified as God-dishonouring, it robs Him of the glory due alone to Him and according to God Himself – it is bad.
Should you wish to obtain a video copy of ‘The Vanishing Conscience’ talk by John MacArthur you may do so by writing to
‘Good News Videos’, 140 Leinster Road, Dublin 6, Ireland.
A cost-covering donation of 4 Euros or £2 Sterling will be appreciated.
The ‘Sin’ of Adam Harbinson
On page 10 I made reference to an article that appeared in the local, glossy ‘Christian’ magazine called ‘Faith for Life’. The article in question was called ‘Self Esteem’ and the magazine editor, Adam Harbinson, wrote it. As I read it, it reminded me very much of what Peter said in 2 Peter 3:16 when he wrote of those “that are unlearned and unstable [who] wrest [twist or torture], as they do also other scriptures, unto their own destruction”.
In this article Adam Harbinson was extolling the ‘virtue’ of people developing their ‘self image’. He wrote, ‘The way we look at ourselves and feel about ourselves, way down deep at the centre of our personality will determine our relationship with God and those around us. This is particularly important for teenagers, for NOTHING is more necessary to their Christian growth than developing a good healthy Christian self image from the inside out’. In contrast to this statement let me again quote Peter who wrote in 1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere MILK OF THE WORD that ye may grow thereby”.
Speaking of John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus said “Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist”. What was John’s secret for ‘greatness’? Was it the cultivation of a growing and increasing ‘healthy self image’? The more John grew in his knowledge of Christ it drove him to declare, “He [Christ] must increase and I [self] must decrease”. Paul had no misguided delusions about his own ‘self image’ for he testified that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, OF WHOM I AM CHIEF” [1 Timothy 1:15]. Similarly, when outlining the ever-present battle in his life as a Christian between “the law of sin which is in my members” and his desire “to perform that which is good”, Paul referred to himself in the less than flattering words, where is ‘self image’ would be concerned, as “Oh, wretched man that I am” [Romans 7:23; 18; 24].
The comment that really shocked me was when Adam Harbinson wrote ‘I firmly endorse the idea of a healthy self-love. Indeed, God encourages us to “Love thy neighbour AS THYSELF”’. This teaching [Luke 10:27-28] is NOT God commending ‘self-love’. In reality it is a condemnation of ‘self-love’. Man, in his fallen, unregenerate state naturally loves himself supremely above everyone. It is a sinful and selfish love and it is with this very same ‘sinful’ intensity that a Christian is commanded to love his neighbour. ‘Self love’ naturally emanates from our hearts and God says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” [Jeremiah 17:9]. The fall of Lucifer is graphically described in Isaiah 14: 12-15 and what was the ‘root cause’ of his fall? – ‘self-love’. Such ‘self-love’ is outlawed by the Word of God ‘let each esteem other better than themselves’ [Philippians 2:3]. The modern-day heresy of Christians nurturing a ‘healthy self-love’ is yet further evidence of ‘The Vanishing Conscience’.
‘Father’ Patrick McCafferty’s response to The Christian’s
‘INHERITANCE’ and ‘REWARDS’
To his albeit misguided credit ‘Father’ Patrick McCafferty is never one to shirk confrontation and ‘true to form’ he did not let our article on The Christian’s ‘INHERITANCE’ and ‘REWARDS’ pass unnoticed or unchallenged. Prior to its publication in our September 2002 NEWS FROM THE FRONT it had been posted in advance for several weeks on our ministry web site. As a direct result Patrick was, I believe, prompted to avail himself of his position as a regular contributor to the Belfast Telegraph’s weekly feature ‘Thought For The Weekend’ to pen and publish the following article on 24 August 2002 –
“You must love the Lord your God…and your neighbour as yourself” Deuteronomy 6:5
“Do this and live” Luke 10:28
The above words are Jesus’ answer to a lawyer’s question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). The lawyer, anxious to justify himself posed a further question “And who is my neighbour?” The Lord’s reply is the beautiful parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).
The Jews did not associate with Samaritans and considered them outsiders. They were certainly not regarded as brothers and sisters in the Faith. And yet, when the Lord wanted to illustrate how we are to treat one another as neighbours, friends and kin, He told of a Samaritan’s compassion for a Jew who had been beaten, stripped and robbed.
The Samaritan finding the poor man half-dead, showed himself to be really Christ-like. Jesus concluded by saying to the lawyer and the other listeners “Go and do the same yourself”. Jesus Himself came to us as a poor man with nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58).
He emptied Himself of glory (Philippians 2:7) in order to give us an eternal inheritance out of His own infinite riches (2 Corinthians 8:9). The One, who was Himself a vagrant preacher of the Good News, calls us to take our places in “the Kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 26:34).
However, what we must do in order to have eternal life is love and serve Jesus, present in the suffering and the poor. Every poor man, woman or child, no matter who he or she is, or where they come from, is the very Person of Jesus Christ – hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned and an outcast. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan makes it very clear that every human being is my neighbour, sister and brother. In a society that exacerbates divisions and pillories fellow human beings as ‘alien’ or ‘foreign’, we must strive to breach all the borders that exist between peoples.
In doing so, we are throwing the doors wide open to Christ. We are doing the Father’s Will and advancing Christ’s Kingdom of love, justice, equality and peace. Jesus says: “Do this and life is yours” (Luke 10:28). Upon this hinges our eternal destiny – whether or not the Father will recognise us on the Last Day as His children.
Contained in this article is the revealed ‘gospel’ or ‘Good News’ according to ‘Father’ Patrick McCafferty. By His first ‘heading-quotation’ of Deuteronomy 6:5’ which is in essence a summary of the 10 commandments, and his second ‘heading-quotation’ of Luke 10:28, Patrick is clearly teaching that those who keep the commandments of God will be rewarded with ‘eternal life’.
By way of reply to this ‘gospel’ of Patrick McCafferty I am now setting out a response to Patrick’s article by ROB ZINS who in previous visits to the Province publicly debated Patrick on a wide range of doctrinal subjects and topics.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost”
The above words were spoken by the great apostle Paul in this God-inspired passage of Scripture written to his protégé Titus. The apostle Paul had earlier been knocked off his horse, literally blinded for a while and humbled before his companions on the road to Damascus by Jesus Christ [Acts 9]. But, Paul’s humiliation turned out to be the best for him and for us. For, through that encounter with Jesus, Paul came to understand the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Up until this point in his life, Paul [name Saul], was a zealot for the Law of Moses and a hater of Christians. He hated Christians because they proclaimed a Gospel of full pardon and complete forgiveness of their sins and all penalties due sins by faith alone in Jesus apart from the Law. When Paul was shown the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he had to adjust his thinking about salvation being conditioned upon works. Paul left all confidence in his good works behind and set out clearly, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the glorious truth that God revealed to him, as far as the Gospel is concerned, in his letter to the Christians at Rome:
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” Romans 3:28
He would be even more forthright in his letter to the Christians at Galatia:
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” Galatians 2:16
This is no small concession coming from one who described himself, “Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” Philippians 3:6
lthough Paul was a zealous defender of the faith of his ancestors, it was revealed to him by Jesus that a right standing with God could not be attained by keeping the Law. In fact, man is so sinful and the Law of God is so demanding that any impulse to achieve salvation through keeping the Law is unthinkable. Man is simply too sinful. Man will fail miserably!
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” Galatians 3:10
In fact, Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and to deliver them from the curse of the Law. Paul goes on to tell us that those still trying to be justified by Law have fallen from grace and ‘dis-graced’ the Gospel. In contrast, Paul proclaims the Gospel of the grace of God. This is the promise that all who come to Christ, through faith alone in His death on the cross, would have ‘eternal life’ and not be condemned by the Law. Now there are many today who cannot fathom ‘eternal life’ as a gift freely given on the basis of faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ. They, like Paul’s contemporaries, seek to point us to this law, or to that law, to this obedience or to that obedience.
They condition ‘eternal life’ on the things we should do in this system of works or that system of works.
But the Christian is assured from the Bible, that the greatest system of works, which demanded good works done in faith and obedience to the Law of God, utterly failed to bring salvation to anyone. This, of course, is the Law of God given to Moses. It failed and all other works systems will fail as well. Why?
Because the Law was never issued to give ‘eternal life’. Paul explains: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” Galatians 3:24
‘Eternal life’ is based upon the promise of God to give life to those who trust in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. Hence, ‘eternal life’ is a promise of God given by grace through faith alone. Let us not attempt to turn people to ‘faith’ in their own good works, faithfulness, imitations of Jesus and man-made religious rituals that are destined for certain failure. Let us instead point them to the depths of their sin. This sin is so deep that God views any of their personal righteousnesses as being no better than foul, filthy rags. Then we need to point them to Jesus Christ the author and perfecter of faith. When once a person comes to see their desperate need for Christ’s perfect forgiveness through faith alone, ‘eternal life’ is given to them forever. The Lord Jesus Himself said
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” John 5:24
Upon this promise hinges our eternal destiny and nothing else.
ROB ZINS 3 September 2002
Following the publication of Patrick’s Thought For The Weekend the Belfast Telegraph subsequently published responses and a counter response by Rev Ivan Foster and Patrick. These exchanges were most enlightening and revealing, particularly in the realm of Patrick’s ‘gospel’ and again I invited Rob Zins to write a response to a specific doctrinal view advocated by Patrick in his response to Ivan Foster. These exchanges between Ivan Foster and Patrick together with Rob’s further thoughts and some views contributed by myself represent a clear expose of the false ‘works-salvation-system’ of Rome and prompted me to collate all the writings generated by this subject into a little
28 page A-5 booklet with the title of
The Christian’s ‘INHERITANCE’ of ‘eternal life FROM Christ’
and the Christian’s eternal ‘REWARDS’ of ‘service FOR Christ’
contrasted with the ‘Gospel’ of ‘Father’ Patrick McCafferty
Copies of this booklet can be obtained from us at a PRICE OF £1-50 [includes p&p]
UPDATE – FRANK EBERHARDT
In our December 2001 and June 2002 issues of NEWS FROM THE FRONT I made mention of family situations where Frank welcomed prayer. Thankfully one of the major concern situations is currently showing much improvement but we would ask you to continue to pray on. Another family member is beginning to show worrying illness signs associated with advancing years so please pray very much for Frank in the midst of these ongoing trials.
THANKS – FROM ROGER OAKLAND
At the beginning of September I received an anonymous card and enclosed with it was a substantial cheque to be forwarded on to Roger Oakland. This is just to inform the anonymous donor [if they happen to receive NEWS FROM THE FRONT] that an equivalent American Dollar Draft was forwarded on to Roger. On his way back from a recent trip to the Ukraine Roger stopped in England to fulfil a speaking engagement there and he took the time to phone me to say how he had been overwhelmed by the generosity of this gift and he wanted, if possible, the donor to know what an encouragement it had been and to convey his thanks to them, so we hope the donor sees this acknowledgment.
WARNING – JOYCE MEYER TO VISIT BELFAST
I read recently that Joyce Meyer Ministries are ‘taking over’ the Kings Hall in Belfast for 3 days in May 2003 [29th-31st]. Joyce Meyer has appeared regularly on the God TV satellite broadcasts and as a result I have often been asked at meetings for my views on her ministry. On the back cover of Charisma Magazine [May 1997] there is a full-page advert for the International Charismatic Bible Ministries conference that was held in Tulsa in June 1997. Amongst the guest speakers were Oral Roberts and his son, Richard [who at the time of ‘Toronto’ said he was going to laugh his way out of debt], Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Marilyn Hickey and Paul Crouch. For the ‘Women’s Luncheon’ the ‘Special speaker’ was Joyce Meyer. I have on file a number of reports that detail grave concerns about the theology and ‘teaching’ of this lady and I will forward them to any who request them.
TAX EFFICIENT GIVING via STEWARSHIP SERVICES
Many thanks to all those who requested forms and have subsequently used this scheme. For UK taxpayers – information leaflets are still available upon request.