Dear praying friends,
This is an unscheduled additional NEWS FROM THE FRONT that has been prompted by the sheer volume of information that I want to distribute to you. The ‘print size’ is perhaps a little smaller than usual – again it is to enable me to include as much information as possible. You will notice that at the foot of this page, details of a Council of Reference are no longer listed. There is nothing sinister in this; it is simply the result of changed circumstances. Since the formation of the Council a number of years ago, of the original 6 members, only one is still currently working in the same situation. As a result of the various changes of location and service, including of course our own move back in 2000, it has become increasingly difficult to arrange regular ‘get-togethers’ and so it has been decided to formally ‘disband’ the Council. Each of the ‘retiring’ members has assured me of their ongoing full support for “Take Heed” and will continue to offer me a ‘listening ear’ and advice in appropriate circumstances. Margaret and I wish to record our deep appreciation to all those who served on the Council. Their friendship, fellowship and encouragement have meant much to us over the years and we wish them God’s richest blessing as they continue to serve Him “in spirit and in truth”. A new year has unfolded and as we face “the wiles of the devil” we will need both strength and help, so let me conclude this letter with what was our own Church motto text for 2002 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped” [Psalm 28:7].
Your servant for Christ
WAS – C S LEWIS – TRULY ‘OUR GREATEST CHRISTIAN WRITER’?
Since early 2002, local Pastor and well-known writer, Derick Bingham has been engaged in a determined, personal crusade to promote the story and writings of C S Lewis. In his THOUGHT FOR THE WEEKEND published in the Belfast Telegraph of 5 January 2002, Derick Bingham wrote –
‘It is now the evening of September 19th, 1931 and an Ulsterman called C S Lewis has just had some guests to dinner…One of the guests J R R Tolkien is a Professor of Anglo Saxon and shares with Lewis a deep love of the books of George McDonald, a Scotish Presbyterian minister of the 19th century who wrote thirty novels in his time. As a sixteen-year-old atheist, Lewis had come across the writing of Mr McDonald and heard for the first time, he later admitted, the voice of Holiness. He also famously stated ‘a young atheist cannot guard his faith too carefully’ and stated that he had not been searching for God any more than a mouse goes searching for a cat. But Lewis had been ‘searched’ and had quite recently admitted that God was God, but he was categorically not a Christian believer…Lewis could not see the relevance of Christian truths similar to those found in pagan mythologies – for instance the ideas of sacrifice, propitiation, the shedding of blood, communion and redemption. Tolkien maintained that the difference between the Christian story and other stories was that it came from a God who was real and from a God whose dying could transform those who believed in him…Three days later, while sitting in the sidecar of his brother’s motorcycle on the way to Whipsnade Zoo, C S Lewis was converted to Christ. ‘When I set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And when I reached the zoo, I did’ he wrote in his book ‘Surprised by Joy’’.
1. Derick Bingham stated that C S Lewis, was an atheist who came to the view that ‘God was God’ but this did not equal being a Christian. [At this point Lewis would be viewed as a ‘theist’]
2. On the evening in question, C S Lewis listened to the views of J R R Tolkien who was a Roman Catholic. Derick Bingham has stated that Lewis ‘could not see the relevance of Christian truths… for instance the ideas of sacrifice, propitiation, the shedding of blood, communion and redemption’. Any explanation on these ‘Christian truths’ that might have been given to Lewis by Tolkien would have been the unscriptural, erroneous Roman Catholic understanding of these ‘truths’.
3. Derick Bingham concludes that the declaration by Lewis that ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God’ is sufficient evidence of the progression of Lewis from ‘theist’ to ‘Christian convert’.
In relation to J R R Tolkien and his Roman Catholicism let me quote the following extracts from his biography as found on the Tolkien Society web site www.tolkiensociety.org
‘Certainly his father, Arthur Reuel Tolkien, considered himself nothing if not English. Arthur was a bank clerk and went to South Africa in the 1890’s for better prospects of promotion. There he was joined by his bride, Mabel Suffield…so John (“Ronald” to family and early friends) was born in Bloemfontein SA on 3 January 1892…on 15 February 1896 his father died, and he, his mother and his younger brother Hilary returned to England, or more particularly, the West Midlands…Then they moved to the somewhat more pleasant Birmingham suburb of Edgbaston. However in the meantime, something of profound significance has occurred which estranged Mabel and her children from both sides of the family: in 1900 together with her sister May, she was received into the Roman Catholic Church. From then on both Ronald and Hilary were brought up in the faith of Pio Nono and remained devout Catholics throughout their lives. The parish priest who visited the family regularly was the half-Spanish half-Welsh Father Francis Morgan…He [Tolkien] soon became one of the founder members of a loose grouping of Oxford friends with similar interests known as ‘The Inklings’…Other prominent members included…Dyson…and above all C S Lewis who became one of Tolkien’s closest friends, and for whose return to Christianity, Tolkien was at least partly responsible…On 27 November 1971 Edith [Tolkien’s wife] died and Ronald soon returned to Oxford, to rooms provided by Merton College. Ronald died on 2 September 1973. He and Edith are buried together in a single grave in the Catholic section of Wolvercote cemetery in the northern suburbs of Oxford’.
The evidence is clear that Tolkien was committed to Roman Catholicism which, as God’s people know, often to their cost, is no friend of Biblical, evangelical Christianity and it is extremely disturbing to see Derick Bingham viewing both Tolkien and his religion as being Christian – in his booklet Derick Bingham wrote –
‘Now in the twenty first century the books and films of the books of Lewis and Tolkien fascinate millions of people around the earth. At the heart of that friendship, though, lay the importance of the person of Jesus Christ. The Lord of THESE [emphasis mine] giants of literature is of course as real today as ever’
In the closing line of his THOUGHT FOR THE WEEKEND published in the Belfast Telegraph of 5 January 2002, Derick Bingham wrote –
Tolkien and Lewis still speak. And how!
Derick Bingham refers to these men as ‘Giants’ – drawing on the lessons we learn from the story of another giant, named Goliath, I would urge God’s people to “Take Heed”. As a footnote to Derick Bingham’s THOUGHT FOR THE WEEKEND published in the Belfast Telegraph of 14 September 2002, there was this statement
‘For those interested, Derick Bingham’s free booklet on the story of the conversion to faith of C S Lewis, particularly through a conversation with J R R Tolkien, entitled “Walking with Giants” is available by writing to…’
I wrote away for a booklet and shall be commenting upon it shortly but to further illustrate this crusade to promote the story of C S Lewis let me now quote from the latter portion of Derick Bingham’s THOUGHT FOR THE WEEKEND published in the Belfast Telegraph of 12 October 2002 –
‘I leave his [The Apostle Paul’s] words with you to consider over this weekend. I shall, God willing, be high in the Swiss Alps by the time you read them, expounding an Ulsterman’s view of the Gospel at a special weekend, namely the views of C S Lewis’.
The final promotion of Lewis by Derick Bingham that I want to refer to is the article in the LIFETIMES magazine of October 2002. This article by Derick Bingham took the form of a review of a book called ‘Jack; a life of C S Lewis’ by George Sayer. In his article Derick Bingham wrote –
‘For me the chapter entitled “The Pilgrim’s Progress” gives most helpful information on the conversion of C S Lewis on September 22nd 1931 while sitting in the sidecar of his brother’s motorcycle en route to Whipsnade Zoo!…It is wonderful to at last see people in Northern Ireland beginning to recognize Lewis for the spiritual giant he was…Lewis, OUR GREATEST CHRISTIAN WRITER [emphasis mine] is now the best selling Christian author in all of history’.
Again, as a footnote, the following information was published –
‘DERICK BINGHAM is a teaching pastor with ChristChurch, Belfast. This month, DV, he will hold a seminar at Villars in Switzerland on C S Lewis and will give an address at the 75th anniversary of the N I Civil Service Christian Union in the Great Hall, Parliament Buildings, Stormont to a specially invited audience of politicians and civil servants on the subject of the conversion of C S Lewis’.
In the light of the foregoing I hope you agree that I was not exaggerating when I referred to ‘a determined, personal crusade’ by Derick Bingham to promote C S Lewis. I mentioned earlier that I would refer to the booklet on Lewis by Derick Bingham called “Walking with Giants” and in it Derick Bingham again refers to the time in 1929 when the then atheist, Lewis, finally came to the view that ‘God was God’. Derick Bingham wrote –
‘Lewis now believed in God. He was a theist, that is, he believed in the creation of the universe by one God but he was not yet a Christian’.
However, on the preceding page Derick Bingham quotes more extensively from what Lewis wrote about this 1929 transformation experience
Lewis wrote ‘That which I had greatly feared had come upon me…I gave in and admitted that God was God and knelt and prayed: perhaps that night the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England…but who can duly adore that love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape?’
I have read other reports [e.g. by Dr Bruce L Edwards] that chart the ‘progression’ of Lewis as being from atheist to theist to Christian but the terminology used by Lewis in 1929 seems to me to be more than that of a ‘mere theist’. I wonder has Derick Bingham sought to fully think through and explain what spiritual reality Lewis was seeking to convey when he referred to himself as a ‘convert’ who ‘knelt and prayed’, as a ‘prodigal’ and as one ‘brought in’? Is there evidence that Lewis himself drew such a clear distinction between his ‘conversion’ in 1929 [to ‘theist’] and his ‘conversion’ in 1931 [to ‘Christian’]? Perhaps there is such evidence available and if so it would be very helpful if Derick Bingham were to put it in the public domain. Referring again to the night of the conversation between Lewis and Tolkien, in his booklet Derick Bingham also stated this –
‘Tolkien went home and Hugo Dyson, another friend and academic, continued to talk with Lewis…He emphasised that the one who believes in Christ receives peace and forgiveness of sins’.
Three days later Lewis declared that he believed that ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God’. Perhaps I’m ultra cautious but I am very hesitant to simply accept that someone who declares that ‘God is God’ and that ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God’ can automatically be considered to be a genuine Christian convert. Mormons can easily declare that ‘God is God’ and that ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God’ It is one thing to ‘believe IN Christ’ but quite another matter to ‘believe ON Christ’ – that is, the ‘Christ’ revealed in the Bible.
In my Bible I read of a man with “an unclean spirit” who said to Christ “I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God” [Mark 1:23-24]. When Christ came to “the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils…And behold they cried out, what have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God” [Matthew 8:28-29]. In James 2:19 I read “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble”. It is clear from scripture that to believe that ‘God is God’ and that ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God’ is not a sure testimony to possessing God’s “so great salvation” [Hebrews 2:3]. In my Bible I read the following “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” [2 John 9]. A true Christian convert will not only be right about the ‘person’ of Christ but he will also be right about the ‘work’ of Christ. This is the divine revelation given to those who savingly ‘believe ON Christ’ – listen to Christ in Matthew 11:25 “I thank thee O father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes”. In the great chapter where Christ speaks of being “born again” we subsequently read in John 3:27 where John the Baptist said concerning spiritual knowledge “A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven”. I often hear the expression ‘A person is not justified [acquitted by God] by their words’ and that is true but ‘the words of a person’ will testify that they have been truly ‘justified’. The words of a ‘justified person’ will show that they are ‘abiding in the doctrine of Christ’ and that they truly ‘have both the Father and the Son” [2 John 9]. To test if someone is truly a genuine Christine convert who is ‘abiding in the doctrine of Christ’ it is scripturally legitimate to examine what all those professing to be Christian say and write publicly for we read in 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”. In the Berean spirit, commended by Paul in Acts 17:11 I want now to consider some of the publicly expressed views of C S Lewis to see if he truly merits Derick Bingham’s appellation that he is ‘our greatest Christian writer’. Prior to even considering compiling any report, most of the concerns that I held concerning the writings of C S Lewis were based upon reports compiled by other concerned Christian apologists [some of which I will refer to later]. However, recently I have taken time to look at what Lewis wrote in his book ‘Mere Christianity’ and I have been so shocked by what I have read that I was simply compelled to write this report, particularly in the light of all the high-profile promotion being given to Lewis by Derick Bingham. [to be continued DV]
MEMORIES OF MALTA
At the end of October, Margaret and I spent a relaxing week on the island of Malta. In the wake of rather hectic ‘Ministry’ activity over recent months this was a welcome respite and the Lord blessed us with lovely weather. We were able to ‘take in’ and appreciate the varied and often rugged landscape of our surroundings but the ‘spiritual’ landscape certainly did not escape our attention either and I would like to share some thoughts and impressions with you.
According to Acts 27-28 Paul made an unscheduled stop [courtesy of a shipwreck] on the island of Malta – ‘Melita’ -see Acts 28:1. During his time there he had an encounter with “ a viper…[a] venomous beast” [v3-4] but I am glad to report that we had no such ‘hand-wringing’ experiences. I think if Paul were to visit Malta today, courtesy of Air Malta, he would experience the same kind of ‘sinking-feeling’ that he experienced during his time in Athens where we read in Acts 17:16 “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the whole city given to idolatry”. In Air Malta’s ‘in-flight’ magazine for November 2002 Paul could read the following on page 39 and I believe it would particularly ‘stir his spirit’.
On that page under the heading ‘PLACES OF INTEREST’ we read the following ‘St Paul’s Shipwreck Church [open daily] is considered to be the most important church in Valletta after St John’s Co-Cathedral. This church celebrates the feast of St Paul’s shipwreck on February 10. The wooden statue of Paul which is carried in procession is the work of 17th-century sculptor Melchiorre Gafa. One can also see a silver monstrance with a bone relic of St Paul, as well as the silver column brought from Rome in 1960’.
Here we have a ‘statue’ and supposedly ‘a bone relic’ of the same St Paul who, when the people of Lystra wanted to raise him and Barnabas to a level of worship and adoration, “rent [his] clothes and ran in among the people crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions unto you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven and earth and the sea and all things that are therein” [Acts 14:14-15].
The reality is that Paul would be appalled by any such ‘feasts’ in his memory! Today the island of Malta, religiously speaking, is virtually wholly given over to the idolatry of Roman Catholicism. This is clearly evident, not only in the Cathedrals and many Chapels [both large and small] located all over the island, but at the numerous shrines along the roadside and by the doorpost figures on multitudes of house fronts. On the one organised trip that we signed up for, a visit to the neighbouring island of Gozo, we were regularly directed to Roman Catholic chapels and informed of the many ‘festas’ that each individual village would organise during the year. Just a few examples taken from the printed schedule are as follows –
Locality – Festa – Date
Gharb – Visitation of Our Lady – 1st Sunday in July
Qala – St Joseph – 1st Sunday in August
Xlendi – Our Lady of Mount Carmel – 1st Sunday in September
Victoria – Immaculate Conception – 8th December
In the course of conversation with another couple who were staying in our hotel they told us which part of Northern Ireland they came from. That, together with their names and cultural interests led us to believe that they were Roman Catholics. As we all chatted away about what we had seen on the islands they remarked to us about the obvious and glaring ‘riches’ that adorned every Catholic Church and they were struck by the contrast between the wealth of the Church and the relative poverty of the people. The truth is that not only does Rome impoverish its people ‘spiritually’ speaking but also in the ‘material’ sense and this is evident all over the world, and perhaps nowhere more so than here in Ireland. In support of this here are extracts from 2 letters published in the Belfast Telegraph of 9 November 2002 –
‘Can the Church justify the expenditure of many thousands of pounds the Irish Bishops spent this year when they all went off to Bruges in Belgium for their annual conference? Can the Church Justify an expenditure of more than £4000 each on robes for clerics made Cardinals in Rome last year?…We the faithful will pay as we pay for everything else.’ DISENCHANTED CATHOLIC, Dunmurry,
‘Our Church is run as a dictatorship and the Bishops and priests do make all the decisions without consulting the people who, after all, supply the money…I have lived in Glengormley for 15 years and never once was I asked to vote for a finance committee…As for rich priests or poor priests it would be easier to unlock the secrets of the Pharoahs than to learn what your average priest earns. Catholic mother should open her eyes and look around the parish of Glengormley. Do they really need three parochial houses?’ CATHOLIC FATHER, Glengormley,
Malta, an island bedecked with ‘Roman Riches’, but knowing little of the soul-liberating message preached by that visitor to its shores almost 2000 years ago who declared in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast” [a message more precious than “silver or gold” 1 Peter 1:18] As we travelled around we took every opportunity to leave, in appropriate locations, tracts and booklets telling forth the “glad tidings” that Paul both announced and explained in Acts 13: 32 & 38-39. Please pray that the Lord might be pleased to use these for His glory and for some soul’s eternal good. In particular could we ask you to pray for Catherine [tour guide] and Charles [tour company representative] who received booklets?
On the Friday of our week in Malta, Margaret and I navigated our way via the local bus service to the capital, Valletta and spent some 3-4 hours in a very busy, bustling city. Our first port of call after passing through the famed city gate was the Tourist Office where we armed ourselves with probably the most popular of their leaflets – ‘A Walking Tour of Valletta’. Later, after splitting up to ‘do our own thing’ I was making my way back to our rendezvous point when I spotted a couple of young men in white shirts with dark ties and dark trousers. Pinned to their shirts were the black name badges of ‘Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ – probably better known to you and I as ‘MORMONS’. Prayerfully I approached and inquired if I could ask them a question to which they responded ‘yes’. This was my question.
‘Can you tell me what your church teaches about how Jesus Christ received his earthly body’?
One of them replied as follows ‘He received it through the Virgin Mary – that’s in the Bible’. I then said ‘But can you tell me how Mary came to be pregnant in the first place’? The young Mormon replied ‘We believe the same as what all the Christian denominations would believe about that’. I said to him ‘That’s not true’ and he asked me to explain so I told him how his church teaches that their heavenly Father, who is called Elohim, came to earth almost 2000 years ago and had a literal sexual relationship with a Virgin called Mary [after which she was no longer a Virgin] and as a result of that union, Jesus Christ was born in the flesh and I added ‘that’s not in the Bible’.
He said to me that he had never heard that and asked me where it was taught. I informed him that many Mormon leaders and spokespersons had taught this since the foundation of their church. I mentioned Mormon apostle, Bruce McConkie as one example but encouraged him to check the subject out for himself. He asked me my name, which I gave, and then I asked him for his – to which he replied ‘Elder so and so’ – so I asked him for his first name – it is Derek – please join with us in praying for Derek’s deliverance from Mormonism and his soul’s salvation.
This topic of Christ’s body is something I believe that Mormonism likes to ‘hush-up’ and it may be that they keep the truth hidden from ‘missionaries’ like Derek. It’s something you might like to ask any Mormons that you come in contact with about and to ‘arm’ you and help you here are some quotes by leading Mormons on the origins of the ‘earthly body of Jesus Christ’.
SOURCE – QUOTE
Bruce R McConkie [one of the Mormon “Twelve Apostles” until 1985] in ‘Mormon Doctrine’ (1966 Edition: p 546-547) – ‘These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers’.
Bruce R McConkie [one of the Mormon “Twelve Apostles” until 1985] in ‘Mormon Doctrine’ (1966 Edition: p 742) – ‘And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy being; he was born in the same personal, real and literals sense that any son is born to a mortals father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal natural course of events…Christ is the Son of Man, meaning that his Father (the Eternal God) is a Holy Man’.
Joseph Fielding Smith [10th President of the Mormon Church] in ‘Doctrines of Salvation’ (Vol:1 p19) – ‘They tell us the Book of Mormon states that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost. I challenge that statement. The Book of Mormon teaches no such thing! Neither does the bible.’
Joseph Fielding Smith [10th President of the Mormon Church] in ‘Doctrines of Salvation’ (Vol:1 p18) – ‘Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man and that Man was God’.
Heber C Kimball [one of the original Mormon “Twelve Apostles”] in ‘Journal of Discourses’ (Vol:8 p211) – ‘I was naturally begotten; so was my father and also my Saviour Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh and there is nothing unnatural about it’.
Quote from ‘Family Home Evening Manual’ (1972 Edition: p125) – ‘Well, now for the benefit of the older ones, how are children begotten? I answer – just as Jesus Christ was begotten of his father’.
Brigham Young [Successor to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism] in ‘Journal of Discourses 1860’ (Vol:8 p 115) – ‘The birth of our Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children: it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood – was begotten of his father as we were of our fathers’.
Brigham Young [Successor to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism] in ‘Journal of Discourses 1857’ (Vol:4 p 218) – ‘When the time came that His first born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle (body) the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it’.
Brigham Young [Successor to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism] in ‘Journal of Discourses’ (Vol:1 p 151) – ‘Now remember from this time forth and for ever that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost’.
It is also worth remembering that Brigham Young taught that this ‘Father God-Man’ was none other than Adam. Here is what Brigham Young taught
Brigham Young in ‘Journal of Discourses 1852’ (Vol: 1 p50) – ‘Now hear it inhabitants of the earth, Jew and gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father ADAM came into the garden of Eden he came into it with a celestial body and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organise this world. He is MICHAEL the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! About whom holy men have written and spoken – He is our FATHER and our God and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christian or non-professing must hear it and will know it sooner or later’
Brigham Young in ‘Journal of Discourses 1852’ (Vol: 1 p50) – ‘When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the father? He is the first of the human family; and when he took a tabernacle it was begotten by his Father in heaven’.
Brigham Young in ‘Desert News’ (October 10, 1866) – ‘The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary, the wife of Joseph, had another husband’.
In June 1998, the ‘LDS Church News’ referred to comments made by their President, Gordon B Hinckley during a visit to Europe. They stated ‘In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day saints “do not believe in the traditional Christ. No I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times”’ and President Hinckley added by way of clarification ‘He [the Christ of whom I speak] together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages’.
Let me end this section with the Apostle Paul’s timely warning to the Galatians as found in God’s true Word, in Galatians 1: 8 “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed”.
‘LIGHT in LUQA’
Whilst in Malta I was able to chat by phone on several occasions with Pastor Paul Mizzi of Trinity Evangelical Church in Luqa. Unfortunately our schedules did not allow for our paths to cross in person but I would commend this work to you for your remembrance [prayerful and practical if possible]. This is a small fellowship, made up predominantly of converted, former Roman Catholics [the background of Pastor Paul] and they are seeking under God to witness for the truth of the Gospel in opposition to the overwhelming and oppressive darkness of Rome. Certainly if you are ever visiting Malta they would be glad to meet up with you and have you fellowship with them. The postal address of the church is PO Box 9, Luqa and a contact telephone number is 2180 4417. Just in closing let me relate how an incident proved the truth of Proverbs 15:23 “a word spoken in season, how good is it!” As I mentioned earlier, Margaret and I went on one tour – the visit to Gozo. One stop was to the ‘Heritage Centre’ where we learned much about the history of the islands. Back on the bus I couldn’t help but overhear the man sitting behind us telling his wife [who had not visited the centre] about how during the presentation, mention had been made of how the Apostle Paul had referred to the inhabitants as ‘barbarians’ because they did not understand Greek or Latin. In response the man’s wife said ‘but he also said “they showed us no little kindness”’ and at that my ears pricked up as I recognised her quote from Acts 28:2. At our next scheduled stop I made a point of entering into conversation with this couple and very quickly we discovered that they were indeed fellow-believers who had actually gone to hear Frank Eberhardt [former trainee Roman Catholic priest] during his speaking tour here in Ireland organised by “Take Heed” back in 1997. For the remainder of the tour and next day also we enjoyed times of fellowship with John and Shirley, again proving “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together [even for a few days on holiday] in unity!” [Psalm 133:1].
‘CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER’ – DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT
During my time in Malta I read a book that I had been asked to review. It was called ‘A TIME OF DEPARTING’ by Ray Yungen and it dealt with the subject of ‘CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER’. This is an expression that conjures up a picture of deep spirituality and an intimate walk with God – the reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. So-called ‘CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER’ [defined as ‘Going beyond thought by use of repeated prayer words’ on page 138] is nothing more than a resurgence of occultic techniques found in paganism and Roman Catholic mysticism only this time it is being promoted by authors who are perceived to be in the evangelical Christian ‘camp’. It certainly was an ‘eye-opener’ and explained how heretical statements to the effect that ‘God is in all people’ [from the definition of ‘Panentheism’ on page 140] have been circulated by people like Tony Campolo who is closely associated with the Renovare movement founded by Richard Foster – author of ‘Celebration of Discipline’ – a book, which in the light of what I read about it in Ray Yungen’s book, is clearly one to be avoided by God’s people.
Many other so-called ‘evangelicals’ such as Philip Yancey and Brennan Manning are mentioned in ‘A Time Of Departing’ as is the late ‘Father’ Henri Nouwen whose books are found in ‘Christian’ bookstores and whose books are supplied by STL – the book publishing company that states in its ‘Stock Policy’ – ‘STL is a distribution organisation for Christian products operating on biblical principles and IN FULL AGREEMENT WITH THE OPERATION MOBILISATION statement of faith’. Other ‘Christian’ authors listed in the STL catalogue include the late ‘Cardinal’ Basil Hume, the late ‘Mother’ Teresa, USA ‘convert’ to Roman Catholicism Scott Hahn, the heretic Benny Hinn, Richard Holloway who according to The Guardian [G2 supplement of 18 August 1999 published during his tenure as Scottish Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh] reportedly ‘didn’t have any hang-ups about young people experimenting with casual sex or soft drugs’, stated in relation to the Bible that ‘obviously it is not meant to be taken literally’ and gave his view on Jesus as follows – ‘He was a sacred person. He had an encounter with the transcendent meaning we call God…My own preaching of the resurrection is evolving. I preach it as symbol, not necessarily as a brute physical fact. I’m agnostic on that’. Other ‘Christian’ authors listed include Ken Gott and Claudio Freidzon who played significant roles in the ‘Toronto Blessing’ debacle and finally Richard Foster whose dangerous and unscriptural teaching is identified in ‘A Time Of Departing’. Are the published views of all these so-called ‘Christian’ authors ‘IN FULL AGREEMENT WITH THE OPERATION MOBILISATION statement of faith’ as STL claim? If so, should evangelical Christians really continue to support OPERATION MOBILISATION?
Since reading ‘A Time Of Departing’ I have noticed comments about the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams that would seem to indicate openness to ‘Contemplative Prayer’. The ultra-ecumenical ‘Taize Movement’ would also appear to embrace enthusiastically this type of mystical meditation. Returning briefly to Rowan Williams I watched him on television attempt to draw a distinction between men who forsake heterosexual relationships in favour of homosexual relationships [he appeared to consider that ‘sinful’] and men who only enter into homosexual relationships [it appeared that he didn’t think the Bible condemned such relationships as ‘sinful’]. Is Rowan Williams trying to identify the “leaving the natural use of the woman” [Romans 1:28] by men as being ‘sinful’ rather than their “burn(ing) in their lust one toward another, men with men, working that which is unseemly” – behaviour that God clearly declares in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 to be an “abomination” in His sight. If that is so then clearly in Rowan Williams we have a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ as warned of in Matthew 7:15.
‘A Time Of Departing’ is available from our ministry
Price £8.00 [includes p&p]
My endorsement for ‘A Time Of Departing’ read as follows
‘The term ‘Contemplative Prayer’ has in recent years become much more ‘common-place’ amongst the vocabulary used in Christian circles. It is a term that conjures up a picture of a technique designed to take the practitioner into deeper and closer communion with ‘God’. Is it really a ‘vehicle’ to a ‘closer walk with God’? In his book ‘A Time Of Departing’, Ray Yungen documents clearly that far from being such a ‘vehicle’, ‘Contemplative Prayer’ is more akin to a ‘Trojan Horse’ designed to infiltrate occultic and deceptive thinking and spirits into professing Christendom under the guise of ‘Christian’ practices and techniques. You may be very surprised to read of who the prime ‘pawns’ are in this spiritually dangerous deception’.
JOYCE MEYER and UNITED CHRISTIAN BROADCASTERS
I was really surprised, following my warning about the up-coming visit to Belfast of Joyce Meyer planned for May, by the number of people who requested the report detailing her theological ‘short-comings’. Most of those who contacted me were familiar with Joyce Meyer as a result of her programmes on UCB [United Christian Broadcasters]. Not only does Joyce Meyer have ‘air-time’ with UCB but also a number of her books are listed in the ‘UCB direct Winter Catalogue’. Other authors listed are C S Lewis and ‘Bishop’ T D Jakes. Mr Jakes is yet another teacher of heresy and again I have a report, available upon request, giving details of his unscriptural teachings. I personally obtained some materials from Joyce Meyer Ministries that confirm that she is firmly in the ‘Word of Faith/Name it and Claim It’ ‘camp’. I listened to her tape ‘Blessed or Cursed by the Tongue’? It was no ‘message from the Lord’ but merely a promulgation of the ‘Word of Faith’ Movement teaching that ‘we can have what we speak’. Likewise in her book ‘The Most Important Decision You’ll Ever Make’ Joyce Meyer wrote ‘Jesus went to hell for you. He died for you. He paid for your sins. God was faithful to Jesus. God did what he told Jesus He would do. He raised Him from the dead. But until that happened, He was alone for three days satisfying the courts of justice…On the third day He rose from the dead’. This teaching that Jesus atoned for sin for 3 days in hell is both blasphemous and heretical and has often been articulated by one of the perceived leaders of the ‘Word of Faith’ Movement, namely Kenneth Copeland who also taught the ‘Tongue’ heresy already mentioned in his little book ‘The Power of The Tongue’. These false teachings are well documented and refuted in Hank Hanegraaff’s book ‘Christianity in Crisis’. Yet again United Christian Broadcasters have shown themselves to be ‘New-Evangelicals’ who INTEGRATE with error rather than SEPARATE; who TOLERATE error rather than REJECT; who CO-OPERATE with error rather than CONFRONT. Their broadcasts and their publications, including ‘The Word For Today’ daily devotional should be rejected as they lack discernment, often contain and promote error, and give platforms to known “enemies of the cross”.
‘MESSAGES FROM HEAVEN’ – The book
This is a new book written by Jim Tetlow who produced the video of the same name, which examined ‘Marian Apparitions’. There were contributions in the video by amongst others Roger Oakland and myself. Jim’s book provides a wealth of information with documented quotes and biblical analysis and I recommend it to those interested in this very topical subject. The book can be obtained from us – Price £8.00 – includes p&p.