Dear praying friends,
In this issue of NEWS FROM THE FRONT I think it is significant that the 3 main articles in it all deal with errors that have been publicly promoted by those who have professed to be Christian. It is clear that we are living in days when the threat to the truth of The Gospel is as great [if not greater] from within professing Christendom as it is from without the professing Christian domain. I have been reminded of the Apostle Paul’s warning to the elders at Ephesus as he took his leave from them when he said “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them” [Acts 20:29-30]. His instruction to the elders on how to combat this threat was found in verse 28 when he said, “TAKE HEED therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers”. Please pray that our efforts may assist faithful elders to “Take Heed” and to “feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood”.
Your servant for Christ
“Partial” Agreement to “Plenary” Inspiration
In the Collins Gem English Dictionary the word “partial” is defined as “not complete” and the word “plenary” is defined as “complete, without limitations”. Keeping these definitions in mind let me explain that the title of this article relates to preachers and teachers who I have listened to on tape and it sums up their view of the Scriptures – namely they give “Partial” [‘not complete’] Agreement to “Plenary” [‘complete, without limitations’] Inspiration. Are you confused? Well, you should be, for as I see it, this view is an ‘oxymoron’ – it is a contradiction in terms. How can someone agree ‘not completely’ to ‘complete’ inspiration? No right-minded person could – but in the Bible we read of people who are “double-minded” [James 1:8].
Let me first establish and confirm that the preachers and teachers in question do appear to affirm their belief in “Plenary” Inspiration. For a number of reasons I will not in this article be identifying either the preachers or their church but let me quote firstly from point 1 of the published Doctrinal Statement of the church that they minister in. It reads as follows – ‘Basis of Faith 1. The plenary inspiration, sole and all sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures’. Then secondly, their church is a member of a religious association that has its own Doctrinal Statement that they have to agree to in order to be a member. In relation to ‘The Scriptures’ this association affirms ‘The verbal inspiration and total inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as originally given by God; their sole sufficiency and final authority in all matters of faith and practice’.
The tapes that I listened to dealt with their teaching in relation to God’s creation as we find it recorded in His inspired Word in Genesis chapters 1 & 2. The assistant Pastor of the church dealt with the ‘creation week’ and whilst he fully affirmed God as the creator of everything, he rejected the teaching of Genesis 1 that God created everything in 6 literal days and then rested on the 7th day. The tape of the Senior Pastor who spoke the following week began with his full and unreserved endorsement of what his assistant had taught the previous week.
I want to deal now with the heart of this article, which is to examine the reasons why the assistant Pastor rejected a literal 6-day creation and why in so doing he was clearly only giving “Partial” Agreement to “Plenary” Inspiration.
There were two main ‘planks’ in the assistant Pastor’s rejection of taking the 6 days as being ‘literal’. Firstly he cited the problem, as he perceived it, of there being ‘light’ on day one and yet the ‘sun and moon’ were not created until day four. Then secondly he referred to the problem, according to his understanding of the scriptures, of how vegetation was created on day three [Genesis 1: 11-13] and that was of course 3 days before mankind was created on day six [Genesis 1:26-31] and how this appeared then to be contradicted by Genesis 2:8-9 where, according to his understanding of the scriptures, vegetation was in this account created after the creation of mankind.
I have to confess that it was with sheer disbelief that I listened to these arguments being advanced as grounds for rejecting belief in a literal 6-day creation. According to the thinking of this assistant Pastor, our God is limited to having ‘light’ upon planet earth by the availability or otherwise of His created sun.
In the book of Acts the Apostle Paul on several occasions gave testimony to his conversion on the road to Damascus. These are the references and the crucial verses as they relate to this question of ‘light’ – Acts 9:1-8, particularly verse 3 “And as he journeyed he came near Damascus and suddenly there shone round about him a light from heaven”; Acts 22: 1-11, particularly verse 6 “suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me” and also verse 11 “And when I could not see for the glory of that light”; Acts 26:1-18, particularly verse13 “At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them who journeyed with me”.
These verses demonstrate clearly that our God can shine ‘light’ upon the earth apart from the sun for this ‘light’ was “above the brightness of the sun” – in other words it did not emanate from the sun. For there to be 3 days of “evening and morning” before the creation of the sun and the moon on day four all that was needed was for the earth to be revolving on its axis and for there to be a source of “light from heaven” and as Paul’s testimony teaches us our God is able to provide just such a source of ‘light’ to shine upon planet earth, apart from His created sun. Can I also add that the God of Heaven can not only cause “light” to shine upon the earth without the aid of “the sun and moon” but He can also withhold light from the earth even if they are in place as we read in Luke 23:44-45 “And it was about the sixth hour [noon] and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst”.
Am I alone in my thinking on this matter? In his book ‘The Answers Book’, Australian Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis deals with this supposed problem of ‘light’ on day one and the sun not being created until day four. Ken Ham wrote [pages 34-35] ‘The sun is not needed for day and night. What is needed is light and a rotating earth…Thus if we have light from one direction and a spinning Earth there can be night and day’.
Was God just being a bit ‘quirky’ or ‘odd’ in His creative order or was there an Omniscient wisdom being exercised in His creative plan. Ken Ham went on to write [page 35] ‘Perhaps one reason God did it this way was to illustrate that the sun did not have the priority in the creation that people have tended to give it. The sun did not give birth to the earth as evolutionary theories postulate…Down through the ages people, such as the Egyptians have worshipped the sun. God warned the Israelites in Deuteronomy 4:19 not to worship the sun like the pagan cultures around them did. They were commanded to worship the God who made the sun – not the sun that was made by God’.
Dr John C Whitcomb in his book ‘The Early Earth’ wrote [page 72] ‘Another possible reason for this order of events is that God by this means made it clear that the earth and life upon it do not owe their existence to the greater light that rules the day, but rather to God Himself. In other words God was perfectly able to create and take care of the earth and even living things upon it without the help of the sun. Apart from the Scriptures of course this would hardly be an obvious fact to mankind. In ancient times (and even in some parts of the world today) great nations actually worshiped the sun as God. In Egypt he was called Ra and in Babylon he was known as Shamash…The creation account in Genesis completely undermines all such blasphemies by putting the sun in a secondary position in reference to the earth’.
Earlier on pages 70-71 Dr Whitcomb wrote these telling words about ‘planet earth’ – ‘It was on this planet that God placed man, created in His image, to exercise dominion and to worship Him. It was to this planet that God came in the person of His Son nineteen hundred years ago to become a permanent member of the human race and to die for human sins upon a rugged cross. And it will be to this same planet that this great God and Saviour will return again to establish His kingdom. Because of its positional superiority in the spiritual order of things therefore the earth was formed first and then the stellar systems’.
In his helpful Study Bible notes Pastor John MacArthur informs us on page 13 ‘Israel first heard Genesis sometime prior to crossing the Jordan river and entering the Promised Land (ca 1405 BC)’ and in his notes on the creation of the sun and moon [Genesis 1:15-19] he writes on page 17 ‘It was God (not some other deity) who created the lights. Israel had originally come from Mesopotamia where the celestial bodies were worshiped and more recently from Egypt where the sun was worshiped as a primary deity. God was revealing to them that the very stars, moons and planets which Israel’s neighbours had worshiped were the products of His creation’.
Moving on to the second ‘plank’ of the assistant Pastor’s rejection of a literal 6-day creation he taught that there was a contradiction between the creation of ‘vegetation’ as found in Genesis 1 and 2. In Genesis 1 he stated that it took place on day 3, before the creation of mankind, but according to his teaching, Genesis 2 taught that ‘vegetation’ was created after mankind. The Spirit of God, my teacher tells me that in Genesis 1:11-13 the universal creation of these items [on “the earth” as mentioned in verses 11&12] took place on day 3, before the creation of mankind but Genesis 2:8-9 tells of the God of Heaven who “planted a garden eastward in Eden” – this was “a garden” – it was a localised ‘creation’ and it differed from the initial universal creation because in this “garden” God placed two very special and localised trees namely “the tree of life” and one identified as “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”.
Clearly the events described here relate to different events in our history with Genesis 1 dealing with the universal creation of vegetation etc on “the earth” BEFORE the creation of man and Genesis 2 dealing with the localised planting of “a garden” by God AFTER the creation of man. From verse 4 onwards in Genesis 2 God gives additional information concerning His 6 days of creation – He does not give an alternative creation account. Ken Ham on page 38 of his book ‘The Answers Book’ wrote ‘Genesis chapter 2 is not a different account of creation – it is a more detailed account of the sixth day of creation’.
On page151-152 of his book ‘The Lie’ Mr Ham also wrote ‘Many people say that Genesis chapter 1 and Genesis chapter 2 are two contradictory accounts of creation. In reality, it is easy to see that these two accounts of creation are not contradictory but complementary. Genesis 1:1 to 2:4a is an account in chronological order [first, second, third etc] of the days of creation. Genesis 2:4b begins the second account which is a more detailed coverage of certain aspects of Genesis chapter 1. This second account is not meant to be chronological of each day of creation. In fact it is meant to give a lot more of the details – particularly in relation to man and the garden – setting the scene for the fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. The second account is extremely necessary for us to understand what happened in Genesis chapter 3’. Mr Ham also made this helpful statement concerning the Lord’s view of these chapters ‘It should be noted that in Matthew 19:4-5 when Jesus replied concerning the question relating to marriage, He actually quoted from Genesis chapter 1 [verse 27] and Genesis chapter 2 [verse 24] in His reply showing that He took them as complementary and authoritative’.
On page 18 of his Study Bible Pastor John MacArthur wrote concerning Genesis 2:4-25 ‘Genesis 2:24-45 fills in details, especially of the sixth day which were not included in Genesis 1:1 – Genesis 2:3’.
The two ‘planks’ of the assistant Pastor’s rejection of a literal 6-day creation as found in God’s inspired Word are more akin to ‘trip-wires’ that will cause people to stumble and say as the serpent in the garden said “Yea, hath God said” [Genesis 3:1].
I think the greatest Biblical rebuke and rejection of the teaching of this assistant Pastor is found in Exodus 20:11. Here we find Moses in the midst of delivering God’s 10 commandments to the Children of Israel. The fourth commandment as found in Exodus 20:8-11 instructs the people how to order their week of 7 days. They can work 6 days [verse 9] but the 7th day is to be observed as the Sabbath of the Lord [verse 10]. To ‘hammer home’ [see Jeremiah 23:29] this teaching, the Lord Himself cites a precedent and we find it recorded in verse 11 “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is and rested the seventh day”.
On page 29 of his book ‘The Answers Book’, Ken Ham wrote ‘Because God is infinite in power and wisdom there’s no doubt He could have created the universe and its contents in no time at all, or six seconds, or six minutes, or six hours – after all with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37). However the question to ask is ‘Why did God take so long? Why as long as six days?’ The answer is also given in Exodus 20:11 [Mr Ham had earlier quoted Exodus 31:15-17] and that answer is the basis of the fourth commandment…The seven-day week has no basis outside of Scripture. In this Old Testament passage God commands His people, Israel, to work for six days and rest for one – that is why he deliberately took as long as six days to create everything. He set the example for man. Our week is patterned after this principle’.
Dr Whitcomb on page 30 of ‘The Early Earth’ wrote ‘While it is of course true that God could have created the world in six billion years or in six seconds (or in a split second) if He had chosen to do so, such speculations are completely irrelevant in the face of the fourth commandment which informs us that God, as a matter of fact, chose to create the world “in six days” in order to provide a clear pattern for Israel’s work periods and rest periods. The phrase “six days” (note the plural) can hardly be figurative in such a context’.
Last year I was privileged to host the visit of Roger Oakland, former teacher of evolution but now a Christian and convinced creationist. In his book ‘The Evidence For Creation’ Roger wrote on pages 22-23 ‘God further clarifies the length of a creation day in Exodus 20:8-11…From these verses we see God told man that he should work for six days, then take a day of rest. God compared these days to the days of the creation week. From the context of the scripture, it is obvious the length of the days of the creation week are compared with days of normal duration…We can conclude that the only reasonable explanation for the time period of the creation week is a literal one. Creation took place in six literal days’.
I know that the assistant and senior Pastors referred to in this article do not view their beliefs in these areas as being a hindrance to them ‘preaching the gospel’ – I beg to differ. I have, I sincerely hope, demonstrated that their evident “Partial” Agreement to “Plenary” Inspiration identifies them as being “double-minded” and James 1:8 declares that such people are “unstable in all their ways”. I believe also that for anyone to reject the clear teaching of God’s creation in 6 literal days is to fail to “declare…all the counsel of God” [Acts 20:27] and places such a person in the group identified by Paul in Acts 20:29-30. It also renders them unworthy, in the light of the truth of God’s Word, to be teaching that very same God’s Word and revealed truth, as they patently fail what I would call the ‘fidelity requirement’ of 2nd Timothy 2:2.
Perhaps the saddest and most worrying aspect of this affair is that out of a listening audience of several hundred I understand that only something like 3 people took issue with their false teaching – truly we are I believe in the “perilous days” that Paul, under inspiration, predicted in 2 Timothy 3:1. Let us all with much discernment “take heed”!
WAS – C S LEWIS – TRULY ‘OUR GREATEST CHRISTIAN WRITER’? [Part 2]
David Cloud of ‘Way of Life Literature’ in his 2001 report entitled ‘C S Lewis and Evangelicals Today’ wrote ‘The late British author C S Lewis [1898-1963] is extremely popular with Evangelicals today. According to a “Christianity Today” reader’s poll in 1998, Lewis was rated the most influential writer. Though Lewis died in 1963, sales of his books have risen to two million a year. In an article commemorating the 100th anniversary of Lewis’s birth, J I Packer called him our “patron saint”’. In the light of the many endorsements given last year by local Pastor and well-known writer, Derick Bingham [as detailed by myself in the New Year 2003 NEWS FROM THE FRONT] I have no doubt that local sales of Lewis’s writings may well have been substantially boosted. In my first article I wrote –
“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”.
In this and ensuing articles I plan to examine [DV] what Mr Lewis had to say in a number of crucial doctrinal areas. The first doctrine that I wish to consider is that of REPENTANCE. The first command of the Lord as recorded in Mark’s gospel is “Repent and believe the gospel” [Mark 1:15]. Then, in the midst of his sermon on Mars Hill in Athens, the Apostle Paul declared to the philosophers gathered around him “And the times of this ignorance God overlooked, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” [Acts 17:30]. In the first 5 verses of Luke 13 the Lord Himself twice issued this warning to his listeners “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish”.
It is clear that REPENTANCE is no ‘soft option’ and so a correct understanding of it is absolutely vital to the eternal well being of every individual. In ‘Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words’ we read the following under ‘REPENT, REPENTANCE’ on page 525 –
‘signifies “to change one’s mind or purpose,” always in the NT involving a change for the better, an amendment, and always, except Luke 17:3-4, of “repentance” from sin…In the NT the subject chiefly has reference to “repentance” from sin and this change of mind involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God. The parable of the Prodigal Son is an outstanding illustration of this.’
In one of my Daily devotional books [‘Footprints of Faith’; edited by Alan Cairns] the meditation for 21 March ends with the following quotation –
‘Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice from the conviction that it has offended God’ Joseph Addison.
I think that quote captures well the essence of biblical REPENTANCE.
From God’s Word we also learn that REPENTANCE is a gracious gift to undeserving sinners held in Satan’s grip. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. In meekness instructing those that oppose him, if God perhaps will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will”
Commenting on these verses Matthew Henry wrote ‘Repentance is God’s gift…The same God who gives us the discovery of the truth does by His grace bring us to the acknowledging of it, otherwise our hearts would continue in rebellion against it…When sinners repent, those who before were led captive by the devil at his will come to be led into the glorious liberty of the children of God and have their wills melted into the will of the Lord Jesus’. In his Study Bible notes Pastor John MacArthur wrote on page 1878 – ‘All true repentance is produced by God’s sovereign grace [Ephesians 2:7]…When God, by grace, grants saving faith it includes the granting of repentance from sin. Neither is a human work’.
The book ‘Mere Christianity’ written by C S Lewis is divided into 3 ‘books’ and chapter 4 of Book 2 is entitled ‘The Perfect Penitent’. I want to quote some extracts from this chapter [pages 53-58] to help you understand how C S Lewis understood and articulated his view of REPENTANCE. Referring to the Lord Jesus C S Lewis wrote – ‘What did He come to do? Well, to teach of course; but as soon as you look into the New Testament or any other Christian writing you will find they are constantly talking about something different – about His death and His coming to life again. It is obvious that Christians think the chief point of the story lies there. They think the main thing He came to earth to do was to suffer and be killed. [Paul under inspiration taught this – see I Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Galatians 6:14 as did the Lord in Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23&20:28]. C S Lewis continues ‘Christ volunteered to be punished instead and so God let us off. Now I admit that even this theory does not seem to me quite so immoral and so silly as it used to be; but that is not the point I want to make. What I came to see later on was that neither this theory nor any other is Christianity…Theories about Christ’s death are not Christianity’.
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 referred to above, Paul sets out in the clearest of terms what constitutes “the Gospel” – it is not a ‘theory’ – it is a declaration of the historical reality of the death, burial and resurrection [“according to the scriptures”] of the Lord Jesus Christ. If “the Gospel” is not ‘Christianity’ then why would the Lord Himself instruct His followers to “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” [Mark 16:15] and why would Paul believe that he would actually be failing in his calling to be an Apostle by declaring “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” [1 Corinthians 9:16].
C S Lewis continues ‘We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed…Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory…On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not…when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend. Now what was the sort of “hole” man had got himself into? He had tried to set up on his own…he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising that you have been on the wrong track… – that is the only way out of our “hole.” This process of surrender – this movement full speed astern – is what Christians call repentance. Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death’. Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself that this all sounds more or less in harmony with what God’s Word teaches. Well – listen to what C S Lewis goes on to say – ‘In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent [true]: only a good person can repent perfectly [false]. The worse you are the more you need it [true] and the less you can do it [not true as it is God’s gracious gift – Jeremiah prayed “Ah, Lord God…there is nothing too hard for thee” and God responded “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?” (32:17 & 27)]…The only person who could do it [repent] perfectly would be a perfect person – and he would not need it. Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back [Not true – look again at the scriptural imperatives quoted on page 9]…He could let you off if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like’ – what a poisonous mix of ‘truth’ and ‘error’ these writings of Mr Lewis are.
C S Lewis continues ‘we now need God’s help in order to do something which God, in His own nature, never does at all – to surrender, to suffer, to submit, to die…But supposing God became a man – suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God’s nature in one person – then that person could help us. He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it [repent!] perfectly because He was God. You and I can go through this process [repentance!] only if God does it in us [true]; but God can do it only if He becomes a man [not true – we read of people in the Old Testament like David and Manasseh ‘repenting’ and that was before Christ’s incarnation]. Our attempts at this dying [our repentance!] will succeed only if we men share in God’s dying [God’s repentance!]…we cannot share God’s dying unless God dies; and He cannot die except by being a man [normally true – but remember Mr Lewis is here speaking in terms of ‘repentance’ and not of Christ dying ‘sacrificially’]…That is the sense in which He pays our debt and suffers for us what He himself need not suffer at all’.
Back in 1994 I had a series of written exchanges with a strong supporter of the beliefs of Edward Cooney [his followers are often referred to as ‘Cooneyites’]. In one letter she wrote ‘Believing in a doctrine or doctrines about Jesus is not salvation…With regard to the doctrine of the Atonement…it was the sacrificial life of Christ, poured out unto death, even death on the cross, in perfect obedience to the will of God. It is by this complete sacrifice of his life that we are reconciled to God…I believe the penal substitution theory [Christ atoningly suffering as a substitute for His people on the Cross] is false doctrine’. I just wonder was C S Lewis whilst living in Northern Ireland ever exposed to ‘Cooneyite’ teaching as I see echoes of their beliefs in his expressed views. Let me just remind everyone reading this article that I am quoting from a chapter of C S Lewis’s book ‘Mere Christianity’ and the chapter in question is called ‘The Perfect Penitent’ and clearly from what he has written this is how C S Lewis views Christ. My reading of all this is that Mr Lewis has equated the sinless Lord’s innate ability to resist sin with fallen man’s necessity to repent of sin. In so doing I believe that Mr Lewis has maligned the impeccable character of our Lord every bit as much as when Kenneth Copeland teaches that the Lord was ‘born again’ in hell. It seems to be that Mr Lewis has heretically confused the Lord’s ‘resistance’ to sin with ‘repentance’ from sin – and this is the man that Derick Bingham has hailed as ‘our greatest Christian writer’. If anyone would like an audiotape of an excellent sermon on repentance preached by Trevor Watson of Banbridge Baptist Church it may be ordered from me [cost including p&p – £2.00]
‘IN THE PIPELINE’
Under this heading in my last newsletter I announced preliminary details of a visit by SHAUN WILLCOCK of Bible Based Ministries based in Piertermaritzburg in South Africa. Plans are now well advanced and on page 14 you will find details of the schedule of meetings – please plan to attend where possible to encourage and support this courageous brother. In his October 2002 – March 2003 newsletter Shaun wrote –
‘we are pleased to announce the publication of our latest Gospel tract, entitled ‘Reincarnation or Resurrection? – A message to Hindus’…the church of which I am the pastor recently attempted to have 4000 of these tracts distributed…in a predominantly Hindu suburb. We engaged the services of a distribution company…However only 400 had been distributed when the company was inundated with calls from angry Hindus and sadly the company manager immediately put a stop to all further distribution of the tracts… (a) Police spokesman…confirmed that the remarks went against clauses in the constitution…Thus the proclamation of the Biblical Gospel is essentially illegal in South Africa today…We ask our Christian friends to pray earnestly for us…It has become increasingly difficult to openly proclaim the Gospel of Christ’.
At most midweek meetings Shaun will be speaking on the topic of
CONTENDING FOR CHRIST IN SOUTH AFRICA’
SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS [DV] FOR SHAUN WILLCOCK
26 OCTOBER – 9 NOVEMBER 2003
Day and Date – Time – Location
Sunday 26 October – 7.00pm – Crossgar Free Presbyterian
Tuesday 28 October – 8.00pm – Ballymagerny Free Presbyterian
Wednesday 29 October- 8.00pm – Martyr’s Memorial Free Presbyterian
Thursday 30 October – 8.00pm – Ballymoney Free Presbyterian
*Friday 31 October – 8.00pm – Magherafelt Free Presbyterian
Sunday 2 November – 11.00am – Princes Drive Evangelical Fellowship
Sunday 2 November- 6.30pm – Carr Baptist guest service
Sunday 2 November – 9.00pm – Youth Rally in Martyr’s Memorial
*Monday 3 November – 10.00am – Reformed Baptist Fraternal @ Crumlin
Monday 3 November – 8.00pm – Ballymena Free Presbyterian
Tuesday 4 November – 8.00pm – Ballygowan Free Presbyterian
Wednesday 5 November – 11.30am – Young at Heart @ Carr Baptist
Wednesday 5 November – 8.00pm – Newtownards Free Presbyterian
Thursday 6 November – 8.00pm – Erne West Congregational
Friday 7 November – 8.00pm – Kilskeery Free Presbyterian
Saturday 8 November – 8.00pm – WORD Mission near Moira
Sunday 9 November – 11.00am – East End Baptist
Sunday 9 November – 7.00pm – Portavogie Free Presbyterian
* Provisional – to be confirmed
AT MOST MIDWEEK MEETINGS THERE WILL BE A ‘TAKE HEED’ BOOKSTALL
‘SPARE’ CAR AVAILABILITY?
As I mentioned briefly in my last newsletter if anyone would have a ‘spare’ car that they would be willing to lend to Margaret and myself during the time of Shaun Willcock’s visit that would be very helpful. As I will be travelling extensively in our own car to meetings with Shaun, the ‘spare’ car would assist Margaret in getting to her work as a practice nurse in the Carryduff surgery.
ALL GOD’S CHILDREN?
In the May 2003 edition of Evangelical Times, Alan Howe wrote a timely article that dealt with a topic that was given the following heading – EVANGELICAL INCLUSIVISM
A growing threat to the traditional view of the destiny of the unevangelised.
In the course of the article Mr Howe wrote ‘Inclusivists on the other hand…argue that salvation, while found only in Christ, is actually accessible to all men, including adherents of non-Christian religions who have no knowledge of the gospel’.
I have made reference to what Mr Howe wrote as it provides a suitable backdrop to an issue that I took up with Alf McCreary, who is the Religious Affairs Correspondent of the Belfast Telegraph. During the war with Iraq he wrote an article on the subject of Military Chaplains and in response I wrote to the editor and he published the following letter in the Belfast Telegraph of Saturday 5 April 2003.
Yet again, Alf McCreary, who regularly makes public profession of some attachment to Christianity, has shown that his beliefs are in stark contradiction to what the Word of God plainly teaches. At the end of his article on Military Chaplains [29 March] he wrote ‘One of the most heart rending pictures of the war so far was that of two young Iraqis lying dead in a foxhole…They may have prayed to Allah for delivery but just like the young men from the Christian West who have died in this horrendous conflict, they too were children of the one God’. I would not for one moment take issue with his description of this scene as being ‘heart rending’ but God’s Word, the Bible, certainly does take issue with his comments that everyone involved in this conflict are ‘children of the one God’.
As regards the claim that all are ‘children of God’ let me point to the following scriptures. In Acts 13:10 the Apostle Paul in his rebuke of the occultist called Elymas said to him directly “thou child of the devil”. In his debate with the Pharisees the Lord Jesus said to them in John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil” and earlier in verse 38 He spoke of “my Father” [God] and “your father” [the devil]. God’s Word teaches plainly in Ephesians 2:3 that all born into this world are “by nature children of wrath” and not ‘children of God’.
As regards Mr McCreary’s claim that the Christian God and Allah are ‘the one God’ I’m sure that he, as a Presbyterian will be familiar with Chapter 2:3 of the Westminster Confession of Faith that states “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power and eternity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost”. The Bible reveals that this is the Christian God.
Concerning Allah, in the Koran, in Surah 4:171 we read ‘Christians, do not transgress the bounds of your religion…and do not say “Three”…God is but one God. God forbid that He should have a son’ and in Surah 18:4 readers are told ‘admonish those who say that God has begotten a son’. The Christian God and Allah are clearly not ‘the one God’ and for those who die rejecting that Jesus Christ is God the Son the consequences are eternally serious for He Himself said in John 14:6 “no man cometh unto the Father but by me”.
The Christian God declares in John 3:16 that Heaven or paradise will be eternally populated only by those who trust alone in the redeeming work of Christ at Calvary but the Koran in Surah 7:6 says that the works of each individual and not Christ’s work will determine their destiny ‘On that day all shall be weighed with justice. Those whose scales are heavy shall triumph [paradise] but those whose scales are light shall lose their souls [hell]’.
Currently there is much talk of ‘liberation’. The Christian God declares in John 8:36 “If the Son [Jesus Christ] therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” – Allah has no such liberating ‘gospel’ to proclaim and therefore has no identity with the Christian God. *May many Military Chaplains be able to point all they meet to the only Saviour of men, revealed in the Bible in Acts 4:12, and who is Jesus Christ.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – Ballynahinch
* This last sentence was edited out by the Belfast Telegraph