News From The Front – June 2008

Dear praying friends,

Some years ago a local politician who was closely identified with one of the leading terrorist groups involved in what came to be known here as ‘the troubles’ famously said in a speech during a period of ceasefire – ‘they haven’t gone away you know’. He was stating plainly that although the terrorists were at that stage ‘lying low’ they had the capability to at any time restart their murderous campaign. In many ways Satan’s deceptions are like that – they rage and war against God’s truth for a period of time and then they appear to have ‘blown themselves out’ but the reality is very different, they are really just biding their time to perhaps re-invent themselves and then re-emerge with renewed devastating deceptive force. In the 1990’s 2 diabolical deceptions were the Canadian so-called ‘Toronto Blessing’ that was followed by the Florida based so-called ‘Pensacola Revival’. Attempts are being made to revive interest in them and present them as ‘moves of the Holy Spirit – a good example being the ‘Toronto’ articles in the April 2008 ‘Directions’ magazine of the Elim grouping (the front cover spread of this was also given over to the social/ecumenical HOPE ’08 initiative). Locally, one sister in Christ, after having sought information resigned from her church as it was attempting to rekindle Toronto-like activity. Again in Florida, this time in Lakeland, great claims are being made for manifestations at meetings hosted by Todd Bentley – this has all the makings of a rerun of the Pensacola deception. It was indicated to me that Todd Bentley may be lining up a visit to the UK – all I can say in relation to this and any attempt to revive ‘Toronto’ is “Take Heed”.

Your servant for Christ

CECIL ANDREWS

  • The “promised prophet” of Deuteronomy 18: Jesus Christ or Mohammed?

Islam claims to respect Jesus Christ as a true prophet of God. In the Koran in Sura 2:136 we read “Say: We believe in Allah and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Ibrahim [Abraham] and Ismail [Ishmael] and Ishaq [Isaac] and Yaqoub [Jacob] and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Musa [Moses] and Isa [Jesus], and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit”.

On one Islamic website [Inter Islam] we read these quotes –

0Imam Bukhari (d.256/834) and Imam Muslim (d.261/839) have narrated that the prophet [Mohammed] said, “Both in this world and in the hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Maryam (Mary). The prophets are paternal brothers, their mothers are different but their religion is one.”

In the Bible, in Deuteronomy chapter 18, God through His then prophet Moses, makes a specific promise that a very special and important prophet would at a future date appear on earth. Islam claims that this “promised prophet” was Mohammed and not Jesus Christ and actually seeks to use the Bible to substantiate their claim. On another Islamic website [Islam Guide] we find a section headed ‘Biblical Prophecies on the Advent of Mohammed the Prophet of Islam’. In this section the article identifies 3 characteristics that the “promised prophet” will possess and having given their understanding of the person who possessed these 3 characteristics they state in conclusion – “whoever believes in the Bible must believe in what this prophet says and this prophet is the Prophet Mohammed”. Let me first deal quickly with 2 of the stated characteristics. The first characteristic of the “promised prophet” that was identified on the website was that “he will be like Moses”. Moses was a prophet, a spokesman for God. Moses was also the one who delivered God’s people from slavery and bondage. I would agree that the “promised prophet” would possess this characteristic. Another characteristic of the “promised prophet” that was identified on the website was that “God will put His words in to the mouth of this prophet and that he will declare what God commands him”. Once again I would agree that the “promised prophet” would possess this characteristic. However, when it comes to the third characteristic of the “promised prophet” that was identified on the website, this is where they and I disagree radically. On the website the remaining characteristic of the “promised prophet” was identified as follows – “He will come from the brothers of the Israelites, i.e. the Ishmaelites”. According to the website the “promised prophet” would come through the line of Abraham and Ishmael and not through the line of Abraham and Isaac. This is how they explain it on their website – “Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac (Genesis 21). Ishmael became the grandfather of the Arab nation, and Isaac became the grandfather of the Jewish nation. The prophet spoken of was not to come from among the Jews themselves, but from among their brothers, i.e. the Ishmaelites. Muhammad, a descendant of Ishmael, is indeed this prophet”. How do they justify such a claim?Early in the article they quote the following verses from Deuteronomy chapter 18 – “I raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19). In these verses Moses is recounting what God said to him about the “promised prophet” and because of the expression “from among their brothers” Islam concludes that the “promised prophet” will not come from the Israelites but from “their brothers” the Ishmaelites. When studying the Bible the rule is that when considering a topic or subject ALL relevant verses must be considered in order to get ‘the full picture’. It is very unsafe to base a judgment on a few isolated verses as other verses relating to the topic often add to our full and complete understanding. Paul, when writing to the Corinthians stated in 1st Corinthians 2:13 “we speak not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth but which the Holy Spirit teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual”. The Holy Spirit inspired God’s Word and He teaches God’s people the spiritual truths [“spiritual things”] that are contained in the Word He inspired [see John 14:16-17 & 26]. Bearing this principle in mind it is very interesting to note that the verses 18-19 of Deuteronomy 18 that are quoted on the Islamic website are not the first reference in the chapter to the coming of the “promised prophet”. A few verses earlier, in verse 15 we read what Moses actually said to the gathering of the tribes of Israel, the Israelites, who were assembled before him. This is what Moses said to the Israelites “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst OF THEE, of they brethren, like unto me, unto him YE shall hearken”. From this verse we learn that the future “promised prophet” that God would send would come from the line of the brethren assembled before Moses – “the midst OF THEE” – and the brethren assembled before Moses were of the line of Abraham and Isaac – they were the Israelites and not the Ishmaelites. The claim on the Islamic website that “whoever believes in the Bible must believe in what this prophet says and this prophet is the Prophet Mohammed” is shown from the Bible itself to be a false interpretation of what Deuteronomy 18 teaches.

Another argument advanced on the Islamic website to supposedly prove as they phrase it “that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18” reads like this –

Also, one notices from the Gospel of John that the Jews were waiting for the fulfilment of three distinct prophecies. The first was the coming of Christ. The second was the coming of Elijah. The third was the coming of the Prophet. This is obvious from the three questions that were posed to John the Baptist: “Now this was John’s testimony, when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” (John 1:19-21). If we look in a Bible with cross-references, we will find in the marginal notes where the words “the Prophet” occur in John 1:21, that these words refer to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18:18.2 We conclude from this that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18.

It takes quite a measure of convoluted thinking, coloured I suspect by a large dose of pre-determined conviction and belief, to draw the conclusion “that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18” from this portion of God’s Word found in John 1:19-21. What we can safely conclude from this portion of scripture is that John the Baptist rejected any notion that he was either ‘The Christ’, ‘The Prophet’ or some kind of ‘reappearance or reincarnation of Elijah’. Does the Bible itself give us any information that would help us identify anyone who would be the answer to the questions put to John the Baptist by the Jews of Jerusalem? Let me first deal with their question to John – ‘Are you Elijah?’ The Jews no doubt had passages from Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6 in mind. Malachi 3:1 reads “Behold I will send my messenger and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in; behold he shall come saith the Lord of hosts”.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary states ‘though some have taken “my messenger” as the writer of this book or as an angel it seems best to see him as a future prophet. Jesus explicitly identifies this person as John the Baptist (Matthew 11:7-10). The fact that this messenger will prepare His way harmonises with Isaiah 40:3’. It also harmonises with John’s own words in John 1:23 “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet, Isaiah”. In Malachi 4:5-6 we read “Behold I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord”. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and then heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse”.

In Luke 1 we read of the angelic announcement of the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist and the angel said to John’s father, Zacharias “Fear not Zacharias; for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John…And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord, their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children” [Luke 1:13-17].

The Bible Knowledge Commentary states ‘Before John the Baptist was born an angel of the Lord predicted that he would minister “in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). This would seem to put together the two prophecies (Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6) and to see John as fulfilling both of them’. Reference was made earlier to what Jesus said in Matthew 11:7-10 and extracts from those verses read “Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John…this is he of whom it is written, Behold I send my messenger before thy face who shall prepare thy way before thee”. It is then very enlightening to read what Jesus goes on to say in verses 13-15 “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elijah who was to come. He that hath ears to hear let him hear”. The disciples also raised this question of ‘the coming of Elijah’ with the Lord in Matthew 17. The Lord Jesus had just been transfigured and during that marvellous event He had been in conversation with Moses and Elijah [see Matthew 17:2-4]. We then read in verse 10 “And his disciples asked him saying, why then say the scribes that Elijah must come first?” In the context of what we are considering the next verses [11-13] are very significant – “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elijah truly shall first come and restore all things, But I say unto you that Elijah is already come and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they desired. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist”. John the Baptist was not literally a reappearance or reincarnation of Elijah but in the light of the scriptures quoted, particularly those words of the angelic messenger to Zacharias and the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples, he certainly was the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies of Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6 that were the basis of the question put to John by the Jews of Jerusalem in John 1:21. I want now to deal with the statement made by John – “ I am not the Christ”. Does the Bible itself give us any information that clearly reveals the identity of “the Christ”? Before answering this I just want to point out that the Greek translated as “the Christ” [God’s anointed one] equates to the Hebrew term for “Messiah”. Following on from the questioning of John the Baptist by the Jews of Jerusalem, in a not too dissimilar vein, we read in Matthew 16:13 “When Jesus came into the borders of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples saying, who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” Their reply is recorded in verse 14 “And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist [John had already been killed by this time] some, Elijah [no doubt these people thought Jesus was the fulfilment of the prophecies in Malachi] and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets”. Jesus presses the questioning in verse 15 and we read in verse 16 “And Simon Peter answered and said, thou art THE CHRIST, the Son of the living God”. Did Jesus, as John the Baptist had earlier done concerning himself, reject this identification of Himself as “the Christ”? He did not and He went on to say to Peter in verse 17 “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it [the truth that He was “the Christ”] but my Father who is in heaven”. Recognition of who Jesus Christ really is only comes as a gracious gift from God Himself and Jesus Himself by this statement to Peter acknowledged that He truly was “the Christ”. In John 4:5-29 we have the account of the Lord’s meeting with the woman at the well. Towards the end of their encounter we read in verse 25 “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah, who is called Christ, when he is come, he will tell us all things”. The Lord leaves her and us in no doubt Who He is with His reply in verse 26 “Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he”. Jesus Christ plainly declared Himself to be “the Christ” and “Messiah”, God’s ‘anointed one’ and that makes sense of what He said early in His ministry in the synagogue at Nazareth. We read in Luke 4 that after the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him “he found the place where it is written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel…And he closed the book…And he began to say unto them, this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” [verses 17-18, 20-21]. Finally I want to deal with the question put to John – “ Art thou that prophet” to which his reply was “No” [John 1:21]. The Islamic website quite rightly acknowledged that reliable Bibles note that the reference to “that prophet” refers back to the “promised prophet” of Deuteronomy 18. Does the Bible itself give us any information that clearly reveals the identity of “that prophet”? In John 1:43 we read of the calling of Philip to be a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 45 we then read, “Philip findeth Nathaneal and saith unto him, we have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph”. Philip was in no doubt about the real identity of Jesus; He was “that prophet” spoken of and written about by Moses [in Deuteronomy 18]. In John chapter 6 we read at the start of the chapter of the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 with the five barley loaves and two fishes. Having fed the crowd we read “When they were filled, he [Jesus} said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together and filled twelve baskets…Then those men when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth THAT PROPHET that should come into the world” [verses 12-14]. In Acts chapter 3, following the healing of the lame man at the gate called Beautiful, the apostle Peter began to preach to the Jews and recounted to them the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord in verse 15. To emphasise just exactly who Jesus Christ was he said, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me [the “promised prophet” of Deuteronomy 18]; him shall ye hear in all things whatever he shall say unto you…and all the prophets from Samuel and those who followed, as many as have spoken have likewise foretold of THESE DAYS”. The “days” that Peter was speaking of related to the life and times of the One he had just been preaching about, the Lord Jesus Christ. So, to summarise, John the Baptist, although not being a literal reappearance or reincarnation of Elijah [hence his denial of being Elijah] was nevertheless the fulfilment of the relevant prophecies in Malachi. Then the Bible clearly identifies both “the Christ” or “Messiah” and the “promised prophet” of Deuteronomy 18 as being the Lord Jesus Christ.

The statement on the Islamic website that “whoever believes in the Bible must believe in what this prophet says and this prophet is the Prophet Mohammed” is clearly rejected by the divine truths contained in the Bible itself. Then what of Mohammed – was he a “promised prophet”? Perhaps these words of God’s true “promised prophet” and “Christ”, the Lord Jesus Christ, speak in answer to that question – “And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many” [Matthew 24:11].

  • CANADA: A sign of things to come?

In 2nd Timothy 3:1 the Apostle Paul warns of ‘perilous times’ that will come in ‘the last days’ and in verse 8 he mentions how Jannes and Jambres [magicians in the court of Pharaoh] resisted God’s truth in the days of Moses. Paul later refers to the things that he himself stood for in verse 10 [including ‘doctrine’], he mentions in verse 11 some of the problems he encountered and where those problems arose and then he states “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” [verse 12]. In some small measure there is an example of this ‘persecution’ for the sake of doctrinal truth in the enclosed article with this newsletter [‘the time has come when they will not endure sound doctrine’]. However in Canada a much more serious and aggressive ‘persecution’ has manifested itself in recent times. A report in WorldNetDaily [WND] dated 21st March 2008 and titled ‘Canada orders ministry by Christians shut down’ included the following extracts –

‘The Canadian government has ordered a Christian ministry that teaches doctrine and the differences between Christians and cults shut down because materials were “critical” of those who are not Christian… what used to be MacGregor Ministries with offerings in how to recognize and eliminate “faulty fads” in Christian churches has been re-created in the United States, and now operates under the name MM Outreach Media Ministries. Lorri MacGregor, who has dedicated her life to explaining the straight and narrow of Christian beliefs since she found her way out of the Jehovah’s Witness system, told WND that Canada’s version of a “hate crimes” law prevented their work from continuing as it had for 30 years…The issue of the ministry’s charities license in Canada came up during a routine audit of the ministry’s finances, which was uneventful. “The auditor that looked at our books told us that her supervisor had said she wanted us shut down,” Mrs. MacGregor told WND. “Canada has very strong hate laws…the ministry points out the differences between Christianity and various cult beliefs, but always with respect” She said the work is always in response to a question or issue. “When a group such as Jehovah’s Witnesses says that we’re worshipping a freakish three-headed God (the Trinity), we should be able to respond…We say, ‘Here’s the doctrine of the Trinity and here is where it is in the Scripture.'” That, however, violates Canada’s hate crimes laws, and the ministry was ordered to either make wholesale changes or shut down. “There was nothing we could do that would please them… They wanted us to say, ‘So Christianity is equal to Buddhism, Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses… Just decide for yourself’…we cannot do that,” she said. “She [the auditor supervisor] gave us an ultimatum that we needed to say that all religions are equal…we could not live under those restrictions… we wrote on 7th February and voluntarily revoked our license ourselves,” Lorri said. “We said this auditor requires us to compromise our Christian faith, which we cannot do.”… “You’re not allowed in Canada to speak in a persuasive way about your own faith…We have been told that within 5 to 10 years, the U.S. government will be in the same position… and they will also go after Christian apologetics groups,”

As well as establishing a ministry base in the USA I understand after listening to a portion of a radio interview that Lorri gave that they plan to establish a ‘business corporation’ in Canada that will enable them to continue their work there but without of course the tax benefits of charitable status. However it should hopefully mean they would be less liable to prosecution under current ‘hate law’ legislation. Lorri mentioned that in a few years time the USA might well follow this example set by Canada and we can be sure that if that were to happen then pressure would come for similar action to be taken in the UK. God’s people should be much in prayer that the doors for witness that are currently open would be kept open and that God’s ‘watchmen/watchwomen’ would be able to continue unhindered to ‘earnestly contend for THE faith’.

To that end I would especially ask for prayer for [a] Roger Oakland of ‘Understand the Times’ who has a ministry base in Canada and [b] for a planned ministry visit to Canada by Margaret and myself [31st July – 20th August DV] when I will be speaking along the way in churches in British Columbia, Alberta and also hopefully meeting for a few days with Roger in Saskatchewan.

  • Islamic dollars ‘coming home to roost’ at Harvard ?

In an article posted to our ministry website in December 2006 entitled ‘WWIII is raging: has anybody noticed?’ I drew attention to how, as I phrased it, ‘Drop by drop’ Islam is ‘economically’ increasing its influence in areas that were previously viewed as ‘bastions’ of everything that typified Western culture and identity’. One example –

Harvard University Monday (12 December 2005) announced the creation of a University-wide program on Islamic studies, made possible by a $20 million gift from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud. The new program will build on Harvard’s strong commitment to the study of the religious traditions of the world. It will also augment Harvard’s existing strength by increasing the number of faculty focused on Islamic studies, providing additional support to graduate students, and making rare Islamic textual sources available in digital format.

There’s an old saying ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’ and it came to mind as I reflected on something that I actually saw on television when I was in America in March. On Fox News on 7th March there was a short debate between a non-Muslim female student from Harvard University who was objecting to plans to allow 3 gym sessions to be restricted to ‘women only’ to accommodate [6] female Muslim students and an American female Muslim convert called Julia Shearson, a spokesperson for CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations]. Was this decision really to facilitate the desire of female Muslim students to ‘work out’ or was it creeping Islamisation? From one Internet report I noted these comments –

‘No men are allowed in the gym between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Mondays, and between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Even the staff during those times is all women… The special hours allow the Muslim women, who adhere to traditional dress codes by covering their hair and most of their skin while in public, to dress more appropriately for exercising… An Associated Press reporter who went to the gym Monday did not see any Muslim women entering. Efforts to reach some of the women who requested the policy through the Women’s Center were unsuccessful’.

  • ‘Sowing and sleeping’

In Matthew 13:24-30 the Lord told a parable known as the wheat and the tares. It tells of a man sowing good seed [‘wheat’] but whilst his servants slept an enemy came along and sowed corrupt seed [‘tares]. As harvest approached it was only then that the true identity of the ‘tares’ amongst the ‘wheat’ was noticed. The Lord later gives a full explanation of the parable to His disciples in verses 36-43. The Lord identified this parable as a picture of ‘the Kingdom of Heaven’. Currently the future citizens of ‘the Kingdom of Heaven’ [‘wheat’] are being rescued from their sin through the preaching of the ‘good seed’ of the true gospel and the ‘germinating’ work of God the Holy Spirit. The task of preaching has been committed to the members of God’s true Church that is to be “the pillar and ground of the truth” [1st Timothy 3:15]. Even in the 1st century, God’s enemy, Satan, was seeking to sow ‘corrupt’ seed [‘tares’] via false ‘gospels’ to deceive and destroy people by convincing them that they had believed God’s gospel and were part of His true church. Many New Testament epistles contain warnings to God’s people, especially those in leadership positions, to be constantly on their guard against the corrupt ‘gospels’ of false teachers. Sadly, as a result of the work of these false teachers, many will discover to their eternal sorrow that unlike the ‘wheat’ [true believers’] that will be gathered into God’s barn at harvest time [see Matthew 13:30 & 43] they will be ‘bundled and burnt] [sent to everlasting punishment in hell – see Matthew 13: 30 & 40-42]. Earlier I referred to corrupt seed that results in ‘tares’ and here in Belfast [4th-6th April] I believe that such corrupt seed has sadly been sown and I fear that many more ‘tares’ will sprout up, mix in church circles [see Matthew 13:30] and will only discover how they have been deceived when Christ returns to harvest His ‘wheat’. The Lord identifies ‘the field’ of verse 24 as ‘the world’ [see v 38]. The ‘good seed’ He sows [v 24] are ‘sons of the kingdom’ [true believers – see v 38] but the corrupt seed sown by the enemy [v 25] are ‘sons of the wicked one’ [unbelievers deceived by Satan – see verses 38-39]. Over the weekend of 4th-6th April 2008 an initiative called ‘Celebration of Hope’ featuring Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, was held at the Odyssey Arena in downtown Belfast. It attracted very large numbers and herewith are snippets from coverage by one newspaper –

‘Thousands of people queued for hours in the bitter cold at the Odyssey arena yesterday in the hope of getting in to hear evangelist Franklin Graham the son of legendary preacher Dr Billy Graham…All the VIP boxes were commandeered and another 2000 people took part in the event at the six Storm cinemas which had been set up to cope with an expected overspill at the 10.000-seater Odyssey…Mr Graham called his three-day Celebration of Hope event a “festival for the soul” and judging by the response it was a message that appealed to a huge number of people here…his father held an evangelistic crusade in Belfast in 1961 and thousands flocked to hear him speak. Jeff Anderson who is director of crusades for the Billy Graham Association said trying to deal with such huge crowds was a great situation to be in and over the three days until last night when the event wound up they expected almost 40,000 people to have attended’ [Belfast Newsletter: Monday 7th April 2008].

‘Tares’ appear as a result of ‘false gospels’ being preached so how do I assess the ‘gospel’ message that would have been preached by Franklin Graham? On Sunday 6th April, Will Leitch interviewed Franklin Graham on Radio Ulster’s ‘Sunday Sequence’ programme. Without going into all the details but based on the interview I would simply summarise the ‘gospel’ message presented by Franklin Graham as a re-run of his father’s crusading ‘easy-believism gospel mantra’ that is condensed into a few phrases such as ‘God wants to have a relationship with you: God loves you; Christ died for you but you have to invite him in’. Some of the preliminaries at the meetings were described to mark the contrast between this current event and his father, Billy Graham’s visit here in the 1960’s. At this event there was Irish traditional dancing and contemporary and rock ‘Christian’ music. In the interview claims were made that 150 people had become Christians at the Friday night meeting and on the Saturday, a day very much devoted to young people, Franklin Graham claimed that “2000 (kids) MADE DECISIONS for Christ” and added “ I enjoy preaching…it’s so much FUN to be able to tell people that God loves them” and earlier he declared “God loves everyone who is listening right now [to the radio interview] – he has a plan and purpose for their life”. It all sounds so wonderful and appealing – but is it an accurate reflection of what God’s Word, the Bible teaches? Before I answer that let me state that I have a close personal Christian friend who was converted by God when he attended a Billy Graham crusade meeting in Belfast many years ago – the evidence of a true Holy Spirit work of regeneration is everywhere evident in his life. Sadly I have another friend who, having watched a televised Billy Graham meeting, ‘made his decision’ but today his life shows precious little if any evidence of a true work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. This last sad scenario has also been the experience of Christian friends who have done door-to-door evangelistic work in Northern Ireland. Regularly on doorsteps they have met people who have no real interest in ‘things spiritual’ but yet profess to be Christians on the basis of having ‘made a decision for Christ’ earlier in their lives and in many cases at the meetings held by Billy Graham. In the ranks of the professing church are I believe many sincere, but misguided and still unregenerate people who have been deceived into thinking they have become Christians through ‘making a decision’ – one of the results of this is that false teaching can so much more easily infiltrate the professing Church because many within its ranks do not possess Holy Spirit discernment to recognise the errors being introduced. How has this situation arisen? Going back to the parable the Lord said, “while men slept, his [Christ’s] enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat”. Over the last few hundred years in particular God’s evangelical people have ‘slept’ and allowed men to come in and preach ‘another gospel which is not another’ [Galatians 1:6-7] – they encourage sinners to place ‘their faith’ in Christ by ‘making their decision’ – the reality is that saving ‘faith’ is a gracious gift from God as we read in Ephesians 2:8 and is given to those whom the Holy Spirit sovereignly regenerates. Let me refer back again to something Franklin Graham said in the course of the radio interview when he stated – “God loves everyone who is listening right now [to the radio interview] – he has a plan and purpose for their life”. I wonder at the meetings did Franklin Graham explain fully that God’s “plan and purpose” for His true people may involve them being hated and martyred for the sake of His truth. That was God’s “plan and purpose” for all but one of Christ’s chosen disciples. That was His “plan and purpose” for hundreds that suffered violent deaths either by fire or by circus-lion under the Roman Emperor, Nero. That was His “plan and purpose” for countless thousands that suffered cruel, tortuous deaths at the hands of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the dark and middle ages – martyrdom that his father, Billy Graham and his Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ‘hushed up’ by removing and eradicating from the pages of the Henry Halley Bible Commentary entitled Pocket Bible Handbook when they acquired the printing rights to it for a 1962 Billy Graham Crusade. They deliberately erased the documented record of Rome’s butchery of groups like the Waldenses and the Huguenots. That has been His “plan and purpose” for countless, often unreported, Christians that have been murdered in recent decades for His sake under the ideology of Islam – Christians such as Pastor Necati Aydin, his fellow Turkish convert, Ugur Yuksel and their friend, a German missionary called Tilmann Geske. Thinking they were going to hold a Bible class with a number of young Turkish Moslems they in fact were going to be killed for the sake of Christ in a very violent, Koran-directed way by those same Moslems on 18th April 2007. Would it really be so much “fun”, as Franklin Graham phrased, it if he were to spell out the reality of what it means to be a Christian in a world that hates God, hates His Christ and hates His true people? This ‘Celebration of Hope’ will I fear, in the fullness of time, bring much eternal despair to many who have ‘made their decision’ on the basis of the message conveyed at these meetings. In conclusion, let me also say that a mark of being a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit given ability to not only discern error and false teaching but to separate from it. The Apostle John addresses this extensively in 2nd John. Regrettably this is an ability that neither Billy Graham nor his son Franklin have demonstrated, particularly when it comes to the erroneous and false Roman Catholic system headed up by the papal antichrist. According to a report of a 2nd April, 2005 American TV interview that Billy Graham had with Larry King, Billy Graham apparently stated that because of his own ill-health Franklin was going to represent him at the installation of Pope Benedict XVI and his daughter Ann would represent him at the funeral of Pope John Paul 11. That is a collective ‘fruit’ of their ministries and concerning the ‘false prophets’ of Matthew 7:15 the Lord said in Matthew 7:20 “by their fruits YE SHALL KNOW THEM”. A little phrase from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, although primarily intended as an exhortation to unbelievers, also seems very appropriate for many of God’s people today – “Awake thou that sleepest” [Ephesians 5:14].

Whilst in America in March I obtained a copy of a very enlightening booklet called ‘Decisional Regeneration’ by James E Adams that sheds biblical light on the errors of both the theology and methodology employed at many modern ‘crusades’. I have subsequently obtained additional copies and if you would like a free copy please let me know.

  • “the time has come when they will not endure sound doctrine”

Back in June 2006 I wrote an article that gave details of some emails that I had received from a Mr Sammy Wilkes who took exception to my lack of enthusiasm for ‘things ecumenical’. You can read that article here. ‘Just another few days at the office’

At the start of that article I wrote – ‘People sympathetic to the aims of ‘Take Heed’ often ask me whether or not I receive much by way of ‘opposition’. The answer is that such ‘opposition’ does manifest itself from time to time but it is far outweighed by the messages of support and encouragement that I receive. Normally I would never consider making such ‘opposition’ known publicly’. I then went on to explain my reasons for ‘going public’ in that particular instance.

In recent times I have had some email exchanges with a lady called Isobel and I have once more decided to make these public. My aim is not in any way to belittle this woman or to mock or even make fun of her. My reason for publishing these exchanges is to demonstrate why error finds it so easy to make its way into the professing Christian church. In a November 2007 article called ‘Willow Creek connection to the foul-mouthed Jersey Boys’

I told of how the Willow Creek Church in America pastured by Bill Hybels had carried out an internal survey amongst its members and I quoted this portion of an article that reported on what they had uncovered – Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study’s findings are in a new book titled Reveal: Where Are You? co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings “earth shaking,” “ground breaking” and “mind blowing.” And no wonder: it seems that the “experts” were wrong. The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples. It gets worse. Hybels laments: “Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into, thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much …We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own”.

Obviously I have absolutely no idea of the ‘church affiliation’ of the lady called Isobel who briefly corresponded with me but I think by the end of reading the exchanges you may possibly feel that her ‘spiritual growth’ might find reflection in the Willow Creek experience and findings.

Email received from Isobel on 25 April 2008

Cecil…I have just been reading a number of your articles, thoughts, reflections, criticisms, judgements and personal opinions on a number of wide-ranging subjects, people and events. I feel so sorry for you. It reminded me of the religious zealots of biblical times where dotting the i and crossing the t was more important than loving another human being. I believe you are totally convinced of your calling but if you believe that calling others names, putting yourself up as God’s spokesperson on every issue going and discouraging those who are making a difference – is your ministry … then Lord help you.

…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance …. I find none of the above reading through your writings and I doubt if anyone would be called to follow a loving, gracious and forgiving God through your many, long-winded and discouraging ponderings….but maybe it’s more bloging for your own therapy!? Sometimes I find the Lord speaks through actions not words…so I’ll stop now – Praying for a change of heart…and who knows…you may even be surprised that others are loved by God too.

  • Reply sent to Isobel 

Dear Isobel ? [a guess based on your email details]

True Christian love “rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in the truth” [1st Corinthians 13:6] – it is not an expression of true Christian love to acquiesce to error – particularly error that will lead a soul to a lost eternity. You referred to ‘the religious zealots of biblical times’ – their problem was that they were proclaiming a false way to heaven usually by burdening people with their traditions and ‘personal opinions’ – God forbid that I should do that – our ministry seeks to defend the truth of the ONLY way to heaven that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to the Scriptures alone and for the glory of God alone – if you believe that I have failed to do that then please give me some specific examples.

You wrote of ‘a loving, gracious and forgiving God’ and these assuredly are some of His attributes but you failed to mention His supreme attribute – His ‘holiness’ [see Exodus 15:11] and because of that attribute His ‘anger’ is justly kindled against sin and sinners – sadly much of today’s user-friendly, seeker-sensitive ‘Christian’ scene fails to awaken unsaved people to these truths and in doing so they minimise the problem for sinners and present a ‘false Christ’ to sinners – such teachers are forecast in God’s Word in 2nd Timothy 4:3-4. would lead many people astray with their unscriptural views – Paul wrote in Acts 20:28-30 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For 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”.

Timothy became a key church leader in Ephesus where Paul had warned the elders about wolves. Paul’s warning came true. We learn from the epistles to Timothy that false teachers did arise, some of them likely were elders themselves. This provides the background for Paul’s admonitions in Timothy about correcting error, upholding the standard of sound doctrine, and the qualifications of true elders.

Paul specified to Timothy who the false teachers were by name: “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme”. (1Timothy 1:18-20) The reason false teachers are named and dealt with publicly is that they and their teaching are public.

In Revelation 2:1-2 the Lord Jesus Christ in His letter to this same church at Ephesus said this “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars”:

The Lord Jesus Christ commended the believers at Ephesus for having heeded the advice of Paul and of exercising discernment

If you study closely the life, witness and ministry of the Apostle Paul he exercised a ministry where he was constantly telling people to ‘take heed’. Should faithful believers today be any less vigilant?

When the Apostle Paul was saying farewell to the elders of the Church at Ephesus he warned them about false teachers who would arise and who would lead many people astray with their unscriptural views – Paul wrote in Acts 20:28-30 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For 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”.

Timothy became a key church leader in Ephesus where Paul had warned the elders about wolves. Paul’s warning came true. We learn from the epistles to Timothy that false teachers did arise, some of them likely were elders themselves. This provides the background for Paul’s admonitions in Timothy about correcting error, upholding the standard of sound doctrine, and the qualifications of true elders.

Paul specified to Timothy who the false teachers were by name: “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme”. (1Timothy 1:18-20) The reason false teachers are named and dealt with publicly is that they and their teaching are public.

In Revelation 2:1-2 the Lord Jesus Christ in His letter to this same church at Ephesus said this “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars”:

The Lord Jesus Christ commended the believers at Ephesus for having heeded the advice of Paul and of exercising discernment when it came to assessing some of the teaching that they had been exposed to.

In Galatians 2, Paul recounts an incident where he publicly corrected Peter: ”But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews”? (Galatians 2:11-14). Paul publicly rebuked Peter.

In Acts 17:10-11 we read this “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”.

The Apostle Paul commended his listeners in Berea for exercising discernment in assessing what he had been teaching by comparing it with the Scriptures. In 1 John 4:1 we read “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”. The Apostle John positively commands believers to exercise discernment on what they hear being taught to them. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul writes “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves”. The Apostle Paul positively commands believers to exercise discernment upon what they believe.

Pastor John MacArthur in his Study Bible notes on 1 Corinthians 12:10 – “to another discerning of spirits,” wrote – ‘Satan is a great deceiver [John 8:44] and his demons counterfeit God’s message and work. Christians with the gift of discernment have the God-given ability to recognise lying spirits and to identify deceptive and erroneous doctrine…Though its operation has changed since Apostolic times because of the completion of Scripture it is still essential to have people in the church who are discerning. They are the guardians, the watchmen who protect the church from demonic lies, false doctrines, perverted cults and fleshly elements. As it requires diligent study of the Word to exercise gifts…so it does with discernment’.

Right from the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden there has been an ongoing ‘Truth War.’ In the very chapter [Matthew 24] that our ministry takes its name from the Lord Jesus Christ warns several times that in the future there will arise ‘false prophets and false Christs’ and He says in verse 25 “Behold, I have told you before”.

The Lord Jesus drew specific attention to His ‘advance warning’ of the coming of false teachers and teaching so that His people, having been forewarned by Him, would exercise discernment in these areas.

An article posted on our website by the Godly Bible teacher, William MacDonald who is now with the Lord has proved over the years to be of great encouragement to me – it is called When tolerance is sin’  – I would commend it to you.

The greatest need in this day and age is for professing Christians to exercise biblical ‘judgment/discernment’ for as prophesied by the Apostle Paul in 1st Timothy 4:1 many today sadly are “giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. To help God’s people ‘Take Heed’ I will [DV] continue to fulfil this God-given ministry for, in contrast to the rare critical emails such as yours, I receive MANY more emails of appreciation from those who have been helped by our website articles.

If there is anything that I have written that you feel is doctrinally incorrect then feel free to share that with me for my consideration. I am your servant for Christ and His truth Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries

  • Email received from Isobel on 28 April 2008

Dear Cecil…

I am sure every single word you wrote is doctrinally correct…but are you a real person? Can you speak from the heart and can the Lord speak through so much red tape? I have never heard of anyone who communicates with someone else using so many bible verses. Can you actually communicate with me on a level of one human being to another..? You write like a cult member…very very frightening. I am sure the Lord – if He were on earth today – would be looked down upon by those within the established church system. He was a rebel with a cause…He was forever saying and doing things to upset religious people. He was not this shining figure in a flowing robe…He was one of us. One of us. He spoke the language of the people…He loved the sinner…I think you forget that He sat with people who sinned and loved them. Please – whatever you do – do not answer me with 10 paragraphs of scripture verse. I have been saved almost 30 years and I do not need to be evangelised. I just pray that you will have your eyes opened. You need the Lord’s compassion for other not setting yourself up as judge and jury on every point YOU do not agree with.

Isobel

  • Reply sent to Isobel

Dear Isobel,

Thank you for your further email, one that saddened me greatly as it is an example of “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” [2nd Timothy 4:3] – now I can just imagine you thinking to yourself – ‘there he goes again – quoting scripture to me’ – but why shouldn’t I? – Please bear with me – was the Psalmist wrong when he said “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” [Psalm 119:105] and “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple” [Psalm 119:130]? Was my much beloved late mother who is now with the Lord wrong to base her life on “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths” [Proverbs 3:5-6]? Was the great Apostle Paul wrong when he wrote, “Let the word of God dwell in you richly, in all wisdom and teaching” [Colossians 3:16]?

All believers have been given a suit of armour [Ephesians 6:13-17]; they have not been given a casual outfit or even a suit of pyjamas – why? – Because the Lord wants them to be engaged in the battle for God’s truth and the greatest weapon He has given us is “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” [Ephesians 6:17]. Sadly it would appear that far too many professing Christians never take “the sword” out of the scabbard.

You wrote ‘I do not need to be evangelised’ – please be assured that I certainly was not attempting to do that [only ‘the lost’ need to be evangelised] in my email but I was simply trying to be of some help in the area of discipleship – something that unfortunately is clearly lacking amongst huge swathes of professing Christendom with the result that error gains a very easy entrance into the professing church that is meant to be “the pillar and ground of the truth” [1st Timothy 3:15].

I must confess I also had major problems with this expression in your email – you wrote concerning the Lord Jesus Christ – ‘He was a rebel with a cause’. The Saviour, the second person of the triune Godhead, who was “holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners” [Hebrews 7:26] was one who tenderly said, “I am the good shepherd and know my sheep and am known of mine…I lay down my life for the sheep…My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me” [John 10:14-27].

I certainly do not forget that He sat with people who sinned but I also recall that He told them to “go and sin no more”; I also recall that in the precincts of the temple He made a whip and drove out those who with false religious practices were “making merchandise” of people – ripping them off in the name of religion. He also clearly identified and with strong words of condemnation [see John 8:44] challenged the false religious leaders of His day who by their false teachings were perverting the truth of God’s Word and way of salvation – should faithful disciples of Christ do any less today?

Christians, who when they see false teaching and practices and reach out to those who often are being led to hell by them, are actually demonstrating true Christ-like compassion – and what will their reward be in this life for doing so? In the midst of warning of false ‘godliness’ that will appear in “the last days” [2nd Timothy 3: 1&5] the Apostle Paul tells of what will happen to those who will remain faithful to God’s truth in the midst of all that deception– “all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” [verse 12].

I remain your servant for Christ and His truth Cecil Andrews- ‘Take Heed’ Ministries

  • Email received from Isobel on 28 April 2008

Obviously it’s impossible for you communicate without a verse thrown in for good effect. I give up…I’ll not be checking out the website again because I want to cry when I do…it saddens me. No wonder people despair of Christianity… I would too … if this correspondence was the only thing to go on…Jesus loves me…this I know… hope things become clear to you on down the line my friend….

  • Reply sent to Isobel

Dear Isobel,

Thank you for your email and rest assured I have no wish to ‘prolong your agony’ so I will simply say this. I find it incredibly bizarre that you as a professing Christian are so saddened by someone like me who seeks to follow the example set by my Saviour whilst here on earth – my Saviour regularly interspersed what He said with quotes from the Word of God [as for example when He was tempted by Satan]. Love for Christ is exemplified by seeking to obey His commandments and our ministry takes its name from one of His commands in Matthew 24:4.

I’m sure you would be ‘shocked’ if I didn’t, as you rather disparagingly put it, ‘throw in a verse for good effect’. God’s Word is never ‘thrown in for good effect’ – it is God’s Spirit-energised means of saving, sanctifying and fitting people for service here as Paul told young Timothy.

Despite what you may think this type of ministry and I are not ‘one-offs’ – all around His world God has His faithful watchmen who are alerting His people to the wiles of the devil. I leave you with this challenge from God’s Word “Examine yourself whether you are in the faith; prove yourselves. Know ye not yourselves how Christ Jesus is in you except ye be reprobate” [2nd Corinthians 13:5].

Yours in Christ Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries

  • Email received from Isobel on 29 April 2008

So your ‘a faithful watchman’ and I’m a mere woman who knows nothing I guess…you probably don’t believe in woman ministers either…but that’s a whole other topic….and I’m sure you’d have lots of verses to back that one up. It must be wonderful to be so perfect…God love ya…it’ll be a shock when your in your own wee heaven with all those others who judge their neighbours and speak in the authorised way…

  • Reply sent to Isobel

Dear Isobel,

With each email that you send me, very sadly and worryingly your lack of knowledge of God’s Word, will and ways becomes ever more apparent. Quite why you introduced a ‘gender’ issue [you wrote – ‘I’m a mere woman’] is not clear unless of course you are troubled by what God’s Word clearly has to say on this issue. As you have raised the topic of ‘woman ministers’ let me confirm that God makes it quite clear from His Word [1st Timothy 2:12 & 3:2] that the teaching elder should be male.

In your first email to me you wrote of – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance – I have to say that I’ve been pretty much searching in vain for these qualities in your subsequent emails.

Your aversion to the Word of God is truly sinister. The Apostle Peter when writing to true believers reminded them of how they had been “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God” [1st Peter 1:23] and a few verses later he instructed them “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that ye may grow by it, if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” [1st Peter 2:2-3].

Your lack of appetite for and open disdain for God’s Word is a normal feature in the lives of unregenerate people as Paul explained in 1st Corinthians 2:14, but when it is openly displayed in the ‘speech’ of a professing believer then alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear.

“He [or she] that hath an ear, let him [or her] hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” [Revelation 2:7]

Yours in Christ Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries

  • Email received from Isobel on 30 April 2008

…as usual Everyone else is lacking…wrong…lacking in knowledge…sinister…thanks for the encouragement…I will not be opening any more of your emails…so you needn’t reply to this one…Go forth perfect one…in your perfect world…along with all your other perfect cult members…

I would like to emphasise once more that in making these exchanges public I have no desire to offend this lady [indeed I would ask you to pray for her] but rather I want to demonstrate what happens in the professing church when the Word of God is set aside in favour presumably of the ‘wisdom of men’ [1st Corinthians 2:5].

Reflecting back on the ‘gender’ issue perhaps Isobel took exception to my use of the word ‘watchmen’ – I should like to state that over the years I have read helpful materials produced by ‘watch-women’ like Jackie Alnor, Ruth Davis, Tricia Tiillin, Elizabeth MacDonald and Ingrid Schlueter. I see no biblical prohibition on women sounding a warning about false teaching etc but I do see a clear biblical prohibition on them occupying the role of the teaching elder.

Another thought that struck me about these exchanges was of the contrast between them and some other email exchanges I had from a man called Paul who contacted me after I encouraged people to contact the local BBC authorities about the evolutionary line promoted in a series of Programmes called ‘BLUEPRINT’ that were to be broadcast on BBC 1 Northern Ireland. These were those email exchanges –

  • Email received from Paul on 2 April 2008

Dear Cecil Andrews,

I am responding in relation to your letter regarding the BBC Northern Ireland documentary on Northern Ireland’s “600 million years of history.” I am afraid I find myself unable to agree with such a protest, but still I understand your concerns.

As I am sure you are aware, the BBC has a great deal of watchers from all kinds of different backgrounds and different religions. Since, as British citizens, we all must pay the BBC TV Licence, it is apparent to me that the BBC caters for all members of the public, by showing a wide range of programmes which relate to all different beliefs.

As such, would it therefore not seem fair that those who do not believe in creationism are allowed their programmes, just as you have a right to have your programmes tailored to your views? I am sure that if the BBC spent as much on a creationist play, there would be complaints asking the BBC to justify the “offensive abuse of their TV licence fee money.” I implore you to ask yourself this: “What right would they have to complain about something I believe in?”

I am proud to be part of a country that takes pride in representing all these different cultures and religious views. Of course, there will be times where we may not all agree with each other. If there is one thing we all do have in common, it is that we are forced to pay this TV licence!

Yours Sincerely, Paul

  • Reply sent to Paul

Dear Paul,

Many thanks for your courteous email – not always the type I have received in recent days on this topic. The point you have made in your email, I am sure that if the BBC spent as much on a creationist play, there would be complaints asking the BBC to justify the “offensive abuse of their [non-creationists’] TV licence fee money” is precisely the basis of my complaint only in reverse – I hope you follow my line of thinking.

I don’t know if you heard ‘Talkback’ * on Monday when I was part of a debate that included one of the Producers – Paul McGuigan. He said that the important consideration taken into account when making the programme was scientific ‘consensus’ but he had to admit when I then challenged him that there were NO scientists contributing to the programme who held to a ‘young earth/biblical creation’ point of view, based not simply on ‘faith’ but also on true science namely that which can be observed and proved by repeated experimentation so in reality his ‘consensus’ was a very biased ‘consensus.

The flaw in non-creationist thinking is that true science has nothing to say in relation to God’s revelation in the Bible of how He created everything – that is simply not true and that is the type of programme that those who protest to the BBC are asking for.

Just in closing, the main issue for Christians is of course the gospel of the life, death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and its significance can only be fully grasped and understood in the light of events at the dawn of creation in the Garden of Eden.

This gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s remedy for the condemning problem [see Romans 5:18-19] caused by the disobedience of the first man created, Adam, but God Himself knows that “the preaching of Christ crucified is to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Gentiles, foolishness” 1st Corinthians 1:23

For 38 years of my life it was precisely that to me – ‘foolishness’ – but then things changed and God ‘created’ me anew [see 2nd Corinthians 5:17] – you can read my brief testimony.

I am your servant for the Lord Jesus Christ

Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – www.takeheed.net *PS I am hoping to have posted in the next few days to our website under RADIO INTERVIEWS this ‘Talkback’ debate and also one that took place last Sunday on Sunday Sequence so perhaps those might be of further interest to you.

  • Email received from Paul on 2 April 2008

Cecil Andrews,

I certainly understand your frustrations. You are receiving these, what I would label as abusive, emails from members of the Richard Dawkins forum. I myself identify as an agnostic (for philosophical reasons etc), but I have recently felt a need to understand why there is this sort of “Richard Dawkins Atheist” movement. It is a shame that such intelligent people are so fanatical in their conclusions. In the event that the BBC does do a creationist play, people would complain and I believe this to be closed mindedness on their behalf. I am sure you will agree with me that they have to put as much faith into their scientific methods as you do into your religious beliefs. Only those who place importance on what science has achieved will hold scientific methods to be superior. Those who have experienced God will similarly hold God to be superior. What I am trying to say is: Don’t be a fanatic. We all must live in the same world, and we all think different concepts are the truth. As such, we have to be tolerant of each other’s ideas. We needn’t complain when we see an idea that opposes what we hold to be the truth, rather we can appreciate it and use it as a basis for confirming our own beliefs.

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” – Albert Einstein

Thank you very much for your time, I will be sure to read/listen to those radio interviews 🙂

Paul

  • Reply sent to Paul

Dear Paul,

Many thanks once more for your further email.

You wrote of ‘Those who have experienced God’ and that of course is what happened when God converted me as I outlined in my testimony that I directed you to.

The reality is Paul, when someone like myself ‘experiences God’, it means we can no longer stand idly by where ‘truth’ is concerned because the Lord Jesus Christ said that He was The way. THE TRUTH and The Life [John 14:6] and He also declared that God’s Word was TRUTH [John 17:17]. If you like He was the ultimate ‘fanatic’ for TRUTH and we are to be His witnesses even though the rest of the world will not like us for being so.

Just in closing and with reference to your mention of the ‘Richard Dawkins forum’ I did post an article to our website following an interview that William Crawley did with him – it might be of interest to you and it is on this link –  http://www.takeheed.net/deluded-dawkins/ Sincere thanks for your ‘gentle’ approach. With all good wishes. I am your servant for Jesus Christ Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries –

  • Email received from Paul on 2 April 2008

Dear Cecil Andrews,

Yes thank you very much. I can see now, that in your view, it must be like watching someone drown. Anyone would be compelled to save that person, even if they did not want saving 🙂

Best of luck, and don’t let those fanatical Atheists get you down.

Paul

I hope the contrast between the attitude of Paul and the attitude of Isobel is as plain to you as it is to me and I would ask you also to please pray for Paul.

In my exchanges with Isobel I referred her to some verses from Psalm 119 and in closing I would just like to quote some verses from another well-known Psalm – Psalm 1 – whilst it speaks of a ‘man’ it has of course equal application to a ‘woman’

‘Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night’

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