Dear praying friends,
With my last newsletter I enclosed a short note giving details of new funding arrangements which were being considered in relation to my involvement with a sister ministry known as Breda Centre. The new arrangements were agreed and as most on my UK mailing list know via a letter that I sent to them towards the end of January there was a substantial reduction in support from this sister ministry with effect from 1st March. This was perfectly correct as over recent years the “Take Heed” workload has increasingly outstripped my duties with Breda Centre. The letter sent at the end of January invited recipients to consider support by means of an annual bankers order payment with effect from 1st March. I have just been overwhelmed by the response to this letter – not only from individuals [either through standing order arrangements and/or gifts] but also from a number of Church fellowships. I hope all will understand why I have been unable to acknowledge each individual response but I want now to say to everyone “THANK YOU”
I can confirm that God through His people has once more proved His faithfulness and this need that arose has been fully met. [Psalm 118:23]
Your servant for Christ
Close Encounters of the Cult Kind!
Over the first few months of this year the Lord has brought me into direct contact with a number of individuals and groups and I would like to relate some of these encounters to you and enlist your prayer support that God would be pleased to bless for His glory the witness given.
In January I was scheduled to speak at Blanchardstown Fellowship [just North of Dublin] on Sunday 24th January so Margaret and I arranged to take a short break earlier in the week in Dun Laoghaire [just South of Dublin]. On Friday 22nd we visited the seaside town of Bray and just before lunch as we were walking along the seafront promenade I noticed 2 Mormon Missionaries walking in the opposite direction. I returned to our car to obtain a few tracts and set off to find them.
I eventually tracked them down enjoying lunch in a seaside café. I introduced myself to them and they accepted the tracts offered and in return gave me a leaflet [one that was new to me and that I was able to make use of during one of my talks on the following Sunday and I will return to it later in this newsletter]. PLEASE PRAY FOR ELDER MURTAGH AND HIS FRIEND.
On Saturday evening 13th February I began a short series of meetings in Faith Baptist Church, Dundrum, Dublin and the subject that night was Mormonism. At the end of my talk a lady and gentleman [Margaret and Albert] came up to talk to me. They told me they were Mormons and first stated that they were pleased that I had given a fair and accurate representation of Mormonism. Much of what I had said they stated they could agree with but obviously there were areas of disagreement [naturally as Mormonism proclaims false gods and a false gospel]. Albert asked me to document a number of points I made during my talk and willingly gave me his address. The information has been sent to him and I would ask you to PLEASE PRAY FOR ALBERT AND MARGARET that as they consider the material sent to them that God might be pleased to open their blinded eyes to His glorious truth.
On Wednesday 17th February as I walked down Bradbury Place in Belfast I noticed in front of me 2 young Mormon men and they stopped a young woman on the street to witness to her. As I came alongside I gently placed my hand on one of their shoulders and asked if they would be telling the young lady how their Jesus Christ obtained his fleshly body. The young lady, obviously not interested in spiritual matters departed and the Mormons asked me to clarify my question and then replied that Jesus obtained his body ‘by the power of the Holy Spirit’.
They were somewhat taken back when I informed them that their church denied such teaching and taught that their Heavenly Father [Elohim – an exalted man of flesh and bones] had a literal relationship with Mary to produce a fleshly body for their Jesus. Over the next 10 minutes the Lord opened great doors to witness for truth concerning the True God and His Gospel. One of the young men asked me to send on documentary evidence of points I was making and this has been done.
PLEASE PRAY FOR KENT BERGESON AND HIS COLLEAGUE that materials sent may shake their Mormon foundations and faith and that God may be pleased to save them and place them in the true Church of Jesus Christ.
Jehovah’s Witnesses Contacts
On Friday 22nd January in Bray, following my encounter with the 2 Mormons in the seaside café Margaret and I decided to buy a carryout from the café for our lunch. Whilst Margaret made the purchase I sat on the sea-wall just opposite and was enjoying the winter sun when a lady’s voice asked me if I would accept a leaflet. I accepted it and saw it was a publication of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
Having taken it I asked the lady if she had a Bible to hand and somewhat reluctantly she went back to her car to get one. I asked her to read John 3:6 and again reluctantly she did so. After stalling her attempt to get me onto her line of thought [‘the meek shall inherit the earth’] she agreed that she was not “born again” and was only “born of the flesh”. Having asked her if she believed she was pleasing God by her endeavours [naturally she said ‘yes’] I asked her to read Romans 8:8.
Again and with more force in her voice she tried to steer me to ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ but I stuck to turning her to Romans 8:8. Knowing what this verse teaches [“they that are in the flesh cannot please God”] she informed me ‘that verse is for anointed Christians’ so I asked her if she claimed to be a Christian. She refused to answer but if she had said ‘yes’ I would have referred her to Romans 8:9 which teaches “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ (ie is not “born again”) he is none of his” (ie is not a Christian).
At this point she took her leave with a final and even more frustrated rendition of ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’. If I had been able to eventually take up this point with her I would have pointed out that genuine “meekness” is through the work of the Holy Spirit [Galatians 5:23] and would not apply to her as she is only “born of the flesh”.
PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL UNSETTLE THIS LADY’S CONFIDENCE IN THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY.
On Monday 15th February my topic at Faith Baptist Church, Dundrum, Dublin was Jehovah’s Witnesses and in the congregation was a recently arrived Christian missionary who is presently working with the church in Dundrum. Next day the church Pastor and I were to call for this missionary to go out for lunch and when we arrived at his house guess who he was talking to? He was in deep conversation with 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses. We sat patiently until the conversation ended and they left so PLEASE PRAY THAT SEEDS SOWN WILL BEAR FRUIT.
International Church of Christ Contacts
I can report that I personally attended one of their meetings held on Sunday 10th January in the Youth Hostel on Belfast’s Donegal Road. 17 people including myself, another known believer and someone there for the first time attended it. This is encouraging, as it would indicate no headway is being made and represents a reduction in numbers attending from when the group made their latest appearance several months ago.
The service, including communion, lasted about 90 minutes. A young chap called Brendan [from Cork I believe] shared some thoughts before they broke bread and later Roy [from England] to shouts of encouragement ‘preached’ at the end of which he received a round of applause. The false teaching of salvation through water baptism was sounded out loud and clear. After the service Brendan sat down beside me and we discussed the relationship of salvation and baptism – PLEASE PRAY THAT BRENDAN WILL SEE THAT BAPTISM IS A ‘TESTIMONY TO’ AND NOT A ‘MEANS TO’ SALVATION.
After my encounters with the 2 Mormon Missionaries and the Jehovah’s Witness lady in Bray on Friday 22nd January there was still one more cult-encounter to take place that day. When we returned to the hotel for our evening meal I noticed on the bulletin board in the foyer details of a meeting that evening of Elan Vital were on display. I had just a few weeks earlier heard of this group’s activities in places like the library in Holywood, Co.Down and the Holiday Inn, Belfast so this was an opportunity to see them operate at first hand.
After dinner I made my way to the room in which the meeting was held and including myself there were 21 people present. The meeting took the form of 2 video presentations featuring the group’s leader MAHARAJI. In the first video [‘The Feeling Of Life’] MAHARAJI stated that the desire to be content was universally inherent in everyone and he stated ‘the real water that will quench your thirst is within you.’
This is a direct challenge to the claims of Christ in John 7:37-39 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, IF ANY MAN THIRST LET HIM COME TO ME AND DRINK. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Holy Spirit which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
MAHARAJI said he had come to offer people a way to go inside themselves in order to ‘fall in love with the real you’. The way to achieve this was by ‘knowledge’ and he added that what people are looking for can be found inside themselves and not ‘out there’.
Again this is a direct challenge to the true God who said in Isaiah 45:22 “LOOK UNTO ME AND BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH: FOR I AM GOD AND THERE IS NONE ELSE”.
The second video was entitled ‘Frequently Asked Questions About Knowledge’ and in one section MAHARAJI spoke of ‘goodness’ and put forward 2 views on this topic. He spoke first of what he termed ‘social goodness’ which he stated was imposed upon people so that society can function properly. He then spoke of ‘THE goodness that is in everyone’s heart’ [he himself emphasised ‘THE’ as he spoke].
Again we have a frontal assault on the Words of the Lord Jesus Christ in
Matthew 15:19 “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” – echoing Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who [apart from God] can know it?”
At this point the organiser of the meeting noticed that I was taking notes so he came over and told me to stop. Shortly after this I left as I had no desire to disrupt the meeting that was the second in a series being held in various locations such as The Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, The Gresham Hotel, Dublin and The Royal Hotel, Bray.
ELAN VITAL is the successor of The Divine Light Mission started back in India in 1961 by MAHARAJI’S father. In a report by Pastor David Larsen of Minneapolis he quoted from ‘AND IT IS DIVINE’ [June 1974 p6] – ‘When a Perfect Master comes, He does not need any scriptures…He has come to reveal Knowledge. We get stuck in the Scripture itself…that is why Guru Maharaji comes into this world: to reveal to us this beautiful, most fantastic thing’. Pastor Larsen adds ‘Needless to say it is the Guru Maharaji who writes these words’. MAHARAJI’S opinion of himself reminded me of another inflated ego found in Isaiah 14:14 “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high” – [“there is no new thing under the sun”].
The Glenn Hoddle Saga!
In the December 1996 issue of NEWS FROM THE FRONT I wrote a 6-page article – ‘GLEN HODDLE IS NOT A BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN [SAYS GLENN HODDLE]’. It came as no surprise to myself to read further comments made by him in what might be termed a postscript to an interview dealing with his job as the England soccer coach. He was reported as telling a reporter from The Times – ‘You and I have been physically given two hands and two legs and a half-decent brain. Some people have not been born like that for a reason. The karma is working from another lifetime. It is not only people with disabilities. What you sow you have to reap’.
In the furore that followed, Glenn Hoddle used two tactics to try and deflect the criticism that came his way. First he claimed these comments had nothing to do with football which was the subject of the interview and then he appealed to good works he carried out on behalf of disabled/disadvantaged persons [at no time was there ever a denial by him of making the comments].
I admit to having sympathy for Mr Hoddle in this situation [particularly as it eventually led to him being removed from his job] even though I disagree with his religious philosophy. He simply expressed views held not only by himself but by thousands of Hindus and Buddhist living in the British Isles – Malachi O’Doherty wrote in the Belfast Telegraph –
‘What is the message to Hindus living in England if one of the tenets of their faith is ridiculed in every newspaper?…The teachings of Glenn Hoddle are not eccentric. In some variant or other they are held by hundreds of millions of people world-wide’.
Whilst Glenn Hoddle used what I would term diversionary tactics to stem the flow of criticism that came his way there was a clear attempt by his mentor Eileen Drewery to use distortionary tactics to repel the criticism heaped upon her zealous ‘disciple’. During the ITN lunchtime news of 3rd February Eileen Drewery said to newscaster Nick Owen –
‘First of all can I just say that his interview with this reporter was about football – that was what the intention was and he gave that reporter about football the interview about football [diversion] What happened after that – he asked him if he could explain to him more in detail about reincarnation and that was not to do with his interview’. At this point Nick Owen said –
‘Can I just say to you Eileen Drewery – reincarnation, we know that he believes in that and you do. Does he believe that people who are disabled are paying the penalty for past lives – put it as simply as that ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Eileen Drewery responded with an emphatic ‘no!’ Glenn Hoddle said on TV in October 1996 having confirmed his belief that he had lived before – ‘the future is far more important than what our past was – OUR PAST IS WHAT WE’RE ACTUALLY HAVING TO FACE TODAY’.
Following her emphatic ‘no’ Eileen Drewery continued ‘[no] because what you do in reincarnation, you choose your next life, what you’re going to do and be. If you feel that you needed to be a rich man to experience that, then God in his wisdom would allow you to be that or a poor one or whatever. No way, no way, you choose your next life yourself. That is not what Glenn meant [ie paying the penalty for past lives].
Is Eileen Drewery seriously asking us to believe that the millions of impoverished people in India who believe as she and Glenn Hoddle do in the ‘law of karma’ were given a choice and CHOSE to live in such abject poverty? How sad to see people “deceiving and being deceived” 2 Timothy 3:13.
In the wake of the so-called ‘Toronto Blessing’ many people have been exposed to THE ALPHA COURSE – a course promoted and popularised by Nicky Gumbel of Holy Trinity Church, Brompton. In the catalogue of STL probably the largest distributors of Christian books in the UK there is a full page advert for a book by Michael Green called – ‘AFTER ALPHA’, subtitled according to the advert, ‘You’ve been on an Alpha course – which way now?’ In the January edition of Evangelical Times there was a review of this book by Tony Hutter of Newcastle and it is reproduced here in full by kind permission.
“Here is a very rough paraphrase of the book:” ‘Having completed the Alpha course you have come to know the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit [p43] but what do you do now? You could do Alpha again [p109]. You will want others to have this experience too, so invite them to Alpha [p18]. You could go with them [p19]. Probably it is not advisable to invite them to church because this is a risky business and is against one of the important principles of Alpha [p20]. The problem with church is that liturgy is complicated [p19] and the vicar may never have led anyone to faith or may not even think that it should happen [p21]. However it has to be said that some people have become Christians by osmosis through attending church, especially Catholics who approach God not so much through word as through sacrament [p20]. You could also mention Jesus in the pub [p52]. Incidentally, you, of course realise that the Father did not punish the Son for our sin [p48]. Anyway, you can now experience the kind of joy that Mother Teresa used to have when she received the sacrament and her head tilted on one side! [p60].
You ought to read the Bible and William Barclay’s commentaries will help you with this [p85]. You could also go to New Wine or Spring Harvest [p87]. You should also pray but you must realise that not even God can always bring about what we pray for because all people have free will [p90-91]. We all need to learn from others, for example Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity [p96]. Why not go to a monastery for a retreat? [p97]. Possibly you could help run a house group, using Emmaus material which is produced by a team of evangelical, Anglo-Catholic and charismatic leaders [p114-115]. Incidentally we know that God made human beings, but whether it was by evolution or some other means we do not know [p122].
Another matter you should consider is the question of charismatic gifts. A third of all Christians, from Roman Catholics to Pentecostals, have the gift of tongues [p191]. The view that these gifts have died out is sheer moonshine and betrays culpable ignorance [p192]. You certainly have some gift. The gift of a word of discrimination is invaluable. It means the ability to tell the difference between for example someone who is praying in a demonic tongue and someone who is praying in the Spirit [p218].
The helpful thing about Alpha is that it is not based on authority [p243] rather it is fun, humorous, social and food centred [p246]. Isn’t Alpha wonderful!’
Tony Hutter concludes his review with these comments “Okay, so I have been deliberately selective, but perhaps summarising the book this way demonstrates clearly the unbiblical principles of Alpha and those who support it. Well written? Yes. Well read? Let’s hope not”.
To that I would add my own Amen! and one further comment on ‘Alpha’ being ‘food centred’ – that brings to mind Paul’s warning in Romans 16:17-18 – “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly”.
On 31st July 1998 at a meeting in Dublin Mr J I Packer referred to the present pope as ‘a fine Christian man’. I think it is worth considering some of the teachings that have during the past 12 months flowed from the pen of Mr Packer’s ‘fine Christian man’.
On 20th March 1998 Pope John Paul II issued a statement to various classes of confessors on the ‘Purpose and Benefits of Sacramental Penance’. In that document he stated ‘God’s salvific will…is carried out in a pre-eminent way in the sacramental ministry of Reconciliation which is the primary objective of the daily service provided by the Penitentiary and the Father confessors’.
In stark contrast the Bible declares “it pleased God by the foolishness of PREACHING [not sacramental ministry] to save them that believe” [1 Corinthians 1:21} and this is emphasised again in Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by HEARING [not sacramental ministry] and hearing by the word of God”.
The Pope went on to say ‘the sacrament of Reconciliation is such a great concern for the Supreme Pontiff and his brothers in the priesthood because of their office AS MEDIATORS IN CHRIST between God and men’.
Paul, a minister [Ephesians 3:7] writing to Timothy, another minister [1 Timothy 4:6] stated clearly in 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God and one mediator [not mediators] between God and men the man Christ Jesus”.
Later we read from this ‘fine Christian man’ how ‘Sin is the shipwreck from which Baptism and Penance [Sacramental ministry] save us…Obviously the faithful who approach the sacrament of Penance also wish to receive the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin…In this respect the truth of faith and the practice of indulgences are closely connected with the sacrament of Penance. An indulgence is actually the remission before God of the temporal punishment for sins the guilt of which has already been forgiven’.
Paul writing to Titus declares in Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done [such as Baptism and Penance] but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost”. Salvation comes through a Sovereign Act of God and not through a Sacramental Act of Man. As for sins being ‘forgiven’ but still subject to ‘temporal punishment’ this idea is rejected under the terms of the New Covenant sealed by the precious blood of Christ [Matthew 26:28]. God assures all who are saved by Christ that “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” [Hebrews 8:12 & 10:17]. As for ‘indulgences’ I will have more to say shortly.
On 2nd June 1998 we learnt this from the pen of John Paul II – ‘I Urge Catholics to Pray for the Dead’. This message was addressed to the present Abbot of Cluny one of whose predecessors established ‘The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed’. The pope also made reference to another agency geared specifically to ‘praying for the souls in purgatory’ and to a 40-year-old ‘bulletin “Lumiere et vie” which promotes prayer for the dead’. His personal attitude was summed up like this ‘I therefore encourage Catholics to pray fervently for the dead, for their family members and for all our brothers and sisters who have died that they may obtain the remission of the punishments due to their sins…my Apostolic Blessing…I willingly extend it…to all who pray for the intention of the souls in purgatory, who take part in the Eucharist and who offer sacrifices for the dead’.
Can the living influence the eternal destiny of those who have died? The word of God in Revelation 22:11 says this concerning the future state “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still and he which is filthy let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous let him be righteous still and he that is holy let him be holy still.” If a person dies in their sins then they cannot go to be with Christ [John 8:21] and no amount of prayers or payments for masses will alter that stark biblical reality.
Finally on 29th November 1998 in his ‘Bull Of Indiction Of The Great Jubilee Of The Year 2000’ the Pope really put the cat amongst the ‘ecumenical pigeons’ when he announced details of how the faithful could obtain a ‘Jubilee Indulgence’ in the year 2000. Those clamouring for ecumenical unity would prefer to keep ‘indulgences’ safely hidden away but not so the Pope. Listed at the end of his ‘bull’ are the ‘Conditions For Gaining The Jubilee Indulgence’. Here are extracts –
1.’In Rome. If they make a pious pilgrimage to one of the Patriarchal Basilicas…and there take part in Holy Mass or another liturgical celebration…or…spend some time in Eucharistic adoration…ending with the “Our Father”…and prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary’
2.’In the Holy Land, if keeping the same conditions…
3. In other ecclesiastical territories, if they make a sacred pilgrimage to the Cathedral Church…or a Shrine designated by the Ordinary…
4. In any place, if they visit for a suitable time their brothers and sisters in need…(the sick, the imprisoned, the elderly…)
I believe Martin Luther if he were able to visit us today would marvel at how such an unscriptural system, out of which he was by the grace of God delivered, can still hold sway in the lives of millions around the world and can have its earthly head described by one formerly regarded as a sound evangelical as ‘a fine Christian man’. One is only left to wonder which destination Mr Packer will choose to obtain his ‘Jubilee Indulgence’ Jerusalem or Rome. He seems to favour Rome at present!
The False Christ of Mormonism!
I referred earlier to a leaflet given to me by the Mormon Missionaries I encountered in Bray and how useful it proved to be. The front cover stated – THE FAMILY – A Proclamation To The World and inside opened with these words “We The First Presidency and the Council of The Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim….. What then followed was intended to be an exhortation to individuals and nations to respect and promote ‘marriage between a man and a woman’ because it ‘is essential to His [God’s] eternal plan’. However mixed in with all the fine-sounding exhortations to maintain the traditional family concept were quite a few of the false teachings of this large and influential religious cult. ‘ALL HUMAN BEINGS – male and female – are created in the image of God’. This is often used to justify Mormon teaching that their God The Father has a body of flesh and bones [the Missionaries I met in Belfast used this argument]. God of course is “a Spirit” [John4:24] and Jesus Christ is referred to in Paul’s letter to the Colossians [1:15] as “the image of the INVISIBLE God”. The leaflet continued ‘Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents” – here we have the false teaching that everyone pre-existed as spirit-children before being born on earth and that we have ”heavenly PARENTS’ including a HEAVENLY MOTHER! This ‘pre-exisent’ state is emphasised again in these words ‘IN THE PREMORTAL REALM spirit sons and daughters worshiped God…and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body’. Salvation by good works and religious rites is taught in ‘Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God.’ The back page states ‘THE FOLLOWING PROCLAMATION is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ’ and confirms what the Mormon President said last year “I don’t believe in the traditional Christ”. That’s so true, because the Mormon Christ is a false Christ!
Ex-Catholics For Christ Conference
I mentioned in my last newsletter that Margaret and I hope to attend this conference to be held [DV] in Dallas on 26/27th March and all the arrangements for our time there have been put in place and set out below is our planned schedule. The theme of the conference is ECT+5, which will be an analysis of how things stand on the ecumenical front following the signing of the ECT Agreement [Evangelicals and Catholics Together] some 5 years ago in March 1994.
Dates & Events
24th March Fly Belfast – London – Chicago – Dallas
25th March Attend possible debate which may feature Dave Hunt
26th March Attend & speak at reception for CWRC [Rob Zins]
26th March Attend opening sessions of ECFC conference
27th March Attend ECFC [Cecil on panel in morning session]
27th March Attend dinner and closing sessions of ECFC
28th March Speak at Adult Bible Class of host church of ECFC
29th March Drive to Shreveport, Louisiana for ‘Contenders Seminar’
30th March Drive to Theriot, Louisiana – Speak at ‘Contenders Conference’
31st March Speak at ‘Contenders Conference’
1st April Drive to Friendswood, Texas
2nd April Speak [pm] in Friendswood, Texas
3rd April Drive to Navasota, Texas
4th April Speak [am & pm] in Navasota, Texas
5th April Drive to Austin, Texas
6th April Record interview for video on Roman Catholicism
7th April Speak [pm] in Austin, Texas [Dayspring Chapel]
8th April Drive to Dallas for overnight stay
9th April Fly Dallas -Washington – London – Belfast [home DV 10th]
YOUR PRAYERS FOR SAFETY IN THE AIR AND ON THE ROADS AND FOR HELP WHEN SPEAKING ARE COVETED.