News From The Front – March 2003

Dear praying friends,

In recent years TV programmes looking at ‘natural disasters’ have become very popular and graphic footage of damage caused by tornadoes, avalanches, volcanic eruptions etc have vividly brought home to us the havoc that can be wreaked upon humanity by such happenings. One particular programme I saw speculated upon the potential for disaster should a large portion of one of the Canary Islands [off the North West coast of Africa] suddenly slip into the Atlantic Ocean. It would apparently trigger an almighty ‘Tsunami’ – a huge ocean tidal wave that would race westwards and devastate the East Coast of the USA. – It would literally bury and destroy life and light along that coast.

I believe the professing Christian Church faces an almighty ‘Tsunami’ of unprecedented apostasy. Large portions of biblical truth are, thanks to the departure from Biblical truth and separation-standards by so-called ‘evangelicals’, slipping into the ocean of ecumenical compromise and a swelling tidal wave of polluted so-called ‘unity’ is threatening to engulf and extinguish the light of The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, there is a barrier and defence against this swelling tide and it is called ‘truth’ and no ‘Tsunami’ orchestrated by Satan himself will succeed in burying and destroying “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” [2 Corinthians 4:4]. Let us all ‘take heed’ and ‘take heart’ from the words of Christ who said “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” [Matthew 16:18].

Your servant for Christ

CECIL ANDREWS

  • The Mormon ‘God the Father’ Another ‘God-Man’

The first ‘Article of Faith’ of the Mormon Church states – ‘We believe in God, the eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost’. However, as I showed in my last newsletter [New Year 2003] the ‘God the Son, Jesus Christ’ of Mormonism is a totally different ‘Christ’ to the ‘Christ’ revealed in The Bible. I showed, through the Mormon quotes in my article, how the Mormon ‘Christ’ received his earthly body as a result of a literal, intimate, sexual union between the Mormon ‘God the Father’ and a then-virgin called Mary. For such a union to have happened obviously the Mormon ‘God the Father’ would himself need to be a ‘God-Man’ of flesh and bones and this is precisely what Mormonism teaches.

In Section 130:22 of the Mormon book ‘Doctrine and Covenants’ it teaches ‘The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s’. This book, ‘Doctrine and Covenants’ is regarded as part of the Mormon ‘Scriptures’. In the Mormon manual, ‘Gospel Principles’ in chapter 10 on page 49 the question is posed ‘What Scriptures do we have today?’ and the answer is given ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts four books as scripture: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price’.

God’s only inscripturated Word, The Bible, rejects any notion of ‘God, The Father’ possessing a body of ‘flesh and bones’ as the following incident ably illustrates. In the book, *‘Fast Facts On False Teachings’, in the chapter dealing with Mormonism, we read the following on pages 172-173 ‘Several years before he died, one of the very elderly apostles of the Mormon Church, Le Grand Richards, was presenting an apologetic trying to prove that God was a man in heaven with a body of flesh and bone. (This was during the Mormon semi-annual conference being broadcast from Salt Lake City). He had just finished trying to prove his point when he went on to talk about who Jesus Christ was.

The first verse he read was Matthew 16:13, but as he kept reading over national television his voice gradually tapered off to silence when he became aware that he should not be reading verse 17 after what he had just finished trying to prove (that God was a man in heaven with a body of flesh and bone).

In verse 13 Jesus asked His disciples “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?” Simon Peter answered (verse 16) “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus answered (verse 17) and said to him “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven”

Jesus clearly taught that the LDS [Mormon] doctrine of God having a body of flesh and blood is false. Jesus said that God is spirit (John 4:24) and that a spirit does not have flesh and bone nor a body of flesh and blood’ (Luke 24:37-39).

Mormonism is a polytheistic religion and their ‘gods’ bear no resemblance to the Triune God of the Bible. In his helpful book *‘Mormon Claims Answered’ former Mormon, Marvin Cowan wrote on page 25 ‘Joseph Smith taught that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are ‘three distinct personages and three Gods” [Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p 370].

In God’s only inspired written revelation, The Bible, it is clear that there is only one, unique ‘God-Man’. He is certainly not ‘God, The Father’, but rather ‘God, The Son’, Jesus Christ, the second person of the Triune Godhead revealed to us in The Bible in verses such as John 1:1&14; John 20:28.

* Both books thus marked * in this article are available from us priced £7.50 & £3.50 which includes [UK] postage etc.

  • ‘Catholic but not Christian’
  • A response to Patrick McCafferty.

In the December 2002 issue of ‘Faith for Life’ Roman Catholic priest, Patrick McCafferty wrote an article entitled ‘Catholic and Christian’? The prologue to the article stated that ‘The purpose of this feature is not to explore doctrine or to arrive at any conclusions but simply to shed light on the Catholic Church’s attitude to the way it is perceived by some groupings and to hear its response’.

Whilst the aim of the feature was ‘not to explore doctrine’, in the course of the article, Patrick McCafferty used ‘doctrinal terminology’. Those that are not well grounded in the great doctrinal truths of the scriptures might easily be deceived into thinking that the beliefs of Patrick McCafferty and the Church of Rome do actually accord with orthodox biblical Christianity. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that this is most certainly not the case. The answer to the question posed by the title of Patrick McCafferty’s feature ‘Catholic and Christian’? is a resounding ‘No’! To understand why, we need go no further than to simply examine Patrick’s answer when he was asked if he understood the reasons for opposition to the Catholic Church – Patrick answered –

“A lot of it is they don’t understand the Catholic faith. When people begin to talk there’s a realization that the differences are not as deep as they thought. Our own approach is that we have been saved by Jesus’ death on the Cross, we are being saved by living the Christian life and we will be saved in the future”’.

It’s interesting to note that in the 2nd ‘Evangelicals & Catholics Together’ document called ‘The Gift of Salvation’ that was endorsed by so-called ‘evangelicals’ like Charles Colson &

J I Packer, part of their declaration reads “Thus it is that as justified sinners we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved” – the question is – Are ‘Evangelicals’ and ‘Roman Catholics’ really agreed in their understanding of this terminology?

When Patrick refers to Roman Catholics claiming ‘we have been saved by Jesus’ death on the cross’ Patrick has in mind what Rome teaches to be the effects of their sacrament of baptism. In the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church we read the following in paragraph 1213 ‘Through baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission’. Later in paragraph 1992 we read the following ‘Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross…Justification is conferred in baptism, the sacrament of faith’. So, when Patrick speaks of Roman Catholics ‘having been saved’ he is referring to their baptism when they were for the first time ‘justified’. Rome teaches that ‘justification’ is a process that begins in baptism and which then continues on the basis of co-operation between a ‘grace-aided’ sinner and his ‘god’. According to Rome, ‘justification’ can be lost, preserved and even increased. Hence, Rome has in effect a series of ‘justifications’, subsequent to initial baptismal ‘justification’ and ongoing throughout the life of her adherents. Rome does not believe that the ungodly are ‘justified’ through faith alone. Because of this, ‘justification’ in Rome is never a permanently possessed certainty. If anyone should presume to think that they are assuredly and permanently ‘justified’ through faith alone then Rome places them under the following anathema [‘curse’] of God.

‘If anyone saith that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified because that he assuredly believes himself absolved and justified, or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified: and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected, let him be anathema’ [Council of Trent; Session 6 – Justification; Canon XIV].

In a more recent Roman Catholic publication, Roman Catholic professor of theology, Alan Schreck [Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio] in his book ‘Catholic and Christian’ wrote on page 33 –

‘The Catholic Church has always taught that no one can know with absolute certainty in this life whether he or she will be saved…It [The Catholic Church] maintains that we should not presume to know ahead of time that we will persevere in faith until the end’.

So, when Patrick states that Roman Catholics ‘have been saved by Jesus’ death on the cross’ Patrick has in mind their initial baptismal ‘justification’. Then when Patrick says of Roman Catholics – ‘we are being saved by living the Christian life’ – what he has in mind is this idea of being ‘justified’ over and over again – the series of ‘justifications’ that I referred to earlier. This is achieved through adherence to the Roman sacramental system. ‘Justification’ is a fragile condition that, according to Rome, can be lost because of what they term ‘grave sin’. The teaching of this loss of and subsequent restoration of ‘justification’ is captured well in paragraph 1446 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states

‘Christ instituted the sacrament of penance for all sinful members of his Church, above all for those who, since baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification’.

Roman Catholics who recover their ‘justification’ can, according to Rome, preserve and increase their ‘justification’ through ‘good works’. Any belief to the contrary places one under the curse of the Roman Catholic religion.

‘If anyone saith that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works, but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof, let him be anathema’ [Council of Trent; Session 6 – Justification; Canon XXIV].

So, when Patrick speaks of Roman Catholics ‘being saved by living the Christian life’ what he has in mind is their co-operation with God through adherence to the Roman Catholic sacramental system [the perseverance ‘in faith’ referred to by Alan Schreck that I quoted earlier] coupled with what Rome refers to as ‘good works’.

Finally, what has Patrick in mind when he writes of Roman Catholics who believe ‘we will be saved in the future’? Rome does indeed hold out the prospect of ‘eternal life’ to its members but it is only obtained by a joint co-operative effort between man and God. Turning again to the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read the following in paragraph 2010 ‘No one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification at the beginning of conversion [i.e. at baptism]. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity and for the attainment of eternal life’ [i.e. final ‘justification’]. To believe that, for a Christian, all sins have been blotted out and that the punishment deserving all sins has been fully paid for by Jesus Christ at the Cross, is to once more incur the curse of the Roman Catholic religion:

‘If anyone saith that, after the grace of justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment* to be discharged either in this world or in the next in Purgatory, before entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened [to him], let him be anathema’. [Council of Trent; Session 6 – Justification; Canon XXX].

* ‘Temporal Punishment’ is defined by Rome as ‘The penalty that God in his justice inflicts either on earth or in Purgatory for sins, even though already forgiven as to guilt.’ [POCKET CATHOLIC DICTIONARY by John A Hardon SJ; page 428]. ‘YES’ – Rome really does teach that God inflicts punishment [temporal] for sins that He has forgiven and this is well demonstrated in Rome’s theology. In paragraph 1473 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read the following ‘The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains.’

The meaning is clear. Although someone is ‘forgiven as to guilt’ there remains ‘temporal punishment’ which must be discharged either here on earth or after death in Purgatory. ‘TEMPORAL PUNISHMENT’ which has not been dealt with is sufficient to prevent someone from going directly to heaven!

Listen to Rome again through this quotation from Vatican 2: Vol. 1; page 63 –

‘The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God’s holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life, and above all through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments’ [ie in purgatory].

For Roman Catholics, “I have been saved” means I have been baptised. For Roman Catholics, ‘‘I am being saved’ means I am adhering to the sacramental system taught by Rome and I am doing as many meritorious ‘good works’ as possible. For Roman Catholics, ‘‘I will be saved’ means that I believe that through personal suffering and sacrifice both in this life and after death in purgatory I will eventually become sufficiently ‘godly’ to merit God’s verdict of ‘justified’ in order to attain entrance into heaven.

In the course of his feature Patrick McCafferty also made reference to Mary. In their quest for ‘for the attainment of eternal life’ [paragraph 2010 Catholic Catechism] Roman Catholics are taught that they can under certain conditions avail themselves [via ‘indulgences’] of the ‘merits’ of not only Mary but also of ‘the saints’ that we are told ‘have already reached their heavenly home’. The reality is that the teachings of Rome, as skilfully articulated by Patrick McCafferty, do not accord with orthodox biblical Christianity and the truth is that ‘the gospel’ of Patrick McCafferty and of Rome constitute what Paul described as “another gospel” [Galatians 1:6] and such a ‘gospel’ is truly subject to the anathema of Almighty God [Galatians 1:8-9].

When a Christian speaks of ‘having been saved’ he is referring to the great doctrine of JUSTIFICATION, which is full acquittal from all penalty due to sin. When an ungodly sinner is truly ‘born again’ and becomes a Christian, part of God’s gracious and great gift of salvation is a perfect and permanent JUSTIFICATION. The Christian no longer stands condemned because of sin. God “hath delivered us [him] from the power of darkness and hath translated us [him] into the kingdom of his dear Son” [Colossians 1:13]. The result is that a Christian is now no longer “in Adam” [‘condemned’] but is now wonderfully and graciously and permanently “in Christ” [‘justified’] [1 Corinthians 15:22]. God’s Word says to Christians “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” [Romans 8:1]. God Himself reveals to Christians, at their conversion, that they “have everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation but are passed from death unto life” [John 5:24]. When a Christian speaks of ‘having been saved’ he has in mind being saved forever from the PENALTY of sin because of what Christ alone accomplished for him.

What then does a Christian have in mind when he goes on to say that he ‘is being saved’? He is referring to the doctrine of PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION. Having ‘justified’ an ungodly sinner, delivering him from the PENALTY of sin, God, by the work and influence of His gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit, begins to deliver the Christian from the POWER of sin. This is well summed up by this line from Charles Wesley’s great hymn ‘O for a thousand tongues’: Wesley wrote – ‘He [God] breaks the power of cancelled sin’. Paul, in his letter to the Christians at Thessalonica, told them “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification! [1 Thessalonians 4:3]. Christians who sin are robbed of “the joy” of their salvation but they do not lose their ‘justification’. When David sinned grievously he implored God to “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” [Psalm 51:12] – David did not plead for a restoration of his salvation [his ‘justification’].

For Christians ‘I have been saved’ means having been PERMANENTLY JUSTIFIED from the PENALTY of sin and ‘I am being saved’ means being PROGRESSIVELY SANCTIFIED from the POWER of sin. Finally, what then do Christians mean when they say ‘I will be saved’? Here they have in view the sure prospect of ‘GLORIFICATION’ when they will be saved from the PRESENCE of sin. This looks to the eternal age to come when Christians, the redeemed of the Lord, will receive their resurrection bodies [“it is raised in glory” 1 Corinthians 15:42] and will assuredly be, as another hymn writer [James Montgomery] wrote, ‘For ever with the Lord’ [based on 1 Thessalonians 4:17].

‘I have been saved’ – PERMANENTLY JUSTIFIED from the PENALTY of sin. ‘I am being saved’ – PROGRESSIVELY SANCTIFIED from the POWER of sin and ‘I will be saved’ – ETERNALLY GLORIFIED and kept from the PRESENCE of sin. The progression of Christians from JUSTIFIED to GLORIFIED is assured by the work of Christ on the cross for Paul wrote in Romans 8:30 “Moreover, whom he [God] did predestinate them he also called and whom he called them he also justified and whom he justified them he also glorified”.

Now, are these the great Christian, biblical, doctrinal truths that Patrick McCafferty had in mind when he wrote “Our own approach is that we have been saved by Jesus’ death on the Cross, we are being saved by living the Christian life and we will be saved in the future”? Well, the clear answer is ‘No’! Roman Catholicism is not Christianity. All those who are ‘in Christ’ know this to be the case. I say this with both love and conviction. For though Christians are nothing without love, nevertheless, love rejoices only with the truth [“Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” 1Corinthians 13:6;]. Christian love without Christian truth is no better than truth without love. God gives both to His own people. Anything else is quite simply a false ‘gospel’.

As a rather ironic ‘PS’ to this article let me quote an item that appeared in the Roman Catholic Zenit News Agency report for events of 13 January 2003

QUEBEC DIOCESE SAYS 295 BAPTISMS INVALID MONTREAL, JANUARY 13, 2003 (Zenit.org).

The Diocese of St-Jérôme says the baptisms of 295 children at a parish in Pointe-Calumet have been declared invalid because they weren’t done properly, the Globe and Mail reported. For several years now, the diocese has been quietly contacting the families of the children, offering to rebaptize them. Starting in 1991, the layperson who officiated mistakenly let the parents pour holy water on their children’s forehead while she pronounced blessings, the newspaper said. The same person has to perform both acts. No one noticed the problem until 1996, when a sharp-eyed, knowledgeable grandmother spotted the anomaly. ZE03011321

According to Roman Catholic understanding the parents of these 295 children thought their children ‘had been saved’ by undergoing the Sacrament of Baptism [as we explained on pages 2&5] but in reality, according to Roman Catholic teaching and practice, these children ‘had not been saved’ because the man-made rules of the Roman Catholic sacramental system had not been properly observed. What has been or would be, according to Roman Catholicism, the fate of any of these children who have already or may possibly yet die before any ‘rebaptism’ takes place? – have they or will they end up in ‘limbo’ where according to the Pocket Catholic Dictionary [page 229] by John A Hardon S.J. “Regarding the limbo of infants it is an article of the Catholic faith that those who die without baptism, and for whom the want of baptism has not been supplied in some other way, cannot enter heaven. This is the teaching of the ecumenical councils of Florence and Trent”.

This ridiculous situation serves only to validate our claims [outlined on pages 15&16 of our June 2002 NEWS FROM THE FRONT] that the Roman Catholic ‘Trinity’ is not the Tri-une God revealed in the Holy Scriptures. This Montreal affair illustrates vividly Roman Catholic man’s [or in this case – ‘woman’s’] sovereignty in controlling exactly when God, The Holy Spirit does or does not regenerate someone [Rome’s law of ‘ex opere operato’]. What is even more outrageous is that these Montreal baptisms have been declared ‘invalid’ on a ‘technicality’ but I haven’t heard any talk of the worldwide baptisms performed by thousands of priests, who have recently been shown to be guilty of the most wicked of evils perpetrated against young children, being declared ‘invalid’!

  • CATHOLIC CATECHISM CORNER

In the December 2002 NEWS FROM THE FRONT I wrote on page 6 –

‘By way of education I plan on a regular basis to include an item in my newsletter that will focus on a particular teaching from the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church’ – herewith is our next study in this series –

NON-CHRISTIAN TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CATECHISM [2]

For this our second look at a non-Christian teaching in the

Catholic Catechism I want to look at Paragraph 1129 that states – ‘The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation’

The reason I decided to look at this teaching is that it is linked to the teachings of Patrick McCafferty that we have just considered [pages 4-10]. In dealing with this false teaching I want to refer to and quote from former Roman Catholic, Jim McCarthy’s excellent book *‘The Gospel According to Rome’ – Jim was the producer of the excellent video released some years ago called *‘Catholicism – Crisis of Faith’. On pages 56-57 Jim outlined the ‘Seven Sacraments’ of the Roman Catholic system – ‘Baptism: Penance; Eucharist; Confirmation; Matrimony; Holy Orders; Anointing of the Sick’.

Jim then writes ‘The sacraments are said to ‘contain’ grace…To receive grace from a sacrament, a Catholic must be properly prepared. Except for Baptism and Penance the Catholic must…have sanctifying grace in his soul…Baptism or at least the desire of it is necessary for initial justification. Penance is necessary for restoration to the life of grace should a Catholic forfeit grace through serious sin. Confirmation, anointing of the sick and especially Holy Eucharist provide grace needed to avoid sin and do good…The co-operative work of the individual under the influence of grace results in the performance of good works…According to Roman Catholic theology the performance of good works earns a reward from God. The earned right to a reward is called MERIT. Jim then quotes on page 59, Paragraph 2010 of the Catholic Catechism –

‘Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity we can then merit for our selves and for others the graces need for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life’

This attempt by Rome to mix ‘merit’ and ‘grace’ to obtain ‘eternal life’ represents the proclamation of a ‘FALSE GOSPEL’ that Paul rejects –

“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work” [Romans 11:5-6].

Stuart Olyott in his book ‘The Gospel as it really is” when commenting on this passage wrote ‘God’s choice is an entirely gracious choice, and [is] in no way conditioned by the works of the persons involved’.

Jim continues [p 63] ‘In moving away from explicit biblical language and definitions the Church distorted biblical grace beyond recognition …Grace became the medium of exchange in the Church’s merit system…[p 64] All the while the Roman Catholic Church maintained that merited grace was still a gift from God {“if it be of works then is it no more grace” Romans 11:6} …Biblical grace cannot be dispensed like a product from a machine…[p 65] The belief that sacraments and thereby the Roman Catholic Church itself are necessary for salvation has no biblical support…Biblical justification is perfect and complete. It is a divine act [Romans 8:33]…Roman Catholic justification is imperfect and incomplete…[p 69] For the Roman Catholic, eternal salvation involves a lifetime of doing, working and striving…Roman Catholicism knows nothing of resting in Christ’ and earlier Jim wrote Biblical salvation, on the other hand, is characterised by rest. Christ has already finished the work of salvation on the cross. Justification [full and permanent acquittal – see Hebrews 8:12; 10:17] is a free and perfect gift of God’.

In conclusion let me quote the words of the Lord Himself in Matthew 11:38 – “Come unto me [not unto a Church and its sacraments] all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” – the ‘rest’ of God’s so great and free [unmerited – see Romans 3:24] salvation!

*The book and video by Jim McCarthy marked * are available from us priced £10.50 & £11.00.  These prices include UK postage – outside UK add £1.00

  • BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION
  • Enemies of God’s Son and God’s Word

One of the most interesting references to Satan is when he is described by Paul as “the prince of the power of the air” [Ephesians 2:2]. In the light of what is put out regularly over the airwaves by the BBC this expression used by Paul certainly finds much modern-day application. On BBC1 television on 22 December 2002 a programme was broadcast on the subject of MARY. Shortly after the broadcast I phoned the BBC and this is the essence of the comments I passed on to them

‘The programme on MARY represented an imbalanced, highly speculative, blasphemous and diabolical attack upon the Word of God and the Son of God. It was a sustained and unforgivable assault upon Christians and the Christ of Christians who is no less a person than God Almighty. To the BBC and the motley crew of scripture-denying theologians I have a simple message – “Prepare for God’s wrath”. An inquiry into how this programme ever came to see the light of day should be launched immediately. Does the BBC have any plans for a similar assault upon the Koran and Mohammed or is it only Christians who are considered fair game?’

On BBC radio 2 on 20 January 2003 ‘Father’ Wilfrid McGreal gave the following ‘Pause for Thought’ during the Wogan breakfast show.

‘Good morning Terry, I’m not looking for sympathy but I’m a bit below par this morning. As it’s the week of prayer for Christian Unity, I was out preaching in Rochester last night and so by the time I was back home and, like yourself, up by the light of the moon there wasn’t much chance of sleep. But the great thing is that Christians from all the different churches are friends today, not like even the recent past – I can remember when I was a student in Dublin in the 60’s being told I had a protestant face – so I replied “no” I have an English accent. Healing of rifts among Christians is only the first step. I believe a great contribution to peace in the world will be peace between the great religions. I was taught by my mother that there is only one God but many ways. The trouble is that some people think they have a monopoly on truth about God and then we all lose the sense of the real word about God which is love and we end up hitting each other on the head with what has become my God. I think it takes adversity to bring us all to the loving truth. I remember a poignant World Aids day service in Rochester Cathedral. Christians, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs came to support and remember those who were victims of the HIV/AIDS virus and they all spoke of the God who is merciful and compassionate. Priest, rabbi, imam speaking with one voice’.

Having received the transcript from the BBC I asked the following question –

Can I ask why Christians who hold to what the Bible teaches in the area that was addressed by Mr McGreal are not afforded an opportunity to publicly air their valid convictions on ‘Pause for Thought’?

I received the following response from Julie Downing of the BBC

Thank you for your email which I have passed on to my Producer, Rosemary Foxcroft, for reply.

This may come as a big surprise to my readers but believe it or not I am still awaiting a reply from the producer, Rosemary Foxcroft. In contrast to the ‘wisdom’ of ‘Father’ McGreal’s mum who taught ‘one God but many ways’ the Lord Jesus said “narrow is the gate…which leadeth unto life” [Matthew 7:14] and ruling out all ‘great religions’ that refuse to acknowledge Him as the ONLY Saviour of men He said “No man cometh unto the Father but by me” [John 14:6].

The BBC and its handpicked contributors would do well to take to heart these words spoken by Jesus Christ in Matthew 12:36 “But I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account of it in the day of judgment”

  • BIBLE SOCIETIES and ROME

On page 6 of the September 2002 issue of NEWS FROM THE FRONT I commended the work of the Trinitarian Bible Society. The editorial article in their January- March 2003 Quarterly Record makes very sad reading as they chart the increasing influence of Rome and The Vatican in the affairs of The United Bible Societies around the world. Of particular local interest was the following on pages 6-7

‘Even in Northern Ireland we read in the Annual report of The Bible Society in Northern Ireland, which has been a full member of the United Bible societies since 1987, that “Meetings with Roman Catholic bishops have been encouraging and we plan to continue to extend these contacts”. However The Bible Society in Northern Ireland is not only a full member of the wholly ecumenical UBS, it is also closely allied with Scripture Union Northern Ireland and other “evangelical” bodies. One wonders what other organisations will be subsumed – either directly or indirectly – into association with the Papacy and its ungodly and unscriptural ways!’

  • FOR CONTEMPLATION

In my last newsletter [pages 14-15] I drew attention to the current rise in the popularity of ‘Contemplative Prayer’, which is nothing less than an occultic tool posing as ‘Christian’ worship. A few days after I issued my newsletter an advert for ‘Contemplative Worship’ appeared in the Belfast Telegraph for the morning service in Fisherwick Presbyterian Church [Belfast] on 9 February 2003. On the ‘Order of Service’ we read the following ‘This week we look at Contemplative Worship – much of this comes from the traditions of the Desert Fathers’. In the book [p 41-43] mentioned in my previous article, called ‘A Time of Departing’ by Ray Yungen, Mr Yungen wrote “They [the Desert Fathers] were the ones who first promoted the mantra as a prayer tool…the desert Fathers believed as long as the desire for God was sincere – anything could be utilized to reach God. If a method worked for the Hindus to reach their gods, then Christian mantras could be used to reach Jesus…if Christians only practice their Christianity based on the Bible, they will impoverish their spirituality. This was the thinking of the desert fathers!’ This book ‘A Time of departing’ is still available from us, price £8.00 Another little booklet that can be obtained from us relates to the new Archbishop of Canterbury [who was mentioned in our previous article] and is called ‘The Theology of Rowan Williams’ by Garry J. Williams, MA, DPhil – the price for this booklet, including postage, is £1.35.

  •  IN THE PIPELINE’

 1. I hope to continue my look at the writings of C S Lewis in my next newsletter [DV]

2. Plans are now well advanced for me to host a visit to Ireland by SHAUN WILLCOCK of Bible Based Ministries, South Africa. Full meeting details will be given in my next newsletter [DV].

3. PRAYER POINT Shaun Willcock’s visit is scheduled to take place from 24 October – 11 November. WOULD ANYONE HAVE A ‘SPARE’ CAR THEY COULD LEND MARGARET AND I DURING THIS PERIOD, AS THAT WOULD BE OF GREAT HELP TO US?

  • ‘OPERATION MOBILISATION’ [OM] AND
  • THE ‘ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL’ [AICC]

On pages 14-15 of my ‘New Year 2003’ newsletter I drew attention to the questionable ‘Christian’ books distributed by STL who claimed that the views of authors like ‘Mother’ Teresa, ‘Father’ Henri Nouwen and ‘Cardinal’ Basil Hume [all now deceased] were ‘in full agreement with the OPERATION MOBILISATION statement of faith’. I recently received a copy of an ‘appeal leaflet’ issued by OM entitled ‘INDIA APPEAL’. On the leaflet it stated “Through the recent happenings amongst the Dalit people in India, God has provided the biggest open door since the Reformation happened in Europe” and this statement is credited to Joseph D’Souza: Executive Director OM India. Later in the leaflet we read, “As part of an initiative by the All India Christian Council, OM India is setting up Dalit Education Centres’. An examination of the web site of the ‘All India Christian Council’ revealed the following information

The AICC is built around 2 commitments – The commitment to the unique person of the Lord Jesus Christ and his compassion to a needy humanity and the commitment to secular, pluralistic and democratic India…the AICC is fully committed to the Church’s mission of demonstrating the love of Christ in society through Word and deed.

I think it’s interesting to note that these commitments are directed at ‘social’ and ‘political’ activity rather than at ‘spiritual’ activity. There is no formal commitment to ‘proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ’ – could it be that there are parties involved in the AICC who would not be agreed as to what constitutes ’the gospel’? Well, from the web site we learn who is President of the AICC – ‘Dr. Joseph D’Souza, president of the All India Christian Council’ [who as we have already seen is stated on the ‘appeal leaflet’ to be Executive Director OM India] and we also learn who is the Secretary General of the AICC – ‘the fact-finding report authored by AICC secretary general John Dayal who is also the spokesman for the ALL INDIA CATHOLIC UNION’. An example of AICC ‘commitment’ reads as follows – ‘Expressing concern at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi…The Christian Council takes particular exception to his uncalled for attack on Pope John Paul II, spiritual head of the worldwide Catholic community’. I spoke by phone to faithful believers in India who confirmed large ecumenical compromise by OM.

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