Dear praying friends,
Another year is well under way and as I write this letter many topics have already been addressed and my faithful Internet webmaster has been working overtime in posting a wide range of articles to the ministry web site. Many of these articles do appear in NEWS FROM THE FRONT or as enclosures as in this case with ‘Earning The Right’ by Willie Cowan. I would ask for specific prayer for the ministry web site that the Lord will continue to use it to warn, inform and help people. Just this morning I received an email, which said,
‘I am glad to see you have a very active ministry. It is good for us in the USA to realise we did not invent evangelism. It seems you have a VERY full and diverse ministry. I hope if you are ever on the west coast you will give me fair warning. I live near Seattle. God bless your work. It is the work of evangelists and faithful Christians that showed me the Jesus in the Scripture after years of being in bondage to Watchtower teachings and thought. Today was my first day of teaching Sunday School and I feel so blessed that I escaped from where I was to find Jesus and now am able to share that with others in diverse ways. I hope you will keep my mum JD in your prayers; she is still a Jehovah’s Witness. In Christ’s love C
It is both encouraging and yet humbling to receive messages such as this – please pray for C in her service for the Master and pray also for the salvation of her mum JD.
Your servant for Christ
UNPACKAGING THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS
The following letter was sent to the Belfast Telegraph on 22 December 2003
Dear editor, In his Christmas message, the current Presbyterian Moderator, Rev Ivan McKay, reportedly [Belfast Newsletter 20 December] said “The celebration of Christmas is of the greatest gift ever given. God is the giver. He packaged the gift in the form of a baby…To celebrate Christmas only as the birth of a baby is to celebrate in foolishness. It is essential to look further – to see the baby who became a boy, who became a man, who was crucified, who was raised from the dead, who returned to heaven and will return as judge of heaven and earth. My prayer is that throughout Ireland – north and south – we will open the package and examine the gift. God gave this gift to deal with the sins of the world that ‘whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life'”.
In his ‘Thought for the weekend’ [20 December] Newtownards Presbyterian minister Rev Allen Sleith recounts an incident where a colleague on visitation passed a comment about how Christmas decorations enhanced the appearance and atmosphere of a room and another resident commented ‘that decorations stood for nothing, that Christmas was now a commercial racket and that the real meaning was about Jesus who came to die on the cross for our sins’.
Did Rev Sleith welcome this ‘unpackaging of God’s gift’ as exhorted by his colleague and moderator, Rev McKay? Whilst acknowledging the correctness of what the lady said, Rev Sleith added “to make that the only or predominant note of the church’s message is to end up playing a limited tune which people will turn a deaf ear to…I’m not sure which extreme swing of the pendulum I find more tiresome and predictable: the commercial trappings that most of us have now bought into or the knee-jerk moralism of way too many Christians”.
I think Rev Sleith should consider afresh the life and ministry of the apostle Paul who, in words that echo the Christmas message of Rev McKay, “determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified” [1 Corinthians 2:2] and if as Mr Sleith says this is a message that ‘people will turn a deaf ear to’ let him remember that Paul also said “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God” [1 Corinthians 1:18].
The Christmas message and the Church’s message are one and the same “Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners”. This is certainly not ‘knee-jerk moralism’ but rather “a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation” [1 Timothy 1:15].
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – Ballynahinch
Shortly after a copy of this letter was posted to our Internet web site in early January I received an email from a sister in Christ who was concerned that I appeared to be promoting the celebration of Christmas. With her permission this is part of what she wrote –
‘Have just been looking in your website, some very good articles, but I am at a loss to understand the title of the above subject…I cannot understand how Christ himself can be in “Christ-mas” when it is nothing but a…pagan festival…the Apostles and early church certainly never celebrated it, and most important is the fact that nowhere in the Word of God are we told to celebrate it. The only two ordinances are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. My husband and I have not celebrated this festival for some 20 years, since we saw the truth of it… The world loves this festival, and all its gluttony, but they hate the Lord’s Day and true Christians. Are we not told to be separate and come out from among them? Surely the original source of this pagan festival should be sufficient to keep us separate from it…would be so pleased to have your comments’
The following is part of what I wrote in reply –
‘Thank you for your email and comments on the article ‘Unpackaging the Christ of Christmas’. Let me begin by saying that I agree fully with your observations on the pagan festival known as ‘Christmas’ and my article was not intended as an endorsement of it…What the article was intended to do was to highlight what the Bible teaches about the ‘saving mission’ of the Incarnate Christ and how a newspaper columnist [in this case an ordained Presbyterian minister] had basically dismissed those who proclaim this ‘saving mission’ as being guilty of ‘knee-jerk moralism’. I was in effect warning people to ‘Take Heed’ where this particular minister is concerned. To do that I highlighted  the ‘gospel truth’ of the words of the present Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Ivan McKay when he said…Mr McKay was not seeking to focus upon the celebration of ‘Christmas’ but rather to focus upon the ‘saving mission’ of the Incarnate Christ…then by way of contrast I highlighted  the dismissal of this unpackaging of the ‘saving mission’ of the Incarnate Christ by his ministerial Presbyterian colleague Allen Sleith as being ‘knee-jerk moralism’ when he quoted the words of a believer who stated…I rejected this description of ‘knee-jerk moralism’ by Mr Sleith and identified what this believing lady had said as being in effect the “faithful saying…worthy of all acceptation” of 1 Timothy 1:15 of how “Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners”. I hope this explains what my intentions were.
Alister McGrath and The Catholic Catechism
At the beginning of the New Year I received an inquiry asking if I was familiar with the beliefs of Alister McGrath. The inquirer had listened to Mr McGrath on local radio and had been disturbed by some of the opinions expressed by him. I did recall that ‘on file’ I had a copy of an article Mr McGrath had written some years ago and so I unearthed it. This, my own article, has been prompted by what I read in Mr McGrath’s article which was published in December 1994 in what would be viewed by some as a ‘New Evangelical’ periodical called ‘Christianity Today’. Mr McGrath’s article was entitled –
Do we still need the Reformation?
A review of the New Catholic Catechism
Before dealing with the substance of Mr McGrath’s article let me give some background information on him that I gleaned from the Internet.
Alister McGrath was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 23 January 1953. He studied at the Methodist College, Belfast, majoring in mathematics, physics and chemistry. He was elected to an open major scholarship at Wadham College, Oxford University, to study chemistry from October 1971. He gained first class honours in chemistry in June 1975…In December 1977, he was awarded an Oxford D.Phil. for his research in the natural sciences, and gained first class honours in Theology in June 1978. McGrath then left Oxford to work at Cambridge University, where he held the Naden Studentship in Divinity at St John’s College, Cambridge (1978-80). He also studied for ordination into the Church of England at Westcott House, Cambridge. In September 1980, he was ordained deacon, and began work as a curate at St Leonard’s Parish Church, Wollaton, Nottingham…In 1983, he was appointed lecturer in Christian doctrine and ethics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and a member of the Oxford University Faculty of Theology… McGrath was elected University Research Lecturer in Theology at Oxford University in 1993, and also served as research professor of theology at Regent College, Vancouver, from 1993-9. In 1995, he was elected Principal of Wycliffe Hall, and in 1999, was awarded a personal chair in theology at Oxford University, with the title of “Professor of Historical Theology”. He was awarded an Oxford Doctorate of Divinity in 2001 for his research on historical and systematic theology.
You will note that I have highlighted the reference to his work with Regent College, Vancouver and my reason for doing so is to draw attention to the link between Mr McGrath and his fellow Anglican J I Packer, who again according to the Internet ‘In 1979, after teaching and preaching for 27 years in England, he became Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Regent College…In 1996 he became Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology’. Mr Packer in 1994 endorsed the first ‘Evangelicals and Catholics Together’ document and a few years later was flown to Ireland to launch the ‘Evangelicals and Catholics Together in Ireland’ booklet which also carried this wording on its front cover
‘A call to CHRISTIANS in Ireland, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, New Church to build friendships AS DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST that we may more clearly witness to Him, our only Saviour and Lord’.
I have mentioned this connection with Mr Packer to show the type of ‘Anglican Evangelical’ that Mr McGrath would appear quite clearly and comfortably to identify with. Mr McGrath has written a biography of J I Packer and has co-operated with him in authoring a number of Biblical commentaries. What I found disturbing in Mr McGrath’s article were statements that could be classified as either ‘a subtle half truth’ or ‘an obvious untruth’. Whether this was unintentional or deliberate only Mr McGrath himself knows. Let me address ‘a subtle half truth’. Mr McGrath wrote
‘Encouragingly the catechism is unequivocal in its endorsement of the leading themes of traditional orthodox Christian doctrine…For example, Holy Scripture is unequivocally recognised as the inspired Word of God’.
Mr McGrath then goes on to cite paragraph 104 and part of paragraph 105 to back up this assertion. However when you read paragraph 97 of this same Catholic Catechism you find this statement – ‘Sacred Tradition AND Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God’. In the light of this paragraph what Mr McGrath has written here is seen to be only ‘a subtle half truth’ because he should really have written ‘Holy Scripture is unequivocally recognised as PART OF the inspired Word of God’. Later in his article Mr McGrath states that ‘The catechism affirms the role of an unwritten or oral tradition in addition to Scripture’. This I believe serves to portray a downplayed and misleading view of how Rome regards ‘tradition’ – for Rome, ‘tradition’ is not simply ‘in addition to Scripture’, for Rome ‘tradition’ is ‘part and parcel’ of ‘the inspired Word of God’.
The words of R B Kuiper, a theologian from an earlier age, seem rather appropriate as a closing thought on this particular matter. He wrote – ‘In his striving to destroy the foundation of the faith of God’s saints, namely God’s excellent Word, the great deceiver often employs subtle devices. The Roman Catholic Church has always confessed the Bible to be the infallible Word of God. In these days of rapprochement of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism that fact is receiving much emphasis. However, Rome has always denied, and still keeps denying, the sufficiency of the Bible as the Word of God. It teaches that there are two infallibles: the Bible and the Church. And so it holds tenaciously to certain teachings which, although not found in the Bible, have the backing of tradition. Among them are the doctrine of purgatory, the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary by her mother Anna, and, since November 1, 1950, the doctrine of the assumption of Mary into heaven…So corrupt is human nature that he who today places something else on a par with the Bible is practically certain to exalt that other thing above the Bible tomorrow. And so it is not strange that many traditions of the Roman Catholic Church contradict the Bible’. [‘The Bible Tells Us So’ pages 21-22; published in 1968]
As another ‘subtle half truth’ I would cite this statement by Mr McGrath
‘The extensive use of Scripture, especially in the section of the catechism dealing with the profession of baptismal faith [Comment: This section is devoted to promoting the false doctrine of ‘baptismal regeneration], reinforces this impression of a church that takes Scripture seriously’.
Well, to use Mr McGrath’s own terminology, is he here trying to give the ‘impression’ that here we have a Roman Catholic Church being directed and guided by the Scriptures alone. It sounds very like it to those not familiar with the Roman system. Paragraph 100 of the Catechism states clearly where the ultimate authority in the Roman system resides – ‘The task of interpreting the Word of God [remember that is both Scripture and tradition] authentically has been entrusted SOLELY to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him’. To correct this ‘subtle half truth’ Mr McGrath should really write ‘The extensive use of Scripture… reinforces this impression of a church that takes Scripture seriously AS AUTHENTICALLY INTERPRETED BY THE MAGISTERIUM, THAT IS, THE POPE AND THE BISHOPS IN COMMUNION WITH HIM’. We come now to what is both ‘a subtle half truth’ and ‘an obvious untruth’. Mr McGrath wrote –
‘The Pelagian heresy – the view that we are justified on the basis of our good works rather than by the grace of God – is dismissed. Our justification comes from the grace of God…This is a particularly important point in view of the persistent tendency of some Protestant critics of the Roman Catholic Church who charge it with teaching justification by works. Roman Catholicism from the Council of Trent onwards has unequivocally rejected this doctrine…some evangelicals continue to insist that the Roman Catholic Church officially teaches justification by works, this is not true
Why do I classify this firstly as ‘a subtle half truth’? Simply because in Roman Catholicism there is an initial ‘justification’ [supposedly in baptism – Paragraph 1266: ‘The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptised sanctifying grace and the grace of JUSTIFICATION’ and Rome does teach that the grounds of this JUSTIFICATION is the work of Christ – Paragraph 1992: ‘Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ…Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith]. However, that is not the end of the story. This JUSTIFICATION needs to be both ‘preserved’ and ‘increased’. And how is that done? Well that is where Mr McGrath’s ‘obvious untruth’ surfaces, as the following official Roman Catholic ‘Imprimatur approved’ statements will clearly show.
1. COUNCIL OF TRENT: SESSION 6 ON JUSTIFICATION: CANON 24: If anyone says that the justice received is not PRESERVED and also not INCREASED before God THROUGH GOOD WORKS, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of ITS INCREASE, let him be anathema.
2. THE MOST REV. DR. JAMES BUTLER’S CATECHISM –– PAGE 26: QUESTION 7: Are we justified by faith alone without good works? Answer: NO!
3. A CATECHISM OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE – PAGE 22: QUESTION 135: Will faith alone save us? Answer: Faith alone will not save us without good works.
4. VATICAN 2: VOLUME 1: PAGE 68: ‘From the most ancient times in the Church GOOD WORKS WERE ALSO OFFERED TO GOD FOR THE SALVATION OF SINNERS particularly the works which human weakness finds hard. Because the SUFFERINGS OF THE MARTYRS of the faith and for God’s law were thought to be very valuable, penitents used to turn to the martyrs TO BE HELPED BY THEIR MERITS to obtain a more speedy reconciliation from the bishops. Indeed the prayers and GOOD WORKS OF HOLY PEOPLE were regarded as of such great value that it could be asserted that THE PENITENT WAS WASHED, CLEANSED and REDEEMED with THE HELP OF THE ENTIRE CHRISTIAN PEOPLE’.
Former Roman Catholic, William Webster, in his book, ‘Salvation, The Bible and Roman Catholicism’ writes on pages 58-59 –
‘the sacrifice of Christ is a once-for-all sacrifice dealing completely with the penalty for sin. But the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is not an adequate sacrifice in that it has not completely remitted all the punishment due to sin. Consequently Roman Catholic teaching requires faith plus works for justification. It teaches that the merits won for us on the cross by Christ must be channelled and applied to us through the sacraments which priests alone can administer. Then, in addition, they must be merited by ourselves through our own works, moral life, prayers, fastings, sufferings and penances. ALL OF THIS REPLACES THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST BY THE WORK OF MAN. The net result is that men and women put their faith in a church and their own moral and religious works rather than in the person of Jesus Christ Himself. This is why the church calls itself “The Universal Sacrament of Salvation”’.
Can anyone seriously doubt that when Mr McGrath said ‘some evangelicals continue to insist that the Roman Catholic Church officially teaches justification by works, this is not true’ that in reality his statement is the one that is ‘not true’? I come now to another statement that I believe is ‘an obvious untruth’. Mr McGrath wrote –
‘It is no accident that some evangelicals, especially those within mainline churches have chosen to become Roman Catholics…Maybe they reason it is easier to be an evangelical inside the Catholic Church which defends ALL the vital Christian doctrines yet adds on a few more, than to remain inside some mainline Protestant denominations which seem bent on denying or deforming the basic tenets of Christianity itself’.
The word ‘evangelical’ has clearly become a very debased term over recent decades if this assertion by Mr McGrath were true. No true Christian would ever have asserted that Rome was a defender of ‘ALL the vital Christian doctrines’ and in consequence no true Christian would ever find ‘it is easier to be an evangelical inside the Catholic Church’. What true Christian could be at ease with ‘baptismal regeneration’, ‘priestly confession and absolution’, ‘temporal punishment’, ‘indulgences’, ‘purgatory’, ‘salvation by works’, ‘sacrifice of the mass’, ‘papal infallibility’, ‘Mary’s immaculate conception’, ‘Mary’s bodily assumption’, ‘veneration of relics’, ‘kissing of statues’, ‘transubstantiation’, ‘tradition forming part of the Word of God’, and many more false teachings which Mr McGrath dismissively referred to as ‘a few more’. Mr McGrath does make reference to some of these issues later in his article but obviously here he does not feel that they are a sufficient stumbling block to those whom he perceives to be ‘evangelicals’ converting to Rome where he believes ‘they reason it is easier to be an evangelical inside the Catholic Church’. The reality is that these converts to Rome may in Mr McGrath’s judgment be ‘evangelicals’ but from their own ‘testimony’ evidence and from personal first-hand encounters in debates in a few cases they are clearly not Christians. Let me next highlight another ‘subtle half truth’ that verges on the border of ‘an obvious untruth’. Mr McGrath wrote –
‘The document’s insistence on the importance of the missionary role of the church also suggests that evangelicals and Roman Catholics will find a degree of convergence on the vital role of evangelism in the modern world…The catechism here reflects the broad commitment to evangelism that has been typical of Roman Catholicism of late and distinguished it from the outdated and limpid liberalism of mainline Protestantism’.
I don’t know what Mr McGrath’s experience of Christian and Protestant evangelism has been but my own has been most positive as I have often listened to speakers from a range of missionary societies recounting their experiences in attempting to bring the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to those in spiritual darkness – to people who are either adherents of non-Christian faiths, members of false religious cults, atheists and humanists or tribal people involved in ancestor worship or animism. In short, Christians have a zeal to evangelise all who are not as the Saviour Himself said “born again” for they recognise that such, in their present unregenerate state, “cannot enter the Kingdom of God”. Is that how Rome views ‘evangelism in the modern world’? By way of an answer let me first quote Vatican 2: Volume 1: Page 367: ‘the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham and together with us they adore the one merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day’. Unless I have read this wrongly the only conclusion one can come to is that Rome clearly sees no need to evangelise Moslems. This statement from Vatican 2 is repeated verbatim in Paragraph 841 of the Catholic Catechism reviewed by Mr McGrath in his article. Vatican 2 continues on page 367 ‘Those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation’. If this were true [which it most certainly is not] what possible incentive would there be to obey the command of Christ to “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” [Mark 16:15] when according to Rome “every creature” even if he doesn’t hear of Christ but is nevertheless sincere in his man-made religion ‘may achieve eternal salvation’ without hearing of Christ. It would appear that if Rome’s ‘limpid’ views on the necessity of evangelising “every creature” were true then the Apostle Paul was worrying unduly when he wrote to the Christians in Rome “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent?” [Romans 10:13-15a].
The present Pope, John Paul 2nd, said in his ‘General Audience’ of 6 December 2000 – ‘Those who have chosen the way of the Gospel Beatitudes and live as “the poor in spirit” detached from material goods, in order to raise up the lowly of the earth from the dust of humiliation, will enter the kingdom of God…Those who lovingly bear the sufferings of life will enter the kingdom…All the just of the earth, INCLUDING THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH, who under the influence of grace, seek God with a sincere heart, are thus called to build the kingdom of God by working with the Lord, who is its first and decisive builder’.
Former Roman Catholic priest, Richard Bennett said in response to this statement – ‘These beguiling words are false. Each expression suggests salvation in a way that is alien to Scripture…It is nonsense to imply that a man who does not know Christ can be a part of the kingdom of God’. The truth is that the official Roman Catholic ‘party-line’, far from being a ‘broad commitment to evangelism’ as Mr McGrath claimed, sounds the very ‘death-knell’ of committed Christian world-wide evangelism and no true Christian would find any ‘convergence’ with Rome’s expressed views on this matter. One final ‘subtle half truth’ before we finish. Mr McGrath wrote –
‘Many evangelicals also would feel and not entirely without reason that there appears to be an emphasis within the catechism upon rituals rather than personal faith. Let me stress that this need not be the case in that many evangelicals, especially within Lutherism and Anglicanism find the sacraments to be an important aid to personal devotion and a deepened faith’.
I want to make 2 points here. Firstly, Mr McGrath introduces an element of doubt by his use of the expression ‘there appears to be’ when referring to an ‘emphasis within the catechism upon rituals’. There is no question that the catechism does lay an emphasis ‘upon rituals rather than personal faith’. Paragraph 1129 states ‘The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments [‘rituals’] of the New Covenant ARE NECESSARY FOR SALVATION’. If that’s not laying ‘an emphasis’ then I don’t know what is. Then secondly Mr McGrath downplays the ‘evangelical’ reservations in this matter by affirming that Lutheran and Anglican ‘evangelicals’ ‘find the sacraments to be an important aid to personal devotion and a deepened faith’. Can I say that true Christians ‘find the sacraments to be an important aid to personal devotion and a deepened faith’ but they recoil at the suggestion that ‘the sacraments’ are in any way ‘necessary for salvation’ as the Roman Catholic catechism falsely teaches? Christians have every biblical right to reject, as constituting a false gospel, the ‘emphasis within the catechism upon rituals rather than personal faith’.
At the end of his article Mr McGrath talks of ‘the possibility that the two groups could form a coalition working for doctrinal orthodoxy and moral renewal at every level of society’ and he describes this as ‘an attractive vision’. Without wishing to be too unkind to Mr McGrath this ‘hope’ is quite frankly ‘pie in the sky’ for Rome and her false gospel are declared by them to be ‘semper eadem’ [always the same] – in other words – irreformable and the sooner Mr McGrath and his friend J I Packer realise this then the better it will be for the true Christian gospel and for those who are faithfully preaching it to every lost “creature”.
Alister McGrath and Recommended Reading
Whilst browsing in a Christian Bookshop the day after I wrote the article on ‘Alister McGrath and The Catholic Catechism’, I saw a little booklet entitled ‘Theology for Amateurs’ by Alister McGrath. In chapter 12 of ‘Theology for Amateurs’, a chapter that is entitled ‘Moving On’ Mr McGrath lists details of two ‘theologians who write well’ [page 85] and their names are then given on page 86. In the light of their close connection it comes as no surprise to find the name of J I Packer listed. And who is the other ‘theologian who writes well’? None other than C S Lewis. Mr McGrath wrote – ‘C S Lewis is remembered for his “Chronicles of Narnia”, a series of finely written stories for children which set out basic Christian ideas in an extremely imaginative and attractive form. His more serious theological works – such as “Surprised by Joy” and “Mere Christianity” – offer a well-argued and highly readable account of the basic themes of the Christian faith Lewis was noted as a very skilful communicator, and exploring his writings is an enjoyable and effective way of furthering your interest in theology’.
In the light of our previous articles/studies on what C S Lewis wrote in “Mere Christianity” [I had hoped in this newsletter to conclude the series on C S Lewis but due to the pressing need of including these articles on Mr McGrath it will appear [DV] in our June newsletter] this recommendation of C S Lewis by Mr McGrath represents just one more worrying aspect concerning one described as ‘one of the world’s leading contemporary theologians’. I can really only come to one conclusion concerning the writings of Mr McGrath – “TAKE HEED”!
Scripture Union [R.O.I] Support ‘Ecumenical Employee
In September 2001 I included an enclosure with ‘News From The Front’ telling of the appointment of a practising Roman Catholic [Jim Donnan] as General Director of Scripture Union [Republic of Ireland]. Further evidence of Scripture Union’s ‘ecumenical entanglement’ appeared in their SU Focus Newsletter of October 2003. The article, headed ‘Great News For Greystones’ stated –
Inspired by St. Paul where Over a protracted time of he says ‘There are many preparation and discernment, parts, yet one body’ (1 Cor the delegated members of 12:20) seven Christian these Christian groups
Groups, namely, Church of formulated principles which Ireland, Catholic, would guide the mission of Presbyterian, Nazarene this Associated Christian Community Church, Hillside Youth Worker for the town of Evangelical Church, YWCA Greystones. and Scripture Union, came After a period of publicity together in mutual respect to and fund·raising, the find a way of collectively representatives of the various reaching out to the young groups have decided to people in the Greystones proceed with advertising (see area. Their focus is the below) and recruitment. disaffected or marginalised Scripture Union have offered youth, and they seek to work to administer this process. together to employ a youth This is a very exciting worker whose brief is to find development, and perhaps a new, creative and imaginative model for other communities ways of bringing the good to consider. news of the Gospel [simple questions – which gospel? – Christian or Catholic?] of Jesus Christ to young people. Please bring this advertisement to the Christ is at the heart of this attention of your contacts.
initiative, and it is understood that all work Please also pray that God will carried out is in the give us wisdom in selecting promotion of solidarity in the person of His choosing Christ both in spirit and for this important job in the practice. town of Greystones.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE and SALVATION
In November 2003 the Belfast Telegraph printed an intriguing article about an organist who for most of his life had played in Presbyterian churches but was now helping out the Christian Science church located in Belfast. The article conveyed the impression that Christian Science was simply another orthodox Christian denomination. The following comparison chart will show that this is not the case. As well as the Bible, Christian Science looks for authority to the book ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures’ written by its founder Mary Baker Eddy. Christian Science is quite simply a cult.
The Bible – Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures
“If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” [1 John 1:8]
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23]
‘the only reality of sin, sickness or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise. They are not true because they are not of God…Sin, sickness and death are to be classified as effects of error…Man is incapable of sin, sickness and death. The real man cannot depart from holiness [p 472-475]
“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin” [1 John 1:7]
‘The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon “the accursed tree”, than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father’s business’ [p 25]
“Christ died for the ungodly…But God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son [Romans 5:6,8 &10]
‘His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while he was hidden in the sepulchre whereas he was alive…Paul writes “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the [SEEMING] death of His Son’ [p 44-45]