Dear praying friends,
By the time this newsletter arrives with you that ‘landmark’ birthday that I mentioned in my December 2005 newsletter will be part of history. As I contemplated the passing of yet another decade of my life, a phrase that will be familiar to those who have travelled by air came to mind – it’s the one that is said to the cabin crew by the captain as an aeroplane nears the runway at the start of its journey – the intercom will sound and the captain will inform the stewards and stewardesses to ‘prepare for take-off’ and this instruction will usually be followed by feverish last-minute activity. Those of us who have tasted God’s ‘so great salvation’ should always be ‘prepared for take-off’ for truly none of us know ‘what a day may bring forth’ [Proverbs 27:1]. Is there any purging, pleading, ploughing, praying or even reparation that needs to be attended to? Well, do it now, for how close to or even how far down the runway that leads to ‘take-off’ we are, none of us know. Enclosed with this newsletter are several enclosures and on one are copies of faxes sent to Tony Blair. ‘The family’ as established by God is under attack as never before due to recently implemented legislation and it has also been recommended that God’s guidelines for raising children should be ignored and indeed outlawed. I have available [on audio cassette – price £2.50 – includes p&p] 2 sermons by a good ministerial friend entitled ‘Children obey your parents’ and ‘Parents discipline your children’. Although not quoting the AV the teaching is consonant with the AV translation and I heartily commend these sermons.
Your servant for Christ
The clear and overall aim of Islam
I just wonder how long it will be before the leaders of the Western, supposedly free world, wake up to the unchanging aim of the proponents of the religion of Islam. Just as Neville Chamberlain was blind to the true aim of Hitler and his associates so virtually all the political leaders in Europe [with the growing possible exception of Holland] and North America exhibit a similar blindness to the true aim of Islam as they continue to think that somehow, particularly by appeasement, they can peacefully accommodate Islam and integrate it into their democratic system and constitutional way of life. They seem to be learning nothing from what is happening particularly in Africa where the experience of Christians in places such as Nigeria and Sudan should be sounding alarm bells loud and clear.
An ‘Unreported World’ programme, broadcast by Channel 4 television on 26 November 2005, was advertised as follows in the Daily Mail TV Guide – ‘Aidan Hartley investigates the growth of a militant Islamic network in Somalia which is rumoured to be training 3,000 recruits to spread Jihad through Africa. He traces the decline of the country’s infrastructure in the past 10 years and asks whether the militants – which have been linked to Al-Quaida – could provoke civil conflict on a huge scale as they vie for power with established warlords’.
Towards the end of the programme the reporter, Aidan Hartley, was eventually able to arrange an interview with the The Sheik responsible for the training of the ‘militant Islamic recruits’. As the interview was progressing and in response to a particular question The Sheik said ‘My main belief is to establish an Islamic government for Somalia’ [Cecil’s comment: It’s important for people to understand that the term ‘an Islamic government’ doesn’t just mean a government made up of Muslims but rather it means a government made up of Muslims who will impose Muslim Shari’a Law upon the people being governed by them]. Hartley then asked this question – ‘Would you like to see the Islamic government that you want to create in Somalia [please bear in mind Cecil’s comment above] existing elsewhere in Africa?’ Acting as the translator for The Sheik Hartley said ‘He says very clearly that he’d like to see Islamic government, not only in Africa, but across the whole world’. After much communal laughter at this reply, Hartley then asked – ‘Related to that, are you a man of peace or a man of Jihad?’ Again, acting as translator for The Sheik Hartley said ‘The Sheik says that if people can’t reach their objectives peacefully then they’ll have to fight for them’. [Cecil’s comment: This is certainly not ‘defensive Jihad’ but clearly ‘aggressive Jihad’].
In the book *‘Fast Facts on Islam: what you need to know’ by John Ankerberg and John Weldon, on pages 125-126 there is an Appendix B with this heading ‘Ibn Warraq: Is Islam Itself Moderate?’ Part of that Appendix reads – (*available from us – price £6.00 includes p&p)
‘In his book Why I Am Not a Muslim, former Muslim Ibn Warraq describes the book as “an uncompromising and critical look at almost all the fundamental tenets of Islam”…Says the author “This book is my war effort. Each time I have doubted the wisdom of writing such a book, new murders in the name of God and Islam committed in Algeria or Iran or Turkey or The Sudan have urged me on to complete it. He later goes on to say “Sayyid Qutb, the very influential Egyptian Muslim thinker said that ‘dominion should be reverted to Allah alone, namely to Islam, that holistic system [Cecil’s comment: For ‘holistic’ read ‘totalitarian’] He conferred upon men. An all-out offensive, a jihad, should be waged against modernity [Cecil’s comment; For ‘modernity’ read ‘democracy’] so that this moral rearmament could take place. The ultimate objective is to re-establish the Kingdom of Allah upon earth’.
Of Islamic fundamentalism, Warraq notes, “There may be moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate. There is no difference between Islam and Islamic fundamentalism: at most there is a difference of degree but not of kind. All the tenets of Islamic fundamentalism are derived from the Quran, the Sunna, and the Hadith – Islamic fundamentalism is a totalitarian construct derived by Muslim jurists from the fundamental and defining texts of Islam…Islamic fundamentalism has global aspirations: the submission of the entire world to the all-embracing Shari’a, Islamic Law, a fascist system of dictates designed to control every single act of all individuals”.
As an example of just how this mindset has permeated into the United Kingdom, the programme ‘Dispatches’ broadcast by Channel 4 television on Monday 8th August 2005 examined the attitude of Muslims in Britain, including some indigenous British citizens who had converted to Islam. One quote from one of them sums up all that has gone before in this article. This convert to Islam defiantly declared ‘If there is a contradiction between Islamic and British law, then British law can go to hell’. What is the Christian answer to this challenge? It is expressed quite simply in the words of Romans 1:16 where Paul, writing to people who lived in the midst of an Imperialistic and Pagan Society, declared, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek” [Cecil’s comment: And I might add ‘also to the Muslim’]. Can I encourage you, the readers, to obtain copies from me of the recently published outreach tract entitled ‘Dear Muslim neighbour’ and to give them to Muslims that you personally encounter. Feedback from those who have obtained them has been very encouraging. Let us all, like Paul, declare openly to those who know Him not that we too are “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”.
PRESIDENTAIL PERSPECTIVES’ Could Bush learn from Lincoln?
It has become a feature in recent years for American Presidents to host a dinner in the White House for prominent Muslims to mark the end of the month of Ramadan and October 2005 was no exception. In an edited report of his remarks President Bush is quoted as follows –
‘Ramadan is the holiest time of the Muslim year. According to Islamic teaching, this month commemorates the revelation of God’s word to the Prophet Muhammad in the form of the Koran. For more than a billion Muslims, Ramadan is a time of heartfelt prayer and togetherness. It is a time of fasting and personal sacrifice. It’s a time to give thanks for God’s blessings through works of charity. America is fortunate to count such good-hearted men and women among our fellow citizens. We have great respect for the commitment that all Muslims make to faith, family, and education. And Americans of many backgrounds seek to learn more about the rich tradition of Islam. To promote greater understanding between our cultures, I have encouraged American families to travel abroad, to visit with Muslim families. And I have encouraged American families to host exchange students from the Muslim world. I have asked young Americans to study the language and customs of the broader Middle East. And for the first time in our nation’s history, we have added a Koran to the White House Library. (Applause.) All of us gathered tonight share a conviction that America must remain a welcoming and tolerant land, in which our people are free to practice any faith they choose. We reject every form of ethnic and religious discrimination. As I said in my second Inaugural Address, we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time. We also share a common hope for the future — that our children and grandchildren will grow up in a safer and more peaceful world. Delivering on that promise to future generations requires action from our generation. We must stand confidently in the cause of freedom — including the freedom of people everywhere to practice their faith in peace. We must also firmly oppose all who commit evil in God’s name. I am grateful to the Muslim nations that have joined our coalition in the war on terror — including many nations that have been victims of terror themselves.
As we work together to defeat the terrorists, we must be very clear about the enemies we face. The killers who take the lives of innocent men, women, and children are followers of a violent ideology very different from the religion of Islam. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against anyone who does not share their radical vision, including Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics. As we celebrate this special Iftaar (fast-breaking), we renew the ties of friendship that bind all those who trace their faith back to God’s call on Abraham. We recognize the many hopeful works we have achieved together. We look forward to learning more from each other in the years ahead. I’m so grateful that you joined us today. I wish you a blessed Ramadan, and may God bless you all’. (Applause).
This ‘edited report’ arrived with me at just about the same time as I received an article written by Abdullah Al-Araby, the author of the booklet ‘Islam Unveiled’ – this booklet is available from us at the price of £3.50 [includes post and packaging]. The article written by Abdullah Al-Araby is entitled ‘The Islamisation of Europe: America take note before it’s too late’. [Copies available from me upon request]. Herewith are extracts from Abdullah Al-Araby’s report and please note how they stand in complete contrast to the perspective of Islam expressed by George W Bush.
‘It has been said, “Those who ignore the lessons of history are bound to repeat them.” … When the topic of the serious ramifications of the Islamic invasion of America comes up, few people register sufficient concern… Our government and our entire population would be wise to look, listen and learn from what countries in Europe are suffering as the result of unchecked Islamic population growth… The Muslim population of Europe is now estimated to be around twenty million strong… The price tag for naively permitting that degree of growth has proven to have dire consequences… Naive and good-hearted Americans often complain and cite various reasons for rejecting any suggestion that the growth of Islam should be a point of concern. They figure, why criticise other religions? Why can’t we all just live and let live? Surely, civilised societies should pride themselves on tolerance towards those of other beliefs and grant freedom of religion to all citizens. No one should care about how or what others worship, as long as they worship peacefully. Another test is whether or not a religion infringes on the rights of others. Islam misses on both counts. It’s not peaceful because at various junctures it infringes on the rights of others to worship as they choose. Once it gains dominance, it is totally intolerant of other religions… The thing that makes Islam different is the fact that it is more than a religion. Islam is a political, social, and economic way of life, cloaked in religious garments… Full compliance brings the promises of rewards in this life and in the hereafter. Non-compliance dictates harsh punishments both here and in eternity. As a result many Muslims are willing to kill and to die for the cause of religious fervour. These factors, combined with Islam’s inherent tendency to violence, make it difficult for it to co-exist in society with other religions… Islam is never satisfied to be one religion among many. It has to be supreme – the one and only. “the (only) religion (acceptable) before God is Islam.” Surah 3:19 Within Islam, freedom of religion is never an option. Allah says, “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him.” Surah 3: 85. Domination is the name of the game. Islam’s objective is to obtain influence superior to that of all other religious groups… Omar M. Ahmed, chairman of the board of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) said once at a banquet, “I urge Muslims not to shirk their duty of sharing the Islamic faith with those who are on the wrong side.” He added, “If you choose to live here [America], you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam. Islam isn’t here to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant.”…
Bat Ye’or is a history expert on the subject of “dhimmitude;” how Islam treated the People of the Book, Christians and Jews, throughout history. She originated the term “Eurabia” to underscore the growing influence of Islam in Europe. In a recent article titled, “How Europe Became Eurabia” she states: “Beyond a fleeting awareness, the overwhelming majority of Europeans and Americans do not understand the new Eurabian entity, which is only the first step in a steady progression toward its Arabisation and Islamisation’… The Islamisation of Europe becomes more obvious as time goes by. Thanks to the Saudi funds, beautiful mosques are erected in large cities… Some Christians dismiss concerns about the possibility of Europe becoming Islamic before the end of the century as unrealistic and pessimistic. It must be remembered, however, that most Islamic countries of the Middle East were once Christian. Christianity was completely eradicated from many of these countries, while some still have just a symbolic presence. It is rather naive to presume that the same could not happen to Europe. There is a lesson that America must learn from Europe’s experiences with Islam… That which is happening to our brothers and sisters across the Atlantic is subtly in progress at this moment in America.
What a contrasting assessment of Islam [from that of President Bush] and its influence upon society by one who knows Islam from intimate first-hand experience and study. As for the Koran having been added to The White House Library – could you imagine the President of Israel honouring the SS by adding a copy of ‘Mein Kampf’ to the Knesset library – it just wouldn’t happen! Perhaps you think that’s an unfair comparison but ‘Mein Kampf’ was the written justification for the Nazi’s ‘final solution’ and the Koran is the written justification for those Muslims who carry out their sickening attacks upon ’infidels’ and Christians in particular. In the Koran, Sura 47:4 ‘When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield strike off their heads’ is the text used to justify the Muslim practice of beheading non-Muslims. Last year in Indonesia the following atrocity [reported by Associated Press] took place –
Unidentified assailants attacked a group of high school girls on Saturday in Indonesia’s tense province of Central Sulawesi, beheading three and seriously wounding another, police said. The students from a private Christian high school were ambushed while walking through a cocoa plantation in Poso Kota subdistrict on their way to class… the heads of three victims were found several miles from their bodies. Two were left near a police station and another in front of a newly built Christian church… the wounded student told police that there were six masked attackers who were wearing black shirts. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, but Central Sulawesi has a roughly equal number of Muslims and Christians. The province was the scene of a bloody sectarian war in 2001-2002 that killed around 1,000 people from both communities. At the time, beheadings, burnings and other atrocities were common.
I want now to return to the title of this article and explain the sub-heading of – Could Bush learn from Lincoln?
Shaun Willcock, in his book “Holy War” Against South Africa, which charts the history of that once great Evangelical/Christian country that was eventually brought to its knees by a concerted coalition comprising Rome, Apostate Protestant churches in the World Council of Churches and the Marxist terrorists of the ANC, writes the following on pages 25-26 –
‘While religious liberty is the best course a government can pursue, it being the work of the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin and of false religion and draw them to Christ, and not any government’s duty to make one denomination the “State Church”; yet it is the government’s duty to protect its citizens from those who are dangerous to the well-being of society. [Observation by Cecil – This government duty is clearly outlined in Romans 13:1&3] The Roman Catholic institution in general and the Jesuits in particular are dangerous to the well-being of any society, as history has proved…Let anyone who doubts this ponder carefully the words of the American President, Abraham Lincoln who was assassinated by a man under orders from the Jesuits. Lincoln said:
“Till lately I was in favour of the unlimited liberty of conscience as our constitution gives it to the Roman Catholics. But now, it seems to me that sooner or later, the people will be forced to put a restriction to that clause towards the Papists. Is it not an act of folly to give absolute liberty of conscience to a set of men who are publicly sworn to cut our throats the very day they have their opportunity for doing it? Is it right to give the privilege of citizenship to men who are the sworn and public enemies of our constitution, our laws, our liberties and our lives?…Is it not an absurdity to give to a man a thing which he has sworn to hate, curse and destroy? And does not the Church of Rome hate, curse and destroy liberty of conscience whenever she can do it safely? I am for liberty of conscience in its noblest, broadest, highest sense. But I cannot give liberty of conscience to the Pope and to his followers, the Papists, so long as they tell me, through all their councils, theologians and canon laws, that their conscience orders them to burn my wife, strangle my children and cut my throat when they find their opportunity” [Source of quote: ‘50 years in the Church of Rome’ by ex-priest Charles Chiniquy – page 503 of the Protestant Literature Depository; London 1886 Edition or pages 300-301 of the Chick Publications 1985 Abridged Edition].
Rome’s bloody history of persecutions and killings would have been well known to Abraham Lincoln so his reservations about affording Roman Catholicism unchecked liberty, particularly the activities of the Jesuits, were well founded. President Abraham Lincoln recognised the totalitarian nature and the true intent of Roman Catholicism and so he issued that soundly based caveat against ‘giving the privilege of citizenship to men who are the sworn and public enemies of our constitution, our laws, our liberties and our lives’. If he were alive today to witness the dynamic growth and influence of Islam in the Western ‘free world’ then I believe he would issue a similar caveat about granting ‘the privilege of citizenship’ to Muslims because he would see in Islam a totalitarian nature and a true intent identical to those he had discerned in Roman Catholicism. In his speech in the White House to Muslims in October 2005 President Bush demonstrated his lack of such discernment and in fact he echoed the foolish words of his spiritual mentor, Billy Graham, who some years ago said in interview with David Frost that “We [Christians} are a lot closer to Islam than we think we are”. President Bush could learn a lot from President Lincoln when it comes to evaluating the danger posed by the growing presence and influence of Islam in his country.
‘FANTASY RELIGION’ or ‘BIBLICAL REALITY’?
Several years ago there was a programme on television called ‘Fantasy Football’ [for Australian and American readers that is ‘football’ as in the ‘soccer’ variety’]. I never did personally watch the programme so I can only surmise that with its title it contained a large proportion of ‘make-believe’ content and the intent would have been for it not to be identified with the real world of ‘football’. On Saturday 3rd December 2005, in a funeral that was watched by millions around the world, Northern Ireland said farewell to George Best who was without doubt the most naturally gifted football player ever to have represented us on the stage of world soccer. Following his tragically early death at the age of 59 when he lost a long-running battle with alcoholism multitudes of articles were written about him in scores of newspapers.
One article in particular caught my eye. It was published in the local Belfast Telegraph on Friday 2nd December and the author of it was Eddie McIlwaine. Mr McIlwaine is best known for his weekly column in Saturday’s Belfast Telegraph called ‘The Ulster Log’ in which he recounts and reminisces about often unusual and interesting items from the Province’s relatively recent past history. However in this article he ventured into the field of ‘theology’ as his article was titled ‘Why I believe that George is now resting in Heaven’.
Please let me make it clear at the outset that what I will now write is not to be viewed in any way as a commentary upon the eternal destiny of George Best. That is known for certain only by the God of Heaven. This article is intended only to be a Biblical critique of some of the views expressed by Mr McIlwaine that in my view conjure up a ‘religion’ that is in reality certainly much more ‘fantasy’ than ‘biblical’.
To begin with here is Mr McIlwaine’s article as it appeared in the paper.
‘Why I believe George is now resting in Heaven’ by Eddie McIlwaine
On the day George Best passed away I met an assistant called Brendan in an ironmonger’s, who, in between serving customers, was reading a book called ‘What You Need to Know When You Die’. “I want to find out what I’m doing here on earth” he explained to me over the counter. “This little paperback by a lady called Betty J Eddie who almost lost her life in a routine operation that went wrong and had an out-of-body experience is helping me answer certain questions. I’m 30 and it’s time to ask about Eternity”.
George Best at 59 should have had no doubt what he was doing here on earth. His purpose was to make people happy as they watched him play the beautiful game with an almost poetic grace. Even folk who knew nothing about football forgot the cares and woes of everyday, ordinary life as they feasted their eyes on his silky trickery and then indulged themselves in the glitter of his crazy life-style. If there is a heaven beyond this mortal coil then that’s where George is today. If it’s any consolation to his elderly father Dick, and his grieving sisters and brother, I am as certain of this fact as I ever have been sure of anything, never mind his impetuous, often selfish ways and the battle he lost with drink.
George’s soul is now under Divine orders in a better place and let no ecclesiastical gentleman of the cloth try to tell me something different.
If that thought is too celestial for the soccer faithful to take in, they should think about it deeply as they prepare to line the streets of Belfast to mourn their idol at his funeral. Perhaps George didn’t read the Holy Book all that often, if at all, and I doubt if he had much time for church-going as we know it. His problem was he simply wasn’t aware of what an essential commodity – I almost said saviour – to everyday folk that he was and allowed himself to fall into a nightmare existence that ended in his premature passing.
But George’s star must be shining bright in Paradise today and for evermore for the way he brought such pleasure and joy to millions – and especially to his troubled homeland – with his God-given gifts. Sure, the Almighty has already given him a dressing down and reminded him of the parable of the man who buried and wasted his talent and the other one who nourished and expanded his.
However, the All-Seeing-One has also recognised that this deeply complex, self-indulgent, lonely personality was only weak and human after all and ordered him to take his place on the Mercy Seat. In spite of the fact, mind you, that George made little effort in his adult years to take some kind of courageous stand against his demons. If only he had shown the same kind of bravery he displayed in riding a tackle on the pitch in his social and private life he might still be with us today. Alcohol addiction is a fearful enemy, but it is there to be conquered and it has been on occasions with rigid determination and resolve. “I don’t feel sorry for George,” says Brendan the shop assistant. “He craved a certain lifestyle and he managed to do most things he wanted to do and to some extent was content with his lot”.
Mr McIlwaine is clearly in do doubt concerning two issues; firstly that George Best is without any shadow of doubt in Heaven or Paradise and secondly of the basis upon which he believes that George has been granted admittance. These certainties as far as Mr McIlwaine is concerned are evident in what he wrote. Let me emphasise once more that I am not here to speculate upon the personal eternal destiny of George Best but rather I want to biblically analyse the basis upon which Eddie McIlwaine bases his own dogmatic conclusion on the matter.
For Mr McIlwaine, George’s basis for entrance was ‘for the way he brought such pleasure and joy to millions’. Mr McIlwaine believes that the entertainment and pleasure value of George’s footballing skills have earned him entrance to Heaven. God’s salvation, which assures a person entrance into Heaven, is not, according to the Bible, based upon a person’s own works – the familiar words of Ephesians 2: 8-9 make that very plain “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast”. Those already in Heaven have a song of praise on their lips and it points to the One whose work gained them entrance into Heaven – “Thou (The Lamb of God – Jesus Christ) art worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood” [Revelation 5:9]. Peter likewise stated that our going to be in the presence of God is based upon the work of Christ at Calvary when he wrote “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” [1 Peter 3:18]. To believe, as Mr McIlwaine clearly does, that someone can enter heaven on the basis of the pleasure that some earthly talent has brought to millions is pure ‘fantasy religion’ and a million miles away from ‘biblical reality’.
Mr McIlwaine then believes that God will have examined the book of George’s life and in Mr McIlwaine’s own words ‘the Almighty has already given him a dressing down and reminded him of the parable of the man who buried and wasted his talent and the other one who nourished and expanded his’. I myself am not privy to conversations between God and those who die [other than those that we read of in the Bible] but Mr McIlwaine’s application here of ‘the parable of the talents’ [Matthew 25:27-29] certainly does not back up his case. In the first place the word “talent” as used in the parable refers to ‘a weight of money’ and not to ‘natural ability’ as Mr McIlwaine wrongly construes it. In the second place the man in the parable who wastes his one “talent” is clearly not a believer.
Pastor John MacArthur writes in his Study Bible notes ‘His characterisation of the master maligns the man as a cruel and ruthless opportunist “reaping and gathering” what he had no right to claim as his own. This slothful servant does not represent a genuine believer, for it is obvious that this man had no true knowledge of the master’.
Mr McIlwaine’s understanding and application of this parable again fall into the category of ‘fantasy religion’ rather than ‘biblical reality’. My final observation on Mr McIlwaine’s article concerns this segment where he wrote – ‘the All-Seeing-One has also recognised that this deeply complex, self-indulgent, lonely personality was only weak and human after all and ordered him to take his place on the Mercy Seat’. The ‘Mercy Seat’ was a very important item that was located within ‘The Holy of Holies’ in both The Tabernacle and The Temple of the Old Testament. ‘The Holy of Holies’ identified the location of The Presence of God.
In his book ‘The Tabernacle in the Wilderness’ [pages 79-113] John Ritchie wrote ‘The Tabernacle or Tent was divided into two distinct apartments, differing in size and name. The first and largest of these is called the Holy Place, the second, the “Holy of Holies” or “Holiest of All”.’…The Veil divided between the Holiest of All – the immediate presence-chamber of Jehovah – and the Holy Place, the place of priestly worship and service…The only vessel within the circle of the Holiest was the Ark with its Mercy Seat…Within this ark lay the two tables of the law…The unbroken tables within the Ark remind us of the perfect obedience of Christ…[Man’s] rebellious heart is estranged from God – it is not subject to His law, nor can it be. The tables are broken, and, with fallen man can never be renewed. How foolish, then, for men to think that by observing fragments of a broken law they can satisfy God or justify themselves…The sinner has broken the law of God and thus forfeited every claim to righteousness on that ground…But there was one – different from all others – and He was “Jesus Christ the righteous”…The word for Mercy Seat signifies “to atone” or “cover” and in the New Testament it is rendered “propitiation” (see Romans 3:25). God’s mercy can only be known in Christ, and on the ground of atonement…And to this the Cross of Christ is the all-sufficient answer…On the great day of atonement…Aaron the priest, robed in linen garments, entered within the veil, with the blood of a sin-offering. This was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat…The importance of this act cannot be over-estimated…It was there, on the blood stained Mercy seat…that Jehovah said “There I will meet with thee, and commune with thee”…And at the blood stained Mercy Seat we commune with God…The cherubim looked down upon the blood stained Mercy Seat…At Eden’s gate they stand connected with the sword of justice to bar the way. But here, at the Mercy Seat, they welcome the sinner’s approach. There is no sword now. It has been sheathed in the victim [Christ crucified} and they gaze upon the blood’.
Just as the High Priest in Old Testament days could only approach the ‘Mercy Seat’ on the grounds of suitable and acceptable [to God] sacrificially shed blood so today’s ‘priests’ [genuine Christian believers who according to Peter are “a royal priesthood” 1 Peter 2:9] can only enter the very presence of God [signified by the Old Testament ‘Mercy Seat’] on the grounds of what Christ has done at Calvary and not on the grounds of their exercising some earthly ‘talent’ which brings delight and pleasure to countless millions. Such a view again belongs in the realm of ‘fantasy religion’ and is totally divorced from ‘biblical reality’. God’s mercy is only extended to repentant sinners on the merits of “the precious blood of Christ” [1 Peter 1:19].
Returning to the eternal destiny of George Best I have no doubt that Christians within his own family circle and amongst their friends and also Christians who perhaps only knew of him by name and reputation would have been praying for his salvation. Most will never know what personal dealings George had with the God of Heaven in his last days here on earth but it was interesting that when most had given up all hope he did rally for a few days before finally succumbing to death. If George in those last few days was smitten by Holy Ghost conviction with “a broken and contrite heart” and cried out to the Lord, on the sole merits of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary, for forgiveness and salvation, then such a cry God “will not despise” [Psalm 51:17]. That precious truth in God’s Word was penned by King David who had not only been guilty of the sin of adultery but also of organising the murder of the husband of his mistress – how wonderful the truth of the words expressed in the final verse of a hymn by Fanny Crosby that read
- O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood
- To every believer, the promise of God
- The vilest offender who truly believes
- That moment from Jesus a pardon receives
That beautiful verse encapsulates ‘biblical reality’ and puts to flight all ‘fantasy religion’. Just one final thought, I have good reason to believe that the Gospel-Honouring message of Pastor Roy Gordon at the funeral of George Best has already reaped eternal blessings in the lives of a number of people and with him I would echo the words of the opening line of the same Fanny Crosby hymn – To God be the glory, great things He hath done!
The following letter was sent to but not published by Belfast Telegraph.
Dear Editor, Eddie McIlwaine in his article about the death of George Best [2 December] made reference to a book called ‘What you need to know when you die’ by a lady called Betty J Eddie. I would suspect that the book is actually called ‘Embraced by the light’ and is written by Betty J Eadie. Much of Mr McIlwaine’s article certainly reflected sentiments expressed in that book.
In her book, Betty Eadie, who is a Mormon, sets forth teachings that are a combination of Mormon and New Age views. A summary of four of her teachings would be that God and death are not to be feared for any reason; that there is no hell or punishment in the afterlife; that people have no ultimate responsibility before God for any wrongdoing; that heaven is everyone’s eternal home no matter what.
Mr McIlwaine also makes reference to ‘the Holy Book’, the Bible, and in response to Betty Eadie’s views, ‘the Holy Book’ states “it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment” [Hebrews 9:27]. The judge is Jesus Christ and to some He will say “Come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom (heaven)” [Matthew 25:34] but to others He will say “Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire (hell)” [Matthews 25:41].
Mr McIlwaine referred to God’s ‘Mercy Seat’. Those who embrace Betty Eadie’s teachings will never be able to approach God’s ‘Mercy Seat’ but those who embrace alone for their soul’s salvation “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” can in the words of John Newton’s hymn ‘Approach my soul the mercy seat, where Jesus answers prayer, there humbly fall before his feet, for none can perish there’.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries
Tony Blair and ‘family’ legislation
Enclosed herewith on the yellow enclosure are copies of 2 faxes sent to Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in the wake of the ‘civil partnership’ legislation and the changes in the rules governing ‘adoption’.
- Mr Tony Blair
- Fax: 020 7925 0918
- 24 December 2005
Dear Mr Blair
‘PRIDE’ – I saw on television earlier this week how, after extending good wishes to Elton John and his ‘partner’, you said basically that you were ‘proud’ to have introduced the ‘civil partnership’ legislation. There’s a very interesting passage in the Bible namely Romans 1:18-32 and perhaps over this holiday season you might take time to read it. It talks of ‘God’s wrath being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold [suppress] the truth in unrighteousness’ – in other words against men who really know what is right and what is wrong but who prefer to tolerate and promote that which is wrong and not only that but as you will read in verse 32 they ‘have pleasure in them that do them’ – they are ‘proud’ of the wickedness that people perpetrate because they have sanctioned it.
Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans just days before the ‘Southern Decadence’ event was about to take place – a gathering of 100,000+ ‘gays’ who on websites advertised tee-shirts encouraging people to throw their bibles in the trash can. Shortly after another hurricane washed out another ‘gay’ event planned for Key West. The Sunday morning after your ‘civil partnership’ act became law there was the massive oil storage explosion – one TV commentator described it as a vision of ‘Armageddon’ – a vision of ‘Sodom & Gomorrah’ would have been more apt. On the spiritual front you promote Roman Catholicism and Islam as ‘great’ religions – in reality they are the twin peaks of enslaving totalitarianism and in contrast true Biblical Christians are hounded and threatened by ‘politically correct’ police as happened this week in the Fleetwood area if they dare to stand up publicly for God’s truth and identify abominable unrighteousness. In short Mr Blair you are ‘presiding’ over a Nation and a World that is feeling and will continue to feel the wrath of the only true God until His beloved Son returns to judge all people – and that includes you and you will personally give an account to Jesus Christ for your ‘pride’ in sanctioning that which in His eyes is an abomination. The message of Jesus Christ to you Mr Blair is found in Mark 1:15 – “Repent and believe the gospel’. There are at Westminster members of parliament from where I live who know the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ – I would suggest you seek them out for spiritual guidance and don’t let your ‘pride’ stand in your way for it will take you straight to hell.
- Mr Tony Blair
- Fax: 020 7925 0918
- 2 January 2006
Dear Mr Blair,
Hard on the heels of your God dishonouring ‘civil partnership’ legislation your government has plumbed new depths by enacting a law that will permit vulnerable children to be ‘adopted’ by same-sex ‘parents’. God’s Word to children is “ Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right: Honour thy FATHER and thy MOTHER” [Ephesians 6:1-2] – God’s definition of ‘parents’ is plain and no earthly law or human ‘pride’ can ‘sanitise’ what is an abomination in the nostrils of Almighty God.
According to one newspaper report that I read your new year message was to the effect that UK citizens ‘should be grateful to live under a Labour government’ and remember that we live in ‘one of the most successful countries in the world’. The Holy God of Heaven whose standards you have trampled underfoot would not share your view of ‘success’. To a group of people who considered themselves to be similarly ‘successful’ by your definition of the word He wrote “you say ‘I am rich, have become wealthy and have need of nothing and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked…I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed…be zealous and repent” [Revelation 3:17-19].
You apparently stated ‘Britain in 2006 will continue to be one of the most successful countries in the world with a strong economy and good public services’. A God–inspired wise man from a bygone era said, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” [Proverbs 27:1] and he also wrote “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and instruction” [Proverbs 1:7] – sadly as a nation we are clearly in the hands of a ‘ship of fools’.
Yours, a debtor to the forgiving mercy of Jesus Christ
Cecil Andrews – Northern Ireland
“Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” Proverbs 14:34
‘Parish in the Sun’ and ‘Seaside Parish’
The heading refers to 2 series broadcast recently on BBC Television that followed the experiences of 2 Church of England ‘priests’ – one [Robert Ellis] based in Palma, Majorca and the other [Christine Musser] based in Boscastle in Cornwall. On the yellow enclosure you will see an email that was sent to Robert Ellis on 27 November 2005.
Dear Robert [Ellis], I have been watching with great interest the ITV series on your life as a minister on the island of Majorca. I have noted some great similarities between your approach and attitude to life with my own approach and attitude to life for the first 38 years of my life.
Today in particular 3 things resonated with me.
1. Your appreciation of the music and vitality of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ – this was a show that I went to see and enjoyed immensely many years ago during a short break in London.
2. Your favourable comments about ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ – again this was a show that I went to see many years ago on at least 4 occasions during visits to London.
3. Your amusement at the often harmless and funny antics of some people who had over-indulged with alcohol. I can personally identify with that as I was often on holiday [in Majorca and the Canary islands] with and very much a part of some hard-drinking and very amusing sporting colleagues [we were into hockey in a big way and I was known as ‘my da’ as I went gray prematurely].
I am now 59 so has my attitude and approach to life changed over the past 21 years? Well, the answer is ‘Yes’. You can read about the change that God wrought in my life back in 1984
We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new”. As a result of my conversion I would today have a different approach to and attitude to the 3 points mentioned above.
1. ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ I now recognise to be a worldy promotion and portrayal of that which is sinfully immoral and offensive to God.
2. ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ I now recognise to be, from a theological perspective, a blasphemous portrayal, indeed betrayal, of God the Son, Jesus Christ.
3. Alcohol I recognise is neither benign nor amusing as it has the capacity to over-ride God’s inbuilt sin-restraining mechansim, the conscience, and so drunkeness fuels sinful immorality, tragedy and heartbreak – please remember I come from the land of George Best and we have been sadly reminded in recent days of the terrible waste of his talent and life through a “work of the flesh” [Galatians 5:21].
Robert, please don’t think that these changes in my approach and attitude are the self-induced products of some ‘holier than thou’ attitude – they are simply the outworkings of 2 Corinthians 5:17 – ‘things have become new’ – they are the fruit of God the Holy Spirit, His sanctifying work in the life of someone converted by and to God and the result of His help in seeking to obey God’s command in 1 Peter 1:16 “Be holy, for I am holy”.
Holiness is what sets God totally apart from His creatures [Isaiah 6:3] and it should be an identifying mark of those who have been converted to Christ from those who are still unconverted and still part of the unbelieving world.
I just wanted to share these thoughts with you and to ask you to prayerfully reflect upon 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Your servant for Christ – Cecil Andrews
The following day I received this brief reply from Robert – ‘Dear Cecil, Thank you for your email and I read your comments with interest. Do please keep watching. With good wishes. Robert Ellis.’ A further email was sent to Robert by me on 21 January 2006 so do please remember him in your prayers.
Also on the yellow enclosure you will see a copy of an email sent to ‘Bishop Bill’ [William Ind] on 6 January 2006 [to date no reply has been received from him]. He is featuring quite prominently in this latest ‘Seaside parish’ series – it is obvious from what has been broadcast that he and those under his charge need much prayer.
Dear Mr Ind [Bishop Bill],
I have just got round to watching on video the first episode of the latest series of ‘Seaside Parish’. This is the episode where you tell the vulgar joke about your definition of a ‘virgin’, where you declare ‘it’s bloody parsley’, where you regularly swill down alcohol and where, just in passing, your bowling action looks somewhat suspect.
As a Christian, I have been commissioned by my Saviour to be “an ambassador for Christ” [2 Corinthians 5:20] . He is the One who saved me from the just penalty of my sins by His sinless life [His righteousness is imputed to me as my righteousness] and substitutionary death [His vicarious sufferings purchased my redemption] and He made that a living reality to me when He, by the convicting and converting work of His Holy Spirit [and not through any sacramental ritual at the hands of sinful men or women] regenerated me at the age of 38 on 19th August 1984. You can read about it on this link –
Mr Ind, as I watched your performance on this programme it reminded me of me before I was regenerated and became a Christian for since then “old things have passed away [such as my foul tongue with questionable jokes and my liking for alcohol that the world so likes] all things have become new [a desire, like the Lord’s whilst here on earth’ to glorify the Holy God of heaven by my walk and talk]” [2 Corinthians 5:17].
Mr Ind, I think you should rethink  your standing before the Holy God of Heaven and  your right to be in the occupation that you currently pursue. Perhaps a good place for you to start would be by reading [in conjunction with God’s Word, the Bible of course] ‘Holiness’ by a former Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, J C Ryle.
Yours, a debtor to the forgiving mercy of Jesus Christ
Alf McCreary, The Queen and The Dalai Lama
Enclosed herewith on the blue enclosure is an article that was posted to our website and also a copy of a letter that was published [slightly edited] in the Belfast Telegraph of Saturday 3 December 2005.
Alf McCreary’s ‘This Life’ page [19 November] was most confusing. In one article he writes ‘She (The Queen) said “The Christian Church can speak UNIQUELY to that need (for ‘that which endures and gives meaning’) for at the heart of our faith stands the conviction that all people, irrespective of race, background or circumstances, can find lasting significance and purpose in the Gospel of Jesus Christ”…Not for the first time I say with sincerity “God save the Queen”.
As a Christian, who accepts the bible’s definition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, how that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and he was buried and he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” [1 Corinthians 15:1-4] and who believes the bible’s assertion that only “the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” [Romans 1:16] I would endorse Mr McCreary’s commendation of the Queen’s statement.
However, in his article ‘A welcome visitor’ he then commends the Dalai Lama in these words “all of us would do well to take to heart the views of the Dalai Lama who once told the World Congress of Faiths that he believed in a variety of religions rather than in just one philosophy…Each religion has certain UNIQUE ideas or techniques and learning about them can only enrich one’s own faith”. Now that sounds like a REAL spiritual leader for our modern world. The Lord Jesus Christ said UNIQUELY of Himself “No man cometh unto the Father but by me” [John 14:6]. That resonates with the Queen’s statement but rubbishes the Dalai Lama’s statement but with biblically identified “double-mindedness” [James 1:8] Mr McCreary glowingly endorses both contradictory statements.
As for Mr McCreary’s question ‘I wonder how many local clerics might be unwilling to share a public platform with a holy man from another faith?’ the answer will be those who obey the bible’s instruction in 2 John 10 “If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine (‘the doctrine of Christ ‘ verse 9) receive him not into your house neither bid him Godspeed”.
This failure of Mr McCreary to understand the teaching of God’s Word on the uniqueness of Christ and true Christianity was well illustrated in his further article [‘This Life’: 26 November] when he wrote of the ‘service of meditation’ in St Anne’s Cathedral and said ‘I felt there was a genuine atmosphere of reverence and of spiritual sharing. There were contributions from the Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Bah’ai, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish and other faiths…It was so refreshing’.
When it comes to ‘spiritual sharing’ God’s Word states “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?…Come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord…and I will receive you?” [2 Corinthians 6:14-17]. These biblical truths are ‘sobering’ not ‘refreshing’ and they really are something for Mr McCreary to ‘meditate’ upon.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – Ballynahinch
Link to the article – http://www.takeheed.info/alf-mccreary-the-queen-and-the-dalai-lama/
Welcoming Axel Home
In our last newsletter I mentioned that the French court would deliver a verdict in early December. The outcome was that Axel was released back to his family. A Service of Thanksgiving was held on Monday 16 January 2006 and on the blue enclosure you will read a personal letter of ‘thanks’ from Axel to all who petitioned and prayed on his and his family’s behalf.
‘Surviving Disaster’ – Mount St Helens
On 17 January 2006 BBC 1 Television broadcast an excellent documentary about the volcanic eruption of Mount St Helens on 18 May 1980. I phoned them [08 700 100 222] and encouraged them to consider a follow-up programme based on the book ‘Footprints in the ash’ by Dr’s John Morris & Steven Austin of the Institute for Creation Research – perhaps some reading might also like to make a similar phone call to the BBC? The white enclosure is a copy of an article written by Dr Steve Austin just 6 years after the eruption.