News From The Front – September 2001

Dear praying friends,

Once more we are on the eve of another ‘winter’s work’ and of one thing we can be assured – there will be no respite or ‘hibernation’ from spiritual deception and error. Our enemy is one ‘lion’ who thrives on activity. As you read this newsletter you will see that God’s faithful people are swimming against an ever swelling, fast flowing river of error-ridden, false Christianity and professed spirituality. The false prophets of a soon coming ‘mighty revival’ continue to parade before the churches their latest sure-fire methods that will guarantee ‘success and growth’ whether these be ‘Alpha’, ‘Jabez’, ‘Relics’, ‘Transformations’, ‘User–friendliness’ or ‘Health and Wealth’. Sadly the reality is that large numbers are being attracted to these watered down, unscriptural, often pagan infiltrated ‘gospel’ presentations. Clearly “many” are indeed travelling “the broad way” and “few” have found “the narrow way”. However this is not a cause for despair but rather a motivating, wake-up call to action because the Saviour has promised, “I will build my church” and He has chosen to use the “weak and foolish” things to accomplish His purposes. In so doing the glory will be His alone. We covet your ongoing prayers that despite our perceived weakness and foolishness, His cause will prosper and His name will be glorified.

Your servant for Christ

CECIL ANDREWS

  • St. Therese Relics Irish Visit
  • 15 April – 28 June

Earlier this year Ireland was the subject of a 75-day visit by the Relics of the Roman Catholic Saint Therese of Lisieux [also affectionately known as ‘The Little Flower’] This young lady [1873-1897] is a very important figure in Roman Catholicism being the youngest of only three women to have been declared ‘Doctors of the Church’.A special booklet to commemorate the visit was published and it is my intention in this article to comment upon certain statements made in this booklet – statements that I believe are in direct opposition to the teaching of God’s truth as revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures.

ERROR 1

In the opening article in the booklet, penned by Bishop Brendan Comiskey, [Chairperson, Relics Visit Organising Committee]he makes the following statement ‘God wishes to teach us how much he loves us, not in spite of, but because we are mortal and breakable, that suffering is a grace and pain a lived pearl’.Does the Bible teach that ‘suffering is a grace’?In 2 Corinthians 12:7 the Apostle Paul gives details of how he was suffering from a “thorn in the flesh” so much so that 3 times he prayed that God might remove it [v 8]. We find God’s answer in verse 9 – rather than remove Paul’s suffering God declared that in contrast His “grace” would be “sufficient”. Clearly suffering itself is not a “grace” but the God-given ability to cope with it is a gracious gift from God. The Scriptures reveal that suffering [as related to sickness and pain] stems from God’s curse upon the world as a result of man’s fall into sin as recorded in Genesis 2:16-17 and Genesis 3:17-19.

ERROR 2

Bishop Comiskey also wrote ‘People come in their thousands to touch the remains of the dead Therese because they wish to be themselves touched with the living power of God who works through her’.The ‘living power of God’ is not encountered by drawing near to dead relics but through the quickening [life-giving] Spirit of God [John 6:63] applying the living Word of God [Psalm 119:50; 1 Peter 1:23]. No wonder the writer to the Hebrews declared in chapter 4:12 “the word of God is quick and powerful”. If God refused to send back ‘living’ someone who had already died, as we read in Luke 16:31 [“If they hear not Moses and the prophets [God’s Word], neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead”] would it then be consistent for Him to subsequently actually work through the world-wide travels of a dead corpse?The incident recorded in 2 Kings 13:21 is cited by Rome as a precedent for this type of activity – where a dead man’s corpse was hidden by his friends in the burial cave of Elisha and through contact with the remains of Elisha came back to life. This was a ‘timely’ miracle, sovereignly performed by God, not sought for by the friends of the dead man, but most likely designed to encourage King Jehoash who had earlier in verses 18-19 displayed a lack of faith in God’s promises.The parting of the Red Sea [Exodus 14:21] and later the Jordan [Joshua 3:15-17] were ‘timely’ miracles but despite them, in this day and age, the channel tunnel still had to be built. Those Old Testament miracles were not an ‘ongoing norm’ for today.We read in the New Testament of God giving apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers“for the perfecting of the saints” [Ephesians 4:11-12]but nowhere do we read of God giving the ‘relics of the saints’ for such a purpose.To encourage people, as Bishop Comiskey did, to expect to be ‘touched with the living power of God’ through an encounter with a corpse, such teaching is clearly rebuked by the words of the angelic messengers [Luke 24:5] on resurrection morning“Why seek ye the living among the dead?”

ERROR 3

‘Father’ J Linus Ryan in his editorial in the booklet writes‘I have followed the history of the Relics tour in a number of other countries and have been pleased to note so many powerful graces of healing of souls and bodies’.If spiritual healing [‘healing of souls’] has truly been taking place in the lives of people as a result of encountering the relics one would expect to see good ‘biblical’ fruit. Sadly this is clearly not the case for ‘Fr’ Ryan goes on to write‘So many have returned to the practice of their faith and to the reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion’.Rather than setting people free from the false religion of Roman Catholicism these encounters with the relics are having the opposite effect and are confirming people’s trust in the errors of Rome.As for the physical [‘healing of…bodies’] we know that as the return of the Lord draws near there will be an upsurge in“the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders”[2 Thessalonians 2:9]so ‘healing’ is not necessarily or automatically from God.Many today [not just Roman Catholics but also extreme charismatics] are not content to be like Paul who wrote“For we walk by faith, not by sight” [2 Corinthians 5:7].The Lord Himself had words for such a sign-seeking attitude as we read in Matthew 12:39“An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign”and He went on to point out where people’s focus should really be centred, in the rest of that verse and in verse 40“and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”.Christ was applying the words of Isaiah 45:22 to Himself“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God and there is none else”.

ERROR 4

‘Father’ Gabriel O’Brien in his ‘Welcome to St.Therese’ writes‘We welcome the relics of St. Therese…These relics are what is left of the mortal remains of this great Saint. They are to be revered and reverenced…They are also instruments through which God grants favours to us who are still on our Pilgrim Way’.Earlier Bishop Comiskey had written of how ‘hundreds of thousands come and reach out to touch the reliquary’ andlater on page 16 in the ‘Vision Statement’ we are told‘A world with disordered ideas of the human body needs to be reminded that the body with which Therese served God, is used by God, to bestow blessings of conversions and healings’.Christians know that at physical death the soul leaves the body and goes to one of two places – the Lord Himself makes that clear by His teaching in Luke 16:19-31. But what of the body? Quite clearly it is lifeless –“the body without the spirit is dead” [James 2:26]and the body “sleeps” [John 11:11] until the day of resurrection when it shall be summoned forth to go to its final, eternal destination [John 5:28-29].The idea of a corpse being paraded around to be touched in order to obtain spiritual [‘conversions’] blessings and physical [‘healing’] blessings belongs in the realm of paganism.Alexander Hislop in his monumental work‘The Two Babylons’,having lamented Augustine’s promotion of petitioning dead ‘martyrs’ for their help, then wrote [p177-181]‘Now, if men professing Christianity were thus in the fifth century paving the way for the worship of all manner of rags and rotten bones, in the realms of Heathendom the same worship had flourished for ages before Christian saints or martyrs appeared in the world. In Greece, the superstitious regard to relics, especially the bones of the deified heroes, was a conspicuous part of popular idolatry…From the earliest periods the system of Buddhism has been propped up by relics [officially acknowledged on page 19 of the commemorative booklet] …In the Asiatic Researches a statement is made…The statement is this “The bones or limbs of Buddha were scattered all over the world like those of Osiris”…it is evident that the worship of relics is just a part of the ceremonies instituted to commemorate the tragic death of Osiris or Nimrod who…was divided into fourteen pieces which were then sent into so many different regions infected by his apostasy and false worship…The resurrection of Christ therefore stands on a very different footing from the resurrection of Osiris. Of the body of Christ, of course, in the nature of the case, there could be no relics. Rome however, to carry out the Babylonian system, has supplied the deficiency by means of the relics of the saints’.For those, like myself, who are repulsed by this heathen, unscriptural, God-dishonouring practice, Rome has a word‘the holy bodies of the holy martyrs and of others living with Christ…are to be venerated by the faithful, through which many benefits are bestowed by God on men, so that those who maintain that veneration and honour are not due to the relics of the saints…are to be utterly condemned, as the Church has already long since condemned and now condemns again’[Council of Trent: Session 25].God ‘s Word to those who would copy such heathen practices is quite explicit“Learn not the way of the heathen” [Jeremiah 10:2]. ‘Father’ Patrick McCafferty, in the ‘Hearts and Minds’ TV programme broadcast on BBC2 [3 May 2001]tried to justify the parading of relics/corpses on the basis of Joseph’s body being carried out of Egypt during the exodus [Exodus 13:19].The people did not carry the body of Joseph during the exodus in the hope of obtaining ‘benefits’ but simply to honour their pledge to Joseph that his body would be taken with them when God‘visited them’ [see Genesis 50:25]. In Joshua 24:32 we read“And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem”.A people honouring a pledge, not parading a relic!

ERROR 5

At the foot of the ‘Vision Statement’ we read ‘The hoped-for outcome is that the Relics may point beyond themselves to God, so that any veneration or honour given to them will be honour to God who has blessed so many through His special friends, the Saints’.This is the usual line put forward by Rome to justify, not only the veneration of relics, but also the use of statues, ‘holy’ pictures etc. Plausible as this idea might be to the natural man, it is rejected by the God of heaven. One only has to read what happened to those who sought, by use of a “molten calf”, to observe “a feast unto the Lord” [Exodus 32:1-28]. Every born-again believer is a “saint” [see Romans 1:7].They are “chosen” by God [Ephesians 1:1-4] and they are “sealed” by God [Ephesians 1:13] and they are certainly not limited to a select few, chosen at the behest of any Pope.

ERROR 6

On page 18, Christopher O’Donnell, O.Carm. writes ‘the saints are members of Christ, they are children and friends of God and they are our intercessors. Therefore we want to draw close to them through their relics’.Two points need to be made here. Firstly, God’s children have ONE who intercedes for them“But this man [Jesus Christ] because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” [Hebrews 7:24-25].Secondly, any attempts to ‘draw close’ to the dead, in the hope that they may obtain favours for people, is the occultic practice of necromancy. God makes his views on such practices perfectly clear in Deuteronomy 18:12 “For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord”.

ERROR 7

Our final consideration is Christopher O’Donnell’s statement on page 19 – ‘Relics are one way in which God helps us inour bodily humanity to rise to spiritual realities’.The truth is that God has given to His people the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit to be their ‘comforter’ [John 14:16],their ‘teacher’ [John 14:26] and their ‘guide’ [John 16:13].With the help of the Holy Spirit, God’s people, unlike unsaved people, are able to mine the riches found in God’s written Word, as we read in 1 Corinthians 2:12-14. With such help in the realm of ‘spiritual realities’ what possible need could there be for any other ‘helps’, particularly ‘helps’ that are classed as “abominations” by God.“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” [John 3:16] and for those searching for ‘spiritual realities’God’s signpost is found in Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith”.

  • Concerns over my ‘BOOK REVIEW’ of
  • From Spiritual Powers to Liberating Grace’

Enclosed with my last newsletter was a review of the book ‘From Spiritual Powers to Liberating Grace’ written by Torbjorn Swartling. Several people contacted me to express [very graciously] concern over my promotion of this book and it is possible that perhaps others on my mailing list may likewise have felt some reservations without actually contacting me to express them. To hopefully allay any fears in this area I am reproducing herewith an extract from one of the letters I received and a large portion of my reply.

  • Dear Mr Andrews

Thank you for your ‘Take Heed’ booklet and news. I am a little bit concerned that you are promoting Torbjorn Swartling’s book as you say he is a ‘Conservative Pentecostal’. Does that make him sound enough to listen to? Will he really be able to help others if he is Pentecostal? What is a ‘Conservative Pentecostal’?…

Yours very sincerely

Dear sister….,Sincere thanks for your letter of 12 June and I have carefully noted your concerns in relation to the promotion of the book by Torbjorn Swartling. You ask ‘What is a conservative Pentecostal’? In reply I would point to those old-style Pentecostals [not the subsequent post 1960’s charismatics] who demonstrated biblical discernment in areas involving separation from Roman Catholicism and rejection of false teachings such as ‘oneness’ promoted by the likes of William Branham. Clearly these conservative Pentecostals were still in error according to my understanding in relation to matters such as a ‘second blessing’ and the operation of certain ‘gifts’ but I believe it would be wrong to write them all off as ‘unsaved’ – I myself after my conversion in 1984 was involved in charismatic circles for a couple of years until the Spirit led me away from those extreme errors. Concerning Torbjorn you ask ‘Does that make him sound enough to listen to’? Obviously in a book review it is only possible to slightly scratch the surface of the contents. Perhaps I could quote another extract from what Torbjorn has written

‘When I finally rediscovered the Gospel, I realised that the foundation of my salvation and my life as a Christian is something that lies outside myself because it is found in Christ and in Him only. After having attempted to live on the lie that the core of my being was sinless [as promoted by the word/faith preachers] it became a great relief when I was able to acknowledge that sin and weakness permeated my innermost being. I realised that my salvation and my standing with God was not affected by the unrighteousness of my inner self because it rests only on what Christ has done.’

Jesus alone is completely righteous and without sin. The new creature [2 Corinthians 5:17] is a person who has given up trusting in himself and has turned to Jesus. This person is made fully righteous in Him, but the basis of this righteousness is all the time in Jesus and not in the person himself’ [page 100].

You ask ‘Will he be able to help others if he is Pentecostal’? Again perhaps I could answer by these quotes from the book. In warning against the word/faith teachings on the Lord, Torbjorn writes

‘The Jesus of the Faith teachings is presented merely as a man who has been born again, just like we are born again when we become Christians, and he does not really have all power in heaven and earth. Having delegated his authority to us, he has practically rendered himself powerless. Such a Jesus is an onlooker in a system of spiritual laws where spoken words themselves have more power than he does; and if we do not make use of certain techniques in order to manipulate those spiritual laws he cannot help us. In short he is another Jesus than Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is described in the bible. This is nothing less than another gospel where there is another spirit that leads people away from the real Jesus Christ of the Bible to another Jesus’ [page 148].

In his warning against the ‘Toronto Blessing’ Torbjorn writes

‘I am convinced that the power transmitted by Rodney Howard Browne is not that of the Holy Spirit…Allowing for some differences between the Toronto Blessing and the Faith movement there are also some alarming similarities…In my judgment regarding my own participation in the faith movement, it was this misdirected longing for experiencing spiritual power that led me into occult experiences. In the Toronto movement you see a different wrapping for the same kind of spiritual dynamics…It appears to me that the Toronto Blessing is a large-scale initiation into a spiritual dimension that may lead to occult experiences…When people practice occultism they cross the boundary of the spiritual realm on their own accord and they enter into the demonic realm. I cannot say exactly where the boundary is but I know that I crossed it during my spiritual exercises in the Faith movement…

The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus [John 16:14]. His sword is the Word of God [Ephesians 6:17]. In true revivals Jesus Christ is glorified and the Bible is the foundation of the things that take place. Where the Holy Spirit is working basic Biblical truths will be proclaimed – such as our sin before God and His righteousness in saving those who bel true revivals Jesus Christ is glorified and the Bible is the foundation of the things that take place. Where the Holy Spirit is working basic Biblical truths will be proclaimed – such as our sin before God and His righteousness in saving those who believe in Him through the atoning work of Christ…It is only through the Word of God that we may really know Who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. It is only the type of preaching that is securely anchored in His word that will be of lasting spiritual value’ [pages 153-157]

I don’t think anyone would deny [upon reading the book] that the author is truly a ‘born again’ child of God who with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit was thankfully drawn away from the false ‘god’ and ‘gospel’ of the word-faith movement. Indeed I would hope and pray that the Spirit will continue to lead him into all truth… From a local point of view the book is particularly helpful as it exposes amongst others Ulf Ekman who is gaining in influence here in Northern Ireland and just recently I received a request for a copy of the book from a young believer whose church [Pentecostal] were to have the youth pastor from Ulf Ekman’s organisation speak in their church in the near future…Sadly there are few if any solid orthodox biblical refutations of the word-faith movement and the most helpful exposures of their horrendous heresies are in fact from the pens of Pentecostalists.I hope this sheds added light on my decision to include the ‘pink flyer’ and I would covet your prayers that the Lord will be pleased to use this book to halt the advance of the anti-scriptural teachings of the likes of Copeland, Hagin, Ekman etc.Yours by His great mercy – Cecil Andrews

  • PROMISES – PROMISES

This article was published in the Dec-Jan 2000-1 ‘The Rosary’ – a booklet published by ‘The Rosary Apostolate’, Tallaght, Dublin. It offers ‘vain hope’ through ‘vain repetition [Matthew 6:7].

PROMISES OF OUR LADY TO THOSE WHO PRAY THE ROSARY

According to a long standing tradition, these Promises were made by Our Lady to the great Preacher of the Rosary Blessed Alan de la Roche

1. Whoever recites the Rosary shall receive singular graces

2. I promise special protection to those who recite the Rosary

3. The Rosary will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies

4. The Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish. It will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God. It will withdraw the hearts of people from the love of the world and its vanities and lift them to the desires of eternal things

5. The souls of those who recite the Rosary shall not perish

6. Those who recite the Rosary devoutly shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise them in his justice. They shall not perish by an unprovided death. If they be just they shall remain in the grace of God and become worthy of eternal life

7. Those who have a true devotion to the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the church

8. Those who are faithful in the recitation of the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of his graces

9. I shall deliver from purgatory those devoted to the Rosary

10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven

11. You shall obtain all that you ask of me by recitation of the Rosary

12. All those who propagate the holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities

13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death

14. All who recite the Rosary are my children and brothers and sisters of my only Son Jesus Christ

15. Devotion to my Rosary is a sign of predestination

 GOD’S WORD

“For all the promises of God in him [Christ] are yea and in him, Amen” 2 Corinthians 1:2

  •  WITNESSING – ‘CREATION IS CRUCIAL’

In recent months the importance of the biblical truth of ‘creation’ has been brought home forcibly to me. It is clear that the truths of the ‘creation’ and subsequent fall of man are inextricably linked to a genuine understanding of the plan and purpose of God’s so great salvation accomplished through the sinless life and suffering death of our blessed redeemer the Lord Jesus Christ.

Any failure to present the infallible truth of ‘creation’ constitutes a failure to ‘declare…the whole counsel of God’ [Acts 20:27]. The primary factor in bringing this truth afresh to my attention was my reading of the book ‘Let There Be Light’ by ROGER OAKLAND who is President of the USA based ministry ‘UNDERSTAND THE TIMES’. Roger was a fellow-contributor to the video ‘Messages From Heaven’ that was mentioned on page 6 of our March 2001 newsletter. Following the release of this video I made personal contact with Roger and I am delighted to say that, God willing, Roger will, under our auspices, be coming to England and Northern Ireland in March of next year [7-26]. His schedule of speaking engagements is almost finalised and full details will be given [DV] in our December newsletter.

‘Let There Be Light’ is basically Roger’s written testimony and charts how he ‘travelled’ from being a university lecturer, fully committed to the ‘fact’ of the theory of evolution, to becoming a convinced ‘creationist’ and subsequently being truly ‘born again’ and converted to Christ. Not only does the book chart Roger’s spiritual path but also details that of a fellow Russian believer who like Roger was first brought to ‘creation’ and then to Christ and now in the providence of God they have been co-operating in extensive evangelism in the former Soviet Union.

Other worrying factors in relation to the vital importance of ‘creation’ have been identified by Ken Ham of ‘Answers in Genesis’. Commenting on ‘The ALPHA Course’ and how it views ‘creation’ Ken Ham wrote ‘As is usual in most Bible study literature in today’s secularised world, ALPHA does not take a stand on Genesis 1-11 as being literal history…

Regardless of what else is taught in this programme, the study’s approach to the beginning of the Bible undermines the entire authority of the Scriptures…ultimately the people studying this course will not be able to defend their faith adequately – will not have the answers to many of the questions the world is asking – WILL NOT BE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY WITNESS – and certainly will not be able to have an effect on challenging the now-pagan culture of Western nations… What a shame that the word ‘ALPHA’ – used to describe Christ, the One who created everything – should be used for a programme that will not accept the clear Word on beginnings’. Then in late July Ken Ham in his e-mail ‘weekly news’ detailed his grave concerns about the ‘Radio Bible Class’ booklet entitled ‘Dinosaurs & The Bible’ – a booklet that as Ken Ham wrote ‘repeatedly allows for the view that the world is millions of years old. But this would mean that the “pain and trouble” we see today – and the age of dinosaurs – have occurred for millions of years, before Adam fell!’ His verdict on the effect of this booklet is summed up in these words ‘I BELIEVE THIS BOOKLET WILL ACTUALLY UNDERMINE THE MESSAGE THAT THE BIBLE CAN BE TRUSTED FROM THE BEGINNING’. Full details of the exchanges between Ken Ham and Radio Bible Class can apparently be seen on the ‘Answers in Genesis’ web site – www.AnswersInGenesis.org/news/0701rbc.asp

If any of my ‘local’ newsletter readers need ‘creation’ resource materials then I would direct them to the ‘Creation Resource Library’ run by Philip and Linda Knowles. They have a catalogue of very helpful videos, audios and books and their contact details are –49 Gilford Road, Portadown, Co. Armagh, BT63 5EF.Telephone 028 3833 1986Let me quote from a TV advert [19 July] from the secular world. The advert told of how in the USA the writer of the British movie ‘The Full Monty’ could travel around without being recognised for whom he was – the ‘punch-line’ said –‘Behind every successful venture there is a creative brain’ Would that every professing Christian witness would tell forth this Divine truth.

  • “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” 1 John 4:1

Test Case 1: – “The Prayer of Jabez”: This book, published last year, has seen a steady increase in sales and according to a claim made on a USA radio programme in March of this year it sold one million copies in February 2001 alone. It was written by Bruce Wilkinson who founded ‘Walk Thru the Bible Ministries’ based in Atlanta. Mr Wilkinson has authored other books and has spoken in questionable surroundings such as ‘Promise Keepers’ and ‘Campus Crusade For Christ’. The title is based on the Old Testament portion found in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. As a ministry we have read two reviews of this book and both reviews have sounded alarm bells where the theological conclusions drawn by Mr Wilkinson are concerned. The first report states –‘Bruce Wilkinson has taken a rather obscure passage out of the Old Testament and generated a tremendous amount of unsupportable information. The tragedy is that millions of people are reading this little book and are assuming it to be biblically accurate…Wilkinson’s failure is in taking a passage of Scripture and developing it beyond its Scriptural intent’[Review by Pastor Rocky Wyatt – Youth Pastor, Countryside Bible Church, near Dallas]The second report states –‘Wilkinson claimed that two weeks of praying the prayer of Jabez would change your life…The key is that Jabez stumbled upon the right formula for asking things of God…Wilkinson’s emphasis is on Jabez finding the correct method instead of on God and His Sovereignty…The real tragedy of Bruce Wilkinson’s book will be the carnage created as desperate souls follow his advice and pray Jabez’s prayer for a month and yet see no change or see things getting worse around them…The clear implication is that a failed prayer equals failed faith’[Review by Biblical Discernment Ministries]Copies of these reports will be sent on request.

Test Case 2: – ‘Transformations’ Videos (1999 & 2001): The [first – 1999] video came to my attention as a result of an article that was published in Vanguard [Issue 13: March 2001]. Nothing more was heard [by myself] of it or the 2001 video until the last week in July when I was informed that promotional meetings for this latest video were being held in a prestigious conference centre in Belfast. It has subsequently been reported to me that somewhere in the region of 100-150 ministers/pastors attended these meetings.In consequence I have ‘surfed’ the web and once more have downloaded a number of reviews of this video project – reviews that once more would set off the theological alarm bells. The leading figure behind what is presented in the videos is George Otis Jnr. of ‘The Sentinel group’.In each video claims are made that tremendous spiritual transformation of whole communities has been effected as a result of local ministers and pastors following specific guidelines. The problem is that these guidelines have no biblical foundation and in addition the claims for community transformation are themselves questionable.Crucial to ‘transformation’ success is ‘spiritual mapping’ to enable local Christians to engage the forces of darkness in ‘spiritual warfare’. This is very much a re-packaging of the ideas put forward by the organisers of the ‘Marches for Jesus’ and their claims to engage in war against ‘territorial spirits’. Yet again, as a result of a conversation I had with one Christian concerned with their own minister’s involvement, it is clear that professing Christians are being battered and confused by this latest wind of doctrine.

In addition to sending these reports to any who request them I would also recommend highly a book that we have carried since about 1993 –

  • ‘Do Demons Rule Your Town’ by Mike Taylor who wrote

‘the entire concept of territorial spirits is a direct importation into Christianity of a pagan concept. Pagans have no difficulty with the notion of territorial spirits.

It is available from us – Price £6.50 [includes p&p]

  • “Well done” – according to ‘man’

A short article in the Belfast Telegraph of 19 May stated ‘Union Theological College has for the first time awarded an honorary doctorate to a woman, well-known minister Reverend Ruth Patterson. The Moderator designate of the Presbyterian Church, Reverend Alastair Dunlop was also awarded a doctorate at a ceremony last night. And a third doctorate was awarded to Reverend Jim Frazer who recently retired as minister of Ballywillan Presbyterian Church outside Portrush’.Ruth Patterson, in the same edition of the Belfast Telegraph, was listed as one of a number of guest speakers at a Holy Spirit Novena.Other speakers included ‘Father’ Oliver Crilly and ‘Father’ Declan Boland. Miss Patterson has been a regular speaker at other Roman Catholic Novenas. Alastair Dunlop who has now been installed as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church was originally highly regarded within the evangelical wing of Irish Presbyterianism. Sadly however that was all to change when he was a signatory to the 1998 booklet‘Evangelicals and Catholics Together In Ireland’.Then what of Jim Frazer – the third recipient of a Union Theological College doctorate? Well this is the same Jim Frazer that I wrote about in my December 2000 newsletter. Mr Frazer near the end of a radio broadcast sermon last year, having talked about Judas and events leading up to the crucifixion, stated that he wouldn’t be surprised to find that Judas was in heaven in spite of the clear biblical teaching to the contrary.

“Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil” Isaiah 5:20

“the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” 2 Timothy 4:3

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