“The time has come when they will not endure sound doctrine”

Back in June 2006 I wrote an article that gave details of some emails that I had received from a Mr Sammy Wilkes who took exception to my lack of enthusiasm for ‘things ecumenical’. You can read that article on

The ‘heart’ of a ‘loving/tolerant ecumenist’

At the start of that article I wrote – ‘People sympathetic to the aims of ‘Take Heed’ often ask me whether or not I receive much by way of ‘opposition’. The answer is that such ‘opposition’ does manifest itself from time to time but it is far outweighed by the messages of support and encouragement that I receive. Normally I would never consider making such ‘opposition’ known publicly’. I then went on to explain my reasons for ‘going public’ in that particular instance.

In recent times I have had some email exchanges with a lady called Isobel and I have once more decided to make these public. My aim is not in any way to belittle this woman or to mock or even make fun of her. My reason for publishing these exchanges is to demonstrate why error finds it so easy to make its way into the professing Christian church.

In a November 2007 article called ‘Willow Creek connection to the foul-mouthed Jersey Boys’ that can be viewed on

Willow Creek connection to the foul-mouthed ‘Jersey Boys’ 

I told of how the Willow Creek Church in America pastured by Bill Hybels had carried out an internal survey amongst its members and I quoted this portion of an article that reported on what they had uncovered –

Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study’s findings are in a new book titled Reveal: Where Are You? co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings “earth shaking,” “ground breaking” and “mind blowing.” And no wonder: it seems that the “experts” were wrong. The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples. It gets worse. Hybels laments: “Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into, thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much …We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own”.

Obviously I have absolutely no idea of the ‘church affiliation’ of the lady called Isobel who briefly corresponded with me but I think by the end of reading the exchanges you may possibly feel that her ‘spiritual growth’ might find reflection in the Willow Creek experience and findings.

Email received from Isobel on 25 April 2008

Cecil… I have just been reading a number of your articles, thoughts, reflections, criticisms, judgements and personal opinions on a number of wide-ranging subjects, people and events. I feel so sorry for you. It reminded me of the religious zealots of biblical times where dotting the i and crossing the t was more important than loving another human being. I believe you are totally convinced of your calling but if you believe that calling others names, putting yourself up as God’s spokesperson on every issue going and discouraging those who are making a difference – is your ministry … then Lord help you.… love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance ….

I find none of the above reading through your writings and I doubt if anyone would be called to follow a loving, gracious and forgiving God through your many, long-winded and discouraging ponderings….but maybe it’s more bloging for your own therapy!?

Sometimes I find the Lord speaks through actions not words…so I’ll stop now – Praying for a change of heart…and who knows…you may even be surprised that others are loved by God too.

Reply sent to Isobel

Dear Isobel ? [a guess based on your email details]

True Christian love “rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in the truth” [1st Corinthians 13:6] – it is not an expression of true Christian love to acquiesce to error – particularly error that will lead a soul to a lost eternity. You referred to ‘the religious zealots of biblical times’ – their problem was that they were proclaiming a false way to heaven usually by burdening people with their traditions and ‘personal opinions’ – God forbid that I should do that – our ministry seeks to defend the truth of the ONLY way to heaven that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to the Scriptures alone and for the glory of God alone – if you believe that I have failed to do that then please give me some specific examples.

You wrote of ‘a loving, gracious and forgiving God’ and these assuredly are some of His attributes but you failed to mention His supreme attribute – His ‘holiness’ [see Exodus 15:11] and because of that attribute His ‘anger’ is justly kindled against sin and sinners – sadly much of today’s user-friendly, seeker-sensitive ‘Christian’ scene fails to awaken unsaved people to these truths and in doing so they minimise the problem for sinners and present a ‘false Christ’ to sinners – such teachers are forecast in God’s Word in 2nd Timothy 4:3-4.

If you study closely the life, witness and ministry of the Apostle Paul he exercised a ministry where he was constantly telling people to ‘take heed’. Should faithful believers today be any less vigilant?

When the Apostle Paul was saying farewell to the elders of the Church at Ephesus he warned them about false teachers who would arise and who would lead many people astray with their unscriptural views – Paul wrote in Acts 20:28-30 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them”.

Timothy became a key church leader in Ephesus where Paul had warned the elders about wolves. Paul’s warning came true. We learn from the epistles to Timothy that false teachers did arise, some of them likely were elders themselves. This provides the background for Paul’s admonitions in Timothy about correcting error, upholding the standard of sound doctrine, and the qualifications of true elders.

Paul specified to Timothy who the false teachers were by name: “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme”. (1Timothy 1:18-20) The reason false teachers are named and dealt with publicly is that they and their teaching are public.

In Revelation 2:1-2 the Lord Jesus Christ in His letter to this same church at Ephesus said this “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars”:

The Lord Jesus Christ commended the believers at Ephesus for having heeded the advice of Paul and of exercising discernment when it came to assessing some of the teaching that they had been exposed to.

In Galatians 2, Paul recounts an incident where he publicly corrected Peter: ”But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews”? (Galatians 2:11-14). Paul publicly rebuked Peter.

In Acts 17:10-11 we read this “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”.

The Apostle Paul commended his listeners in Berea for exercising discernment in assessing what he had been teaching by comparing it with the Scriptures.

In 1 John 4:1 we read “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”.

The Apostle John positively commands believers to exercise discernment on what they hear being taught to them.

In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul writes “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves”.

The Apostle Paul positively commands believers to exercise discernment upon what they believe.

Pastor John MacArthur in his Study Bible notes on 1 Corinthians 12:10 – “to another discerning of spirits,” wrote – ‘Satan is a great deceiver [John 8:44] and his demons counterfeit God’s message and work. Christians with the gift of discernment have the God-given ability to recognise lying spirits and to identify deceptive and erroneous doctrine…Though its operation has changed since Apostolic times because of the completion of Scripture it is still essential to have people in the church who are discerning. They are the guardians, the watchmen who protect the church from demonic lies, false doctrines, perverted cults and fleshly elements. As it requires diligent study of the Word to exercise gifts…so it does with discernment’.

Right from the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden there has been an ongoing ‘Truth War.’ In the very chapter [Matthew 24] that our ministry takes its name from the Lord Jesus Christ warns several times that in the future there will arise ‘false prophets and false Christs’ and He says in verse 25 “Behold, I have told you before”.

The Lord Jesus drew specific attention to His ‘advance warning’ of the coming of false teachers and teaching so that His people, having been forewarned by Him, would exercise discernment in these areas.

An article posted on our website by the Godly Bible teacher, William MacDonald who is now with the Lord has proved over the years to be of great encouragement to me – it is called ‘When tolerance is sin’ and it is found on this link –

http://www.takeheed.info/when-tolerance-is-sin/

– I would commend it to you.

The greatest need in this day and age is for professing Christians to exercise biblical ‘judgment/discernment’ for as prophesied by the Apostle Paul in 1st Timothy 4:1 many today sadly are “giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. To help God’s people ‘Take Heed’ I will [DV] continue to fulfil this God-given ministry for, in contrast to the rare critical emails such as yours, I receive MANY more emails of appreciation from those who have been helped by our website articles.

If there is anything that I have written that you feel is doctrinally incorrect then feel free to share that with me for my consideration.

I am your servant for Christ and His truth

Cecil Andrews

‘Take Heed’ Ministries

Email received from Isobel on 28 April 2008

Dear Cecil…

I am sure every single word you wrote is doctrinally correct…but are you a real person? Can you speak from the heart and can the Lord speak through so much red tape? I have never heard of anyone who communicates with someone else using so many bible verses. Can you actually communicate with me on a level of one human being to another..? You write like a cult member…very very frightening. I am sure the Lord – if He were on earth today – would be looked down upon by those within the established church system. He was a rebel with a cause…He was forever saying and doing things to upset religious people. He was not this shining figure in a flowing robe…He was one of us. One of us. He spoke the language of the people…He loved the sinner…I think you forget that He sat with people who sinned and loved them. Please – whatever you do – do not answer me with 10 paragraphs of scripture verse. I have been saved almost 30 years and I do not need to be evangelised. I just pray that you will have your eyes opened. You need the Lord’s compassion for other not setting yourself up as judge and jury on every point YOU do not agree with.

Isobel

Reply sent to Isobel

Dear Isobel,

Thank you for your further email, one that saddened me greatly as it is an example of “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” [2nd Timothy 4:3] – now I can just imagine you thinking to yourself – ‘there he goes again – quoting scripture to me’ – but why shouldn’t I? – Please bear with me – was the Psalmist wrong when he said “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” [Psalm 119:105] and “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple” [Psalm 119:130]? Was my much beloved late mother who is now with the Lord wrong to base her life on “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths” [Proverbs 3:5-6]? Was the great Apostle Paul wrong when he wrote, “Let the word of God dwell in you richly, in all wisdom and teaching” [Colossians 3:16]?

All believers have been given a suit of armour [Ephesians 6:13-17]; they have not been given a casual outfit or even a suit of pyjamas – why? – Because the Lord wants them to be engaged in the battle for God’s truth and the greatest weapon He has given us is “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” [Ephesians 6:17]. Sadly it would appear that far too many professing Christians never take “the sword” out of the scabbard.

You wrote ‘I do not need to be evangelised’ – please be assured that I certainly was not attempting to do that [only ‘the lost’ need to be evangelised] in my email but I was simply trying to be of some help in the area of discipleship – something that unfortunately is clearly lacking amongst huge swathes of professing Christendom with the result that error gains a very easy entrance into the professing church that is meant to be “the pillar and ground of the truth” [1st Timothy 3:15].

I must confess I also had major problems with this expression in your email – you wrote concerning the Lord Jesus Christ – ‘He was a rebel with a cause’. The Saviour, the second person of the triune Godhead, who was “holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners” [Hebrews 7:26] was one who tenderly said, “I am the good shepherd and know my sheep and am known of mine…I lay down my life for the sheep…My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me” [John 10:14-27].

I certainly do not forget that He sat with people who sinned but I also recall that He told them to “go and sin no more”; I also recall that in the precincts of the temple He made a whip and drove out those who with false religious practices were “making merchandise” of people – ripping them off in the name of religion. He also clearly identified and with strong words of condemnation [see John 8:44] challenged the false religious leaders of His day who by their false teachings were perverting the truth of God’s Word and way of salvation – should faithful disciples of Christ do any less today?

Christians, who when they see false teaching and practices and reach out to those who often are being led to hell by them, are actually demonstrating true Christ-like compassion – and what will their reward be in this life for doing so? In the midst of warning of false ‘godliness’ that will appear in “the last days” [2nd Timothy 3: 1&5] the Apostle Paul tells of what will happen to those who will remain faithful to God’s truth in the midst of all that deception– “all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” [verse 12].

I remain your servant for Christ and His truth

Cecil Andrews

‘Take Heed’ Ministries

Email received from Isobel on 28 April 2008

Obviously it’s impossible for you communicate without a verse thrown in for good effect.

I give up…

I’ll not be checking out the website again because I want to cry when I do…it saddens me. No wonder people dispair of Christianity… I would too … if this correspondence was the only thing to go on…

Jesus loves me…this I know…hope things become clear to you on down the line my friend….

Reply sent to Isobel

Dear Isobel,

Thank you for your email and rest assured I have no wish to ‘prolong your agony’ so I will simply say this. I find it incredibly bizarre that you as a professing Christian are so saddened by someone like me who seeks to follow the example set by my Saviour whilst here on earth – my Saviour regularly interspersed what He said with quotes from the Word of God [as for example when He was tempted by Satan]. Love for Christ is exemplified by seeking to obey His commandments and our ministry takes its name from one of His commands in Matthew 24:4.

I’m sure you would be ‘shocked’ if I didn’t, as you rather disparagingly put it, ‘throw in a verse for good effect’. God’s Word is never ‘thrown in for good effect’ – it is God’s Spirit-energised means of saving, sanctifying and fitting people for service here as Paul told young Timothy.

Despite what you may think this type of ministry and I are not ‘one-offs’ – all around His world God has His faithful watchmen who are alerting His people to the wiles of the devil. I leave you with this challenge from God’s Word “Examine yourself whether you are in the faith; prove yourselves. Know ye not yourselves how Christ Jesus is in you except ye be reprobate” [2nd Corinthians 13:5].

Yours in Christ

Cecil Andrews

‘Take Heed’ Ministries

Email received from Isobel on 29 April 2008

So your ‘a faithful watchman’ and I’m a mere woman who knows nothing I guess…you probably don’t believe in woman ministers either…but that’s a whole other topic….and I’m sure you’d have lots of verses to back that one up. It must be wonderful to be so perfect…God love ya…it’ll be a shock when your in your own wee heaven with all those others who judge their neighbours and speak in the authorised way…

Reply sent to Isobel

Dear Isobel,

With each email that you send me, very sadly and worryingly your lack of knowledge of God’s Word, will and ways becomes ever more apparent. Quite why you introduced a ‘gender’ issue [you wrote – ‘I’m a mere woman’] is not clear unless of course you are troubled by what God’s Word clearly has to say on this issue. As you have raised the topic of ‘woman ministers’ let me confirm that God makes it quite clear from His Word [1st Timothy 2:12 & 3:2] that the teaching elder should be male.

In your first email to me you wrote of – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance – I have to say that I’ve been pretty much searching in vain for these qualities in your subsequent emails.

Your aversion to the Word of God is truly sinister. The Apostle Peter when writing to true believers reminded them of how they had been “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God” [1st Peter 1:23] and a few verses later he instructed them “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that ye may grow by it, if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” [1st Peter 2:2-3].

Your lack of appetite for and open disdain for God’s Word is a normal feature in the lives of unregenerate people as Paul explained in 1st Corinthians 2:14, but when it is openly displayed in the ‘speech’ of a professing believer then alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear.

“He [or she] that hath an ear, let him [or her] hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” [Revelation 2:7]

Yours in Christ

Cecil Andrews

‘Take Heed’ Ministries

Email received from Isobel on 30 April 2008

…as usual

Everyone else is lacking…wrong…lacking in knowledge…sinister…

thanks for the encouragement…

I will not be opening any more of your emails…so you needn’t reply to this one…

Go forth perfect one…in your perfect world…along with all your other perfect cult members…

I would like to emphasise once more that in making these exchanges public I have no desire to offend this lady [indeed I would ask you to pray for her] but rather I want to demonstrate what happens in the professing church when the Word of God is set aside in favour presumably of the ‘wisdom of men’ [1st Corinthians 2:5].

Reflecting back on the ‘gender’ issue perhaps Isobel took exception to my use of the word ‘watchmen’ – I should like to state that over the years I have read helpful materials produced by ‘watch-women’ like Jackie Alnor, Ruth Davis, Tricia Tiillin, Elizabeth MacDonald and Ingrid Schlueter. I see no biblical prohibition on women sounding a warning about false teaching etc but I do see a clear biblical prohibition on them occupying the role of the teaching elder.

Another thought that struck me about these exchanges was of the contrast between them and some other email exchanges I had from a man called Paul who contacted me after I encouraged people to contact the local BBC authorities about the evolutionary line promoted in a series of Programmes called ‘BLUEPRINT’ that were to be broadcast on BBC 1 Northern Ireland. These were those email exchanges –

Email received from Paul on 2 April 2008

Dear Cecil Andrews,

I am responding in relation to your letter regarding the BBC Northern Ireland documentary on Northern Ireland’s “600 million years of history.” I am afraid I find myself unable to agree with such a protest, but still I understand your concerns.

As I am sure you are aware, the BBC has a great deal of watchers from all kinds of different backgrounds and different religions. Since, as British citizens, we all must pay the BBC TV Licence, it is apparent to me that the BBC caters for all members of the public, by showing a wide range of programmes which relate to all different beliefs.

As such, would it therefore not seem fair that those who do not believe in creationism are allowed their programmes, just as you have a right to have your programmes tailored to your views? I am sure that if the BBC spent as much on a creationist play, there would be complaints asking the BBC to justify the “offensive abuse of their TV licence fee money.” I implore you to ask yourself this: “What right would they have to complain about something I believe in?”

I am proud to be part of a country that takes pride in representing all these different cultures and religious views. Of course, there will be times where we may not all agree with each other. If there is one thing we all do have in common, it is that we are forced to pay this TV licence!

Yours Sincerely,

Paul

Reply sent to Paul

Dear Paul,

Many thanks for your courteous email – not always the type I have received in recent days on this topic.

The point you have made in your email, I am sure that if the BBC spent as much on a creationist play, there would be complaints asking the BBC to justify the “offensive abuse of their [non-creationists’] TV licence fee money” is precisely the basis of my complaint only in reverse – I hope you follow my line of thinking.

I don’t know if you heard ‘Talkback’ * on Monday when I was part of a debate that included one of the Producers – Paul McGuigan. He said that the important consideration taken into account when making the programme was scientific ‘consensus’ but he had to admit when I then challenged him that there were NO scientists contributing to the programme who held to a ‘young earth/biblical creation’ point of view, based not simply on ‘faith’ but also on true science namely that which can be observed and proved by repeated experimentation so in reality his ‘consensus’ was a very biased ‘consensus.

The flaw in non-creationist thinking is that true science has nothing to say in relation to God’s revelation in the Bible of how He created everything – that is simply not true and that is the type of programme that those who protest to the BBC are asking for.

Just in closing, the main issue for Christians is of course the gospel of the life, death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and its significance can only be fully grasped and understood in the light of events at the dawn of creation in the Garden of Eden.

This gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s remedy for the condemning problem [see Romans 5:18-19] caused by the disobedience of the first man created, Adam, but God Himself knows that “the preaching of Christ crucified is to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Gentiles, foolishness” 1st Corinthians 1:23

For 38 years of my life it was precisely that to me – ‘foolishness’ – but then things changed and God ‘created’ me anew [see 2nd Corinthians 5:17] – you can read my brief testimony to this on http://www.takeheed.net/capt.htm

I am your servant for the Lord Jesus Christ

Cecil Andrews

‘Take Heed’ Ministries

http://www.takeheed.info

*PS I am hoping to have posted in the next few days to our website under RADIO INTERVIEWS this ‘Talkback’ debate and also one that took place last Sunday on Sunday Sequence so perhaps those might be of further interest to you.

Email received from Paul on 2 April 2008

Cecil Andrews,

I certainly understand your frustrations. You are receiving these, what I would label as abusive, emails from members of the Richard Dawkins forum. I myself identify as an agnostic (for philosophical reasons etc), but I have recently felt a need to understand why there is this sort of “Richard Dawkins Atheist” movement. It is a shame that such intelligent people are so fanatical in their conclusions. In the event that the BBC does do a creationist play, people would complain and I believe this to be closed mindedness on their behalf. I am sure you will agree with me that they have to put as much faith into their scientific methods as you do into your religious beliefs. Only those who place importance on what science has achieved will hold scientific methods to be superior. Those who have experienced God will similarly hold God to be superior.

What I am trying to say is: Don’t be a fanatic. We all must live in the same world, and we all think different concepts are the truth. As such, we have to be tolerant of each other’s ideas. We needn’t complain when we see an idea that opposes what we hold to be the truth, rather we can appreciate it and use it as a basis for confirming our own beliefs.

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” – Albert Einstein

Thank you very much for your time, I will be sure to read/listen to those radio interviews 🙂

Paul

Reply sent to Paul

Dear Paul,

Many thanks once more for your further email.

You wrote of ‘Those who have experienced God’ and that of course is what happened when God converted me as I outlined in my testimony that I directed you to.

The reality is Paul, when someone like myself ‘experiences God’, it means we can no longer stand idly by where ‘truth’ is concerned because the Lord Jesus Christ said that He was The way. THE TRUTH and The Life [John 14:6] and He also declared that God’s Word was TRUTH [John 17:17]. If you like He was the ultimate ‘fanatic’ for TRUTH and we are to be His witnesses even though the rest of the world will not like us for being so.

Just in closing and with reference to your mention of the ‘Richard Dawkins forum’ I did post an article to our website following an interview that William Crawley did with him – it might be of interest to you and it is on this link –

http://www.takeheed.info/deluded-dawkins/

Sincere thanks for your ‘gentle’ approach. With all good wishes.

I am your servant for Jesus Christ

Cecil Andrews

‘Take Heed’ Ministries

Email received from Paul on 2 April 2008

Dear Cecil Andrews,

Yes thank you very much. I can see now, that in your view, it must be like watching someone drown. Anyone would be compelled to save that person, even if they did not want saving 🙂

Best of luck, and don’t let those fanatical Atheists get you down.

Paul

I hope the contrast between the attitude of Paul and the attitude of Isobel is as plain to you as it is to me and I would ask you also to please pray for Paul.

In my exchanges with Isobel I referred her to some verses from Psalm 119 and in closing I would just like to quote some verses from another well-known Psalm – Psalm 1 – whilst it speaks of a ‘man’ it has of course equal application to a ‘woman’

‘Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night’

Cecil Andrews –‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 1st May 2008

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