News From The Front – February 1997

Dear praying friends,

As stated in my last newsletter I issued invitations to a number of pastors and ministers to see if they would be willing to act as a Council of Reference for “Take Heed” Ministries and I am delighted to report that all have accepted my invitation and I look forward to working along with these brothers in Christ who have already in times past encouraged Margaret and I in the work to which God has called us.

I also mentioned the plan to issue ‘News From The Front’ three times each year so the timescale will be February, June and October each year (DV).

Enclosed with this issue is the leaflet which is being circulated to advertise the up-coming visit of Frank Eberhardt and I would ask you to keep these meetings much in prayer and of course if you can get to any we would be delighted to see you. Your prayers for talks on various cults which I will be giving (DV) in May (26th-30th) in 2nd Newtownards Presbyterian Church are coveted. Margaret and I return grateful thanks to those who sent practical tokens of support in recent months and pray that all our readers will know much of God’s blessing in 1997.

Yours in His service

Cecil Andrews

Council of Reference

Pastor Stephen Boreland, Pastor Wesley Crawford, Pastor William Houston, Rev. Robin Little, Rev. Frank McKeown, Rev. Robert Walsh

  • Micheal Card Joins The “Ecumenical Bandwagon” 

One of the most popular Christian singers to visit here on a regular basis in recent years has been Michael Card. Although I have never been to one of his performances a close brother in the Lord whose views on spiritual matters I would hold in high regard has gone with his wife on a number of occasions to hear Mr Card and has remarked favourably upon the humility of the man who asks that no applause be given after each song and who states that each song written by himself is vetted by the elders of the fellowship he belongs to to ensure that no heresy is being articulated in song. ~ It was therefore with great sadness that my friend and I read the following report in Dave Hunt’s ministry newsletter The Berean Call (November 1996) which is reprinted with their permission. The report is based on an article which appeared in The Arizona Republic of 31st August 1996. [Heading: Musical duo bridging chasm between faiths. ‘Brother To Brother’ urges Protestant-Catholic unity] John Michael Talbot and Michael Card…are brothers in spirit even if their Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant traditions differ. Where ecclesiastical doctrine separates their churches their music has formed a bridge of faith. And when they launch a nationwide concert tour on September 12 an ecumenical spirit, will prevail. In an era when Protestant and Catholic leaders are still arguing over doctrine Card and Talbot are happy in the middle of a movement of lay Christians who have found common ground. Card’s rendition of Talbot’s One Faith is the opening song on their album and it emphasizes that grassroots celebration of ecumenism: ‘There is one faith, one hope and one baptism/One God and Father of all/There is one church, one body one life in the Spirit/Now given so freely to all’

“There are people like Chuck Colson who’ve tried to bridge the gap through writing. But he said he got more resistance and angry letters for reaching out to Catholics than being involved in Watergate,” Card said.

Similarly, Talbot said he and Card have received their share of criticism for working together. But the resistance only encourages Talbot who converted to Catholicism and is a monastic at Little Portion Franciscan Hermitage near Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

“The Catholic Church is calling us to work with all people whenever we can. I think that this album is a real goad symbol of the Christian unity that we are all taught to share ” Talbot said. “We didn’t go into this with a big ecumenical agenda. Unity just kind of came in through the back door.” “Music is worship and a way to interact with scripture” said Card who abandoned a doctoral programme in biblical studies to become a musician. “The best way to interact with God and one another is to use your imagination. And music is very effective in opening up your imagination.”

When this article speaks of “ecclesiastical doctrine separates their churches” and “Protestant and Catholic leaders are still arguing over doctrine” let us never forget that the ‘separation’ and ‘argument’ are centered on TRUTH and ERROR (Heaven or Hell). The closing statement which encourages music-inspired IMAGINATION as being “The best way to interact with God and one another” is a surefire recipe for disaster as it encourages neglect of God’s written revelation which the Lord Himself pointed His followers to in His great prayer of John 17 “Sanctify them through thy truth (build up their music-inspired imaginations? NO!) thy word is truth”(v17) As for the comments on the treatment received by Chuck Colson for “reaching out to Catholics” let’s not forget that his “reaching out” was to work with them, not to evangelize them. According to the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document drawn up by Mr Colson and leading Roman Catholics and signed in March 1994 such efforts by Evangelicals to witness to Roman Catholics would not be ‘theologically, legitimate or a prudent use of resources for one Christian community to proselytize… another.’ On the subject of ecumenism Michael Card has shown himself to be badly ‘off-key. Jim McCarthy of the California based ‘Good News For Catholics’ ministry astutely identified the changing face and tactics of Rome when he wrote in a recent newsletter “the Roman Catholic Church has changed its tactics. Rather than calling councils to condemn its critics and their teachings, the Church chooses to ignore them. Rather than issuing canons condemning salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the Church now prefers to blur the lines of doctrinal distinction.

When engaged in dialogue with non-Catholics the Church today stresses what is held in common, not changing its doctrine but reformulating its answers for an ecumenical age. It now woos rather than warns. Particularly in countries where there are large numbers of evangelical Christians, it is not unusual for the Church to adopt the very wording of its former critics. There are no longer heretics, only separated brethren. Some within the Church are talking of the possibility of Martin Luther being formally forgiven. Others predict that the church will one day recognize Luther as a Roman Catholic saint!

The result is that now the Church’s explanation of how the mingling of the work of Christ and the work of the Catholic for salvation fits together is couched so thoroughly in biblical language that it almost sounds right. One can easily be fooled” Michael Card and Charles Colson clearly have been.

  • Gibraltar – A Sign Of Things To Come

It is presently evident that politically there are great pressures to bring the nations of Europe into an even closer alliance and in such circumstances there is no doubt that in the religious sphere the only ‘winner’ will be the Roman Catholic church. A flavour of life ina Roman Catholic dominated situation was given to me in a letter written to me by a brother in the Lord who directs a small evangelical fellowship in Gibraltar.

“We live in a Roman Catholic country…we ere seeing the reconstruction and enlargement of a shrine to Mary which is situated at the southern end of Gibraltar…Mariolatry is quite rampant, you see stickers with Mary’s supposed face on many vehicles and motor bikes. Many People hang their rosaries on the car’s inside mirror for protection. There are many catholic Marian groups Plus we have the charismatics who are now turning, even more to Mary…There are people everywhere saying the rosary. The whole scenario is being prepared for “The Lady Of Europa” to begin miracles. I believe this is where it’s all leading to especially once this new shrine is completed.”

This brother sent me a 20 pence Gibraltar coin and etched below are its two sides . One side shows Queen Elizabeth and the other shows an enthroned, crowned Mary surrounded by the wording ‘Our Lady of Europa.’ Please pray for Emilio and the faithful believers as they witness in Gibraltar.

  • Billy Graham and Non-Christian Faiths

In an interview published in an American magazine called Parade (20th October 1996) Billy Graham is quoted as saying “I fully adhere to the fundamental tenets of Christian faith for myself and my ministry but as an American I respect other paths to God and as a Christian I am called on to love them. ” Frankly this is a dangerous statement and in the light of further comments I believe that Mr Graham is not just declaring a love for people but is also declaring a love for their (non-Christian) ‘path to God’ and that would fly in the face of a very fundamental tenet of the Christian faith namely the first commandment ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20v3).

The ‘further comments’ which led me to draw the above conclusion relate to a section of the interview which deals with Mr Graham’s participation in the inauguration of American presidents.

‘Graham has been noted for his willingness to work with leaders of different religions. “Each time a President has asked me to lead the inaugural prayer I have argued that I should not do it alone that leaders of other religions should be there too We are a multi-religious nation and IT WOULD BE GOOD to reflect that at this important ceremonial occasion. I was only able to persuade Mr Nixon.” Instead of rejoicing that only a professing Christian. voice is given ‘pride of place’ on such an occasion Mr Graham wants to involve non-Christian religious leaders. Somehow I don’t think the Lord will be inviting these people to share the platform when He judges all people!

Mr Graham is then quoted as saying

“We (Christians and non-Christians) are all brothers and sisters in our hearts, we ought to love each other. This is a ‘mind-blowing’ statement which if taken to its logical conclusion means we (Christians) should really cease all evangelistic activity and concentrate on loving our neighbour irrespective of his or her religious beliefs. The Apostle Paul wrote much of true ‘love’ and stated that it ‘rejoiceth (as Mr Graham apparently does) not in iniquity (such as false gods and false religions) but rejoiceth in the truth”

(lst Corinthians 13v6). Christ ALONE is “THE way THE truth and THE life” (John 14v6) Who declares “MY glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42v8). These are fundamental tenets of Christian faith but once more by his words Mr Graham is guilty of jettisoning them.When asked about other Christian leaders who do not share his view that all people are “brothers and sisters in our hearts” Mr Graham said “well I don’t agree with them.” The liberal/ecumenical compromise of Mr Graham in relation to the Church of Rome is well documented by other sources but this desire to be open to and to co-operate with non-Christian faiths surely adds an even more alarming dimension to his departure from biblical standards.

  • ‘The Vineyard’ Comes To Belfast

Philip Corrigan (a converted Roman Catholic who trained at the Irish Baptist College) and his wife Jackie have returned from a year of training with a Vineyard fellowship (the ·Vineyard’ movement was founded by the American charismatic John Wimber) located in Evanstown U.S.A. Whilst there they attended a retreat and Philip reported in a newsletter as follows

‘At the retreat we were treated royally. The staff looked after us well but we had even more of a blessing during one of the meetings when God spoke prophetically to us through one of the leaders. He spoke about our personal ministry and told us that God was going to plant MANY Vineyards through us in Ireland.’

In June 1996 Steve Nicholson the senior Pastor of the Vineyard fellowship in Evanstown came to Belfast to report an the progress being made by Philip and Jackie during their time of training in the U.S.A. This meeting was held in Willowfield Parish Hall in Belfast on Monday l0th June and the previous evening Mr Nicholson preached in the Christian Fellowship Church in Belfast and this group have of course been in the forefront of promoting the ‘Toronto blessing’ in Northern Ireland, of helping to organise the ‘Marches for Jesus’ on our streets and of bringing to Belfast people like Gerald Coates and Paul Cain – self-styled modern PROPHETS.

At present the Belfast grouping is meeting in the home of Philip and Jackie and they have close links with the Southside Vineyard which is based in Dublin. As one who knew Philip in the early days after his conversion I can only state that it is a matter of personal sadness to note the direction in which he and Jackie are now going for we must remember that it was the Vineyard movement which ‘spawned’ the disastrous so-called ‘Toronto blessing.’

  • Gerald Coates’ Pioneer Team and Celtic Spirituality

I was sent by Christian friends a copy of an audio tape of a talk which was given to Gerald Coates and workers in his Pioneer Team by Roger Ellis (Chichester).. To refresh minds Gerald Coates is one of three people who started the Marches For Jesus. He also fully endorsed the ministry of Rodney Howard Browne one of the ‘key players’ in the ‘Toronto blessing’ fiasco describing him as ‘a breath of fresh air’ and he referred to the heretical late MaLcoLm Muggeridge (for details of his heresies see ‘News From The Front’ December 1995) as a ‘major prophet.’ On this tape Mr Ellis was urging people to go back and try and capture the ‘Celtic Spirit.: As I listened to this very ‘atmospheric’ tape (on Large segments a continuous drumbeat is heard and folk-type music is interspersed at intervals) I was highly alarmed by many of Mr Ellis’ statements and noted many of them down planning to mention them in this article. However in the providence of God I was sent a copy of a little booklet called ‘Modern Celtic Spirituality’ by Paul Fahy and in the latter part of this booklet Mr Fahy gives a very good analysis of this very tape by Mr Ellis. One of the expressions used by Mr Ellis which I noted with alarm was ‘they (the Celts) looked to release the divine spark in the people that they were evangelising.’ Mr Fahy comments “What is meant by this spark is the image of God, but salvation is not releasing this image, it is a radical transformation by new life. This can be misinterpreted as the doctrine of the mystics currently much in vogue through New Age teachings…that is the releasing of what is ‘the divine in every man.’ This is completely anti-Christian…Man does not have a divine spark which only needs to be fanned into a flame. He is dead towards God and totally corrupt. A corpse cannot help himself.”

In his booklet Mr Fahy did not mention Mr Ellis by name and in his introduction explains why – he writes “the original draft of this paper was a reaction to a specific taped talk by a leader in a well know network…The seminar was analysed and critiqued severely. However I felt that I should try to contact the speaker before I went into print. I have now had a number of conversations with this brother…He deeply regrets the way the tape can be interpreted and intends to rewrite his lecture for future engagements…Consequently I have agreed to withdraw his name from this critique (at my suggestion, not from pressure) but will refer to statements made as indicative of the general trend and use them as a foundation for refutation.”

Mr Fahy’s decision to afford Mr Ellis anonymity is his personal choice but I feel under no obligation whatsoever to do likewise as this is yet another instance of those who claim to be Spirit-anointed departing radically from the truth as found in God’s Word. There is no doubt that now that the excitement surrounding ‘Toronto’ has begun to subside it will be necessary for the leaders in (the extreme) charismatic circles to be on the look-out for some new ‘spiritual plaything’ to offer their followers and I just wonder if ‘Celtic Spirituality’ might be the next course on the menu. I have ordered some copies of Mr Fahy’s booklet and they can be obtained from me – price £1.20 (includes p&p).

  • Great Commission Training Centre Targets Belfast

This so-called bible college which is based in the village of Moneymore and which is partially funded by Kenneth Copeland Ministries and which in consequence promotes the heretical teachings of people like Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin and John Avanzini announced a series of evening classes to be held every Tuesday night for a period of nine months commencing lst October 1996. The venue was given as 162a Cavehill Road Belfast. A taped analysis of GCTC errors is available – price £3.00

  • Whose TV Is U.T.V.?

The local Independent Television station is known as U.T.V. (Ulster Television) and for sometime now their catchy little slogan has been ‘UTV’ is your TV. Well it may reflect ‘across the board’ views in some matters but certainly not when it comes to religious broadcasting. For years UTV has been promoting a high-profile ECUMENICAL agenda and input from anything vaguely resembling evangelical would be less than minimal. Their ecumenical endeavours reached new heights on Sunday 2lst December with their broadcast of a ‘peace rally’ and morning worship service from the front of Belfast City Hall. Presenter Gloria Hunniford who along with singer Dana and boxer Barry McGuigan (both Roman Catholics) amongst others gave their seals of approval to the formation of an ecumenical body known as Youth-Link (whose patrons were the then four ‘Church leaders’ including Cardinal Cahal Daly) was a co-presenter along with Eamonn Holrnes (another Roman Catholic). Acts of worship including prayers were led by Johnston McMaster (a Methodist minister) and ‘Father’ Paddy White both of whom are involved in guess what? Youth-Link! A ‘sermon’ was preached by a ‘Father’ Oliver and he used most of his time allocation to sing the praises of St. Francis of Assissi. A short feature on the ecumenical Corrymeela grouping was included and live entertainment featured traditional Irish dancing plus contributions from comedian Frank Carson (a Roman Catholic who some years ago received a special honour from the Pope ‘or his charitable work) and from singers Daniel O’Donnell and Brian Kennedy (both Roman Catholics). Add to this special messages from the ecumenical Archbishop Desmond Tutu and ‘His Holiness’ the Daiai Lama and you begin to see (as an evangelical) the hypocrisy of ‘UTV is Your TV.’

  • Rome Formally Endorses ‘The Alpha Course’

The Alpha Course – a Bible training course which has been actively promoted and marketed by Holy Trinity Brompton church – the charismatic Anglican church which featured prominently in the spread of the so-called ‘Toronto blessing’ – has received in recent months favourable notices from Roman Catholic sources. Consider this item from the November 1996 Alpha News (issued by Holy Trinity) “Two ALPHA conferences are to be held in 1997 for Roman Catholic church leaders as support for the course continues to grow across the denominations. The Frst Roman Catholic conference will be held at Westminster Cathedral Hall, London from 15-16 May 1997…David Payne a Roman Catholic…says ‘There are a large number of Roman Catholic churches doing Alpha in their parishes…what we’re hoping for is that the Roman Catholic church will embrace Alpha as a new tool far evangelization…we’re planning to work quite extensively with post-Alpha material to link it in to Catholic doctrine and parish life’…The second Roman Catholic conference is being planned for the north of England.”

The expressed desire of Mr Payne for Rome to formally ’embrace Alpha’ has been met according to a report in The Times (Weekend} of Saturday l4th December. The reporter Dominic Kennedy who according to the article joined the Alpha course on lst October wrote “Cardinal Hume we were told had just approved the Alpha course following painstaking study by Roman Catholic theologians. A wise move. A third of the people there seemed to be lapsed Catholics including me.”

If the anti-Christian system of Roman Catholicism is in a position to endorse the Alpha course then quite simply all true bible-believing Christians should ‘give it a wide berth.· Can I remind readers of the excellent little booklet which is available from myself called ‘Alpha – New Life or New Lifestyle’ A biblical assessment of the Alpha Course by Eliz.McDonald (Price £1.50 inc.p&p)

  • United Christian Ministries Ballymena

Towards the end of last year I was sent details by friends in England of a planned visit to Northern Ireland of a Swedish evangelist called Ulf Ekman. His visit was under the auspices of United Christian Ministries. From their literature we learn that the ministry is headed by Pastor Maurice Wylie and his wife Theresa who have apparently been working in Ballymena for a couple of years under ‘The Standard’ {An International Ministry} based in Thomas street. In relation to Ulf Ekman I had very little on file but in the providence of God I was sent a video the dedication earlier this year in England of a Christian Satellite TV Programme (unfortunately this programme will be promoting the teachings of rnen like Kenneth Copeland and other ‘Health and Wealth’ preachers as the ministry of Rodney Howard Browne) and one of the participants (along with amongst others Benny Hinn) was Ulf Ekman – in fact it was his responsibility to drum up financial support for the project from the assembled congregation and to that end we were ‘treated’ to him encouraging people to hold up printed covenant forms and publicly pledge to give regular support to the project – not a very edifying spectacle! However worse was to come across my path when I watched the video of his Friday night meeting (l5th November) in Ballymena Town ‘allowing a typical charismatic-style period of worship the preliminary announcements were made by Pastor who came across as a sincere man (however in the light of the ministries which he is promoting I must conclude that he is sincerely misguided for apart from the ministry of Ulf Ekman he is also promoting the teachings of a charismatic Pastor called R.W.Schambach and amongst videos available from his ministry was one entitled ‘How to Raise the Dead.’) Ulf Ekman then came forward and very soon began listing ailments amongst the congregation which he claimed God was healing. He then began to preach and for over an hour constantly taught about the ‘miracles’ which he claimed are still being performed by God today and his presentation was liberally laced with repetitive ‘Amens’ and ‘Hallelujahs.’ As his ‘preaching’ drew to a conclusion he challenged people (INCLUDING professing believers) to ‘pray the sinners prayer’ which he spoke and asked ALL to repeat. He then invited those suffering from fear, anxiety and despair to come forward for prayer and ministry. His appeal was so long-drawn out that it would almost have served to engender these feelings amongst the people present. Eventually with an assembled crowd at the front he began to lay hands an people. Failing to get the type of response he was obviously looking for he encouraged his key-board player to up the tempo of the music and asked people not to concentrate their minds too much but to relax and let things happen (same technique that Rodney Howard Browne used when he was ‘zapping’ people). He then got people to whom he was ‘ministering’ to either raise their arms above their heads or stretch them out wide and in such cases he often slapped their palms with his before very deliberately trying to push them to the ground. Quite frankly it was the most contrived (music/rhythm/relax/ raise or stretch arms/push) attempt to ‘slay people in the spirit’ that both Margaret and I have witnessed. At one stage Mr Ekman got quite frenzied as he moved along the front row of people declaring ‘There’s the anointing’ and doing his best to push them over (not always with success). Sadly around 200 people appeared to be at the meeting – please pray that they were not ‘taken in.’

  • Christian Science and Sickness

Members of the Christian Science cult are not permitted to use normal medication and sadly this has resulted in some people dying from illnesses which could have been treated quite easily. A few years ago a couple were taken to court because they refused medical help for their son who was sick and sadly the little boy died (needlessly). Mary Baker Eddy who founded this cult wrote in her book ‘Science and Health with key to the Scriptures’ ‘the only reality of sin SICKNESS or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise. They are not true because they are not of God’ [p 472] ‘Sin SICKNESS and death are to be classified as effects of error [p 473] ‘Man is incapable of sin, SICKNESS, and death’ [p 475].

These teachings of Mrs Eddy form the basis for the rejection of normal medical treatment. Last year when Margaret and I were going to America we applied for a postal vote in relation to an election which would take place whilst we were out of the country. One category of people who could apply for a postal vote were those who were suffering from a PHYSICAL ILLNESS however their application had to be endorsed by either a registered medical practitioner, first level nurse or CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER. This was part of the wording which these people had to endorse

‘I, a registered medical practitioner/a first level nurse…A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER hereby state that to the best of my knowledge and belief the applicant is suffering from the PHYSICAL ILLNESS specified in the application’ It seems strange that for voting purposes a Christian Science practitioner can affirm the reality of something which their religion teaches “man is incapable of.”

  • Council of Reference

In my last ‘News From The Front’ I stated that I had invited a number of ministers and pastors to consider forming a Council of Reference for “Take Heed” Ministries. I am pleased to announce that each of the men involved has accepted my invitation and they are as follows: Pastor Stephen Boreland-Ballyclare Baptist Church, Pastor Wesley Crawford-Comber Baptist Church, Pastor William Houston-Carr Baptist Church, Rev. Robin Little Spamount Congregational Church, Rev. Frank McKeown-2nd Newtownards Presbyterian Church, Rev. Robert Walsh-Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church. The plan is that (DV) I will meet with these friends at the beginning of February, June and October to discuss the work of “Take Heed” and apart from being grateful to them for giving of their time I am looking forward to both their counsel and fellowship as we seek together to warn God’s people of spiritual deceptions and in the sovereign will of God to reach precious souls for Christ and His glory alone. Please pray for them and us as together we ‘put our hands to the plough.

  • Prayer Points

1. Visit of Frank Eberhardt ,

Enclosed with this newsletter is a copy of the leaflet being used to advertise Frank’s visit. Please pray for journeying mercies and of course for fruit for Frank’s labours as he testifies and preaches. Please remember also his wife and family back home in America.

2: Counter-attacking Mormonism

Prior to Christmas we learned of Mormon activity in a 600 house estate between Comber and Newtownards. Margaret and I joined about 14 others to distribute leaflets highlighting Mormon error. Please pray for this outreach.