Dear praying friends,
Although this is my ‘February’ newsletter I am actually writing this letter to you on lst January 1998 so let me begin by sending to you all sincere good wishes from Margaret and myself for a truly happy and blessed 1998. The reason for the early writing and preparation of this newsletter is due to an up-corning ministry trip to Romania which is mention on page 6. Last night Margaret and I took time to reflect on each month of 1997 and we could recall the highs and the lows, the mountain tops and the valleys and have no reason to doubt that if we are spared through 1998 it too will be composed of that same mixture. The children of Israel experienced the ‘high’ of leaving Egypt and then the deep ‘low’ as Pharoah and his armies threatened to enslave them once more but God overruled and they were safely delivered through the Red Sea. The response of Moses and the people as recorded in Exodus 15 verse 2 “The Lord is my strength and song and he is become my salvation; HE IS MY GOD.” May you and I as we seek to witness for the One who is “The truth” have that same soing on our lips and in our hearts as we too journey on towards our promised land.
Your servant for Christ
In March 1994 the now infamous document ‘Evangelicals and Catholics Together – The Christian Mission In The Third Millenium’ was signed by high-ranking Roman Catholics and high-profile so-called ‘Evangelicals’ such as Charles Colson, Bill Bright and J.I.Packer. This agreement contained the unbelievable statement- “in view af the large number of non-Christisns is the world and the enormous challenge of our common evangelistic task, it is neither theologicatly legitimate nor a prudent use of resources for one Christian community to prosetytize among active adherents of another Christian community”
Earlier in the document the signatories had declared “We thank God for the discovery of one another in contending far a common cause. Much more important we thank thank God for the discovery of one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. For a fine analysis of this document I would recommend the video ‘Apostate Evangelicalism’ featuring Rob Zins (cost £4.50 including postage). Also Robin has prepared a 7 page analysis of the agreement and this may also be obtained from me (cost £1.00 including postage). In November the details of a further agreement signed by this grouping of ‘Evangelicals’ and Roman Catholics emerged. The document titled ‘THE GIFT OF SALVATION’ states
The effectiveness of oar witness for Christ depends upon the work of the Holy Spirit who calls and empowers us to confess together the meaning of the salvation promised and accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord… Scripture describes the consequences of Christ’s redemptive work in several ways among which are: justification; reconciliation, restoration of friendship with God and rebirth from above by which we are adopted as children and made heirs of the kingdom…Justification is central to the scriptural account of salvation and its meaning has been muched debated between Protestants and Catholics. WE AGREE THAT JUSTIFICATION IS NOT EARNED BY ANY GOOD WORKS OR MERITS OF OUR OWN…In Justification, God, on the basis of Christ’s roghteousness alone declares us to be no longer his rebellious enemies but his forgiven friends and by virtue of his declaration it is so…We understand that what we affirm is in agreement with the Reformation traditions have meant by justification by faith alone (sola fide).
Rightly this group declare that effective witnessing can only take place when the Holy Spirit blesses confession of the (TRUE) meaning of the salvation promised and accomplished in Christ Jesus. They can go on to try and assert that they are agreed on what Christ accomplished and I have focussed apon their statements reguarding ‘Justification’ because what they have written is quite frankly laced with ‘ECUMENICAL COMPROMISE’ and ‘THEOLOGICAL DOUBLESPEAK.’ To promote their false ecumenical crusade they declare ‘We agree that justifciation is not earned by any good works or merits of our own’- this statement shows ignorance (whether deliberate or unintentional I cannot tell) by all parties of the official Roman Catholic teaching on ‘Justification.’ For those who believe that works play no role in our justification the Council of Trent declares
‘If anyone says that the justice received [the ‘justice’ process supposedly begins with the sacrament of baptism] is not perserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema’ (Session 6: Can.24)
We also read in Vatican II (Vol. 1; page 68)
‘From the most ancient times in the church good works were also affered to God for the salvation of sinners…Indeed the prayers and works of holy people were reguarded as of such great value that it could be asserted that the penitent was washed, cleansed and redeemed with the help of the entire Christian people.’
What of the ‘THEOLOGICAL DOUBLESPEAK’ which I referred to? Well that is found in the statement ‘In Justification, God, on the basis of Christ’s righteousness alone declares us to be no longer this rebellious enemies but his forgiven friends and by virtue of his declaration it is so.”
To be ‘justified’ is to be declared ‘righteous’ not ‘forgiven.’ To be ‘justified’ is to have righteousness of God actually imputed to you (Romans 3:22). Whilst the righteousness of Christ qualified Him to be the perfect sacrifice our ‘forgiveness’ is on the merits of His shed blood (“without the shedding of blood is no remission” Heb 9:22) as the following Scriptures concering Christ testify “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14) “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7) “The Blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7)
Our justification also rests an the merits of Christ’s shed blood (clearly His righteousness made His sacrifice of Himself acceptable to God – see Hebrews 9:14) for we read in Romans 5:9 “being now justified by his blood.” When the statement says ‘it is so’ we must ask ‘what is so?’ and it would appear that they are affirming that we are ‘forgiven’ but they are not affirming that ‘God’s righteousness’ has been imputed to us which is the Reformed [Biblical:2Cor 5:21] view of ‘justification’ so their assertion ‘what we here affirm is in agreement with what the Reformation traditions have meant by justification by faith alone (sola fide) is clearly not accurate. Trent rejected the Reformed view of ‘justification’ like this ‘If anyone says that justifying; faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone which justifies us let him be anathema’ [Session 6: Can.12]
Some ecumenists I know have asserted that the Council of Trent is no longer relevant in the light at Vatican II and we should pay no heed to the many ‘anathemas’ pronounced by Trent. Holding this view they once again display gross ignorance of official Roman Catholic teaching for in
Vatican II (Vol.1 page 412) we read
‘This sacred council accepts loyally the venerable feith of our ancestors in the Living communion which exists between us and our brothers who are in the glory of heaven or who are yet being purified after their death; and it proposes again the decrees of the Second Council of Nicea, of the Council of Florence AND OF THE COUNCIL OF TRENT.’
Amongst the ‘Evangelical’ signatories to this latest contribution to ‘Accelerating Apostasy’ I noted the name Max Lucado whose books have become very popular in recent years. On the Roman Catholic side I noted the name of Peter Kreeft who several years ago wrote a book called ‘Ecumenical Jihad’ which carried comments on the back cover by Charles Colson and J.I.Packer.
The ‘GIFT OF SALVATION’ closes with these words ‘Only unity in the truth can be pleasing to the Lord and Saviour whom we together serve.’
The reality is that there is no unity between the biblical ‘Evangelical’ teaching on salvation and the Roman Catholic teaching on salvation. ‘Salvation’ includes immediate, full and permanent release from the condemnation of God which sin merits – “There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:l). Trent says ‘If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner thar no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened let him be anathema’ (Session 6: Can.30).
Visit Of Chris Hand (12th-17th October)
I am pleased to report that the meetings at which Chris Hand spoke under the title ‘From Toronto To Truth’ were very well attended and Chris’s message was very well received. Shortly after his visit ended I received a letter from someone who attended one of the meetings – they wrote `I really enjoyed that night. I knew I was into the wrong things before Chris Hand spoke and had turned away but didn’t know from the beginning I was in a church like that. Only when he spoke did I realize that I thought he was talking about me…I thank God now after 6/7 years He has got me somewhere where I can have peace in my heart knowing I will not be deceived that way anymore.’
A video of Chris Hand’s talk is available (cost £5.50 including postage) and an audio (price £3.30) is also available. I hope to speak at Chris’s church in London on Wednesday 2lst January (on my way home from Romania – see next article).
Ministry Trip To Romania (11th-20th January)
A few days before I left to go to America on Tuesday 28th October I received an invitation from Slavic Gospel association to travel under their auspices to speak at two Bible centres in Romania – lecturing on a number of cults + New Age and Toronto/Pensacola. Consequently this newsletter is being written in advance of making this trip but I do return thanks to those who regularly remember the work at ‘Take Heed” in their prayers.
Ministry Trip To USA (28th October – 11th November) Many thanks to all who prayed specifically for this trip and I am pleased to report that the Lord blessed the time of teaching at Reformed Bible Church (Rutland, Vermont) what a joy to fellowship with this faithful group of God’s people and also the Ex-Catholics For Christ conference in Los Angeles where I was first to speak at this 2 day event.
Testimony Tapes Outreach To Roman Catholic Priests
Monday 29th December was a very happy day for on that day I posted the last two mailbags full of packets containing testimony tapes to the final 120 Roman Catholic priests listed in the Irish Catholic directory. This brought the total number of priests contacted since April to 5688. I want to thank again all those who individually or corporately contributed to the “Take Heed” Mission Fund and as you will see from the financial statement which follows the Lord provided precisely for every need. Total gifts received…………………….£8740.64
Audio tapes purchased….£ 4112.70
Rubber stamps & pad……£ 58.74
Import duty and VAT…….£ 108.94
Fast copier repairs……….£ 40.00
Known bank fees…………..£ 16.71
Bubble envelopes…………..£ 711.24… £8731.65
Balance (to cover closing bank fees)..£8.99
Looking at this provision I can only echo the Psalmist who wrote “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23). As I prepare this report I can report that some packets were returned to us. 53 sets were returned either because the priest in question had died or had been moved to a new parish. A total of 70 sets were sent back by priests who were unwilling to accept the tapes. Often in these cases some less than gracious remarks were written on the envelope and in a few cases unkind notes were included in the returned envelopes.
In October I was contacted by a journalist with the Irish Catholic newspaper and in spite of my reluctance to talk about the outreach they printed the following article.
Bible Group Target Catholic Clergy With ‘Sectarian’ Tapes
By Cian Molloy
A Protestant organisation is sending an offensive unsolicited tape to every priest in Ireland as part of a proselytising ministry to Catholics. The two tapes, bearing the testimony of a former American Vincentian seminarian Frank Eberhardt and a former Dominican priest Richard Bennett, bear the label “BBC”, but the recording is extremely poor.
The tapes are being posted by Cecil Andrews a Belfast based Protestant who runs an organisation named ‘Take Heed’ Ministries. Mr Andrews would not comment when contacted by The Irish Catholic, saying: “This is something between me and [the] Lord.”
It is also something that seems to involve every priest in Ireland. Mr. Andrews is working his way through an alphabetic list of clergy – so far those who have received the tapes have names which begin with letters from the first half of the alphabet.
The tapes’ contents criticises Catholic teaching, tradition and doctrine and emphasise the importance of a Christianity that is soley Scripture-based. Mr. Bennett describes his opposition to the use of statues and liturgical objects in Catholic worship. While claiming to love Catholics he describes us as “lost in Religion”.
Mr Eberhardt testimony is more hard hitting, claiming that Catholics are deliberately discouraged from reading the Binle and that sections of the Catholic Bible are invaild. He also questions the validity of the Sacrament of Reconcilation and the Sacrament of Communion.
Nearly all of the priests contacted by the Irish Catholic who have received the tapes have either dumped them or have returned them to Mr. Andrews’s address in Belfast. At best the tapes were described as “dreary stuff”, at worst as “obnoxious”.
Fr. Micheal Breen, a lecturer in sociologhy at Trinity College, said: “I thought at first the tapes might be an interesting guide to Northern Protestant’s perceptions of Catholicism – but they are not. “This is unbridled anti-Catholicism, it is highly sectarian. It is reading something into Catholicism that is not found there. No effort is made to address the real differences between Catholic and Protestant theologhy – this is only knee-jerk anti-Catholicism. “The tapes are not even worth listening to for the quality of dialouge or oration. My advice is to anyone receiving the tapes is to dump them.”
On 16th December I was then contacted by a reporter from the main Roman Catholic daily newspaper the Irish News which is widely read in the whole of Ireland both North and South. Again I was very reluctant to give any information and requested that any article he might print would be ‘low profile. His response was to publish a FRONT PAGE article the following day and a copy is shown below along with a ‘corrective’ letter which I sent to the paper. As a result of this article I was contacted by an Irish Language TV channel in the South of Ireland and they recorded a short interview with me which was broadcast on Thursday l8th December. In addition no less than 5 radio stations (1 in Belfast, 2 in Dublin, 1 in Co.Clare and 1 in Co.Sligo) contacted me and I was interviewed live about the outreach. I had tremendous time and liberty to highlight Rome’s deficient ‘gospel’ and to declare the full sufficiency of Christ’s saving work.
The radio station in Co.Clare had a priest present in the studio to discuss matters with me and I have written to him and sent him more material. Please remember Brendan in your prayers. All the interviews have been recorded and are available on audio (about 50 minutes in total) price £2.00 including postage. In total follow-up letters and additional materials were sent to 37 priests and verbal witness was given to about 8 priests who phoned. In the wake of the Irish News article I was reminded of what Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20 “ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.” Following the Irish Catholic article I was much strengthened by the thoughts of C.H.Spurgeon on “It is enough for the disciple that he be as His Master” Matthew 10v25 as found in ‘Morning and Evening’ (evening – l0th November). Space prevents me quoting but if you have the book do read them.
Evangelical Bid to Convert Priests
By Niail Blaney [Irish News]
A PROTESTANT evangelical group is sending tapes to every priest in Ireland in an atte,pt to turm them away from Rome. Carryduff-based Take Heed Ministries is also targetting the Irish bishops with a book and recordings of former clerics who have shunned Catholicism.
Many outraged clergy who have received the book – Far From Rome. Near To God- immediately ripped it up and binned it. It was accompanied by a covering letter with the name of each individual priest. It reads: “dear Fr….I hope you enjoy this as a gift.”
The ministry has used the latest edition of the Irish ‘Catholic Directory, which lists the name and address of every priest in the country and even sent tapes to Irish clergy living abroad. The group’s Cecil Andrews said it hopes to have sent out more than 11,000 tapes within the next 10days. It started the’conversion drive in April.
There are two tapes for each of the 5,600 Catholic clergy in Ireland. They feature recordings of testimonies of ex-priests who turned away from Rome. Many were also sent the book. subtitled The Testimony of 50 converted Catholic but priests. It was written by former Dominican priest Richard Bennett.
It says: “.Jus as many Levetical priests became obedient to Biblical faith in apostolic times, there are still many whose eyes are opened to how valueless is the Roman ‘cloth.’
“The testimony of these men will cause readers to ask whether what the Church of Rome professes to give to people is actually true.”
The book lists ‘sources for assistance’ all over the world, from the United States to Europe and South Africa. Also listed are the South East Antrim Reformation Movement in Monkstown on the outskirts of Belfast, the Evangelical Protestant Society in Belfast. The Irish Christian Mission in Lambeg. Co Antrim. and Take Heed Ministries.
One Belfast priest described the book as “anti-Catholic” and said it was ‘profoundly offensive”. “These people are sending this to every Catholic priest and bishop in Ireland. I threw my copy away.” Another cleric said: “I qot two of the tapes through the cover post, addressed to me specitically. A number of other priests in the parish have also received the tapes and the book. One of them found it very depressing and ripped it up.” It is understood many other Catholic clergy were hurt and saddened after being sent the unsolicited tapes and literature.
Last night Mr Andrews said he was reluctant to publicise activities of Take Heed Ministries and said it was “simply a matter between myself and the Lord”. He said “Initially the priests received the tapes with a covering letter. Some priests have responded to the initiative. “I feel that I perfer not to comment on this exercise because it is something between myself and the Lord and the men [priests] concerned. It is not done through any maliciousness – its done with the best of Christian intentions.”
“We have been working throught the Irish Catholic Directory which gives the details of all the priests in Ireland – all 5,600 of them. Some of them would be overseas but the vast majority of them are based in the north and south and we hope to have reached all of them within 10 days. “The feedback from priests has been of a variable nature, if I can put it that way. Priest are free to listen to the tapes or dump them in the bin, but they are sent with the best of Christian intentions,” said Mr Andrews.
Letter to Irish News from Cecil Andrews
17th December 1997
I should like publicly to correct a numer of inaccuracies in the front page report (17th December) by Nail Blaney ‘Evangelical bid to covert priests.’ The ministry of ‘Take Heed’ is not “targetting the Irish bishops with a book” – if the book ‘Far from Rome’ is being circulated en masse it is not being sent out by ‘Take Heed.’ No covering letter from ‘Take Heed’ includes the words “Dear Fr….I hope you enjoy this as a gift.” Concering the cost of the project I did not say “it had been a costly exercise” but simpl;y agreed with Mr Blaney’s suggestion to me that quite a lot of cost would have been involved.
Your servant for truth
The fact that all the tapes have been sent to the priests is by no means the end of this outreach even though the fund is now closed. The seed of the gospel has been sown and now we must pray that others may have opportunity to water it and above all we pray that God will be pleased to give an increase. To illustrate this truth let me refer back to a ‘prayer point’ listed in my newsletter of June 1994. ‘Point 1’ read as follows –
“Please pray for Natalie, a Mormon girl with whom I have had correspondence and to whom a tape and literature has been sent.”
For a period of time after that Natalie met with my sister in Christ, Sharon Ferguson who is herself a converted Mormon. For almost 2 years Sharon has had no contact with Natalie but in December she received a Christmas card from Natalie which said –
“I just would like you to know that Stephen [Natalie’s boyfriend] and I got saved on the lst December and we are rejoicing with the free gift Jesus gave us. If I can ever help in your work against cults…then please let me know.”
To all who prayed for Natalie I return humble thanks and exhort you to pray in like fashion for salvation blessings amongst the priests contacted.
Reformation Rally – Saturday 14th March 1998
I made mention of this proposed rally in my last newsletter and enclosed with this newsletter is the leaflet giving full details of what has been planned. As you will see advance registration is required and I trust that if you are able to come we will see you there and if you can encourage others to come that will be much appreciated. In the light of the gathering speed of ecumenical compromise and statements such as the ‘ECT – GIFT OF SALVATION’ which was mentioned in the lead article I believe this gathering will (DV) be most timely.
“Crossing The Tiber” – ‘A Bridge Too Far’
One of the priests contacted during `the outreach sent me a book called “Crossing The Tiber – Evangelicals Discover The Historic Church.” The book is written by Stephen K. Ray and on the back cover we read
‘Stephen K.Ray was raised in a devout Loving Baptist family. HIs father was a deacon and Led Bible studies. Steve himself was very involved in the Baptist Church as a teacher of biblical studies…When a best friend, an Evangelical Pastor, converted to the Catholic Church, Steve and his wife decided to investigate the claims of the Catholic Church….After hundreds of hours studying…they were convinced that the Roman Catholic Church was the Church founded by Christ and they were received into the Church on Pentecost Sunday in 1994.’
The book is divided into 3 sections – Section 1 deals with Mr Day’s spiritual pilgrimage’ which eventually led him into the Roman Catholic church. Section 2 examines baptism and Section 3 deals with the eucharist.
I want to highlight the role played by the eucharist in Mr Ray’s ‘conversion.’ On page 82 we read of tapes which Mr Ray had been given and driving home on New Year’s Eve 31st December 1993 after visiting friends where they “sipped champagne [p81] he tells us “we popped them into the tape deck. PETER KREEFT and Thomas Howard were telling the tale of their Fundamentalist Protestants backgrounds, their godly families and their eventual conversions to the Church…When the last tape came to an end I turned to Janet…I calmly declared ‘I am a Catholic’-..The sense of having ‘arrived’ filled my whole being…[p83] If I went through with this whole thing it meant I would have to join the Catholic Church – I would have to go to Mass! I had been told horror stories about the Mass: pagan worship, the recrucifixion of Christ.”
On Sunday morning 2nd January 1994 Mr Ray and his wife went to their first Catholic Mass and on pages 84-86 he describes it in these terms –
“About halfway into the liturgy I suddenly realized that this exact same liturgy …was being celebrated around the world…To intensify our experience even further we realized that the same liturgy is going on continuously in heaven before the throne of God. I was familiar enough with the Book of Revelation and its detailed explanation of the altar, the Lamb, the incense, the singing and the worship to see the clear connection…The risen Christ, the Lamb of God, the Bread of Life was here, right on the altar in the form of bread and wine! We were partaking of an eternal event something that transcended space and time…I understood that we were aIl being transported up to the very royal chambers of God Almighty and that in his mercy and grace he had brought the heavenly liturgy and the slain Lamb right down into our very presence….The people around as were raising their hands to the Lord Jesus…These were supposed to be pagans and statue worshipers, idolaters and the ‘unsaved’…,Janet and I have never gotten over the experience of this first Mass.”
These writings are awash with dangerous and diabolical confusion. To liken the scene around the “golden altar” in heaven (Revelation chapters 6,8&9) to the Roman Catholic Mass is to totally misrepresent the truth of God’s Word. The scene in heaven is a picture of ‘life’ and ‘praise.’ The Catholic Mass is a place of ‘death’ and ‘propitiation.’ Paul tells us that “Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more” (Romans 6v9) and Christ Himself said to John “I am he that liveth and was dead and behold I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1v18) The Mass it is claimed is a sacrifice TO OBTAIN redemption “in the divine sacrifice of the eucharist the work of our redemption IS accomplished” ( Vat.II: vol 1: page 1) Contrast that with the praise for Christ and Calvary “Worthy is the Lamb that WAS slain” “for thou WAST slain and HAST redeemed us to God by thy blood” (Revelation 5:12&9). Are those attending Mass ‘idolaters?’ The answer is an unquestionable ‘YES!’ Listen to the command of Trent given to this most holy sacrament in veneration the worship of latria which is due to the true God’ [Session 13: chapter5]
In heaven Christ is the focus of attention whereas at the Mass the robed priests are the focus as the New Catholic Catechism describes in paragraph 1566 ‘acting in the place of Christ…in the sacrifice of the Mass THEY make present again and apply…the unique sacrifice of the New Testament.’
Mr and Mrs Ray are just the latest in a growing list of so-called ‘Evangelicals’ who have been dupes into Roman Catholicism with ‘The Eucharist’ playing a major role in their eventual ‘conversion.’ Earlier I mentioned the name Peter Kreeft and his book ‘Ecumenical Jihad.’ He wrote ‘I was totally bowled by the discovery that every description of early Christian worship centered on ‘THE EUCHARIST’ and that the real Presence was universally assumed long before it was defined…THE POWER THAT WILL REUNITE THE CHURCH AND WIN THE WORLD IS EUCHARISTIC ADORATION.’ On the back cover of this book CHARLES COLSON wrote ‘Peter Kreeft is one of the premier apologists in America today, witty, incisive and powerful. On the front lines in today’s culture war, Kreeft is one of our most valiant intellectual warriors.’ J I PACKER Wrote ‘This racy little book opens up a far-reaching theme. With entertaining insight Kreeft looks into the attitudes, alliances and strategies that today’s state of affairs requires of believers. Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox alike need to ponder Peter Kreeft’s vision of things — preferably in discussion together. What if he is right?’
I made reference on page 6 to the Ex-Catholics For Christ conference in Los Angeles at which I spoke and those taking part were united in the view that the utterances of so called ‘Evangelicals’ like Colson and Packer represent as great a problem as the false ‘gospel’ of Roman Catholicism.
I’m enclosing an order form relating to tapes of the conference which may be obtained from ‘TBC PO Box 7019 Bend OR 97708-7019 USA’ – the videos are available on the American NFST system and the European/Australian /S.African PAL. system – BE SURE TO SPECIFIY ‘PAL’ WHEN ORDERING IF THAT’S YOUR SYSTEM!