Dear praying friends,
As you will read in the first article we had a very stimulating ministry visit by Pastor Gary Gilley [thank you for all your prayers] and it was evident that his diagnosis of the problem that much of professing Christianity is afflicted with today is centred on ‘the heart’. What I mean by that is that, in much of today’s apparently ‘blossoming’ and ‘successful’ Christianity, the very ‘heart of the gospel’ has been removed in favour of ‘another gospel’. This new ‘gospel’ is all about ‘self’ and is ‘justified by men and women’. But truly found at ‘the heart of the gospel’ are Christ and the truth of ‘men and women being justified’ by God. Enclosed with this newsletter are copies of 2 very helpful leaflets that in one, identify the problem found at ‘the heart’ of the ‘gospel’ proclaimed in today’s ‘Market-Driven’ churches and in the other, restate the glorious biblical truth of God’s ‘justification’ of guilty sinners. Also enclosed is a leaflet with 2 emails from Pastor Jerry Moser of Bayou Du Large Baptist Church in Louisiana. Many of you sent contributions to our appeal for Jerry and the fellowship there as they coped with the damage caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I trust you will be as thrilled as we have been to see how God has gloriously used these difficult trials for the furtherance of His gospel amongst a very needy [spiritually and materially speaking] people. Margaret and I once more thank you for all your much-appreciated support.
Your servant for Christ
Gary Gilley’s ministry visit to Northern Ireland
During his ministry visit to Northern Ireland, Pastor Gary Gilley spoke on 20 occasions and also managed to fit in a local radio interview during his trip that lasted from 19th March until 4th April. On all but 2 occasions he spoke on the topic ‘Today’s church is changing: What on earth is emerging?’ Pastor Gilley focused on 2 movements in particular that have been or are impacting greatly on the changing face of the modern church. He addressed first the ‘seeker sensitive’ or ‘user friendly’ church movement that originally surfaced with Robert Schuller, was then propelled forward by Bill Hybels of Willow Creek and today is best exemplified by Rick Warren’s ‘purpose driven’ movement. He identified the ‘fault lines’ associated with this approach to ‘doing Church’. Rather than beginning with what God’s Word says on the subject these groups preferred the ‘market-survey’ approach. Having then established what the ‘unchurched’ [their ‘user-friendly’ term for unbelievers] wanted both in a Church and a ‘God’ they then set about giving them their heart’s desires and in the process manipulated the Word of God [or bad translations or paraphrases of it] to ‘baptise’ their form of church that eventually emerged. The problem of course is that a church that meets the ‘heart’s desires’ of unsaved people doesn’t address the real problem of their ‘heart’ which according to God’s Word is described as “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” [Jeremiah 17:9]. These ‘seeker sensitive’ churches begin with a ‘felt needs’ philosophy [find out what people want]. They then adopt a ‘market-driven strategy [try to sell a ‘gospel’ that addresses the ‘felt needs’]. To do this they come up with ‘another gospel’ [one that markets many of the benefits of being a Christian as the ‘gospel’]. In proclaiming this other ‘gospel’ they bypass the heart of the real ‘gospel’, which addresses sinful man’s need of forgiveness and righteousness from God.
Pastor Gilley told how Rick Warren had become so well known in America that he had been invited to write a monthly article in a secular magazine called ‘Ladies Home Journal’ which is read by millions of ‘unchurched’ ladies and probably a few hundred thousand of their husbands. In the March 2005 article Rick Warren took the theme ‘Learn to Love Yourself’ and set forth 5 ‘truths’ which supposedly would improve your self-image. They were ‘accept yourself’; ‘love yourself’; ‘be true to yourself’; ‘forgive yourself’ and ‘believe in yourself’. All 5 of these ‘truths’ actually run contrary to the instruction given in Scripture and in fact are identified in 2 Timothy 3:2 as being characteristic of unbelievers in the last days.
Rick Warren’s improper use of scripture, particularly in his book ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ was highlighted and one quotation from his constant use of the unreliable paraphrase ‘The Message’ by Eugene Peterson was given by way of illustration.
I have a helpful critique available on ‘THE MESSAGE’ that was compiled by Noah W Hutchings and will gladly send a copy to all who request it
The last portion of Pastor Gilley’s talk focussed on what has been called the ‘emerging’ church. The ‘Godfather’ of the movement is American Brian McLaren who has close ties with Steve Chalke – McLaren endorsed Steve Chalke’s controversial book ‘The Lost Message of Jesus’ and has just published his own book called ‘The Secret Message of Jesus’. These men are heading up a movement that is still evolving but which has virtually abandoned all that has historically been perceived as Christian/Biblical/Gospel truth. They are seeking to cater for a post-modern generation that believes there is no such thing as absolute/universal truth so that immediately puts them in conflict with the Lord Jesus Christ who declared Himself to be “the truth” [John 14:6] and who identified God’s Word as “truth” [John 17:17].
Many identified with this ‘emerging’ group are abandoning the worldly ‘seeker sensitive’ approach and are going back to what they view as the ‘vintage’ church. Unfortunately their journey in many cases has only taken them back as far as mediaeval, mystical Roman Catholicism and they are re-introducing practices associated with that, such as darkened rooms and the use of candles, incense, icons and then outside, labyrinth prayer walks and stations. Truth is not what these people are seeking but some mystical experience that they are told is ‘God’.
- A DVD of Pastor Gilley’s talk can be ordered from
- ‘Take Heed’ Publications
- 29 Edengrove Park, Ballynahinch, BT24 8AZ, Northern Ireland
- The price is £8.00 and includes UK postage.
- Alternatively it can be ordered through the
- ‘Take Heed’ website on www.takeheed.net
A limited number of Gary Gilley’s excellent book ‘THIS LITTLE CHURCH WENT TO MARKET’ can still be obtained from us at a special discounted price of £5-50 [this includes postage etc]
- Steve Chalke’s hypocrisy and heresy
- ‘rise up’ to new heights on ‘Resurrection Day’
00On Sunday morning, 16 April 2006, BBC 1 Television broadcast a programme from the ‘Spring Harvest’ festival in Minehead called ‘He is risen’. The guest presenter and preacher was none other than Steve Chalke whose appearance on this programme raised his ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘heresy’ up to new heights – heights that unfortunately would have been broadcast into millions of homes in the UK. Probably many viewers would have been unaware of his ‘hypocrisy’ but Steve Chalke himself would have been fully aware of it as he listened to, and who knows, perhaps even sang some of the words of some of the hymns that were included in the programme.
STEVE CHALKE’S HYPOCRISY
Given Steve Chalke’s public denial of ‘Substitutionary Atonement’ by Christ on the cross and his denial of the biblical truth that this was in fact ‘Penal Substitution’ – the Father punishing His sinless Son as a substitute for sinners so that they, through faith alone in Christ [crucified] alone might be fully justified by God [released permanently from every penalty and punishment due to them because of sin] – IT WAS hypocritical of Steve Chalke to be both a presenter of and preacher at a meeting where these words were sung. The opening hymn of the programme was ‘How great thou art’ and verse 3 of that lovely hymn reads as follows –
- And when I think that God,
- His Son not sparing
- Sent Him to die,
- I scarce can take it in,
- That on the cross, my burden [the punishment by God for my sin] gladly bearing
- He bled and died to take away my sin [penal/substitutionary atonement]
Later in the programme, the hymn ‘In Christ alone’ was sung and the second half of verse 2 reads as follows –
- ‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
- The wrath of God was satisfied [penal substitution]
- For every sin on Him was laid [penal/substitutionary atonement]
- Here in the death of Christ I live [salvation by Christ’s death]
Not only was it hypocritical of Steve Chalke to be a willing participant and preacher in a programme where such theologically correct words were sung in his presence but it would have been ultra-hypocritical of him to join in with the singing of these words. Whether or not he did I cannot tell as there were no camera shots of him during the singing of these hymns but perhaps someone will be able to ask him what he actually did during the singing of the quoted words of these hymns.
STEVE CHALKE’S HERESY
Moving on from his ‘hypocrisy’ I want now to focus on his ‘heresy’. When you keep in mind Steve Chalke’s denial of what actually happened on the cross it sheds a whole new understanding of what he said in his ‘sermon’. He began his ‘sermon’ by mentioning his ‘friend Tony Campolo’ who according to Steve Chalke is ‘a brilliant preacher’ and of how he had popularised the saying ‘It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming’ [Steve Chalke during his ‘sermon’ whipped up almost frenzied reaction from the audience by getting them to repeat this phrase many times during the course of his ‘sermon’]. For most Christians we would understand this saying as meaning that the events of the day of Christ’s crucifixion seemed at first to be a disaster. However subsequent events would go on to show the error of such thinking and, as I will explain later, the day of Christ’s crucifixion should be a day of great rejoicing for God’s people. This aspect of rejoicing has been emphasised by the Lord Himself who commands us to remember His crucifixion and the events of that day as we meet around His table to break bread and drink wine. The following are some extracts from Steve Chalke’s ‘sermon’
‘The truth is this and Easter Sunday is all about this, it doesn’t end here [the crucifixion], it does not end here. The message of Jesus is this, the message of Easter Sunday is this, it doesn’t end with despair, it doesn’t end with humiliation, it doesn’t end here, the message of Easter is this, it ends with resurrection, it ends with hope, it ends with forgiveness, it ends with liberty, there is a new beginning, there is a new beginning, the message of Easter…
At this point Steve Chalke related an amusing story of a foreigner on the London Underground who, no matter how hard he looked at the map in his diary, couldn’t figure out where he was – in other words, according to Steve Chalke this man was ‘lost’ – and the reason he hadn’t been able to figure out where he was was because the map in his diary was actually of the Paris Metro. Steve Chalke then continued –
Psalm 24 says “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”. When we live our lives in God’s world as though God wasn’t there we’re going to get lost. When we live our lives as though Easter Sunday doesn’t exist, we’re going to get lost, we’re going to end up in despair, we’ll be overcome, overwhelmed by grief, overwhelmed by tragedy and the pain and the suffering of life. We cannot survive, we need Easter Sunday because Easter Sunday says a different word to us – it says that Jesus is risen from the dead, there is hope in the universe, God is on our side [loud applause]. Good Friday, Good Friday was a disaster, a dying God on a cross is no God, a dying Saviour is no Saviour, a dying Saviour is no Saviour. Jesus gasping for air, gasping for breath, gasping for water, gasping for dignity is no Saviour at all. The people are in despair, they’ve got their heads down, the people that have followed him think it was good, it was a good story, it was a great story, but this is the end of the road, there is no way forward. But the message of Easter Sunday is this is not where it ends – it doesn’t end here. Sunday is coming. Sunday is coming.
In this portion of his ‘sermon’ Steve Chalke has painted a picture of the despair that the followers of Jesus might well have conjured up in their minds as they watched the crucifixion unfold – indeed we do know that this was precisely the despair that some of them experienced as I will show shortly. Steve Chalke has painted ‘Friday’ as being a day of despair but by what he then goes on to say Steve Chalke wants to immediately correct any possible ‘dead-end’ thinking about Christ having been crucified. In his sermon he has painted a bleak portrait of that event but instead of taking time to explain Christ’s crucifixion and to give a biblical explanation of what really and gloriously happened on the cross he instead turns all attention to the resurrection and identifies it as being our real source of ‘hope’ and he then takes time to explain the nature of that ‘hope’. Steve Chalke said –
‘When Jesus rises from the dead, not just in the hearts of his followers, but in actuality, as fact, he reverses the curse, he reverses the curse of death and despair
Comment by Cecil: 1st Corinthians 15: 20-26 tells us “But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept…But every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end…For he must reign till [future] he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be [future] destroyed is death”
On Friday, on Friday we feel as though there is no way forward but this is not how it ends, this is not how it ends. Sunday is coming! On Friday we can feel that there is no hope for us as individuals but this is not how it ends. On Friday we’re in pain, in suffering but this is not where it ends. Sunday is coming!’ [Loud cheers].
When the cheering died down Steve Chalke then went on to make some personal applications for the listening audience in relation to what he had been saying – to explain or clarify the ‘hope’ that he sees coming from Sunday.
‘On our Fridays we wonder about our job, redundancy, our marriage failing, our relationships broken, our money issues, our scares over health, coping with life itself. On Friday we can feel lonely, forgotten, depressed, our friends have abandoned us, life just doesn’t seem worth living and some of us live at Friday even though it’s Easter Sunday. We’re still at Friday, we’re still struggling but here is the message of Jesus that resounds across history. Here is the message of Jesus that changes the world. Here is the message of Jesus that changes the universe. We are not on our own. We are not alone. God is with us. We are not abandoned, because it was Friday, but Sunday is coming. There is hope for us all’.
Earlier in relation to Steve Chalke’s telling of the story of the man on the London Underground I underlined where he stated that the man was ‘lost’ and then he went on to warn listeners about how they too could end up ‘lost’. Here we see that for Steve Chalke being ‘lost’ is to be ignorant of ‘the message’ that he claims emanates from the events of ‘Sunday’ and so I have also underlined this ‘message’ of Steve Chalke. As you will see there is no mention or proclamation of people being ‘lost’ because they are unregenerate, unrepentant, unconverted and still “dead in trespasses and sins” [Ephesians 2:1]. Friends, this is ‘another gospel which is not another” [Galatians 1:6-7]. After careful study this is my conclusion –
‘For Steve Chalke, the resurrection of Christ has apparently rescued the mission of Christ from the disaster and despair of the death of Christ instead of, as the bible teaches, the resurrection of Christ being God’s vindication of His acceptance of the sacrificial and atoning death of His Son. Christ’s loud cry on the cross “It is finished”, at which the veil of the Temple was rent in two, was a cry of victory, not a cry of defeat!’
Earlier I wrote ‘the day of Christ’s crucifixion should be a day of great rejoicing for God’s people’. There was, at its time, wrong thinking about the crucifixion of Christ as was shown for instance in the story of the 2 downcast disciples on the road to Emmaus [see Luke 24:13-32]. However when Christ Himself joined them and explained to them, by His teaching from the Old Testament scriptures, just what had happened on the cross [penal/substitutionary atonement to save sinners] then they realised that the crucifixion, far from being a disaster, had in fact been a glorious redemptive triumph. It had been the culmination of all that God had promised, in the Old Testament, to accomplish through His Messiah and they rejoiced [their hearts ‘burned’ within them] when they understood what had truly been accomplished by Christ’s crucifixion. When properly understood, genuine Christians join with the Apostle Paul in saying “God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Galatians 6:14]. But Steve Chalke in his ‘sermon’ focused on man’s perceived ‘felt needs’ [man’s worries about loneliness, finances, health etc] as being the important and over-riding problems that Christ’s resurrection can deal with instead of focusing, as Christ did with the 2 on the road to Emmaus, on how His crucifixion had dealt with man’s greatest need – his need of having his sins forgiven by God and of being clothed in the very righteousness of God. The reason Steve Chalke focuses on every need other than that caused by man’s sin is that he does not accept the biblical truth that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was a “propitiation” of God’s just wrath and anger against man’s sin – please remember that according to Chalke God is only a God of love and nothing else – and that Christ’s sacrifice was also an “expiation” of man’s guilt before God because of man’s sin. As far as Steve Chalke is concerned, everyone in God’s world [and presumably this was his reason for quoting Psalm 24] is now automatically back ‘in harmony’ with God [God’s ‘curse’ has apparently been reversed because of ‘Sunday’] and our problem is that we don’t live in the light of this supposed ‘lost message of Jesus’. The heresy of Steve Chalke that he was peddling here is best summed up on pages 98-99 of his book ‘The Lost Message of Jesus’
‘The lost and revolutionary heart of Jesus’ message is simply this. God accepts us as we are, without judgement or condemnation and gradually through his love and acceptance, draws us ever closer to understanding and living out his shalom in our lives. IN OTHER WORDS ACCEPTANCE PRECEDES REPENTANCE – NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND’ [My mphasis]
The following verses, just some of many that could be quoted, identify what Steve Chalke has written here as being nothing less than a false ‘gospel’ that is under the very curse of God [see Galatians 1:6-9]. Steve Chalke wrote ‘acceptance precedes repentance’ – God’s infallible word declares –
As Peter preaches in Jerusalem he says in Acts 3:18-19 “But those things which God had before shown by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer [Peter is referring to the penal/substitutionary atonenment of Christ that was pictured and foretold in the Old Testament by all of God’s prophets] he hath so fulfilled [through Christ’s crucifixion on the cross]. REPENT therefore and BE CONVERTED, that your sins may be blotted out”.
As Paul preached in Athens he boldly proclaimed the truth of the living God, which stood in stark contrast to the ‘dead idols’ that were worshipped there as ‘gods’ and in the light of the truth of this living God that he proclaimed he said in Acts 17:30 “And the times of this ignorance God overlooked, but now COMMANDETH ALL MEN everywhere TO REPENT”.
It is most important to note, in the light of what we are considering, that these commands by God for men to “repent” were made AFTER the resurrection of Christ, which, according to what Steve Chalke has implied, absolves men from any ‘judgment or condemnation’. This lie is further exposed by what Paul went on to say in Acts 17:31 where we read “Because [following God’s command to all men to repent] he [God] hath appointed a day in which he will JUDGE the world in righteousness by that man [the Lord Jesus Christ] whom he hath ordained; concerning which he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead”.
In a little Bible Study book on Acts, R P Martin, M.A., Ph.D wrote concerning this verse ‘As Lord of history and of the Universe, it is His design to bring the world to its consummation at the final day of reckoning. The proof of this final judgment has been given in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead’.
According to this verse, Christ’s resurrection actually guarantees and underpins God’s future JUDGMENT of the world – it does not absolve all people from future judgment as Steve Chalke’s false teaching implies.
Earlier I made reference to ‘the Lord Himself who commands us to remember His crucifixion and the events of that day as we meet around His table to break bread and drink wine’. It is my sincere hope that Steve Chalke does not compound his ‘heresy’ by participating in Communion or the Lord’s Supper. That ordinance from the Lord would, in Steve Chalke’s understanding and teaching, be calling on us to remember a day of death, disaster and despair and surely what Saviour in His right mind would want His followers by their actions to draw attention to such a humiliating ‘Friday’. After all, according to Steve Chalke, the much more significant event that, ‘changed both the world and the universe’ happened on ‘Sunday’ and yet, in the Lord’s wisdom, it is the events of ‘Friday’ that He calls His people to “show” [1 Corinthians 11:26]. In Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words we read this concerning the meaning of “show” in 1 Corinthians 11:26 – “in the last passage the partaking of the elements is not a ‘showing forth’ of it but a PROCLAMATION of it” [Emphasis mine].
It would appear that Steve Chalke foresees no problems for those who die unregenerate, unrepentant and unconverted for, according to his teaching, we are all already ‘accepted by God as we are, without judgement or condemnation’. If the crucifixion of Christ, according to Steve Chalke, pales into such insignificance in the light of the resurrection of Christ, we must wonder why those early Saints of God wrote such inspired words like these –
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us who are saved it is the power of God” [1 Corinthians 1:18].
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block and unto the gentiles foolishness. But unto them who are called both Jews and Greeks, Christ [crucified] the power of God and the wisdom of God [1 Corinthians 1:23-24].
“And I brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” [1 Corinthians 2:1-2]
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver and gold…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” [1 Peter 1:18-19]
“because Christ also suffered for us…who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree” [1 Peter 2:21&24]
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” [1 Peter 3:18]
“Behold the [sacrificial] lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world” [John 1:29]
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” [John 10:14-15].
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” [1 John 4:10]
“John, to the seven churches…Grace be unto you…And from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness and the first begotten of the dead…Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood” [Revelation 1:4-5]
“And they sang a new song saying, Thou art worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood” [Revelation 5:9]
The writer to the Hebrews:
“But Christ…neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us…How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” [Hebrews 9:14]
“Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” [Hebrews 9:28]
“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” [Hebrews 10:12&14].
“God…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…who…when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” [Hebrews 1:1-3].
Steve Chalke has, by his teaching, so diluted and watered down the significance and saving power of the shed blood of Christ [in reality he is preaching what I would describe as ‘an anaemic gospel’] that he would do well to ‘take heed’ to these warning verses in Hebrews 10: 28-29 “He that despised Moses’ law, died without mercy under two or three witnesses; Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath counted the blood of the covenant, with which he [Christ] was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace”.
These verses warn of the intensity of the suffering in hell for those who treat with unbelieving contempt the saving power of Christ’s shed blood on the cross of Calvary.
The hypocritical behaviour and heretical teaching of Steve Chalke should engender a prayerful intensity in the hearts and lives of God’s true, believing people.
The ‘ecumenical wizardry’ of Jesuit Paul Symonds
In recent years in Northern Ireland the focus for much despicable anti-Catholic behaviour and activity has been centred around and on the Roman Catholic chapel situated at Harryville near Ballymena. Clearly unregenerate, so-called ‘loyalists’, [a political term for some claiming allegiance to Unionism] have perpetrated these unruly and destructive protests against both people and property. It was into this volatile situation that Rome ‘drafted’ a priest by the name of Paul Symonds and from recent reports he has clearly been making significant contacts with those who represent some of the protesters on the political front, namely a group called the ‘Ulster Political Research Group’. The scope of his contacts with those on the other side of the ‘political divide’ was illustrated in a short article in the Belfast Telegraph of 11 March 2006 that stated ‘In recent times ‘Father’ Symonds has built up close links with the Harryville Ulster Scots Society. The Ulster Scots Society has worked closely with the Ulster Political Research Group to hammer out an initiative which will see the removal of a UDA [a loyalist paramilitary organisation] mural overlooking Harryville Chapel’. In the same article the level of his contacts with those on the other side of the ‘spiritual divide’ were also illustrated when the article reported ‘A Protestant church in Ballymena has agreed to make its car park available to Catholic parishioners using a nearby church. Harryville Presbyterian Church is making its car park available tonight to Mass-goers at the Church of Our Lady, the scene of a controversial loyalist picket. Harryville minister, the Rev John Finlay confirmed that the car park has been offered. Harryville parish priest ‘Father’ Paul Symonds also welcomed the scheme. “It is a very gracious gesture from Harryville Presbyterian Church,” he said’.
The Belfast Telegraph, Religion Correspondent, Alf McCreary also highlighted the ‘reconciling’ activities of ‘Father’ Symonds in his ‘The Life’ article of 4 February 2006. Mr McCreary wrote ‘it is uplifting to note how a Catholic priest has shown recently that a soft answer can turn away wrath and lead to a positive outcome. Last summer the Catholic chapel at Harryville in Ballymena was daubed with paint by loyalists. Curate in charge ‘Father’ Paul Symonds had come to the area only recently…but he was greatly encouraged by a generous offer from local Presbyterians to clean the mess…Last Saturday he told the story of the outcome to a large congregation during the successful Day of Prayer and Reflection at St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast and spoke to me later…’Father’ Symonds is hopeful about a more peaceful summer at Harryville this year but he is not complacent. “There is a need for continued dialogue and for great sensitivity” he said. Our hopes that this important example of bridge-building from both sides will hold firm in the months ahead. Cynics – and I am not one of them – might argue that only a gracious and deeply spiritual human being like ‘Father’ Symonds would have taken such an approach…Nevertheless, credit should be given where it is due…it takes courage for a priest to reach out constructively to those who have defaced his church’. Alf McCreary was clearly ‘smitten’ with the attitude and approach displayed by ‘Father’ Symonds’ in all of this. Let me reiterate once more, the actions taken against the Roman Catholic people of Harryville and their property deserve utter condemnation from all right-thinking people and Christians in particular. The efforts of ‘Father’ Symonds and others to defuse tensions are commendable but God’s people must never lose sight of the fact that Rome will use every situation to further the cause of ‘Mother Church’ and that of course is the avowed intention of those within her ranks known as ‘Jesuits’. My personal knowledge of ‘Father’ Symonds dates back to 1995 and what follows now is information in the form of a report that I prepared in 1999 and that I have on occasions shared with ministers when ‘Father’ Symonds has been located into their areas.
‘Father Paul Symonds
Whilst listening to Radio Ulster yesterday morning [8th August 1999] in the car on my way to Portglenone I listened to part of ‘Morning Service’ which came from the Radio Ulster studio and was conducted by ‘Father’ Paul Symonds. He informed listeners that he had recently moved from Newtownbreda to Newtownabbey and was living in an apartment. From this apartment he could see Glengormley Methodist Church and the local Church of Ireland church. He explained that ‘over the hill’ was the Catholic Church — St Mary’s on the Hill — and beyond that Carnmoney Presbyterian. Also close by but out of sight was Ballyhenry Presbyterian. He explained how he liked to worship in churches other than his own and to enjoy ‘fellowship’ with Christians from other denominations. This follows very much the pattern that he adopted whilst living in Newtownbreda. At that time he was a CC at the Catholic chapel in Carryduff [known as Drumbo parish] and on a previous broadcast service he made reference to their sister Christian church — Drumbo Presbyterian. In yesterday’s service Glengormley Methodist Youth Choir sang a number of pieces so obviously ‘Father’ Symonds is ‘courting’ that church closely.
Back in 1995 one invited Paul Symonds to take part in a debate with Rob Zins on the subject of ‘Getting to Heaven’. Why did I invite ‘Father’ Symonds? In October 1994 an interview by Derick Bingham with ‘Father’ Symonds was published in the Belfast Telegraph’ He was asked In your opinion can a person be sure they will get to heaven? His answer was as follows No, there is always the possibility of backsliding [Ezekiel 18:24] Heaven is a gift and it would be a sin of arrogance to presume that gift will be ours regardless of the way we have behaved in this world. He is clearly articulating the Roman Catholic party line.
Isn’t it interesting and perhaps significant that Derick Bingham, whose public, sad departure from the biblical command of ‘separation from spiritual error’, will be detailed in our September newsletter [DV], had personal contact with ‘Father’ Paul Symonds in the 1990’s.
In the service yesterday he prayed for those who had ‘died in faith’ and who were now in the ‘nearer’ presence of God. Listening you might have thought he meant ‘Heaven’ but this careful choice of words allowed scope for the Roman Catholic belief of ‘purgatory’ as it can represent the ‘nearer’ presence of God. The passage of scripture relating to the conversion of the Philippian jailer was read and he brought out several points about this man ‘coming to faith’. He stated words to this effect ‘this man expressed his coming to faith sacramentally through baptism’. We must bear in mind that Rome teaches resolutely ‘baptismal regeneration’ and Paul Symonds is a staunch advocate of such error. In the book published in 1998 by the ‘Evangelical Catholic Initiative’ called ‘Adventures in Reconciliation — 29 Catholic Testimonies’, Paul Symonds wrote ‘From my experience I have always believed that in my baptism in the Methodist Church [as an infant] I received the gift of new life and the Holy Spirit’ [p226]. Paul Symonds is engaged in ECUMENISM at the highest level. In 1996 my wife and I received an invitation from the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons to attend a prayer breakfast at Westminster. I was baffled as to why we had been invited to what was clearly an ecumenical event [e.g. the Roman Catholic MP David Alton was on the ‘sponsoring group’]. I wrote back thanking them but declining the invite. I also asked to be kept informed of future events. This is part of the reply I received — ‘We do not have any other events in London since this is the National Annual Breakfast. I understand that there are some similar events in different parts of the UK — Rev Paul Svmonds would probably know about any held in Ireland’.
Again isn’t it interesting that Derick Bingham attended this very same ecumenical 2002 National Prayer Breakfast event at Westminster when the ‘preacher’ was Anne Graham Lotz [Billy Graham’s daughter] and the meeting was first addressed by a Jewish Rabbi whom Derick Bingham described as ‘gifted’ – he may have been gifted ‘intellectually and academically’ but he was certainly not gifted ‘spiritually’ in the light of 2 John 9 “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God’.
During the debate on ‘Getting to Heaven’ Paul Symonds used much craftily constructed evangelical language but towards the end of the debate he openly rejected the biblical teaching that believers are clothed in ‘the imputed righteousness of Christ’. He did so by quoting from the writings of Jesuit, Henri Du Lubac in his book ‘Catholicism’, and the portion quoted was from the chapter entitled ‘Salvation Through The Church’ [pages 113-114]. Without doubt ‘Father’ Paul Symonds is probably THE leading figure and influence in Rome’s ecumenical push and I have over the years met several ministers or pastors who have been impressed by his use of scripture but AT HEART ‘Father Paul Symonds is a committed Roman Catholic. When I was preparing the advertising leaflets for the debate on ‘Getting to Heaven’ I asked Paul Symonds if I would include SJ [Society of Jesus — JESUITS] after his name. He said ‘no’ and claimed he was only a CC [Catholic Curate]. Why did I think that he was a Jesuit? An advert in the Belfast Telegraph of July 1990 listed 4 speakers scheduled for the Rostrevor Renewal Centre and one was Rev Paul Symons SJ — the spelling of the surname was different but the Belfast Telegraph frequently get things wrong. Incidentally another speaker Rev Neal Carlin was actually ‘Father’ Carlin. [Since preparing this report I have obtained a tape of the talk given by Paul Symonds at Rostrevor in which he gives his ‘testimony’ and in it he confirms he is a Jesuit and that as a Jesuit he was given the Society’s official ‘blessing’ to come to Northern Ireland to further (ecumenical) peace and reconciliation. Copies available upon request.] In June of this year  I spoke at a morning service in a Presbyterian church and in the course of conversation with the minister the name of Paul Symonds cropped up. This minister had met him personally whilst in charge of his previous church [close to Newtownbreda]. Without any prompting from me this minister said ‘Paul Symonds is a Jesuit — he told me so personally’. I believe ‘Father’ Paul Symonds is much more subtle than any other promoter of false ecumenism. I bear no personal animosity towards him [now that he has agreed never again to pray for my dead father in a Roman Catholic chapel as he did back in 1996 — I was told this by several Roman Catholic neighbours]. However I stand resolutely opposed to the false Roman Catholic ‘gospel’ that he promotes and that he claims is Christian:
Cecil Andrews – “Take Heed” Ministries – 9th August 1999.
Claimed Islamic ‘conversions’ through ‘visions & dreams’
In recent times, both through listening to a conference speaker and through receiving a ministry email circular, I have heard and read claims that many Muslims have supposedly been converted to Christ as a result of receiving ‘visions and dreams’. I must be honest and say that these claims worry me GREATLY and herewith is the text of an email that I sent in response to the ministry email circular that I received making such a claim.
Thank you for this story but I have some BIG problems with it in the light of the teaching of God’s Word, the Bible. I believe that Hebrews 1:1-2 teaches that God no longer appears or communicates in ‘divers manners’ as in times past such as ‘dreams and visions’. I believe that conversions since apostolic times come alone through ‘preaching’ [see 1 Corinthians 1:21] combined with the regenerating work of God the Holy Spirit and this absolute NECESSITY of preaching in order for people to be saved is reinforced by Paul in Romans 10:14-15.
This ‘vision’ in your article occurred in a ROMAN CATHOLIC setting and not a CHRISTIAN setting. The false religion of Islam owes much to a supposed ‘vision’ of Gabriel appearing to Mohammed. The Roman Emperor Constantine claimed a conversion to Christianity through a ‘vision’ on the eve of battle but his subsequent life showed little evidence of a genuine conversion and he laid the foundation for the religion that became Roman Catholicism – a diabolical mixture of Christianity and Paganism. Roman Catholicism itself is littered with ‘visions’ of a false Mary. Mormonism was founded upon ‘visions’ of Joseph Smith supposedly meeting God the Father and the Son. Seventh-day Adventism relies on ‘visions’ that Ellen White supposedly had of ‘The Holy of Holies’. Christian Science relies on ‘visions’ claimed by the mentally suspect Mary Baker Eddy. Charismatic excesses rely heavily on ‘visions and dreams’ like those claimed by the late Kenneth Hagin [promoter of the ‘health and wealth gospel’] and by others as in the 1994 so-called ‘Toronto Blessing’.
Have you any details of where….would have worshipped as a ‘Christian’ during his latter years in France – if it was as a Roman Catholic [as would appear likely in the light of what went before] then a ‘seducing spirit’ aiming to promote Roman Catholicism as ‘Christian’ sadly duped him. God’s Word warns of the folly of looking to ‘signs and lying wonders’ [2 Thessalonians 2:9] and so we do well to “take heed” [Matthew 24:4].
Your concerned friend in Christ
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries