Dear praying friends,
Well, after all the hype surrounding the arrival of a new millennium [a debatable point by the way] things are continuing pretty much as before. There is still “a time to be born and a time to die…a time to love and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace” [Ecclesiastes 4:2&8]. Nothing has changed because the heart of the natural, unregenerate man has not changed.
The only hope for a change of heart in man is still as it has been for the past 2000 years namely the true “gospel of Christ” [Romans 1:16]. With every passing day the darkness of error that would seek to snuff out “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” [2 Corinthians 4:4] seems to intensify and gain even more ground in the professing church that is supposed to be “the pillar and ground of the truth” [1 Timothy 3:15]. Despite the advances and acceptance of the cults, new age, ‘prosperity peddlers’, non-Christian faiths and especially Roman Catholicism together with false ecumenism the Lord’s promise still remains “I will build MY church” [Matthew 16:18]. Margaret and I want to thank you for all your past encouragement and support and covet your prayers as we seek to encourage people to “take heed that no man deceive you” [Matthew 24:4]
Your servant for Christ
CHRISTMAS DAY 1999 – THE QUEEN’S “MISTAKEN” MESSAGE
During her annual Christmas Day message the Queen highlighted the work of the ‘EMMERGENCY SERVICES’ – not just ‘at home’ but also abroad. She said “Earlier this year in Manchester I visited some of the ‘EMMERGENCY SERVICES’ whose responsibilities day in and day out are based on concern for others. As always they are on duty over these Christmas and New Year holidays. Some of these fire-fighters had gone well beyond Manchester to give assistance to others”
We then saw her talking to some of these firemen and viewing photographs they had taken whilst helping refugees in THE BALKANS earlier this year. She went on to say “They remind us of the responsibility of each and every one of us to show concern for our neighbours and those less fortunate than ourselves. I believe that this provides us with the direction and resolve required for the years ahead”.
Later she added, “At the centre of all our lives, today and tomorrow, must be the message of caring for others, THE MESSAGE AT THE HEART OF CHRISTIANITY AND ALL THE GREAT RELIGIONS. This message – “Love thy neighbour as thyself” may be for Christians 2000 years old but it is as relevant today as it ever was. I believe IT GIVES US THE GUIDANCE AND THE REASSURANCE WE NEED as we step over the threshold into the 21st century”.
Why have I referred to ‘THE QUEEN’S MISTAKEN MESSAGE’? When you examine what she said you discover these three points.
1. She declares that the message supposedly ‘at the heart of Christianity’ and of all the so-called ‘great religions’ is ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’. On this basis she is basically saying that Christianity and other religions should not be in conflict with each other.
2. She declares that this message of ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ should be ‘at the centre of all our lives’.
3. She declares that this message of ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ can give us ‘the guidance and the reassurance we need as we step over the threshold into the 21st century’.
How do I react to the ‘QUEEN’S MESSAGE’? I think my feelings could be summed up in 2 words IMMENSE SADNESS.
With a viewing audience of countless millions the Queen’s message of hope for the future MISSED CHRIST and MISSED THE CROSS. Her hopes for a brighter future are MAN CENTRED and not CALVARY CENTRED. Why has this happened? She has fallen victim to the false ‘SOCIAL GOSPEL’ of ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ and jettisoned the ‘SAVING GOSPEL’ of “Christ died for our sins”. If her ‘Mistaken Man-Centred Message’ were true then people should be “of all men most miserable”.
In answer to a question the Lord replied “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment [no reference to it by the Queen!] and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” [Matthew 22:37-39].
THIS IS NOT THE CHRISTIAN GOSPEL which is”the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” [Romans 1:16] but simply a summary of the10 commandments and Paul teaches that “by the deeds of the law there shall be no flesh justified in his for by the law is the knowledge of sin ” [Romans 3:20]
EMMERGENCY SERVICES’ come to save us from ‘mortal danger’ but the ‘ETERNAL SON’ came to save us from ‘immortal damnation’.
THE GOSPEL BY WHICH MEN ARE SAVED IS THAT “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures [1st Corinthians 15:3-4]
The message of hope for the future fell from the lips of Christ Himself “REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL” [Mark 1:15] and only with Christ and the gospel message of what He has done and not what we must do at the centre of our lives do we truly possess ‘GUIDANCE AND REASSURANCE AS WE STEP OVER THE THRESHOLD INTO THE 21ST CENTURY”
May God save our gracious Queen by bringing her to reject her ‘Mistaken Message’ and to embrace the ‘Messiah’s Message’.
This message that was posted to our ministry web site came to the attention of the local BBC Radio Ulster and so I was invited to be interviewed live ‘on air’ by them on 6 January. The interviewer – a well known ‘gospel-sceptic’ called David Dunseath was his usual forceful self but I have been much encouraged by the many responses I received [fax/phone-calls/e-mails/letters] to the interview which can be listened to on our ministry web site [Real Audio section].
Charles Colson and J I Packer reach new ‘Heights of Hypocrisy’
During my trip to England in 1999 I came across a recently published book called “Their blood cries out” written by Paul Marshall. It deals with modern-day persecution of professing Christians around the world. I have not read the book so cannot comment upon the content and so this article should not be construed as criticism of the book itself. Rather I want to comment upon 2 favourable endorsements printed on the book.
The first by CHARLES COLSON read as follows ‘We must feel a sense of moral outrage that Christians in this day and age are being sold into slavery and are being tortured for their faith’.
The second by J I PACKER read as follows ‘The escalating world repression of some hundreds of millions of Christians which this landmark survey documents thoroughly, is one of the worst evils of our time. For all who care about human rights, human suffering and helping the needy Marshall’s grim analysis is a must-read’.
To MR COLSON I would say that God’s true people feel a great sense of ‘outrage’ that millions of Roman Catholic people have been sold into the ‘slavery’ of the false system of Roman Catholicism thanks to the document [Evangelicals and Catholics Together – The Christian Mission for the Third Millennium – March 1994] drawn up by MR COLSON and ‘Father’ RICHARD NEUHAUS. Also if MR COLSON cared to check past history and present happenings he would discover that God’s true people have been and are being ‘tortured for their faith’ by this very system of Roman Catholicism that he is so eager to embrace as being Christian.
To MR PACKER I would say that one of the greatest ‘repressions’ perpetrated upon any group of people is the dogmatic teaching [false] and requirements [useless] of the Roman Catholic system upon its members and MR PACKER by his endorsement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together [both in America and Ireland] is guilty of aiding and abetting this unholy system which is ‘one of the worst evils of our time’.
Ecumenical “stones for bread” (Luke 11:11) in Ballymena
On 7 November 1999, Russell Birney, the minister of a large and popular [especially with young people from neighbouring congregations] Presbyterian Church in Ballymena preached a sermon based on Paul’s epistle to the Galatians. The first 90-95% of the sermon could not be faulted but the final section betrayed Mr Birney’s ecumenical zeal as he totally twisted his accurate biblical exposition of events with an application designed to serve the cause of false ecumenism.
As he began to draw the sermon to a conclusion Mr Birney said
‘Paul had been a missionary for 14 years and then God sent him to Jerusalem to check out the gospel to see if what he had been preaching was in agreement with what the Apostles were preaching. Yes Lord…I’ll go and I’ll take Barnabas and I’ll take Titus with me and they went to Jerusalem and they met Peter, James and John and had a private meeting with them. But something happened. Into that meeting there were a number of people who gatecrashed. They were the false teachers and they came up with the wonderful news that Titus hadn’t been circumcised and I‘m sure it was meant to have been a big shock to everybody but Paul says ‘I oppose them to their face, I didn’t give an inch to them’.
This was the error so strongly condemned by Paul in Galatians 1:6-9 where he referred to those who preached the added necessity of ‘religious ritual’ [circumcision] in order to be fully saved as preaching “another gospel which is not another”. Theodore Epp in his study on Galatians entitled ‘Flesh and Spirit in Conflict’ wrote
‘The language used by Paul…is on the surface confusing. The puzzle is cleared up for us however when we find out that Paul used 2 different Greek words that have been translated “other” and “another” in the English text. One word is ‘heteros’ which means ‘one of another kind’. The second word is ‘allos’ which means ‘one of the same kind’. So when we give full play to these meanings we find Paul saying to the Galatians “I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto a different kind of (heteros) gospel which is not another (allos) of the same kind”. Paul marvelled that these Christians had so soon accepted a ‘gospel’ which was so different in character and kind from the real gospel that it had no right to be designated ‘gospel’ at all’.
Mr Birney continued
‘Well the leaders of the church had it in their hands – would they demand that Titus be circumcised? No, they welcomed Titus without imposing any restrictions or requirements on him. They were big enough to see that God was bigger than their little ideas and do you know Peter and James and John were absolutely thrilled – over the moon we would say – over the moon at what God was doing and they said it to the delegation from Antioch – put it there – and they offered them the right hand of fellowship.
[Please note they offered the right hand of fellowship to brothers who had no time for or association with a system that constituted “another (different kind of) gospel”!]
…You see if we’re agreed on the gospel we can shake hands with a person even if God has called that other person in a different way to a different kind of work to a different emphasis. We can go to that person and we can say I recognise the gospel that you’re preaching and may the Lord bless you even if you take some others from me, you’re preaching the Word and that’s what matters’.
So far so good. Then Mr Birney goes on to relate how Paul challenged Peter because of his separation [through fear of the Judaisers] from the gentile converts and spoke of how
‘with great courage Paul rebuked him – what are you doing? What you are doing is not true to the gospel…you are saying to these gentile brothers you have to be circumcised before I will eat with you – you have to be circumcised before I will accept you as a Christian brother – it is no longer enough to be saved by grace you have first of all to become a Jew. You see the seriousness of that? Well if you do see the seriousness of that then you’ve got a problem as I’ve got a problem because God’s doing great things in our land today’.
NOW WE COME TO MR BIRNEY’S TWISTED AND FALSE ECUMENICAL APPLICATION OF THE ‘GALATIAN ERROR’.
‘God is saving the most unlikely people. God is saving people out of every denomination and none. God is laying His hand on the most unlikely, even we would say unworthy people and He’s bringing them into new relationships with His grace and in His grace and we have to face up to that. What if He saves some Roman Catholic people? Praise God you say – why do you say Praise God?
[Personally I say ‘praise God’ because He has saved them in spite of and not because of Roman Catholicism]
…but what if some of those people say – I don’t want to leave my church, I want to stay in there. You see there’s a group within the Roman Catholic Church called ‘Evangelical Catholics’. We’ve had them along speaking at a midweek service. We’ve had one of them along and we’ve been reading in the papers, in the letters columns and all the rest and from all that they write you cannot but say – Praise the Lord – Yes – Yes – Yes! There’s a tremendous danger that we say to those people – we’re delighted but we can’t accept you until you become Protestants. Now that’s the EXACT ANALOGY. I was speaking to one such and he said to me, he said ‘you know you people have been saying that it’s by grace that you are saved through faith and not of yourselves and now you’re saying to us that you have to add something to that in order for you to accept me as a brother in Christ – you have to come out of your church
[remember it’s the Roman Catholic Church]
before I will accept you as a brother in the Lord’. I think that’s something we have to wrestle with because this was the Galatian error. So we have to in some way work it out in order to preserve our purity not to commit the Galatian error and heresy. Let us pray.
THIS IS AN APPALLING MISAPPLICATION OF THE TRUTH AND TEACHING OF GOD’S WORD!
The ‘Galatian error’ was that of the Judaisers ‘requiring people to enter into a system of faith + works for salvation’ – a system that Paul condemned with “anathema”. The ‘Galatian error’ was not [as Mr Birney stated] believers today ‘requesting people to leave a system of faith + works for salvation’ as represented by the modern-day equivalent of the Judaisers namely Roman Catholicism.
In his book ‘Salvation, The Bible and Roman Catholicism’ former Roman Catholic, Bill Webster wrote ‘It is quite clear from this that in Roman Catholicism faith in Christ alone is not sufficient for salvation. It is also necessary that one keep the Ten Commandments, be baptised, become a member of the Roman Catholic faith and partake regularly of the sacraments. It is not Jesus alone but Jesus plus all these other things. Significantly all these other things are practically identical to the Judaiser’s system and teachings’. [p 91-92[. Mr Webster then goes on to list 15 practices/teachings held in common by the Judaisers and Roman Catholicism.
If Paul’s message to believers concerning the Judaisers was ‘Stay out of a false system of faith + works for salvation because it is accursed of God’ can anyone seriously doubt that his message to professing believers today who are wanting to stay in the Roman Catholic system of faith + works for salvation would be ‘Come out!’ In Ephesians 5:11 he wrote “and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them”
And God’s command of Revelation 18:4 still stands today as a guide to those who having been truly converted might consider staying within a system that proclaims a false gospel “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues”.
As for Mr Birney’s acceptance of the group known as Evangelical Catholics let me quote from their own leaflet ‘Evangelical Catholics are committed to a respect for and obedience to the teaching authority of the Pope and Bishops of the Catholic Church unless that obedience goes against one’s conscience as enlightened by Scripture and Church teaching’.
In the foreword [page 5] to the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church the Pope wrote concerning it ‘I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith’. Paragraph 1129 of that Catechism states ‘The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation’. If professing believers cannot see that this is the modern-day equivalent of the ‘Galatian error’ then there is something radically wrong with their spiritual eyesight.
The crunch question is this – do Evangelical Catholics accept the teaching of Paragraph 1129? If they do they are promoting a modern-day ‘Galatian Gospel’. If they don’t they should cease calling themselves Catholic for their own Roman Catholic Church condemns them with its own ‘anathema’. The Council of Trent [Session 7: Canon 4] declares ‘If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluous and that without them or without the desire of them men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification, though all are not necessary for each one, let him be anathema’
Until this problem [a problem that concerns the very essence of the gospel] is cleared up true believers should not extend the right hand of fellowship to those calling themselves Evangelical Catholics for to do so would be to disregard the commands of God already quoted regarding separation from error. It would also be to be guilty of Peter’s role in the ‘Galatian error’ as Paul explained in Galatians 2:18 “For if I build again the things which I destroyed [the need for religious ritual – circumcision] I make myself a transgressor”. By being willing to publicly fellowship with those who claim to be ‘Evangelical’ but still ‘Catholic’ [ie – still wedded to a false gospel] Mr Birney is guilty of the role played by Peter in the ‘Galatian error’.
Let me finish with 2 quotes. The first is from a book review written by Michael Cunningham who before his conversion was a Roman Catholic and a terrorist. The book reviewed was ‘Evangelical Catholics’ written by Keith Fournier a Roman Catholic. Mr Cunningham wrote ‘One cannot be a Romanist and an evangelical at the same time. They are mutually exclusive doctrinal systems, opposed on every essential and fundamental matter’. [Evangelical Times – December 1991]
The second quote is from a newsletter I wrote back in 1991 called ‘Evangelical Catholics – Are They?’ In the newsletter I referred to an exchange of correspondence I had had with Paddy Monaghan – spokesperson for the Evangelical Catholics. I wrote the following ‘If Mr Monaghan does not truly believe the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church…his group can no longer be classed as Catholics in the sense of Roman Catholics and in obedience to the Word of God should leave the false system of Roman Catholicism. Until he and his group do this then fellowship with them would not be possible.’ [Please note that I never called upon Mr Monaghan and his group to ‘become Protestants’. I simply called upon them to separate as the scriptures command from any system that proclaims a false ‘gospel’].
Such action is in obedience to the Word of God and is certainly not to be viewed as Mr Birney taught as the equivalent of the ‘Galatian error’. Rather Mr Birney is the one who stands guilty of such ‘error’ as he is himself disobeying the clear command of God’s Word by willingly fellowshipping with those who still claim to be Roman Catholics.
Ecumenical “lion” [1st Peter 5:8] sets its sights on ‘YOUTH’ Tony Campolo to spearhead ‘HISTORY MAKERS’ initiative
On Saturday 22nd January 2000, the Spires Conference Cente, Belfast played host to the launch of a large ‘ecumenical umbrella organisation’ known as ‘HISTORY MAKERS’. As you read on perhaps a more apt title for this alliance might have been ‘Reformation Wreckers’.
From their own web site we read the following –
1. What if every single student aged 14 and upwards could be given an attractively illustrated, jargon busting [has that expression triggered any alarm bells in you?] copy of St John’s gospel – the key to life and all its fullness.
2. What if young people from every background of denomination [how wide is ‘every’?] might rise to the History Makers Challenge – to see their lives and contribution count.
3. Could all the Christian [note the pre-supposition that ‘all’ the groups involved are ‘Christian’] organisations that reach out [with what for salvation? – God’s Gospel to be preached or Satan’s Sacramentalism to be performed?] to young people collaborate [“can two walk together except they be agreed” Amos 3:3] on a single project for just one year.
Commendable as the idea of circulating a copy of John’s gospel may seem it requires more. Paul did not instruct Timothy to “distribute the word” but rather he instructed him to “PREACH the word” [2 Timothy 4:2]. The Ethiopian eunuch had a copy of God’s Word but needed a FAITHFUL preacher to explain it to him as Philip did in Acts 8:35.
When you read the following list of organisations that are supporting this History Makers Challenge you will realise that if they were being faithful to their understandings of the gospel [some true, some false] they would never be lining up together. However, provided that true biblical doctrines are not expounded, and fine sounding biblical terminology is used but not defined, then this unholy stew can bubble away happily in the ecumenical cooking pot. As you read through this list I challenge you to consider whether you or your church are currently supporting any of these groups and if so – should you continue to do so?
ORGANISATIONS SUPPORTING ‘HISTORY MAKERS’
Presbyterian Church Youth Board; Methodist Dept. of Youth and Childrens Work; Church of Ireland Youth Dept.; Lifelink Churches; Youth Initiatives; Exodus; YWAM; Girls Brigade; Boys Brigade; Youth for Christ; YMCA; Crusaders; Scripture Union; Salvation Army; Youth Link NI; Tearfund; Summer Madness; Awake; Quaker Youth; CMSI; CAST; Cathog; Evangelical Catholic Initiative; Down and Connor Youth Commission; Trocaire.
The launch on Saturday 22 January was scheduled to run from 2.00pm-10.00pm [cost £3.50] and consisted of seminars/workshops etc with an evening of ‘praise’. [Some of the heresies of Tony Campolo can be found detailed in other articles that are available from “Take Heed”.] The music for the evening of ‘praise’ was to be supplied by the Summer Madness and MANNAFEST Bands plus the Down and Connor Folk Group. The battle for the minds of young people is ‘on’. Satan wishes to keep them blinded [2 Corinthians 4:3-4] and the History Makers Challenge is set to aid his cause.
THE ‘PILGRIM PATH’ OF JESSE DUPLANTIS
AUGUST 1988 – ‘HEAVEN’
MARCH 2000 – BELFAST
The latest ‘health and wealth’ man due to visit Belfast [Ulster Hall] on 25 March will be Jesse Duplantis. I wrote a short article about this man and his false teachings in the March 1993 ‘NEWS FROM THE FRONT’.
Let me explain the heading to this article. I recently watched a video of Mr Duplantis giving a talk entitled ‘Close Encounters Of The God Kind’. Speaking to many people Mr Duplantis gave details of claimed encounters with heavenly beings beginning as early as when he was 9. At 17 he claims that only the intervention of the Lord Himself [grabbing his shoulder during a car accident] saved his life. The climax came in August 1988 when, following advance notice by an angel who spoke to him as he slept, Mr Duplantis claims he was sucked out of his hotel room and ended up in Paradise/Heaven.
He claims some people in heaven were dressed differently to others and defends this by stating that the believer’s ‘robe of righteousness’ differs from the ‘gown of salvation’. The scriptures speak only of one item of clothing for believers in heaven although it is referred to by various names. In Matthew 22:11-12 it is “a wedding garment”; in Isaiah 61:10 it is “the garments of salvation…the robe of righteousness as a bridegroom decketh himself…as a bride adorneth herself”; it is the “white robes” of Revelation 6:11; it is “the righteousness of God” of Romans 3:22.
The truth is that the believer’s righteous covering in heaven will be Christ
On 2nd June 1861 C.H. Spurgeon preached on “Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord Our Righteousness” [Jeremiah 17:6]. Compare these teachings by Mr Spurgeon on the dress of the believer in heaven with the false ‘dressing differently’ of Mr Duplantis. Mr Spurgeon stated –
‘the life of Christ constitutes the righteousness in which his people are to be clothed…He was through his life spinning the web for making the royal garment…Christ in his life was so righteous..that it is righteousness itself…Jesus Christ was righteousness impersonated..his life was righteousness itself…When we believe in Christ..the merit of his obedience is imputed to us for righteousness…You stand before God today robed in your Saviour’s garments with his spotless vestments on, holy as the Holy One…It is also everlasting righteousness..the robe shall never be worn out…Thy good works do not improve his righteousness; thy bad works do not sully it. This is a robe which thy best deeds cannot mend and thy worst deeds cannot mar. THOU STANDEST IN HIM, NOT IN THYSELF…thou man greatly beloved, come forth now in thy garments and offer acceptable sacrifice, seeing thou wearest the garments of Jesus, our great High Priest’.
On a number of occasions Mr Duplantis irreverently exclaims ‘My God’ as he is supposedly escorted through heaven. Hank Hanegraaff in his book ‘Counterfeit Revival’ comments [pages 112-113] on one aspect of this claimed visit to heaven and makes this assessment ‘If he [Mr Duplantis] had tested his experience in the light of Scripture he would have come to the inevitable conclusion that his revelation was a counterfeit’.
Space does not permit me to detail all the disturbing claims made by Mr Duplantis concerning sights he saw and people he met. But briefly let me paraphrase a few. He claims that parents, who lose a young child, if they themselves have a long life, will meet that child [now grown up] when they get to heaven. After first meeting Abraham, the child will be the next person they meet. If they themselves die shortly after losing the child then they will raise it in heaven. He claims the “tears” to be wiped away in heaven belong to Jesus on judgment day even though Revelation 21:4 states “And God shall wipe away all tears from THEIR eyes”.
The reason for his visit is eventually revealed when he tells us that Jesus sends him on his way with this message ‘Go tell my people I’m coming’. Satan often tries to delude people by interspersing his lies with a grain of truth from God’s Word. God’s true people long and look for “that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” [Titus 2:13]. We don’t need the delusions of Mr Duplantis to tell us for our Lord tells us Himself in His Word “Surely I come quickly” [Revelation 22:20]. “Amen!”
BITS and PIECES
Each January there is a week set-aside for Prayer for Christian Unity. The ecumenical agenda is well illustrated by this section from the Order of Service given out in Bangor Abbey on Sunday 9 January –
‘Good morning and welcome as you join us for worship at the Abbey, St Columba’s or Clandeboye Chapel…There will be no Evening Prayer tonight, instead you are invited to join with other churches at First Bangor Presbyterian Church at 7.00pm to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The preacher will be Father Gerry Patton.’
MINISTRY TRIP TO USA – JUNE 2000 [DV]
I have been invited to give 2 talks at a conference organised by ministries that are geared towards Roman Catholic evangelisation. The host church for the conference is Bensalem Baptist Church, 3351 Richlieu Road, Bensalem, Pennsylvania [Tel: 215 639 5433]. The dates of the conference are set for Saturday 17th – Wednesday 21st June. Overall I hope to be [DV] in America from 2nd- 23rd June and as well as the conference I hope to be speaking in various churches in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I hope to include [for prayer purposes] a detailed itinerary in my next newsletter.