News From The Front – September 1998

Dear praying friends,

This newsletter is being issued now and not in October, as I have been invited to take part in a 2-evening debate in Fresno, California on the subjects of ‘Sola Scriptura’ and ‘The Papacy’ and I will (DV) be partnering Rob Zins against 2 Roman Catholic apologist. YOUR PRAYERS ARE COVETED for this event scheduled for 19th and 20th of September. Upon my return (DV) I will be quickly launched into the meetings arranged for the visit of Frank Eberhardt and the leaflet giving details of his schedule is enclosed. The ministry has received a wonderful gift of a brand new computer/printer and modem [for internet use] and I am currently trying to learn how to best use this equipment and hopefully my next newsletter will be prepared on it so you may see some changes. Already communication and access to resource material has been increased greatly by this marvelous gift. Pastor William Houston has moved on from my own church and 1 want to thank him for his contribution during his time as a member of the Council of Reference and to wish him and his family well for the future.Yours servant for Christ. Cecil Andrews.

  • Why Roman Catholicism Is Not Christian (Part Two)

In part one of this article we showed that a sincere Roman Catholic who adheres to the teachings of that church is told that in spite of what Christ has suffered on behalf of sinners there is a penalty which God still inflicts upon each individual. This penalty is known as ‘temporal punishment’ and it must be discharged by the individual himself either in this life or after death before God will “justify” that individual and accept him into heaven. Basically this teaches that God justifies a person who works hard to make himself ‘godly’ whereas the glorious truth of scripture is found in Romans 4:5 “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” This is completely in line with what we saw (in part one) Paul preaching at Antioch in Acts 13:39. All true believers (trusting in the life and death of Christ alone) are immediately, completely and permanently “justified.” Rome teaches that justification is a process whereby people put their trust in the work of Christ plus their own best efforts. The type of works which Rome tells individuals to carry out to discharge their ‘temporal punishment’ will shortly be referred to but first let us read where Rome states the requirement for ‘temporal punishment’ to be discharged. In the Council of Trent (the teachings of which were fully reaffirmed by Vatican II) under the 6th session and canon 30 we read ‘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 that 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.’

A Roman Catholic ‘believer’ is not immediately, completely and permanently “justified” through faith in Christ alone. So, what works does Rome require sincere Roman Catholics to carry out in order to preserve and increase their Roman Catholic version of “justification”? We turn again to the Council of Trent 6th session canon 24 ‘If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved 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 [and the grounds of acceptance by God] let him be anathema.’ A Roman Catholic ‘believer’ needs to do ‘good works’ to preserve and increase his acceptance by God. Paul states clearly that salvation is “not of works lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9). Can an individual Roman Catholic just of’fer any ‘good work’ to God? The answer is ‘no’ – that individual needs ‘divine grace’ as understood in Roman Catholic language. The need is spelt out again by the Council of Trent 6th session canon 1. ‘If anyone says that a man can be justified before God by his own works whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law WITHOUT DIVINE GRACE through Jesus Christ let him be anathema’ ‘Good works’ carried out with ‘divine grace’ (the Roman Catholic version) are to help the individual Roman Catholic gain acceptance before God – to be ‘justified.’ By this teaching a Roman Catholic is firmly in the grip of their church which alone can dispense this ‘divine grace’ via the sacraments which is why they are declared to be necessary for salvation as we read in paragraph 1129 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church ( 1994 ) ‘The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation’ and in a foot-note this statement is cross-referenced to the Council of Trent. Rome’s teaching on ‘divine grace’ that it is transmitted to an individual through sacramental ritual is wrong and an article in the Evangelical Times of June 1998 identified very clearly the Roman Catholic error. Part of the article stated ‘Many think of grace as something actually imparted to the believer; that is, they think of it [grace] as a gift, when it is, in fact, the act of giving, an act which in turn reveals the character of the Giver. Grace is that which leads God to deal graciously with His people, an attribute of God, rather than something He parts with when He gives…There are some who distort the pivotal truth of what grace really is. They claim that God instills a commodity called “grace” into people’s hearts through various means, rituals, observances [sacraments]. Thus grace becomes a gift, a reward for man’s obedience and good intentions. And by the “grace” received they are enabled to please God and earn salvation…People are saved by grace they declare, but their particular brand of “grace” is a reward-gift, its ultimate cause lying in their own actions or works. The grace of which scripture speaks therefore is always and only found in God..[and]..emphasize[s] that salvation is utterly of God’s free mercy, bestowed on undeserving sinners who were chosen in Christ before time began.’

Well did Paul write in Titus 3:5&7 “Not by works of righteousness (‘grace’-energised ‘good works’) which we have done but according to his mercy he saved us…That being justified by his grace we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Rome also teaches that people who constitute ‘the whole church’ can assist in the salvation of others and we find this erroneous teaching in Vatican II vol.1 page 68 ‘From the most ancient times in the Church good works were also offered to God for the salvation of sinners…Indeed the prayers and good works of holy people were regarded 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. However the belief was not that individual members of the Church worked for the remission of their brethren’s sins by their own merits alone but that the whole Church as a single body united to Christ its head was bringing about satisfaction.’ Rome has just replaced Christ as the grounds for salvation!

The teaching on ‘indulgences’ was one of the sparks which ignited the Reformation. What is an indulgence? Well it is something which can help solve the problem of ‘temporal punishment’ and according to the ‘CATECHISM’ (para.l471) ‘An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions [by performing “good works” such as praying the rosary, offering prayers for the Pope’s intentions etc] through the action of the Church…An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead.’ Jim McCarthy writes on page 95 of ‘The Gospel According To Rome’ this comment on para. 1479 of the CATECHISM ‘Once a Catholic has acquired an indulgence he is free to decide how to use it. He can apply it to his own temporal punishment or by prayer he can apply it to the account of a deceased loved one in purgatory.’

This whole Roman system of ‘good works’ and ‘indulgences’ has been constructed to deal with their false gospel which robs Christ and sincere seekers of the glorious fullness and sufficiency of the saving work accomplished at Calvary. Paul writing in Ephesians 3:6 speaks of “his [God’s] promise in Christ by the gospel.” God, on the grounds of Christ’s work on the cross, makes promises to believers promises which Rome rejects and withholds. Rob Zins on page 165 of ‘On The Edge Of Apostasy’ writes ‘But the Gospel does more than explain. It offers a promise based upon the explanations. It offers eternal life based solely on the finished work of the atonement. It offers the promise that all sins are and will be forgiven for the sake of Christ alone. It offers the end of all personal sacrifices for personal sins. It offers the promise of all guilt [no remaining ‘temporal punishment’] removed on the basis of Christ alone and that through faith alone. It offers the security that all those in Christ will live protected with Him forever and will not lose this standing with God. Furthermore, the Gospel offers an end to all of man’s vain attempts to do enough to warrant salvation. The gospel explains that Jesus has paid it all and that there is no “our share” or “our part” [‘good works/indulgences’] involved. The Gospel explains how God gives us Christ and His righteousness for our right standing with God. The gospel is the power of God for salvation because it holds the truth of all that God has done for mankind.’ What Rob Zins wrote is really a commentary upon what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians 5:21 – “For he [God] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who [Christ] knew no sin, that we [sinners] might be made the righteousness of God in him [Christ].” Rome attempts to combine the work of Christ with ‘law keeping’ as the basis on which someone may be ‘justified.’This false gospel is refuted by Paul in Romans 3:28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Roman Catholicism is not Christian because the ‘Christ’ of Roman Catholicism is a false Christ who by His work alone is unable to say to ‘believers’ on him that you “are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39). His work must be supplemented by ‘good works’ aided by ‘divine grace.’ Such a ‘gospel’ will never satisfy the longing soul who yearns for forgiveness and for assurance of a home in heaven. The true gospel does give such full forgiveness and assurance as Rob Zins set out so well. In an earlier age A.W.Pink wrote ‘Christ will not effect part of our salvation and then leave what remains to ourselves or to others.’ That was true when Pink wrote it and it is still true today and will remain true until the “blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11). THIS IS CHRISTIANITY – “He that believeth on the Son [not the Son + good works’] hath everlasting life” (John 3:36).

  • The Notzrim or Nazarenes

Earlier this year I was sent a number of leaflets which had been produced by a group bearing the above names and which gave a PO Box address in South Shields in the North East of England. The man who sent them to me (a believer) had encountered a man who had been much confused by them and I was asked to analyse the teachings and supply any other information I might have on this group (of which I had none). Here are some of the points I made when responding to the inquiry :

Leaflet No.1 ‘Dialogue with a Nazarene.’

I was immediately struck by the use of the abbreviation BCE as this is used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses to identify the time before Christ ‘Before the Common ‘Christian Era’ In response to the question ‘Do you believe in a supreme creator?’ they answer ‘Yes. We worship the same creator as Jews, Christians and Muslims.’ This answer displays ignorance of the God of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Christians worship a triune God and this truth is not accepted by either the Jews or the Muslims. In response to the question ‘Do you have books of scripture like other religions?’ they answer that they ‘use the Hebrew scriptures commonly known as the Old Testament’ but they obviously ignore the teaching of Deuteronomy 4:2 which forbids adding to the Word of God (they also use ‘The Gospel Of The Nazarenes’ and ‘The Fragment’) and forbids taking away from the Word of God (they reject ‘the bulk of the New Testament’ but ‘accept as scripture…the Epistle of James’). In response to ‘Where do Nazarenes stand in relation to Judaism (and) to Christianity?’ we find that they believe the Messiah ‘has already walked the earth’ and they recognise ‘Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah’ however they do not accept Jesus as the ‘Divine Redeemer.’ They reject the following biblical truths ( as do Jehovah’s Witnesses )

(1) The triune Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; (2) The deity of Jesus Christ; (3) The heavenly pre-existence of Jesus Christ.

In relation to refusing to accept Christ as ‘Divine Redeemer’ they declare ‘that it is Yahweh Himself who is our redeemer or saviour.’ Christ of course is “God manifest in the flesh” lst Tim.3:16 and by their rejection of Christ in this role of redeemer they fail to understand that a redeemer must be a “kinsman” (as taught in the book of Ruth) and that redemption is only possible by literal blood sacrifice “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” Leviticus 17:10. No wonder the risen Lord took the downcast disciples on the road to Emmaus back to the Old Testament (which the Nazarenes use) and “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” Luke 24:27 and he did so because in verse 21 they had stated “But we trusted that it had been he [Christ] which should have redeemed Israel.” Through the impromptu bible class ‘the stranger’ was showing them that Christ was without doubt God’s promised ‘Divine Redeemer.’ In relation to the virgin birth they state ‘he [Jesus] was born of ordinary parents…we do believe that his birth was miraculous but not in the same way as Christians.

Many Nazarenes tend to think that Maryam [their version of Mary] may have been barren. The miracle lay in the fact that her [Mary’s] inability to bear children was removed and not in a virgin birth.’ This Nazarene view that the miracle was to do with a ‘barren’ Mary rather than a “virgin” Mary having a child is rejected by the Old Testament which they DO accept as scripture “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold a VIRGIN [not a ‘barren’ woman] shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14. “Immanuel” means of course GOD WITH US which counters the Nazarene claim that the incarnate Christ was not God. In answer to ‘Do Nazarenes believe that only they will be saved?’ we find that they are open to believe that ‘the entire human race may indeed find salvation’ and this is based on a ‘second-chance’ view expressed under ‘What about all those who have died during the course of human history?’ In reply they state ‘They will be resurrected into the kingdom age and given exactly the same opportunity as those then living to accept Yahweh’s gift of everlasting Life.’ This again bears striking similarities to the views of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as these quotation will show:

“The greater mass of humankind will find life here on earth amid paradise conditions” [Let God Be True p.279] “Jesus Christ the righteous shepherd died for them not to put them on judgment for their past vile lives, but to provide for them a period of judgment in the new world in hope of their reforming and practicing good things and deserving to be lifted up to human perfection thus to be judged according to their future works under the Kingdom. They will have the opportunity to become ‘other sheep’ by listening to the voice of the Shepherd King and obediently following him that he may gather them into the one flock” [‘You May Survive Armageddon’ p.356]

(Quotes taken from ‘The 4 Major Cults’ By A.A.Hoekema p.317 & 320)

Even the Old Testament in Daniel 2:2 which the Nazarenes view as scripture teaches resurrection unto eternal Life or eternal judgment – “and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” This is in complete harmony with the New Testarnent teaching of the Lord Jesus as found in John 5:29 – no second chances!

Leaflet No.3 ‘How are we to be saved?’

In reply to this question we read ‘We can see that Yahweh laid down two prerequisites for salvation. Firstly that we Love Yahweh our creator and secondly that we obey his commandments…This same simple formula for salvation is repeated countless times throughout the Hebrew scriptures and is still echoed by Nazarenes and others.’ The leaflet then goes on to repudiate Paul’s teaching in Galatians 3: 10-11 that justification does not come through keeping the law but rather is “by faith.” They refer to this as ‘Paul’s theory’ and go on later to affirm once more ‘it is obedience to the Law and giving to the poor…which gives not just Life but eternal life.’ They go on to cite James 2:14-26 as proof that faith + works ( ‘action’ as they term it) are necessary for salvation (remember they accept this letter of James as scripture whereas they reject Paul’s letters as being part of scripture). James of course is teaching that true salvation (by faith) will be evidenced by works and we can read earlier in chapter 2:10 how James illustrates the futility of trying to save oneself by attempting to keep the law when he says “whosoever shall keep the whole law but offend in one point is guilty of all.” The teaching of James is not in conflict with or a contradiction of the teaching of Paul.

In this leaflet we find another teaching which smacks of Jehovah’s Witness influence when we read ‘a select number of faithful believers do not surrender to the grave but are instantaneously transported to Gar Eden or Pardais.’ This seems to be a variation on the Jehovah’s Witness two-tier teaching on The Anointed Class (144,000) and The Other Sheep. The scriptures know nothing of such a division between believers – only the division of heaven and hell between believers and unbelievers. This analysis of The Notzrim or Nazarenes is by no means exhaustive but is sufficient to identify them as a cult. As I prepared this analysis I was struck by the same emphasis upon the need of works ( ‘action’) for salvation which the Council of Trent stated so dogmatically.

  • When is a Baptist Union not a Union?

Several years ago I was involved with others in an attempt to change the wording of part of the ‘Union Constitution and Rules’ of the Baptist Union of Ireland. We were seeking to amend a particular paragraph which dealt specifically with the ‘Objects’ of the Union. Paragraph 3:5 states ‘The objects of the Union are: 3c5 The fostering of spiritual unity (in distinction from every form of false ecumenism) with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and who are faithful to his gospel. Our efforts at change were prompted by the actions of a small number of individuals and churches within the Union who appeared to be interpreting that particular ‘Object’ in a very liberal way. Sadly our efforts at change did not carry the day and it was felt by the majority that the existing wording was sufficient to deter any involvement in false ecumenical ventures. Below is part of an article which appeared in The Irish Times of lst June 1998 describing the opening of a what was said to be a ‘multidenominatianal chapel in the new hospital at Tallaght’ (near Dublin). Robert Dunlop is pastor of Brannockstown Baptist Church which is a member of the Baptist Union of Ireland. How can Mr Dunlop with a clear conscience on the one hand subscribe to ‘The Objects of the Union’ (para.3:51 and on the other hand participate in this blatant display of ‘false ecumenism’? The surprise referred to in the heading of the article was that the Catholic Archbishop took the opportunity to publicly state Roman Catholic teaching on the Mass in no uncertain terms ‘the body and blood of the Lord remain really and truly present in the sacrament. The tabernacle is thus the sanctuary of this abiding presence of the Lord, a centre of adoration.’ Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar he is to be honoured with the worship of adoration.’ To Mr Dunlop I say “FLEE FROM IDOLATRY” [1 Cor.10:14]

  • Glenn Hoddle – Christian?

On a number of occasions in the early part of this year the Daily Mail in articles on Glenn Hoddle (coach of the England soccer team) referred to him as being a Christian. I wrote to the paper several times and supplied them with ample evidence including Hoddle’s own public denial of being a Christian) that he is not a Christian but as they continued to ignore this fact I informed them that I would be referring the matter to the Press Complaints Commission. The Daily mail did publish a snippet (inaccurate) from one of my letters but I felt compelled to pursue the matter with the PCC. They refused to press the case for 2 reasons – they felt only Glenn Hoddle could complain against the paper for misrepresenting him and secondly they did not recognise that I as a member of the Christian Church belonged to an ‘organisation’ directly involved in the affair. Anybody know who to complain to about the Press Complaints Commission? More success was achieved with the Belfast Newsletter who carried a review of a book about Glenn Hoddle and they published the following letter on 16th June 1998 .

  • Hoddle is not a Christian

In Gordons Adair’s review of Hoddle : The Faith to Win by Phil Shirley (News Letter, 8 June) he said “Shirley also looks at Hoddle as a father figure and as a devout Christian. On 20th of October 1996 Glenn Hoddle was interviewed on TV by Mark Lawson and said : ‘I wouldn’t say that I was a born-again Christian-I wouldn’t say I was anything. I got a stong faith in God … and their isn’t on Christian, Muslim ot Islamic train of thought that I completely 100 per cent agree with.” Later when asked if he had thought about reincarnation he said : “I believe that we do” and when asked if he believed that he had lived before he said “yes I do – what I don’t know” and he then went on to explain how what we face at present was determined by the past – in relation to belief in reincarnation this is known as the ‘law of karma’. When all of the imterview is analysed we discover that Glen Hoddle’s faith is a New Age cocktail of Occultism, Mythological, Paganism, Hinduism, Gnosticism and Spiritism. His beliefs sadly confirm that he is not, as he said himself. a born-again Christian.

  • ‘Alpha’ Course Analysis Available

I am pleased to advise`that Pastor Chris Hand (who spoke at meetings in the Province last year relating his story of “From Toronto To Truth”) has written an excellent book analysing the ‘Alpha’ course. Most of the contents formed the basis of 3 helpful talks which Chris delivered at the School of Theology attended by Margaret and myself in July. The book ‘Falling Short – The Alpha Course Examined’ can be obtained from myself (cost £5.00 including p&p).

  • Ballymena Beware (Marilyn Hickey is coming)

Standard International Ministry (Maurice Wylie) announced in early June that following visits by Ulf Ekman and Jesse Duplantis (both ‘Word of Faith’ [health and wealth] preachers) they would be hosting a visit by Marilyn Hickey. She is being billed as an ‘International Bible ?’teacher.’ On page 36 of Christianity In Crisis’ by Hank Hanegraaff we read this about Marilyn Hickey “Marilyn Hickey….employs a broad range of tactics to induce followers into sending her money. Among her many ploys are anointed prayer cloths, ceremonial breastplates and ropes that can be used as points of contact. In one of her appeal letters Marilyn promises she will slip into a ceremonial breastplate ‘ press your prayer request to [her] heart and place your requests on [her] shoulders’ – all for a suggested donation.” On page 351 Hanegraaff quotes this instruction from Hickey “What do you need? Start creating it. Start speaking about it. Start speaking it into being…..Speak to your checkbook. Say ‘You, checkbook, you. You’ve never been so prosperous since I owned you. You’re just jammed full of money.’” Need I Say more?

  • Belfast YMCA Recruitment Policy

The Belfast Telegraph of 29th May carried a YMCA advert for the position of ‘Youth and Community Worker’ and one of his tasks for young people would be to aid their ‘spiritual development.’ The advert concluded ‘Belfast YMCA welcomes applications from the Roman Catholic Community.

  • ‘Evangelical Catholic’ Activity

In a blaze of publicity (press and TV) this group launched a book called ‘Adventures in Reconciliation – 29 Catholic Testimonies’ which was selling in Faith Mission Bookshops but hopefully has now been withdrawn. I decided to write to 19 of the contributors, sending them a questionnaire on their personal beliefs and inviting them to respond. Only 3 replied and what a confusing array of answers came back. In the ‘Evangelical Catholic Initiative’ newsletter (April 1998) we read the following outline of ECI strategy ‘From the outset we had one simple strategy – not to argue or debate but to go and seek to find our brother or sister in Christ.’ My questionnaire was designed to try and discover if the contributors were my ‘brother or sister in Christ’ and was biblically legitimate as John tells believers “Try (test) the spirits whether they be of God” lst John 4:1. The refusal to answer my inquiries is a rejection of God’s Word – “Be ready ALWAYS to give an answer to EVERY MAN that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” lst Peter 3:15. This ECI newsletter contained glowing approval of The Alpha Course and promoted events such as United Prayer Initiative; The Rec. Walk; March For Jesus Walk; (all of which were referred to in my last newsletter). It also promoted events involving Youth With A Mission: UCB (United Christian Broadcasters); Scripture Union; Youth Initiatives and announced that a ‘Steering Group made up of 2 Priests, 3 Presbyterian Ministers, 2 New Church Leaders and 2 Church of Ireland Ministers’ are hoping to formulate an Irish version of the 1994 ‘Evangelicals and Catholics Together’ document. The extent of ‘Evangelical Catholic’ involvement in once sound organisations and churches is truly frightening (humanly speaking) but fear not for Christ said “I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH” Matt 16:18.