Dear praying friends,
I am very grateful to those who prayed faithfully for the ministry visit to California in June. Every plan went smoothly and safely [driving the California freeways is a little bit more ‘challenging’ than driving the roads of Northern Ireland] and the feedback from the various meetings was most encouraging. In particular I drew attention to the efforts of the promoters of ‘The Alpha Course’ to extend its influence this year in the USA through a nationwide series of conferences. One church that I spoke at in San Diego has posted my talk to its website and it can be listened to on the following link > [Sorry Link is Broken]
Alternatively, for folks in America, an audiotape of the Alpha talk that I gave in a church in Ontario, CA can be obtained by contacting Richard McClendon whose telephone number is 909 234 9852. For folks closer to home, the tape of this Alpha talk and also the tape of another talk entitled ‘Are we living in days of Seducing Spirits’ can be obtained from myself [price £2.00 for each tape]. A video of a talk I gave earlier this year called ‘Alpha Assessed’ is now also available [price £7.50]. Whilst in America I was able to link up with Roger Oakland for lunch. Roger is very much looking forward to his ministry visit here [23 October–7 November DV] and enclosed with this newsletter is his schedule of meetings. Please pray and plan to attend if at all possible. Margaret and I once more send our thanks to all who so faithfully support “Take Heed”.
Your servant for Christ
‘The Da Vinci Code’ – give it – ‘The Brush-Off’
Whilst visiting the USA in June I was asked on one occasion if I were familiar with the book ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and I had to confess that this was new to me. In one Christian booksellers catalogue it says the following – ‘The Da Vinci Code has been on the New York Times best-seller list for almost a year and is raising a variety of responses from Christians and non-Christians alike. Some are outraged and upset by the claims of Dan Brown [the author], while others are left utterly confused and don’t know what to believe’. In the Belfast Telegraph of 10 July ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was listed at No. 5 in the top ten ‘Paperback Best Sellers’.
I made a point of calling at a Christian bookstore whilst in the USA and purchased a very helpful book on this subject. From it I learnt that Dan Brown’s book claims to tell the real ‘truth’ about Jesus Christ – ‘truth’ that has supposedly been deliberately suppressed over the centuries by the Roman Catholic Church.
The ‘truth’ apparently is that Jesus made no claims of divinity; That He was married to Mary Magdalene, who readers are told had to flee Jerusalem after Christ’s crucifixion because Peter was angered by her leadership role; That Mary survived and found refuge in France where she gave birth to Jesus’ daughter; That the history of Mary and her daughter and their descendant’s was chronicled by those who protected them; That in the fifth century this line of Jesus intermarried with French royal blood;
That documents detailing this secret history were hidden in Jerusalem and then recovered by an order of warriors – The Knights Templar – who, despite being almost annihilated by Pope Clement V, entrusted the safekeeping of the documents to a group called The Priory of Sion; That this secret knowledge was subsequently passed on through codes and symbols; That Leonardo da Vinci was at one time a Grand Master of The Priory of Sion and that many of his famous paintings contain numerous symbols and codes’.
On the back cover of the book that I purchased there is a quote from the first page of Dan Brown’s 454-page book that states ‘All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate’. Having read the well-researched book that I bought in America it is evident that Dan Brown’s extravagant claim to the ‘accuracy’ of his book is vastly over-exaggerated. In the final chapter of the book that I bought, a chapter entitled ‘Facing The Facts’, the author writes ‘Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code…seems almost committed to misrepresenting a religious faith that hundreds of millions of people believe and hold dear. This is not even a “Christian” issue. The issue is fact versus fiction. Truth versus lies. Accuracy versus inaccuracy’.
The very helpful book that I purchased is called ‘The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code’. It is written by Richard Abanes who according to the back cover is ‘a nationally recognised authority on cults and religions [who] has spent more than ten years in the field as an author and journalist…Among his dozen-plus books is best-selling Harry Potter and the Bible’.
‘The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code’ – This book may be purchased from us:
Price – £4.80 [includes p&p]
God-Channel TV – Helpful or Harmful?’
Ministry visit by Robert Liichow
21 January 2005 – 8 February 2005 [DV]
On a regular basis I would receive inquiries asking for my assessment of the ‘ministries’ of a number of ‘tele-evangelists’ who are beaming into homes in Northern Ireland via ‘God Channel TV’ as it has come to be known. In recent years some of these ‘tele-evangelists’ have come here in person so the influence of their teachings has [sadly] been increasing. To counter the deceptive influence of these ‘tele-evangelists’ I have invited Robert Liichow of Discernment Ministries International based in Detroit, USA to come and minister here next year [DV]. In his own words Robert has ‘been there – done that in regards to charismatic expression and experience’. A full schedule of meetings has been arranged and details will be included in our December newsletter. Meantime your prayers for this ministry visit are coveted.
PHILIP YANCEY [PART ONE] “turning the grace of God into lasciviousness” Jude 4
When you go into any modern ‘Christian’ bookstore it will be virtually impossible not to be confronted at some point by books written by Philip Yancey. He is without doubt one of the best selling ‘Christian’ authors of this age and some of his best known works include ‘What’s So amazing About Grace’, ‘Where Is God When It Hurts’ and ‘Soul Survivor’. In March 2002 he was the Banquet Speaker at the Christian Booksellers Convention held in Doncaster. As a freelance ‘Christian’ writer he serves as ‘Editor at Large’ for the pseudo-evangelical publication ‘Christianity Today’. His writings have [rightly] attracted criticism and controversy from ‘conservative’ Christians despite a claim by Yancey in an article published on 21 September 2002 by Alf McCreary [Religious affairs correspondent of the Belfast Telegraph] that ‘My calling is not to be successful but to be faithful to God’. One of the areas where his ‘faithfulness to God’ has been challenged has been in how he views homosexuality and lesbianism and its compatibility with the professed Christianity of those who pursue such life-styles. In relation to his book ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace’ I have on file some comments made about it by two Christians. One report was sent to me by an ‘ordinary’ Christian lady called Mona and in it Mona wrote ‘This writer [Yancey] gives a long, involved portion of his book reasoning in favour of homosexuality based on his strong friendship with this “Christian” [Mel White] who left his wife to resume a homosexual lifestyle which he could not resist. At the same time Christian “hate” attitudes are reviled, and while these may not be endorsed, neither is there justification for what God calls an abomination, nor is there any Biblical injunction to “pour grace on it” [homosexuality]’. Mona told of how Yancey accompanied his ‘gay Christian’ friend Mel White on the ‘gay’ march in Washington in March 1987 and how Yancey ‘relates the shocking behaviour of Christian protesters at the march, but commends the “gay Christian” response – “Jesus Loves Us”’. In the other report written by Pastor Gary Gilley of Southern View Chapel, Pastor Gilley wrote ‘Yancey has a fundamental flaw that runs throughout all of his writings – he doesn’t always draw his thoughts and principles from Scripture…this serious flaw of not basing his concepts squarely upon the Scriptures eventually leads Yancey astray. Yancey does not know the difference between tolerance and arrogance; between grace and license; between boldness and harshness. By Yancey’s definitions John the Baptist and Elijah would be men of “ungrace” but God did not seem to think so…Certainly Jesus loved and spent time with prostitutes, but He did so to call them to repentance, not to accept their way of living. Yancey’s method of dealing with a homosexual, who is also a church leader, may seem like “grace” to him, it may seem like what Jesus would do, but it is clearly out of sync with the teachings and examples of Scripture’.
In recent days I was sent the transcript of an interview with Philip Yancey that is posted on the website of a ‘ministry’ called ‘WHOSOEVER’ [http://www.whosoever.org/index.shtml]. ‘WHOSOEVER’ is subtitled ‘An online magazine for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and transgender Christians’. From the ‘What We Believe’ section of the website much can be learned of how this ‘Ministry’ views the teaching, authority and relevance of the Word of God and as you read some extracts of their statement [with my own comments added] perhaps, like me, you will be reminded of how Peter warned of people who being “unlearned and unstable, wrest [twist] as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” [2 Peter 3:16].
Point 3 states ‘we are called by God to never return evil for evil, and to turn the other cheek. We can expect persecution as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered Christians. But we are warned not to stoop to the level of our persecutors’ Luke 6:27-29 – “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also”; Romans 12:14 – “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them”; John 15:18-19 – “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you of the world, therefore the world hates you.”’
Comments The Scriptures quoted here are the Lord’s instructions to true disciples as to how they should behave when they suffer for living a Holy, Faithful, Godly, and Christian life. Paul states that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” [2 Timothy 3:12]. Whilst not in any way condoning ‘persecution’ of gays etc [whether by professing Christians or by the world at large] the point to note is that they are not being ‘persecuted’ for “living godly in Christ Jesus” and they cannot therefore appropriate these scriptures to themselves as a defence.
Point 4 of the statement declares ‘We believe that salvation is between God and the individual and is not open to criticism, question or judgment by others. We believe faith in Jesus Christ is the only justification needed’. Philippians 2:12 – “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”; Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”; Galatians 2:21 – “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” .
Comments It is true that ‘salvation’ is not based on ‘human works’ but the ‘human works’ of those professing to be Christians will evidence true ‘salvation’. God’s word encourages Christians to “test the spirits whether they are of God” [1 John 4:1]. The validity of someone’s profession of being a Christian can be tested by “their fruits” [Matthew 7:20] so God’s Word not only sanctions ‘criticism, question and judgment’ but commends it “Brethren, if any one of you do err from the truth and one convert him, Let him know that he who converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins’ [James 5:19-20]. Paul didn’t hold back from telling professing Christians in Ephesus how they should live in the light of their claimed conversion as we read in Ephesians 4:17-24. In verses 17 & 19 he says “walk not as other gentiles walk…who being past feeling [having no conscience] have given themselves over unto lasciviousness and in verse 24 he says “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” – Paul expected to see the “fruits” of genuine conversion to Christ in the lives of these professing Christians.
Point 5 states ‘We believe that we are all equal in the eyes of God, regardless of sexual orientation’. Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”.
Comments Galatians 3:28 teaches the ‘equal standing’ before God of all true believers, irrespective of their racial background, their social background or their God-given gender. It does not teach an ‘equal standing’ before God for all, irrespective of their moral life style. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian Church that was plagued by problems of immorality, said “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind…shall inherit the kingdom of God” [1 Corinthians 6:9-10]
Point 6 states ‘We believe God made us as gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered persons and has opened God’s realm to us without reservation’. John 15:16-17 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father (Heavenly Parent) in my name, God may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another”.’
Comments This statement point fails to take into account that the pinnacle of God’s “good” creation [Genesis 1:31] was humanity – “male and female” [Genesis 1:27] and that the only sexual relationship blessed by God was that between man and woman [Genesis 2:24]. In Hebrews 13:4 we read “Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed [the place of sexual intimacy] undefiled”. Pastor John MacArthur comments ‘God highly honours marriage which He instituted at creation…Sexual activity in a marriage is pure but any sexual activity outside marriage brings one under divine judgment. God prescribes serious consequences for sexual immorality’. Any deviation in moral behaviour from God’s “good” pattern came as a result of the entrance of sin as detailed in Genesis 3 and God does not bless such sin as many passages in the Word of God teach clearly. A passage such as Romans 1:18-32 teaches that God did not ‘open God’s realm’ to immoral sinners but rather God “gave them up” [abandoned them] [verses 24, 26 and 28] to their sinful lusts.
Point 7 states ‘We believe the Bible is the inspired word of God that must be read in the context it was written. Many of its truths are universal and can be directly applied to modern times. But a majority of canonical scripture is situation and time specific to the culture of its time. Therefore, one must use exegesis and prayerful communion with the Holy Spirit before applying canonical scripture to today’s culture’. 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 –
“God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows another person’s thoughts except the spirit of the person which is in them? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.”
Comments The on-going authority and application of God’s Word is taught in the Scriptures themselves. The Apostle Paul wrote in his last letter before being martyred for the Gospel “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” [2 Timothy 3:16-17]. Speaking of His second coming, the Lord Himself said “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away” [Luke 21:33] and 4 chapters earlier, when again speaking of His second coming, He likened future conditions to those of “the days of Lot” when God, angered by the immorality of Sodom, “rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all” [Luke 17:28-29]. God’s view of sinful immorality is not ‘situation and time specific’ but eternal “truth” [John 17:17] because “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” [Psalm 119:89]. Unrepentant “fornicators” of whatever ‘orientation’ will spend eternity in “the lake which burneth with fire” and will find the door of “the Holy city, new Jerusalem” permanently closed to them “for outside are…fornicators” [Revelation 21:8; 21:2; 22:15.]
Point 8 states ‘We believe God is alive and is speaking to God’s children even today. God’s words are found in the Bible but God continues to reveal truths not found in scripture through the Holy Spirit’. Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than a two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Comments The Word of God teaches that Christians are not to seek ‘truths not found in scripture’. The Apostle Paul instructed believers “not to think above that which is written” [1 Corinthians 4:6] and there is another clear warning to God’s people that teaches “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee and thou be found a liar” [Proverbs 30:6]. The same book of Hebrews quoted in this point 8 of the statement also teaches how God spoke in Old Testament times but how He has now finally spoken to the world through His Son – “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” [Hebrews 1:1-2]. Bible commentator, F B Hole wrote ‘We are at once brought face to face with the tremendous fact that God, who had spoken to the fathers of Israel by prophets in former days, had now spoken in divine fullness and with finality in His Son’. [Epistles: Volume 3: pages 1-2].
Moving on from the ‘What We Believe’ section I want to comment upon the interviewer who is referred to on the website as the ‘Rev.’ Candace Chellew-Hodge. Her personal details, beside her photo [in clerical robes] include –
Candace is the last of five kids of a Southern Baptist minister, and is herself ordained through Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta, Georgia. She has worked in journalism and public relations for nearly 20 years. She founded ‘Whosoever’ because “there were simply no good Christian magazines to read that didn’t bash gays at some point.” She and her partner, Wanda, live in the sticks of South Carolina with way too many cats and dogs.
At the conclusion of the interview posted to the website we read the following
Candace Chellew–Hodge is a recovering Southern Baptist and founder/editor of ‘Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians’. She is an ordained minister and holds a master’s in theological studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. She is a spiritual director trained through the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She has worked for the past two decades in journalism and public relations.
The fact that this lady styles herself as ‘Rev’ shows her disobedience to the prohibitions of the Bible concerning women and teaching [see 1 Timothy 2:12]. As you will have read in the title to this article, I have quoted Jude 4 that speaks of “certain men [who] crept in unawares [secretly, who escaped notice]…ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness”. The problem of “lasciviousness” amongst professing believers is something that the Scriptures pay much attention to. We must first understand what “lasciviousness” is and Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines the word on page 353 as denoting ‘excess, licentiousness, absence of restraint, indecency, wantonness…one of the evils that proceed from the heart [Mark 7:22]; one of the evils of which some in the church at Corinth had been guilty of [2 Corinthians 12:21]; classed among the works of the flesh [Galatians 5:19]; among the sins of the unregenerate who are “past feeling” [Ephesians 4:19]; one of the sins against which believers are warned [Romans 13:13]’. Vine also links the “pernicious ways” of 2 Peter 2:2 to ‘lasciviousness’ and to the “filthy manner of life of the wicked” in Sodom and Gomorrah from which Lot was “delivered” [2 Peter 2:6-7]. Vine concludes ‘The prominent idea is shameless conduct’. In the light of this ‘What We Believe’ section, I believe it is clear that those involved in and sympathetic to this ‘ministry’ are seeking to justify a life style that the Bible condemns as ‘lasciviousness’. In the concluding part of this article [December 2004 DV] we will examine in the light of answers given to questions posed by ‘Rev’ Candace whether Mr Yancey is likewise guilty of “turning the grace of God into lasciviousness”.
From two entirely different sources it was recently mentioned to me that the teachings of ‘Theosophy’ were making inroads into sections of the professing ‘Christian’ world. The term comes from two Greek words – ‘Theos’ meaning God and ‘Sophia’ meaning wisdom so this term of ‘Theosophy’, meaning Divine Wisdom has been adopted by a cult that has been described as ‘the apostate child of Spiritism mixed with Buddhism’ [J K Van Baalen] (Source: ‘Dictionary of Theological Terms’ by Alan Cairns p 409: Published by Ambassador Productions Ltd). The ‘Theosophical Society’ was founded in New York in 1875 by ‘Madame’ Helena P Blavatsky, a Russian spiritist medium and a Colonel Olcott with whom she developed a ‘platonic’ friendship after her 2nd marriage collapsed and he left his wife and children to be with her. In his youth A W Pink rejected Christianity and for a period embraced ‘Theosophy’ but through the faithful witness of his father and the impact of Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end therefore are the ways of death” A W Pink was delivered from this deception and went on to be a faithful proclaimer of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Source: ‘Truth Under Attack’ by Eryl Davies p 221-223: Published by Evangelical Press). Eryl Davies, in his book ‘Truth Under Attack’ analyses the teachings of ‘Theosophy’ under several headings and set out following are some of the sections that will demonstrate very clearly the false and aberrant teachings of this heretical cult known as ‘Theosophy’.
‘When asked, “Do you believe in God, the God of a Christian?” Madame
Blavatsky replied in her Key to Theosophy “In such a God we do not believe”. In Theosophy, God is regarded as everything and everything is regarded as God;
in this pantheistic teaching there is no difference between the world and God. God is all that exists and we are God, but we must delve deep into ourselves to find the God within us. They also speak of a trinity, which is only “a threefold manifestation of Power, Wisdom and Activity”’.
The Bible is just one of many revelations, the superior revelation being the Hindu scriptures.
THE PERSON OF CHRIST
Christ was born in 105BC and became a monk; later some distinguished people from India and Egypt visited his monastery and introduced him to the mysteries of eastern religion. Christ is only one of several divine teachers. The ‘Christ part’ of his nature was given him at his baptism and withdrawn after the crucifixion. The name ‘Christ’ refers not simply to one person but also to the living presence in the human spirit of all people. Only through this presence is it possible for the human spirit to express its natural divinity.
We can all become ‘Christs’ eventually.
THE DEATH OF CHRIST
The biblical doctrine of atonement “is entirely repudiated”. The only significance in Christ’s death was the identification of nature between the divine man and men who are gradually becoming divine.
Man has a pre-existent spirit, Atma, which provides permanence and individuality, but which is reincarnated many times. Man also has three souls, Buddhai, Manas and Kamamepha, with a life principle called Prana. In addition to his physical being man also has an astral body.
There are no moral laws sanctioned by God.
Through numerous incarnations, man must achieve his own salvation.
Sin does not exist and forgiveness by any God is impossible.
It is unimportant whether one prays to Buddha, to Christ, to Vishnu or the Father.
There is no personal devil
The soul evolves and purges itself by regular incarnations, with the ultimate goal of communing with and being welcomed by the Mahatmas or Brotherhood of Teachers, who have evolved to the highest point of human attainment. After a suitable medium is found, the Great World Teacher, who is supreme over the Mahatmas, will provide the world with a fuller revelation.
The eternal punishment of unbelievers in hell is regarded by them as an offensive doctrine.
“For it is written I will destroy the wisdom of the wise…
Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” 1 Corinthians 1:19&20.
Irish Presbyterianism: ‘Then and Now’
At the end of May I posted an 8-page article with the above title to our ministry web site. I contrasted the very sound biblical assessment of Roman Catholicism by the Youth Board of the Irish Presbyterian Church in a little catechism-type booklet that was probably published by them in the early 1950’s. In my article I quoted a number of the question and answer contents of the booklet. I then contrasted their approach with that adopted by the then, about to be appointed Moderator of the Irish Presbyterian Church, Ken Newell and focussed on his invitation to the Roman Catholic Archbishop Sean Brady to be among his personal guests at his installation as Moderator – an invitation that quite rightly attracted strong criticism from a number of his fellow Presbyterian ministers.
Presbyterianism and ‘State-Sponsored Peace’
In July I posted a 12-page article to our ministry website in which I identified the inherent dangers [spiritually speaking] contained in an initiative being promoted by the current Youth Board of the Irish Presbyterian Church. It is known as PYP, which stands for Preparing Youth for Peace. The reality is that this is yet another further attempt by the pro-ecumenical forces within Irish Presbyterianism, with funding provided by various home and foreign government agencies, to encourage the false notion that in reality Roman Catholicism is a viable form of Christianity. The chief ‘weapons’ in their armoury include a DVD and a misleadingly titled so-called Roman Catholicism Fact Sheet. In my report I detail the ecumenical individuals and groupings linked to this initiative and also analyse the so-called Roman Catholicism Fact Sheet.
These 2 reports contain information that every concerned Irish Presbyterian should be in possession of and I will gladly send copies of them to all who request them.
PROPOSED PAPAL VISIT TO IRELAND
The week following his controversial ‘guest appearance’ at the installation of the ultra-ecumenical Moderator of the Irish Presbyterian Church, Ken Newell, Roman Catholic Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Sean Brady met with his fellow Bishops at Maynooth in the Republic of Ireland. From that meeting emerged the news that the Bishops had issued an invitation to Pope John Paul II to make a return visit to Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of his previous visit in 1979. Obviously the ‘silver jubilee’ of the Pope’s first visit would have figured foremost in their thinking on this matter but perhaps there might also have been an extra encouragement to them in the light of the ‘ecumenical first’ the previous week with Archbishop Brady’s attendance at Ken Newell’s installation.
Since the news of the invitation became public, readers of the Belfast Telegraph have once more been subjected to a whole series of articles written by Religious Affairs correspondent, Alf McCreary. As might be expected Mr McCreary is totally in favour of such a visit by the Pope and he is once more using his journalistic office to publicly express his preference in this area with the same zeal that he expressed journalistically when he was lobbying publicly through the columns of the Belfast Telegraph for the election of Ken Newell as Moderator of the Irish Presbyterian Church.
If such a Papal visit does take place, the big difference this time round is that both the ‘Catholic Hierarchy’ and the ‘Protestant Ecumenists’ would hope and indeed expect that the Pope would include a visit to Northern Ireland – something that was deemed unwise back in 1979. Naturally journalistic ‘spin’ will be a powerful weapon in convincing the people of Northern Ireland that this time round the Pope should include such a visit in his itinerary and certainly Mr McCreary is doing his bit in just such a campaign. The following are just a few excerpts from his various articles in the Belfast Telegraph–
‘What do you make of the recent speculation that Pope John Paul II might accept an invitation from the Catholic Bishops to visit Ireland provided his health permits him to do so…If he did come to Ireland again there is no reason why he should not visit Armagh…whatever certain politicians or church groups might think of such a visit, most people in the Province have a respect for the Pope as one of the most significant figures of recent history’ [Belfast Telegraph: 3 July 2004]
‘Senior figures in the Protestant churches have indicated a broad welcome for Pope John Paul II if his suggested visit to Ireland takes place…In such an event it is thought highly likely that he would visit Armagh. He was unable to come to Northern Ireland last time because of the political and security situation. The Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Robin Eames told the Belfast Telegraph today: “I believe that Pope John Paul II would be welcomed by the majority of Protestants in Northern Ireland…The Methodist President, Dr Brian Fletcher said: “It would be a matter of common courtesy for Methodists to welcome the leader of the world Catholic Church. Of course some people might not welcome him but…if he were to come I would certainly meet him as Methodist President”. The former Methodist President, Rev Jim Rea said: “I would have no difficulty with such a visit”. The Presbyterian Moderator, Ken Newell and the Clerk, Donald Watt were attending the Welsh General Assembly and were unavailable for comment. It is thought however that the Moderator who is known for his ecumenical approach to church affairs would be broadly supportive of such a visit’. [Belfast Telegraph: 6 July 2004].
In no less than two article in the same edition [Belfast Telegraph: 10 July 2004] we read ‘Before the end of the year apparently the Pope may have done his bit to rewrite a significant phrase in Ulster History as in “Pope Here”. A gap in his itinerary means that the 84 year old could soon be making his first visit here in 25 years’…There has been much speculation about a possible visit by Pope John Paul II to Ireland in the foreseeable future but what about that OTHER visit by another Church leader – namely the Queen…if the Queen could also meet the Pope in Dublin then everyone on this island – to borrow a phrase from Abraham Lincoln – could be “as happy or unhappy as they make up their minds to be”’.
Then readers were ‘treated’ to no less than three articles plus a picture of the Pope on holiday in Northern Italy [Belfast Telegraph: 17 July 2004]. Mr McCreary wrote ‘The health of Pope John Paul II will be a major factor in the final decision from the Vatican about his visit to Ireland which has now been agreed in principle…Irish Catholic sources are suggesting that another important factor in the timing of the visit will be the weather. It is significant that the Pope’s recent journeys outside the Vatican have been scheduled to avoid cold and inclement weather. This suggests that a possible visit to Ireland is therefore more likely to take place next spring…The main Protestant churches in general have welcomed the announcement of a possible papal visit to Ireland but others have provisos…A Presbyterian spokesman said that while his Church would consider a Papal visit as a “significant event” for their Catholic neighbours and “would wish them well”, an invitation to meet the Pope officially would be a “corporate” decision for the Church as a whole to consider. But DUP Assembly member George Dawson…called for a “Protestant coalition” to oppose a Papal visit to Northern Ireland and said that the Pope would come “not just as the spiritual leader of his people but also as the ruler of a state. It is in this capacity that we reject his visit”. Picking up on Mr Dawson’s stated objections, Mr McCreary wrote in his third article ‘It was no surprise therefore when I read that the DUP Assembly member, George Dawson, is worried about a rumoured visit to Northern Ireland by Pope John Paul II…I could understand, though disagree with his objections to the Pope as a “spiritual leader”, but why the objection to the Pope as a ruler of a state? What would have been the objections to say the visit of President Clinton who was here twice…or have I missed the point?’ In response to Mr McCreary’s question ‘have I missed the point’ I sent the following letter that was published by the Belfast Telegraph on 24 July 2004
Alf McCreary [Perspectives 17 July] expresses surprise that anyone would object on political grounds to a possible Papal visit that he would personally welcome. He likens the Pope to other political leaders who have visited the Province in the past, citing amongst them Bill Clinton and he poses the question – “Have I missed the point?” The short answer to his question is “Yes”. When Bill Clinton was inaugurated, he was installed as the President of the United States of America, not the political ‘Ruler of the World’. Pope Boniface VIII in a Papal Bull pronounced ‘There is one fold and one shepherd. The authority of that shepherd includes two swords – the spiritual and the temporal…Both therefore belong to the jurisdiction of the [Roman Catholic] Church – the spiritual sword and the secular. The one is to be wielded for the Church – the other by the Church; the one is the sword of the priest – the other is in the hand of the monarch but at the command and sufferance of the priest. It behoves the one sword to be under the other – the temporal authority to be subject to the spiritual power’. This power is affirmed when the Pope receives his triple tiara crown and the officiating Cardinal declares ‘Receive the tiara, adorned with three crowns and know that thou art the Father of Princes and Kings, Ruler of the World, the Vicar of our Saviour, Jesus Christ’. Pope Pius V attempted to exercise this power against Queen Elizabeth I when in his Papal Bull he pronounced ‘We deprive the Queen of her pretended right to the kingdom and of all dominion and dignity…and absolve all the nobles, subjects and people of the kingdom and whoever else have sworn to her, from their oath, and all duty whatsoever in regard of dominion, fidelity and obedience’. Perhaps Mr McCreary may think that today’s Papacy doesn’t hold to such brazen political pretence. If so, let me finish by quoting words from Rev Wylie’s book ‘The Papacy’ in which he wisely warns ‘though the Church of Rome is silent on her claims meanwhile, we are not warranted to take that silence for surrender. They are not claims renounced; they are simply claims not asserted’. For Christians to acquiesce to such a proposed Papal visit would in effect be for them to sinfully insult the One who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, even our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only truly enthroned ‘Ruler of the World’ [Philippians 2:9-11: Hebrews 10:12-13].
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – Ballynahinch
In June of this year, former Roman Catholic priest, Richard Bennett wrote a very timely article entitled ‘A Perilous Fondness for the Papacy’ and I will gladly send a copy to any who request it. For those with Internet access it can be viewed on http://www.bereanbeacon.org/articles/perilous_fondness_for_papacy.htm
Then also with ‘uncanny’ timing Our Inheritance Bible Ministries published a booklet that is a reprint of Rev J A Wylie’s article ‘The Papacy Is The Antichrist – A Demonstration’. In the “Publishers Comment”, Our Inheritance wrote ‘The publishers believe that the material contained in this little booklet is of such importance that it should once again be made available to all thinking Christians. We make no apologies for what may be seen as political incorrectness. We believe that had the Church and politicians of the recent past and present, taken heed of the material contained herein, both Church and nation would be in a far better moral, social, spiritual and indeed political situation than it is’. The Rev Wylie wrote in his “Preface” ‘The same line of proof which establishes that Christ is the promised Messiah, conversely applied, establishes that the Roman system is the predicted Apostasy…We conclude, therefore, that if Jesus of Nazareth be the Christ, the Roman Papacy is the Antichrist’
‘THE PAPACY IS THE ANTICHRIST – A DEMONSTRATION’
This booklet can be purchased from us – PRICE £3.00 [includes p&p]
We will automatically include a copy of Richard Bennett’s article ‘A Perilous Fondness for the Papacy’ with each booklet purchased.