Shortly after his conversion in the early 1980’s, Swedish student Torbjorn Swartling came under the influence of Word-Faith preacher, Ulf Ekman who had just returned from the United States where he had been studying at Kenneth Hagin’s bible school. This was to lead Torbjorn into what he considered to be ‘the last great Christian revival on earth’ [p18]. However doubts began to surface and for the next years his spiritual life was like a yo-yo – a mixture of ‘highs’ and ‘lows’.
In a short time most of the world will be working itself into a frenzy as humanity prepares to bid farewell to the 1900’s. The world today is not overwhelmed by atheists – most people have an attachment to some kind of spiritual philosophy – but in reality they fall into the category of “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” [2 Tim.3:5]. What is “the power” they deny – it is what is described as “the power of God unto salvation” in Romans 1:16. Most spiritual people today reject “the gospel of Christ”. Not only are these rejecters found amongst the non-Christian religions, false cults and New Age Movement but also amongst supposed Christian groups such as Roman Catholicism, Orthodox and Protestant denominations and the Word- Faith Movement. A grand coalition of many of these “gospel of Christ” rejecters is taking shape under the Primacy of the Pope and would appear to be gathering momentum and going forward in unstoppable fashion but their fate is assured. Through the preaching of the true “gospel of Christ” Christ’s true church will be built and the forces opposed to Him will one day be destroyed with the brightness of His coming. Until then let us “take heed” to our Lord’s instruction “Occupy, till I come” [Luke 19:13] and may our prayer be as we say farewell to this particular era “Even so, come Lord Jesus” [Rev.22:20].
We leave a summer marked by a number of unique events. Some happy, some breathtaking and some tragic. In July there was the happy reminder of man setting foot on the moon and no doubt many joined in the memory game of where were you when Neil Armstrong took his small step/giant leap? Then there was the breathtaking total eclipse viewed in wonder by millions around the globe. Not long after that there was the tragic devastation of the earthquake in Turkey when thousands were ushered swiftly into eternity. A pinnacle – man and the moon – a down to earth disaster – man and his mortality. One moment man can be ‘flying high but in the twinkling of an eye, like the one spoken of in Luke 12:20 it may be that “this night thy soul shall be required of thee”. Looking at large religious gatherings, whether held in Mecca, St Peter’s Square, Rugby Union HQ in Twickenham [JW annual convention] or Geneva [the Dalai Lama preached in Calvin’s former church on 8th August] one can see people who are happy and the sight can be breathtaking but the reality is that these are preludes to tragedy. Millions are perishing without Christ and are being eternally cut off from the blessing of God by a “great gulf fixed” – please pray that many will “take heed”.
It is with mixed emotions that I come to prepare this latest issue of News From The Front. On the one hand I will be reporting on a very happy and blessed time of ministry and fellowship that Margaret and I enjoyed during our visit to America. Then on the other hand I will be voicing grave concerns on issues that I believe the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ must seriously face up to and with courage address.
In addition “Take Heed” is about to totally ‘go it alone’ [purely of course from a human standpoint – see page 16]. However we move forward with words from Joshua 1:7 as our heavenly prescription “only be thou strong and very courageous” and words from Genesis 46:3-4 as our heavenly pledge “fear not to go…I will go down with thee”.
Margaret and I want to record our thanks to all who have been so faithful and encouraging in recent months and we can assure you that God has been responding to the many prayers that have been offered on our behalf. Humbly we ask you to pray on for His cause and for His glory.
A lot of miles have been safely covered both on land and in the air since last I wrote to you (thank you for your faithfulness in prayer) and I will be reporting on these travels in this newsletter. It would appear that for the time being I will be reverting back to 4 newsletters per year so as we again approach the end of another year Margaret and I together wish you God’s blessing for the remainder of 1998 and on into 1999.
This year has been the usual mix of highs and lows but through it all our unchanging God has been our constant source of comfort and strength. We are deeply grateful to the many who constantly pray for the work and provide for us in many thoughtful and practical ways. Please pray that during 1999 (DV) we will be sensitive to God’s leading and that whatever is undertaken in His name will bring glory to Him.
In conclusion ponder this wonderful promise to the true children of God “their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12;10:17).
The death of Diana, Princess of Wales (followed shortly after the death of ‘Mother’ Tereas) evoked a universal outpouring of grief and without doubt her death and also the loss of those who died with her was an occasion for true and genuine sadness. In the days leading up to her funeral and even for a time afterwards the ‘spiritual vacuum’ of masses of people was clearly evident but I think an even greater tradegy was the failure of so-called Christian leaders to make plain the teaching of God’s word in several crucial areas. Christ claimed to be the sole and unique way to God (John 14:6) and yet an evident ‘all roads lead to God’ attitude was clearly adopted on many occasions. Paul declares that salvation is “not of works” (Ephesians 2:9) but for many there was a tacit acceptance of charitable works as the basis of acceptance by God. The God of heaven declares “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13) yet millions were assured that souls who had died without the Christ of Calvary were ‘at rest.’ As believers we and others must afresh take to heart the words of the Lord in Matthew 24:4 “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Thank you for your support as Margaret and I urge people where possible to “Take Heed.”