Whose ‘Evolutionary Feathers’ have been Ruffled?

It was recently drawn to my attention by a Christian friend that I was ‘listed’ on the ‘WHO IS WHO’ page of a website dedicated to promoting Darwinian Evolution and to refuting Biblical creation. I went to the website in question and downloaded the following about the organisation.

  • About the British Centre for Science Education
  • What is the BCSE?

The British Centre for Science Education is a single issue pressure group dedicated solely to keeping creationism and intelligent design out of the science classroom in publicly-funded schools in the United Kingdom.

  • Who is behind the BCSE?

BCSE is a co-operative, with a formal constitution, of like-minded people. It is run by a committee elected by its members

The seven committee members at present are:

  • Michael Brass, Interim Chairman,
  • Roger Stanyard, Interim Spokesman
  • Ian Lowe, Interim IT Manager
  • Alan Bellis, General Advisor
  • Brian Jordan, Scientific Advisor
  • Timothy Chase, General Advisor
  • John Germain, Interim Membership Secretary

Michael Brass is a published archaeologist, holding archaeology and history degrees from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and an archaeology Masters degree from University College London. He has a web site at http://www.antiquityofman.com and lives in Cambridge.

Roger Stanyard is a management consultant working in the satellite communications and broadcasting sector. He lives in Winchester. He has a BSc joint honours degree in economics and geography (University College, London) and an MBA (Cranfield).

Ian Lowe is an IT consultant and a former company director working in IT within the Education sector. Ian holds a BSc in General Science from Strathclyde University. He lives in Glasgow.

Alan Bellis is an entrepreneur who lives in Middlesborough. He is active in criticising academy schools and has a web site at http://www.creationism.co.uk.

Dr Brian Jordan BSc (Hons), MSc (Distinction) PhD who lives in Yorkshire, is a retired clinical biochemist. He studied chemistry and chemical engineering and worked as a development engineer. He has been a school PTA chairman, parent governor, scout committee chairman and chairman of a branch of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Tim Chase is a software engineer resident in Seattle in the USA. He holds a BA Philosophy from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA, and an MA (MALA) (Great Books Program) from St. Johns College, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

John Germain is a business man and member of MENSA who lives and works in Jersey in the Channel Islands.

and downloaded what they had to say about me – Cecil Andrews

Andrews is a hard-line young earth creationist and fundamentalist as can be seen in his June 2002 Newsletter. From our understanding Andrews comes over as moderate in his public speaking but even by the standards of Northern Ireland he is seen as a religious extremist.

We have been unable to find out whether Andrews has any formal theological qualifications. He is understood to have either worked for a building society or an estate agency before becoming involved in religion. His web site at http://www.takeheed.net makes no mention of these

He is an itinerant minister whose organisation is called Take Heed Ministries. This appears, loosely to be an independent Baptist ministry stuck somewhere in the 17th century. The main thrust of this organisation, which appears to be largely a one-man-band operation, is criticising various sects and cults including Catholicism. Andrews has pointed out that he is not anti-Catholic but anti-Catholicism but it is hard to see what the difference is.

This is undoubtedly a hugely touchy issue in Northern Ireland given that Catholicism determines how nearly half the population define their nationality and the way they vote.

Here are some details from Andrew’s web site that indicate the intensity of his anti-Catholicism:

“For 2 weeks in September 1996 I played host to Richard Bennett a former Dominican Roman Catholic priest for over 20 years until the Lord graciously saved him in 1985 and as well as testifying Richard also gave two talks on the gospel of and for Roman Catholics. In February 1997 I was pleased to welcome Frank Eberhardt, a former trainee Roman Catholic priest until the Lord saved him in 1972.”

It appears that even the protestant Belfast Telegraph finds Andrews to be extreme. On his own admission he appears to be blacklisted by the paper. In one letter he wrote to it Andrews claims that Christians should not allow Catholics to be in a position of leadership. This is from an unpublished letter he sent on 15th May 2006:

“Christians who organise worship have a Biblical duty not to afford leadership in services to any whose declared understanding of Scripture does not reflect being “in spirit and in truth”. For that reason, Presbyterian Moderator, Harry Uprichard, quite rightly declined to participate in a Police-related service where Roman Catholic clergy would have been given a leadership role in the service.”

Andrews is also a creationist activist. In 2002 he was involved in the tour of Northern Ireland by the American creationist Roger Oakland. Belief in creationism is rampant amongst Northern Ireland Protestants.

After Oakland left, Andrews sent a creationist video of Oakland to all 659 MPs in Westminster. By Andrew’s own account, nearly all of them appear to have ignored it. However, the timing was significant in that teaching of creationism in state schools in the UK had become a public issue around that time. The video was distributed in May 2002, not long after the notorious Estelle Morris letter and just after the teaching of creationism in Emmanuel College became widely known.

The money for distributing the video was raised by Andrews from an appeal.

Only four MPs replied to Andrews. John Healy (Labour, Wentworth) sent a standard acknowledgement card. Boris Johnson (Conservative, Henley on Thames) sent what can only be described as a wacko reply which can be seen on his web page in this wiki…Northern Ireland MP, Nigel Dodds (Democratic Unionist Party, North Belfast) also wrote a supportive reply:

Dear Cecil,

Thank you very much for your recent letter and the enclosed video in relation to the scientific case for ‘creation’. I appreciate you taking the time to write to me.

Best Wishes – NIGEL DODDS MP

He apparently also added a personalised ‘PS’ of encouragement.

The one ‘dissenter’ who put pen to paper was Elliot Morley (Labour – Scunthorpe County) was blunt in his dismissal of Andrew’s caper:

Dear Mr Andrews

There is no scientific case for creation and it is quite wrong that children should be taught something in school, which is not true.

Yours sincerely – ELLIOT MORLEY MP

Andrews replied back on 23 July 2002:

Dear Mr Morley

As MP’s will shortly be recessing for their summer holidays I am sending on herewith, with my compliments, a copy of the book ‘The Evidence For Creation’ in the hope that perhaps you like me take the opportunity of using a summer holiday to catch up on some reading. I did by the way very much appreciate you taking time to write to me in the wake of receipt of the video we sent to you [even though your comments were what might be described as ‘negative’]. Have a good break.

Yours sincerely – CECIL ANDREWS

Andrews then received a letter from the Department for Education and Skills in London which seemed to state that creationism is taught in schools but was ambiguous as to whether this included science lessons: This quote from the letter is from Andrew’s web site:

“With regard to creationism and evolution, I can assure you that pupils do learn about evolution and creationism within Science and Religious education lessons. They explore the nature and meanings of the Genesis creation stories, creationists and others learn about some of the main ideas in the big bang and evolution theories, such as how life progressed and how mankind came to be on earth. Through a balanced study of each theory, pupils can make informed judgements and independent decisions about these issues. Creationism is but one of many differing and often conflicting beliefs which pupils might discuss and consider. This is an essential part of enabling young people to develop their own mature and informed views on moral and ethical issues to become responsible and active citizens”.

Andrew’s mass mailing of material to people he wants to convert is nothing new. He did a similar thing at the end of 1997. Here is an article about him published late in 1997 by the Examiner newspaper: AN evangelical Protestant group in the North has launched a zany conversion bid – on Ireland’s 5,600 Catholic priests and bishops!

Co Down-based ‘Take Heed Ministries’ claim members of the Roman Catholic clergy must be shown the errors of their ways in a book and tape set entitled: ‘Far From Rome, Near to God’. Carryduff man Cecil Andrews insists his mission is not a pre-Christmas wind-up, and he has certainly left many priests very miffed.

He says his conversion drive is serious and that every member of the Catholic clergy will receive his tapes and books in the post within the next week. “This is a matter between myself and the Lord and the men (priests) themselves,” insisted Mr Andrews, who admitted that he used the Irish Catholic Directory to get the names and addresses of all 5,600 members of the Church’s clergy.

“We hope to have reached all of them within the next ten days,” he said.

The book and tapes feature “testimonies” of 50 former Catholic priests. It is introduced by former Dominican, Richard Bennett. The introduction reads: “Just as many Levetical priests became obedient to Biblical faith in apostolic times, there are still many whose eyes are opened to how valueless is the Roman cloth. “The testimony of these men will cause readers to ask whether what the Church of Rome professes to give people is actually true.”

While some priests who spoke to The Examiner in Belfast yesterday said they found the conversion bid “a bit rich” and “obviously some sort of joke”, another member of the clergy branded it “anti-Catholic.” He added: “I threw my copy in the bin. It was the only decent thing to do with it.”

By way of response to this article I have written a detailed, corrective email letter to each member of the committee of the BCSE and you will be able to read that email letter shortly.

In the letter I encourage the committee members to listen to 5 Irish Radio interviews that I gave back in December 1997 in relation to the audiotape outreach to the Roman Catholic priest because in those interviews I correct errors that were in the newspaper report that is reproduced on the BCSE website.

If you listen to these interviews via the link in the letter to the committee members you will find that after the first [Radio Ulster] interview there is a ‘bleeping’ noise from time to time during the other 4 interviews. This is because these interviews were conducted by telephone and the recording facility that I had on my phone automatically included this ‘bleeping’ noise – it was there to let the people I was speaking to know that I was recording the conversation.

Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 20 December 2006

  • The following is the email letter sent to each BCSE committee member.

Dear Mr

As a member of the committee of BCSE I am sure you would not wish to be a party to anything posted to the group’s website that is inaccurate or that could be construed as being there purely for the purposes of demeaning and insulting someone. I’m sure like myself you want only to deal in facts as far as they can be positively known.

It has been drawn to my attention that on the BCSE website there is an item under ‘Who is Who’ relating to myself and it is certainly inaccurate in several places and in others it does give the impression of being demeaning and insulting purely for those purposes.

In the opening line of the article I am described as being both ‘hardline’ and ‘fundamentalist’. If these adjectives are there merely to demean and insult me then they should be removed. However if ‘hardline’ is there to indicate that my ‘line’ of thinking on ‘origins’ is fixed [hard] and not for reshaping, in a similar fashion that Richard Dawkin’s thinking on ‘origins’ is fixed [hard] and not for reshaping, then that is fine. If ‘fundamentalist’ is there to indicate that I view the teachings of my source of ‘truth’ on ‘origins’, namely the written Word of God, as being accurate and trustworthy, in the same way that Richard Dawkins views the teachings of his source of truth on ‘origins’, namely the writings of Charles Darwin, as being accurate and trustworthy, then that is fine.

In paragraph 2, mention is made of me possibly having worked for an estate agency – I have never worked for such a business. As to my ‘theological qualifications’ – they fall into the same category as for example those possessed by the Apostles Peter and John following the Lord’s ascension to heaven – regenerated and indwelt by our teacher, God the Holy Spirit who, according to the Lord Jesus Christ in John 16:13 guides into all truth.

In paragraph 3, the article states about my ministry that “This appears, loosely to be an independent Baptist ministry stuck somewhere in the 17th century”. Being factually inaccurate on 2 counts one is left with the impression that the purpose of this statement falls mostly into the ‘demeaning and insulting’ category. We are not a ‘Baptist’ ministry nor are we “stuck somewhere in the 17th century” as we are dealing very much with live, 21st century issues, some of which have of course been around since the dawn of creation.

This same paragraph also states “Andrews has pointed out that he is not anti-Catholic but anti-Catholicism but it is hard to see what the difference is”. Just at this point I do have to ask myself why such a statement is included on the website of a group that is seeking to refute belief in Biblical Creation and to promote Darwinian Evolution – is it there purely as a personal, demeaning and insulting attack upon the individual in question, namely myself? That aside, whilst I am most certainly opposed to the false teachings of Roman Catholicism, if I were also ‘anti-Catholic’ then I would not be seeking to rescue Roman Catholics from going to hell by exposing them to the true, saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

A little further into the article we read, “It appears that even the protestant Belfast Telegraph finds Andrews to be extreme”. I have to confess that I really did smile when I read the expression “the protestant Belfast Telegraph”.

On this link http://www.independentnewsmedia.com/sea/17Jul00.htm you read the following – ‘Independent News & Media PLC (“IN&M”) has received formal clearance for the purchase of the Belfast Telegraph titles (“BTNL”) from Trinity Mirror plc. The consent of Britain’s Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Stephen Byers MP, was received today; the clearance of the Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Tanaiste Mary Harney TD, had already been received’

The leading figure in ‘Independent News & Media’ is former Irish Rugby player [Sir] Anthony O’Reilly and on this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_O’Reilly we read – “Sir Anthony “Tony” O’Reilly (born 7 May 1936) is a Dublin born billionaire who holds both British and Irish nationality. He is best known through his chairmanship of the Dublin-based Independent News & Media Group (INM)… Anthony Joseph Francis O’Reilly was born in Dublin. He was educated at the Jesuit-run Belvedere College,” So much for “the protestant Belfast Telegraph”.

In the same paragraph your article states “In one letter he wrote to it Andrews claims that Christians should not allow Catholics to be in a position of leadership”. Whilst your article does then give a quote from the letter in question that helps to clarify what I meant by “leadership” – namely a “leadership” role in worship services organised by Evangelical Christians – anyone reading the first statement and not bothering to read the letter would be left with the impression that I oppose any and every form of “leadership” by Catholics and that would be grossly untrue.

As for me being “blacklisted” by the paper, what appears to have happened is that they seem to have taken a decision to radically change the nature of the letters published in their Saturday night edition [where letters on religious matters normally appeared] and so not only I but also others from a Roman Catholic perspective are no longer given column-inch space.

The paper itself has a clear ‘liberal/ecumenical’ ethos and agenda that is reflected in the writings of its Religion Correspondent, Alf McCreary and also in the writings of the ecumenical-friendly writers of the weekly ‘Thought For The Weekend’.

In relation to the creation videos that were sent to all MPs your article states, “By Andrew’s own account, nearly all of them appear to have ignored it”. This is totally inaccurate and this is actually what I wrote – ‘Feedback’ from MP’s in relation to the video has been minimal… perhaps humanly speaking it might have been nice to receive greater ‘feedback’ from more MP’s but I am content to leave this matter in the hands of the Lord’. NOWHERE did I state that ‘nearly all of them appear to have ignored it’ – I was merely commenting upon actual responses to me – the fact that these were few is no indicator that recipients “ignored” the videos sent to them.

Towards the close of the article, reference is made to an audiotape outreach to Roman Catholic priests in Ireland made by the ministry back in 1997. Again I do have to question the motive for including this section on the website of your group that is seeking to refute belief in Biblical Creation and to promote Darwinian Evolution – is it there purely as a personal, demeaning and insulting attack upon myself?

That aside, the newspaper article quoted was grossly inaccurate in some of the assertions made in its article and in consequence, perhaps for the sake of factual accuracy, you should remove it from the BCSE website. To find out just how wrong their article was I would encourage you to go to this link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P64C3usgvNM

Cecil interviewed about ‘Take Heed’s’ 1997 audiotape outreach to Ireland’s Roman Catholic priests] and you can listen to 5 Irish radio interviews that I gave in December 1997 as the outreach was drawing to a close.

In closing, let me say I count it a special honour to be listed on your ‘Who is Who’ website, for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said to me in Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake”.

I’m so glad that my eternal salvation did not depend upon my IQ but rather as we read in 1st Corinthians 1:21-27 “In the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God [but rather] it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe…because the foolishness of God is wiser than men…God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise”.

In closing I commend to you the only Saviour of sinful men, the One who created all things as we read in John 1:3, the One who was “made flesh and dwelt amongst us” [John 1:14] – I refer of course to the Lord Jesus Christ before whom, in a coming day, “every knee shall bow…and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father” [Philippians 2:10-11].

I am your servant for His sake

Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries

Following my sending of the email to the committee members I received the following gracious response from one of them – Alan Bellis.

Hi Cecil,

Thanks for taking the time to e-mail me with your concerns, it is a little late for me to investigate this issue fully, I think the best bet is to pass your e-mail across to Roger, as I believe he is the author of the report you are taking issue with. As far as I am concerned, any inaccuracies should be put right immediately.

Best Wishes, Alan. [Bellis]

Upon visiting the BCSE ‘Who is Who’ website page on 23rd December I noted that following my email they had slightly altered the entry about myself and they had also posted my email in its entirety. The changes to their entry make for interesting reading!

  • Original Wording

‘He is understood to have either worked for a building society or an estate agency before becoming involved in religion’.

  • New Wording

This sentence has been completely omitted from the revised BSCE ‘Who is Who’ article.

  • Cecil’s comments

I was working as a Building Society Branch Manager in Portadown when I was converted to Christ in 1984. Shortly thereafter I moved to manage a Building Society Branch Office in Belfast City Centre until I left in 1989 and subsequently established ‘Take Heed’ Ministries in 1990.

  • Original Wording

‘This appears, loosely to be an independent Baptist ministry stuck somewhere in the 17th century’.

  • New Wording

‘This appears, loosely, to be an independent Baptist ministry (1) stuck somewhere (like much of the rest of Northern Ireland) in the 17th century’. (1) Cecil Andrews has close connections with the Crich Baptist Church in Derbyshire.

  • Cecil’s comments

Despite my advising that our ministry is not ‘an independent Baptist ministry’ they have persisted with this ‘label’ and in an effort to justify it have cited ‘close connections’ with Crich Baptist Church. I spoke on a number of occasions in Crich Baptist but last year I also spoke in Presbyterian, Congregational, Independent Methodist, Free Presbyterian Churches so how do these square up with the ‘independent Baptist’ label? Having decided to retain the insulting ‘stuck somewhere in the 17th century’ jibe about ‘Take Heed’, BSCE have now seen fit to extend the insult to ‘much of the rest of Northern Ireland’ – this particular insult appears to be evolving rather rapidly,

  • Original Wording

No previous reference

  • New Wording

‘Here is an article where Andrews takes exception to John Paul II being described as a ‘fine Christian man’ [Link Broken]

  • Cecil’s comments

This sentence has been inserted following my statement that I am ‘anti-Catholicism but not anti-Catholic’ – and it would appear the link to this article has been inserted to ‘prove’ that I am in fact ‘anti-Catholic’. I hope people will go to the article for in it I challenge the description of the late Pope John Paul II made in my presence by J I Packer when he described him as ‘a fine Christian man’ – and I do so on purely doctrinal [‘anti-Catholicism’] grounds.

PS Could this BCSE statement ‘Belief in creationism is rampant amongst Northern Ireland Protestants’ possibly be construed as ‘anti-Protestant’?

  • Original Wording

‘It appears that even the protestant Belfast Telegraph finds Andrews to be extreme’

  • New Wording

‘It appears that the mildly unionist Belfast Telegraph finds Andrews to be extreme’

  • Cecil’s comments

When BSCE first labelled the Belfast Telegraph as ‘protestant’ their intent was clear – it was to convey the impression that this ‘protestant’, Cecil Andrews, was even too extreme for a ‘protestant’ newspaper to handle. Having identified the foolishness of their ‘protestant Belfast Telegraph’ label in my email, BSCE have now resorted to applying a ‘political’ label to the Belfast Telegraph – I simply ask why they feel it necessary to apply any ‘label’ to the Belfast Telegraph in view of the fact that its change in strategy about publishing letters on religious matters appears to apply equally to Protestants like myself and also to Roman Catholics. I sincerely hope BSCE are not now trying to attach some ‘political’ label to Cecil Andrews and ‘Take Heed’ Ministries for our ministry and motivation have absolutely no political attachment or agenda.

In the light of my comments I’m sure you will understand that I am not overly impressed with the standard of the changes that have been made by BSCE to their web page and of course other inaccurate statements such as ‘Andrews sent a creationist video of Oakland to all 659 MPs in Westminster. By Andrew’s own account, nearly all of them appear to have ignored it’ have been left in situ.

Overall this BSCE article has a ‘Richard Dawkins ring’ to it. What do I mean by that? Well as I mentioned earlier, on Sunday 10 December 2006 Mr Dawkins took part in a ‘Creation v Evolution’ debate with Professor Andy McIntosh on the Radio Ulster programme ‘Sunday Sequence’. My reaction to Mr Dawkins’ performance was summed up as follows in an email that I sent to the local CALEB Evangelical Group

“I thought the debate went very well from a Biblical Creation point of view – Dawkins was pitiful – reduced to personal attacks on Andy McIntosh and openly admitting that he hasn’t discovered yet how ‘life’ came into being – once it did come into being then according to him evolution ‘kicked in’ but whatever ‘sparked’ life, as far as he is concerned, it wasn’t God and that atheistic view colours ALL his thinking.”

The reference to ‘personal attacks’ by Richard Dawkins against Andy McIntosh is where this BSCE article about myself seems to have a ‘Richard Dawkins ring’ to it. In both cases, Richard Dawkins [where Andy McIntosh is concerned] and BSCE [where Cecil Andrews is concerned] appear to have adopted the approach of ‘I don’t like the message so I’ll shoot the messenger’.

In closing I’d like to amplify Richard Dawkins’ admission that he doesn’t know how ‘life’ came into being by quoting from a report compiled by Jonathan Amos, Science reporter, BBC News, San Francisco – part of that report reads as follows –

The idea that comets delivered the chemical “seeds” for life to the early Earth has been given a big boost. Scientists studying the tiny grains of material recovered from Comet Wild-2 by Nasa’s Stardust mission have found large, complex carbon-rich molecules. They are of the type that could have been important precursor components of the initial reactions that gave rise to the planet’s biochemistry. The first full analysis of the Wild-2 grains is reported in Science magazine. “Whatever it took to get life started, the more variety of molecules you had in the mix and the more they looked like the kinds of molecules that life uses now then the easier it should have been,” Dr Scott Sandford from Nasa’s Ames Research Center told BBC News…No-one knows how life originated on the cooling early Earth, but it has become a popular theory that a bombardment of comets may have deposited important chemical units for the initiating reactions. [Full report can be seen on http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5173992.stm]

If no evolutionist [including Richard Dawkins by his own admission] knows how life originated then on what scientific grounds is a Creator God totally ruled out of the equation?

Perhaps this quotation [p 25] from Pastor John MacArthur’s book ‘The Battle For The Beginning’ may shed some heavenly light on the issue

‘To put it simply, evolution was invented in order to eliminate the God of Genesis and thereby to oust the Lawgiver and obliterate the inviolability of His law. Evolution is simply the latest means our fallen race has devised in order to suppress our innate knowledge and the biblical testimony that there is a God and that we are accountable to Him [see Romans 1:28]. By embracing evolution, modern society aims to do away with morality, responsibility and guilt. Society has embraced evolution with such enthusiasm because people imagine that it eliminates the Judge and leaves them free to do whatever they want without guilt and without consequences’.

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is an ‘antidote’ to the problem caused by sin when it entered this world through Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden – countless millions of Christians down through the centuries have been and are living proof of that visible reality that they have become “new creations” in Christ [see 2 Corinthians 5:17]. The Gospel of Christ offers real life-changing answers to the sinful and soul-damning woes of this world that are everywhere evident and that have increased in line with the truths in the quote above. In contrast what does atheistic evolution offer? – answers on a postcard please!

Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 23 December 2006