News, Views and your letters
Letters may be edited for brevity.
Editorial Comments are by Philip L. Powell (plp). The initials “bmb” represent B. Michael Bigg assistant editor.
From the CWM Blog
To comment go to –
Find the thread (topic) and make your comment at the end of that thread:
I am certainly no extremist, and confess to constant spiritual struggling, yet I am confident that when Jesus returns He will find in me the faith He is looking for - without which I believe subjectively, I cannot be part of the Harpazo [Gk. caught up, taken away]. Yes, a remnant is being called out, yes it's going to be very hard until the day dawns, and many more churchgoers will see this as time goes on and will know the import of that scripture that (only) His sheep will know and hear His voice as He calls us! By Abraham – (UK)
You can see all comments on this post at: http://www.christian-witness.org/blog/?p=21#comments
Pentacostalism is it Biblical or Just Part of the Con?
Author : Bill Scudder - firstname.lastname@example.org - Good teaching from the "Enrichment" journal an official publication of the AG-USA. Take special note of Thesis #7 as it is directly contrary to AG tradition and teaching but scripturally convincing. URL is below - Biblical Glossolalia - By William Graham MacDonald
ED: This is an important inclusion for those desiring to understand and practise the genuine biblical manifestations of the Holy Spirit. HOWEVER, I would be interested to know what the author of this blog and of the Enrichment Journal make of the fact that Peter's declaration in Acts 2:16, when compared with Joel 2:28, does appear to link “prophecy”, the vocal expression referred to in Joel, with “glossolalia” the fulfilment manifested in Acts 2. Also if Isaiah 28:11 does in fact refer to “glossolalia”, as many Pentecostals claim, does this not imply a “man-ward” aspect of “speaking in tongues”? On the day of Pentecost the “glossolalia” was a supernatural (miraculous) utterance in various languages of “the wonderful works of God” (verse 11) and was both God-ward and man-ward and both glossolalia for the speaker but prophecy to the hearer. I'm not sure that it's quite as straightforward as Thesis # 7 suggests. What do you think – plp.
Author: Renton Maclachlan - E-mail: email@example.com - Comment: For a totally different view on 'tongues' so-called, see: http://www.tonguesrevisited.com - The book 'Tongues Revisited: A Third Way', is available online from the website free and hardcopy as per the website. It rejects totally both the Pentecostal/Charismatic and non- Charismatic cessationist views as unsupported by the text of Scripture. In short, a con of great proportions has been foisted onto the Christian community.
ED - You can see all comments at the following link. Readers are urged to research and respond especially to Renton's comment, considering whether in fact he dismisses the supernatural element of glossolalia and the other manifestations of the Holy Spirit and in so doing is in fact cessationist notwithstanding his denial:
I have been subscribing to your magazine for a few years now. It really has changed my life and understanding. The Bible now has become life changing to me. I want to ask you - Is speaking in tongues right? Is it biblical? If so how does a believer know whether the tongues he/she is speaking in is actually the Holy Spirit or another spirit? Regards - Robert Loader – Sydney.
ED - Thanks Robert for your kind comment. How about making a public comment on our CWM blog at: http://www.christian- witness.org/blog Tell the readers something about yourself and then ask your question. Try to keep it brief. Thanks. I may also with your permission publish your comment and question in CETF. May I use your full name and location i.e. general area where you live? In Christ, plp.
Hello Philip: Yes you can publish my comment, question and name. I live in Sydney. Thank you for your reply it meant a lot to me. Regards Robert.
From The Regular Mailer
I now live in Denmark (my wife is Danish) and am heartbroken over the large-scale absence of faithful Gospel preaching in Australia. I originate from Chinchilla but spent most of my adult life in Brisbane and have a background in the AOG movement. I left it when I realised that the movement was embracing a gospel that has more to do with self-esteem, success, and sensuality than it does with Scripture. I must thank you for your articles, which I read and that played a large role in alerting me to the serious problems emanating from the Hillsong Mothership. I can see you have e-mailed Holden Barry at Heart Cry http://www.hcmissions.org/about/staff. He is the man to speak to regarding Paul Washer. Blessings to you – Cameron.
Ed – CWM encouraged Paul Washer to visit Australia and New Zealand in 2009 in conjunction with the visit of Justin Peters. There is now some thought about him doing a tour next year – 2010. We hope to keep you informed.
Hillson & GCCC – Brisbane:
The following arrived in our email Inbox on two occasions in April, 2009. I responded on receipt of the second email and publish my response hereunder.
FROM IAN ROSSENRODE – 14/04/2009 - Yet again I find myself 'defending' Bible- based churches that other 'Christians' seem determined to undermine....and in response to reading through 'thethinkingtheologian Blog', I felt compelled to write the following: http://thethinkingtheologian.blogspot.com/2009/01/at-heart-of-hillsong-part-i.html
Wow, I am shocked and frankly appalled by the way some 'Christians' can not only work against each other but also strive to judge and undermine one another. I consider myself a 'thinking, intelligent and always- questioning Christian'...And yes, for the record, my wife and I consider Hillsong, London 'our home church' for the last 7 years. I have attended (and still attend) numerous (non-Hillsong related) churches in our travels, having come from a 'traditional' Church of England background, (before becoming very 'anti-church' for many years, then 'coming back...). At 56 years of age, I think I am in a position to know that there is no perfect church, nor will there ever be - as long as you and I are in the congregation and the leaders are human!
Re. the statement –
How Michael Guglielmucci can be propelled to greatness shows a shocking lack of discernment in the leadership who blindly promoted him
Of course this was shocking, perverse and deceitful to the extreme....just as can sadly be said for the countless aberrations committed by 'church elders and leaders' in every denomination - and as 'high up' as Papal office in times gone by... If even his own parents were appalled and devastated by their son's revelations, to accuse the pastors of Hillsong (or indeed anyone else) of "oversight" or "ignoring" is clearly absurd and self-righteous! (That awful 'episode' was denounced and dealt with by Hillsong and is now in the past)
It appears the writer is claiming that a 'smaller church' would be able to identify 'errant members' within its congregation, but a 'larger' church would not. I'm the first to agree that leaders in ANY church of ANY size ("contemporary" or otherwise), need to be held accountable...and certainly globally we have seen (and I have personally experienced) the tragic results of a lack of leadership accountability within a church, but I don't believe the size of a particular church or attendee numbers makes any difference...other than the larger churches are more visible and open to media attack (and seemingly from other Christians too!). Rarely will we hear of some pastor 'running off with the married organ-player' of a small local parish, other than in the local tabloid...and that is also happening way too often...
Equally sadly, we seldom hear of the good work that the 'larger churches' are doing, especially in 'third-world' countries... and Hillsong is JUST ONE of those large churches very active 'in the field' - AND I hasten to add, working in conjunction with other aid groups, charities and 'smaller churches' (NOT affiliated with, nor 'owned' by Hillsong!).
As a long-term previous member of Hillsong yourself, I'm sure you must be aware of just what projects in several parts of the world Hillsong is proactively engaged with. Again I reiterate that of course it is not just Hillsong 'out there', but having been born and raised in East Africa myself, I am acutely aware of the work needed and indeed being 'tackled' by Hillsong and others, just in that part of the world!
As far as I can tell, one still needs funds to undertake and meet the needs of the world and surely it is also logical that the 'larger churches' are more able to meet those needs. This is not a 'self-glory', ‘name-in- lights’ exercise and believe it or not, I am not suggesting 'large churches' are better - As long as any-sized Christian church is 'Bible- based', 'Word-preaching', 'people- reaching', 'Kingdom-expanding', 'problem- solving', 'non-racist', 'community- supporting' ...
Surely there is more than enough 'anti- Christian' nonsense going on in our world today and we all should know there are 'faults' (big and small) in every church! Why do we continue to be judgmental, negative and generally 'help the enemy' achieve his agenda?
Re. your statement –
A case in point would be Brian Houston, senior pastor of Hillsong church. He is the self-made leader of a megachurch, which follows his every whim unquestioningly.
I find this statement so 'out of order' and questionable!
You may be surprised to know that MANY 'questioning' people attend Hillsong to follow Jesus and the Word...not Brian Houston. I'm also surprised you are not aware that Brian Houston does actually listen to, visit and work with so many international speakers and church leaders. Yes, from the very small 'back-water' makeshift 'churches' to other 'mega-churches' (you seem so opposed to), with their eminent leaders and speakers! (But hey, perhaps God will bring Hillsong 'in line', if He deems it necessary...). I'm not quite sure just why you are so against large churches, or is it just Hillsong?
Finally, I may move away from London at some point and will quite likely attend another (non-Hillsong) church, but I will continue to pray for the leadership of Hillsong Church as I do for the small 'traditional' church my mother faithfully attends each Sunday!
Not arrogance and certainly far from 'perfect', just choosing to look for the positive side of Christianity - The Good News! -
From Phillip Powell – 15/04/2009 -
Dear Ian: Thanks for your two emails in which you repeated yourself verbatim. The point you endeavour to make should really not be directed to me but to the "Thinking Theologian" blog, with which I have no direct link, though I agree with their argument. I will 'blind copy' a person in who may be able to publicise your "thoughts" though quite frankly for what it's worth I think your argument lacks substance and is fallacious at least in part. You do make some good points. However part of what you say: (Since writing this to Ian, Philip Powell and The Thinking Theologian have been in contact with each other)
1. Is self-defeating as you actually end up doing exactly what you condemn in others.
Let me explain: You have judged both me and The Thinking Theologian and have thus in your thinking and in your own words "undermined us". These are your words not mine. I do not agree that honest and open discussion "undermines" those of contrary opinion.
- The fact that you and your wife are linked to Hillsong in London really neither adds to nor detracts from the argument.
- Ditto re your other Church association and activity, which you cite, including your formal former links with Anglicanism.
- We have not suggested there is a perfect Church so the point you make in this regard is irrelevant.
- The biblical saying about "casting the first stone" related to committing adultery i.e. immorality and it related to the casting of literal stones. It has NOTHING whatsoever to do with carrying out a rational discussion about what is perceived to be a scam.
I suggest at 56 years of age you should have learned to keep to the point.
Having said that some of what you write does make sense - at least superficially. Hillsong is known for its social-welfare work, although even in this it has "played the hypocrite" to such an extent that they have come in for strong criticism here in Australia. Hillsong allegedly had to close some of their outlets in respect of such activity, which was shown to be self-serving. They most certainly were forced to "duck for cover".
The person whom I have 'blind copied in' may facilitate a blog response about such matters.
I personally would certainly take issue with your claim that Hillsong and Brian Houston are Bible based. From what I have heard and seen they both - Church and preacher - pervert the Scriptures in their essential message. Brian continuously distorts the Bible.
Take for example his YOU NEED MORE MONEY; you may care to read what another thoughtful Christian has published on the issue at:
OR you could do a search on our own CWM website
SEARCH - Brian Houston or HILLSONG or any related topic.
There is a lot of closely reasoned material there.
God bless you Ian and thanks for writing.
(Since writing this to Ian Philip Powell and The Thinking Theologian have been in contact with each other.)
AoG – Accent Leadership Magazine
Hi Philip, I came across these interesting articles in the latest Accent Leadership Magazine, by ACC. Your thoughts, if possible:
"Water, Wine & New Age Theology”
"The Power Of Credit”
Also of interest to note is their recommendation of books by TD Jakes and John Eldridge.
1) I knew David Parker quite well and respect him. In fact he was a student in my lectures in 1978-79, when I came to OZ as incumbent pastor at the Assembly launched by the official AoG Bible College then known as Commonwealth Bible College (CBC) and now Southern Cross Bible College (SCBC). I also was part time lecturer at CBC during those two years.
I have not read the entire article. I simply do not have the time and short of finding a solution to my present work overload situation can't see how I can possibly find the time.
I think the article is based on questionable symbolism and is far too conjectural. IMO it's the sort of approach and rationale that have led to the many foibles, fallacies and frauds within a one time godly movement. It is eisegesis - not exegesis.
2) I do not know Graeme Kirkwood and am not an expert on economics. However I think GK starts with a false premise. He says - "The collapse of our money and credit system during 2008 ...” It has not collapsed though admittedly it has been seriously affected.
His main points seem to be reasonable apart from the fact that short term credit, which can be repaid - e.g. Credit Cards ALWAYS settled monthly, can be good use of a modern resource irrespective of whether we apply the credit to consumables e.g. food etc or solid assets. I am not sure if he can get his ideas from Nehemiah though it is an interesting idea. My basic fear would be that GK may be doing what many so called ministers have done and are doing viz trying to establish themselves as financial advisers based on imagined ideas of what the Bible teaches re these matters. Usually such men end up rorting the Christian public. The Bible is a book about GOD and how we relate to Him in righteousness. It deals with the SIN question. It is not a textbook on How to better our lives but on how we should die to the old life and become alive to God through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. These men and those who follow them usually end up chasing a "will o' the wisp" and ultimately deceiving their followers. I have no faith at all in anything related to TD Jakes and have never heard of John Eldridge - Every blessing, plp.
You don't know us, but I am Julia Mead's cousin - I was her flower girl when she married Earle. We would very much appreciate it if you would add our email address to your CWM list. One more thing - in around 1981 or 82, we rented the house you had sold to a Jewish family, Mr & Mrs Epstein, in Wentworth Falls (NSW). They were a lovely couple, and very friendly. My husband was able to talk to Mr. Epstein about Yeshua. Whether he was able to change their convictions concerning the Lord we aren't sure, but hopefully they saw something in us that may have made them think. What was shared was well received. We have been looking for any Messianic Fellowships in the Bay of Plenty, but so far haven't been able to find any - apart from one that we tried to visit as we had been given the place where they met, but they must have moved elsewhere (or else we got the wrong details). Many thanks for listening, and we will look forward to getting your reply Ty & Margaret
Ed: So far we have NOT been able to help T & M. Please advise if you know of a good biblical based fellowship in the Bay of Plenty.
Holy Ghost Bar Tender:
Philip - Our local "Albert & Logan News" on 18/2/09 ran a half-page advertisement by River of Grace Church to come and hear Adonica & Rodney Howard-Browne (RHB) in mid March at their Kingston address. AoG's "I'm-the-pastor- who-gives-away-60-tonnes-of-food-to-the- poor-for-free" Terry Walker doesn't seem to have learned much from his involvements with Benny Hinn and Todd Bentley in recent years, does he? ...or maybe he has ... :-(. These good works though can cloud the fact that the teachings are not sound; looks like we're in for more infections in the body of Christ in those who seek magical experiences rather than the Lord Jesus alone. This is an ongoing concern. Kind regards, PS - Brisbane.
Ed: We understand that in his disappointment with the fallout over the Hillsong take-over, GCCC's former senior pastor, Bruce Hills, sought the counsel and help of RHB during his visit and was accompanied by his father Philip Hills. Will these men never learn?
UK Teacher suspended for beliefs
A CHRISTIAN teacher has been reinstated following his suspension from a senior post for complaining that a staff training day was used to promote homosexual rights. Kwabena Peat, 54, left a compulsory training session with several other Christian colleagues at a north London school after the speaker, Sue Sanders, invited by the School head teacher, openly questioned why people thought heterosexuality was natural. Mr Peat says that Ms Sanders, who openly describes herself as a lesbian, told him and his colleagues that those who did not accept that being homosexual was 'normal' had "issues" they must deal with. He said:
I expected the training session to help us by providing good information on how to handle bullying but she had another agenda. She started promoting homosexual lifestyles and suggesting those who had objections should sort out their prejudices. She clearly asked us 'what makes you all think that to be heterosexual is natural?'
Mr Peat, who is a year-head (e.g. year 12 pupils) on a £50,000 salary, and other staff were deeply upset that teaching staff, and others, who disagreed out of Christian conviction were given no opportunity to respond. It would seem that at the school only one position was acceptable, denying free speech and respecting staff's human rights, in a training establishment which is intended to encourage students to think for themselves and claims to respect every individual's moral convictions. Following the training day Mr Peat wrote privately to three staff members involved in organising the session, including a deputy head, complaining about Ms Sanders' "aggressive" presentation. Sue Sanders is the co-founder of the Schools Out organisation which campaigns for homosexual equality in education and last month attended a Downing Street reception hosted by Gordon Brown to mark Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender History Month. She was paid £850 for conducting training in the school.
The three staff complained to the school's principal, claiming, although they were senior to Mr Peat, they felt "harassed and intimidated" by the letter. Following an investigation, Mr Peat was suspended and placed on paid leave pending outcome of disciplinary investigations hearings. He was supported by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) who instructed the leading Human Rights' Barrister, Paul Diamond, to represent him. Before his reinstatement Mr Peat, who has spent most of his teaching life working in inner city London Schools and is a father of three children said: “I'm not surprised by all this, but I am disappointed.
I'm the one being harassed and intimidated - for expressing my religious views. As an experienced professional I am very supportive of "equality and diversity" programmes and have always got on well with colleagues who are well aware of my Christian beliefs.”
Mr Peat was suspended in January after the training day and was reinstated in June. Barrister Mark Mullins speaking on behalf (CLC) said:
Mr Peat was discriminated against for expressing his Christian faith. A legitimate orthodox Christian view as expressed by Mr Peat, however disagreeable others may find it, should not be construed as harassment or discrimination. If this is allowed to continue it will be state censorship leading to the infringement of a person's right to freedom of religion and speech. His reinstatement is a victory for commonsense but plainly he should never have been suspended in the first place.
Media Link - Daily Mail:
Ed: CLC http://www.christianlegalcentre.com and Christian Concern for Our Nation – www.ccfon.org have successfully represented a number of Christians in UK in their legal struggles against repressive laws. CLC frequently represent Christians without charge, through their full time Christian lawyers and barristers. They are dependent on the Christian public for financial support. This is a most worthy cause.
Easter – Pagan or Christian:
Editorial Comment - We have received a number of letters from genuinely concerned and supportive readers regarding Nick Sayers' two articles on “EASTER” (CETF # 43 – Vol. 14.1 and CETF # 47 Vol. 15.1 – March 2008 and 2009). In our opinion most have missed the point. The articles do not indicate a support for the obviously pagan and/or secular aspects of our Christian festivals e.g. Easter and Christmas. The argument is purely one based on the etymology of the word “Easter”, and why it was chosen by the 1611 translators of the Bible, regarding which there is a difference of opinion. This has been best addressed so far by our dear friend and ministerial colleague, Jacob Prasch (JP), who submitted a letter for publication. I persuaded JP to write a full article for the “Easter” (there's that word again) 2010 issue of CETF. We certainly have no intention of “gagging” contrary views, so long as they really do address the argument that was the basis of Nick Sayers' two articles. We simply want to keep to the point and not muddy the waters. Nick's contention basically is that the word Easter is Christian not pagan in its derivation. He has given his reasons.
JP's contention is that NS's argument is fundamentally flawed in its etymology as it ignores the historic setting when the translation was made in the versions that NS quotes – “Easter in English does not spring from its cognate derivation from the German 'Ostern'” but “directly from the Anglo Saxon fertility goddess 'Ostra'”. In addition JP argues that NS confuses modern Greek with the Greek of the New Testament and that he espouses a “blatant error in his claim that Luke lacked a suitable Greek term for the day of the Resurrection apart from Pesach (Passover) to distinguish the 14th of Nisan from the Resurrection” thus overlooking the word used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:20 'aparcha' = 'first fruits' being the Greek translation for the Hebrew Feast of “First Fruits”.
Another point that JP makes is the issue of consistency – “pesach” (pascha) appears 29 times and is translated “Passover” 28 times and only once as “Easter”. NS does address this apparent anomaly comprehensively in his two articles. JP wonders if NS's aim is to justify the King James translators of the scripture. Having read JP's letter my inclination was not to publish it, as I think it would add to the confusion.
NS insists that he has already covered most of the points raised in the letter and in the other letters by Frank Lathlean who argues from a Seventh Day Adventist perspective and by Greg Michaelson, who raises the issue of the difference between the lunar and the solar basis of calculation for “Easter” vis a vis “Passover”. His point is valid but really has little to do with whether the word “Easter” is a legitimate translation of “pascha” in Acts 12:4.
I sincerely look forward to Jacob Prasch's promised article and will sit back and enjoy the subsequent exchanges. CWM appreciates and greatly respects Jacob's insights. Please wait until after “Easter” 2010 and the publishing of JP's article – then by all means send your letters –(After all Herod did wait until "after Easter" so there is a biblical precedent for "waiting" - smile!! plp.