WE PRINT LETTERS FROM YOU, THE READERS. LETTERS MAY BE EDITED FOR BREVITY. WE REGRET THAT THE EDITOR CANNOT ENGAGE IN PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE.
Editorial Comment (Ed) is by Philip L. Powell (PP) or B. Michael Bigg (MB)
From The Regular (Email) Mailer
We enjoy reading the many expressions of appreciation for our efforts to bring the truth to you. There are those who take issue with some of the things we publish (as you will have read in News and Views in previous CETFs). Not everyone will agree with everything we publish. Some ask to be taken off the mailing list, based on their disagreement. Two recent emails state,
• All reading this should know. There are many inaccuracies, misconceptions, and slanderous accusations on this website about Christians who love Jesus, truth and scripture. Attempts have been made to point these out to CWM (Christians Who Malign) but anyone who does is met with vitriol and further misrepresentations. This ‘ministry’ is no different to cheap tabloid journalism. —Bob
• To whom it may concern, Please don’t send me this again; I am offended by its racist tone, and as for the articles on creationism: It’s a sin to tell lies. Please remove me from your mailing list. God bless. —T & N Keneally
We asked Bob to point out our inaccuracies, misconceptions, and slanderous accusations. He made an effort to identify some inaccuracy in our reference to “Alpha”. We referred his complaint to the author of the article in question. Tim & Nyna failed to respond to our two requests for any evidence of our racist tone and lies.
It’s one thing being upset, angered or frustrated because one “feels” offended and quite another to level a charge of false reporting. If what CWM publishes is shown to be inaccurate or untrue then we have no problem correcting our mistakes and apologising where necessary. Nevertheless not believing the truth does not make the truth any less true. CWM does not take pleasure in pointing out the deficiencies, doctrinal errors and/or heresies of the Alpha course, Word-Faith, Roman Catholicism, Purpose Driven, etc., however our intention is not to tell people what they want to hear, but to tell them what they need to hear … even if it hurts. As Paul wrote,
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favour of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ (Galatians 1:6-10).
Thanks and/or Highly Commended
Thank you for all you send and thank you for having me on your mailing list. Love in Jesus — Stan Earle, UK, www.lifetothefullchurch.com
I am based in the UK and have been receiving your newsletter for several years and can only commend you and your team for speaking about issues that most Christians would rather ignore for the sake of “unity” or an “easy life”. … unfortunately many react hypocritically and try to find scriptures to support their attitudes/beliefs/teachings … when their errors are pointed out …. having read the way that Peter Fowler’s life was badly affected by a minister of the gospel I can only feel sympathy for him and shame to be a Christian …. I pray that God will help Peter to re-build his life as due to the minister’s sin, Peter’s marriage ended which of course would lead to any Christian feeling that he has failed in God’s eyes. …. Peter has suffered twice over—first abuse then the pain of his marriage breakdown. Reading this was so poignant to me today as I was recalling how … a minister inflicted mental/emotional abuse on congregation members. My prayer concerning such ministers is that God may find it possible to forgive them, otherwise such people may not enter heaven. The Bible says that not many of us should be teachers—because [God] knows that those in a position of leadership should live to a high standard. Many ignore this entering ministry in spite of their weaknesses. For those who have suffered such abuse—mental or physical, I pray that God will give them the grace and ability to rebuild their lives. — UM, UK
Dear CWM, I am really extremely grateful for your articles and statements, etc that I receive “on line”. I find them very disturbing, and wonder what I could do beyond alerting people, whom I meet daily, of the dangers ahead. In reality I get very frustrated as generally people WON’T listen even to their own history, including within my own family. We see the man of sin rising and there is nothing for it but to stick out, more and more, as the minority of one. I am of the view that if ever I am in any majority at all, I have got it wrong! — Mike Lampard
CETF 40: That was quite a CEFT—you put a lot of effort and time into that one (as is pretty usual!) I generally agree with Richard Bennett’s writing and like his style. I’m not for or against him in the latest release on “Anti-Christ”—the POAP (Poor Old Antichrist Person). So much has been written on this subject and so many writers have had their say about who this person is .... I can see where Richard is coming from and it makes sense—when you read it in the context of what he refers to in the Bible. I’m still not sure. I’ll be interested to see what other subscribers have to say. Apart from “Time will tell”. But, then again, we just might not be here to see whether we were right or wrong. — AO, NSW, Australia
SHALOM PHILIP. Can’t say I agree with Richard Bennett’s article on the Antichrist fully, but it is a good article. What he fails to even mention, is Israel and how they will fit into it. No Jew will ever accept a gentile as Messiah, and as we know the antichrist will be the counterfeit. He may well be a pope, but I’m more inclined to think it will be a political guy rather than religious, but we’ll see (well I hope we’re taken before then!) Blessings — LM, WA, Australia
Checking My Thoughts
Matthew 24:15—The scripture speaks about “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet … in the holy place … flee …“. I have always believed (and still do) that primarily this speaks about Jerusalem. But is it possible that there is a veiled second meaning, that the holy place could be the church with all its abominations. And we are told to FLEE from it. I would appreciate your thought on it. — QLD, Australia
ED—PLP: I have always felt that while prophecy has one basic interpretation there are often several applications. This, in my opinion, is particularly so with the matter that you raise. In CETF 40 you will see that Richard Bennett a former Roman Catholic priest has made a very strong case for the fact that the anti-Christ is the pope and the anti-Christ system is the Vatican. While I can and do accept his “historical” view I think there is also a “futurist” application. So for me on this particular matter there is no conflict between the historicist and the futurist interpretations. The religious system of “sin” is with us and has been since apostolic times masquerading as “God” and as His anointed. The consummate “man of sin” has yet to “unveil” himself and this as you say relates to Jerusalem, but it also relates to Rome and to the entire false religious system including Hillsong and the like. Ultimately they will all be constitutionally joined as in fact they are already united in ‘spirit’. False religion be it the RCC or the corrupt extreme Pentecostalism that is manifesting universally in our time, is a HORRIBLE thing. It is an ABOMINATION that makes DESOLATE. We press on—“and to those who LOOK for Him shall HE appear without sin to SALVATION”. Praise the Lord.
Just reading reports in your paper re Frank Houston. It disturbs me somewhat as in 1970/71 we were in Auckland. One of my sons was married in Queen Street AoG. His groomsman had a brother who was a homosexual, said to have turned homosexual at the AoG college, Wellington. Could it be true that this sin was prevalent in the college around those years? I know it is old history but as our family knew these two sons and their English parents in the church in Auckland it has touched our lives in a minor way. I …. would appreciate a quick reply if you have heard anything of what took place in that AoG Bible School. In Christ — IF (Bonney), QLD, Australia
ED—PLP: We know Peter Fowler was abused by Frank Houston in the 1970s which was when FH was running a Bible School in Lower Hutt. If you go to our CWM website—http://www.christian-witness.org/joinsearch.html—do a search on “Peter Fowler” and/or “Frank Houston”. (NB. there are two search engines.) Read what we have published about the case. Peter Fowler obtained a settlement with AoG-NZ but Frank and Brian Houston refused to meet Peter Fowler, with whom we have lost contact. We tried but failed to establish contact recently.
Hi guys, “truly the stones are crying out”. if AoG Australia won’t sort the Frank Houston thing out, then the secular media will help do the much-needed dirty work. Someone to watch in NZ is Brian Tamaki, who is like Brian but on a smaller scale, and with a mostly Maori constituency. AoG’s problem, is how to deal with someone who as a person was fatally flawed, yet was mightily used by God as well. “The efficacy of a Sacrament is not diminished by the unworthiness of its Messenger” — RC, NZ (An ex-Pentecostal in recovery!)
ED—PLP: The problem you mention is one of perception. Undoubtedly God can use anyone but will He use a homosexual paedophile? I doubt it. So the perception needs to be challenged. Matthew 5:6 makes it clear that God will bless people who earnestly seek after Him. This has nothing to do with the messenger and that’s where our perceptions can mislead us. Also Matthew 7: 23 should be thrown into the mix: “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity”. The terrifying truth is that these words will be spoken by our Lord to men who have apparently achieved much—including the performance of miracles. “I NEVER knew you.”
You mentioned Haggard and Crouch and Brian’s [Houston] links. I must be a little behind the times what have those two been up to? — QLD, Australia
ED—PLP: Brian was part of a photo event in Israel with Paul Crouch. Ted Haggard was scheduled as a speaker at Hillsong, not long ago. I am intrigued by the links and so my question relates only to that aspect. Brian doesn’t have to answer and probably won’t.
Catch The Fire
Dear brothers and sisters: I was deeply disturbed to hear that Frank Houston a SELF-CONFESSED SEXUAL ABUSER was honoured. Those who honoured him are also sick. I am a victim of child abuse and even after all these years the scars are still there. When a child has been sexually abused their innocence is taken away, and they find trust to be next to impossible. They go through life surrounded by walls in fear of being abused in some way and taken for a ride. I gave my life back to the LORD after being backslidden for ten years, and even though I’m a new creature in Christ Jesus I still have trust issues which almost snap my heart in two. I cry on the inside a lot, for the only one we can trust is the LORD and I confess to you I struggle to trust the LORD like I should, and no-one has any idea on how that grieves me, or how that feels. It’s NOT that I don’t want to trust. I just find it hard. If there is anyone of you who has gone through this please let me know, for my heart is in agony knowing that I’m hurting the LORD and not meaning to. As for this predator, he might have got away with it on this earth, but he will not escape the ALMIGHTY HAND of the LORD JESUS. I’m also enraged about a lot of ministers making money out of the GOSPEL. JESUS said freely you have received freely give. I don’t want to point the finger at anybody but it is wrong. Money that is given in tithes is being used for expensive clothes, homes, luxurious cars and the such like, and yet our LORD didn’t even have a pillow to sleep on when he was on the earth. When HE came in the form of a man, they laid HIM in a food trough, HE was not placed in a palace. If the LORD OF GLORY came to us in humble fashion, how much more are we to, and HE was the PERFECT, SPOTLESS LAMB OF GOD. These ministers are making merchandise out of the GOSPEL and GOD WILL JUDGE. I tremble when I think on GOD’S ALMIGHTINESS AND HOLINESS. Yes the LORD IS LOVE, but what people try to sweep away is that HE’S THE JUDGE ALSO. There must be a balance of preaching about GOD’S love and GOD’S dealings with man. JESUS preached a lot about hell, and we need that kind of preaching today, LORD grant it I pray. — Rita, Australia
Catch The Fire-Sequel
Danny Nalliah publicly claimed that God told him to conduct the “Honouring the Pentecostal Fathers” meeting in Melbourne. The most prominently honoured was the late Frank Houston of whom more than enough has been already published by CWM and by others. More recently Daniel Nalliah has claimed that God told him to meet with Australia’s present prime minister, John Howard and to “anoint” Peter Costello as his successor. The following are the actual words taken from a document headed Prophetic Word Regarding Federal Election 2007 released 11 August 2007:
The Lord told me to spend some personal time with Prime Minister John Howard and to prophetically prepare Federal Treasurer Peter Costello as the future prime minister of Australia. … I will boldly declare that Prime Minister John Howard will be re-elected in the November election (if the Body of Christ unites in prayer and action) and pass the leadership onto Peter Costello sometime after.
We suggest that a man who honours a homosexual paedophile won’t hear anything from God. False prophets usually cover their tracks. There is the fall back explanation if the above does not come to pass—Christians did not pray or they did not pray hard enough. If it happens as projected it proves nothing about the prophecy or the so called “prophet” (apostle). A reasonable guess would have put the Australian federal election in November. There was a fair chance that the present government could be returned. Peter Costello was the most likely man to replace John Howard when he stands down. Whatever happens in the election we suggest that Christians be careful how close they get to Catch the Fire and Danny Nalliah, who has most recently big named himself claiming all sorts of miracles and that he even raised a man from the dead—hmm!
Hi, you requested comments: I come from a background of AoGs which consistently taught tithing, probably too much. Then I had a twelve-year stretch in an Anglican church which mentioned it about once a year, in the context of the annual stewardship campaign. The rest of the year the topic was ignored—people were taught the virtues of generosity, yet were never told to tithe. Yet people were generous and many tithed. That church was never short of money, and when giving was mentioned you never felt it was being manipulative—which is more than can be said for my time in AoG (I am a survivor of the Queen Street debacle in 1983). I am now in a Vineyard church. We are taught, again, the virtues of generosity, yet we are never tied into a particular benchmark. It’s between us and God, we’re told. Yet, again, people give generously—we support two full-time pastors and two “other ranks” for a church of only eighty adults. Again, people tithe; but it is out of personal conviction and personal obedience, not an external law. And we don’t make ridiculous promises about financial “freedom” and “prosperity” for those who do tithe, either. In Christ, — RC, NZ (An ex-Pentecostal in recovery!)
Hi Phillip: I read your article on the “law” of tithing and find my self in agreement. You invoke the principle of stewardship in the NT which I again agree with. My question though concerns the biblical principle of firstfruits. In our stewardship would it not be appropriate for us to honour the Lord with the firstfruit?. If so then would not a tenth be at least a starting point?... I know I’m splitting hairs but is there not a difference?... Firstfruits are born out of love, worship and honour for the Lord, whereas the tithe many times is given by compulsion therefore nullifying what the Bible refers to as the grace of giving. What are your thoughts? In Christ, — GF
ED—PLP: The overriding guide is that in the New Testament financial giving is voluntary, whereas in the Old Testament it was obligatory. Tithing is based on the OT law and is not taught in the New Testament. Likewise there is no reference in the New Testament to financial “firstfruits”. We need to keep in mind that the New Testament teaches that the individual Christian and all he owns belongs to God. We are stewards and as such responsible for all that we give and where we give it. We are NOT our own and thus do not own our possessions. God owns them, but we as stewards make the decision of what to give and where to give it. So what you suggest is permissible but not obligatory. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. What you do and what you give—do and give as to the Lord. In this regard one question that is often overlooked relates to supporting false teachers and evil men who masquerade as ministers of the Gospel. By supporting the false churches and false preachers in your giving not only do you put money into a bag with holes but you also aid and abet evil workers by your financial support. In effect you are thus supporting anti-Christ. This is serious, because it advances that which is false and denies the needed support to those who are genuine and who preach the truth.
The Message - Not A Bible
Dear Philip, The other day I discovered we had the Message Bible on our computer. I compared Philippians 3 with the KJV as I had heard a sermon based on verses in that chapter. To my horror, I estimate that The Message is not just “wrong” but is 75% in error. It should never be called a “Bible”. — IF, QLD, Australia
ED—PLP: We agree. Men like Rick Warren use modern versions like The Message, The Living Bible etc (which are not true translations, but paraphrases at best) to support the ideas and doctrines of their own minds. No wonder there is so much false doctrine out there.
Islam & Slavery
On page 30 of CETF 40 there is a comment that Muslims were the key in the slave trade of the West. It was not the Western traders but the Muslims who made slaves in Africa in their conquest of that continent. The Western traders only bought and transported the slaves to European colonies. On the other hand the missionary, Livingston was so upset by the Muslim slavers that he asked the European nations to come and occupy Africa to stop this inhuman trade. Most African nations and Blacks in the USA have forgotten this and put all the blame on the Western nations. While not denying that European nations have exploited the African population are they better off now than then or would it be better if they had been overrun by Islam? — HK, WA, Australia