Letters may be edited for brevity.Editorial Comments unless otherwise specified are by Philip L. Powell (plp).
From the CWM Blog
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ASSEMBLIES OF GOD: http://www.christian-witness.org/blog/?p=24
Other interesting posts may be viewed at the following:http://www.christian-witness.org/blog/?p=21#commentshttp://www.christian-witness.org/blog/?p=15#comments
From The Regular Mailer
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Islam & False Teaching in the Churches
Monday, 1 November 2010 3:56 PM
Dear Philip: Thanks so much for teaching and sharing from the Word of God. At one time in my Christian life, about 25 years ago, the devil almost destroyed me, but God through His Word wonderfully delivered me. That experience taught me a lot and I guess I would have been like many Christians just accepting almost anything with the thought “as long as it's done inside a 'Christian' church it must be ok.” When I hear Bible teachers like yourself bravely speaking out against the nonsense that goes on in churches, I'm very heartened and thankful. I know you've received a lot of flak for standing up for the truth, but I for one commend you for your steadfastness in not shrinking away from what you know to be right in God's sight. Thank you. Please direct me to the Zacharia Botros site which you mentioned. Thanks again and may God richly bless you and Kath – DW – New Zealand.Ed: In my response I directed DW to a YouTube clip in Arabic, as the original in English had been taken down. We suggest that our readers do a Google search on the name Zachariah Botross, who has a $60 million bounty on his head. Also view the following web pages:http://sheikyermami.com/2009/06/06/father-zacharias-botros-interview/and http://sheikyermami.com/2008/03/30/coptic-priest-zakaria-boutros-exposes-the-philandering-muhammad/and watch the YouTube if it's still there @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbiCacuCiZM
Hillsong Extravagance and legal Threat
ED – This matter arose on account of my being invited to make some comments to a newspaper and to appear on TV Channel 7 – Today Tonight. On August 18, 2010 I was issued, by email, with a threatening and demanding letter from a group of lawyers who claimed to represent Hillsong and Brian Houston. I responded to that letter, by email, on August 21, 2010, since which time apart from an acknowledgement by the lawyers concerned I have heard nothing further. The following correspondence arose out of an announcement I gave about this development at our CWM- Conference – September 5-11, 2010, which was reported in a third party email dispatch in New Zealand.
From New Zealand -September 17, 2010 8:51 AM – TO Moriel NZ Email Groups – I had not heard about Philip's media articles about Hillsong. I would like to know what he said as I have a lot to do with our church's music and for a long time I have been very unhappy with the weak unscriptural and simply fantastical lyrics of many modern songs, most of which are from Hillsong. If you know if Philip has a www or a link to any articles that might be quite helpful - I have discussed some issues like this with various pastors and have been surprised at the stone walling that comes at the mention of names like "Jacob Prasch" and "Philip Powell". At times there is a definite unwillingness to be a "Berean" and study the Scriptures. …. I will approach this issue again when it seems the right time. Thank you for your support - Paul Houston, New Zealand - no relation to Brian and Bobby!!
Ed Response - 17 September 2010 03:19 Hillsong have NOT “taken legal action against me.” I have been issued with a threatening “Lawyer's Letter” allegedly representing Hillsong, to which I have responded and everything has gone quiet from their end, except that Brian Houston has published an open letter which I suspect was motivated in part by my response to the lawyers. (At least part of the wording of his letter could convey that impression. I made reference to The UK Charity Commissioners and you'll see he has too. He did not mention me by name.) Here's the link to his letter, which raises more questions than it answers.
There is a lot about Hillsong that we've published on our websites. The early stuff can be found through the use of the search engines @ http://www.christian-witness.org/search.html - Just type in HILLSONG or BRIAN HOUSTON. Later stuff can be found @ http://www.christian-witness-ministries.com/index.php
CETF # 50, 51 and 52 all contain articles about Hillsong and some of the earlier issues do as well. (We are hoping to have a lot of these article formatted, soon, in HTML) Hillsong is a world-wide phenomenon so there is international interest. Let me know if I can help further plp.
Follow-up from NZ - 20 September 2010 8:31 AM – Mmmm - I find $300,000+ benefits hard to justify as well, especially as I come from a Salvation Army background where a "pastors" salary was linked to about an average wage for NZ. It was well known that if you became an officer in the “Sally's” that you were there to serve not to get rich. A hard thing these days is to try and encourage moderately well off or higher church members to stop admiring people that practice this kind of life style or to at least get them to consider disapproving of those who practice it. What a world we live in. It has changed so much from what I knew as a child that it looks nothing like I had hoped for but everything that I had feared. I am so glad that my mother and others like Barry Smith told me about the Bible's view of the future or I would be doubly surprised. Now all I have to do is pass on the faith to my children. A much harder task than I had expected it to be today. Thanks for the information I will use this to encourage our music team when they consider new songs. As the lyrics of many are weak and often only chosen for the beat. But if I can get them to add the thought of the music possibly being pumped out for financial gain more than a spiritual act of worship then maybe I can turn the tide a little. If nothing else I will continue to swim upstream. Paul Houston (Feilding Apostolic, New Zealand) which is now "re-branded" to Vision Church Feilding.
From UK -Friday, 17 September 2010 5:35 PM - $300,000 isn't a bad income for a pastor. Where did you go wrong, Philip? Mark Mullins barrister, London.
Ed Response - September 18, 2010 12:20 AM - The way I read what Brian wrote he gets $300,000 annually and Bobbie gets “significantly” less. So her “take” is anyone's guess. As you say, Mark, it's not a bad take-home pay for a “pastor” and his “pastor” wife and we don't know how much of that is “fringe benefits” i.e. TAX free. [No wonder he can afford to stay at Huka Lodge near Lake Taupo, NZ at a reported $2,000 per night bed and breakfast. Yes that's right. It was reported to me that Brian Houston walked in for breakfast one morning when a farmer friend of another farmer was celebrating with his wife their sale of a valuable farm, and let's make no bones about it - the trick to all this is mainly the “con” about tithes, plus of course music sales etc. I feel confident that The Charity Commissioners in UK would look with disfavour at the tax free sales of resources other than those directly related to the spread of the Gospel by a Church. Hillsong sells all sorts of things including mobile phone “rings” (chimes) etc. Did you notice BB's wording “plus currently the use of a Holden Caprice” (that's the top of the range Holden). It sounds like $300,000 plus free use of a Holden Caprice as Brian's per annum modest salary – hmm!!! As I say his letter raises more questions than it answers. YES, Mark you are right I sure did go wrong somewhere – or did I?
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon – Matthew 6:24.And He [Jesus] said to them, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses – Luke 12:15
AoG/AUS-Islam – sell out - CWM received notice from a very reliable source to the effect that the Sydney based property that housed Southern Cross Bible College (SCBC) formerly known asCommonwealth Bible College (CBC) has been sold to a Muslim developer who is responsible for Islamic schools in Sydney for an unconfirmed sum in excess of $20 million. An email dated 12/11/2010 and addressed to CWM reads in part:
I talked by phone to the person who was responsible for the sale of SCBC to Muslims. ....He told me that the Muslim man had bought the building for development purposes. I said to him that Muslims were going to make it a school. .... I have been unable to talk to him again or to anyone else at SCBC. I was recently at Tabor Theological College, where I talked to the academic dean and to the principal. Both of them told me the same story that I heard from SCBC.
When this property was purchased by AoG, the late David Cartledge falsely referred to it as The Chester Hill Miracle and wrote a book about it. It was not a miracle. It was a con, and a costly con at that! Read the back ground @
Now it appears that the AoG have “sold” their way out of debt, but at what a price based on what is happening internationally in respect of the spread of Islam. By the way, I wonder what will happen to the $20 million. The property cost AoG $7 million (approximately). Well as Brian Houston wrote You Need More Money and now his colleagues will do just about anything to get it.
For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away - Luke 9:25You should read and watch the following – BE WARNED:Once upon the time there was a country called Britain.... It was said that it was great and even was called Great Britain. Good bye Britain, You must watch this videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2VkIu8TL_I and should watch this one too:
http://www.firstdallas.org/article/our-pastor-responds-to-dallas-morning-news-columnist/ and this one:http://www.tangle.com/view_video?viewkey=0861ff3eabea1ceb73e4
Cessationism v Biblicism
The editor's series of articles on this topic has generated some lively response. Please keep the correspondence coming. The following is an interaction between Graeme Ellingsen of Gympie in Queensland (GE-QLD) and Philip Powell (PLP-Ed) in date order:
GE-QLD - Monday, Jun 7, 2010 at 9:09 PM – reference CETF # 52 (June 2010 pp. 32- 35) - There are some very important misquotes in Philip's article. I refer to page 33, top right paragraph commencing with cessationists. It states that "tongues will pass away". This is incorrect scripture says tongues will CEASE. Important word and conveys a completely different idea to “pass away”. The word refers to a complete stop in and of themselves. Nothing else will cause them to stop, unlike prophecy and knowledge as my paper points out. [Ed. Readers may contact GE @firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of his paper.]
In the 4th paragraph in that column your article states that Open Brethren and Bible Baptiststeach that prophecies and tongues would cease. This is a careless statement, for prophecy and tongues should not be linked together for the reason I gave above. One stops in and of itself and the other is gradually brought to redundancy by something outside of itself.
Referring to your contention in paragraph 7 commencing "but there are huge......" The statement by Paul then "we know in part" referred to Paul then and the believers of that day, it does not refer to believers [of] today. We do not know in part, rather we have full knowledge of God's ways and God's will. What Paul is saying is the church in its infancy had partial knowledge and partial prophecy. Put these two together and it formed the guidance the infant church had. Today we do not have anything in part. Rather we have a full revelation of God's mind and will for us till travelling days are done. We look into God's Word like it was a mirror and we see our reflection there and ought to take heed to that which the Spirit of God shows us in order to adjust our ways to be in tune with the mind of God. I will not continue on with other areas of misgiving in your article as you try to present the cessationists’ view. My paper attached deals with all those areas.Why not put my article into your nextedition so that you present the view of cessationists correctly even if you note that this is not your view. I wait to hear from you - Graeme Ellingsen Gympie, Queensland. [Ed – If a reasonable number of our readers request it, we may publish Graeme's paper with our editorial disclaimer and comments.]
PLP-Ed - Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:40 PM - Thanks for your email. I plan to publish your contribution together with my response in CETF # 53, God willing. I won't pre-empt the area of disagreement re the “cessation” of tongues here, but feel I should point out that you are very sloppy in the way you misquote scripture in the attachment you sent me, which is rather strange in the light of your taking me to task in your letter, which I propose to counter publicly. I think I can support my argument. You wrote in your attachment:
The classical passage on the subject is 1 Corinthians 12 where it is stated that each believer receives at least one gift, and this giving is a work of the Godhead, Father Son and Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12v4-7)
Please quote the verse (passage) where it states that “each believer receives at least one gift”. That is your “interpretation”; it is NOT what scripture states. Also please show that “this giving is a work of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. That is NOT what the passage declares. It is YOUR take on the matter. Let's see where the matter leads to. I will be pleased if my series generates a good “debate”.
GE-QLD: Tuesday, 17 August 2010 9:53 PM - Many thanks for your reply. I have been accused of a number of things throughout my years of Bible teaching but none of them has ever been sloppiness in regard to the quotation of scripture. But I guess there is always a first time. The passage I made reference to is as you noted 1 Corinthians 12v4-7 which identifies the Father, Son and Holy Spirit i.e. the Godhead in relation to the distributions, and diversities of gifts—v4 the Holy Spirit, v5 the Lord Jesus and v6 God the Father. I am sure you agree that each believer receives a gift as v 7 suggests—“the manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyman". Are you suggesting that there are some believers who have not been given a gifting of the Holy Spirit? I am sure that you would agree that to some believers multiple gifts have been given. Some are able gifted evangelists as well as Bible teachers etc. I fail to see the problem that you raise. I took you to task to use your words regarding the way you misquoted what cessationists believe. I look forward to the magazine. In His Name.
PLP-Ed Tuesday, August 17, 2010 11:47 PM - Dear Graeme: The passage that you referenced did not say what you claimed that it said. So you were “sloppy” IMO as I have stated. All you have to do to prove the point is quote the actual words which support your claim – from the passage that you referenced. Of course you can't because the words are NOT there. As I said it reflected your interpretation viz. your opinion. The use of the word Lord in verse 5 is not necessarily an allusion to the Lord Jesus. All members of the trinity are called “Lord” at various times. Similarly the reference to “God” in verse 6—extended by you to “God the Father” is not necessarily an allusion to the first person of the Godhead. This is your interpretation. You write – “I am sure you agree that each believer receives a gift”. My friend it is not what I think or what you think, but ONLY what the scripture states and it does not state that each or every believer receives a “gift”. That is the interpretation you place on what the Bible states. YES God gave a gift. It was His son. The Father and the Son combine to give the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit gives gifts as HE wills. The passage does not say that HE (the Holy Spirit) gives a gift to everyone. The gifts referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 are designated “manifestations” i.e. literally “shining forth”. They are each and everyone supernatural in origin and in expression and are by the dispersal of the Holy Spirit as HE wills. They are different and separate from the general gifts of the Holy Spirit as listed in Romans 12 etc and are different from the gifts of Christ as listed in Ephesians chapter 4. You are right in your statement that there is a great deal of confusion about the gifts of the Holy Spirit as, in my opinion, you have demonstrated. I look forward to taking this discussion into the public arena.
GE-QLD: Wednesday, 18 August 2010 10:39 AM - Further to my email - I do have writers in my library other than Brethren, and Charles Hodge confirms my understanding of the passage in 1 Corinthians 12 regarding the Godhead and the “everyone”, i.e. every believer in Christ. John R. W Stott also confirms what I have stated. So it is not just my thoughts at all, it is an accepted interpretation.
PLP-Ed - Wed 18/08/2010 11:41 AM - Thanks Graeme: Of course you will find support among the recognised Commentators; so what? My question is NOT intended to be offensive. John Stott, with his annihilistic teachings, is hardly a good example, though he does say and write some good things. I knew John Stott at a ministerial level during my time in UK – 1961 to 1978 – and I don't dismiss him out of hand. However, as Scripture must be examined in context, so it is always wise to examine commentators in “context”. I don't have a big problem with the idea of the Godhead being involved in the granting of gifts. I think that is axiomatic as the three persons act in unity and not separately. My reaction related more to the conclusions you made. Anyway we'll get to that later – HOPEFULLY. Be great if we can each discuss ONLY the scriptures themselves and then appeal to others for support.
Street Preachers Fined
Last Friday night (29/10/2010) whilst I was witnessing with the Operation513 team at Cavill Mall, Gold Coast, another two of our men were fined for preaching the Gospel. These fines will be contested in Court when Josh and Ryan are confident it will be resolved, however it's only a matter of time before witnessing/ preaching on the streets will become increasingly difficult regardless of the location.
Meanwhile on a positive note - As some of you know we ventured out to Manly last Saturday (30/10/2010) to witness and hand out tracts at the Halloween Event, which has grown enormously in recent years down here by the Bay.
We met for prayer to commit the whole evening to the Lord. Some time was then spent organising and dividing up the new Halloween specific tracts, received in the post that morning. The crowd was massive with many dressed in Halloween garb. So between the 10 of us we managed to hand out approx. 1,000 tracts, and could have done with another couple of thousand! (next year we'll have more!!).
We ask for your prayers regarding every tract that was handed out. Most people accepted what we had to offer with the exception of a couple of ladies who ran back to one of the team to hand back the tracts given to them.Pray for these 2 ladies that God will draw them to Himself even though they resisted the offer of the Gospel at this time. In the meantime, would you also pray for the 14 now registered to attend the next Evangelism Training course.God bless you all, and thank you so much for all the love and support from you our brothers and sisters in the Lord - CG – CWMF Street Witness Team.