Christmas - Calvary - the Cross - the Crown
Apart from Calvary and the Cross, Christmas is meaningless; without the Cross the Crown cannot be realised!
If any man will come after me, let him deny (disown) himself, and take up his cross, and follow me - Matthew 16:24 cf. Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23.
The True Gospel of Christ is a complete message. The baby born in a manager is the Saviour who died for our sins and the King who will soon return to rescue His redeemed from this increasingly wicked world.
Our Lord is Now Rejected
1) Our Lord is now rejected, And by the world disowned,
By the many still neglected, And by the few enthroned;
But soon He’ll come in glory! The hour is drawing nigh,
For the crowning day is coming. By-and-by
O the crowning day is coming, Is coming by-and-by,
When our Lord shall come in power And glory from on high.
O the glorious sight will gladden, Each waiting, watchful eye,
In the crowning day that’s comin. By-and-by.
2) The heavens shall glow with splendour, But brighter far than they,
The saints shall shine in glory, As Christ shall them array.
The beauty of the Saviour, Shall dazzle every eye,
In the crowning day that’s coming. By-and-by.
3) Our pain shall then be over, We’ll sin and sigh no more,
Behind us all of sorrow, And naught but joy before,
A joy in our Redeemer, As we to Him are nigh,
In the crowning day that’s coming. By-and-by.
4) Let all that look for hasten, The coming joyful day,
By earnest consecration, To walk the narrow way;
By gathering in the lost ones, For whom our Lord did die,
For the crowning day that’s coming. By-and-by.
Lyrics: El Nathan; Music: James McGranahan (1840-1907)
CETF # 68 – December 2014.
This will be the last CETF for the year making a total of three not four for 2014. To compensate it contains twice as many articles and double the Resource Material as that in the normal editions. We are pleased to be able to publish CETF # 68 in Australia and by an unexpected late notice of financial guarantee it will also be distributed in New Zealand and the United Kingdom (UK) in hard print. It will be available elsewhere on-line, God willing.
URGENT – CETF since its inception has been a faith venture and will continue to be so. The reality is that the cost of literature and mailing has to be met. In this connection we draw your attention to the Voluntary Subscription invoiceand invite you to give prayerful consideration to the fact that unless there is a substantial increase in donors and/or donations we will not be able to continue distributing CETF in hard print. No-one receives payment at CWM. Only production costs are met.
Christmas is a time for Christian joy and rejoicing. Christ was most certainly born at some time in history so let’s celebrate it, avoiding as much as possible the commercialism about it, emphasising ALWAYS the Cross and the Coming Crown without which there is NO true Christian message.
Have a joyous Christmas with your families and friends –
“Oh Come Let us Adore HIM, Christ the Lord...”
A Time for Reflection :
As most of our readers will know this year has been a personal roller coaster for me, our family and our fellowship. In 2013 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and secondaries in some of my bones. On the basis of the best medical prognosis and advice, surgery on the prostate was not a valid option so I elected to have Radio Therapy, which initially removed the pain from my left scapular and according to the scan killed about 90% of the cancer in that area of my bone structure. This was followed by a series of five further treatments to the shoulder and concurrently 9 treatments to the pelvic region. On the day when the 10 th and final treatment was planned I virtually collapsed and was taken to hospital by ambulance, where I remained for ten days. This coincided with our International CWM Conference (September 14-20, 2014), which Kathleen and I unfortunately both missed – see Conference Report – next article.
What's in this issue:
Once more our thanks go to the several writers, who have kindly submitted articles to us. These cover a breadth of topics from DEVOTIONAL – “Amos” (p.17); “How Do we Know God” (p.24); “Spirit-Empowered Witness” (p.27) – to DISCERNMENT – “Emergent Church Eschatology” (p.9); “The Origins of the Prosperity Teaching” (p.30); “The New Calvinists” (p.38); – to TOPICAL and THE PROPHETIC – “What’s in the News” (p.52); “When the Future was Yesterday” (p.22); “Myth of Israeli Collective Punishment” (p.33). We commend these articles and this entire CETF to your prayerful consideration. If CETF helps and instructs you then please pass it on and thereby spread the word.
An Editorial Dilemma:
Both I and our assistant editor B. Michael Bigg have struggled with the amount of material that we have to sift through – “what to include and what not to include, that is the question”. There are so many voices clamouring to be heard and so much happening in our world, both secular and church based, that we can’t possibly include all that we would like to. It’s like a storm of words and ideas. These were some of my thoughts as I retired to bed following a powerful Monday evening Prayer Meeting at CWM-Fellowship. That night I had the following dream, which I have felt I should relate in the precise words that I sent to friends who were helping me with the writing of the book I am hoping to publish entitled “Who is Jesus?”
The Dream - 3rd July 2014
On Monday night June 30, 2014 I had a dream. Maybe it was somehow related to the prayer meeting we had earlier, which at times was powerful as we sought God’s Face and asked Him to rend the heavens and stand among us. My dream was short; most dreams are. Somehow I found myself on a platform at the top of a very high building, like the Empire State, but unlike the Empire State it had a large open platform on which was gathered a huge crowd.
Suddenly a storm broke with blinding rain and gale force winds that lifted people in the air. Terror struck the crowd as they ran here and there, between the gusts of wind, seeking refuge and trying to avoid being lifted over the fencing and dashed to their doom hundreds of feet below. There was no refuge to be found. I stepped forward and held up my hands and immediately there was calm as I began to preach the Gospel with startling results.
I have never been a sensationalist, seldom have dreams and never build anything on them. However that simple dream said something to me. We live in an age of great turmoil when society is looking for authentic demonstrations of God’s power. They are looking for reality.
The Australian Royal Commission Investigation into Sexual Abuse of Children.
The Royal Commission (R.C.) is holding a public hearing in Sydney from Wednesday 22 October 2014 commencing at 10:00am. This is ongoing and can be watched online at:-http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/
One thing I feel I must comment on applies to the above. We are advised that the findings will be determined and presumably publicised in July 2015. Our specific interest relates to Hillsong and the two Houstons – Brian and his late father Frank. The record on our CWM websites shows that I and CWM were the first to bring Frank’s dark deception to light, mainly through the contact of one of Frank’s early victims of sexual abuse – Peter Fowler, who has given us permission to publish email comment made by him to me (p.4). On suggestions from our readers I did write to the Royal Commission and may publish my submission in a future CETF if we are able to continue. The R.C. has very strict rules of admission of submission and testimony. They would not admit Peter Fowler based on the fact that his abuse was outside of Australia, but invited his questions to Brian Houston, which are listed elsewhere in this CETF. In the meanwhile the comments by Peter Fowler contained herein serve as some satisfactory conclusion from our perspective and a closure of sorts for him.
My prayer is that this issue of CETF will be a help, challenge and a blessing to you. Please pray for us and the future of CETF and CWM. If you have been helped and feel so inclined please pass this onto your friends and contacts.
Love in Jesus and Happy Christmas,
Email - Peter Fowler - Fri 19/09/2014 10:11 AM
I’m so sorry to receive the news about your health and thank you for sending the family email.
Perhaps you can be comforted that all the good work you did so many years ago to expose the evil of the Houston’s and what is now the monster called Hillsong, is about to be addressed by the Royal Commission. You can be in no doubt that your efforts have indirectly contributed to this significant new development. Inevitably there will be consequences for these people and the world will forever know what they did and the dark nature of their church of materialism and greed.
I will be sure to give you and your tireless work as much credit as possible in the evidence I present to the commission.
Thank you for your prayers and as you say, may truth emerge. As one who you would regard as a non-believer, I regret I cannot offer you the same prayers. However, I can and do offer you my deepest grace and gratitude for being there when I needed you and responding so compassionately when I reached out to you over 12 years ago. For me, that is what the heart and soul of Christianity is all about and your life and work are a testament to such compassion.
I want to share with you the words of Richard Holloway, the former Anglican Archbishop of Edinburgh. You can interpret this any way you wish and while it may appear secular in nature, I believe it also contains a deeply spiritual theme.
My thoughts are with you and I hope that you recover soon and enjoy more time in the light, with your wonderful family and friends. I hope you will always count me as one of them.
“When the map of our life is complete, and we die in the richness of our history, some among the living will miss us for a while, but the earth will go on without us. Its day is longer than ours, though we now know that it too will die. Our brief finitude is but a beautiful spark in the vast darkness of space. So we should live the fleeting day with passion and, when the night comes, depart from it with grace.” (From his book; “Looking In The Distance”.)
Email - Peter Fowler - Wed 8/10/2014 9:30 PM
I have not been invited to appear at the Royal Commission, as my evidence relates to events that occurred outside Australia. However, I have given extensive evidence by telephone and the RC solicitors contacted me again today to ask if there were any questions I would like them to pose to Brian Houston when he appears tomorrow. I said that there were two:
NZ AOG formally advised me in 2003 that Brian Houston, Hillsong, Australian AOG and the Houston Family refused to cooperate with their investigation regarding my allegations and that they may have also deliberately obstructed the criminal investigation of Frank Houston’s sexual abuse in New Zealand. Why did Brian Houston refuse to cooperate and why did he ultimately obstruct the NZ investigation.Did Brian Houston, Hillsong or the Houston family, compensate NZ AOG for the $25,000 settlement that they made with me in 2003.
It will be interesting to see what answers, if any, are forthcoming.
Now that this matter that was first alerted to the world by your humble website, has now reached a Royal Commission Court hearing and is being revealed in the pages of Fairfax and Murdoch, both in print and on-line, it may be time to reflect on what has happened in the 13 years since we first made contact.
My feelings about what occurred to me 42 years ago are mostly lost to time and long buried. Sadly, the outcome left a scar on my life that together with other events from the time has haunted me to this day. However, as I commented on your forum, I have forgiven Frank and I’m no longer carrying any burden of blame. I believe he was essentially a good man who was tormented by what some may describe as personal and sexual demons... and others may see as the result of his own sexual abuse and oppression as a child. Either way it does not matter anymore. I have forgiven him and that has set me free.
The overwhelming thing that remains for me is what I perceive deeply as the inherent evil of Hillsong and all that it represents. You know exactly what I mean... the worship of wealth and materialism and the lack of any social justice in its approach to community and the Christianity it claims to represent. I find it abhorrent and deeply offensive. Hillsong is not a ministry in any sense of the word I understand. It is essentially just a business and its primary objective is profit and the creation of wealth for its shareholders...Brian and Bobbie! I imagine they will survive the Royal Commission with insincere words and PR designed to protect their empire. Unless Hillsong implodes due to greed, criminality or excessive consumption, I expect it will go on to the greater strength and power, damaging many lives and falsely representing Christ in the process. I can only hope that they will eventually be revealed...in this world or the next, for what they really are....the moneychangers who defiled the temple of God!
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said to them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves —Matthew 21:12–13.
Arohanui – Peter
(Arohanui is a Maori word. There is no direct translation. Essentially it means “Big Love”.)
Final note to PEter Fowler From Philip Powell:
Yes I count you a friend no matter what may be our differences. I admire your courage, your persistency and your courtesy at all times; thank you Peter.