Why don’t people listen when street preachers preach?

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The most commonly held misconception is that the reason that most people don’t stop to listen to Street Preachers is that they are put off by the message.  Many of today’s Christians are not guided by scriptural principles but are guided by their emotions.

If they were to consider all that the scriptures teach concerning the unbelievers they would understand that they naturally hardened towards the message of the Gospel because its message has two essential ingredients:

  1. It reveals the fallen nature of the world and its inhabitants &
  2. It reveals God’s remedy for this.

God has revealed to us how he views mankind:

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good.  The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that does good, no, not one. (Psalm 14:1-3)

And if that were not enough the Holy Spirit repeats Himself in another Psalm as well as through the mouth of the Apostles

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that does good.  God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.  Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that does good, no, not one. (Psalm 53:2-3)

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one. (Romans 3:10-12)

Thus we read quite clearly and plainly that nobody is good and that nobody is seeking for God.  This kind of contradicts the notion of the doctrine of “Seeker Sensitivity”!  If people are seekers it is not God that they are seeking after but something else.

Why is the message so unappealing?  The scriptures state:

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Clearly people find all this talk of God to be absolute foolishness and deserving of mockery.  They think carnally and their hearts desire only those things that appeal to their carnal natures.

In fact the unbelievers find the preachers of the Gospel to be abhorrent:

For we are to God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death to death; and to the other the savour of life to life.  (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)

The message of the Gospel repels most people and only a few will actually receive it because, as The Lord stated:

Enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and there are many which go in that way: Because slim is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and there are few that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

We should not be ashamed of Christ and His Gospel.  This is because unless people are presented with its message how can they believe it?

For whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)

Remember, it is not we that convert people or turn them into believers.  We are simply God’s mouthpiece.  It is God, via the work of the Holy Spirit, that brings this message to life in their hearts.

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that plants anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)

So be bold and step out.  Declare this glorious Gospel to everyone.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

We Preach…

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God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. (Colossians 1:27-29)

Part of the preacher’s duty is to point out that the only way that people may come to God is by Jesus Christ Himself.  Just as the only legitimate way we can enter a person’s house is by knocking at the door or ringing the doorbell.  We must then wait to be allowed in.

If we try  to get in by any other means we are simply guilty of breaking and entering and would be considered unwelcome visitors, burglars or thieves.

Jesus Himself stated this:

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. (John 10:1)

This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.  So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep….I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  (John 10:6-7 & vs9)

We must refute every false notion that teaches that a person can come to God via Church going, via submitting to a variety of rituals (such as sacraments), joining any form of religion (including Christianity), following any prophet, apostle or religious organisation, or even by repeating a prayer!  NO! the only way to come to God is not by any of those things.  We can only come to God by Jesus Himself, as Jesus so clearly stated:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

We must come by Jesus because He made the only payment that was acceptable to the Father:

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  (Romans 5:10)

Jesus’s death on the cross is the only acceptable offering for sin that will reconcile a person with God.  We must believe this and accept it because there is no other means by which we must be saved.

It is by faith alone (believing) that Jesus is the Son of the Living God and that the Father raised Him from the dead (His resurrection) alone that we are saved:

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.  (Romans 10:9-10)

Salvation cannot be earned by observing religious duties or doing charitable works:

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit…(Titus 3:5)

Through His Mercy and Grace which we do not deserve:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  (Ephesians 2:4-9)
God’s Grace is given because a person believes (has faith); not because a person participates in various forms of sacramental works or because they do good works!
Paul explains this principle clearly when  he cites the example of Abraham:
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?  For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GODAND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”  (Romans 4:1-8)
Note that it does not say that Abraham believed IN God but that he BELIEVED God.  God spoke to him and Abraham believed what God had told him.  In the same way we, too, must believe the testimony that God has given of His Son in the Bible:
If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.  (1 John 5:9-12)
For this reason we take time to denounce every false way that people are taught by religious teachers that would cause them to believe that they need to work in order to merit God’s salvation either by participating in Religious Rituals or by doing charitable acts (and the more a person gives to the church/temple/Synagogue or Mosque–especially when done sacrificially) will earn God’s favour and is essential for salvation.
God is not interested in monetary offerings and religious works.  He cares little about how much good works we have done.  None of them will induce Him into saving anyone.  God does not need our money, nor does he consider our righteousness to be of any merit, as the prophet has said:
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
(Isaiah 64:6)
The Hebrew that this scripture is translated out of is much more graphic about what these filthy garments actually are:
וכבגד עדים  (Iddim uke-beged) Filthy cloths or more accurately Menstrual cloths.  Thus God describes our good works as being about as much use for salvation as menstrual rags.
Now this may seem offensive to people but God has no problem with using such graphic imagery in order to drive home a point.  If people find such an image as offensive then this is how much our good works are offensive to Him when offered for salvation.
God took offense at Cain’s offering so Cain took offense at God for favouring his brother’s offering over his, after all he had worked so hard to cultivate the crop that he was offering.  He felt that he deserved to receive God’s favour, whereas Abel’s offering was worth less (being that Abel spent most of his time sitting in the fields watching his herd of dumb sheep).
Cain took offense and murdered his brother, thus making his offering even more offensive!
Adam and Eve sought to cover the nakedness of their sin by crafting aprons of fig leaves for coverings.  That which they fabricated was useless so an animal was sacrificed by God in order to make covering for them out of the skin.  Thus God reveals how the means of salvation would eventually be found in the sacrifice of His Son as a covering for the nakedness of our sin.
God did it all for them and God has done it all for us.  This is truly Good News!

2 Timothy Chapter 3

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  1. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Paul turns his attention to events surrounding the last days and what sort of people would be commonly seen at that time. Paul speaks of perilous times to come. Now this would not be a period of intense persecution, although Persecution is always possible, no these times would be perilous for another reason; it will be a time of great temptation and great apostasy.

The general state that would rule in society would be one were men will be marked out for the selfishness and greed. They would be intent on amassing possessions. They will be boasters, always priding themselves in their achievements, their science and advances in technology and Education.

 Society will be filled with pride. In fact in our days people are taught to celebrate Pride; “Black Pride, White Pride and the peak of this all, Gay Pride”!

 Blasphemy will be considered an acceptable manner of speech. Their pride causes them to consider themselves greater than God, able to judge God and see themselves as morally superior to God himself!

 Children think nothing of being disobedient to their parents and parents do little or nothing to discourage such behaviour..

 People will take some much for granted. The general philosophy will be one of men being more concerned in establishing their rights than assuming their responsibilities before society. Many people believe that the world owes them a living and are freeloaders on society. They show little or no gratitude.

With all these things it is no wonder that people have become so debased and debauched.

 Their affections have become unnatural. They are deceived into believing that whatever they desire is perfectly acceptable and natural. However this is not the nature as God created things at the very beginning. In the beginning the world and its creatures (including man) was very good; but since the fall nature became corrupted by the knowledge of evil. In the beginning God created them male and female, the woman for the man. But now man’s sexual appetites are contrary to this even drawing into question the very gender in which they were born!

 But we also see this in the affections of parents towards their own children. Many women today put career over the home and their children, even sending their children to boarding school. Others demand abortions so that they “won’t be saddled with a kid”! Husbands are unfaithful to their wives and irresponsible as far as their children’s welfare and education is concerned.

People are quick to break their word, break their contracts. The time-honoured method of sealing a deal by a simple shake of the hand has long been abandoned for legal contracts and legal obligations.

 false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

People are not only quick to believe false accusations but they are quick to spread such rumours. Gossip and anecdotal evidence is spread without a shred of evidence to the contrary!

 People have little or no control over their passions and desires. They do everything to excess. Drunkenness, promiscuity, debauched behaviour; anger and violence fill men’s hearts so they are incontinent.

Men do not only get angry, they are ferocious and irrational.

They despise those that seek to live ordered and good lives. Virginity is despised as children seek to indulge in sexual behaviour as soon as they can, and are encouraged to do so by their peers and teenage magazines.

 Loyalty quickly goes when the group is challenged. We had a neighbour who left her 14 yr old on his own while she and her husband went away. One particular night he and his mates came home late. He was drunk that he was unable to stand. He collapsed on the grass in front of his house at which point I decided to go across to see if I could help. As soon as his mates saw me they fled leaving him on his own. It’s the same when kids play ball and someone kicks it so hard that it breaks a window. One kid is left to face the music while everyone flees.

 Under the threat of persecution quite often one Christian will betray other Christians to avoid imprisonment.

 People will be “Heady”, that is precipitous, rash or reckless. An announcement on social media gets placed asking others to post the same ad that often speaks of a missing child or accuses someone famous of something. 9 x out of 10 the message gets passed on without being checked out to see if is true or false. We should always look before we leap headlong into a ditch!

 People are too busy enjoying themselves to have any time for God, and if they do it’s usually out of tradition rather than devotion. They prefer to have a night out on the town rather than a Night in with God!

 They have a form of godliness, that is, they have a religious life, however their religion is largely composed of church services and the accompanying sacramentalism or ecstatic singing and dancing.

 If those things were to be taken from them they would not know what to do, and they may even lose faith

 Such types of Christian are to be avoided at all cost, in fact we should turn away from them. Such people often look the part of men’s idea of what a Pastor should look like and they often attract a large female following. However, their faith revolves around church buildings and ceremonials.

 The instruction of the Holy Spirit through Paul tells Timothy that they have a form of Godliness, but they lack His power. They have religion without God, a Christless form of Christianity that is filled with many activities, corporate outreach, doing good collectively, great music, charismatic teaching yet as individuals they have no real depth of faith.  They may even manifest (or appear to) have spiritual gifts!

 It is from these that we are to draw away from and have no fellowship.

 Such people are adept at gaining converts through seductive processes. They will seek to attract one type of person (in many cases it will be the youth). Often we see groups coming out with Rap music or Hip-Hop and language that is aimed at one section of the public. This is not preaching the Gospel for the Gospel is for all and not one particular section of the public.

 They prey on the vulnerable and people with foolish heads and filthy hearts. The message that they give does not bring people to repentance but persuades them that they may carry on leading the same life but with Jesus added into the mix. Thus it is about self-empowerment and self-betterment.

 They are forever learning techniques and new methods but never coming to the knowledge of the truth that is in Christ.

 Paul likens their conduct to that of Jannes and Jambres. Jannes and Jambres were the magicians of Pharaoh that stood against Moses. Although they are not named in the Bible we know who they are because there are a lot of ancient writers who refer to them as such. Having had a wide education Paul was well aware of these names, plus it would have been common knowledge amongst the Jews of that period. Obviously Timothy would have known whom Paul was referring to!

 To resist the truth is a great folly. We see how that those Christians who argue against scripture are not only foolish but that their minds have been corrupted and are reprobates. Anyone that is reprobate cannot stand up to proper scrutiny. Their understanding is based upon personal opinion (either their own or that of others) but not on the truth of scripture. Thus their knowledge is shown to be worthless and will ultimately fail when God proves it (1 Corinthians 3:13-14)

 10But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Timothy had known Paul for a long time and, as a consequence, had personally witnessed Paul in action. Timothy had fully known Paul’s doctrine, how he lived, his purpose, his faith, patience, love, persecutions and the afflictions that he suffered at Antioch, Iconium and at Lystra.

 Paul never kept anything back from his hearers but declared to them the full counsel of God. This was so that nobody come say that no one had told him or her. Imagine being tutored by such a person and hearing first hand the doctrine that he preached.

 Paul’s life always backed up his doctrine and never contradicted it. What he built up by his doctrine he never pulled down by the way that he lived. If we want to serve people well we cannot destroy it by bad living.

 He knew that which drove Paul that it was not with any worldly, carnal and secular motives. Everything was to the glory of God and the benefit of men’s souls.

 Timothy knew what Paul’s character was like, for he had given ample proof and evidence of his integrity and faithfulness to God.

 Timothy knew that Paul suffered ill for doing well. Paul reminds him that if anybody lives a Godly life in Christ then they will suffer for it. Note he says ALL that seek to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. He does not state that some might suffer persecution, but that ALL WILL suffer persecution (Philippians 1:29).

 Do not expect to be loved by everyone, expect to be hated and despised by everyone. If we follow Christ then we cannot expect to be treated any differently than Jesus did, and they crucified Him!

 Paul encouraged Timothy how that though he suffered greatly God delivered him out of them all.

 He is warned of the pitiful end of seducers. It is for this reason that we need to stick closely to the truth as it is in Christ. Evil men and seducers will only get worse and worse. Sin is a downhill path; such grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Error is like weeds that sprout up quickly and spread like wildfire.

 We are to continue in those things that we have learned through the scriptures and persevere in them to the end. It is pointless learning that which is good if we don’t continue in it and persevere to the end. We must stick to the truth. However the immature are tossed about by every wind of doctrine. Some new teaching comes along and they take on board what is being taught without fully investigating it (Hebrews 13:9)

 Thus we must continue in those things that we have learned from the Bible, not in error and the consequences of such error. It is that which is plainly asserted that we are to adhere to. Keeping on the right path will keep us from falling foul of error.

In order to keep ourselves from error we must know the truth. Here we see the importance of teaching our children the scriptures. Timothy knew the scriptures from childhood. The scriptures are the word of God and they are fully able to give us the necessary knowledge of salvation.

 The scriptures are given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit and are therefore His word. In fact they are infallible (Psalm 19:7). Although numerous men wrote the scriptures across several centuries, they are harmonious and show the thought of one mind. From the remarkableness of its prophecies to its uncontrollable miracles, these are infallible proofs of their divine nature.

 They should be the basis for our beliefs, not personal opinion, not the opinions of others but “What says the Lord?” (Romans 4:3, Romans 11:2 & Galatians 4:30).

 They serve for the perfection of the man of God. They are the perfect rule of faith and practice being designed for the man of God.

 We should not look to the writings of philosophers, Rabbinical fables, Rome’s legends nor unwritten traditions, they are the mirror for our souls to make us perfect men of God.

 It is such a tragedy that Christians do not love the Bible enough, without it they will never attain to the full stature of the man of God, and neither will we if we neglect it also (Ephesians 4:11-16).

 

Freedom of Speech

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Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park, London

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1949) Article 19 states

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The one place that probably symbolises the Right to Free Speech in the UK is Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park in the nation’s capital London.

Speakers’ Corner is often held up to demonstrate freedom of speech, as anyone can turn up unannounced and talk on almost any subject, although always at the risk of being heckled by regulars. The corner was frequented by Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, George Orwell, C. L. R. James, Walter Rodney, Ben Tillett, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, and William Morris.

Lord Justice Sedley, in Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions (1999), described Speakers’ Corner as demonstrating…..

the tolerance which is both extended by the law to opinion of every kind and expected by the law in the conduct of those who disagree, even strongly, with what they hear.

The ruling famously established in English case law that freedom of speech could not be limited to the inoffensive but extended also to…

the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome, and the provocative, as long as such speech did not tend to provoke violence,

and that the right to free speech accorded by Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights also accorded the right to be offensive.

Prior to the ruling, prohibited speech at Speakers’ Corner included obscenity, blasphemy, insulting the queen, or inciting a breach of the peace.

Over the past few years many believe that this fundamental right to Free Speech has gradually been eroded by successive Governments.  This is particularly true of Street Preachers who have been harassed, arrested and even imprisoned for preaching the need for repentance and salvation from sin.

Even reading from the Bible has seen preachers detained and made subject to Police Dispersal Orders.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 gives the police powers in designated areas to disperse groups of two or more where their presence or behaviour has resulted, or is likely to result, in a member of the public being harassed, intimidated, alarmed or distressed. The powers are controversial due to the discretion they accord to police and the infringements of individual’s rights they entail.

A person does not commit an offence because an officer has chosen to use the power to disperse, but failure to follow the officer’s directions is an offence. The 2003 Act also creates a power to remove to their home any young person under 16 who is out on the streets in a dispersal zone between 9pm and 6am and not accompanied by an adult (not available in Scotland).

In January 2014 George Monbiot’s article:

At last, a law to stop almost anyone from doing almost anything was published in the Guardian Newspaper. He reported:

On Wednesday the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill reaches its report stage (close to the end of the process) in the House of Lords. It is remarkable how little fuss has been made about it, and how little we know of what is about to hit us.

The bill would permit injunctions against anyone of 10 or older who “has engaged or threatens to engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person”. It would replace asbos with ipnas (injunctions to prevent nuisance and annoyance), which would not only forbid certain forms of behaviour, but also force the recipient to discharge positive obligations. In other words, they can impose a kind of community service order on people who have committed no crime, which could, the law proposes, remain in force for the rest of their lives.

The bill also introduces public space protection orders, which can prevent either everybody or particular kinds of people from doing certain things in certain places. It creates new dispersal powers, which can be used by the police to exclude people from an area (there is no size limit), whether or not they have done anything wrong.

In 2017 the Daily Mail reported:

Get off your soapbox! Police ban ladders and platforms from Speaker’s Corner in a health and safety move debaters fear will kill 150 years of tradition.

One of the people police explained the new policy to on Sunday – Jay Smith – said he is consulting with the Christian Legal Centre about the new move. 

He has spent 25 years debating with Muslims but was instructed to get down from his ladder while in discussion with Mohammed Hijab. 

Smith has written a letter to Inspector Josie Harris – on whose authority the ladder policy is said to have been implemented – explaining that without the permission to use ladders, ‘there is no more Speakers’ Corner’.

In March of this year huge crowds gathered at Speaker’s Corner to hear former English Defence League’s leader (Tommy Robinson) deliver a speech written by Generation Identity’s Martin Sellner (Austrian Neue Rechte activist, and leader of the Identitäre Bewegung Österreichs (IBÖ, Identitarian Movement of Austria), a part of the alt-right movement).  Sellner was recently banned from entering the UK because of his political views.

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Tommy Robinson (centre) at Speaker’s Corner

Several weeks later Robinson would be arrested whilst filming outside Leeds Crown Court for potentially prejudicing a court case.

The Washington Post reported on May 29th:

It’s illegal in Britain to report the details of some trials before they conclude — a long-standing law designed to prevent the news from biasing juries and causing prosecutions to collapse, according to Leeds Live.

Robinson was convicted of breaking that law last year, the BBC wrote, when he tried to film defendants outside a trial in Canterbury. His three-month sentence was suspended at the time, but the judge warned him that another offense would send him to prison.

Nevertheless, Robinson kept filming. He was arrested and released after trying “to video Muslims” at a trial in early May, the Independent wrote. He showed up with his cameraman again Friday — this time outside a restricted child-sex-abuse trial at Leeds Crown Court, for what he inaccurately announced was the verdict….

….In a short hearing the same afternoon, Leeds Live wrote, a judge watched the video, and Robinson pleaded guilty to contempt of court — forcing him to serve his previous suspended sentence plus another 10 months, or 13 months total….

……Reporters watched the hearing, but the judge ordered them not to publish anything about Robinson’s arrest until after the sex-assault trial concluded — to avoid prejudicing the same jury with reports of Robinson’s interference….

….Meanwhile, the Independent and Leeds Live went to court to legally challenge the gag order — in part by arguing that their competitors were already violating it.

The newspapers won their challenge Tuesday, the BBC wrote, and everyone is now free to report that Robinson will be serving a 13-month prison sentence for interfering with two trials — one last year and one last week.

What has disturbed many is the speed at which Robinson was tried in court and sentenced, plus the media blackout imposed concerning the arrest.

Many believe that Robinson’s life will be at risk from jailed Moslem extremists and that the way he has been treated serve’s as an example of what might happen to others whose political or religious views are not deemed “acceptable” by those in positions of power.

Whilst we do not endorse any group, or individual, who promotes hatred and violence towards others we believe that simply because a person holds to political and religious views that we might find personally offensive does not mean that their right to express such views in a lawful manner should be rescinded.

As preachers we have faced loud opposition from many quarters and people have the right to voice their opinions.  We also believe that people have the right to feel offended and the message of the Cross is one that certainly does offend:

This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
“THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. (1 Peter 2:7-8)

Preachers, we must not soften the message in order to avoid arrest!

Brethren, let us keep the preachers in our prayers and support them!

Is This Love?

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In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

Man prides himself in what he believes is his innate goodness.  What his interprets as love and goodness makes him feel good about himself, as can be seen from the above image taken from the front cover of the Manchester Evening News published today, Wednesday 23rd May 2018.

One thing that the city of Manchester promotes as the ultimate symbol of  the city is PRIDE.

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And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, PRIDE and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:20-23)

The innate pride of man deludes him into believing that good is actually evil, and that evil is actually good:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  (Jeremiah 17:9)

Manchester’s pride is self-evident to all but Manchester.

God hates pride:

These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look,
A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.  (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Manchester Arena Bombing

On the evening of 22nd May 2017, 22 people were killed and many more were injured as they were filing out of a concert by the American/Italian singer Ariana Grande.  An Islamic suicide bomber, Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old local man of Libyan ancestry who had recently returned from Libya detonated his backpack that was laden with shrapnel.

bomber.jpgSalman Ramadan Abedi

During their time in Manchester, the bomber and his family worshiped at the nearby Didsbury Mosque, which hit the headlines in 2011 when it was claimed that worshipers had raised money for the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an Islamist militia that the U.S. State Department says has links to al Qaeda. Abedi’s father, Ramadan, reportedly fought with the militia during the Libyan revolution in 2011. Ramadan Abedi has lived in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, since 2008 and was joined there by other family members following the revolution; he and another of his sons were reportedly arrested there Wednesday.

One former Libyan worshiper at the mosque, al Qaeda operative Abd al-Baset Azzouz, left Britain in 2009 to join the terror group’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Pakistan, before heading to Libya to run an al Qaeda network in the east of the country.

The hunt for Abedi’s collaborators has thrown up links to other extremists active in the south Manchester area, which has produced at least 16 other terrorists in recent years. These include Raphael Hostey, a prolific ISIS recruiter who was reportedly a friend of Abedi’s and worshipped at the Didsbury mosque, believed to have been killed in a drone strike in Syria last year. Another is Abdal Raouf Abdallah, a fellow member of Manchester’s Libyan community who was jailed for nine and a half years in 2016 after being convicted of funding and preparing acts of terrorism.

Manchester Remembers

On the first anniversary of the bombing a series of events took place in the city where people gathered to commemorate the victims of the bombing.

A multi-faith service was held at Manchester’s Anglican Cathedral:

 Welcoming people to the service, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender said they had “come together as people of different faiths and none” to remember those affected by the attack.

He was followed by short addresses from a number of faith leaders, including Nidhi Sinha, Rabbi Warren Elf, Imam Irfan Chishti and Sukhbir Singh, and from humanist Dr Kevin Malone. (www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-44197949)

Also in attendance were representatives from the Royal Family, Government and Parliament.

In the evening thousands gathered in Albert Square to join various choirs and celebrities in a mass sing-a-long.

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It is this image of the evening  event that the Manchester Evening News makes the comment, “This is what love looks like“.

This may be what the editor of the MEN believes what love looks like, but the Bible declares something completely different:

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 Sadly, as with so many in this world, the People of Manchester (including its religious leaders and their followers) prefer the image of smiling people singing and uniting in memory of human victims of man’s inhumanity to man than the image of Christ’s suffering for humanity.
Christ declared:
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Adding:
You are My friends if you do whatever I command you (John 15:14)
The inference being that Christ’s death on the cross is only efficacious for the one’s that genuinely obey His command to believe and confess him openly.

Sticking To The Scriptures

 

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The Apostle Paul by Jan van Scorel

1 Timothy 1:6-14

6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

Timothy is exhorted to stir up the gift that was in him. The Greek here means to kindle up or to inflame, the image being of when we blow on embers to get them alight. As an evangelist he had received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit by imposition of the apostle’s hands.. It was for him to stir them up; his responsibility was to exercise them and so increase them (Matthew 25:29).

He had to take every opportunity to exercise them or else they would whither. We cannot tell from the text the nature of his gifting however it was given to him by Paul’s laying on of his hands. This was distinct from his ordination, which was by the laying on of the hands of the elders.

The biggest obstacle that prevents any man of God engaged in the use of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit is fear. For this reason Paul reminds him that the spirit of God does not produce fear but boldness! The Spirit of God is one of power, of love and a sound mind.

The battleground of the spirit is the mind for it is here where we make the choice to trust or to doubt. We sing of being resolved to do God’s will, if we yield to His Spirit he will give us the resolve to press towards the goal through whatever difficulties and dangers we may encounter on the way. Above all we will overcome the fear of man and whatever harm he may inflict upon us. Rather than become discouraged at the many obstacles that come in our way, we will find the strength and the means to remain sober in our thinking rather than yield to whatever monsters we might imagine are in our way.

Israel would not enter the Promised Land because of the thought of great walled cities and giants in the land. 40 years later the next generation entered the land and did not encounter any giants, only Jericho which God delivered into their hands. This happened because they were willing to obey the Lord.

Timothy is exhorted to expect afflictions and to be ready to encounter them. These come as the direct result of the Gospel. We must lose any fear of suffering for the Gospel of Christ and especially we should not be ashamed of being associated with those that are suffering persecution.

I have lost count of the times other Christians have been at pains to point out that they were not with us when the crowd has turned against us. Just like Peter when he denied even knowing who Jesus was!

The Gospel is the testimony of Christ. It is because of this testimony we are who we are today. And it is to this testimony we bare testimony of Him and for Him. Others may come and bring a watered down version but this only testifies to the darkness that is in them (Isaiah 8:20). They may claim to walk in the light (Matthew 6:23)

Paul was not the prisoner of men but the Lord’s prisoner.

We have no reason to be ashamed of the message, nor of its messengers (Mark 8:38).

He has begun to save us, and will complete it in due time.

It is designed for our sanctification. We are called to Holiness. Sanctification is an on-going work of the Holy Spirit.

Its origin is the free grace and eternal purpose of God. It is a work that was set in motion before the world began and not as a reaction to the fall!

Eventually it was made manifest through the appearing of Christ into the world.

Did Jesus suffer for it? Then it is of little consequence if we might have to suffer for it also.

By the Gospel of Christ death is not merely conquered (although it is), but it is ABOLISHED! Death is no longer our enemy; it is now our friend because through death we go to be with the Lord!

What, therefore, is there to be ashamed of. It is the Power of God unto salvation for everyone that believes!

Timothy is exhorted to hold fast the form of sound words. What can this mean other than a concise explanation of salvation in complete accordance with the scriptures? Preach the WORD! Uphold the scriptures. Hold fast or adhere to it in opposition to all heresies and false doctrines that corrupt the faith.

We should adhere to the scriptures because we know that they are divinely inspired. If it is not in accordance with scripture it is merely an opinion of men at best, a doctrine of devils at worst!

In order to keep His word we need the indwelling Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit it is just dead words in a book, it is the Spirit that gives life to the scriptures. Even so, we must study it, chew it up and swallow it if it is to feed us! You don’t just eat a meal in one gulp, you must cut it up and take time to eat it and swallow, and finally digest it. If food is not digested properly it causes Indigestion and is not healthy!

Billy Graham, a perspective.

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Mention the name of Billy Graham and in the mind of the average Christian images are conjured up of crowded sports stadia, arenas packed with thousands of people eagerly listening to his preaching of his gospel. The message was simple:

First, you must recognize your need.

Second, you must understand the cross.

Third, you must count the cost.

He also said, “Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost? … So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:28, 33).

Many people come to Christ without first counting the cost. The cost includes repentance, the forsaking of sin, and a continual, daily, open acknowledgment of Christ in your life.

Fourth, you must take a definite step.

One day at Stanford University, a student of a non-Christian faith came to me and said he was convinced that Jesus is the Son of God but said he couldn’t confess Him publicly. He said that back in his own country the cost socially would be too great.

I had to tell him that the Bible says: “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).

Like the rich young ruler of old, the student went away sad. He had counted the cost and was not able to pay the price of open acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as his Savior.

We ask people to make a public confession of Christ in our meetings because Christ demanded a definite commitment. Christ had reasons for demanding that people openly follow Him. He knew that an unwitnessed vow is no vow at all. Until you have surrendered to Christ by a definite act of your will, you are not a Christian.

(https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/september-2012/how-to-be-sure-youre-saved/)

The scriptures declare:

Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. (John 12:42-43)

Many of the chief rulers believed on Jesus, but due to fear of being kicked out of the synagogue, DIDN’T tell anyone that they were saved. They hid their faith from others. According to Billy Graham’s Gospel, these men were not saved. According to Billy they weren’t willing to pay the price of confessing Christ publicly, so they weren’t saved.

Many people responded to this simple message by accepting Rev. Graham’s invitation to come forward to receive Christ. A number of them testify to this day how they were saved as a direct result of following Rev. Graham’s call.

This is the image that most Christians have, and why they are convinced that Billy Graham is the greatest evangelist ever. All well and good one might say, if that was all that went on.

A Counterfeit Gospel

One of the most important aspects of the Holy Spirit’s work is to lead and guide us into ALL truth (John 16:3). This means that He will lead us and guide us away from lies and deceitfulness. The Christian needs to be able to exercise a great deal of discernment when it comes to the doctrines and practices of those that they encounter, especially when it comes to teachers and preachers.

The Holy Spirit warned us, through the Apostle Paul, of the possibility of those that would preach another Gospel and another Jesus different from that he and the other Apostles had preached:

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.
(2 Corinthians 11:3-4)

A similar warning is given to the believers in his epistle to the Galatians, and repeated as a double warning:

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! (Galatians 1:8-9)

The problem with counterfeits is that they are often unrecognisable to most people and most people cannot discern the difference because they do not have their senses trained to discern good and evil. And this is because they are not exercised in the Word of God:

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5:4)

In Hebrews 5 the writer is using the analogy of sound Bible doctrine likening it to solid food. The Hebrews were still stuck on baby milk (basic teaching) and had not matured enough to be able to deal with solid food (Deeper Scriptural Truths):

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

In His book, I Never Knew You, Michael P. Bowen comments:

 Very often, as a way of telling us that we have to quit willfully and deliberately sinning in order to be born again, he will refer to where Jesus said in Luke 13:3 that we must repent or perish, yet in the original Greek manuscript, the word for repent means to change your mind and has nothing at all to do with turning from sins.

 Fourthly, he will say that we must come to Christ by faith in order to receive His “free gift” of everlasting life that we cannot earn by our works, or our service, or by anything that we “of ourselves” can do. Billy then usually tells his audience to say “yes” to Christ, to make a decision to follow Christ, to give their lives to Christ, and/or to commit themselves to Christ. Also at this point in his preaching, he will very often quote John 3:16 which states that salvation is by faith in Christ alone, which directly contradicts everything he has said up to that point. He will also give other verses, such as Titus 3:5 which states that “… not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by his mercy he saves us…” And this is why “salvation according to Billy Graham” becomes so complicated and so very confusing to the lost people who have come to Billy in order to learn how to be saved.

 Billy says that we cannot earn our salvation no matter what we do, no matter how many good deeds we do, but immediately afterward he tells everyone that they must change their behavior, submit their inner wills to Christ, and to stop sinning. He gives verses that tell us to believe on Christ alone and that salvation is a free gift given to us the instant we believe, such as John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8-9, yet he turns right around and says that we must make a 180-degree change in our direction, that it takes a lot of effort on our part to do these things, and that we should determine with all of our efforts to follow Christ.

He then says that we don’t have the power to follow Christ unless the Holy Spirit enables us to do so. Billy will then usually tell us again that we must commit our lives to Christ and that we must become practicing disciples of Jesus in order to be born again, but at the same time, he knocks everyone off balance when he turns right back around to tell his audience that salvation is free and that it is received by faith alone and that we cannot do a single thing to earn it.

 Then Billy demands again and again that we must quit sinning in order to be saved, but directly afterward he rotates back and forth from “quit sinning” to “you can do nothing of yourself to earn it.”

He says that salvation is free, but immediately afterward he says that we must carefully consider the costs of following Christ. “Costs” is the opposite of “free,” yet, nobody will dare to question Billy Graham about the validity of what he is saying because he is, in fact, so forceful in his tone of voice and in his facial expressions that I am convinced people are afraid of him. The glare alone from his stern stare that one can easily see in his eyes as they sweep across the masses of people in his audience is enough to keep people from ever questioning the validity of his teachings.

Again and again, Billy says that salvation is not of yourselves, that it is a free gift, but then quickly does a u-turn and makes your salvation dependent upon quitting your sins and devoting your life to discipleship. Then, to make matters worse, Billy makes everlasting life in heaven dependent upon your walking down the isle and making your decision to follow Christ “as your Lord” public.

Billy says that Christ will not acknowledge you before His Father if you do not acknowledge Him before other people, which, in context, means that you will not go to heaven unless you tell other people that you have made a decision to follow Christ. Then Billy will usually tell his audience that salvation is, again, a free gift that cannot be earned no matter what we do. It is, by far, Graham’s terse persona that captivates and influences an audience rather than the Holy Spirit of God

(I Never Knew You The Horror Of The Great White Throne Judgement And How You Can Avoid It by Michael Patrick Bowen Pg 137-138. © 1909 by Barbour Books)

In Matthew 7:21-23 we find a religious group being rejected by Christ, which means being sentenced to the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:13-15). Jesus said… I NEVER KNEW YOU! They try to defend themselves by saying, have we not done in thy name “MANY WONDERFUL WORKS?” That was their entire problem! They were trusting in their own “MANY WONDERFUL WORKS,” but God didn’t think their WORKS were very wonderful. They had never repented of their DEAD WORKS (Hebrews 6:1). They were trying to get to Heaven by establishing their own righteousness instead of SUBMITTING to the righteousness of God by faith alone in Christ:

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”(Romans 10:3-4)

The Bible teaches that the moment a man believes the gospel that he is JUSTIFIED FROM ALL THINGS:

But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:37-39)

This Scripture means turning from sins cannot save us, and God does not require us to turn from sins to be saved. Man has absolutely NO PART in God’s salvation of his soul. YOU ARE A SINNER! Unless you accept Christ’s payment for your sins by His own blood, you will spend eternity burning in the fires of the Lake of Fire!!! We have no part in our salvation. Billy Graham is teaching a confusing, false, impossible, and unbiblical plan of salvation.

Ecumenism

One of the important things that Billy Graham believed in was the practice of what is called, “Follow Up”. It was seen that those that came forward needed to be redirected after the meeting to a local church that would “follow up” on the person and keep in contact with them.  Thus they would be made into disciples of Christ.

Many of those that came forward had already had some experience with Christianity, either through infant baptism or past church attendance. So it was felt that these people should be referred back to the church (or denomination) they had familiarity with. For this the respondents were asked to fill out a simple contact card featuring their names, addresses and possible church affiliation.

Most Evangelical Christians believed that these respondents would be referred to a Bible based Evangelical church, however this was not the case. Baptists would be referred to Baptist churches, Anglicans to a Church of England, Methodists to a Methodist church, Presbyterians to the Presbyterians, Orthodox to the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholics to the Roman Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church welcomed this aspect of Dr. Graham’s crusades as it resulted in many lapsed Catholics returning to “Mother Church” becoming devout Catholics in the process, accepting the dogmas of Roman Catholicism, its sacraments as essential vehicles of saving grace and its hierarchical system of ordained priests as the only one’s who could enact these sacraments thus making them valid.

Billy Graham was invited to preach at numerous Catholic Churches and Cathedrals around the world because he did not challenge Rome’s dogmas and led converts into Rome’s institutional form of religion.

In effect Billy Graham had become an agent and an apologist for the Catholic Church.

The Great Divide

Biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism are doctrinally as far apart as the east is from the west. One is based on the Bible and the other on the traditions of men. So how can we walk together without compromise? It’s impossible!

Many Protestants and Charismatic Catholics claim that the Holy Spirit is drawing them together. But, is it the Holy Spirit of God? Or could it be a different spirit? Are Charismatic Catholics leaving the apostate Roman Church? Or are they being used to pull Protestants to Rome?

Some Charismatic Catholics claim that after being baptized by the Holy Spirit they have a deeper relationship with Mary, they can recite the rosary in tongues, and so on. None of this is in the Bible. They are the inventions of men.

Doctor Graham also worked hard at breaking down the walls that divided Catholics and Protestants through his publishing of Christianity Today Magazine and helping to found the Lausanne Movement in 1974 with the English Anglican priest John Stott.

The Ecumenical Movement received a boost when in 1962 the then Pope, John XXIII, invoked the Second Vatican Council, and more correctly called the Second Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church. This made sweeping changes to some of the Catholic Church’s practices and certain of the Church’s doctrinal stances. The Council met and discussed all these issues during the next 3 years and its findings were published in 1965 under the reign of Pope Paul VI (Pope John’s successor).

The Council did not change any of the accepted dogmas of the church and upheld all of the findings of the infamous Council of Trent. But what it did do was to soften the language of the more extreme announcements of Trent, especially the Anathemas (curses) pronounced upon all those that held to Protestant Evangelical beliefs over the dogmas of the Catholic Church.

Protestants were now called, “Separated Brethren” and were considered ignorant of the True Catholic Faith and, because of the corrupt teachings of the Protestant Reformers, and had misunderstood the true nature of the Sacraments. The aim was now to show these separated brethren through Rome’s vision of World Evangelisation and its conciliatory stance towards non-Catholic Christians that there was no real difference between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity.

That these “Separated Brethren” are held to be deficient in their faith can be seen from the Vatican 2 documents:

Nevertheless, our separated brethren, whether considered as individuals or as Communities and Churches, are not blessed with that unity which Jesus Christ wished to bestow on all those who through Him were born again into one body, and with Him quickened to newness of life – that unity which the Holy Scriptures and the ancient Tradition of the Church proclaim. For it is only through Christ’s Catholic Church, which is “the all-embracing means of salvation,” that they can benefit fully from the means of salvation. We believe that Our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, in order to establish the one Body of Christ on earth to which all should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God.

(DECREE ON ECUMENISM NITATIS REDINTEGRATIO, Chapter 1, Catholic Principles On Ecumenism)

Billy Graham was the key player in this plan amongst Protestants.

Vatican 2 states:

  1. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126) But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life.

 

(DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH, LUMEN GENTIUM
SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON NOVEMBER 21, 1964 chapter II On The People of God)

Note: By calling this a Dogmatic Constitution Pope Paul VI was issuing an infallible statement that can never be challenged or rejected by any Roman Catholic!

New Age Spirituality

New Age is a term applied to a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s.

As a form of Western esotericism, the New Age drew heavily upon a number of older esoteric traditions, in particular those that emerged from the occultist current that developed in the eighteenth century. Such prominent occult influences include the work of Emanuel Swedenborg and Franz Mesmer, as well as the ideas of Spiritualism, New Thought, and Theosophy.

Alice Ann Bailey (June 16, 1880 – December 15, 1949) was a writer of more than twenty-four books on theosophical subjects, and was one of the first writers to use the term New Age.

Bailey’s works, written between 1919 and 1949, describe a wide-ranging system of esoteric thought covering such topics as how spirituality relates to the Solar System, meditation, healing, spiritual psychology, the destiny of nations, and prescriptions for society in general. She described the majority of her work as having been telepathically dictated to her by a Master of Wisdom, initially referred to only as “the Tibetan” or by the initials “D.K.”, later identified as Djwal Khul. Her writings bore some similarity to those of Madame Blavatsky and are among the teachings often referred to as the “Ageless Wisdom”. Though Bailey’s writings differ in some respects to the Theosophy of Madame Blavatsky, they have much in common with it. She wrote on religious themes, including Christianity, though her writings are fundamentally different from many aspects of Christianity or other orthodox religions. Her vision of a unified society included a global “spirit of religion” different from traditional religious forms and including the concept of the Age of Aquarius.

Let us consider some of Dr. Graham’s statements:

When Larry King interviewed Billy Graham on January 21, 1997 and asked him: “What do you think of the other [churches]…like Mormonism? Catholicism? Other faiths within the Christian concept?” Graham responded, “Oh I think I have a wonderful fellowship with all of them.”

King then asked Graham: “Well, are you comfortable with Judaism?” He responded; “Very comfortable…and Rabbi Tenenbaum (sic), who was a great friend…he gave me more advice and more counsel, and I depended on him constantly, theologically and spiritually and in everyway.”   How can a Rabbi who doesn’t believe in Jesus as the Son of God give SPIRITUAL advice to Graham? I can understand that Tenenbaum may be a friend, but for Graham to depend on an unsaved man for SPIRITUAL advice is dangerous!

 Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum is also a sponsor of the New Age, occult group, Lucis Trust.

(Billy Graham and his Friends, A Hidden Agenda? By Dr. Cathy Burns Pages 16-17)

The Lucis Trust is a nonprofit service organization incorporated in the United States in 1922 by Alice Bailey and her husband Foster Bailey, to act as a fiduciary trust for the publishing of twenty-four books of esoteric philosophy published under Alice Bailey’s name, and to fund and administer activities concerned with the establishment of “right human relations”. These include the Arcane School, a school for esoteric training, World Goodwill, Triangles, a lending library, The Beacon magazine, as well as the publishing company.

The objectives of the Lucis Trust as stated in its Statement to the UK Charity Commission are:

To advance education and learning in general, in particular, in the fields of comparative religion and philosophy. To promote the advancement of religion on a non-sectarian basis. To relieve human suffering and promote mental and moral improvement in the human race. World-wide support of the Arcane School, Triangles and World Goodwill also the books of Alice Bailey through its trading company.

(http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=216041&subid=0)

The Lucis Trust’s publishing company was founded in the early 1920s as the Lucifer Publishing Company. The Lucis Trust says that the name was probably chosen to honour Lucifer. The name was changed in 1925 to the Lucis Publishing Company.

Another of Billy Graham’s associates was the late Robert Schuller. Robert Harold Schuller (September 16, 1926 – April 2, 2015) was an American Christian televangelist, pastor, motivational speaker, and author.

In his five decades of television, Schuller was principally known for the weekly Hour of Power television program, which he began hosting in 1970 until his retirement in 2010. Schuller began broadcasting the program from the Neutra Sanctuary, with the encouragement of longtime friend Billy Graham after Schuller visited him in 1969. He was also the founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, where the Hour of Power program was later broadcast.

Schuller’s Possibilities Magazine put John Templeton’s picture on its front cover, and its major article in that issue was an interview with Templeton. In it he expressed his Unity/Religious Science/New Age beliefs:

Your spiritual principles attract prosperity to you… material success… comes… from being in tune with the infinite…. The Christ spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or not… nothing exists except God. (Possibilities, Summer 1986, pp 8-12).

john-templeton
Sir John Templeton

Robert Schuller once asked Billy Graham: “…What do you think is the future of Christianity?” Graham’s response was:

Well, Christianity and being a true believer you know, I think there’s the body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world. Outside the Christian groups, I think everybody who knows Christ, whether they are conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ.

whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, they are members of the Body of Christ, because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and I think they turn to the only light they have, and I think they are saved, and that they are going to be in heaven with us.
(see Footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axxlXy6bLH0)

Graham’s remark is very similar to John Templeton’s own doctrine, so it would seem that Billy Graham shared similar beliefs to John Templeton.

Billy Graham was selected as the recipient of the Templeton Prize in 1982. His Royal Highness Prince Philip presented the prize to Billy Graham.

The award that Graham was so happy to receive carries the name of Sir John Marks Templeton. Templeton who died in 2008 stated, “No one should say that God can be reached by only one path.” Jesus stated, “No man comes to the Father BUT BY ME!” Could it be that Rev Graham agrees with Sir John?

John Templeton explained how the award was given:

The recipient of the award has been selected by distinguished judges from all five major religions worldwide and who serve for a three year period. The Buddhist Judge is the Dalai Lama. Mr Justice P. N. Bhagwati of the Supreme Court of India is a Hindu. The Honourable Philip N. Klutznik…is President of the world Jewish Congress. Senator Orrin Grant Hatch, United States Senator, is a Mormon. Her Royal Highness The Grand Duchess Josephine of Luxembourg is a Roman Catholic. The Most Reverend Stuart Blanch, Archbishop of York, and Dr Arthur Robert Peacocke, Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, are Anglicans. Other Christian judges are the Right honourable Lynden O. Pindling, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Charles Rickett Fillmore, chairman of the Unity School of Christianity, and Senator Mark O. Hatfield, United States Senator from Oregon.

(Billy Graham and his Friends, A Hidden Agenda? By Dr. Cathy Burns Page 14)

Christianity Today Magazine (Co-founded in 1952 by Billy Graham) introduced Templeton’s book, Discovering The Laws of Life to a Christian audience in 1994. They assigned the entire back cover of its April 24, 1994 issue with an ad promoting it. Headlined “Will inspire Millions of Readers.” The book was promoting New Age in its content. The ad contained the endorsements of Norman Vincent Peale (330 Mason who also wrote the foreword), Robert Schuller, Billy Graham, and two prominent Catholic New Age leaders, Theodore M. Hesburgh (former president of Notre Dame University) and J. Peter Grace (Head of the Knights of Malta).

John Templeton writes in this book:

Be honest. Be true. Love all parts of yourself. You are human and, like the rest of us, the godhood within you the goodness within you—is in a state of becoming perfect.

(Discovering The Laws of Life Page 227)

Templeton’s beliefs are clearly expressed in his numerous writings: He was an evolutionist, pantheist, Universalist, and had occultic views. His writings display a rejection of the God of the Bible, Christ as the only way to God. He claims that heaven and hell are states of mind we create here on earth that truth is relative, and that Christianity is no longer relevant today as it was in Christ’s day.

If Billy Graham didn’t come to a similar understanding as John Templeton, why would he endorse this book?

Courted by many of the world’s leaders:

In Graham’s autobiography, Just As I Am, he mentions that he was with President Clinton on May 1, 1996. He states: “it was a time of warm fellowship with a man who has not always won the approval of his FELLOW CHRISTIANS but who has in his heart a desire to serve God and do His will.” [Emphasis mine throughout.]….When people consider someone like Clinton (who is a sex pervert, pro-homosexual, pro-abortion, etc.) to be a Christian, we are in desperate spiritual trouble! When someone like Graham does so, we are even in a more profound dilemma since multiplied thousands look up to Billy Graham as a spiritual advisor and man of God.

(Billy Graham and his Friends, A Hidden Agenda? By Dr. Cathy Burns Page 7)

US Presidents, such as Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Richard Nixon (who secretly recorded Billy Graham’s glaringly Anti-Semitic comments during one of their many conversations. (Nixon aide H.R. Haldeman first mentioned Graham’s anti-Semitic remarks in a 1994 book, which Graham strongly denied. But when audio tapes from the Nixon White House were released in 2002, Graham could be heard referring to Jews as pornographers and agreeing with Nixon that the U.S. media was dominated by liberal Jews and could send the United States “down the drain.”)
[see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqCKx4tWk6w.]

He stood by Nixon late into the Watergate scandal, insisting that the disgraced president was a “righteous man of God”.

Other presidents included Gerald Ford (with whom he played golf, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush (with whom he went fishing,), Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama and Trump.

The British Royal family also had a long running friendship with Dr. Graham that began in 1956. This resulted in the Queen bestowing an honorary Knighthood on the Evangelist in 2001 (honorary because Graham was not a British subject).

He accepted invitations to speak in Communist Countries and met with Communist Party leaders and officials such as Brezhnev of the USSR, Korean Despot Kim Il Sung, the Presidents of Hungary and China. After one Visit to the USSR he even stated, “I have not personally seen persecution.” Even though Christians had unfurled banners during his meetings begging him to speak on their behalf.

Graham-Kim.jpg    Graham-Cardinal.jpg  Graham-China.jpg

Concerning Dr Graham’s visits to the Communist Bloc Dr. R. J. Rushdoony, writes:

I wish that every American could come and stand… could have come and stood next to me in Leningrad and seen those graves, because it would have moved them. And it was made… and that is the third observation that this is a people who is committed to peace.

It is understandable. When 22 million brothers and sisters die in a war you don’t want to see another one.

I learned the Russian word for peace, мир, and I see it everywhere. And the other thing, we met with some people in the churches. On one occasion we were walking out of the church at a session and one of our delegation turned to one of the babushka and said to her and said to her {?}, peace be with you. And she smiled and they talked and our delegation, the member of the delegation said, “I am an American.” And the woman cried, because it is American… an American wishing her peace. I have only been here two weeks, but I am… I have been impressed with the people committed to peace. I did not know that before I came and I see it as part of my mission to talk to whoever I can and let them know that the Soviet people are committed to peace.

[Scott] I think that is a very interesting anecdote. The poor woman cried because she saw Americans over there offer a… cooperating with … with the despots.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Those people were, of course, Modernists and liberals, but what excuse does Billy Graham have who pretends to be an evangelical.

[Mose] Yeah and that is a good question. The pastor I mentioned in Budapest was very angry about Billy Graham’s visits to his country in, I believe, in 1985 and also to Romania. He was… he feared—and this was before the visit—he feared that the same thing would happen that happened in the Soviet Union that Graham would come back and give a glowing report of religious freedom and … and because of that Christians would suffer… suffer even more. 

(http://www.pocketcollege.com/wiki/index.php?title=Two_Trips_Behind_the_Iron_Curtain_-_RR161AA50)

Awards

Billy Graham began his ministry as a fundamentalist, and as time passed, he changed his position. In the Catholic Herald of June 3, 1966, Billy Graham is quoted as being a friend of the Jesuits in the United States. He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the Roman Catholic College, Belmont Abbey, in 1967. The Benedictine Order founded Belmont Abbey in 1876. Billy noted the significance of the occasion by saying that this is “a time when Catholics and Protestants could meet together and greet each other as brothers, whereas 10 years ago, they could not.”

In April, 1972, Billy Graham received the International Franciscan Award in Minneapolis, given by the Franciscan Friars for true ecumenism. St. Francis believed that he would be saved by righteous works by helping the poor. This way, he believed he was saving his soul. St. Francis was canonized by the Roman Catholic Institution because of his strong position on the doctrine of works, this is contrary to the Gospel. Francis of Assisi also blessed and baptized animals and gave them Christian names

Now, what did Billy Graham say about this strange fellow? He said, ”

While I am not worthy to touch the shoe laces of St. Francis, yet this same Christ that called Francis in the 13th century also called me to be one of His servants in the 20th century.”

(2/86, The Gospel Standard)

When Billy Graham appeared on the Phil Donahue Show of October 11, 1979, in discussing Pope John Paul II’s visit to the United States of America, Billy Graham said:

I think the American people are looking for a leader, a moral and spiritual leader that believes something. And he (meaning the pope) does. He didn’t mince words on a single subject. As a matter of fact, his subject in Boston was really an evangelistic address in which he asked the people to come to Christ, to give their lives to Christ. I said, ‘Thank God I’ve got somebody to quote now with some real authority.

(The Phil Donahue Show, 10/11/1979. Multimedia Entertainment)

Graham-Pope.jpg

In the beginning, Billy Graham was greatly used of God, but I believe Billy gave in to tremendous pressures and compromised. Eventually he ended up by walking hand in hand with the apostate Catholic Church.

A few years ago, 5 pastors from Mexico stated that Billy Graham had destroyed their churches. They said he held a crusade, and told all those who had received Christ to go back to their original churches and win those people to Christ. These pastors stated that their people followed Billy’s instruction and all went back to the Roman Catholic system. Twelve years of work destroyed in one night!

Further Problems

How does Dr. Graham’s message and teachings compare with those of Jesus Christ and His Apostles?

Is the response to the Gospel to simply receive Christ by saying a prayer and declaring it to others?

When asked as to what people needed to do upon hearing the Gospel the Apostles responded in this manner:

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:37-38)

…after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household. And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.” (Acts 16:30-31)

Paul’s own teaching is very clear:

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)

There is absolutely no record in scripture of anyone being led to receive Christ through praying. The Holy Spirit causes the person to be born again because he/she believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. The immediate response in the Scriptures was that the person was baptized in water as a sign of their repentance and belief in Christ!

All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. (Acts 10:45-48)

Bible Christianity and Roman Catholicism are doctrinally as far apart as the east is from the west. One is based on the Bible and the other on the traditions of men. So how can we walk together without compromise? It’s impossible. Why on earth would someone who claimed that salvation is by Grace through faith lead his converts to enter a theological system that teaches that salvation is by grace through sacraments?

Many Protestants and Charismatic Catholics claim that the Holy Spirit is drawing them together. But, is it the Holy Spirit of God? Or could it be a different spirit? Are Charismatic Catholics leaving the false Catholic system? Or are they being used to pull Protestants to Rome?

Some Charismatic Catholics claim that after being baptized by the Holy Spirit they have a deeper relationship with Mary, they can recite the rosary in tongues, and so on. None of this is in the Bible. They are the inventions of men.

In 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, it says:

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Paul is warning them here against following anyone preaching a different gospel from the one that he taught..

And then in John 16:13 it says:

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.

Now, God the Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth. How can He lead someone deeper into error? That’s impossible. That’s a different spirit, and it is not from God. Satan is the master deceiver and this is his clever religious game to pull Protestants under the control of Rome.

Has Rome changed? When the Rome dumps the mass, the veneration (or worship) of Mary, when they throw away their rosaries and repent from claiming that Mary was free from original sin just like Jesus, when they admit they cooked up the idea of purgatory; and when the priests of Rome concede to the priesthood of all believers; When Rome does all that, then I will believe she is changing. People say she is changing, but she is only changing her tactics.

Great Apostasy

The Holy Spirit gives warning of a coming great apostasy that would immediately precede the coming of the Son of Perdition (aka Antichrist):

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

This is not the only time an apostle warns of coming apostasy. The Apostle Peter also warned the churches of the immediate danger of apostasy that would soon occur:

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Paul, also, warns the believers of things that would occur once he was no longer around to guide them:

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:28-31)

The Holy Spirit also gives the believers certain signs by which they could recognise those who would be responsible for this soon coming apostasy:

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:1-5)

Which church forbade people to marry, and continues to even today?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares:

1577 “Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination.”66 The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.67 The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.68

 1578 No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God.69 Anyone who thinks he recognizes the signs of God’s call to the ordained ministry must humbly submit his desire to the authority of the Church, who has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive orders. Like every grace this sacrament can be received only as an unmerited gift.

1579 All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”70 Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to “the affairs of the Lord,”71 they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church’s minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God.72

 1580 In the Eastern Churches a different discipline has been in force for many centuries: while bishops are chosen solely from among celibates, married men can be ordained as deacons and priests. This practice has long been considered legitimate; these priests exercise a fruitful ministry within their communities.73 Moreover, priestly celibacy is held in great honor in the Eastern Churches and many priests have freely chosen it for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In the East as in the West a man who has already received the sacrament of Holy Orders can no longer marry.

(PART TWO, THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO, THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER THREE, THE SACRAMENTS AT THE SERVICE OF COMMUNION
ARTICLE 6,THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS)

Which church prescribed abstaining from certain foods?

The Catholic Church historically imposes the disciplines of fasting and abstinence at various times each year. For Catholics, fasting is the reduction of one’s intake of food, while abstinence refers to refraining from meat (or another type of food). The Catholic Church teaches that all people are obliged by God to perform some penance for their sins, and that these acts of penance are both personal and corporeal. The purpose of fasting is spiritual focus, self-discipline, imitation of Christ, and performing penance:

 1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving,31 which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”32

1493 One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. The confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.

1494 The confessor proposes the performance of certain acts of “satisfaction” or “penance” to be performed by the penitent in order to repair the harm caused by sin and to re-establish habits befitting a disciple of Christ.

1495 Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ.

(The Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO, THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO, THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER TWO, THE SACRAMENTS OF HEALING
ARTICLE 4, THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION)

Traditionally Catholics are forbidden to eat meat on a Friday as an act of penance.

Can.  1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

(CODE OF CANON LAW, BOOK IV FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH (Cann. 834 – 848)
PART III : SACRED PLACES AND TIMES
TITLE II. SACRED TIMES (Cann. 1244 – 1258)
CHAPTER II. Days of Penance)

Vatican 2 did relax some of these rules but the Vatican did not abolish them:

Things began to change following the Second Vatican Council which met from October 11, 1962 to December 8, 1965.

In early 1966 Pope Paul VI urged that the practice of fasting and abstinence be adapted to local economic conditions. Later that year the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops relaxed, but did not abolish, the rules on fasting and abstinence.

However, the media and much of the laity interpreted these actions as abolishing the Church’s requirement that the faithful abstain from meat on Fridays during the year and on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent.

(How Did the Roman Catholic Tradition of Eating Fish on Fridays Begin? By Chuck Nugent. March 22, 2017)

The Lord condemned the legalism of his religious enemies because they were superseding the commandments of God with “Oral Tradition” (added by successive generations of Rabbis):

The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition
. (Mark 7:5-9)

The Vatican states:

  1. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRADITION AND SACRED SCRIPTURE

One common source. . .

80 “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal.”40 Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own “always, to the close of the age”.41

. . . two distinct modes of transmission

81 “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”42

“And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.”43

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” 44

            Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

 83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

 Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium.

(The Cathechism of the Catholic Church
PART ONE, THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION ONE, “I BELIEVE” – “WE BELIEVE”
CHAPTER TWO, GOD COMES TO MEET MAN
ARTICLE 2, THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION)

Penances are taught as being an essential practice in order to cleanse a person from sins committed after baptism:

1446 Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.

(The Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO, THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO, THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER TWO, THE SACRAMENTS OF HEALING
ARTICLE 4, THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION)

The Apostle John declared:

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:7-10)

Thus we see that the Catholic teaching on the need for penances is contradicted by that of the Apostle John, that the only criteria for the forgiveness and cleansing of the believer is that they acknowledge and confess their sin. God then forgives and cleanses from ALL unrighteousness. This cleansing is through the blood of Jesus, which He shed at the cross:

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)

There is no need for penances, just the humble acknowledgement of sin to God.

Although Billy Graham would state that confession of sin is between a person and God through Jesus Christ his statements concerning Catholicism belie this:

In 1966, Graham said,

“I find myself closer to Catholics than the radical Protestants. I think the Roman Catholic Church today is going through a second Reformation” (5/24/66, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin).

According to Graham, this “Reformation” must have been completed by 1978, when he said,

“I found that my beliefs are essentially the same as those of orthodox Catholics. We only differ on some matters of later church tradition. I find that my beliefs are essentially the same as those of orthodox Roman Catholics” (1/78, McCall’s Magazine).

Orthodox Catholics believe fully in the essential nature of the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church as being necessary in order to obtain the grace of God:

1131 The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.

1132 The Church celebrates the sacraments as a priestly community structured by the baptismal priesthood and the priesthood of ordained ministers.

1133 The Holy Spirit prepares the faithful for the sacraments by the Word of God and the faith which welcomes that word in well-disposed hearts. Thus the sacraments strengthen faith and express it.

1134 The fruit of sacramental life is both personal and ecclesial. For every one of the faithful on the one hand, this fruit is life for God in Christ Jesus; for the Church, on the other, it is an increase in charity and in her mission of witness.

(The Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO, THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION ONE, THE SACRAMENTAL ECONOMY
CHAPTER ONE, THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE AGE OF THE CHURCH
ARTICLE 2, THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE CHURCH’S SACRAMENTS)

Thus Billy Graham acknowledged that he was a Catholic in everything but name. Billy Graham was known as being a Baptist Minister yet contrary to the tenets of the Baptist churches he had all of his children baptised as infants. This is because he believed in the false doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration:

I do believe that something happens at the baptism of an infant, particularly if the parents are Christians and teach their children Christian truths from childhood. We cannot fully understand the mysteries of God, but I believe a miracle can happen in these children so that they are regenerated, that is, made Christians through infant baptism. If you want to call that baptismal regeneration, that’s all right with me

(10/10/61, The Lutheran Standard).

The Catholic sacrament of the Mass is the greatest attack ever on the finished work of Christ:

Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. (cf. Heb. 10:19-22)

Graham thinks the Mass is not only beautiful, but that it is clear in the gospel!:

This past week I preached in the great Catholic cathedral a funeral sermon for a close friend of mine who was a Catholic, and they had several Bishops and Archbishops to participate. And as I sat there going through the funeral Mass, that was a very beautiful thing, and certainly straight and clear in the gospel. There was a wonderful little priest that would tell me when to stand and when to kneel and what to do

(O Timothy, Vol. 10, Issue 9, 1993, pp. 16-17).

 

There you have it. Billy Graham kneeling and worshiping the Mass wafer! It evidently matters not to Graham that the Mass stands in opposition to the Biblical teaching of Christ’s atonement, and thereby, the very Gospel itself because, as he puts it, his beliefs:

….are essentially the same as those of orthodox Catholics!

Loved by the world

Christ’s teaching to His own followers was clear:

You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

The Apostles also taught:

Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:10-12)

For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me. (Philippians 1:29-30)

Unless you are also deceived as the rest of the Neo-Evangelical churches, you cannot fail to see Billy Graham’s contribution to the Christian churches has been to enable and expand Rome’s modern counter-reformation. How long will you continue to compromise truth for some counterfeit promise of unity and remain amongst the apostates of the Neo-Evangelical heresy?

How does a harlot, or whore, seduce her victims? The book of Proverbs tells us in chapter 7, verses 6 through 10:

I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

Then, verses 22 and 24 through 27:

With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she both cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”

Today, the Roman whore has beguiled and flattered our Christian leaders into believing that she is part of the true body of Christ, when in reality she is nothing more than a backslidden or apostate church.

Heed the voice of the Holy Spirit:

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you. “And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty
.

(2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

 

 

Discrimination.

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The world at large has a rallying cry, “Stop Discrimination”!

In his article, The End of Discrimination Starts With You Todd Smith, business entrepreneur and speaker states:

Discrimination in our communities and in our places of work takes many forms, but it always involves some form of exclusion or rejection based upon a negative judgment toward a person’s gender, age, religion, race, weight, nationality, handicap, sexual preference, or height.

He goes on to state:

Although it seems as if the reasons we should be concerned about ending discrimination are so obvious they need not be stated, I think it’s important that we keep in mind how damaging discrimination really is. The list of why discrimination is wrong is long, but here are the two most powerful reasons:

  • Discrimination is dehumanizing. When you treat someone differently solely based on race, gender, age, etc., you deny the value of who they are as an individual.

  • Discrimination hurts. Whether discrimination is subtle or overt, people know when they are being discriminated against, and it’s painful.

Most people would agree that discrimination has to end in order that the world might become a better place to live in.  However, what may shock a lot of people is that, even though they might not think it, there is prejudice in everyone and we are all guilty of discriminating against others.

In this world there is only one thing that does not truly discriminate against anybody, and that is DEATH.

Death will have anybody and absolutely does not discriminate.

It does not discriminate on age (it’ll take anyone regardless of how young or how old they are).  It does not discriminate on grounds of gender (Male or female), on grounds of sexuality (LGBT or straight), on grounds of mental ability (genius, average or even have a learning disability), on grounds of health (Healthy or sick, able bodied or disabled), on grounds of race (Black, White, Asian, Oriental, Hispanic etc), on the grounds of Status (Royalty, Commoner, Homeless), on the grounds of education (illiterate, semi-literate, a scholar or a dunce), on the grounds of wealth (rich or poor), on the grounds of religion (Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Taoist, Wiccan, Pagan, Satanist, etc) or lack of religion (Atheist, Agnostic, whatever).  It matters not to death, he’ll take absolutely anyone, anywhere at any time!

In fact, death is the greatest enemy of mankind and the one thing  that most people fear above all else.  For most of the world’s population the only thing that we can be certain of is that we will all face death.  The richest with all their wealth, the scientists with all their knowledge, the medical profession with all their skills, all of the greatest minds throughout all of human history have been unable to prevent us all from dying.

Some people would like to see an end to war and view war as the greatest  enemy of mankind.  If we could all just get along and be nice to one another, then we would see an end to wars and fighting!  However the truth of the matter is this, the greatest enemy of mankind is not war but death.  Just think of it, if nobody died then what would be the point of war?  I mean, if you can’t maim and kill your enemies what would be the point of fighting when no one need surrender?

The New Testament states:

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:22-26)

Death is something that people fear the most.  The world spends millions and millions on ways of avoiding the ageing process and staving off the inevitable, but no cure for death.  People neglect even to talk about these things and view it as being “too maubid”! Some don’t even want to use the word, “If something happens to me!” they’ll say instead of, “When I die!”

It is such a crippling fear that there is even a medical term for it, THANATAPHOBIA!

It is written:

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:13-14)

The Lord has conquered death!

One of the questions that Muslims have posed us over the years as an argument against Jesus being God is, “How can God die?”  This is a very good question, and a very reasonable and logical supposition.  The fact of the matter is that if He was just God then He could not have died!  But Jesus was not just God He was also human!

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:4-8)

Christ conquered death, not simply by stopping people from dying, but by dying and being raised from  the dead!

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)

You see it was not enough that He should just conquer death but that He should also, by means of death, pave the way for everyone to be raised in like manner as He was:

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)

This means that through His death and resurrection we can have the hope of eternal life!  This is why this message is called the Gospel!

Perilous Times

 

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This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Signs of the last days:
Men shall be lovers of themselves:
Selfishness will be the overwhelming state of most people.
To quote Matthew Henry:
Men love their carnal selves better than their spiritual selves. Men love to gratify their own lusts, and make provision for them, more than to please God and do their duty. Instead of Christian charity, which takes care for the good of others, they will mind themselves only, and prefer their own gratification..( Commentary on 2 Timothy chapter 3 by Matthew Henry, Blueletter Bible)
Covetous:
The basic manifestation of all who love themselves is that they are willing to go to any lengths to obtain material goods and to keep what they possess.  The acquisition of wealth and property becomes an addiction.
Churches preach the Gospel of Wealth and gain great numbers of followers through sermons that appeal to men’s covetous nature.  This can be seen from the number of Televangelists that peddle this notion that God wants you to be rich.
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Boasters:
Boasting is the fruit of pride.  The boastful do not only brag but they often make an ostentatious show of their wealth, accomplishments and deeds. This is especially seen through works of architecture.

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Blasphemers:
In the past few year we have seen a rise in militant secularism and the complete rejection of Christ in the West.

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Disobedient to parents:
This is not simply children disobeying their parents but this is a wholescale rebellion of young people against authority in general.  We see this in the way that successive generations have begun to question the rule of law and speak up to teachers, police and their elders.  There is a general lack of respect for traditional values based on Judeo-Christian ethics.
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Unthankful:
The unthankful will boast of their “rights” and demand more and more! People see privileges as “rights”!  People take for granted those things that were won at great sacrifice by others.
Unholy:
People are living sinful lives in total rebellion to God.  Christians pay lip-service to God while living as the world lives.
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Without natural affection:
When God created the world He created the Natural Order of things.  With the fall the natural order was marred:
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
(Genesis 3:17-19)
Mankind began to worship things other than the creator and so God handed them over to the carnal desires that are at the core of their being (the heart):
…..when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:20-32)
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Trucebreakers:
The original  greek is ἄσπονδοι (aspondoi) which literally means “unwilling to agree” or “implacable”.  The root cause being pride, hatred and unforgiveness.  There is an irrationality about such people.  They become easily offended and unable to enter into a rational debate.  They are quick to accuse others.

False Accusers:
Having the understanding darkened such people see good to be evil and evil they will think to be good.  It is from this bias that they judge all things.  They hate that which is truly good and love that which is truly evil.  They see the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a message of hatred!

Incontinent:
People without self control in everything that they do.  They have no control over their anger, no control over how much alcohol they consume, no control over their appetites.  They simply live for pleasure and excess!

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Fierce:
People who have no self-control are often angry.  They act in a fierce manner towards others and threaten them with violence at the least provocation.

Despisers of those that are good:
Those that live in darkness resent the godly.  The light that shines in the life of the believer exposes the darkness that is in the life of the unbeliever.  This is especially true of all those who trust in  their religious piety to save them.  They trust  in their own righteousness and feel deserving of God’s love, whereas the humble know that they have no righteousness of their own to trust in.

Traitors:
Often when someone is in trouble, or part of a group that has been misbehaving, their friends will desert them or blame the innocent.  Traitors are ruled by fear and their fear will cause them to betray others rather than suffer for the truth or for the wrong that they have done.

Heady:
people will be rash, reckless and precipitous.  People rush headlong into things without really thinking  things through properly.  They are quick to believe a lie, quick to judge others based on hearsay.  What’s more they are slow to think, they become irrational and cannot be persuaded of truth.

Highminded:
The Greek is τετυφωμένοι (tetyphomenoi) which means to be proud, conceit and blinded (in a metaforical sense).  Two things that motivate people to reject God are pride and conceit.  The scriptures state:

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. (Psalm 10:4)

Pride is seen as something good and to be celebrated, however:

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 John 2:16)

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Black Pride

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)

Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God:
“If it feels good, do it!” was the moral imperative at Woodstock, and can be summed up in one word, HEDONISM!  There can be little doubt that people in today’s world live for pleasure at any cost.

In 2002 Canadian rock band Sloan summed this up in the chorus of their hit single, If It Feels Good Do It:

If it feels good do it even if you shouldn’t
Don’t let people mess you around
Feels go do it even if you shouldn’t
Nobody can mess you around

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Having a form of godliness:
People will appear to be Christians, however their faith will be merely superficial, on the surface and a matter of external appearance.

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Faith based on extatic meetings, emotionalism and sacraments.

A false unity with churches and groups that hold to a different gospel than the one taught in the New Testament.

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But denying the power thereof:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1Corinthians 1:21)

The modern churches have turned against the preachers of the Gospel in favour of the New Evangelisation project that came out of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican (Vatican II), 11 October 1962 – 8 December 1965.

Lucy Mackain-Bremner, chaplaincy co-ordinator to Leweston School in Dorset and a graduate of the Emmanuel School of Mission in Rome, gives an insight into the reality of modern street evangelisation. “Always be prepared to give an account of the Hope that is in you” 1Pt 3:15

I was walking down a busy street and a young man stopped me and asked me: “What’s the joke? Why are you smiling?” Somewhat taken by surprise, unthinkingly I replied as honestly as I could: “Because I love Jesus.”

My voice must not have been as bold as my heart, though, because he didn’t hear what I said, so I had to repeat it more loudly, with an even bigger smile: “Because I love Jesus!”

And he said, “Oh, me too. I’m Muslim.” He was on his way to run a community youth club but he stopped and we spoke for a while. I ended with giving him a Miraculous Medal (of Our Lady) and he took it saying: “Thank you! We really honour Mary too, you know, because she’s the mother of Jesus.” He said I was his sister and then we parted.

Through this little encounter the Lord showed me how He can and will use you in the most beautiful and personal ways. If you really desire to make His name known, He expects nothing from you other than to be yourself, to be how He created you and calls you to be. We are created to know and love God and are forever looking to do this better and more deeply, but to truly fulfil our human dignity we must evangelise. (Quotation from Taking the New Evangelisation to the Streets by Lucy Mackain-Bremner, pub 1st May 2013)

Street Pastors was pioneered in London in 2003 by the Rev. Les Isaac, Director of the Ascension Trust.

The Street Pastors in Chester are local Christian volunteers who walk the streets on busy weekend nights to care, listen and offer practical help to those they meet, where they are.

That can mean all sorts of things:

  • helping an intoxicated clubber into a taxi
  • listening as a homeless person pours their heart out
  • praying for peace as a scuffle breaks out on a corner
  • giving a pair of flip-flops to a girl whose shoes have become too uncomfortable to wear, after a night’s dancing
  • getting rid of dangerous broken glass
  • … and much more.

Street Pastors operate with the blessing of CWaC Council and  Cheshire Police, but are independent from them, and don’t get paid! They come from many types of church and many denominations. Their Christian faith is at the heart of all they do, but Street Pastors don’t preach or judge. Instead, they aim to offer a practical demonstration of the love and presence of God.

Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) was founded in 2004 by author and popular speaker Debra Green OBE in 2004.  Its stated aim is to bring about community transformation by creating strategic partnerships between statutory agencies, voluntary groups and churches.  ROC’s motto is, People of goodwill working together towards safer, kinder communities.

ROC projects/Centres do not engage in proselytising. Many of the volunteers have a faith but find actions speak louder than words. ROC projects are Christian-led and provide opportunities for Christian volunteers to develop new relationships with local people by demonstrating the love and reality of God in action.

The Message Trust has its roots in Message ’88, a week-long youth mission that took place at the Manchester Apollo in 1988, pioneered by founder and CEO Andy Hawthorne and his brother and business partner Simon.

The Message Trust promotes its particular ideology with the phrase, We Are The Message!, and describe themselves in this manner:

We’re a worldwide movement with a passion to share Jesus Christ with the hardest-to-reach young people, through creative mission, community transformation and Christ-centred enterprise.

On one of their Prayer Points they state:

Pray for a missions week that Eden Southwick (Sunderland) are running throughout February half term to serve their estate with lunch clubs, events, sports and detached youth work.

Eden does boast a lot about their achievements:

Our Eden teams work hard to bring transformation to the communities that they live and work in but they don’t always realise how much of an impact they have on the people around them. 

Mark Tate from Eden Gurnell Grove recently received a phone call from the local council asking whether he was planning on attending the ceremony for the ROAR (Recognising Outstanding Achievement of Residents) awards. The phone call went a bit like this…

Council: ‘Are you planning on attending the ROAR awards ceremony to support the person you’ve nominated?’
Mark: ‘I’m sorry I haven’t nominated anyone for an award, I haven’t even heard of the ROAR awards?’
Council: ‘You’ve nominated Mark Tate and the Eden Gurnell Grove team’
Mark: ‘Well I’m Mark Tate and I lead that team but I wouldn’t nominate myself?’
*awkward silence*
Council: ‘Oh I see… Well, congratulations you have been nominated for a ROAR award. Are you able to attend the awards ceremony?’

It turned out that the nomination was made by the manager of the sheltered accommodation on the estate where they have done a lot of gardening work and held afternoon teas. The team attended the awards ceremony at Ealing Town Hall along with the Mayor of Ealing and their local MP.

We felt truly honoured to be nominated

The team didn’t win but left feeling so encouraged that the work they are doing in their community has benefited the residents and that it is being appreciated. It left them feeling energised about carrying on and it is always fun to dress up and have a good night out!

This is contrary to the example of the greatest evangelist of the early church, the Apostle Paul, who said:

If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
(2 Corinthians 11:30)

Finally, the instruction of the Holy Spirit to us is very simple:

…..FROM SUCH TURN AWAY!!!!!!!!!

 

The Gospel We Preach

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For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!  (1 Corinthians 9:4)

Paul declared that the preaching of the Gospel was the method that God has ordained to save people, for it is only through preaching can people know the truth necessary in order to believe so that they might call upon the name of the Lord in order to be saved.

Some mistakenly believe that the message in and of itself is insufficient to cause people to believe, some even think that preaching is unnecessary (even counterproductive) to bring people to Christ.  Others believe that good works are the best way to preach, especially in a world that has become sceptical and more open to the scientific method.

In the Bible the word translated “preach” in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word  קָרָא   (qará).  In the New Testament it is the Greek word κηρύσσω (kēryssō).  In their context both carry the same meaning: To cry aloud, to procaim publickly and openly as a herald.

In the days before the publication of newspapers people got the news or heard proclamations was from the Town Crier.

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The Town Crier would be issued with a colourful and ornate uniform so that everyone would know who he was.  He would be issued with a scroll upon which was written any news or official proclamation that people needed to hear.  He would proceed into the main square of the town or village and cry aloud in a very loud voice, “Oyez, Oyez!  Hear ye, Hear ye!” whilst ringing a bell in order to draw people’s attention.  Once people’s attention had been gained he would then proceed to read the message written on the scroll.  This is what is meant by preaching in public.

It has to be at a volume loud enough that people can hear.  There is no quiet way of preaching in public.

The only things that prevent Christians from preaching the Gospel is fear of people or embarrassment.  These two things; the fear of man and being too ashamed cause people to disobey Christ’s command to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature!”

Paul was so grateful to the Lord for His salvation, so much so that he was willing to endure every kind of hardship and tribulation in order to spread the message of salvation to as many people as possible.  He was fully persuaded that everybody had to be given the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ!

….whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  (Romans 10:13-15)

The message is very simple:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…. (Romans 3:23)

…..sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4)

For the wages of sin is death….(Romans 6:23)

….whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

…..the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 10:8-11)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

So our message to you is simple, take every opportunity you  have to spread the message.  Preach it! Disseminate it through tracts!  Support preachers in prayer and/or give them the means to preach through supplying them with tracts and Bibles to give to others (or the finance to purchase them).

It matters not if people reject the Gospel, this is to their judgement.  What matters is that everyone is given the opportunity to hear.

We should not expect the world to come to us in order to hear about Christ in our buildings, Christ’s command was not that the world should come to us to hear but that we should GO into ALL the world!