Archive for October, 2013

“Reading the Bible Together” – The Cooneyites Advertise in Local Newspapers

October 29, 2013

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Just last week I noticed this small advertisement in our local free newspaper: “Reading the Bible Together. Anyone interested please contact… (telephone number)”

After reading this, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to ring the phone number in the advertisement. The lady who replied was most polite and friendly but very reluctant indeed to tell me with whom she was associated. Having discovered that I preferred the Authorised Version of the Bible and the old hymns, she whole-heartedly agreed with me, telling me about where their weekly Bible study was held. After giving me an invitation to come along, I discovered that it is held in a parish community centre in the town.

At this point I was still curious about her background. I told her of my own experience and of how I had come to ask the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart around 35 years ago. After that there was an awkward silence and I instinctively knew that the lady did not regard this wonderful change in my life as something to rejoice about. On the contrary I had the distinct impression that she did not think that it was valid at all.

“Yes, well, about our Bible Study…” she went on, completely ignoring the simplicity and the wonder of something which meant more than life itself to me. A true Christian, on the other hand, would have immediately warmed to this reference to my testimony and denominational differences would have melted into insignificance as we would go on to testify of our love for the Saviour.

Because of this experience, I am now reluctant to label myself as ‘non-denominational,’ although I can understand the thinking behind a phrase I once heard used: “denominations are abominations.” I suppose that denominations, although they came into existence following dissension amongst the brethren and doctrinal differences since the early church, are one issue – but cults are quite another. “A cult,” I have heard it said, (certainly of pseudo-Christian cults) “is a group of people who follow one man and his misinterpretation of the Bible.”

After listening to her enthusiastically give me this invitation to the Bible study, strangely I remembered the information that I had read about Cooneyites and decided to ask her was she associated with them.

I didn’t expect her to be so straight with me… “Well some people refer to us as that,” she said, “but we don’t call ourselves this.”

Professing to follow “the Jesus Way,” the Cooneyites concentrate on the life of Jesus but not on His precious shed blood for the sins of mankind; like other erroneous systems of belief this cult has sadly strayed into the path of ‘salvation by works.’ While there is no better example to follow than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in all our attitudes, thoughts, words and actions, it is not by attempting to follow His life in our own strength, that we are saved – but by repenting and putting our trust in His shed blood at Calvary, in the knowledge that He has risen, is alive in heaven today and ever lives to make intercession for us. Only with faith as the sure foundation upon which we stand, can we ever be “Christlike” in His strength.

There is so much more that I could say about the aspects of this cult which was founded in Ireland in 1897 by William Irvine, who was originally an evangelist with the Faith Mission. Cooneyites have also been known as Irvingites, Go-preachers, Two-by-two’s, Workers and the Nameless House Church or Christian Convention Church. However they prefer to call themselves “The Way,” “The Jesus Way” or “The Truth.”

The lady I spoke to worked with another lady friend and from what I could discern they were both middle-aged and unmarried. “I felt led recently to work along the east coast of Ireland,” she had told me.

 ‘Led by whom?’ I wondered. (The Cooneyites do not believe in the leading of the Holy Spirit, in the Trinity or in the deity of Christ.)

It has also been said that they even go so far as to declare that the Bible is a “Dead Book” unless it is “made to live” through the mouth of one of their preachers

“You will come along, won’t you?” the lady pleaded with me towards the end of our conversation.

“You know,” I said, avoiding her question, “at the end of the day you and I and everyone else in this world… really what we want is the knowledge that we will definitely at the end of this life go to heaven. It is so wonderful to have that assurance.”

“Yes…” she replied hesitantly, “we can but only hope in God’s mercy…”

Today I pray for that lady and for the opportunity to perhaps speak to her again, even if it is only over the telephone – and I also pray that those souls who are genuinely seeking will not be snared by this cult which like many others is weaving its web in an Ireland where unwary people are weary of hypocrisy in the traditional teachings of a major system of idolatry which has betrayed the young and old.

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Saying Goodbye to “Wish Wish” – a Faithful Loving Friend

October 21, 2013

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I loved her very much, my faithful feline friend whom we named “Wish Wish” at a time when my children were much younger than they are today. Somehow the last few weeks represented a difficult landmark in my life for many reasons and her passing was a symbol of how I felt at the time…

I found Wish Wish abandoned around fifteen years ago as she lay breathing her last amongst other little siblings who lay dead around her. Gently I lifted her and carried her indoors to the heat of the kitchen. For the first few weeks I fed her like a baby. Every few hours night and day she took sustenance from a little dropper until at last she had grown into a beautiful larger kitten. She rewarded us so much for saving her life by being one of the most affectionate pets I have ever known. She would go for a walk with us out the back lane like a little puppy running ahead and indeed she had a long and happy life – but I felt truly bereaved when she died. Driving home from a hospital visit one night after her death I felt the pain of losing her and sorrow deep within my heart.

Wish Wish was no ordinary cat; she knew how to open doors by reaching up to put the handle down, she let us know her needs too, but most of all she was there for me, showing love in most extraordinary ways. Two years ago when my father passed away and I had received other bad news, I sat crying in the chair one night when suddenly I heard her jump on a high stool beside me and then felt her face close to mine, her green eyes staring into mine, her whiskers softly brush off me and then she licked my face. I believe that she knew exactly how I felt.

Wish Wish was brought to the vet some weeks ago where an x-ray revealed a large growth in her stomach. In our dying, polluted and diseased world animals too are suffering…

How I long for that day when there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Rev.21v1; Isaiah 65v17) – and pain, sorrow, death and crying shall be no more. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes…” (Rev.21v4)

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8v22) Surely it is as if all of creation is literally in the pains of childbirth, waiting to be delivered from the burden of the curse.

Pain, disease, violence on the earth, dying and sorrow were not how it was meant to be… but thank God that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8v2)

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8v28)

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8v18)

Sometimes we may feel a strange loneliness in our sorrow, even when surrounded by loved ones… but we shouldn’t, for “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18v24)

As I was confronted with some very distressing events in my life just recently, many verses from Romans 8 have comforted me… “As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8v36-39)

With these precious promises and multitudes more let us encourage one another as we cast our burdens upon He who loved us and gave Himself for us, for “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8v31)

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