Archive for the ‘Denominations, cults and systems of belief’ Category

Reach out to the Living – While it is Day

November 9, 2019

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The recent funeral of a well-known radio and television presenter here in Ireland brought to mind thoughts of being faithful to people while they are still alive. I recall sending something (a tract and a letter I believe) to this person many years ago. When we are faithful witnesses to people, this is something which we will never regret, even if there is either no response or a negative response from the person in question. The Lord loved and died for all and who knows how He will use the little morsels we scatter to His glory? The following is a short modified extract from my book “Singing on the Journey Home….”
I recall years ago befriending a lady whose mother was very ill. One day, towards the end of her mother’s life, I called to see my friend but prior to this I had been praying much for her mother and my desire was to speak with her. After a few moments, in answer to my prayer, she took me upstairs to see her. She was not really old by today’s standards; around seventy I think. The atmosphere was a little strained, but when I look back on that day, I know for sure that the Lord was with me and that He did speak to that lady. I was also sure that she had met another Christian at some time, and that she knew something of the scriptures for she finished some verses of the Bible that I had started to quote. I can recall a certain special moment during this exchange when there was complete silence and the lady looked at me perceptively. It was one of those looks that I shall never forget. I wanted to be gentle, to be led of the Lord, in all that I said to her – yet I felt so inadequate for the task. Still I felt that the Lord was opening her heart, speaking to her in that still small voice – the only voice that can truly penetrate the hearts of men and women.
It was the memory of the journey home from that visit that I shall never forget. I had felt emotional on leaving that home and as I drove away I felt the presence of God very strongly. Then, just as I was about half way home, that presence intensified, so much so that I almost had to stop the car. I tried not to let the tears blind me as I drove along. For the remainder of that day I went about my household duties, continuing to feel the Lord’s strong and loving reassurance in my heart.
A short time later that lady passed away and I went to the graveside as a mark of respect. It was a big funeral. Everyone seemed to know each other but I knew no one there, with the exception of my friend and a couple of others. I shook hands with my friend, who was naturally distraught and then I withdrew a distance from the many people who thronged the graveside. Somehow I was feeling very much a stranger in the midst of it all, particularly with the proceedings that followed.
The ceremony was very elaborate – if it was possible for a ceremony to get someone into heaven, then that one certainly would have. I watched as the young Roman Catholic Priest who was conducting the proceedings suddenly broke into song, in Latin. He sang with all his might and then uttered such eloquent prayers for the deceased. The coffin was one of the best that money could buy, as was the headstone. The intentions and the prayers were sincere but I knew that none of this could make any difference to the most important issue of all – the eternal destination of the deceased.
Walking away from that scene, I realised that I could never know for sure in this life whether this lady had trusted the Lord, but He knew and now it remained for me to pray for my friend and her family, that they too would find the loving Saviour who is our only real comfort in grief and loss. I also knew that the Lord had not brought me into contact with this family for nothing and that His Word, which I had quoted to a dying soul, would not “return unto Him void.”
How lovely it is to tell others of the Saviour who has come “to seek and to save that which was lost.” Like the dying thief on the cross who was only a short time from eternity, they too may find the Saviour before they leave this scene of time. My prayer for the elderly souls that I have felt led to visit (and the younger souls that I have felt led to speak to) is that the light of the Saviour would penetrate the souls of those in their twilight years – and the souls of the younger too, who could also be standing by ‘the very cliff edge of eternity.’ Surely He is but a prayer away… and even though we may be in perfect health, are we not all “dying and perishing” spiritually before we are touched by the Saviour?

 

Was Paul “the Chief of Sinners?”

October 15, 2019

The following well known verse is often used to make a doctrinal point… “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1Timothy 1v15) It never ceases to amaze me how this verse is constantly used to make an excuse for habitual sin in the lives of many who would call themselves Christians. Note the words “of who I am chief.” Paul is speaking in the present tense here and if he was speaking of himself he was referring to his (then) present state. Therefore was he “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope…” (1Timothy 1v1) saying “I am the chief of sinners?”
How could Paul (the regenerate servant of the Lord Jesus Christ) be “the chief of sinners?” We need to look at the first few words of this verse… “This is a faithful saying…” The phrase “faithful (or true) saying” is used five times in the New Testament: 1Timothy 1v15; 1Timothy 3v1; 1Timothy 4v8&9; 2Timothy 2v11-13; Titus 3v4-8; in each instance it is “a true saying” – a proverb, which is “worthy of all acceptation.”
This saying was never meant to apply to Paul as an individual at that point in time. However, unfortunately it suits many to believe that “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ” was the “chief of sinners,” so that they can preach “a sinning religion.” There are two types of people in this world: saints and sinners. I am aware that there are also “seekers” and of course not everyone has sunk into the same depths of evil – but the unsaved charity worker, like his drug dealing neighbour, is lost until he comes to that place of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.
Nowhere in the Bible do we read of “saved sinners” and yet this is a term which I have often heard used in evangelical circles. Amazingly I have also heard of someone who preached that “a little bit of sin keeps us humble.” The Bible makes it clear that “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1John 2v1) Note that it is not when we sin, indicating that sin should be something alien in the Christian’s life. Another phrase which I have heard quoted is “we sin in thought, word and deed every day;” this too is a man-made phrase and unscriptural.
I remember the words of someone speaking at a children’s meeting held years ago in a back garden… “We are all so sinful…” I cannot recall her exact words but she made it clear that she regarded herself as being as sinful as those she was addressing. One little girl who looked confused, asked… “But what’s the point then?” I believe that what she meant was: “What’s the point of me asking Jesus into my heart, if He’s not going to make me a new person?” That little girl is now a young woman whom I haven’t seen in many years and I don’t know where she stands spiritually. Child workers and Sunday school teachers bear such a fearful responsibility.
What Paul was effectively saying was… if I had been the only one, the Lord would still have died for me. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:” (2Corinthians 5v14)
If we read on in 2Corinthians 5, we see that “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (Verse 17) When Paul was blinded by the light of the Lord on the Damascus Road, his subsequent experience changed him dramatically. Although Christians were fearful of him at first, it soon became evident to them that Saul the persecutor had become Paul the saint; miraculously he had become a sincere and fervent follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In his own words… “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life.” (Romans 6v21-23)
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Corinthians 5v21)
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2Corinthians 6v18)
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4v22-24)
Surely only a hypocrite could utter such words if he was indeed “the chief of sinners.” And we know that Paul was not a hypocrite.

“Wells without Water” – A Career in “the Church”

October 2, 2019

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Over the years I have on occasions met clergy from various denominations. For some reason I have recently been thinking about these encounters and how, sadly, it was clear that many of these people had no spiritual light whatsoever. They generally do what is expected of them: have an acceptable sermon put together for Sunday mornings, visit hospitals, the bereaved and elderly parishioners and conduct weddings and funeral services, amongst other duties.
Sadly, though, they have not had the experience of being truly born again of the Spirit of God and while what they do may seem commendable, it is in most cases their “job” – not a real calling from the Lord.
Of course they have differing personalities and many are charming, friendly and pleasantly spoken. But unfortunately I have also encountered in these days something very disturbing in some – a type of cynicism, with no effort whatsoever being made to disguise it.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7v15) Yet often I feel that some don’t even make the effort to don “sheep’s clothing,” since many in their congregation seem completely blind to the real wolf staring them in the face anyway. I have even heard of ministers jokingly admit that they have “difficulty believing in some of the miracles in the Bible.”
This cynicism, this lack of sincerity, this flippancy is all too common in some circles, while horrifically there are lost souls going out into eternity every second in this world – souls who have sat under the “ministry” of the spiritually blind, whose voices echo meaningless platitudes from the pulpits of great churches and cathedrals the world over.
The Lord loved and died for everyone, including the robed hierarchy of great churches but unless they too, repent and come the humble way to the foot of the cross for forgiveness, the words of 2Peter 2v17 apply to them… “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.”
There are ministers in so called “evangelical” circles too, who unfortunately are what Paul describes as “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” (2Corinthians 11v13)
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2Corinthians 11v14&15) We are living in incredible days when discernment is a great requirement in the life of Christians. Surely… “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7v16) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1Peter 5v8)
Thank God there is hope for even the hardest, most cynical deceiver, for the Lord is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3v9) If we have knowledge of such “blind, leaders of the blind” we must pray for them that their eyes would be opened to the truth and we must pray for the people of these congregations in dead churches too that they would be drawn to the Saviour who loved them and gave Himself for them. But those who truly know Him in these days must take a stand for the truth and “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1Peter 3v15)… even to the most seasoned, cynical, educated, eloquent and senior member of the religious hierarchy.

“Upon this Rock I will build my Church…”

September 7, 2019

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Ireland is full of famous “rocks,” like the Rock of Cashel in Co. Tipperary, the Rock of Dunamase in Co. Laois and the “Big Stone,” (“Cloughmore” pictured) in the Mourne Mountains, Co. Down. Standing stones are also a fascinating phenomenon in Ireland; many of these are associated with old legends about how they came to be there but I love to draw spiritual analogies from those rocks…
Rocks are sure foundations, rocks are reliable, unchanging, and unmoveable; rocks can be a refuge and a hiding place from the storm and Psalm 81v16 speaks of “honey in the rock.”
Unfortunately many people in Ireland believe that Peter was the “first pope,” of whom they say that Jesus said… “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
However, Jesus when He made this statement was speaking of Himself as the Rock and to get understanding of this we need to read the entire chapter of Matthew 16, especially from Verse 15… “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jo-na: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16v15-18)
When Jesus went on to say “Upon this rock I will build my church” He was clearly referring to Himself because of His words in the previous verses. Throughout the New Testament only Jesus is referred to as “the Rock.” In 1Corinthians 10 Paul is speaking of Moses and his ancestors… “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (Verse 4)
In 1Peter 2v8 Jesus is referred to as “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
There is no doubt that Peter was a beloved disciple and later in the New Testament, a faithful and fearless servant of the gospel but he is not the “Rock of our salvation.” Read the words of Jesus to him in Matthew 16v23… “get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Peter, like many, may have meant well by his words (“Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Verse 23) but these words were not pleasing to the Lord. Peter was a mortal man; the church was never built upon mortal man but upon the Lord Jesus Christ “in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1v14)
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1v18) Unfortunately mankind like to establish their own organisations, claiming that only their particular denomination is “the church.”
The church, as I have said previously, is not a building, or an organisation or a denomination – but that body of believers throughout this world who have given their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and are born again of the spirit of God. “Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.” (1Corinthians 12v27) This chapter continues to show how the “body,” of which the Lord Jesus Christ is Head, have differing gifts.
“Wherefore also it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believeth in him shall not be confounded.” (1Peter 2v6)
Praise God, these words are also prophesied of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament … “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28v16)
In Psalm 62v2 the words… “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved,” are repeated again in Verse 6, this time reinforced by omitting the word “greatly.”
Praise God if we build upon this Rock, like the wise man Jesus refers to in Matthew 7v24, spiritually speaking we are building on the Rock which cannot move.
… “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16v18)
We are living in days when the “gates of hell” are most certainly trying to prevail against the church. Black clouds are threatening those who have taken refuge in the Rock of Ages… that Rock which is so eloquently spoken about throughout the Psalms and many other books of the Bible. “The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18v46)
But when God promises that the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” He will keep that promise. While the famous earthly rocks we are familiar with will some day pass away, the Rock of our salvation is eternal and unchanging and many times prophesied of in the Old Testament. Unto those who believe “he is precious” (1Peter 2v7) but a “rock of offence to them which stumble at the word.”
“And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.”(Isaiah 8v14&15)
“And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21v44)
Manmade religion seeks to exalt man above God. How can a mortal man be the rock upon which God builds His church?
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” (1Corinthians 3v11)

Neither Saint nor Sinner

April 18, 2019

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St. Peter’s old tin country Church of Ireland, beside a river and the picturesque area of Laragh in south Monaghan was probably originally built around the same era as a very old book I’ve been reading was published. Memories of walking down the steps here reminded me of a certain true little story. I was given “One Thousand Tales worth Telling” (well over 100 years old) as a gift and find its true, very short stories just fascinating as each one has an associated scripture text. In these days of ecumenism, secularism and apostasy, it is rare to hear the gospel preached from the pulpits of established churches but on occasions it has been – and a silence has fallen on the congregation when the spirit of the Lord is there. However, not everyone is pleased with such sermons, which tell individuals of their need for salvation…

I quote this simple little story, an example of one of these true “1,000 Tales Worth Telling…”

Neither Saint nor Sinner

“Coming down the steps from the kirk, a neighbour asked an old lady how she liked the sermon by the strange minister from a distance. “Indeed,” said she, “I didn’t like him a bit! He talked all morning to one class of folks called saints, and to another called sinners, and he hadn’t a word for a decent, respectable body like me.” How many like her are neither “lost and on the way to Hell” nor “saved and on the way to Heaven.” Yet each of us are either one or the other. (Joshua 24v15; John 3v36; Rev. 20v15 & 22v11). The great question to settle is… Which is it?”

Clearly the preacher in this instance used his opportunity to relay a message to both the saved and the lost. How often have we heard a gospel message for the unsaved – but nothing to encourage growth in the believer, or indeed vice versa! Also, how difficult it is to reach “the respectable” – the law-abiding church goer, who may even be a Sunday school teacher or indeed an established church “reverend.”

Praise God, He has given His children the power of prayer and faith, in the knowledge that the Lord’s convicting voice can speak to such people. We cannot make them see their need – but He can.

“He revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.” (Daniel 2v22)

We should never view “the respectable” as lost causes who will never see their need of a Saviour. Only the Lord knows the innermost thoughts of those people and will work to draw each one to Himself. As His ambassadors, we should never be afraid to be a witness to “respectable bodies” – and pray fervently for them also.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8v26)

 

Thoughts on the Kings of Israel and Judah – and Eternal Security

April 3, 2019

As I approach the end of 2nd Chronicles in my daily reading, it is interesting to note the behaviour of each king from the beginning of his reign until the end – which is usually marked by his death. Some kings (like Joash) start off well and please the Lord. We are told that “Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Je-hoi-a-da the priest.” (2Chronicles 24v2)

However, after the death of the priest we learn that the princes of Judah “made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.” (Verse 17) Listening to man, I feel, was the downfall of Joash for after all the good he had accomplished in repairing the house of the Lord, after the death of Je-hoi-a-da, he turned to idolatry. As a result he would not listen to Zechariah, the son of the priest whom we are told had “the Spirit of God.” He said “because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you.” (Verse 20) Sadly Zechariah was stoned to death for merely warning Joash of the wrath to come – and it did come, in the form of an attack from the Syrians. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16v7). When we read about the lives of the kings, we can see that the reverse is also true.

There are other kings who started off well in their reign but something then happened to mar their relationship with the Lord. Certainly David walked perfectly with the Lord “save in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” David and some other kings are greatly repentant and restored in their walk with the Lord but there are kings (like Ahaz) who from start to finish are steeped in idolatry and never got right with God at any time during their reign.

We are not told either way whether Joash (who died at the hands of his servants after being attacked by the Syrians) found peace with God in his final hours. It saddens me to think that all the good that he had previously accomplished in repairing the house of God would be vanquished by his later actions.

In Ezekiel 18v24 we read: “When the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.”

By the same token… “if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” (Verse 21)

“Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal?” (Verse 25)

Today there is a doctrine permeating many churches globally and the ways of this doctrine are not equal. It holds that an individual can commit his life to the Lord and then enjoy the position of unconditional eternal security, no matter what sin or degradation he descends to in the present or future – even if he never repents of it. While some preachers promise their congregation “liberty,” they simultaneously tell them that they “are slaves to sin.” Indeed I have heard these very words uttered from the pulpit. We have to ask ourselves, did the Lord suffer and die so that those who commit their lives to Him should be “slaves to sin?”

In 2Peter 2v19-22, we read… “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment, delivered unto them.”

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” Here we learn that it is indeed possible to fall way.

Like the kings of the Old Testament, some of whom walked with the Lord for a while and then fell away, Revelation 2 has a message for certain churches or categories of Christian…. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Verse 4&5)

Thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden the devil uttered those words…”Yea, hath God said…?”(Genesis 3v1) He assures Eve… “Ye shall not surely die.” (Verse 4) And he still utters them today. But today, praise God, there is eternal security for the believer who rests in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. We are told “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1John 2v1) Note, it is not when we sin.

Something else has never changed since the Garden of Eden… God never has taken away the free will of mankind. Unlike mindless robots, invented to perform certain duties, the Lord wants nothing but our wholehearted and sincere love for Him, His ways and His Word. He never forces His way into our lives and He never drives us on that narrow road. The Shepherd ever leads us. By faith we trust Him and we follow Him by faith all the way. Our security is sure in Him, as long as we desire His Presence in our lives, obey His Word and follow the Shepherd. We are exhorted to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12v14)

Yes, of course “backsliders” can be restored. The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of those who die spiritually (Ezekiel 18v32) and is long suffering to us-word, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Peter 3v9) But I believe that there is a point at which this may not be possible and certainly if someone remains in unrepentant sin, he will die in his sin.

There is a dangerous doctrine which states that “God doesn’t see my sin – He looks at Jesus and I am forgiven.” Where in scripture does it say this? Sadly, this idea may leave people with the notion that they have no need to repent of sin. Another well-known statement I have heard is that “when we trust the Lord to save us, all our sins are forgiven: past, present and future.” Again, there is no scripture to back the latter. Yes, past sins are forgiven when we repent of them. However, no sin is forgiven until it is repented of, whether the person concerned is a professing Christian or not – for God’s ways are equal.

The vast majority of evangelical Christian churches and fellowships in the Republic of Ireland adhere to the doctrine of unconditional eternal security and some would even go as far as to say that the Lord Jesus Christ only died for certain people.

His creation is precious in His sight. He died for them all – not just “the elect” (another subject which I have touched on briefly and will do so again) “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2v2)

Praise God His atonement is not limited – and neither is His mercy. It is His will that souls are not led astray into a false sense of security, in which they think that they do not have to get right with Him, concerning many serious issues and even deep sin in their lives. There is a reckoning day coming and His message to all is… “Cast away from you all your transgressions; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” (Ezekiel 18v31&32)

Come Out Of Her My People!

August 24, 2018

Pictures and videos from android 139

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Revelation 18v4&5) Many attribute the words in this chapter to the Church of Rome and certainly, in the spiritual sense the Roman Catholic system would appear to “fit the bill” as today’s Babylon.

I have recently heard that the representatives of mainline Protestant churches in Northern Ireland have been invited to this weekend’s reception for Pope Francis in the Republic of Ireland – and I have also heard that they hope to be there. I feel, sadly, that all the world is running after Rome…

The Presbyterian moderator is quoted as saying: “As a church we recognised that this Papal visit would bring great joy to our Roman Catholic neighbours and friends, and it was something we wanted to welcome. I am pleased that our church has been able to accept the invitation to the reception and I am looking forward to it. Should there be an opportunity to meet Pope Francis I would very much welcome that in the context of building good relations.”

There are numerous people out there, however, who were baptised into this Roman Catholic system and those people will not welcome his visit because of the abuse that they or their loved ones were subjected to by paedophile priests or nuns who used women as slaves and often trafficked babies illegally out of the country. These people are still hurt, angry and traumatised by events which may have occurred long ago in their lives –but these events were to impact their formative years and as a result, affect those lives and relationships into adulthood.

And how can you “build good relations” with a system of belief that is idolatrous in essence? This system of belief fabricates doctrines such as the perpetual virginity of the Virgin Mary, the assumption of the Virgin Mary, the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, Purgatory, praying for the dead, transubstantiation etc etc., none of which can be verified by scripture.

If a Christian was asked to meet the Pope, he or she could only do so with the purpose of being a witness to him. The Lord would give them the necessary courage to tell him that he was a lost sinner in need of salvation. Anyone who gives credence to the notion that the pope is a fellow Christian, is, I am afraid, as lost as he is.

“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” (Revelation 18v24) The hierarchy of Roman Catholicism authorised the slaughter of the Waldensians, the cruel Spanish Inquisition; the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of French Huguenots in 1572, the burning at the stake of Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer and the martyrdom of multitudes of other men, women and even children all across the world. This system of belief has made little of the Word of God, turning instead to someone who claims infallibility in regard to his every decree.

Men and women died for the truth of these precious scriptures which I hold in my hands. Article 31 of the 39 Articles of Religion of the Church of Ireland and the Anglican Church states: “The offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.”

Why, then, do the clergy of these churches join with a man (blasphemously referred to as “the Holy Father”) to celebrate the mass? While millions upon millions are spent on security for his visit, it has been said that homeless people and beggars (who are seen as an embarrassment on Dublin’s streets) will be moved if necessary. Meanwhile the Pope with all his entourage of security will enter with pomp and ceremony. What a far cry that is from the entrance of the beloved Lord Jesus Christ to Jerusalem on a humble donkey and what love He had in His heart for the “common” people!

They cried: “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (John 12v13) Praise God for “David’s Son and David’s Lord!” …”And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9v6)

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4v12)

While men revere another man, honouring this man of sin, they turn their backs on the “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19v16) “Come out of her, my people…” But sadly many, although they occupy places in pulpits are not His people, yet still He stands with open arms to receive all who come to Him the humble way, repenting and trusting in Him alone for salvation.

I fear for others, on the fringes: professing Christians who are slowly being deceived into inviting people to preach in their churches; these people identify with dubious and sinister organisations, which in turn identify themselves with Roman Catholicism. Spiritually speaking, white is morphing into light grey – which will slowly morph into black. We are living in evil and deceptive days.

This is a difficult time for true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; we are told that the conflict will be greater in the end days but we must stand firm upon the Rock of Ages, whatever befalls us. As the days draw closer to His return, when the dead shall stand before God to be judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works (Revelation 20v12), I pray for a revival in our land and I pray that somehow the events of this weekend would have the effect of turning people to the true Holy Father, who with love gave His only Son for the sins of the whole world ONCE FOR ALL… something that no other person or repeated sacrificial offering upon this earth could ever do.

 

Further Horrific Disclosures of Abuses within Roman Catholicism

June 3, 2018

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If any other organization, political regime or dictator in this world had been guilty of the crimes perpetrated by Roman Catholicism, they would have been tried for war crimes, or had to stand before a court of law a long long time ago. Before the recent disclosure of the disgraceful “adoption” policy here in Ireland, I had coincidentally watched a video involving a young lady of Spanish origin who was trying to find her real parents. Thankfully her adoptive parents in South America (who had no idea that she had been stolen from her mother at birth) were loving and kind to her and she’d had a good life – but it could have been otherwise. In many cases mothers were told that their babies had died at birth but in actual fact these children had been stolen and sold by a criminal ring of nuns and doctors during the Franco dictatorship.

Here in Ireland unmarried mothers in “mother and baby homes” were often forced to sign documents at a time when they were feeling so vulnerable and weak against this cruel system. Subsequently there were falsified birth certificates in order that these children could be trafficked out of the country. In many cases mothers wanted to keep their babies but they were dissuaded from doing so by those who most likely made a profit out of the adoptions.

I have been horrified in the last while to hear of people, often now living in the U.S.A. who discovered that they had three or even four birth certificates! It has been revealed that not all of the children were fortunate enough to end up in good homes and some of the birth mothers who were victims of this evil system had to have psychiatric treatment in the years ahead because of the shock of having their babies stolen from them. Having had three children myself, I can only imagine how those mothers felt.

Child trafficking, slavery and false imprisonment of women, illegal and forced adoptions, falsification of documents and birth certificates, withholding of information to those who wanted to find loved ones, clerical abuse of children, hundreds of babies buried suspiciously in unmarked graves, the horrors of Magdalene laundries and industrial schools, deceit, fraud… the list goes on and on. How sad to see other mainline churches (which once had the truth) so backslidden into apostasy that they want to find “common ground” with this system of belief.

In light of all this abuse, it is ironic too that the hierarchy within Roman Catholicism still believe that they have the authority to order people to attend confession.

Yes, those who sin need to confess their sins – but not to any man upon this earth, whatever their assumed authority. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1v9)

“But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.” (Hebrews 7v24-28)

No man upon this earth has the power to forgive sin but praise God “there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.” (1Timothy 2v5&6) it is to Him that souls must come with their burden of sin.

As this latest controversy in our country continues to escalate in the weeks ahead, I am praying that people will have their eyes opened to this evil system of belief that they have put their trust in for many years. As the old saying goes “it’s an ill wind blows nobody good.” I pray that those who know the Lord would use these great opportunities to speak a word in season, so that souls would put their trust in that holy and undefiled High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, “who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of  the truth.” (1Timothy 2v4)

 

The Pope’s Controversial Visit to Ireland in August 2018

April 20, 2018

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There is no doubt about it; the Ireland of 1979 was vastly different to the Ireland we know today. Between 29th September and 1st October, 1979 Pope John Paul II visited Ireland and by all accounts, received a rapturous welcome from citizens young and old. I remember half of my work colleagues in the office where I worked in Northern Ireland taking the day off to travel south of the border in order to get a glimpse of him. However, back then no one knew what the following decades would reveal in terms of shocking and horrific child abuse carried out by Roman Catholic Priests and nuns – and the historical abuse of women in “Magdalene Laundries.” We were to learn of mass graves at the back of institutions run by Roman Catholic orders, the abuse of little children in “industrial schools” and the fact that babies and young children were used for medical experiments. Many babies and young children were forcibly taken from their mothers and sold to those wanting to adopt in U.S.A. and a great number of mothers would never see their children again. I have heard heart-breaking stories of how mother and child had tried to find each other years later but sometimes it was just too late and one of them had passed away. The aura of secrecy and the withholding of records in the early days certainly didn’t help either.

Many people are justifiable very angry about this and many have understandably abandoned their affiliation to the Roman Catholic system. Unfortunately that spiritual void in their lives has often been replaced by secularism or paganism or some eastern philosophy or one of the many cults pervading society here. That being so, there are still quite a number of “mass goers,” especially amongst the older population and also many “a la carte Catholics” who will pay homage to the system at particular moments in their lives or in the lives of their families.

However, the following words of our Taoiseach (the Irish Prime Minister) have angered a considerable number of Irish taxpayers. He was making the statement that “while the visit by Pope Francis is not a State visit, it will be treated as such in terms of security measures and cost.” He went on the say: “It is ultimately taxpayers’ money but I believe the majority of taxpayers in the country would want us to meet these costs as it is an historic visit. The vast majority of people will welcome Pope Francis to our country.” Given that the cost of this visit will amount to at least 20 million Euro and Ireland has a health care crises, homelessness and uncompensated victims of abuse, well, I am not so sure if he is in touch with reality…

There will be widely differing reactions to the pope’s visit but the Christian should and must use it as an opportunity. There are expected to be around 3,000 journalists from around the world in Dublin at that time, for the “World Meeting of Families” (held from 22nd – 26th August) which is to coincide with the pope’s visit. (The pope is to arrive on 25th August.) The Taoiseach has also said that “families in all their shapes and forms should be celebrated” and that this will “be relayed to the Vatican.”

As I said, the Ireland of 1979 is vastly different to the one we know today… But the need is still the same. Men, women, boys and girls need to find the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour – something which cannot be achieved by infant baptism, confirmation, participating in the mass, confession to men or penance. Only “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1John 1v7) “The Church” is not a building or an organisation or a denomination but is made up of those souls who have repented and trusted in Him alone for salvation and who are “walking in the light as He is in the light.” If only mankind could see this!

It is all too easy for the Christian (those true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ) to despair when they look at the prevailing circumstances in society but we must look up, always keeping in mind that, in the words of an old hymn, “the sky is our goal – not the grave.”  But before we depart this life or the Lord comes to take us Home, there is work to be done, for it is not His will that any to perish. Yes, He can use those who have committed their lives to Him, however weak and helpless we may feel in the face of this rapidly deteriorating world where “spiritual wickedness in high places” abounds. May the small number of stalwarts who truly know Him, write, witness, speak, reach out in love, distribute tracts – and most of all pray for the salvation of souls before the Lord’s return.

On Ecumenism, Heresy – and the Difficulty in Finding True Fellowship

April 12, 2018

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We are not “mystery worshippers” but sometimes we attend various mainline denominations and small non-denominational fellowships in our area and much further afield. Unfortunately, the nearest churches where we feel that we can worship regularly with others of like mind in “spirit and in truth” are in fact a very long drive from where we live. However, as the Lord’s people know and I have said before “the church” is not a building or a denomination, but the members of the Body of Christ. The true Church consists of humble souls who have a genuine love in their hearts for each other and for the souls around them and they pray fervently for the salvation of loved ones and those they come into contact with. The members of the true Church today are scattered throughout this world; often they are poor in spirit, discouraged and suffer persecution at different levels. Certainly the evil one gives them a really hard time.

While the masses sweep onwards towards the shores of eternity on a tide of ecumenism or turn a blind eye to the obvious heresies in the “constitution” put together in whatever fellowship or church they attend, genuine Christians often feel like “a round peg trying to fit into a square hole.” Certainly, when I found myself in such a situation, I felt that there was no point in “trying to fit in” when this was not the Lord’s will for my life. I feel that I cannot overlook, or give credence, to ecumenical or other heresies for the sake of trying to be seen to be going somewhere on a regular basis. However, having said that, I am aware that many genuine Christians do attend certain denominations and although genuinely not happy with them, this is not their primary source of fellowship anyway and they feel that they can have some influence or witness to those they come in contact with there. The Lord is their Judge in this, although I feel that the bottom line is that the minister or pastor should (at the very least) be a Christian. Also, no genuine Christian can persist in taking part in the mass, for example, or in any denomination which finds this acceptable.

There are occasions when I will attend certain events in mainline denominations though. I have been to many funerals and memorials where opportunities have arisen to be a faithful witness to the living (but spiritually dead) who are perhaps thinking on things eternal on such a solemn occasion. I can be present at a graveside, as a mark of respect to a life that is passed but not take part in any of the rituals that I disagree with and I can be a comfort to the bereaved and share how the Lord has touched my life – and how He can do the same for them.

The first question many professing Christians will often ask when they meet you at some event is “so where do you find fellowship in your area?” Perhaps some are genuinely curious, wondering about your situation and even caring for you – but others unfortunately become very judgemental; at times they become so harshly critical that you wonder whether they really are Christians at all. However, the Lord does give His people discernment and sometimes we discover that the person interrogating us on this issue, has really lost something in their walk with the Lord by meeting with those who are carried away by ecumenism or perhaps it is a case where they were never even saved in the first place.

Wikipedia tells me that: “Ecumenism refers to efforts by Christians of different “Church traditions” to develop closer relationships and better understandings.” The concept of ecumenism has been with us for a very long time and many (even so called “evangelicals”) have been drawn into it but one thing is evident: although many changes have taken place in Anglican/Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist and even amongst certain Baptist churches and others who would say they are evangelical – the Roman Catholic Church never changes. While others grovel and make concessions, Roman Catholicism sees itself as “the one true church,” despite its erroneous claims which contradict scripture.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2Corinthians 6v14-18)

From time to time we do visit certain denominations and then have a talk with people we meet there, not wishing to cause dissension, but with a desire to go as the Lord leads and to be a witness for Him. I hope to share my experiences about these and about different denominations in future blogs. The one thing we must keep in mind, though, is that Jesus said “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18v20) Very often the best fellowship I have had is at some little non-denominational event or prayer meeting which has been arranged by the Lord’s people in a community hall, little mission hall or even a humble cottage. It is easy for the Lord’s people to be discouraged by the decline in “church circles” but there is work to be done before His return; none of us are exempt from the Great Commission and He will open our eyes about ways to reach souls in this needy world. As different members with varying gifts, He will bless our endeavours in that which He directs us to do for Him and He goes before us. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” (2Corinthians 5v11)