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Friday, 14 May 2010

Comparing How To Be Truly Saved (The Biblical Way) To The Nicky Gumbel (Of Alpha Courses) False Way

Note : 2 paragraphs (as shown below) were slightly modified on 9th Nov 2014 by omitting (not adding to) some sentences which this author believes to be in error.

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." 

I was handed a book written by Nicky Gumbel entitled "Why Jesus?" and asked for my comments. I read it and observed (within that book) the same things which Michael Penfold of http://www.webtruth.org/ highlights regarding the Alpha Course. 

Basically, that Nicky Gumbel's idea of sin and salvation is completely false and leads seekers to a very superficial form of salvation (which is probably NO salvation at all). I say "probably" rather than definitely because God has Sovereign power and CAN and probably does save some people (even through an Alpha Course) but NOT because of the teaching but in spite of, because HE gives personal revelation to that individual. But it does mean that he/she might carry certain unhelpful "baggage" into his/her christian life, which will need to be "undone" sooner or later.

I thought it would be good to show Michael's report as an answer to my inquirer, but please also click on these following shortcut links which act as a supplement to this article:
How To Be Truly Saved and Be Certain Of Going To Heaven 


Why Jesus Is The ONLY Way To Heaven and How To Be Saved


I now show what Michael Penfold wrote. But before I do so, just a note to say that I have omitted (but not added anything to) some of his sentences on bits I believe to be in error regarding his description of biblical repentance. Here it is:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 15 years, you will at least have heard of The Alpha Course. Written by ex-Barrister turned Anglican Curate Nicky Gumbel, it styles itself as a friendly, fun and non-threatening ‘practical introduction to the Christian faith’. Summarised in Gumbel’s best-selling book Questions of LifeAlpha involves people attending fifteen 40 minute talks, spread over ten weeks.

In line with Gumbel’s theology and church affiliation (Holy Trinity Church of England, Brompton), Alpha is fully ecumenical1 and thoroughly charismatic in content. Three of the fifteen talks centre on the Holy Spirit – including a primer on ‘tongues’ – with another entirely dedicated to ‘healing’. Only two talks focus on Jesus Christ, with none at all on God the Father. Literally millions of people have completed the course, which is currently running in thousands of churches worldwide, Protestant and Catholic.2 The format, with its social meals, ‘weekend away’ and opportunity for small-group discussion after each session, have helped ensure its continuing popularity as a major medium for modern church evangelism.

Alpha’s actual ‘gospel’ content is minimal. Talk one is about the meaning of life and the relevance of Christianity. Talk two presents historical evidence for the reliability of the Bible as a true record of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. From talk four onwards, Alpha treats the audience as if it were Christian and deals with topics such as assurance, the will of God and prayer. That leaves talk three, entitled ‘Why Did Jesus Die?’, as the only direct gospel section in the whole course. From this chapter, the ‘gospel according to Gumbel’ can be summarized as follows:

  • The root cause of sin is a broken relationship with God.
  • Everyone has done bad things and consequently our lives are in a mess.
  • Sin has polluted us and will ultimately lead to eternal isolation from God.
  • God loves us and longs to restore our lost relationship with Him.
  • In Christ, God self-substituted Himself, paying sin’s penalty on the cross.
  • To become Christians and receive all the benefits of the cross, we must pray to God, saying sorry for our wrong-doing, thanking Jesus for dying for us and asking Him to come into our lives and fill us with His Spirit.3
Although Gumbel mentions sin over thirty times in talk three, he presents it almost entirely as something people do, omitting an explanation of what people are by nature.

What he doesn't point out is that people do what they do because they are what they are. They sin because they are sinners. Yet, apart from writing ‘Gen 3’ in brackets at one point, Gumbel skips any exposition of the doctrine of original sin – how sin entered the world through our first parents' rebellion in the garden of Eden (Rom 5:12-19). His audience is not informed that by Adam’s disobedience all have been constituted sinners. No Alpha attendee learns that they were therefore conceived in sin and born with a depraved principle of evil permeating their very nature (Psa 51:5, Eph 2:3, Isa 48:8, Psa 58:3, Gen 8:21, John 3:6, Rom 7:18).

A mere 45 minutes after commencing a humorous evangelical presentation, one which omits half of the doctrine of man’s depravity, Gumbel invites his millions of viewers to pray a prayer saying ‘sorry for sin’ and asking Jesus to come into their lives. Yet, in reality, the dire need of his audience has never really been exposed. They may willingly say a very earnest and sincere ‘sorry’ to God for all their wrong doings, without ever having understood by the convicting power of the Spirit through God’s word, that they are by nature incurably bad, unfit for heaven and undeserving of grace and mercy, while the just wrath of a holy and righteous God hangs over their head.

Gumbel does touch on self-righteousness, but his ‘wife, car and exam jokes’ are so numerous and distracting that the force and seriousness of this sin – which has damned more people than most other sins combined – is not pressed home. Thus while many audience members may confess in a prayer, even with tears, that they are sorry for their sins, since they have never had their depravity scripturally exposed, their refined and cultured souls would quickly rise up in anger were a faithful preacher to really press them as to their true lost and helpless condition (by nature), and show them that every good (even religious) thought, word and deed in their entire life has amounted to nothing more than filthy rags in God’s sight (Isa 64:6).

Gumbel is clearly anxious neither to come over as too ‘heavy’ nor to unduly disturb his audience about their sinfulness. Anything serious he says about sin is quickly followed by a joke or a witty one-liner. A master of positive body language, Gumbel never frowns, even managing a full-teethed grin when speaking of the judgment of God.

Sins of omission never receive a mention, despite the greatest sin in the Bible being something a sinner does not do(Matt 22:36-38). Again, Gumbel neglects to emphasize that every single sin isagainst God and constitutes an act of rebellion (Psa 51:4). Many sincere people are deeply upset about their sins, who have never once realised that their sin is against God and that their depraved nature is like a clenched fist before heaven’s throne.

Shockingly, Gumbel never explains that good works cannot save. As a Church of England Curate, he well knows that the average Anglican or Catholic Alpha attendee is trusting in christening, baptism, confession, Mass attendance, church membership, confirmation and good deeds to get them to heaven. Does Gumbel address this crucial issue?

Tragically no – not even a single paragraph explaining the difference between ‘grace’ and ‘works’. Gumbel never expounds the foundational truth of salvation ‘by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone’. This is no doubt one reason why the Roman Catholic Church finds Alpha so acceptable. Catholic Bishop Ambrose Griffiths commends Alpha for being a “powerful evangelistic tool...it doesn’t contain anything that is contrary to Catholic doctrine.”4 

Thousands of Roman Catholics have completed Alpha, said the sinner’s prayer, received the ‘spirit’ and spoken in tongues, without ever realising that the rosary, prayers to Mary, confession to a priest and the seven Romish sacraments are all unscriptural ‘good works’, that not only play no part in salvation, but are an abomination to God.

What appreciation have Catholic Alpha-goers gained of the once-for-all sacrifice of Lord Jesus, if they continue to have part in the sacrifice of the Mass and the idolatrous works-dominated system of Rome after ‘making a commitment’ on Alpha? Interestingly, Gumbel has admitted that the sections in Questions of Life about baptism and holy communion were carefully scripted to enable them to be used by Roman Catholics and evangelicals alike.

In February 2004, after shaking hands with the Pope in the Papal Audience Centre in the Vatican, Gumbel said, “It was a great honour to be presented to Pope John Paul II, who has done so much to promote evangelisation around the world...what unites us is infinitely greater than what divides us.6

Gumbel’s treatment of sin’s consequences is so brief and cryptic that most listeners probably do not hear it, never mind grasp the solemnity of what is at stake. On the video Gumbel never mentions the word ‘hell’ nor warns his audience to flee from the wrath to come. Alpha mentions ‘eternal isolation from God’, but for those ‘in the know’, this clever phrase allows for Gumbel’s seriously erroneous belief in the eventual annihilation of all who die in their sins.7

Despite majoring on the Holy Spirit, Gumbel never mentions His work of convicting of sin (John 16:8). But what is conviction of sin? Few Christians can define this vital theological term and even less can discern when it is present. Conviction of sin is not:

  • the ordinary smiting of a guilty conscience
  • a mere head knowledge of what the Bible says about sin
  • a shallow acknowledgement that ‘‘I’ve made a lot of mistakes.’’
  • a mere fear of going to hell
  • even an admission of sin (Pharoah, Saul, Balaam and Judas all said “I have sinned.” and went to hell).

True Holy Spirit conviction is a proper sense of the dreadfulness of one’s sinnership and sin against God (Psa 51:4, Lu 15:18). It is when a person inwardly feels and owns the wickedness and rebellion of their depraved heart. A stranger to conviction is a stranger to repentance; and a stranger to repentance must be a stranger to salvation for, “Unless you repent you will all perish” (Lu 13:5). Which raises another term that is little understood throughout evangelicalism, namely repentance.

Gumbel gives it one brief mention, also using the synonym ‘turn’ a couple of times – but he neither develops nor emphasizes this vital theme. Repentance was John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus’ first spoken word in public ministry (Matt 3:1, Mk 1:15). Paul defined the very gospel itself as ‘repentance and faith’, and summarized the message he had preached throughout his entire life as simply, “repent and turn to God ” (Acts 20:21, 26:20). But theological terms need to be defined carefully. Repentance is not:

  • Penance or restitution
  • Mere tears and trembling (Acts 24:25)
  • Fear of judgment. ‘‘Multitudes desire to be saved from hell (the natural instinct of self-preservation) who are quite unwilling to be saved fromsin. Yea, there are tens of thousands who have been deluded into thinking that they have ‘accepted Christ as their Saviour’ whose lives plainly show that they have rejected Him as their Lord. For a sinner to obtain the pardon of God, he must forsake his way.’’8
  • Remorse. ‘‘...we must all learn to distinguish between the sorrow that comes from being caught & the sorrow that comes from a deep, inward hatred of sin and longing for the glory of God that is the distinguishing feature of the regenerate person.’’9
  • Confession or admission of sin. Salvation is never promised to those who confess their sin (1 John 1:9 is a promise to Christians).
  • Reformation or turning over a new leaf.

Note from John Chingford; this next paragraph was slightly modified by omitting some sentences.
True Biblical repentance always accompanies genuine believing faith.
Repentance is not someone saying, ‘‘I felt guilty about my adultery so I stopped it years ago.” It is rather, “now realise I am a lost, undone and guilty sinner through and through, deserving nothing but the eternal wrath of God in hell.’’ It is a permanent change of outlook, ambition and heart (mind, will and affection) wrought by the Holy Spirit of God.

How shockingly different all of this is to Alpha, whose notion of repentance goes no deeper than being sorry for wrong-doing and asking for forgiveness. Gumbel illustrates accepting Christ (he avoids the Biblical word ‘saved’ like the plague) from the life of the late John Wimber, one of America’s most notorious charismatic false teachers. Just prior to ‘becoming a Christian’, Wimber understood ‘in a flash’ that he had “hurt God’s feelings.” As he sobbed his way through a prayer, he realized that God had been with him all his life. While on his knees ‘believing in Jesus’ he had a horrible thought – “I hope this works, because I’m making a complete fool of myself.”10

Gumbel’s limited understanding and presentation of the theology of sin, leads to a faulty explanation of why Jesus died. Despite giving various illustrations of Christ’s death, including the old ‘swap the Bible from one hand to the other’ visual image, Gumbel misses the central point of the atonement. The Bible reveals that God’s righteous anger and wrath burn constantly against sin and sinners (John 3:36, Rom 1:18, 2:5). To save sinners from wrath (Rom 5:9) penal substitution took place on the cross. Simply put, the righteous anger and wrath of God against sin was poured out on His own Son (Isa 53:5 & 10).

This glorious truth is denied by false teachers like Steve Chalke and Clark Pinnock. Gumbel’s position on penal substitution (God punished Jesus) is spelled out in Questions of Life: “Some people caricature the New Testament teaching and suggest that God is unjust because He punished Jesus, an innocent party, instead of us. This is not what the New Testament says. Rather Paul says ‘God was...in Christ’ [2 Cor 5:19]. He was himself the substitute in the person of his Son...We can come back to the Father and experience his love and blessing...That is what God has made possible through his self-substitution on the cross.”11

Although Gumbel later refers to Isa 53:6 and says that, “God transferred our wrong-doings onto Jesus,”12 he denies that God actually punished His own Son. Here, at the heart of Alpha, is a serious error, for scripture plainly teaches that it was God’s will to bruise His own Son (Isaiah 53:10). Calvary involved divine punishment. That is why the word chastisement is used (Isa 53:5). The iniquity God laid on Christ stands for the wrong itself, the guilt incurred and the punishment to which it gave rise. Literally in Hebrew it means that the Lord ‘made to meet upon Him’ the punishment due to us all. Wrath was poured out on Christ, as He vicariously identified Himself with sinners, being judicially made sin for them on the cross (2 Cor 5:21).

So, while Alpha places a great emphasis on the love of God, through its comments on penal substitution it obscures the greatest manifestation of that love. When writing of the wrath-appeasing sacrifice of Christ on the cross that has rendered God merciful to sinners – what is called propitiation – the Bible says literally, “This is love indeed, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 Jo 4:10).

Small wonder that after a weak explanation of sin and wrath, and a confused presentation of the cross, Gumbel’s invitation to ‘accept Christ’ comes up short. Rather than exposing unbelief as a sin and urging his audience to repent while there is time, Gumbel tells them that they have no need to receive Christ if they are ‘not ready’ and need more time to ‘go away and think about it’. However, to those who are ‘ready’, he counsels, “picture Christ standing in front of you.” Gumbel’s ‘image of Christ’ is holding a blank cheque, offering the untold riches of heaven to any who will let Jesus fill in their name. The hardest part of becoming a Christian is just getting out those difficult words, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” Once anyone prays ‘the prayer’ to ‘receive Christ’, they are assured by Gumbel, “If you’ve asked Him to come in, He has.” 

Note from John Chingford; this next paragraph was slightly modified by omitting some sentences.
This ‘all you have to do is ask’ mentality has lulled millions into a false sense of security. Biblical ‘calling on the name of the Lord’ is never presented as some kind of isolated magic bullet. Isa 55:6-7 shows that such a call must be attended by other actions.

What does God do for the repentant soul? He reveals the all-sufficiency of the person and work of Christ. The Holy Spirit opens the heart to receive God’s word (Acts 16:14), and powerfully applies it to the mind and conscience, resulting in the new-born soul being able to say, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25).

In reality, most who claim conversion through Alpha point to the middle ‘weekend away’ as their moment of faith. The physical sensations many receive at the end of the Saturday night session on ‘How can I be filled with the Spirit’ –when Gumbel invites the Holy Spirit to ‘come’ – convince multitudes that they have become Christians. Of course, this is the opposite of objective Biblical faith that rests on God’s word alone. On the day of judgment how many Alpha attendees will say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out devils, and in Thy name done many wonderful works? ”, to which the Lord will reply, “I never knew you: depart from me ” (Matt 7:21-23).


The few genuine souls who are saved in spite of Alpha do not compensate for the thousands who are lost through AlphaIt is a fearful and sorrowful fact that multitudes of Alpha attendees have said the sinner’s prayer and are now convinced they are Christians, who haven’t come within a mile of understanding their real condition as bankrupt sinners before a holy God. Remember, Alpha was written by a man who himself does not have a conversion moment but says simply, “There was never a time when I did not have a relationship with God...I sincerely hope that’s what will be the case with my children.”13

Alpha is neither solemn enough, nor sound enough, nor safe enough to be used by any individual or church who takes Biblical evangelism seriously. May God grant faithful Christians to take a stand against this erroneous course.

Notes:

1. Alpha refers to the RC Church more frequently and positively than any other religious body.
2. A ‘Gumbel approved’ Catholic Alpha exists, which includes extra talks such as ‘Why should I go to Mass?’ Adverts for Catholic Alpha appear in Alpha’s newspaper, Alpha News.
3. Summarised from Ch. 3 of Questions of Life, Nicky Gumbel (Kingsway, Eastbourne, 1993), and from video talk No. 3, The Alpha Course (Alpha International Publications, Brompton, London, 2000).
4. Alpha News, July 1997, p. 1.
5. Evangelism, Which Way Now?, Mike Booker/Mark Ireland, Church House Publ, London, 2003, p. 23.
6. Alpha News, March-June 2004, p. 7.
7. Confirmed in a letter from Holy Trinity Brompton to Michael Penfold dated23rd March 2005
8. Genuine Salvation, A. W. Pink, International Outreach, AmesIA, 1999, p. 121.
9. Repentance, Richard Owen Roberts, Crossway Books, Wheaton IL, 2002, p. 86.
10. Questions of Life, Nicky Gumbel, Kingsway, Eastbourne, 1993, p. 54.
11. Ibid, pp. 52-53.
12. Ibid, p. 63.
13. Video Talk 4, The Alpha Course, 2000.

13 comments:

Tony Cox said...

John,

This post is right on time - I have a very close friend who took the alpha course about a year ago -my friend asked me if I wanted to go, and for some reason I was not interested at all - I did not know much about it then, but saw some information posted on Moriel about 3 weeks ago. I started to discuss the dangers of the course with her and she listened, but is not convinced as she stated "well I am sure there are people out there who would endorse it" - and my response was "yes, and Rick Warren is one of them" - to my surprise she had been given a copy of his book Purpose Driven Life, I then explained to her that in doing research - there are now many dual course offerings with "Alpha Course" along with "Purpose Driven Life" courses.

Did you realize these were being offered in some arenas? So, now I will share this article with her hoping it will get through.

I ran across this while searching for info on Alpha Course - I did not get the chance to find out how credible it is, but if true, it is interesting to see the financial and Illuminati connections behind the course - here is a small excerpt:

The congregation and friends of Holy Trinity Brompton financed the Alpha development, and resource courses were sold at a profit. Since the goal was to involve the whole world in their project, Alpha International was founded in 2001. Capitol investment became worldwide, and was headed by a Jewish banker, Ken Costa, Chairman of Alpha Partners.


This banker just happened to be Vice Chairman of UBS -Warburg, London. UBS stands for Union Bank of Switzerland-Warburg. The banking firm of Walburg has long been linked to the giant international Marxist Rothschild banking conglomerate based in the City of London. Isn't it strange that Warburg would be running a Christian organization?

John Chingford said...

Thanks Tony for that information and hidden insight. It doesn't surprise me and fits in well with my findings in the post "who runs the world ......"

I have copied your comment on that post too.

Tony Cox said...

Hi John,

Wanted to send this your way - transcript of Rick Warren in 2007 endorsing Alpha and mentioning Nicky Gumbel and Ken Coasta:

Rick was speaking about Alpha on a special video filmed in India, where his organization is working with Alpha and the Billy Graham Association in the My Hope India project through which millions came to Christ in the spring of 2007.

Full Transcript of the Testimony by Rick Warren:

"Over 30 years ago in London, England, God began a movement that has now spread all around the world. It’s called the Alpha course, begun by my dear friends Nicky Gumbel, Ken Costa and other friends. We’ve seen this course expand to be used to reach literally millions of people to Christ.

If you have never heard of Alpha, I want to challenge you to check it out. It is one of the most effective evangelism tools for the 21st century.

The Alpha course can be used in three different ways. First, it can be used with people who have absolutely no religious background at all. It can be used with seekers or enquirers. It is a good way to bring people to a small group study who would never be caught dead in a church – they’ll take that first step, they’ll sit on a couch with some friends and examine the claims of Christ and what is really does mean to be a follower of Jesus. Millions of people have come to Christ through this way.

A second way you can use it is to revitalize your Church, to bring new renewal in a Church which has lost its vision, that has lost its commitment, that has been on auto pilot for some time. Many, many traditional Churches, mainstream, mainline Churches have used Alpha to find new growth and new renewal as people come alive and rediscover the vision of the great message of the good news.
A third way you can use it is to help with new believers. It is a great first step course, because it goes over the basics of why we believe what we believe and what we do believe.

Many of you have heard of the 40 Days of Purpose campaign that is also being used by God mightily around the world. 40 Days of Purpose and Alpha fit together like hand in glove. It really doesn’t matter which one you do first. If you have done 40 Days of Purpose, you need to do Alpha: if you have done Alpha, you need to do 40 Days of Purpose, because these two are similar programs inspired by the Holy Spirit to

•deepen and develop the Church
•help us fellowship deeper
•help us grow more like Christ
•help us learn to serve in ministry
•help us to share our faith in mission

So, as the author of The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life, I, Rick Warren, want to tell you that Alpha has my 100% endorsement and I would encourage you to use it in small groups in your Church and everywhere that you can.
God bless you."

John Chingford said...

Thanks Tony

If I didn't know otherwise, your last comment almost sounds like you are endorsing Alpha - which I know you are not, but others visiting may think you are. Especially as it states "millions coming to Christ".

I wonder if you could comment on your observations of that report by Rick Warren? By the way, I found the same artcle on an "alpha USA" website as follows:

http://alphausa.org/Mobile/default.aspx?group_id=1000041932&article_id=1000047767

I will copy/paste the comment also on "who runs the world" because it helps to see how everything seems to fit together in the global political, economic and religious conspiracy

Tony Cox said...

Hi John,

You are so correct - I made a mistake - I should have made my point as such:

If Rick Warren is tied in with or endorsing Alpha - that should raise a BIG GIANT RED FLAG!

Tony Cox said...

John,

I should have been clear in my post, I was alaways suspect of Alpha, and actually had no idea that Rick Warren had any association or endorsements of the program until approximately 3 weeks ago when researching for a friend of mine who attended the course as well as owning a copy of his book.

The information you have provided in the past on Rick Warren should surely be enough to raise a red flag for anyone who may have an interest in his philosophy or who he associates with.

Expected Imminently said...

Tony
I am ashamed to say the Alpha 'curse' is home grown in Britain. It's the thin end of the wedge introducing all the recent heresies.

Many here have written condemning it, and exposing its non-Biblical stance, yet it seems to have revitalised itself through Purpose Driven since the demise of 'Toronto' and 'Pensacola'.

The people I know who have done Alpha, remain as lost as ever they were while being told they are now 'saved' by the false teachers feeding them this poison.

Like all cults, Alpha feeds upon the needs and weaknesses of people who are weakened by some sort of loss,illness or sorrow in their lives and are told what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear - that they are sinners on their way to hell unless they turn to Jesus and believe and trust in Him to save them from sin.

God bless
Sue (wary)

John Chingford said...

Thanks Tony and EI

Rick Warren's report that says "millions are coming to Christ" has to be read "tongue in cheek".

Yes millions are coming through the alpha courses. But as per usual Rick Warren lies or exaggerates. According to Rick's estimation, there are at least 1 billion christians n the world. To have that number you would have to include Catholics, JW's Mormons etc,etc, and indications show that he does include these as being "christian".

His understanding of being a believer is as apostle Paul told Timothy (in the bible)would happen in the last days that people would "hold onto a form of godliness but deny its power".

Rick thinks that people only need to ask Jesus into their lives (without real repentance) similar to the catholic way, to become a believer.

His Jesus is an experience, not a person and satisfies our selfish (self-god on the throne of our life)desire to have things and power (and feelings)and not surrender.

This is what apostle Paul means by denying the power of salvation, because Rick, Nicky weaken salvation into something everybody could accept. Where is the power of a truly saved life and that Jesus is the only way to salvation etc.

Therefore, what does Rick mean by "millions becoming believers" what sort of believer?

Tony Cox said...

Sue - John,

Thanks for the feedback.

I tried to share John's latest piece on Alpha with my friend, and she stated she just was not interested and it did not matter to her as she was already done the course and does not really know anyone currently associated with it. I then explained that - she should still take a look at it, and that I was not "coming down on her" for taking it sometime ago, that was in the past and she should know the truth going forward, so that in the event she run across someone interested, or planning on taking the course she will have information to give them - I further explained that I do not know anyone other than her who have taken the course, but I still wanted to know the truth about it so that I may warn others of the dangers it presents when an applicable situation arises.

I also stressed the point that Jesus spoke of deception within the church in the last days 4 times more than anything else (I believe that is correct, I may be mistaken) when He spoke on the subject. She then told me that those of us who seem to be so "zealous" with our critique of such issues, would be the very ones to crucify Him again if He returned to Earth, hypothetically speaking.

Unbelievable!!! I share this with you all, because it it heartbreaking and deeply saddening to me that I would be viewed in such a manner. It also confuses me, in that maybe I am not doing this the right way. I have what I feel to be a conviction that runs very deep about alerting others of the apostasy we face in these last days (among many other things), but I must admit that I doubt myself in that maybe I am not meant to do this, as I seem to be made to feel as "the bad guy" or "the negative one" by others.

John Chingford said...

Hi Tony

remember it was those of the same Judaic faith that persecuted the prophets etc etc. I believe when the scriptures talk about our persecution (in the last days) it will be mostly from the religious or even from "Christians" who only "hold" to a FORM of godliness.

This attitude is to be expected and is my experience also. They say that we are like the religious Jews who killed Jesus. They say that the scribes and Pharisees were so stringent in the scriptures that were unable to accept Messiah when He came. What utter nonsense! They couldn't recognise Messiah because they couldn't see "the forest for trees".

We are the ones who take a step back so that we CAN see the forest - the whole picture. These hypocrites are so caught up in the forest of "experiences" etc that they do not study the scriptures anymore. Therefore, they are unable to take a step back (using the scriptures to check things out) for the "whole picture".

John Chingford said...

Tony, I have copied your last comment and mine to the post entitled "Fellowship and Connecting True Believers Together" adding them to the existing comments. It would be good to continue this conversation there.

On that post, I think we should encourage one another on this very issue you have voiced out.

John Chingford said...

I should clarify on my penultimate comment. I mentioned that the religious Jewish leaders could not see the wood for trees. What I mean is that they were so caught up in scriptural commentaries (like the talmud, Midrash etc) and traditions of men and rabinical teachers (gurus?).

They were so caught up in these things that they did not directly know the Scriptures. Therefore, they were biassed towards expecting a specific messiah. In fact their hearts became increasingly hardened towards Jesus because (as Jesus put it) they were wicked "of their father the devil" and stiff-necked, hardened hearts.

If they checked the scriptures with a sincere heart and "loved the Lord their God with all their hearts minds soul and strength" (like some Jewish people) they would also have recognised Him as their Messiah.

Actually the scriptures say that there was a veil over their eyes so that they could not see. But it also says that when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed.

So it is not right to say that Christians who put too much emphasis on the scriptures are like those religious Jews and miss God when He moves. In fact we are different because we do not put our trust in commentaries, experiences, traditions of men, teachings of "great" men but we place our confidence in the Lord and His unadulterated Word of God.

Paul said in romans 10 "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God". So, the Word of God is vital for faith to grow especially when He speaks the Rama Word directly to our hearts when we read His Word.

Trace Hayter said...

I love your website, having come across it only this week. I'm posting a link in response to the comment from Tony Cox on May 14th 2010.The link is to a copy of the book 'The Hidden Secrets of the Alpha Course' by John D Christian. The excerpt Tony quotes is from a review done of this book by a lady named Nancy Thomson.You can read the whole book online. Hope this 'illuminates' those who see nothing wrong with Alpha!

http://www.scribd.com/doc/15118047/Hidden-Secrets-of-the-Alpha-Course