Posts Tagged ‘pope francis’
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I am nearly 60 years old and until now have NEVER read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Shame on me! I am nearly finished with it. All I can say is, I never knew!
All I could think about during the course of my reading was the existing Pope’s words about how happy he is to know that the Christians are coming back to the Mother Church. (Those are probably not his words verbatim, but certainly that is his mindset.) I never realized, until this book, that the Martyrs of old actually accused the Pope and RC’s of being Antichrist . . . openly and without shame or terror.
Now, with the newest Pope’s sentiments regarding the “Church,” and the “Emergent” Church rising so rapidly, one (or, at least, THIS one) has to wonder! And, in light of all of the above, I thought about Lighthouse Trails and your book reviews! [see note from Publisher below]
I am not trying to stir the pot, HOWEVER, again, I am nearly 60 and until now had never read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I can pretty well guarantee you that I am not alone in the not reading of the book.
There is soon coming a day when we existing Christians will have to make a choice; take a solid stand. Will we accept the mark of the beast (God forbid), or will we trust God? These men of old are wonderful examples for us. Their deaths were grisly and beyond cruel. But they did not waver where their faith in The Lord was concerned.
Just a thought and a concern.
Be blessed and keep up the good fight of faith!
Articles from the Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:
Note From Publisher
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was first published five hundred years ago. Today, there are many editions of this book available. When Lighthouse Trails decided to start offering this book to our readers, we began our search for a suitable edition. Much to our dismay, we discovered that many of the current editions were compromised in one form or another. For example, in one edition by a Christian publisher, front page endorsements included the names of those who promote contemplative spirituality and/or the emerging church. This same edition also removed accounts of the Catholic papacy persecution against Christians. When one realizes that contemplative/emerging spirituality embraces some of the very same beliefs that Foxe’s martyrs opposed to the point of suffering cruel persecution and death, it is most troubling and misleading to see these names in the cover of an edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
In another edition we reviewed, the book was among a special set of “Christian classics.” We were once again perplexed to see that some of the other books in that series were written by contemplative mystics. And yet another edition, published by a secular publisher, advertised mystical and occult practices on the back cover. Finally, after an unsuccessful search, Lighthouse Trails decided to publish our own edition of this truly incredible and unforgettable account.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3: 17
NEW BOOKLET: A Christian Perspective on the Environment: How the Catholic Pope and Other Leaders Are Uniting the World’s Religions Through Environmentalism by Roger Oakland is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is part of the content of the booklet. To order copies of A Christian Perspective on the Environment, click here.
By Roger Oakland
(Below is an extract from the booklet.)
In July of 2016, I was invited to present a paper on the environment from a Christian perspective to the International Symposium on Energy and Environmental Management and Technology held in Rome, Italy. The following information you are about to read is that paper and relates to the issue of the environment, from a biblical and Christian viewpoint.
Although I do not consider myself to be an authority on the subject of the environment, and certainly others are more qualified to speak on this issue than I, there are a few areas where I feel I am able to contribute.
First, I have been a Christian for nearly four decades—my conversion to Christianity coming at the age of thirty. Second, because I have a background in biology and agriculture, I have always had a keen interest in environmental issues. And third, as a Christian, I believe it is the responsibility of every human being to be concerned about our planet and the ecological relationship we have with all living creatures that God has created.
Throughout my life, I have made a number of observations about the past, the present, and where society seems to be headed in the future. I grew up in western Canada on a wheat farm and hold an active interest in this farm to this day. I was educated during the ’50s and ’60s through the Canadian public-school system, then later at the University of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan. During these years, like my colleagues, I was brought up in the educational mindset that taught that our world could be understood from a purely natural and mechanistic worldview. The concept that “God is dead” and that “science and technology” will bring utopia to the earth, were two foundational ideas in my belief system during that period of time.
By the’70s and ’80s, it became obvious to many, including me, that a paradigm shift in thinking was underway. It was apparent that many of the byproducts of our technology had the potential for destroying us—the pollution in the atmosphere, our lakes, rivers, oceans, and the soil. Not only was our planet being threatened, our bodies were being pumped full of molecular time bombs that silently tick away. Even more significant was the fact that humans had developed the potential to completely annihilate the entire planet through weapons of mass destruction.
By the early ‘80s, it became apparent to many that there needed to be a solution to the overwhelming problems we were facing as a global community. Scientists described global crisis situations such as global warming and the ozone depletion that would have an effect on the entire planet. It was determined by experts in the field that these global problems, if they were going to be resolved, needed global solutions that could be implemented internationally.
Today, most people recognize we are at a major crossroad in earth’s history. Few would argue that environmental problems need to be discussed and management solutions proposed; otherwise the future of life on our planet as we know it could be in jeopardy.
Over the past 35 years, some have been suggesting that we should look to spiritual solutions for motivation and a method to resolve the problems that the naturalistic worldview has created. For example, Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual leader who has held weekly meditation meetings at the United Nations headquarters in New York since 1970 has stated:
Science and spirituality must be united. They need each other. Without the one, the other is incomplete, almost meaningless. Together they are not only supremely complete but also divinely meaningful.1
Former Vice President Al Gore has been one voice outspoken about his desire to have people see the connection between spirituality and the environment. In his widely distributed book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, Gore presented the point that “only a radical rethinking of our relationship with nature can save the earth’s ecology for future generations.”2
In a chapter of his book titled “Environmentalism of the Spirit,” Gore called for a “new ecological awareness”3 and the consideration of a “new faith in the future.”4 He suggested it was imperative to call for a “spiritual response”5 to the global environmental problems we are facing. He challenged readers to consider “evolution” as the basis of an ecumenical faith that he suggested could unite science and religion as a means of saving our planet from ecological disaster. He stated:
And if we could find a way to understand our own connection to the earth—all the earth—we might recognize the danger of destroying so many living species and disrupting the climate balance.6
Then developing this idea further Gore suggested:
The long and intricate process by which evolution helped shape the complex relationship of all living and nonliving things may be explicable in purely scientific terms, but the simple fact of the living world and our place on it evokes awe, wonder, a sense of mystery—a spiritual response—when one reflects on its deeper meaning.7
The Parliament of the World Religion’s and “Mother Earth”
Now, fast forwarding, I would like to quote from a report written by author Carl Teichrib regarding his personal experience at the Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Salt Lake City October of 2015. In the introduction of his article, he wrote about his observations at the opening session:
“What if the world were a place where it was effortless to recognize our common humanity, our shared virtues and concerns, and our collective devotion to the Earth?” asked Rabbi Amy Eilberg. “What if the whole world, all seven billion of us, were like this?”
Ojibwe “Grandmother” Mary Lyons told the multitude, “When you breathe in, you breathe in a breath of Mother Earth. And when you exhale, those are your ancestors.”
New York Times best-selling author on spirituality, Marianne Williamson, wowed the crowd with her charisma: “Every woman here who is a healer is a priestess. Every woman here who is a teacher or an educator is a priestess.” Her call to sacred femininity energized the great crowd, bringing them to their feet again and again during Williamson’s eight-minute speech.
“A Divine Goddess is not just beautiful,” Marianne exhorted, “she’s fierce. And when you mess with her babies . . . and you mess with her earth, she’s had enough of that [expletive word]. And we’re here on her behalf . . . you know what to do, go do it.”
The response to Marianne wasn’t a standing ovation. It was more. Women wept, danced, raised their hands, shouted and whistled and clapped. Someone yelled out, “Marianne for President!” Drums pounded in affirmation. I have no doubt that some of the attending men poured out their adoration too, as the Plenary was open to all, but where I was sitting, the male gender was largely absent.8
The observations made by Teichrib at the plenary session of the Salt Lake City Conference is very revealing. It seems a paradigm shift is underway. This “collective shift” towards a one-world religion designed to save the planet has reached the point of no return. The avalanche has already been unleashed towards a global government forcing a global religion. Saving the planet from ourselves is the impetus. For those who want to remain on the sidelines, the environment police have sounded the alarm—either get with the program and jump on board the environmental bus to save the planet, or you will be thrown under the bus without any warning.
Climatic change was a major topic of discussion according to the first-hand testimony of Carl Teichrib at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City regarding the relationship of the environment to the coming one-world religion based on the common belief of evolution. One thing that was evident throughout the conference is the belief that evolution is the uniting factor and the only hope for mankind. In other words, it is an evolutionary imperative for man to recognize the dangers facing the planet and take the next step towards godhood or suffer the consequences. Teichrib reported:
Climate change was another major theme, and the Climate Plenary started with a multi-faith children’s choir followed by opening words from Marc Barasch, founder of the Green World Campaign: “We’re here today to explore the connection between the life of the spirit and the fate of the Earth… We stand as one people under the same Tree of Life… and we are seeking, each in our own way, to harmonize a profound sense of oneness and wonder with the urgency of our times, so that Tree will continue to flourish.”
Karenna Gore, the Director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and daughter to Al Gore, was the Climate Plenary moderator. Her father . . . sent a special video message to those in attendance, reminding us that Pope Francis had earlier called on global action to “solve the climate crisis.”
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, holding the office of Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, represented the Catholic Church to the Parliament’s plenary on climate change. To this end, Auza noted Pope Francis’ connection between the “true right of the environment” and “social justice,” and that the Pope views this within the context of “integral ecology.” Auza then read a selection from the Pope’s encyclical On the Care of Our Common Home. “When we speak of the ‘environment,’ what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it.”
As the Archbishop explained, “the Earth, our Sister, mistreated and abused, is lamenting.” What we need, he said in reference to the Pope’s green vision, is an “ecological conversion.”
Chief Arvol Lookinghorse, another plenary speaker, told the crowd that we are at a crossroad—face the consequences of environment destruction, or “unite spiritually in this global community.” Lookinghorse challenged the audience: “Mother Earth is sick and has a fever, so . . . stop the fracking, stop that KXL, stop abusing Mother Earth.”9
This idea that “Mother Earth” is sick is strangely familiar in light of the Bible and also history. Throughout biblical history, mankind has always leaned toward this direction of worshipping the creation and not the Creator. For example, Paul warns about this in the letter he wrote to the Romans as recorded in the first chapter. He stated quite clearly:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (vs. 16-17)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. (vs. 18-19)
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (vs. 20-21)
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen (vs. 22-25)
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (vs. 26-32)
The Christian View (And Responsibility) of the Environment
First, it is important to clear up a misnomer regarding what some people think Christians believe about the environment. Based upon Genesis 1:26 and 27 (two verses where God instructed mankind to have dominion over the creation), some say the Bible gives man the mandate to do whatever he wants, in whatever way he wants, thus having no respect for the planet and the ecosystem.
Often this argument has been used to blame the “Christian worldview” as the reason for our ecological problems. In response to this, let me say that I have had the opportunity to travel to several of the countries that have enforced atheism and have outlawed Christianity for several decades. The disregard for the environment in these areas has been deplorable. Christianity should not be blamed for environmental genocide; the problem has been created by mankind’s selfish lust for power and greed.
The biblical Christian view on the environment is very simple: God, the Creator of all things, did indeed create all things. Although there are some who would try to say that God used evolution as a process to create, such a view is a contradiction of terms. Evolution, by definition, is a natural process that does not require supernatural intervention. Naturalistic evolution is based upon time and chance—natural selection by natural direction rather than supernatural intervention that requires an intelligent Creator Designer God. I am convinced that the complexity I see within nature cannot be explained by fortuitous events that accumulate over vast periods of time driven by random chance.
The Christian view is that creation is the handiwork of the Creator. Although the original creation was perfect, we now live in an imperfect world. When man allows his greed to supersede environmental need, this degeneration and contamination accelerates further.
As well, the Christian view is that the Creator is sovereign and eternal while man is not. God is the Creator of all things, and He is separate from His creation. What’s more, creation is not to be worshipped but respected while God is to be worshipped and adored. In other words, God created everything, but everything is not God.
The Psalmist in the Bible wrote, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalms 139:14). A Christian believer who truly believes that God is the Creator of all things has a reverence and awe for God and His creation. Because of this reverence and accountability, there comes a responsibility. This responsibility should reflect on the way we treat other people, the environment, and all things that exist because there is a God.
Pope Francis’ Interspiritual “Global Common Good”
While I am not a Roman Catholic, I do respect and care for Roman Catholics. As fellow members of the human race, we should all love and respect others and treat one another the way we would want to be treated. Likewise, everyone should also have the moral right to examine the beliefs of others just as we should examine our own beliefs. Otherwise, like the blind leading the blind, we will all end up falling into the pit. Unfortunately, the one-world religion will be close-minded to a pursuit of truth.
For example, in order to be scientific and reasonable, we need to examine the claims of others and test the beliefs carefully. If we do not do that, blind faith can lead to a blind faith that can actually lead towards a cultish mentality. Every reasonable person knows that cults are often very dangerous as people can be blindly driven towards false conclusions that often end in disaster. Those who refuse to follow some of the cultish teachings are often told to leave the cult or are excommunicated by the cult leaders, and even their families do not accept them any longer. This, of course, is very devastating for those who have left the cult for another point of view.
Because I study the news from a biblical perspective, it has come to my attention that some very strange teachings have been presented recently in the name of Christianity with regards to saving the planet. For example, it would be important to read the following statement taken from an article titled “Vatican Official Calls for Greater International Effort to Combat Climate Change”:
Addressing the World Health Organization’s annual World Health Assembly, a Vatican official welcomed the call for universal health coverage in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Msgr. Jean-Marie Mupendawatu, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, also called for a greater international effort to combat climate change for the sake of global health.
“With regard to action to combat climate change and its impact on health, my delegation wishes to underscore the need for more political will and strong commitment from civil society in order to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment,” he said. “Often international negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good.”10
Where will this “greater international effort” for the “global common good” lead? How far will we go? There is one direction it is going that is most evident. At one time, Christian history reveals that Roman Catholicism and Islam were two different religions. Allah was the “God” of Islam, and Jehovah was the God of the Jews. Now that we have reached the new millennium and there is a desperate need for peace in the world, Islam and Roman Catholicism are joining forces. While this may seem to be unrelated to the environment, there is actually a connection. A one-world government requires a one-world religion. They go hand-in-hand. What’s more, I am convinced this binary partnership can only be forced on society by an electronic system of surveillance that requires global communications.
The environment is also a necessary factor in resolving global warming or global cooling depending on how data is interpreted. One thing for sure is that the climate is changing as we witness more storms, droughts, famines, and floods than ever before while the population increases.
With all this in mind, the head of the world’s largest congregation is taking action. In September of 2015, during Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, he spoke at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, New York. His remarks did not seem to stir much of mainstream media or even leaders in the Christian church, but what he said was significant in understanding the direction that things are going right now. The pope stated:
I would like to express two sentiments for my Muslim brothers and sisters: Firstly, my greetings as they celebrate the feast of sacrifice. I would have wished my greeting to be warmer. My sentiments of closeness in the face of tragedy. The tragedy that they suffered in Mecca.
In this moment, I give assurances of my prayers. I unite myself with you all. A prayer to almighty god, all merciful.11
In an article titled “In New York, Pope Francis Embraced Chrislam and Laid a Foundation for a One World Religion,” one commentator writing about the pope’s speech states:
[Pope Francis] did not choose those words by accident. In Islam, Allah is known as “the all-merciful one.” If you doubt this, just do a Google search. And this is not the first time Pope Francis has used such language. For instance, the following comes from remarks that he made during his very first ecumenical meeting as Pope…
“I then greet and cordially thank you all, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; first of all, the Muslims, who worship the one God, living and merciful, and call upon Him in prayer, and all of you. I really appreciate your presence: in it I see a tangible sign of the will to grow in mutual esteem and cooperation for the common good of humanity.
“The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions—I wish to repeat this: promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions—it also attests the valuable work that the Pontifical Council for interreligious dialogue performs.”12
While it may seem odd to some that Islam and Roman Catholicism are joining hands, it is becoming more and more acceptable to the millennial generation who have been taught that texting is better than talking and reading. They have also been taught that there is no right or wrong and that Christianity and Islam or any other religion belong in the same camp. Even the gods of the pagans qualify for the new spirituality within the boundary of what is called modern-day Christianity.
The above is part of the content of this booklet. To order this booklet, click here.
1. Sri Chinmoy, Inner and Outer Peace (Montreal, QB: Peace Publishing), p. 32.
2. Al Gore, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company), cover flap.
3. Ibid., p. 262.
4. Ibid., p. 263.
5. Ibid., p. 264.
6. Ibid., p. 264.
7. Ibid., p. 264
8. Carl Teichrib, “Things Change. Fast: A Report on the Parliament of the World’s Religions” (Forcing Change Newsletter, Vol. 9, Issue 10, October 2015), used with permission.
10. “Vatican Official Calls for Greater International Effort to Combat Climate Change” (Catholic World News, May 26, 2016, http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=28408).
11. To read full transcript: http://faith.nd.edu/s/1210/faith/interior.aspx?sid=1210&gid=609&pgid=27546&cid=53261&ecid=53261&crid=0&calpgid=10746&calcid=25903.
12. Michael Snyder, “In New York, Pope Francis Embraced Chrislam and Laid a Foundation for a One World Religion” (http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/in-new-york-pope-francis-embraced-chrislam-and-laid-a-foundation-for-a-one-world-religion, September 27th, 2015), used with permission.
The above is part of the content of this booklet. To order this booklet, click here.
As we reported a few days ago, Roger Oakland headed for Rome, Italy with four other Christian brothers this week. Roger will be attending a symposium on the environment in Rome where he plans to present a report he has written from a biblical point of view (this report may become a Lighthouse Trails booklet in the near future). Roger will be sending audio reports each day he is in Rome to his webmaster Ron Pierotti. Ron has now posted two short clips from Roger’s first two days in Rome. If you would like to follow these daily reports, we will be posting them on this blog, or you may go directly to the UTT home page where there will be links.
Reports From Rome
Report 1 July 19 2016
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
Regarding the Together 2016 event that you recently reported on and which took place this weekend, I was planning on keeping a close eye on that event. What I found was this:
1. There is a website ‘reset2016.com‘ about the event, their site. It’s an ad that appears when you type ‘together 2016’ in the search box. The first page lists the speakers, the schedule, and all that. When you look there, click on event info, and then ‘week of events.’ I clicked on that, and they listed events for the week leading up to the 16th, and one event included the IF: Gathering. When you read their captions, you identify all the emergent and unity buzz words on the site.
2. On Berean Research, there was a post about Nick Hall and his ‘pulse’ organization being behind the scenes on this event. There was another post about the app for the event, and when a person searched for churches on it, they were lead to a list of options, including ‘gay affirming.’ Then, once the post was up, the app feature was quickly removed.
3. The pope was to make a video appearance at the event, which he did, and the only thing I saw from the news about it is that he was quoted as saying: “Find the one who can give you an answer to your restlessnes.”
The name of Jesus was not mentioned there, and He is the only one who can. But that quote can mean anything, from other religions to a gay buddy; it’s so vague.
4. By searching, I noticed there is also a ‘together 2016’ scheduled for Europe, and again the purpose is ‘unity’ among all the Christian churches, organizations, and movements in Europe, planned by none other than ‘Pope Francis.’ He gave a long speech about it and the transcript is there also. You can see it by typing in ‘Together for Europe, 2016.’
5. The event on Saturday in Washington, DC was cut short due to a ‘heat emergency,’ and many had to be treated for heat exposure. I have no idea, but it reminds me of those assemblies in the Old Testament where a portion of the congregation was wiped out. Yet of course these are all in apostasy, it may have been discipline, or simply a sign that it did not have the Lord’s blessing. In either case, that was interesting.
These events will increase as it is all leading up to the one-world religion. The ecumenism with apostasy and the promotion of ‘unity’ at these events, which now include ‘Pope Francis,’ and eventually the other religions will be included until their goal is met. I can just hear the feverish pitch at their golden-calf fest, all in the name of ‘unity’ and ‘revival.’ All they need is Bono with his coexist sign in the back, with all the symbols of these religions, and it’s complete. The site captions for this one include phrases like ‘all are welcome,’ ‘invite everyone,’ and ‘unifying’ phrases. One theme appeared to be unity in general, such as regarding race. It’s like the powers that be create the perfect storm and then usher in ‘the solution’ for everyone to accept; unifying the world regarding religion, countries, race, diversity (gays), and economically, etc. all under antichrist.
Those who won’t unite with their agenda will be called ‘bigots,’ ‘haters,’ and ‘extremists’ to be ‘dealt with.’ (I am against racism and economic polarity due to deregulation that causes the middle class to shrink, but this is about all sorts of things rolled into ‘one’ ball of wax.). We can be one in Jesus. Or, they can be one under the devil in white. Who it’s under makes all the difference.
I figure you know this stuff but we all have various insights on things. And I remember about a year ago they were rolling out all these ‘anti-terrorism’ laws and measures, like in Australia but other places too as it all becomes very totalitarian. New rules for Facebook against those who speak the truth, all in the name of ‘hate speech’ rules.
The world has become such a scary place in such a short time. I think back to around 25 years ago, and the difference is shocking, how peaceful things were compared to now. So many hold their breath in hopes that ‘this too, shall pass,’ but these things will only get worse.
LTRP Note: For many years, Roger Oakland has been educating believers about spiritual deception in the times in which we live and witnessing to unbelievers, giving them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray for Roger this coming week as he travels with a team of Christian brothers to Rome, Italy where he will be representing biblical Christianity. Below his post is a photo from the past (from 1991). It was the day the Soviet Union collapsed, and during this trip Roger was asked to speak to the nation by television to tell the Russian people about creation and the Creator.
By Roger Oakland
The purpose of this short update is twofold. I want to personally invite you to our two-day Understand The Times conference and ministry gathering in Regina, Saskatchewan August 13 and 14th,. Details are available by clicking on the following link on our web site. http://www.understandthetimes.org/uttgathering2016/utt2016page.html.
Saturday events are open to all at no charge. The only sign up required for the two-day event is the Sunday turkey dinner that will be a catered event. We will need to know in advance how many will be attending. Children under 12 are welcome with adult parents at no charge or a small offering will be accepted at the door.
Second, on Monday July 18th, four of my friends will be leaving with me for Rome, Italy where I am scheduled to present a paper at a conference on the environment representing Bible-believing Christianity. This is not the first time I have been asked to make a presentation of this nature.
We will also be documenting this trip by camera and visiting the typical sites tourists visit when they make trips to Rome. Our plan is to obtain video footage to make several video documentaries documenting our findings and revealing to our viewers some of the key things to understand regarding the times we live.
Also, Lord willing, we will be sending back reports via the Internet regarding this trip so that our followers can keep track of the events and locations we will be experiencing first hand.
Please pray for these two events.
Understand The Times
DRESS REHEARSAL FOR A FALSE REVIVAL? – Evangelical, Charismatic, Emerging Leaders, & Pope Francis Unite for “Together 2016” in Washington, DC
According to a news release from PRWire titled “Pope Francis To Address Americans At National Mall Event ’Together 2016’ With Special Video Message,” Pope Francis will be joining (via video) evangelical leaders such as Ravi Zacharias, Luis Palau, Michael W. Smith, and Josh McDowell, emerging-church leaders such as Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Jennie Allen (IF), and Mark Batterson (Circle Maker) and charismatic leaders such as Sammy Rodriguez and Hillsong for an event motivated by a goal to bring unity to all those who “love Jesus.” The event is called “Together 2016,” subtitled Fill the Mall.
Nick Hall, the organizer of the event who hopes to draw one million people to the National Mall on July 16th, stated: “Together 2016 is about laying aside what divides us to lift up Jesus who unites us.”1 Hall told one news source, “We are coming together in historic unity to pray for a reset for our nation.”2
It’s been over fifteen years since contemplative pioneer Richard Foster shared his vision of Catholics and evangelicals coming together3 and over two decades since Chuck Colson helped author a document titled “Evangelicals/Catholics Together.”4 It’s been over a decade since Rick Warren announced his hopes to bring about a second reformation that would include people of different religions.5 In more recent days, evangelical leaders such as Beth Moore,6 Franklin Graham,7 and Kenneth Copeland8 have played their parts in helping to remove the barriers between the evangelical/Protestant church and the Roman Catholic Church (something the Catholic Church calls the New Evangelization program9).
According to the Bible, we know a time is coming when a global one-world religion will serve alongside a global one-world government, both of which will reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Lord. Whether they realize it or not, the leaders and musicians participating in Together 2016 are helping to make that global religion a reality as they participate in this ongoing relay race of breaking down the walls that divide different faiths in the name of unity at all costs.
Right now, in America, evangelical and charismatic leaders are calling for a nation-wide revival. But will their revival be a revival from God; or will it be a false revival? And is Together 2016 nothing more than a dress rehearsal for this false revival?
NEW BOOKLET: The Alpha Course— An Evangelical Contradiction by Mary Danielsen and Chris Lawson is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Alpha Course— An Evangelical Contradiction, click here.
Let us first open this overview of the Alpha Course with several passages in Scripture that warn us of the wolves that will enter the church looking to pervert the Gospel and introduce falsehood. We must always measure everything by the plumbline of God’s Word because without that, deception awaits.
2 Peter 2:1-2 tells us:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
1 John 4:1 tells us to “try [test] the spirits” to see if they are from God; and 1 Timothy 4:1 says:
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
That verse should cause every believer in Christ to be increasingly sober-minded and vigilant.
Now, when Scripture tells us to test all things, this is not a mere take-it -or-leave-it suggestion. We are clearly instructed that this is an absolute needful thing for us to do—and it is needed more today than ever before. It is becoming more and more clear that most churches (and most individual Christians too) are not doing this simple thing because the level of apostasy and heresy in the church today is mind-boggling and growing by the day.
We know this booklet is going to ruffle some feathers by challenging the Alpha Course. But as the late apologist Walter Martin said, “Controversy for its own sake is sin. Controversy for the sake of truth is a divine mandate.” In light of that, we will state our case for the many unbiblical problems with the Alpha Course and leave it to the reader to decide if it is of any value to the church.
Alpha and the Anglican Church
The Alpha Toolkit is offered for $199 which provides churches with all the materials needed to train small group leaders, marketing materials to entice church-goers and non-church-goers alike, workbook-type guides for each participant and the all-important DVD featuring fifteen talks by Nicky Gumbel.
The Alpha Course is presented as an evangelistic course designed to bring an easy-going method of exploring the “big questions” of life from a Christian perspective.1 With such a vague description, Alpha appeals to a wide range of seekers.
Alpha Course was started in 1977 by an Anglican priest named Charles Marnham, serving at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) parish in London. It began as a course for church members on the basics of the faith.
Shortly later, John Irvine, a curate at the time at HTB, took it over and developed it into the format it has today. In 1990, Sandy Millar (vicar of HTB at that time) invited HTB reverend Nicky Gumbel to take the helm of the Alpha Course, overseeing further revisions to appeal to the widest audience possible. Gumbel added his own touch to Alpha, helping the program to spread around the world at an exponential rate.
It is important to recognize that Alpha’s creation in the Anglican Church is significant. The Anglican Church dates back to the 16th century when King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church, which would not allow him to get a divorce. Henry decided to use his throne to pass a series of laws to prevent the office of the Pope from having any authority in England. One of these laws, titled “The Act of Supremacy,” declared the King of England to be the head of the newly formed Church of England, giving him virtually the same level of authority in England as the Pope had over the Catholic Church. As a result, the Anglican Church is a curious and ecumenical mix of Catholicism and Protestantism. The 39 articles of Anglican belief developed in the reign of Elizabeth I laid out the Protestant doctrine and practice of the Anglican Church but were deliberately written to be so vague that they were open to various interpretations by Protestants and Catholics alike.2
With 80 million members worldwide today, the Anglican Church (which includes the Episcopal church) is largely in sync with the liberal political, theological, and ecumenical worldviews seen throughout postmodern Protestantism today. So it should not surprise anyone that Anglicanism finds a strong voice in evangelical circles via the Alpha Course by those who value unity over truth, social justice over the true Gospel, and a strong desire to reconnect with our “vintage” faith—marching off to reconcile with Rome at the end of the day.
Who is this man with the unassuming and friendly name, Nicky Gumbel? His bio alone should cause red flags, but the average North American Christian either knows nothing of his bio, or he or she simply doesn’t care. Again, considering the church today, both cases are probably equally true.
Gumbel is vicar of the largest Anglican church in Britain (a big problem in itself when you realize what the Anglican church stands for, as we have explained above). If you look at the website of Gumbel’s church, Holy Trinity Church Brompton, you will find a typical site that looks similar to many Protestant church sites today. In addition, if you were to do a search on Gumbel’s view of the Bible, you will find much encouragement to read the Bible, and you might presume from what you read that he and his church place a high value on its contents.
The truth is, anyone can say they revere the Bible; anyone can say they read it and want you to read it as well; anyone can present an orthodox “Statement of Faith.” But what needs to be examined is what that person or organization is truly teaching. Anyone can talk the talk, but it takes a lot more than having a good sounding doctrinal statement to walk a genuine walk. The fruit of a self-proclaiming Christian group needs to be looked at.
This does explain, though, how: 1) there can be so many biblical references in the Alpha Course and yet have it be so off the mark, and 2) how they can emphasize the work of the Holy Spirit and still manage to completely misrepresent Him to the Alpha student. Just because there are a multitude of Bible verses used does not mean they are interpreted or applied correctly. The Bible can be and often is misconstrued and taken out of context. At any rate, today the Anglican Church in Britain, under the authority of Prince Charles, is certainly not known for sound doctrine or emphasis on the kind of Christianity that the Scriptures describe, so “fruit inspection” is crucial.
An important development in the historical background of Alpha’s creators is that HTB Church became the center of the “holy laughter” movement for England and Europe in the 1990s. Eleanor Mumford, along with her husband John, carried the Vineyard movement to the UK (with grudging approval from Vineyard founder John Wimber3), visited the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church in Ontario in 1994, and brought back the experiences she had there. Nicky Gumbel attended a meeting in a home in May 1994 where Mumford told of her experiences in Toronto and “invited the Holy Spirit to come.”
The moment she did that, strange things began to happen. One person was thrown across the room and did lie on the floor howling and laughing, “making the most incredible noise.” Another man was lying on the floor “prophesying.” Some appeared to be drunk. Gumbel testified that he had an experience “like massive electricity going through my body.”4 Gumbel got himself together and rushed to a meeting at Holy Trinity Brompton. . . .When he closed that meeting with prayer and said, “Lord, thank you so much for all you are doing, and we pray you’ll send your Spirit,” the same strange phenomenon were again manifested. One of those present lying on the floor with his feet in the air started “laughing like a hyena.”
Nicky Gumbel spends a substantial amount of time relating to Alpha participants in Alpha’s video 3 talk 9, exactly how this occurred:
Ellie Mumford told us a little bit of what she had seen in Toronto . . . It was obvious that Ellie was just dying to pray for all of us. . . . Then she said, “Now we’ll invite the Holy Spirit to come.” And the moment she said that one of the people there was thrown, literally, across the room and was lying on the floor, just howling and laughing—making the most incredible noise. . . . I experienced the power of the Spirit in a way I hadn’t experienced for years, like massive electricity going through my body. One of the guys was prophesying. He was just lying there prophesying.5
From there, others brought the movement to Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, and the hyper-charismatic church of the ‘90s once again brought shame to the Christian community by laughing, barking, and claiming that gold dust and feathers falling on their assemblies was proof of God’s presence and approval. At some gatherings, taxis were provided for those “too drunk in the spirit” to drive home from services.
If you are saying to yourself that this is old news (1994) and not relevant today, let us caution you that today Alpha is bigger and more influential than ever. According to Alpha’s own site, over 27 million people have now completed Alpha, and its running in 169 countries in 112 languages. Spiritual deception never disappears. Our adversary just regroups it for a different (i.e., bigger) audience because 1) so many proclaiming Christians do not know about context, nor do they really seem to care, and 2) the devil is not going to dismiss a perfectly good deception if he can nab a successive generation with its lies.
So here is our warning: if you believe that Gumbel’s Holy Spirit doctrines are not a problem and his bringing the Brownsville debacle into the church is not important to anyone any longer, then please continue to read. The truth of the matter is that any falsehood we allow, even in small leavenous lumps, leads to greater compromise down the road unless true repentance takes place.
In an interview with the UK Guardian in 2009, Gumbel makes it clear that while he considers himself a Christian, more specifically he is an Anglican. He explains:
This may sound pernickety but I wouldn’t describe myself as an evangelical. These are labels, which I don’t think are helpful. If I was going to use any label it would be Christian, and if you push me any further I’d say I’m an Anglican—that’s the family of the Church that I belong to.6
Since the Anglican Church has so much in common with the Roman Catholic Church, we have to wonder how evangelicals got the impression that the Alpha Course is compatible with Protestant/evangelical Christianity.
In the following two quotes, we can see Gumbel’s acceptance and promotion of Roman Catholicism and the Catholic papacy:
It was a great honor to be presented to Pope John Paul II, who has done so much to promote evangelism around the world. We have been enormously enriched by our interaction with Catholics in many countries.7
Probably one of the strongest movements of the Holy Spirit is in the Roman Catholic Church, so there’s not a huge theological difference between the official teaching of the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, for example.8
So we see that the Anglican Church, which has foundations deep in Catholicism, has produced a program that is sweeping the globe, designed to give simple answers to people who want to know the meaning of life. Alpha is designed to be fun and attractive, affirming and enjoyable (i.e., “inoffensive”). But how will this Catholic-influenced agenda point people to the real Jesus Christ, the real Gospel, the real sinful state of humans under the conviction of sin, and their need for a Savior? Will Alpha’s fun, attractive, and affirming program (yours for only ten weeks of classes) lead participants to repenting and surrendering their lives to God in such a manner that will secure their eternal destination (1 John 5:13)?
Alpha is missing the mark on so many levels doctrinally, it is tough to cover it all here. Within its pages, there is no satisfactory explanation as to why Jesus had to die in the first place. Sin is described as doing “wrong things” and yet the doctrine of sin is never fully taught, avoiding even the actual word.
What is never explained is that the biblical concept of “sin” is not just about doing wrong, it is about who we are—the motivations of the heart, our inherent sinful nature, and our separation from God. Alpha does not teach about the full nature of God or His attributes, His righteous anger at sin, or that holy justice required a substitution on our behalf. “Gospel light” hardly describes it fully, and one is left with the impression that Christ died because we mess up sometimes and because the universe brings with it some abstract notion of justice in case stuff happens. Alpha does not bring home the reality or the gravity of our sin, the realization that in us is no good thing, and the truth of how God sees us as lost in our sin until we receive (trust) Christ as our Savior. Thus, we can have no confidence in Alpha that it can truly convert people into a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit According to Alpha
Among the fifteen video talks Nicky Gumbel presents throughout the course, of particular interest to discerning Christians are talks number 8, 9, and 10. These talks are shown at Alpha’s distinctive Holy Spirit Weekend discussing who the Holy Spirit is, what He does, and how one might be filled with the Holy Spirit. Manifestations supposedly of God’s Spirit are encouraged during this weekend, even among those who are not yet saved.
Given the background of Alpha’s creators, one can only imagine what experiences might be encouraged. Manifestations such as uncontrollable laughter, lights, shaking, burning, physical heat, gold dust, and shocks have been documented from numerous sources. New Age participants in Reiki therapy and Kundalini Yoga experience the same kinds of manifestations.
A UK apologetics site, in exposing Alpha, had this to say about “strange manifestations”:
Biblically, the Holy Spirit magnifies Christ—but not Himself —but in Alpha, the Holy Spirit sometimes seems to be doing “his own thing.” Some of those who have been involved with HTB and Alpha claim that they have felt a force, or an unseen power, impelling them to do some very strange and even unChristian things, such as laughing uncontrollably. All responsible Christians, at length, must surely question such things in order to evaluate the fruits of a movement.9
So just how long has this deception been brewing, and at what point did Gumbel appear to be introduced to a specific level of supernatural manifestations? On a particular Alpha video, Gumbel recounts the night that John Wimber (founder of the Vineyard Movement) visited HTB church back in 1982, years before the holy laughter movement. At this meeting, there were many “words of knowledge” (supernatural revelations concerning the situations of various people in the room): “Specific details were given, accurately describing the conditions . . . As the list was responded to, the level of faith in the room was rising.” The following account gives more of what happened on Wimber’s visit:
Gumbel says that he still felt “cynical and hostile” until the following evening when he was prayed for: “So they prayed for the Spirit to come . . . I felt something like 10,000 volts going through my body . . . The American (Wimber) had a fairly limited prayer. He just said “more power” . . . it was the only thing he ever prayed. . . . Now we’ve seen many kinds of these manifestations of the Spirit on the weekends. . . . These manifestations and the physical healings themselves are not the important thing . . . the fruit of the Spirit. . . . these are the things that matter, the fruit that comes from these experiences. So we began to realise that God heals miraculously. . . .
Nicky Gumbel gives no indication here that he or anyone else attending that meeting tested the spirits to ensure that everything came from the Holy Spirit.”10
Author and lecturer Roger Oakland offers some insight:
When Vineyard pastor Randy Clarke came to the Toronto Airport Vineyard in January of 1994, he held several nights of meetings and then lit “the fire.” Randy Clarke had received his “anointing” from the “Holy Spirit Bartender” from South Africa, Rodney-Howard Browne.
For years afterwards, the transferrable anointing spread around the world. “It” was also called “it.” Once someone got “it” they were able to give “it” away. “It” was transported to the UK by Nicky Gumbel from the Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican Church in England.11
Benjamin Creme, the New Age guru who has been preparing the world for decades now to receive “The (new age) Christ” actually expressed his thoughts about the Toronto Blessing some time back. What makes this significant is that for the last few decades and continuing today, Creme has had only one job: promoting the one he calls “The Christ”—Lord Maitreya. Also back in 1982, he took out pricey full-page ads in every major global newspaper announcing in bold headlines that “The Christ is Now Here,” which was quite the jolt to the prophecy student who is versed in what the Scriptures say about a final evil world ruler.
Creme is convinced even today that his “Christ” will communicate telepathically to all citizens of the world simultaneously when his time comes to be revealed. Those practicing mind-altering meditation (such as Yoga or contemplative prayer) are being conditioned to be “vibrationally sympathetic” to receiving such “messages.” (To read more about Benjamin Creme and “Lord Maitreya, read Warren B. Smith’s book False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?) The fact that Creme would have anything to say about a signs and wonders movement within the Protestant Church actually says as much about the church as the guru. But when asked about the Toronto Blessing and what he thought of it, he said it was a good thing, and is . . . “the [same] method being used by his [own] spiritual Masters to soften up Christian Fundamentalists to accept the New Age Christ when He appears.”12 Charming . . . and not just a little alarming.
When we look at the background and what influences the “spirit” behind Alpha, there is every indication that this is not the Holy Spirit of the Bible, who does not ask us to do all kinds of weird and crazy things. We are not to seek visions and dreams or other things typical in Alpha-style hyper-charismatic circles. While some might perceive Alpha’s teachings on the Holy Spirit to be biblical, the problem lies in the clear beliefs and practices of the founder and how it is and has spread throughout the churches in practice thanks to Toronto and Brownsville. The kinds of manifestations that Gumbel promotes have nothing to do with the Comforter leading us into all truth and making us more like Jesus. It will more likely lead the participant into altered states of consciousness and occult practices common in New Age and emergent circles.
So who are the endorsers of the Alpha program? Probably the most influential supporter of Alpha (at least within the evangelical church) is Rick Warren. Warren was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Alpha Global Conference. For the fee of $190, one could catch him at Royal Albert Hall or get a seat at Gumbel’s church in Brompton (HTB)—remember, the site of the birth of the Holy Laughter movement.
The credibility that Warren lends to Alpha cannot be understated because of his highly popular Purpose Driven movement. And if Alpha was previously found mostly in mainline denominations and charismatic churches, Rick Warren’s backing is going to provide a major thrust for the Alpha course to enter evangelical and even conservative Christian denominations.
In addition, Willow Creek Association promotes and presents the Alpha Course, and on Alpha’s main website, there is information about the various churches that teach the Alpha Course.
A 2016 endorsement of the Alpha Course by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa’s senior pastor, Brian Brodersen, is going to have a significant impact on many Calvary Chapel and other non-denominational mega churches. Brodersen posted this statement on April 14, 2016 on his Facebook to Nicky Gumbel regarding Gumbel’s new ALPHA film series:
What a FANTASTIC introduction to the new ALPHA film series! Good One @ Nicky Gumbel.13
Something that Calvary Chapel leaders—and all Christian church leaders for that matter—should remember is that the reason the Protestant Reformers were burned at the stake during the Protestant Reformation was because they stood against the errors of Roman Catholicism.
Today, things are quite different. We see thousands of Christian leaders of every sort either sympathizing with or outright promoting ecumenism and working with churches and movements that the Roman Catholic Church is absorbing or seeking to absorb into the fold in the future. The Pope’s and the Vatican’s influence is like a magic spell over many Christian leaders these days, and many have forgotten that judgement of the Living God is upon those who twist Scripture and present a false gospel:
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:6-12)
A simple question one should ask of Brian Brodersen and other Christian leaders is: “Which version of Jesus Christ is Nicky Gumbel promoting—the Roman Catholic version of Jesus that is eaten and ingested in the Roman Catholic ritual of the sacrifice of the Mass or the biblical Jesus of Nazareth who was sacrificed only once for all time and is now sitting at the right hand of God in heaven (Hebrews 10:12) and is NOT being mystically turned into a wafer by a priest to be eaten and ingested (John 6:62-63)?
Well, in actuality, Gumbel, if he chooses to, can simply bounce back and forth like a ping-pong ball, playing to each crowd freely whenever the social context calls for it. With Roman Catholics, he can eat the Eucharistic Jesus, and with Protestants he can point to Scripture, and with charismatics, he can promote excesses and holy laughter and just go with the flow however things take shape. This type of convoluted spirituality escalates confusion to its highest form. This is not Christianity, this is diabolical!
Where Does it Lead?
With each passing year, the Alpha Leadership course becomes more blatant in its rejection of sound doctrine in favor of an ecumenical agenda that will merge seamlessly with the coming world spirituality predicted in the Bible. In 2015, the list of speakers at the Alpha Global Conference should concern every Christian who is a lover of truth: Rick Warren, who we mentioned earlier, Father Raniero Cantalamessa (preacher to the Papal household whose writings are recommended reading in the Guide for Alpha participants), word of faith proponent Joyce Meyer, Archbishop Justin Welby, and several others.
One should note that the Alpha Course is so “user-friendly” and spiritually generic that Roman Catholic leaders accommodate it, embrace it, utilize it, and promote it. It is the unchanged standard Alpha Course. Alpha is compatible with Catholic teaching, but it does not present wholly Catholic issues. It assumes that follow-up teachings will be offered to Catholics and those wishing to become Catholic. And, of course, as we said earlier in this booklet, Nicky Gumbel has met with at least two popes in order to cultivate an Alpha Course that is geared entirely for a Roman Catholic context. Alpha for Catholics is utilized on a global scale.
In fact, the introduction page for the Roman Catholic Alpha Course promotes it this way:
Answering the Call for the New Evangelization
Alpha is a tool for the New Evangelization that is being used by thousands of Catholic parishes in over 70 countries around the world. Alpha creates an environment and opportunity for an encounter with Jesus. As Pope Francis likes to say, it’s a chance for “Jesus to find them.”14
Alpha is without a doubt a great experience of new evangelization.15—Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President, the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization
Would a biblically sound, Gospel-focused program be so accepted and embraced by the Roman Catholic Church? No, because it would be incompatible with the Catholic view of salvation. Alpha markets itself as helping people find truth and find God. If Alpha originally intended to be coy about its true colors, Gumbel removed all doubt at the 2015 Global Conference by revealing its cooperation with Rome:
Ultimately, unity is not doctrinal, it’s relational . . . unity doesn’t mean we’re not interested in the truth! The only way to get truth is through unity!16
But Christian history has proven already that unity is often embraced at the cost of truth, and those who stood alone (like the martyrs) were the ones who made a difference. Truth can bring unity, but unity for its own sake does not lead to truth. That is why Jesus promoted truth and did not commit Himself to the crowds.
Gumbel also expressed the following at the conference:
Unity is not an option—Jesus is still praying for our unity—so that the world will be one.
Unity doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything—disagreement is healthy.
I used to think if some part of the church is different from me, they must be wrong. Now I think, ‘wow, they’re different from me, I must have so much to learn from them!
I have come to love the Catholic Church—If God has given them the same Spirit, who are we to oppose God?
The same Spirit lives in the Catholics, and the Orthodox, and the Pentecostals and the Protestants, even the Anglicans have the same Holy Spirit living within them. That’s what makes us one!
We live in a divided world that demands a united church.
Root of all problems in the world is division. Paul gives us the answer to this—it’s in relationships!17
No, Mr. Gumbel, the root of all problems in the world isn’t division. Jesus said He came to cause division—division between truth and error. The root of all problems in the world is sin, which separates man from God. And the only way to get truth is through the Word of God. Subjective and experiential Christianity is guaranteed to leave one walking in step with the apostates on the broad road to destruction.
The Bottom Line
The church today, using unnatural (and unbiblical) growth methods and programs, has grown into an unnatural institution, with perverse and unsound doctrines, combining paganism with Christianity and compromising any bits and tidbits of truth. The Bible indicates that true church growth comes from “the washing of water by the word” (see Ephesians 5:26-27). Only as we cleanse ourselves of false doctrine while washing in the pure doctrine of God’s Word can we experience the natural growth that God intended.
The Alpha Course fits perfectly into today’s emergent “progressive” culture with its experiential mysticism and its ecumenical merging of all faiths, starting with Rome. We won’t be surprised next to see Alpha for Muslims. It is also a front for Toronto-blessing-style hyper-charismania and Latter Day Prophet lying signs and wonders antics. Even if people find some truth in it, there is enough poison to render it harmful to the body as a whole. Even if a solid church can find a way to present it with their own solid teaching, why bother? If we need so many books to explain the Bible, how are we any different from the various cults today?
The bottom line with Alpha is this: Can Christians who love the Word and their Bibles be comfortable with, or even need, a program that is—
Written from the Church of England/Anglican perspective?
Written and taught by a man who brought us holy laughter and the Brownsville Revival?
Teaches Catholics the same course as Protestants and urges them to stay in the church they are in?
Is ecumenical to the core?
Promotes an incomplete theology of the Cross and atonement?
Promotes New Age/hyper-charismatic manifestations claiming they are of the Holy Spirit?
Teaches Kingdom Now Theology/Dominionism?
If you or your church are using the Alpha Course, or are considering using it, please prayerfully consider what you have read in this booklet.
To order copies of The Alpha Course— An Evangelical Contradiction, click here.
3. Alpha Course’s Gumbel Invites Vineyard UK Founder Eleanor Mumford & Furtick, Hybels to Leadership Conference http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/02/alpha-courses-gumbel-invites-vineyard.html.
6. “Nicky Gumbel Interview Transcript” (The Guardian, August 28, 2009, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/aug/28/religion-christianity-alpha-gumbel-transcript).
7. Roger Oakland, “Alpha and the Pope, http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c25.shtml, quoting Nicky Gumbel from “Alpha News,” March-June 2004, p. 7.
8. “Nicky Gumbel Interview Transcript,” op. cit.
10. Sandy Simpson, “The Dangers of the Alpha Course” (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/alpha.html; quoting from Session 12 White Alpha training manual ppS8-62/Video V Talk 13).
11. Roger Oakland, “Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and Alpha,” http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c183ccandalpha.shtml.
12. Nick Needham, “The Toronto Blessing,” http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/toronto.aspx.
13. From Brian Brodersen’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PastorBrianBrodersen/posts/822581941179918.
14. Alpha For Catholics, http://us.alphausa.org/Groups/1000042056/Alpha_Catholic_Context.aspx.
16. Nicky Gumbel, “A Vision for a United Church,” at the 2015 Alpha Leadership Conference; https://lc17.alpha.org/2015-talks.
17. These quotes are taken from a Letter to the Editor: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17458.
To order copies of The Alpha Course— An Evangelical Contradiction, click here.