Thursday, July 31, 2008

Truth? Lived, Suppressed, Proclaimed...

'False prophets shall arise among Christians'
These words, from William Dell, are still relevant today.

Dell preached during and immediately after the English Civil War almost 350 years ago. He was among those 2000 Puritan and other non-conformist clergy who were ejected from the Church of England in 1662 when the Act of Uniformity was proclaimed.

Hear what he had to say,
(adapted from )

'... We declare unto you from the Word of the Lord, concerning false prophets, who will make a lot of mischief: They shall not come from among the Jews, or Turks, Moslems or Hindus or atheists; they shall arise out of such as are called Christians.

Amongst Christians some are openly profane and evil, others seem to be religious and godly. The false prophets shall be found among the better sort; and therefore, as Christ Himself said, ‘they shall come in sheep’s clothing’, as though they were of Christ's own flock. St. Paul says, "they have a form of Godliness", that is, they shall be painted over gloriously, with all appearances of Truth, righteousness, honesty, goodness and all the names of godliness.

Amongst those that seem to be the better sort of Christians, some give themselves to the ministry of the Word, and some do not. False prophets shall be found among those Christians, who take upon themselves to be preachers, as Paul testifies having called together the elders and teachers of the church of Ephesus, he says to them, "Out of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them". (See Acts, chapter 20)

Among ministers, some are shallow, vain, carnal, and formal persons; others have great worth and reputation, and seem to be precious members of Christ, and even pillars in the Church, so that the common people think that their goodness justifies all their religious statements and claims. Here’s where you’ll find the false prophets, among those who appear to have gifts and charisms of the spirit, and who seem outwardly to be especially godly, religious, wise, holy, sober and devout.

And as they who opposed Christ at his first coming in the flesh, seem more wise, and holy, and eminent in the Church than the rest, as the Scribes and Pharisees, who sat in Moses' chair, and had the outward letter of the Word in all exactness, and the outward form of religion in all strictness; so they who most oppose Christ in His coming in His Spirit, contradict His Word, and resist His servants and witnesses of His Truth, do appear more wise, holy, learned, and godly, than the rest of the teachers in the Church.

Again, people of such appearance and worth and holiness as these, nuzzle up to the greatest and highest persons in the kingdoms and nations, and manage to obtain, not only their countenance and favour, but also prestige and authority for themselves.
By these two means, their seeming holiness, and then their interest with worldly powers, they enlarge their credit and reputation with the world, and get multitudes of people and nations entrapped.

For the Anti-Christ could not deceive the world with a company of foolish, weak, ignorant, profane, contemptible persons.
He always uses the greatest, the wisest, most self-righteous, and most eminent in the visible church for his purpose, and by these he seduces and subjects to himself, even the whole world.'


Some false teachers are easy to spot but Dell rightly echoes Scripture in saying that in all these regards it will (often) be a hard matter to discern the false teacher. It's easy to say Jesus is Lord. It's another matter entirely to actually allow Him to be in whole-hearted control of our lives.

The institutional churches are entangled in their historical alliances with various nation states. They still attempt to sideline those who will not conform to their mediocrity, and by their collusion with worldly interests and vain use of worldly wisdom, the Enemy seeks to use the decaying institutions of Christendom to distract many from the true and rightful Lordship of Jesus.

But God will not be mocked. Judgement is at hand!

Consider Paul's words to Timothy:

'There will be terrible times in the last days.
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.

Have nothing to do with them.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. ... These men oppose the truth and are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.
But they will not get very far because ... their folly will be clear to everyone.

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.'

Scripture records that Israel began to trust in other nations rather than in God alone. In a similar idolatry, we in our worldly churches have given other corporate interests inordinate freedom to distract us from our single three-fold priority:


May God forgive us and restore to us the joy of our Salvation!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The qualities of a good teacher

Everyone has had, or should have had, at least one good teacher. Did you ever wonder why some are better than others? What makes some stand out?

Why and how can teachers with similar backgrounds and qualifications be so different?
Its so important to show interest in people; having a sparkle in the eye really counts, and even on bad days, simply letting the joy of teaching spill out with a smile.
Alternatively, allowing the drain of daily life without seeking replenishment, experiencing discouragement in early career and giving up inside, forgetting or neglecting to quit, or perhaps just never being suited to the task to begin with: these things become obvious to the student.

The most curious truth is that the ones who did well, the ones we remember, probably would not have thought themselves special. They just did their best.

Remember discipline.
Detention! The punishment imagined in having to stay in school after hours.
And, in bygone days, wayward students, and sometimes the innocent, being hit by the strap or the cane.
But there were a few who could control a whole group of otherwise unruly kids, or at least most of them, just by the look in their eye. Amazingly some were respected such that even when they had to leave the classroom for a few minutes, a sense of mischievous peacefullness prevailed.

In the Holy Book, James says that faith without works is dead. He even said that one is justified by works and not by faith alone. This truth is illustrated in all good teachers.

All the intellectual and spiritual faith of every teacher in the world will not produce well-educated citizens without hard work, and a few well-chosen words of correction, instruction or encouragement! This offsets all the negatives that the not-so-good teachers inflict on their inmates.

Scripture says that the letter kills but the Spirit gives life. That's the key. The law is a harsh taskmaster. Its purpose is not primarily to teach, but rather to restrain the unruly. What makes a great teacher? The ability to impart enthsiasm is just as essential as wisdom in the use of rules and regulations. Knowledge of their subject matter must be matched with awareness of the interests of the student.

In the early seventies, Canada was swept by a wave of liberal socialists who sought to destroy or belittle anything they could not control. Good teachers refused to allow political manipulation to quench their spirit. Their faith infused their life-work. They seemed to instinctively know that they were justified in their faith. Salvation both for themselves and their charges is the Lord's work. They trusted that their work would eventually pay off.

It is often only in looking back that we recognize their contribution to our lives as we allow ourselves to be fully taken up by our own callings.

Thankful to God for good teachers,
Richard Alastair

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wake Up! Rise from the Dead

To the Anglican Church:
Don't let truth slip away.
Don't lose sight of Jesus.
If we let God arise, if we let His enemies be scattered, then
the Glory of the Lord will arise upon us;
...even though gross darkness will cover the land and the people.
Praise God for His glory!
His Holiness can burn away our sin, as we turn to Jesus and let ourselves be cleansed by His blood!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Jesus, the only hope

Faith in the Lord Jesus is ultimately the only way to amicably resolve questions of both national and personal identity.
The problem is that individuals, countries and even churches often tend to ignore or even disobey His teachings.

The Light of Jesus trancends culture and creed. In His Name alone there is power to defeat forces of evil. The main reason we languish in sin and sickness stems from the failure of our churches to properly teach as He taught.

When one member of the local body is sick all suffer, likewise when one segment of the larger church errs, all are affected. We must not rely on priest, minister or pastor to do the work. When we restrict praise and prayer in our worship, our life-blood is cut off.

We're called to walk in the spirit and to speak the truth in love. Jesus is at the Father's hand, praying for our unity, spiritual boldness and compassionate mercy. From Him flow springs of living water. When Christ dwells in us, the Hope of Glory is realized.

Scripture urges, 'Call upon the LORD while He may be found.' Jesus still says, 'Come to me...'
When these two calls meet, supernatural power is released.

O that people, nations and churches would make the connection!