Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.

All quotations from the Scriptures will be from the Authorised Version - the best and most accurate English translation of the Scriptures.

Please see Sermons & Articles further down the Blog about why the Authorised Version is the best and most accurate English translation of the Scriptures

and why we reject the many perversions of the Scriptures, including those so beloved of many neo-evangelicals at present such as ESV & NKJV.

Beware of the Errors in The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible! 
Featured Sermons:

Monday, 28 September 2009

The Alpha Course Part 2

What is wrong with 'The Alpha Course'?Part 1
The Alpha Course is Deficient in Doctrine.
It has to be remembered that 'The Alpha Course' comes from a denomination that has long tolerated false doctrine. A whole profusion of Biblical doctrine has been denied and false doctrine permitted to hold sway, within the Anglican Church. The virgin birth is denied, along with the sinlessness of Christ, the vicarious atonement, the resurrection and ascension. Sodomy is tolerated and the ordination of women ministers accepted. The question is asked: Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one Job 14:4.

The Saviour says: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit Matthew 7:18. The Alpha Course is the fruit of a corrupt tree. It is deficient when it comes to doctrine.

i. The God of Alpha is not the God of the Bible.
God is revealed in the Scriptures as the great and mighty God. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Upholder of all things. He is the Sovereign God of all the earth, Isaiah 40:25-28. Man is a creature of the clay, responsible and answerable to Him. There are divine claims upon mankind.

There is no declaring of these things in Alpha. God is referred to, but never described. In many ways The Alpha Course bypasses God the Father altogether. There is no setting forth of who and what God is. There is continual mention made of God being love. But this is not how God is only described. He is much more than this.

How can something that claims to be an introduction to the Faith fail to start at the beginning, with the most important thing of all, In the beginning God...? This is where the Bible begins. There can be no true understanding unless we begin with God Himself and man’s relationship to Him. This is what the Christian Faith is all about.

ii. The condition of man in Alpha is not what it is in the Bible.
Man is totally and utterly depraved before God. There is no good in him. He is a rebel, at enmity with God. The wrath of God abideth on him. He is bound for hell. He is deserving of no good thing from God.

In Alpha man is viewed, not as to how God sees him, but rather as to how man feels before God. He is spoken of as having ‘feelings of sadness and unhappiness’, and ‘feeling dead inside, often guilty’. Man’s sin is spoken of as ‘rubbish that clutters up our lives and our world’. This is not how man is described before God. Man doesn’t feel dead he is spiritually dead. He is not often guilty, he is always guilty.

These are but a reference to the effects of sin and even then they are not accurate. The Alpha Course never sets forth man as a sinner who is under the wrath of God. In one manual I read through, there is no mention of the judgment of God or hell at all. Christ spoke about hell. A sinner has to be brought to see their need, only then they can be pointed in the direction of the work of Christ on the cross.

Nicky Gumbel has this to say about mankind:
In every human being the image of God has been to a greater or lesser extent tarnished, and in some cases almost eradicated by sin. Good and bad, strength and weakness coexist in all human beings, Questions of Life page 18.

This is not in accordance with God’s Word. The image of God has been lost entirely due to sin. There is no good at all in man. God’s Word says: There is none good but one, that is, God. Mark 10:18.

iii. The Christ of Alpha is not the Christ of the Bible.
Alpha has much to say about the Lord Jesus. It tells us what He did, what He said, and it does establish the certainty of the resurrection. In the chapter entitled: Why did Jesus die? it does not set forth the Christ of the Scriptures. Alpha does not set Him forth as the one who died because the justice of a holy God required it. We are left with the impression that Christ sacrificed Himself to rescue us from some impersonal and rather arbitrary justice system. Having bypassed God the Father it cannot adequately explain the death of Christ.

You can never come to understand the death of Christ until you realise that for a sinner to be saved the just demands of God’s law must be satisfied.

iv. The Holy Spirit of Alpha is not the Holy Spirit of the Bible.
There is more space devoted to the Holy Spirit than to the Lord Jesus in Alpha. That in itself it instructive, when we consider John 16:13,14: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The Holy Spirit will always work to uplift Christ Jesus not Himself. This is not taking place in Alpha. The Holy Spirit of Alpha is the agent for giving to people an ‘experience’ that is going to make God real to them. The main focus of this is the ‘Holy Spirit Weekend Away’. Going on that weekend people are told to expect that all manner of things might happen to them. We will have more to say on this.

v. Conversions of Alpha are not the conversions of the Bible.
In the Scriptures when men were converted there was deep sorrow for sin and a crying to God for mercy:
Acts 2:37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Acts 16:29: Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas...

Conversions of Alpha are often nothing more than emotional experiences about the love of God with no conviction of sin or sorrow over sin and no turning from sin. People can feel forgiven yet never have known conviction of sin. These are mere professions of Christianity. It is all an act of their own will. They make a conscious decision to live as a Christian, believing some basic tenets and doing Christian activities. But no heart change has ever taken place.

On page 221 reference is made to the extent of the Christian Church. The Encyclopaedia Britannica is quoted that the church has some 1.7 billion adherents. This confuses Church membership and outward profession with belonging to Christ. Not every one who is a Church member is a child of God.

As to when this change occurred in their lives, most said it was at the ‘weekend’. The decisive moment is when the Holy Spirit comes in rather than the momentous occasion when they were supposedly converted.

One account of conversion in Alpha News July/October 1997 demonstrates this:
I still needed some physical evidence of the existence of God, part of the course was the Holy Spirit Weekend at a camp, which I wasn’t looking forward to. I went and maintained a stone wall approach until the second day.... suddenly a feeling of joy came over me and I began to laugh uncontrollably. At that point I knew that I had become a Christian.

Men do not laugh their way to salvation rather they weep their way to the cross. Another so called testimony demonstrates that there is no reality to these ‘conversions’:
I have virtually stopped drinking. I only drink socially now - just the odd beer or glass of wine. God gives complete victory over sin not partial victory.

The truth is, this movement is energised by another spirit. It is doctrinally deficient.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Free Presbyterian Outreach at Ploughing Match in County Kildare

For a number of years gospel outreach has been conducted at the annual ploughing match in the Republic of Ireland. In recent years a marquee has been hired for this purpose. Much help was give by the Lord to those who gathered. In total twenty workers were present over the three days.

Calendars with gospel texts are distributed along with free Bibles, New Testaments, and other literature. Free tea, coffee or juice and biscuits are offered with the hope that a conversation about spiritual things can be struck up. Among those who were given gospel literature were the Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Mary Lou McDonald.

RTE interviewed Dr Lindsay Wilson on two occasions, once for a radio documentary and once for the television news.

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Alpha Course Part 1

The Alpha Course is being run once again at the local Corrs Corner Hotel here in Glengormley. There will follow DV a synopsis of a series of sermons preached on 'The Alpha Course' a few years ago in Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church. 

What is Alpha?
The Alpha Course is supposedly an introduction to the Christian Faith in a non-threatening environment. The program consists of 15 sessions run over a 10 week period. It covers such basic topics as:
Who is Jesus?
Why did Jesus die?
How can I be sure of my faith?
Why and how should I read my Bible?
How does God guide us?
How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Does God heal people today?
What about the Church?

The sales pitch is ‘no preaching’!

The Alpha plan is described by the following acrostic in a brochure used to advertise Alpha:
A - Anyone interested in finding out about the Christian Faith.
L - Learning and laughter. It is possible to learn about the Christian faith and have fun at the same time.
P - Pasta and pudding. Eating a meal together gives people an opportunity to get to know each other.
H - Helping one another. The small groups give you a chance to discuss issues raised in the talks.
A - Ask anything. Alpha is a place where no question is regarded as too simple or too hostile.

Most of these topics may seem perfectly innocent and to be encouraged. But no book is to be judged by its cover. We need to try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world, cf. 1 John 4:1: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

The Alpha Course is the brainchild of Nicky Gumbel, curate of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Brompton, London (in the Knightsbridge area). The original Alpha Course has been running for almost 30 years. It has been a formidable success. Since its relaunch in 1992 the numbers signing up to run this course have been steadily rising. From 200 in 1993 in how has over 1.5 million attending. Churches are full where this course is run. Churches which closed down for lack of interest are being reopened. Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Pentecostalists and Romanists all run Alpha Courses. All with a strong spirit of ecumenical 'Christian' unity.

We as a denomination disapprove in the strongest terms of the Alpha Course. There is no false teaching as bad as that which mixes truth and error. The Alpha Course has a form of godliness but it denies the power thereof. From such, all who love the truth, are to turn away. They may use what seems like the right terminology. But it falls far short of genuine Bible religion.

Next part: Why we oppose the Alpha Course.

'We're born to believe in God'

Humans are ‘programmed’ to believe in God and the supernatural, scientific researchers have found.

A study into the way children’s brains develop suggests that beliefs in the supernatural are present from birth. The findings of Bruce Hood, professor of developmental psychology at Bristol University, challenge the claims of atheists such as Richard Dawkins.

Professor Dawkins’ assertion that religious belief is a result of poor education and ‘indoctrination’ is well known. Professor Hood said: “Our research shows children have a natural, intuitive way of reasoning that leads them to all kinds of supernatural beliefs about how the world works.” Other academics have said that their research supports Prof Hood’s findings.

In the science journal Nature, Washington University anthropologist Professor Pascal Boyer said: “Religious thinking seems to be the path of least resistance for our cognitive systems”.

“By contrast, disbelief is generally the work of deliberate, effortful work against our natural cognitive dispositions — hardly the easiest ideology to propagate.”

Speculating as to why their research showed religious belief to be ‘hardwired’, Prof Hood and his colleagues offered an evolutionary reason. 
They suggest that in the past, shared religious beliefs brought social benefits as believers cooperated to ensure mutual survival, while atheist societies lacked such beneficial cohesion.
The Word of God has long taught this truth. It is not attributable to evolution but rather to creation and the Creator. The God who created man in His own image has created us with an innate knowledge of Himself. Sadly, due to the Fall this knowledge is corrupted, distorted, and partly lost for it not what it was. It is not now a saving knowledge of God. This is why mankind needed the special revelation of the Scriptures. It is what is known as: 'The Seed of Religion':
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 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, Romans 1:19,20;
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another, Romans 2:14,15;
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring, Acts 17:24-28.

John Calvin had this to say about the matter:
That there exists in the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God Himself, to prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of His Godhead, the memory of which He constantly renews and occasionally enlarges, that all to a man, being aware that there is a God, and that He is their Maker, may be condemned by their own conscience when they neither worship Him nor consecrate their lives to His service, Institutes of the Christian Religion 3:3.1.

He further said:
All men of sound Judgment will therefore hold, that a sense of Deity is indelibly engraven on the human heart. And that this belief is naturally engendered in all, and thoroughly fixed as it were in our very bones, is strikingly attested by the contumacy of the wicked, who, though they struggle furiously, are unable to extricate themselves from the fear of God, Institutes of the Christian Religion 3:3.3.

Once again we have another example of those who are wise after this world catching up with the teaching of the Scriptures!