Issue 91 Spring 2009
Greetings in the precious name of our risen Lord
Jesus. Our Prophecy Conference this January was a great success
at its new venue Rora House. We were made to feel very welcome
and found the facilities every bit as good as those at Burstone
Manor. Grateful thanks to those who supported us: we have booked
Rora again for next year, but at the later date of 27 March 2010.
In this edition Philip comments on the recent Darwin celebrations and
warnings of coming calamity. Since the last edition I have been
to Israel for the first time to attend the International Prayer for
Israel Conference and I include some reflections on a moving experience.
Reflections on a first visit to Jerusalem
Teaching the Children to hate
Evolution vs Creation
I want us to consider a few reflections on one of the enemy’s most potent weapons that can paralyse Christian activity and hinder the work of the Spirit to form in us the likeness of Jesus.
Fear is given to us as a natural feeling to make us aware of danger & to react to it! If we look at the law of first reference in scripture we find in Gen. 3:10 Adam excusing his having hidden from the presence of the Lord; ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ His fear was a consequence of his own action in disobeying God. Many of our fears come from the same source.
But if we ask ourselves where does fear come from? The answer is definitely not from God. Paul writes in 2 Tim. 1:7 ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’
In short fear comes from ourselves or the enemy: we fear because of our past, our circumstances, our future prospects. We fear for ourselves, our families, our jobs as we live in an era of economic uncertainty when men’s hearts are failing them from fear. One financial commentator told the BBC reporter that the stock market was currently being driven by fear rather than by rational thought.
But not infrequently in scripture fear (= awe and reverence) is the reaction to a heavenly manifestation. For example Jacob at Bethel in Gen. 28:17 ‘ was afraid, and [he] said, ‘How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ Moses at the burning bush hides his face ‘for he was afraid to look upon God’ [Exod 3:6]. Daniel though described as a man greatly beloved, still falls down at the sight of the heavenly visitor in Dan 10 and needs to hear the words ‘fear not’.
In the angelic appearances that preceded the birth of the Lord Jesus they are met by fear - Jesus’ earthly father Joseph in Matt 1:20 hears the words ‘Fear not’ and Zechariah when he meets the angel in Luke 1:12 ‘he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.’ Even the virgin Mary is troubled and needs the angelic assurance [Luke 1:30] ‘Do not be afraid’. The shepherds also are ‘greatly afraid’ when heaven opens to them.
In each case there was a lesson for those who treat holy things with indifference. We need to rediscover the awesomeness of Him with whom we have to do! For if we have the fear of a holy God within us we need fear no other thing [Psalm 118:6].
One of my spiritual mentors used to tell us that the opposite of faith isn’t doubt – it’s fear. Job confesses ‘the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me [3:25].’ Fear has a magnetic attraction for the thing feared!
By contrast consider what Jesus says to Jairus after he had heard the words which he dreaded to hear: ‘Don’t be afraid; only believe.’
King David, who knew what it was like to be afraid, as his early life contained periods of mortal terror says in Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? And he adds in a later psalm Psalm 56:3 Whenever I am afraid,I will trust in You.
Elisha besieged in a walled city reassured his terrified servant “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” [2 Kings 6:16]. King Jehoshaphat faced by a vast army [we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you] receives a clear message from the Lord ‘You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!. Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.’ [2 Chr. 20:17]
Moses final words to Israel contain the wonderful exhortation ‘Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.’ [Deut. 31:6].
Isaiah rejoices in God in 12:2 ‘Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD my God, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ ”
Turning to the Lord Jesus again, we have any number of reassurances that we are not to be the prey of the enemy’s fears.
In the sermon on the mount Jesus teaches that ‘the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows [Luke 12:7]. He appears to the terrified disciples when crossing the sea of Galilee in a storm and says to them ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’ [Matt 14:27]
But the final and most telling example are the Lord’s words as he faced one of the most appalling ordeals that ever man faced – ‘Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid [John 14:27]’. Lovers of English grammar will note that the last sentence is a command not a suggestion.
Reflections on a first visit to Jerusalem [KK]
I have recently returned from 10 days at a prayer conference in Jerusalem where I learnt a few facts. The attack on Gaza was in response to five years of the shelling of Israeli towns by Kasam rockets; some 5000 [some reports say 8000] have been fired though miraculously by the mercy of God only four deaths have been reported.
The real criminals are not Israel but the leaders of Hamas, who have set their rocket launchers in mosques, schools and private homes. Before every attack on civilian areas the Israelis contacted the residents by mobile phone & thousands of dropped leaflets warning of imminent attack – this has not been reported in the British press or the media. I do not recall similar tactics being used when Britain bombed Dresden or the UN attacked Kosovo.
We also were told about the Israeli hospital in Ashkelon that treats Arabs and Israelis alike, friend or foe.
It was exciting to hear that the Israeli forces were clammering for prayer shawls to wear under their uniforms rather than body armour!! Also the miraculous preservation of the IDF forces on numerous occasions – eg modifying their route which avoided a bomb, going in through the backdoor when the front was boobytrapped.
The Israelis are tired of war - in their 60 year history there have been five major wars and innumerable acts of terrorism.
The moral outrage that the world’s press has generated is quite misplaced: not a word about the murderous Hamas movement. There was also a feeling expressed that pressure from the USA, the UN and the EU had caused Israel to withdraw before the job of destroying the supply tunnels was completed.
How a small region could accumulate so many rockets is a wonder: these have been largely supplied by Iran who like Hamas is implacably opposed to the existence of Israel.
Looking at the spiritual issues involved in the conflict, the world and much of the church seems to be unaware that they are dealing with the Lord’s covenant people. One of the leaders brought a scripture from Jer 25:31 ‘the Lord has a controversy with the nations’. He pointed out that the present economic turmoil in which fear is the driving principle, together with the increase in violence & terrorism is a sign that the Lord is displeased with the way the world is treating His covenant people.
It was a joy to see the garden tomb, cut out of a wall of rock. There were two chambers in it, a larger one on the left where the body was clearly prepared, and on the right side a smaller room in which the body of Jesus was laid [John 20:12; Mark 16:5]. There were many Nigerians there, some of the 25,000 that their government has paid to visit Israel after the Christians complained about the support the Northern muslims had received to go on pilgrimage to Mecca. Most impressive were the excavations near to the western wall – especially the 2000 year old pavement at the end of the tunnel. It was thrilling to realise that it had been in place when Jesus walked in Jerusalem.
On the Mount of Olives we have the church of St Mary Magdalene with its seven golden onion domes, a marked contrast to the Dome of the Rock mosque on the temple mount across the Kidron valley. It is the burial place of Princess Alice of Greece (Queen Elizabeth's mother-in-law), who harboured Jews during the Nazi occupation of Greece. Nearby is the “Dominus Flevit’ [Jesus wept] church in the garden of which is a thorn tree with vicious six-inch long thorns such as may have been used to crown the Saviour.
Teaching the Children to hate [PW]
The new Al-Aqsa TV Teddy Bear Nassur has vowed to join the Military Wing of Hamas. Following is an excerpt from the Hamas children’s show, “Pioneers of Tomorrow,” featuring the debut of a new character – the teddy bear Nassur.
Teddy bear Nassur: I have come today to the Gaza Strip. Saraa, Allah willing, I will be one of the mujahideen, one of the fighters. I will join the ranks of the ‘Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, and I will wage Jihad among them and carry a gun. Do you know why?
Child host Saraa: Why?
Nassur: To defend the children of Palestine.
The program aired on Al-Aqsa TV on February 13, 2009. Transcript and copyright: Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
Evolution vs Creation [PW]
We have come to the end of the first wave of programmes in which the BBC has been celebrating Charles Darwin. A second onslaught is promised for the autumn. I only watched a couple of the programmes on offer and therefore know very little more about Darwin than I did before. Like most people I have never read his works. His writing is tedious and does not encourage perseverance except by the dedicated reader.
Evolution is essential?
At school I was taught that evolution was proved. Not questioning what I was taught, I had to find a way of reconciling science and faith. I think that I held some foggy idea that if evolution was true the Bible could be rescued by a belief that man was a special creation.
My personal turning point came with reading, ‘Evolution and the Authority of the Bible’, by Nigel M de S Cameron. Below is a quote from the first chapter in which Cameron spells out the pivotal importance of evolution to modern secular society.
“For whether or not Darwinian (or neo-Darwinian) evolution actually happened, it must be admitted on all hands that without the theory or some equivalent the modern secular world would be quite unable to give an account of its self. Its whole self-understanding rests on the idea that there are natural processes that will account for all present phenomena. The atheist and agnostic recognise well enough that the theory of evolution must be true, and in consequence – as some eminent men have actually said – whatever the difficulties in believing the theory (and it has faced and does face strong challenges for instance of a mathematical nature, which evolutionists acknowledge) they are incomparably less than the difficulties involved in rejecting the theory, since that would imply special creation; and special creation would imply God”.
The challenges of a mathematical nature mentioned in the quote probably refers to the work of Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe who had in the same year (1983) published a book demonstrating that the mathematical probability of evolution by chance was so small that it could be safely considered impossible.
Sometimes evolution is accused of being a religion. This brings scorn from the secularist for by definition a religion has to have a God. Although not a religion evolution is a belief system which underpins a form of faith. We have to understand the pivotal nature of evolution in modern thought. It is not a subject which can be debated. For the secular humanist world to exist evolution must be true. To question evolution is to attack the foundations of modern society.
The above are strong words about evolution. Cameron reserved even stronger words for foggy Christian thinking, which sought compromise between science and faith. The quote below illustrates.
“In this chapter and the following we hope to point out why any serious reading of the early narratives of Genesis will find them in conflict with the thinking of modern science, such that harmony with the evolutionary idea is not available except by the abandonment of Genesis. Another way of putting this is to say that the doctrine that scripture teaches, the essential structure of Christian truth, is at heart irreconcilable with evolution. ………………….Hanging in the balance is the fate of orthodox Christianity. The implications of evolution for Christian theology, which evangelical thinkers have scarcely begun to face, are devastating.”
With a challenge to the logical inconsistency of my faith where was I to go. Fortunately I had started to discover those writers who were to rescue me. Authors who took the available scientific evidence and reinterpreted it.
A sleight of hand
45 years ago the case for evolution was presented as being irrefutable. Accepting what I was taught I failed to recognise the sleight of hand by which this case was made. It lies in the definition of evolution of which there are many. Taking just two definitions, micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Micro-evolution is not disputed by anyone. It is universally accepted that species have the ability to adapt to changing environments. This can be observed and verified. The genetic make up of all living creatures contains the information to allow considerable changes. The sleight of hand occurs when the proven is then applied to macro-evolution the transformation from one kind into another. This has never been observed and no mechanism to allow it to take place exists.
Science has moved on
In the last five decades science has moved on. At school I was taught that life probably originated in some sort of chemical soup which was zapped by a huge electrical discharge to form proteins and then cells. I apologise as today this seems to come out of the little green men in flying saucers branch of science, but it was what we were taught and accepted. We now know that even the simplest single cell living organism is incredibly complex. It contains vast amounts of information to enable it to function and reproduce. The first problem the modern evolutionist has to tackle is how the simplest living cell came into existence. No one has come up with a plausible explanation.
Going back to the point made in the preceding paragraph, there is no known mechanism by which genetic information can be improved and no known example of it ever happening. Improvement is obviously essential if a single cell is to evolve into a more advance creature. The opposite is known to be true. There are mechanisms which counter and correct any changes. Some look to adaptation and mutation of species as the process by which improvement takes place, but these both result in a reduction in genetic information.
Two essentials for the acceptance of evolution, the origin of life and the advancement of creatures, have no plausible explanation. But it goes much further. I was told at school that in some way, which I now see was never explained, fossils had something to do with the proof of evolution. My gratitude is to those who have shown me that fossils testify to creation. Darwin believed that if his ideas were true the evidence would be found in the fossils. In fact by now the museums of the world should be stacked by millions of examples of missing links to prove the evolutionary tree. What a surprise, there are only a handful of dubious examples and all of those are contested by scientists.
Then there are questions over symbiotic relationships where one creature is supposed to have evolved in parallel with another. To follow Fred Hoyle’s statistical methods the probability of it happening is so infinitely small that we can take it as impossible. We may, ask what about the fact that life needs life to support life. How did the simplest cells bridge the gap of lack of other life to create an environment in which to develop? There is also the problem of apparent design. The secular evolutionist is forced to rely on blind faith that it must be the product of evolution. The one thing we can say with certainty about macro-evolution is that it never happened because it could never happen.
If you wish to look into these ideas in more depth there are many very good sources of information. One of our readers directs the ’Creation Resources Trust’ P.O.Box 3237, Yeovil BA22 7WD. www,crt.org.uk. They send out a regular newsletter and also arrange meetings. Also recommended are ‘Answers in Genesis’ and ‘Creation Research’.
Why does this matter?
It matters for our children. As Ken Ham of ‘Answers in Genesis’ has pointed out the children from Christian homes will be taught Bible stories in Sunday School. At school they will be taught that science has proved those stories to be myth and fable. It is not surprising that 70 to 80 percent of children from Christian families abandon church in their teens.
It matters because of the consequent loss of authority credited to the Bible and the Church. If parts of the Bible are myth what parts can be trusted?
It matters because evangelism is an uphill struggle against a secular worldview that has been allowed to portray faith as irrational.
It matters because evolution is the foundation of modern secular society. We deplore the breakdown of our society that has resulted from secular humanism. Instead of fighting a rearguard action to preserve a few remaining Christian values we need attach the foundation. If the foundations are weakened the structure will crumble.
It matters because many Christians are conned into thinking that they must compromise. They seek a middle way which holds together a belief in God and evolution. They claim to avoid the extremes of both the militant atheist and Christian fundamentalist. But there is no middle way. The two worldviews are irreconcilable. The Biblical account hinges on the truth of Genesis. It states that sin and death entered this world when Adam fell. Evolution teaches that violence and death were in the world long before man existed. If God created through evolution then He is barbaric. If that were the God we were asked to trust, I would throw in my lot with the atheists.
Time to stand
In my experience those Christians who dismiss creationism have never examined the case for creation. Creation makes the best sense of the available scientific evidence. Christianity is a rational evidence based faith that makes perfect sense of the world as we experience it. In contrast secular atheism is irrational, with out supporting evidence and founded on blind faith in what can never be proved. It is a strong delusion.
Evolution is not a fringe issue to be left to the few who are motivated enough to challenge its false premises. Evolution needs to be tackled if the church is to regain credibility. Are you angry that you were blinded for so long and that so many are being misled by bogus science? It is time for the church to be much bolder in standing for the truth of creation. You can do that by supporting those who are already making a stand for truth.
Financial Failure [PW]
In March I forwarded an email to the Trumpet Sounds email list. It had been circulated by David Wilkerson and warns of a coming calamity. He said that he felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to send out an urgent message to all on his mailing list. The warning started; “AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. IT IS GOING TO BE SO FRIGHTENING, WE ARE ALL GOING TO TREMBLE — EVEN THE GODLIEST AMONG US.”
This warning follows other warnings that David Wilkerson has given over the years the most significant of which was given six weeks before the 11th September 2001. The leadership of Times Square Church in New York felt that the Lord was warning of a coming catastrophe. In response the church cancelled its planned programme for the coming weeks, which included a Missions Conference and Youth Convention. From then on they held prayer meetings four nights a week.
David Wilkerson’s recent message was mainly directed to the USA but he also warned of civil unrest in many cities around the world. He warns that the western world is not experiencing recession or even depression but the wrath of God. God warns so that when the calamity happens those who listened will know that it was within His will. They will be able to help others to understand the spiritual significance of the event.
That the USA will collapse as a major global economic and military power is a message I have felt right to give for some years. Therefore I am already predisposed to accept what David Wilkerson is saying. I have shared in previous editions that I believe the collapse will occur during the seven year cycle ending in 2014. If David Wilkinson is right it could be sooner.
At the cross roads
For many years Britain and America have been warned that if they continue to reject God they will bring judgement on themselves. We have reached the point where God is no longer for us but working against us. Our political leaders are desperately seeking a solution to the global financial meltdown. But if it is God we are up against then their efforts will fail. Whether it is borrowed money, budget deficits or printing money, all will come to nothing.
In the coming years, we may well see moves towards more global co-operation leading to global government. There may be attempts to bring in a global currency and even do away with cash. These will all fail because the show of co-operation between the nations of the world is superficial. Mankind’s natural selfish failings will work to undermine any agreements. The stage is being set for a ruler who will offer hope to the world, a leader who will make out that he can rescue the nations from a deepening chaos.
What are we to do?
As the crisis deepens what are Christians to do? In a sermon which followed up his father’s warning Gary Wilkerson said that this was not a good time to be sitting on the fence. God is warning his church that he does not want it to be compromised with the world.
We are in the closing years of this present age. Scripture warns us that these years will be difficult. No one can promise that we will not go hungry or promise that we will not experience poverty. Paul describing how he was able to cope with both prosperity and poverty wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Our rock in the time to come is a close relationship of trust with our Lord. The best advise for troubled times is, stay close to the Shepherd. In a world that is falling apart He will give us strength and bring us inner peace.