April 23, 2012 Steps to Life Newsletter
Attachments:» Grandparents Retreat - with Pr. John Chan
» Grandparents Retreat Printable Registration Form
» Depression Recovery Program Starting Soon
» The Gut Connection - Part 2 with Oscar Sande
Daniel and Silvia Pel’s Seminar – In His Image
Welcome to another STL Newsletter. Since our last Newsletter, the Steps to Life speaking tour, In His Image, with Daniel and Silvia Pel has taken place. The message of the Pel’s was both informative and a blessing to all who attended the seminars. Their seminar DVDs are available from STL. In several of his presentations Daniel addressed the hidden agenda of the Emerging Church movement, strongly making the point that we humans were created in God’s image and he wants to recreate us in his image. The mystical spirituality of the Emerging Church movement, in its many forms, would have us subtly try and recreate the great God of the universe in an image of our imaginations. It tries to move us firstly into pantheistic belief (God in nature) and then into panantheistic belief, where we have God in us so that we become ‘as gods’. That is, the belief that we are also divine. Satan’s original lie.
Do All Roads Lead to God? Does the Truth Challenge?
The Emerging Church movement’s catch cry is unity in diversity – all roads lead to God. One of its strategies is to have Christian and non Christian faiths concentrate on identifying what they hold in common. (Have you heard of interfaith conferences? Where does the Women’s World Day of Prayer fit in with this scenario? Why have common feel good worship music focusing only on a common theme - love? Common liturgy – worship forms?). It encourages us to set aside the distinctive beliefs defining our spiritual identity. This is described as valuing differences and has the effect of neutering strongly held Biblical doctrinal positions. Ellen White wrote that As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error … Those who are guided by the Word of the Lord will discern with certainty between falsehood and truth, between sin and righteousness (MS 43, 1907, EGW Comments on Colossions). We must be led by the right spirit!
Another of the Emerging Church’s strategies is to dumb down strongly held Biblical teachings and standards which are points of disagreement between Christian churches and non Christian faiths. Have you listened to preachers who present a message on grace but who say nothing about overcoming sin and the process of sanctification? The claim that it all happened at the cross, makes of none effect the work of Jesus on his return to heaven in the heavenly sanctuary and the reason for the investigative judgement. Should people in the pulpit be giving license to attend movies by inuendo, eat what we like or when we like, feature national and international sporting contests, joke about those who try and live healthfully, etc, etc, by constantly referring to these topics as a way of relating to the congregation? Did the end ever justify the means? No! Whether realized or not, it’s all part of the dumbing down of previously held Biblical positions and standards.
The Alpha Course of the Protestant evangelical world was developed by Anglican pastor Nicky Gumbel of the Holy Trinity Brompton, UK Anglican Church, in the 1980’s. The course runs for a night a week for about 12 weeks. Each program starts with a meal where participants are asked not to speak about God or faith because in doing so barriers are created. It is recommended that the Bible is laid aside so that no one will be detered. Psychological selfhelp and a social message (some times with a pantheistic save the planet good citizen message) is given emphasis. Usually prayer is not said since this may embarrass some guests. Small groups follow the meal and are used to promote a unified spirit amongst guests. During the middle of the course a Holy Spirit weekend is conducted which is designed to produce miraculous healings and the claimed experiencing of the power of the Holy Spirit on a personal basis. Concepts such as spiritual formation and centring prayer can be introduced. Nicky Gumbel developed the Alpha Course after a John Wimber spoke at his church in 1982, where Gumbel had the following experience.
After he (Wimber) had been praying for about 30 seconds, all I can say is I felt this incredible power – it was like 10,000 volts … It was so powerful that after a bit I could not take it any more … he had only one prayer and it was ‘More power Lord!’. … So after a bit I couldn’t take it any longer and I started praying against him! I started praying ‘No more power, Lord!’ So eventually there was this shouting match going on in the middle of the room. John Wimber … said, ’Take them out!’ So they carried me out through the French windows! (Talk 13, HTB 2000 as quoted on pg 10). Gumbel and his church were also impacted by the so named Toronto Blessing, a movement of chaotic ecstatic utterances claimed to be evidence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. Rodney Howard-Browne is the key person of the Toronto movement. He calls himself a Holy Ghost Bartender. He trained the likes of Benny Hinn, John Arnott and other mega church leaders who use the principles of the Alpha Course to recruit converts. He boasts of how he as a young person set God an ultimatum. He challenged God - Either you come down here and touch me or I am going to come up there and touch You. (Fresh Oil From Heaven, R Howard- Browne, p 28). When we know of the origins of religious groups it helps us identify which spirit they are inspired by. Isaiah 8: 20 says, To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Hosea 4: 6 also says, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: …
In his book, Hidden Agenda, Jan Voerman (available at STL) provides evidence of strong links between the Alpha Course, Toronto Movement and the mega evangelical churches such as Willow Creek and Saddleback, etc. through their leaders’ links with Norman Vincent Peale (Close associate and endorser of leading occultists and a 33 degree Freemason), who mentored Robert Schuller (Hour of Power and a 33 degree Freemason), who mentored Bill Hybels (Willow Creek), who provides training on a world wide basis for evangelical pastors and church members (Hidden Agenda documents this on p33 ff). Further, Voerman traces the links though the strategies and themes of Rick Warren’s writings and leadership. (Purpose Driven Church , Purpose Driven Life, etc. Do you know that the words Purpose Driven are a significant New Age term?) . Voerman exposes the fallacies and deceptions that are presented for would be end time Christians, like us. New ages claim that we are driven by the purposes of the coming of the age of Aquarius.
The felt needs church marketing of George Banna, church social researcher and marketer, add the strategy of asking people what they want out of church so that churches can then cater for the congregations’ demands. Sounds good, but really the carnal mind needs to go to scripture to find out what it needs. Church is not a supermarket for felt need satisfaction! We need to hear about grace, forgiveness, repentance and how to be ready for the soon coming King. God’s messages to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation identify our spiritual needs. They never feature in George Barna’s felt needs research. Barna says, It’s critical that we keep in mind the fundamental principal of Christian communication: the audience not the message, is sovereign … our messages have to be adapted to meet the needs of the audience. (Marketing the Church, pg 145) If you missed this point read it again! It’s interesting that congregations have become audiences! The tail is wagging the dog. That is, don’t give them present truth, give them warm fuzzies!
Jesus, the greatest model evangelist of all times, kindly and unashamedly presented truth. Paul called it a two edged sword. Not a felt need! (Heb 14: 12 - For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.) It was aimed at peoples’ eternal salvation need, not their felt need. His preaching drew some to him and eventually it repelled many who were looking for miracles, an earthly kingdom and who judged success by numbers or the entertainment attraction of the miracles. Jesus said, referring to the time after His ascension, Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: … (John 16:13) Jesus’ emphasis was on truth. Not on feelings, miracles, sensations and entertainment style worship services. Truth wrapped up in practical love, is a powerful package to give to the friends, neighbors and strangers God puts across our path. Jesus teaches truth throughout the ages. In Revelation He teaches present truth for the end times, founded on past teachings.
Ellen White wrote of many who hear the truth. When the truth is brought home to their heart, they see that their lives are not in accordance with the will of God (Sounds a little different to the principles of the Alpha Course – where none should be challenged nor offense risked for the sake of salvation) They see the need for an entire change in themselves, but they are not willing to take up the self-denying work … They go away offended even as the disciples left Jesus murmuring, ‘This is a hard saying; who can hear it?’. (Desire of Ages, pg 392)
Lesson: When truth is presented in love we must not walk away from its challenge to us. Worship service entertainment cannot replace truth. The Holy Spirit is promised to help us change when truth confronts us. We need to make sure that the right spirit is leading us. Daily pray to God that this will be so.
NOW is the Time to Book for the Grandparents Retreat
The Grandparents Retreat will be an inspiring and memorable occasion. It’s for grandparents and those who want to prepare to be a grandparent. Its better to be prepared than to have to play catch up. The accompanying brochure and booking form have all the details. For interstate participants airport pick up and return can be arranged. Contact us before you book so that pick up and departure times can be co-ordinated. All participants, both live in and live out, must register so that we don’t overfill the venue. Those wishing to only come during the day need to book their meals. Live in places are limited to around 25 beds. Please visit our website www.steps.org.au
2012 Depression Recovery Program – STL Lilydale, Starting June 18.
If you want to proof yourself against depression, help someone you know who is impacted with depression or anxiety or are impacted yourself by depression this course will provide great benefits. Bookings are now open. Don’t miss out as we can only take a limited number. Please phone Cherryl with your booking.
Sunday Health Seminar, June 3, Oscar Sande: Gut Connection Part 2
Bookings are now open for Part 2 of the Gut Connection. Please see the enclosed flyer.
God Held the Axles Onto Our Trailer Frame After the Retaining Bracket and Springs Broke.
On the return trip from Brisbane to Melbourne after the Pel’s seminar tour Carolyn and I were travelling down the Newcastle Freeway on the speed limit of 110 kph. We planned to stop further down the road for lunch on route to Goulburn for the night. For some reason we changed our minds and turned in at the Morriset turn off to make a sandwich. We stopped in the Rotary Park, had lunch and then before pulling out I walked around to check a tyre we had trouble with in Coffs Harbour on the way up to Brisbane. The tyre was okay but theback axle and wheels were on a strange angle to the front axle. I took the trailer to the nearest tyre repair place who did an assessment and said ‘Drive slowly to the caravan repair factory just around the corner. Be careful because the bracket holding the front and rear axles has broken and the axles are not attached to the trailer on the left side’. We drove very carefully, and found out that some springs were also broken. So, the trailer and stock stayed in Morriset for repair after Easter. We continued on our way giving thanks to God for his goodness and protection. By another unusual set of circumstances the trailer and stock was trucked down to Melbourne and we had it back again a week later fully repaired and at a very reasonable charge. We don’t pray for God’s protection and intervention with no results.
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Stay strong and blessings from Cherryl and the STL Team
Brian Way/Programs Coordinator
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