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THE POINTED PRAYER OF SOLOMON
AND THE DISAPPOINTED PRAYER WHICH IS NOT OF FAITH
THE ENDURING PRINCIPLES OF PRAYER -
AND THE DEFILED PRINCIPLES OF THE ALPHA COURSE
I Kings 8:1-5,14-53
and Associated Reflections
I The OCCASION (I Kings 8:1-5,14-21)
At last, the Temple built, the ark is placed within its august enclosure.
This is a
massive insert, since it contains the law,
which with all its statements and ordered words included or intended,
it ordains for Israel,
inaugurating a Passover Place,
a Salvation Setting,
as well as a Theocratic Rule:
one Place, one Rule, one Salvation
( Deuteronomy 12:5-11, 14:23, 26:2, Joshua 9:27. I Kings 8:29,
Psalm 78:68, 132:13-14, and II Chronicles 7:16, 33:4).
II GOD's FAITHFULNESS and
This culmination of the word of the Lord to Israel, to David, with the caveat that not David but his son should build the temple, has now been fulfilled: his son HAS built the temple just as God ordained. So do we who are Christians now find firstly, in God's incarnate Son, through the line of David given flesh for the purpose, ONE PLACE, the Cross, according to not one but MANY prophecies, and these through many, together with the fulfilment of these things: and that, it also is just as the Lord has said.
We should rejoice and praise God for this Messiah coming when, where and how and for what He was sent as foretold, doing it all to perfection and granting us a site, Himself by the Holy Spirit, for prevailing prayer.
III The PRAYER
Having taken these preliminary steps at the culmination of temple building and the emplacement of the ark, Solomon then launched into a prayer of faith, asking many things in ordered sequence and classic mould.
a) God as Target for Audition (8:22-24)
- Merciful to those
who Walk before Him
with all their Hearts,
-The One fulfilling
the Special Promises to David, as here.
Notice that just as Solomon notes here that God has kept His promise to David, so has He kept His promise to us in the New Covenant day, who believe. There is scope in this for direct application to ourselves whose temple is Jesus Christ, whose Covenant is in one sacrifice, whose appeal is precisely now as then, to ALL the heart (I Kings 8:23, 48), not some conveniently packed module! some display unit, as on a show-room floor…
WHY then are so many prayers fizzers ? It is firstly, because they are NOT from all the heart. They are half-hearted hopefulness, entering a shrouded realm of idealistic or pitiful or pining thought, and not prayer at all. They do not speak to Him that nothing can stop when He wills, in the name that has honour ineffable, with the intentions that are moulded in the furnaces of heaven and enshrouded in its grace.
It is secondly because they are not asked toward the temple - and putting this into New Testament format, they are not asked in Christ's own name, that is, with His glory and principles and passion and purposes in full control of their meat and matrix, but merely observers as the mouth moulds itself into words.
Thirdly, they may use compromise of comfort with purity, of convenience with commission, of desperation with doctrine, and not have an abiding settled trust as their milieu, with that personal entente which like a Spring atmosphere of mixed, fresh perfumes is a part of the glorious liberty of crying Father, and turning to Him as to a glorious scene, of mountains, lakes and waterfalls, with adoration and acceptance of a hinterland of holiness which knows no limit. Thus the Temple was a thing of magnificence that symbolised the glory of God. He IS glorious, AND holy; and happy are they who keep His commands for they are no mere orders, and in Christ this is the more obvious, but rather tunes and overtures, themes of splendour spilling into format for living, surpassing propositions, but never leaving them, surpassing duty and enshrined in wisdom.
b) God's Provisions of Power and Peace (8:24-43)
Solomon with the word “therefore”, next comes to special foci, features, functions for faith,
now that the temple enshrines what matters, though at that time, it was signified in symbol.
If it was so then, in symbolic depiction, how much more obvious is it now, in divine fulfilment. THIS, our temple took some 33 years in building, namely the life on this earth of Jesus Christ. Yet this ultimate presentation was far more magnificent than the ornate features in the temple of Solomon; for that breathed symbol and architecture, beauty of craft, but Christ exhibited the peace, power, authority, kindness, meekness and loveliness of the deity Himself. It was seen and shown in His character, speech and ways. He did not baulk at the truth, which remains unmollified, in its severity and accuracy, when mercy is mocked and His sacrifice is not ... to the taste.
Always remember that His sacrifice is not to delete Himself, but our sin’s hold and unholy grasping; and that His resurrection is not just a pattern for our own, but is also an index to the majestic power of our judge (Acts 17:31), who now draws near like an aircraft approaching its landing.
Half a heart, half a life, half a commitment, or worse, a beautician's model of death, made to look life-like: what is this ? It is for a life not broken in spirit to will the will of God, nor fired with desire to please Him as Lord, but just a flaccid plant and a drooping ornament, savvy perhaps but not a servant. It is exempted at once from the assured answers to prayer to which Solomon now turns, on the basis of whole-hearted love for and occupation with the ways and will of the Lord. Not this, it is but a ring-in, as slang has it; a slovenly substitute for spiritual reality. It is like one coming to a party uninvited (as in Matthew 22:1-14)!
In what particulars, then, may the believer as shown in the
prayer of Solomon,
seek divine answer ? This is in order, to be found, in the context of the theocratic State:
i) Civically in judicial contest (31-32
ii) Nationally in military reverse (33-34)
as no less, in rebuke by rainlessness,
famine or pestilence (35-37)
iii) Personally, in plagues of the heart,
burdens innumerable (38-40)
- all these, they are present in major thrust,
so that the people of God, fear Him where He has placed them,
follow Him where He has placed them, and keep His way with a will.
It is found further,
iv) Inter-racially in God's equal love for those
co-opted into the land (41-43)
- so that all nations might know and fear God.
How ludicrous it always was in the USA for example when negroes were not welcome in certain churches: neither Greek nor Jew, male nor female is the list for inclusion without prejudice (Galatians 3). The ONLY ground of separation is so simple: it occurs when either of two things happens.
Firstly, it comes if the LORD who unifies by faith in Him according to His word, is either clownishly replaced by a made-up Christ, either in a piece of bread which is worshipped, or a piece of some theologian's or other’s mind, which has a product. These are made up to be worshipped, as in the vast array of false christs, some clearly replacement models, others slyly intruded as if they were He who came and died and rose.
Secondly, it comes if HIS WRITTEN WORD, the Bible, is traduced, seductively altered in form or force, changed, made different, impeded, imposed on, moulded to the mind of any man: for ONE is your teacher, even Christ Himself (Matthew 23:8-10), sinless and sovereign as is fitting.
ALL of you, said He to the APOSTLES themselves, are brethren. Indeed, it was NOT ONLY to the apostles, for it states that it was to His disciples. That ? IT is the test. Reject this, the only authorised word of God to mankind, in any of its ways and you are judged already, moving so as to be not of this mould, not of His image, not restored in His light and right, an innovator and not a receiver of the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26). Isaiah 8:20 tells us that then there is no light in you. You MUST follow Him ... not lead! God is not a poodle, but an insoluble problem to those who play God. He works for the one who waits for Him (Isaiah 64:4-5); this is no time for play.
Again, the ground of union in cricket is the rules and laws, and play in accordance, so that error is ready to be corrected by the rules, and practice altered when clear breach is occurring. The ground of union in Christ is the law of God, the word of God, the authority of the Lord, and when this is rejected, it is some other religion. When the very Lord whose the book is, is displaced with vain imaginations, as in all the sects, then this adds reckless impudence to lawlessness. It becomes a different and a delusive religion, drafted by desire, derailed by unruliness, a pretence: it is people playing golf on the cricket pitch, an invasion, a diversion, a folly.
From that sort of thing, one separates: not because of discrimination (equals, failure to treat all His servants as one), but because HE has discriminated against those who have idols instead of God, idols in the heart, so that as Isaiah puts it, "If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). If you are going to worship God, it is important not to substitute some magician's modelling, put in by sleight of hand; or if you are going to have a covenant, it is important that you do not alter and DO mean it. If you love someone, you show it and know it. To Him, we come. He is immutable, His word unalterable (cf. Matthew 5:17-20); for it is seven times refined (Psalm 111:7ff., Psalm 12:6).
IF to Him as He is then, people come, be they never so different in colour or other background items, then acceptance is a joy and togetherness in Christ is a delicious outcome (Psalm 133). Thus Solomon is showing that the power of God is just as much for those who come to the Lord from outside Israel, and then participate, as for those born there. ALL nations and peoples are in view (cf. Psalm 67). The case is not different now, except that the focus is Christ manifest, and to Him direct.
c) God's Hearing (8:44—53)
In particular moreover, God is sought by Solomon, that He be willing to hear prayer from His people
i) In battle when they are 'sent' (44-45)
In sin, when they are in exile because of it
He gives grounds for this expectation on the grace of the living Lord, the Creator who is God.
nation may sin, but Solomon pleads that even then God may hear when they seek
Him according to this, His declaration and His revelation:
- for there is none without sin,
for these are His own people,
redeemed from Egypt,
so that it is well that He listen whenever they call on Him 51-53).
But HOW are they to call upon Him ?
it is all in terms of a sincerity
and energy of heart,
built on personal repentance, and the realities symbolised by the Temple given,
not that He dwells in temples,
but that He ordained this as a focus (46-49).
So does the Christian, a stone built in the Temple of Christ (I Peter 2), Himself the foundation (I Corinthians 3:11), have access WHEN with the whole heart and mind, loving God above all, he or she so approaches Him. It is accordingly on the basis of that one space in time, that one time in space, when God became man and giving Himself to His detractors, used their violence to cover our own sins, with His innocence, and to bring us back to God, Himself resurrected in body, Lord of all creation, of both the living and the dead (Romans 14:8-9, I Peter 3:18). Thus none of us lives to Himself, nor does any of His die to himself; for if we live, we live to Him, or if we die, it is to the Lord. Whether then we live or die, we are the Lord’s!
What then do you lack in godliness, in spiritual power, in grace, in virtue, in brotherly love, in love to the Lord ? Ask: indeed you are commissioned to do so as in II Peter 1. THESE things you are ordained to ask for, and God ordains the reply, made to the heart emptied of its own lordliness and ways, and ready for His tutelage, prizing His fear, relishing His love. It is an expedition, like D-day. You are ready to move onto one of the barges, ships, to take you across, to disembark as one of His soldiers in a dangerous foreign land ? Good, move then, in His enlistments, and so act as saved by grace, newly made, or equally long sustained, in His race, that of the children of God.
THE BEAUTY BEYOND THE TEMPLE,
the Subsequent Blessing by Solomon (8:44—53)
But let us return to the site of Solomon's prayer, and to that day, and inspect yet further that way, for the way is one, from symbol to substance, from schema in the Temple, the architect's plan to life beyond it, direct to the Lord, in that spiritual communion with the one God by His people.
In His infinite mercy and wisdom, God had Solomon add a blessing, in this ceremonial and triumphant occasion, one heralding the settled character of the pilgrim Israel at last, in its land, in its city, Jerusalem, covered in its spiritual shroud, under the shadow of that Mighty Rock who was to come, already looking upon His land (cf. Isaiah 32:1-5, 7,:11-14 with 8:8, where already Israel is seen as "Your land, O Immanuel," the very name of the Messiah foretold in Isaiah 7 and 9).
What was that blessing ? What were the integuments of the integration, the sinews of the body of His people ? How and in what atmosphere was it to work ? It was by faith in the living and immutable God (8:15,20,23) who keeps His word, being not subject to unfaithfulness or alteration in His heart (8:44-49 cf. Psalm 145:17-19, 119:41,89-90,140-144 and Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 102:25-28), in His word, which is the truth, more sure than any rock, and able to smash in the end, any prevarication, lie or deviation. How ardently does the Psalmist in 119 delight not to be diverted from the word of this changeless God of pity, grace, mercy, truth and justice in wisdom and holiness (cf. Psalm 119:10-11, 44, 111:8).
Solomon then, following his prayer, arose with this blessing, seeking that the Lord would not forsake them, but rather maintain their cause, in whose hands so great an instrument for faith's operation had been placed. He besought the Lord to incline their hearts to keep His commands, their feet to walk in His ways, and that his words of faith and prayer just uttered might be near the Lord, day and night, to deliver and direct them each day as requirements might arise. WHY ? SO THAT they might be as what is now a plate-glass window in an emporium, that ALL THE WORLD might see the power and glory, the greatness and the goodness of the Lord, and realise that of gods there is none, but God alone is He.
To this end, he then exhorted the people that their HEARTS BE LOYAL to the Lord, to walk in His ways and keep His word.
As to the word of this immutable God of spiritual beauty and faithfulness, Solomon in this blessing declared:
"There has not failed on
word of all His good promise,
Such then is the way, the word,
As in John 15:7, they are to
abide in His word and His word is to abide in their hearts, while they operate
by faith, never scurrying in abandon as if God
were not there,
So is the prayer not for loose translations, as in the Purpose-Driven life (cf. The Merciful Might of the Majestic Messiah: Jesus Ch. 3), and far is its point from mingling with this world as in the Alpha course (see below), or reports of new mingling with this world's business leaders attributed to the purpose-driven adumbration for coming action, confusing the kingdom of God with the whole earth in its present state (which as in II Peter 3, is unredeemed, unrenewed and awaiting judgment! cf. http://www.rickwarrennews.com/080523_summit.htm).
The assured and prevailing, the pure and prescribed path for prayer is not for deviations into liberalism, into secularism, into syncretism, into neo-orthodox phrase mongering alterations by sleight of word, or neo-evangelical motions towards the horror of non-word based ecumenism, a little here, a lot there, like a designed dress continually subject to new flounces and furbelows, expansions and alterations until it can match even a female jumbo.
It is for KEEPING to the word of God, KEEPING it in your heart, NEVER letting it part from
itself, or yourself, hiding it in your spirit, in a spirit of fealty, fidelity to God, not sauntering off
to new spirits, new gospels, or new characterisations of the Gospel itself, by subtle changes
and secular comparisons. Thus is the prayer to be made; and as to whatever moves from this
prelude to the Messiah, to the words of truth wrought by the power of God (cf. I Peter 1:9ff., II Peter 1:19ff.) before He came and taught by Him when He came and flowing from Him according to His promise, till all was done (Revelation 22:18ff., Galatians 1): it is like disease. It is to be sought and taught and received as if cancer, and loved as if tuberculosis, admired as if a ditch and
settled in as if a bog. Such is the way of the day of Solomon, as he taught it, and such is the program for prayer.
An Alpha that does not End in Omega
See also Bewilderment,
and the Beauty of Christ's Holiness Ch. 7
In B iv above, it was noted that there was tolerated, as found in Solomon's prayer, no division based on race, or original settlers or new ones and so forth, so long as they had joined the nation and were worshipping the same God in the same covenantal milieu. They were then to be as one with Israel in religion.
A NEW SICK, SLICK SYNTHESIS ?
The temple toward which all these prayers were to be made, symbolised as much. We contrasted by example, Romanistic devices, where some one man is to be exalted above his brethren in the teaching realm, fount of issuance of whatever he may find himself moved to declare, and saw the entire infidelity of so arrogant a departure from Christ mandate in Matthew 23:8-10.
Instead, as to those who follow the written
word of God, the Bible, biblical Christians,
in devastating in advance the realms of new false prophets and
in distinguishing the inerrant and inspired
What then are we to be considering, of
by contrast with the unity, that is so desirable ?
It is this. Unity in the body is eminently desirable, but not when the
additives are cancerous, contrary
to design, and a weight to its operation! There is a time for separation by excision, so that some
of the flesh must depart, and the body must depart from it.
Firstly, WHEN is it pertinent ? (cf. Separation 1997, Keys to the Comfort of the Kingdom of Christ Ch. 3).
Secondly, WHERE is it pertinent ? it comes if HIS WRITTEN WORD, the Bible, is traduced, seductively altered in form or force, changed, made different, impeded, imposed on, moulded to the mind of any man, in part or in whole: for ONE is your teacher, even Christ Himself (Matthew 23:8-10), sinless and sovereign as is fitting.
Such innovatory clusters of compounds bring us to a false temple, with a false front and a carefully contrived similarity on the outside, to some of the features of the Temple.
We had one such construction in the purpose-driven life concept*1, which swept through many unsuspecting churches like a tonic, with impurities ignored. This one moves on the same front, one however which is going backwards, advancing with that, to the rear. Here the battle line is far off, for the encampment is no longer in the movement to advance on the clear call of biblical truth, but with this subordinate, in agreement with myriads of mutative meanders. .
This misleading substitute for biblical Christianity is the Alpha Course. Brought from super-ecumenical Britain's Church of England, itself replete with the World Council of Churches*1A, it has been formed in close alliance with the first parish in the Church of England, according to report, to embrace the Vineyard phenomenon, the so-named Toronto Blessing, itself complete with energic demonstration, such as having a body physically displaced and flung across a room, and sundry other sound effects. These have been variously described but notably unseemly, and a trend to announce the word or will of God in messenger like status, as if from a current recording just being released, while dynamic displays of one kind or another give what at times seems all but a side-show status, a vain endeavour to impress, to make ready for ... yes, authority.
Starting in a tendential sort of way, without too much detail or time as a percentage of the whole, with comparatively ordinary theology, if somewhat Arminian and somewhat inadequate, it moves to a finale with a week-end in which the Toronto-type 'truth' is able to move in all its unrestrained vigour. Whither ? By that time that question is significantly changed from what might have been expected, given the comparatively tame seeming beginning.
But WAS it really so tame ? Far from it, but so only in initial topics. In fact it make out a plan to reach the lost, with Church members and populace as HOSTS, and the unsaved as guests. The 'hosts' had to play the host, not being assertive, far less invasive, not being intrusive and far less authoritative, a sort of people-power substitute for the actual Pentecost, in which it might go, if so recast, something like what is to follow... but first let us get the basics before our dramatisation.
One report from a practical case (and it is required that the book be followed, the course, carefully and with conscientiousness) had the caveats, the course mode, the behaviour mode for the PEOPLE in the course, for the course leader to follow with strictures such as these. This particular batch is found in the work, Dialectic, Praxis and the Alpha Course, by Wendy Howard, Editor of Despatch Magazine, and relates to the procedures provided at a Brisbane example of the Alpha course. The URL is
Since this may be referred to, reference points are not included here.
1. Non-believers are invited to an Alpha dinner by the church people. Christianity is virtually set aside for the night, no meaningful prayers, no hymns or songs which really spell-out Christianity. The unbelievers are given an "open-ended" opportunity to give their own views and beliefs, the churchgoers are introduced to a new experience of unfettered interaction with people [or a person] who are not believers or followers of Christ Jesus. This is done, Alpha claims to justify such strange tactics, so that the non-Christians can feel loved, appreciated and listened to. NO ONE is allowed to "confront" the unbelievers in any way.
2. Alpha is "non-directive" in that very, very little Biblical instruction is given in the dinners and the weekends-away meetings. The laying on of hands, experience with the "holy spirit", making friends and having fun are encouraged. But there is a "non-directive" system going on throughout the Alpha Course.
3.There are really no closed philosophical viewpoints allowed! Alpha is supposed to be Christian, but the mouths of the preachers of the Gospel, and the witnesses to the Gospel message are effectively gagged, in reality. The Bible is almost a closed book in Alpha. GOD's Word is gagged as well!
4. Alpha is a social group, it is not a meeting or a church service, it is a social gathering. It is not a Bible study or a prayer meeting, it is a social dinner.
5. It uses a social issue where there are differences of opinion. The non-Christians believe and "feel" differently to the churchgoers, yet they are all mixed.
6. Alpha leads shrewdly into a consensus, because the church people are "not allowed" to preach or teach effectively most of the time, and the unbelievers can hold forth with their "feelings" and "thoughts" almost unhindered. The unbeliever may well want to participate in the "holy spirit" experiences which cannot bring him/her to salvation, but may bring ALL into a shared experience in the "spirit [a counterfeit of the Divine].
Nick Gumbel, who has presented the Church with this course, has made it clear directly that what unites the churches (including the Romanist body) is more important than what divides them, and that hence it is necessary to stop the criticism of one by the other, and this principle is applied. There is thus a ... different approach, as we shall shortly see in detail, to that of the Bible, to the whole issue of exposition, fidelity and truth.
Thus, as one can readily see, the Protestant Reformation is dropped, the grounds are forsaken, the false Gospel of Rome exposed for 500 years with vigour and just condemnation to the uttermost is now NOT to be criticised, and this ? in this most unauthoritative SEEMING approach!
Thus there is indeed authority in this people power, and there are metallic guidelines, the norm when people take over from the law as it is written, and frequently, the liberations, as in Communism, every man his plot, became libations to the unknown deity ... man, or his choice. Avoid the objective in whatever subjectivities, whether of unknown and unworkable forces as in Communism*1B, or spiritually untested vogues as this appears to be, and you readily find both objective rules and unobjective grounds for them. Leaving the unchangeable God is leaving the shore for the turbulent waters, in whatever way it is done.
A NEW SEDITIOUS PRAYER ? and FORBIDDEN FELLOWSHIP!
Prayer for or in this kind of 'unity' is not
according to His word or His stated will (cf. John
17:6-8). It thus becomes extraneous prayer, except God intervene in mercy, as indeed He did in the case of Balaam, who alas was so far gone that his name in the end, though he was a prophet, has come to stand for deviation and covetousness (Revelation 3:14, II Peter 2:15, Jude 11).
How then does this passage read, this from the mouth of Christ, in John 17 (cf. Jesus Christ for the People, but not for This World Ch. 5)? It is like this:
"I have manifested Your name to
the men whom You have given Me
out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me,
and they have kept Your word.
"Now they have known that all
things which You have given Me are from You.
For I have given to them the words which You have given Me;
and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
"I pray for them. I do not pray
for the world
but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them..."
What things are given ? To the Son, all, in His eternal sublimity as in Philippians 2:1ff., and to Him as Messiah whatever is needed for His role, while it remains true that "all things that the Father has are mine" (John 16:15). He spoke all that the Father commanded Him (John 12:48-50), and declared "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me" (John 7:17).
|If Jesus Christ,
eternal God and Lord on high, incarnate in humility,
incorruptible in holiness (cf. Matthew 4, I Peter 2)
speaks only what is commanded:
HOW MUCH MORE do saved sinners, stones in His temple,
parts in His body, SPEAK NO MORE!
The compass is what John is required to declare in Revelation 22:18-19. To the THINGS given NOTHING may be added; and any idea of adding is exceptionally crooked, horrible and detestable, subject to curse, precisely as in the chemical-physiological area, would be free lancing by a chemist, relative to a medical prescription, adding this or that at his own illicit will. Moreover as to the words actually given, FROM THESE NOTHING may be removed. Thus the Gospel, for one item, is subject to nil alteration, change or additive (Galatians 1) from what Paul had given, immediately condemning Romanism and Mormonism at a glancing blow. His words were impelled (I Cor. 2:9ff., cf. I Peter 1:10ff.), as those of the prophets of the Old Testament), and these are not options. What is commanded to be a place of liberty is so by command; and what has obedience commanded, has that, by the same rule of God. It is God who determines it.
After all, WHO is speaking! Faith begins there, and ends there, with Him!
The case is not different with Pentecostalism, to which Alpha is heavily attuned. IF ANYONE for any reason in any context DARES to add ANYTHING, and that includes permission where there is prohibition, or concepts where they are not present, 'revelations' and 'words' which have new doctrinal content in ANY respect: then this is as far from Christ and the truth as is Rome and as is Mormonism and any of the liberal or other modes of their day, which take out words or incorporate concepts of their own, including all the lèse-majesté of DARING to deliver critiques, always confounded in the end, of the Bible, which is only a CLASS method of deleting parts of it and adding parts of its own intellectual apparatus to the field, in the process. Thus it is offending on both scores, in both modes, and doubly asking for the curse on presumptive arrogance, and defiling dynamic.
What is the function of the Messiah ? salvation, redemption, manifestation of God in human format, to the world, completion of the assignment granted. What is the function of the Spirit of God ? It is what the Word of God has formulated and the Sender, the Father has indicated; for the Spirit is sent from the Father by the Son as we find in John 15:26. And what does the Word, the One who formulates for inspection the instruction, what does He say ? He says that the Spirit will not speak on His own authority, but as He hears, so He will speak (John 16:13). In this, the SPEECH aspect, the WORD is the One who grants, just as the Father is the One who gives the grant.
Heaven forbid that anyone should add to or subtract from the assigned functions of the Spirit of the Lord, as revealed by His Word, and in His written word. All the profundities of wisdom are the Lord's, but to man is given what is written, and this binds. From God we learn all this of His own internal being and its functions toward man. It is in vain to prescribe to or for Him! He knows...
Understanding may be poured out to discern, and power to proclaim is provided for called preachers of that Word (cf. II Timothy 4:2), but PART of this understanding is the point that one is LIMITED to the Word of God, and as to what He has to say, order, require or provide, it is PRECISELY what is written. There is a beginning, there is an end, and there is what is in between. God is both alpha and omega, the way and the truth; and His word rules (Joel 2:11).
Thus, to take the case of much Pentecostal tongues' speech, it is provided that ONLY 2 or 3 may speak at a meeting, that there is NEVER to be any public speaking in tongues if ALL is not interpreted, that as tongues may be a gift, severely limited in dignity and placement, and in edification (and ALL things must be edifying says the apostle in I Corinthians 12, 14, in the meeting) so is interpretation of tongues a gift. So then is the RESULT limited in doctrine AND in judgment to what is written, as above (cf. I Corinthians 3-4 - for outside the word, all things are not to be judged before the time: the word judges).
Outside that word then, Judge nothing before the time! That is the word of God written.
IF in the Vineyard case, as so much forwarded in England by the writer of the Alpha course, there should be extremes of Pentecostalism, charismatic leaps, so that these rules are not kept, so that this lowering of the significance of tongues is not followed with zeal (and Paul puts the rating thus, that he would rather speak 5 words with his mind in public than 10,000 without it, that is, in tongues): then what ? Then this is adding to their import, contrary to the biblical things, and subtracting from their application, as forbidden in Revelation as in Proverbs 30:6. The rule is to one church as to all from the Master Builder (I Corinthians 1:2, 3:10).
You see such violation as this to be the case in the Manchester Guardian extensive coverage from a reporter who covered the situation and reported in great detail on the events. This may be viewed (as at June 2008) at
which adds a second exposure by a link towards the end.
In this place, it is apparent that not only were tongues spoken by many at once, but this was actively encouraged, and made a great thing, whereas this is certainly contrary to the Bible on both counts. In fact, repeatedly one finds the stress that Gumbel had found the Vineyard movement, one of extreme liberty in Pentecostalism, including by report, rolling on the floor, most desirable.
The emphasis, one finds from the reporter on the spot, from the Manchester Guardian, and all the other testimony investigated, is clear. It is what you feel, experience, find out, how it works, what is occurring, not what God has authorised, nor how He wants things run as formulated and presented by the Bible, that is the criterion. The lord of the meeting is not the Lord of the Bible. Enough said!
Thus one may add by means of a pope, or through an angel (puffing oneself up in significance - contrary to Colossians 2:18), or by tongues or interpretations or by a misuse of 'revelations' outside the limitations generically set for our Age, or one may subtract.
These things are all forbidden. Whatever one does, it must be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17). That NAME involves Lordship, power, presence and obedience on our part. We act in the right, authority and power of another, in precise accord with the part, place and mission, the function delimited as GIVEN BY HIM. This is curtailed in all of the ways shown; for God is not a 'name' to use for one's outpourings, but for the words given in the Bible, with the understanding warranted by those words, which indeed may forcibly be brought out to the air and into the heart by the Spirit of God (as in Ephesians 1:17-18). These things are authoritative over all; private experiences are to be as and within the realms and modes given. If you exclude the test, you again disobey God in His word (as in I John 4:1ff.).
Why then this preoccupation with disobedience, if not in word, then in deed ?
Are not the profound graces of God sufficient without this interspersing by - if you will - the typist! Are the unsearchable riches of Christ inadequate, that there should be rough-handling of His word! If the key to the safe to be changed, though its contents are grace and peace beyond all ordinary expression!
This brings into focus, the fact that there is one way of telling the nature and source of the experience: the events.
If a surgeon has a way of doing things, then another surgeon, with the same principles, but inventive, may find a way somewhat better. This is so. When however GOD tells you HOW and in what way He will act, it is necessary NOT to be inventive. He knows His own mind, His own creation, and is not subject to the desires and/or wishes of His creation when He speaks, where He speaks, how He speaks.
ANY communication of His is within the chosen parameters of His declaration, and ANY departure from this has various results and causes. First, it means rebellion. Secondly (as when you might ignore a requirement to have lead protection in an atomic reactor centre), it means danger. You are wilfully exposing yourself to what God in His wisdom deems wrong, perilous or insulting.
If you insist, are you then expecting that in a different, humanly contrived perspective, in a mode forbidden, you are going to be enjoying the felicitous rapture of the One whom you presume to interview, receive, relate to, while rebelling, while discounting His wisdom and acting on your own behalf, or on that of others doing the same!
Do you expect a policeman to congratulate or felicitate you when you draw a gun on him, or openly practice violence in his presence ? Or would you anticipate that a lawyer would smile benevolently while you rifle his drawers, instead of waiting for his own way of communicating to you from his deep resources, selecting at his own will!
In full accord with this, the Alpha emphasis on NOT keeping an eye and a pastoral watch on doctrine in meetings is anti-scriptural, an enormity of misuse of the name of Jesus Christ in which any Christian meeting must be convened. It has another Lord, another scope, another realm of limits and possibilities, and is not therefore in this a Christian meeting, except in misused name. Its emphasis in MODE, from both the direct and reported speech of its writer, on not criticising major denominations is similarly contrary to scriptural DUTY (cf. Acts 20:26-32).
Why is this ? It is because for the vigilance required for the flock in general and the lambs in particular is precisely as the case demands, total and all-encompassing. Does a doctor relax his attentions because someone else wants a few weeks to inculcate other medicines, methods or approaches ? NOT if he is responsible. If he takes the case, he runs it; if he consults, it is by decision. It is not a cattle stampede, but a responsibility act of an accountable man.
The known accord with Rome as a sound organisation, on the part of the writer of the Alpha course, so that there are mutually approbative utterances for their work in the faith, each of the other, merely emphases the basic error in the course, biblically judged.
This makes clear that the enjoinder NOT to make such criticism of major churches on the one hand, and the omission of authority in the proceedings in the Alpha course meetings, when even heresies are encouraged in the speaking of them, and this encompassment, on the other, are all one. ANYONE who does NOT consider Romanism scriptural is bound to avoid such a course, for it is designed not to offend Rome, and Rome declares it is has nothing in it contrary to its teaching. Since this includes the Cross, and Rome is in the midst of one of the greatest anti-scriptural heresies of all time*1C, for which it has murdered freely in the Inquisition and EXPLICITLY, therefore the teaching that does not EXCLUDE Romanism in its presentation of Christ and His sacrifice is defective.
Why ? for this reason: the very heart of the Gospel is here, and Rome takes it over, and makes it beat with its own force, muscular as in the past, or spiritual as more obviously in the polluted present, in its authoritarian, additive and contradictory instructions*1C.
It is a DUTY whether in the course or out of it, IN SEASON and OUT OF SEASON to adhere to the word of God ONLY (II Timothy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6,Mark 7:7ff.), and to allow the entry of alien doctrine not for one hour as shown in Paul's example in Galatians 2. As well have dogs littering a hospital with their faeces, as have false teaching setting itself up in the name of the Lord, or those who love Him, allowing any cohesion, or collaboration, or insinuation of soundness to what is false, in mode or in declaration or in procedure.
It is as unthinkable as it would have been if Christ, who IS THE TRUTH (John 14:6) had allowed for a time, for diplomatic or other purposes, any of the scribes or Sadducees or Pharisees to have their will and way in public discourse in His very presence, instead of so continually and constantly rebutting them that they came to the point where they did not even DARE to question, to attack, to insinuate, to seek to show Him wrong, or to assert their own doctrines in His presence any more (Matthew 22:46).
That is the EXACT opposite of the Alpha method, which seeks to have people unloose their inward thoughts and declare them, evidently with no fear of being contradicted, controverted or exposed! Following Christ is not the same as acting in precise contradiction (cf. I Corinthians 11:1). In the case of Paul, whom also there is injunction to imitate, consider Him in the churches of the Jews, when argumentation was brisk and sure, continued and confrontational. Is this to follow Paul ? No, neither in principle nor in practice (cf. II Corinthians 10:5ff.).
There can be no fellowship with unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14).
What! Paul expostulates,
does darkness have fellowship with light!
does righteousness have fellowship with lawlessness ?
indeed he goes further.
Does Belial (of the devil) have accord with Christ ?
Principle in general, practice in particular and prohibition in expostulation, all read the same; but it is another book which here animates Alpha, whatever may be its name, metaphorical or actual or both.
As prayer is a summit of spiritual fellowship, intended to be with those of one heart and one mind as they seek the Lord with faith (as in Acts 4:23ff., Nehemiah 9), a place of the very body of Christ (Ephesians 4:14-16), AS INTIMATE AS THE VERY BODY IN ITS MEMBERS, THE ONE WITH THE OTHER, therefore prayer is likewise excluded with such, as they occupy their positions and move in their doctrinal realms, outside the faith (whether altogether as in II Cor. 6:14ff., or in the flurry of another Jesus, Spirit or Gospel as in II Cor. 11, where the apostolic denunciation is more intense and his derogation the more intensive (cf. Romans 16:17).
As to the concept of talking in tongues as being prayer, it is what it is, and such a conclusion is mere speculation. It is POSSIBLE to pray in tongues or to sing in tongues, but this is not what it is. It has various functions; but IF at any time it were prayer, then praying with those without the same precious faith, those hostile to any part of it, those not apostolically conformable, not biblically backed in their basis, not willing to accept what is written in all its fullness, whether in tongues or in any other way Is explicitly forbidden. Where the root is forbidden, so are the branches. This merely increases the error of having fellowship even more generally with unbelievers, or innovators in doctrine.
Whatever, then, the LORD has indicated, indited, granted, declared, this and no more, is in doctrine what the Spirit of God in the trinitarian composure of function, granted to do. All are in intimate harmony in the Trinity, and all is as the Word has declared it to be; for it is He who AS the word so declares what is the mind of the Lord.
Where contrary teaching about speech and correction is present, where contrary views of what is to be condemned, as in Alpha approach, are present, this is NOT of the Lord.; for it is the opposite both in principle and in practice, in priority and categorisation, of His commands, who said: "Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things that I say!" (Luke 6:46). The apostolic example is especially clear: II Corinthians 10:5, where he is found
"casting down imaginations and every high thing
that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,
and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" ;
and what of this ? Is it one in all in ? Not at all.
God has appointed the apostles, on which the Church was built as Paul said in HIS OWN day, and if any man thinks himself to be spiritual, he declares, let him recognise this, that the words that he speaks are commands of the Lord (I Corinthians 14:37). Democracy is government by the people; psychocracy would be government by one's own psyche or that of a group; plutocracy is government through the exaltation of money principles in priority; but Christianity is the exaltation of Jesus Christ and the reception of all of His words, not more, not less, His commands, not new, all given, just as He proposes them.
When God is concerned, let God be God (cf. that volume): not the God of your personal experience, not of some untested spirit, but the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord of the Book who in the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 8:20 cf. 34:16) has told you the truth, and how to receive it; and has made clear from Himself, where and how He is to be found, and through what means in truth, it is He who gives delivers and saves you for eternity. Other 'christs' are plentiful (cf. II Corinthians 11, Matthew 24:24), and in this period as the Age draws to its close, ready for His return (Acts 1:7 cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8), they are to be especially so.
Of the Lord's Christ, there is to be neither depletion nor deletion, in much or in little; for it is HE who saves, HE who speaks, HE who is the truth. Improvement or variation on this is derogation of deity, and defilement of purity; and communion with unbelievers is a wonder source itself, for rebellious innovation, correlation, soul-stirring secretions and syntheses, like drugs, which poison.
and as He does choose to reveal Himself, always in accord with His word, not
some words of some people who think about God or attribute untested ideas to
Him (cf. I John 4:1ff.),
|then it is indeed marvellous and wonderful (cf. Ephesians 1:17-19); for His power is most noble and unlimited, and His presence is a wonder, while His goodness and mercy are categorical; and to know Him is better than all most precious, since God is unique, Creator and Redeemer, love and truth, Lover and Lord, wisdom and power all in One, the Author of our very being, unchangeable (Psalm 102, Hebrews 1, Psalm 119:89-90), glorious, humble, most blessed and immovable from His ways.|
Moreover, the Lord is our trainer, who know Him, our disciplinarian and our good (Hebrews 12, II Corinthians 12:7ff.).
A good understanding says Psalm 111:10, have all those who keep His commands. Upward, Proverbs adds, winds their way; and not downwards, for down indeed is the direction when God is mocked by experiential substitutes for His government, as by human or even humanistic exchanges for His directions.
Does love cease because information is given ? Of course not, for indeed when love gives the orders and organisation, love responds by following these, for again, when Love and Truth alike are sourced in God, when God speaks, love realises that here is no room to delete, or add, to remove or renovate. Love is mutual, reciprocal; but where is its reciprocity in autonomy when it so wills!
As it is, so it is to be. God does not change; and those who do from His word, are seeking some other god. These gods, they are cheap, and their effect on the live of those who falsely worship them, is cheapening. But that is the least of it. Rebellion said Samuel to Saul, is worse than witchcraft (I Samuel 15:22-23).
What then of the Alpha unloosening of ungoverned thoughts (as if in a psychiatric clinic, but the Church has but one Healer, the Lord, who alone knows the heart of man - Jeremiah 17:9-10) ? and while God appoints doctors for disease treatment, the heart and spirit of man has only one substantial, knowledgeable, pardoning, empowering and peace-granting solace, and that is the Saviour (cf. II Timothy 1:7, II Corinthians 1)!
You do not need to discomfort the loving Lord (cf. Isaiah 63:9), by being uncomfortable about His commands. These liberate, for they are hygiene, and holiness, they are freedom and faith, they are the environment for faith's exercise and the provisions for its implementation. Does it hurt your liberty to have electrical implements, that you must follow carefully the rules of electricity and its means of dispersal, to enjoy them!
When the wisdom and word of God are mocked by lovely words about Him and direct rebellion from that word, what is this, but ingratitude competing with unruliness!
What of the uncorrected outpourings where authority does not intrude, of the humanity concept as ruling, while the saints suffer it in silence ? What of this compared with the apostles as in Acts 3-4, telling the authorities that they can work it out for themselves: whether it is better to obey them or God! What ineffable composure, enthralling courage, unrepentant realism as Christians is found in this! It is not as if one of them was not to be killed (James), and Peter, one of those who spoke, was not to need miraculous deliverance to avoid the same destiny on this earth! (cf. Acts 12). It required the management of a multiple-doored prison and of the 16 soldiers on guard, to deliver Peter. He was not playing, or play-acting, but living for Christ. The men took note of them in what ?
In this, it was seen that they had been with Jesus! That was their WAY (Acts 4:13). To nestle in with, knuckle down to, rest in the environment of what is not Christ ? Ludicrous, impossible, treachery. Not that!
It is indeed a strange practice to operate by opposites as within the Alpha milieu, and one in which the unwise will join! but for the one on the Rock, there is no other option but obedience in spirit, in heart, in method and in doctrine, NOTHING contrary to the word, NOTHING more and nothing changed. To be sure, everyone is to be persuaded in his own mind, but where the mind of the Lord is clear and direct, there is nothing more to it: THAT in itself persuades you.
When applications are difficult, as in whether to have this holy day or that in your own personal calendar for praise to God in some special way, that is personal (I Cor. 14). It is not prohibited but given special select permission. Yet we deal here not with such questions, but with what is directly and clearly declared by the deity in the Book of the Lord, and as to that, as Isaiah 8:20 tells us, there is a point to know.
What is this point ? It is this: If they do not speak according to this word, that of the Book of the Lord, there is no light in them! How many gods does a person want ? his own psyche and what next!
The Spirit keeps in this way to the WORD and the WORD to the SENDER, the Father, and so it is provided for man as long as the Church lasts on earth; and even after that all things are to be gathered together in one in CHRIST (this same Jesus who is to return as in Acts 1:7 in a way similar to, indeed in essence the same as that in which He went). That is the word of Ephesians 1:10.
Whose Church is it to which 'guests' are invited as in the Alpha course ? and who is its Lord ? and whose word is to be honoured; for if a 'church' honours some other word, way, witness or direction, then there is dishonour and palpable negligence.
Who ARE the apostles ? are they not 12 (one replaced formally - Acts 1), with Paul as one born out of due time! and to whom did Christ commit the memory of His words but to those (John 14:26), and whom did they declare, in the person of Peter (II Peter 3:16) to be a writer of scripture but Paul, not some avalanche of self-appointed prelates! If some others are sent, yet the apostles in view are already complete in Paul, for they are the foundational operative speakers in the Church, as Christ sent and used them to collect His word and publish it abroad.
And who, on the contrary, are those who have these special extra-biblical methods, approaches, constrictions, restrictions, perspectives, but those who in specialised ways take over such authority as is not given! ALL of you are brethren, said Christ (Matthew 23:8-10). What sort of apostolate is this which governs people by instructions to be followed CAREFULLY and which include and explicitly lead to wild departures in many modes, from the Book of the Lord!
There is not even an apostle who declares His own mind merely (cf. I Peter 1:10ff., I Corinthians 2:9ff.); yes not even Christ gave what was not commanded, speaking NOT His own doctrine, but that granted by the Father. What then is commanded is to be limited to what is given in Gospel and in mode and in command! We are not better than He, who is our Lord, and the servant is not greater than his master!
Supererogation, classing oneself with the founders of the faith (as exhibited in Ephesians 2:20, foundational to the entire building) is simply adding to the authority of the Bible and contradicting its teaching. The Church, we there read, HAS BEEN BUILT on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, the Old Testament and the apostles, who were careful to maintain their cadre intact (as in Acts 1), with Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone. It is in HIM that the whole building is put together (that is the force of the Greek, 'whom', which proceeds: 'in whom the whole building ... grows; for the term is singular). He as Lord and these as agents, they have formed the foundation, with Paul authorised by name in their confines (cf. SMR Appendix C, D, II Peter 3:16).
What then ? The tense of the verb 'built' is PAST. That is the mode of its erection, these the personnel, and that, the Book of the Lord, it is the criterion.
A NEW TEMPLE ?
It is time to relate Solomon and Alpha.
This, our present Chapter, begins with the unity of Solomon and the site of the physicalTemple, and in this, the place of prayer; and it has proceeded for its second and contrasting section in which we now move, with the fiasco temple and the unity in dissonance.
If Christians are construed in the temple figure as living stones, lively ones (I Peter 2:4-10), and our temple has Christ both as foundation and head-stone (I Cor. 3:10-11, Ephesians 2), both as Lord and meaning: then a new temple is undoubtedly under construction. It is being built, as are roads by the perpetual-seeming patience with which its various far-off phases, carefully wrought, at last come near to something recognisable as suitable for traffic, by segmented, organised steps.
But what of this new temple ? Its fictitious pretence is like its urbane pretension. It wants more converts, more churches, more members, more influenced and affected with less structural care, less concentration on the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude), less contention for this same faith, as seen in Jude's NEGATIVE examples of what happens when you grow slack about it and subversible, more inundation with baptism of 'the spirit', when the Spirit of God is ALWAYS in the heart of those who are His, from the outset (Romans 5:5,9), being inseparable from conversion which indeed it stirs (John 16:8ff.).
ALL are initially BAPTISED INTO ONE BODY BY ONE SPIRIT (I Corinthians 12:13). Fillings with His grace, power and goodness there may be, but this is not the first draught by any means, but more of the inimitable reality of the Lord, ministered to those who already have drawn from those waters, and found them welling up within them (John 4:14, 7:37).
You grow IN Him, not outside, like the bulging overhang beer-belly of some over-weight or gland-distressed prodigy. But let us continue in terms of the physical temple for illustration.
The new approach, taken this way and that by many groups, wants a 'temple' with al fresco dining and natural settings, where strange tempests work their wonders, and what is within the spiritually structured building is more and more distanced by the enormous world of the present outside it! That enters it which is profane, makes its communication, joins light with darkness while the watchers watch, or slumber, and while the majesty of the Lord is profaned.
Therefore, HOW COULD the week-end in which in Alpha terms, they are asking to be filled with the Spirit be set as such an amazingly eye-opening event, with all the insurgence and resurgence of the utterly novel, a new universe indeed of spiritual power and nascency, when the Holy Spirit will ALREADY be dwelling securely within all the Christians, having sealed the hearts of the people of God (Ephesians 1:5, John 6:50ff.). Yet if it be said that they are not yet converted in many cases, then it is inappropriate to seek an infilling, but rather an expression of repentance and reception of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
IF they are converted, as Paul declares, then the Spirit is already in them, they are already translated into His kingdom (Ephesians 1:13), they already have been given eyes with which to see the things of the Spirit (being born again, as converted - Titus 3:4-7, John 3). Nothing categorically new here then occurs, for the Church has long been founded, and the gift of the Spirit for which the apostles had to wait (Luke 24) has long been given so that EVERY ONE who becomes Christ's has been baptised by one Spirit into one body already - (I Corinthians 12:13).
ALL are such - "for by one Spirit we were ALL baptised into one body". This is written to a Church which the apostle had not visited for some time; and indeed as in John 6, if you have taken the Saviour in His sacrifice and resurrection as your own, HE is abiding in you, and "the Lord is that Spirit" (I Cor.l 3:17). That is, as in Romans 8, as a Christian you have necessarily His Spirit in you.
Without it, you could not have drunk (John 4:14), or eaten; but having done so, you will be raised in the last day, and you are indeed covered and indwelt by Him, through His Spirit (Titus 3:5). That is statedly HOW you are saved! and if not saved, how are you Christ's! If however, those not saved ask for the Spirit, they overlook the Cross. If they are saved, there is nothing fundamentally new, for by one Spirit they are already incorporated into one body, and He lives within them.
Either way, Alpha has it wrong. There appears repeatedly too little assurance of being converted, having received Christ before talk of the Spirit, as something to be received. IF that is made clear, then as already received, it can only be some kind of renewal. If it is not made clear, then there is an omission of the first order. In all of this, Christ as operative dynamically is under-stressed, the spiritual side is over-detached, and the use of a call to the Spirit to infill is unscriptural, for this is after conversion, not as constituting it. It is a filling of what is already there. It is not this which opens the eyes, since they are opened already in any who might wish to be filled with the Spirit (as in Ephesians 5:17-18). It is a seeking for renewal in the field of the kingdom into which they have all entered, who may so seek, and to which their eyes are already opened, who seek for such an entry of the Spirit.
You do not ask for food when fed; but if you ask for more, then this is not your first nutriment, and already your life is spared and your vitality is granted. Christ is the centre, HE is the Saviour, and His salvation must be received by faith, before you are so much as able to see. It is God who so operates (John 1:12) with His own sovereignty combined with a love for all which has so often been shown on this site (as in Marvels of Predestination ... Ch. 2, To Know God ... Ch. 1, Great Execrations ... Chs. 7 and 9). You come to the Saviour decisively FIRST because it is HE who IS the Saviour (as in John 6:47, 50ff.).
The Spirit, once you receive the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26) by faith is already in you, and by that one Spirit you have been encompassed into one body by this faith. THIS is the salvation. The rest is growth, for there may be many seasons of refreshing (Acts 3:19ff.), though only one birth. In this case, when you are born, you see, and your eyes are open. They are not opened by something else, omitting this crucial foundation IN PRACTICE. It is not enough to mention; it must be BUILT in the heart and soul, as in the case of a baby's body, not merely noted in a text book.
Without this intervening step, this becomes spiritistic, and the downgrading of the constructions of the stones, the directions of the Lord in the Bible noted above, are mere confirmations of this new architectural design, with new spiritual concepts and new openness to things not founded in a conversion with horror at sin, repugnance at its follies, realisation of the fear of God in His wrath and relief at the reception in ransom of Jesus Christ HIMSELF. This is the first, this the critical step, and without this, nothing.
What is this new thing which so dwarfs the practical and personal entry into the presence of God AT CONVERSION, and HOW could all these new things be so upgraded, that post-conversion, there is such an innovatory fire to it all ? New logs may blaze most happily from time to time on that fire; but fire from the first, it has been a warm and beautiful thing with adequate fuel already. Moreover, as we read in the Manchester Guardian and various other accounts repetitively, ONE of the examples is mentioned in one of the courses, which is chosen to be related of this sort of thing, involved a physical transportation across a room as if by a strong electrical force.
While the POWER of the Spirit is manifest, we must look further. The USE of that power at Pentecost was for INSTRUCTION by intelligible languages apt for those from many places who otherwise might not have understood, or at least received the news with such fidelity and intimacy of speech. In the Corinthian case, there is the opposite, in that people who can well understand, being of one tongue as far is as narrated (and God relays what is apt), are speaking in tongues others CANNOT understand, unless a separate and miraculous act of interpretation occur. Even there, however, there is no mention of things other than directly spiritual purposes and functions. This sort of ambient or athletic action, then, is addition in a large way, both in nature of the event and nature of the meeting. It also contravenes the rules for the meeting as shown above. It moreover contradicts the requirement that the people of God worship in reverence (Psalm 89:7) and in the beauty of holiness (Psalm 96).
While breaking hearts may sound as they crack, there is such a thing as seemliness, and the exhibition of some sort of spiritual calisthenics or floor rolling is a far cry from such things.
Indeed, the disciples were newly impacted at the ADVENT of the Christian Church at Pentecost, and what for them came in New Testament direct impact is that same Spirit of liberty and of the Lord which is in the converted hearts of the people of God everywhere now that the commencement is past (I Cor. 12:13, Romans 8:9, John 6:50ff.). What these at Pentecost found at the arising of the Christian Church, post-resurrection, endued for its charges throughout the Gospel Age, others find when they first know the Lord at conversion: that is the indwelling Christ, the power of God and the peace which passes all understanding, yes and the joy of the Lord (John 16:22).
An infilling may from time to time provide more, as when a fighter plane is topped up by a tanker plane; but it is not to be assumed that the newly converted is not in-filled already. While there is scope for more conscious surrender, surrender is not alien from Christianity, nor is Christ available without it (cf. Luke 14:27ff.).
Thus the entire approach of showing the nature to some extent, of the atonement, and then asking the Spirit to infill lacks due practical stress on repentance, conversion, regeneration, reception by the Lord, the power of His Spirit in EVERY Christian heart, the presence of His promised indwelling, all as inherent in conversion, without which NO CALL for infilling is even relevant. You do not fill old wineskins, but new ones: and the it is the Lord Himself who says so. First make the wineskin new, in conversion that is decisive and distinct, and then it is ready for the filling; but at conversion, there is ample supply already by promise. Then they are filled. In these disorders, there is ample scope for every type of imposition; for there are many spirits, and the devil is one, and one thing he hates, it is the word of the living God, which he seeks to attack, as truth, with lie (John 8:44).
In such unchartered waters man may indeed move, but with far more danger than in climbing Mt Everest without oxygen. To presume before God is not recommended (as those involved in the 'strange fire' episode in Leviticus 10 might well attest).
There is no place for reception of the Spirit of GOD Himself, without PRIOR conversion. There is no room to ask the Spirit to do what Christ has done, or to infill what He has not as yet pardoned upon repentance and faith (Luke 13:1-3). Indeed, Except you perish, you will likewise perish.
Such confusion of aftermath with foundation, of results with causes, is all a part of the construction of a New Temple with old faults, not those of the original symbolised aright, but of new fires that burn unauthorised, set amid liberty FROM the word of the Lord, and liberty to have power to fashion what comes. Such was the work of Nadab and Abihu, with their version of strange fire; and they perished, as seen in Leviticus 10. They "offered profane fire", that is emblems of energy and holiness not authorised, in an approach not granted.
This meant that their concepts became mandatory and their thoughts constructional, leaving the directions of the word of God optional, or parallel, as they set about a new building through a new method with a new liberty, not in but from the Lord.
With a New Temple, it is only cognate that there be a New Pentecost, a revision without reversion, a new look there too! Let us consider what might be involved if Alpha style approach, in communal conversings in meetings, with maximised input, replace the apostolic declaration and declamation of truth to a guilty people who had not to express their thoughts about God, at this juncture for faith, but to respond to His thoughts about them! (cf. Amos 4:13, Isaiah 44:25ff.).
There is a time for the people of the Lord to speak much together, and that is when they ARE His people, know it, show it and want to act in concert BECAUSE already they have one Spirit and one Lord, who gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (as in Malachi 3:16-18 cf. 3:1-2, Acts 5:32).
A NEW PENTECOST ?
But let us now look once more to an imaginary Pentecost, if it had been run on Alpha-type lines, to judge from the reports received.
Peter gets up and makes an announcement. It might perhaps have something like this in its proceedings.
Friends, welcome to our little group. We have been seeking the Lord and have found much blessing. Now I am going to invite all of you, for we are after all one needy family and the bounty is for all, to join with me as group leader and we shall hear what you all think of Jesus and His crucifixion, its cause, its effects, the Holy Spirit and so forth. I am sure you are going to be interested and I DO want you all to participate with a new feeling of liberty.
As you know the authoritarian approach of some of the clergy, the priesthood, has been rather overpowering to tender souls, and at heart, we are all tender, are we not, so that in our preliminary meeting today, no bullies please, no know-alls, no foundational scholars, no pastors filled with their own petty self-importances - and that is it, isn't it, so many really ARE!
No, we want to hear from YOU, your thoughts, you need not fear someone will give you a psychological clout over the ear, and repress publicly some of your choicest thoughts; and look, don't worry about heresy and being clapped into prison by the Temple guard. We have a special dispensation, and if they dare so much as to intrude, who knows what the Lord might do. Now then, let us begin. What do some of you think about Jesus, religion, resurrection, the knowledge of God and all of that ?
This quisling Peter, the new non-great, then waits and gets all sorts of opinions. Without criticism he 'hears' with that listening ear, and as time goes on, a multitude of heresies, oddities and extravaganzas of hates and happinesses, thoughts and ideas, as similar as bees and sloths, as nectar and the stench of some ginko trees, populate the premises. Not wishing to disturb the euphoria, Peter does not do more than have one or two passing references to the resurrection, but this is not proclaimed, just named, and it seeps into the substance of the discourse matériel.
It is as this point that we bring up a series of 10 ways in which the Alpha course motif or MENTALITY is at odds with the Biblical Requirements. Yes, WE have a host, and His name is Jesus Christ, and we try to be courteous with Him (Luke 9:26), by obligingly doing what HE says, and as He is God, we treat Him as such. His word, inscribed in the minds of the apostles who heard Him by the power of the actual Holy Spirit and His work (John 14:26) and verified by His own word from the past (Matthew 5:17ff.), is now made the basis for evaluation. How does the Bible apply to the principles noted and cited above - not the drama to illustrate, but the statements made ? It appears to be very much like this.
10 BIBLICAL POINTS
THAT DISAPPOINT AND DEPOSE THE ALPHA WAY
WHOSE CRUSADE, and WHITHER ?
as Romanism has a partial Christian base, and then takes off without limit
the Gospel according to the Alpha movement,
To be sure, the military power of the Romanist Inquisition is not now in question (cf. Ancient Words ... Ch. 14), for its occasion lacks, though its rigours will be remembered by those who watch for ruthless parallels to come from this world, but when the limits are removed, the first line of fire is the completeness of God's revelation, its finale in Christ and in His authorised word (cf. SMR Appendix C and D). This abandoned, when you add, you can go ANYWHERE. Let us be very clear: there is NO physical force side at this point to this type of thing at all, other than voluntary displacements and the like, but an expanding horizon in doctrine ultimately brings scope for many visions and aspirations, discourses and concourses, principles and reviews. These have their own rule, ambition and modes.
The fact that this is precisely what is predicted, a smooth and devious mode as things change till the opposite rules instead of the apposite, the antichrist instead of the Christ, makes Alpha interesting reading.
The Bible is countermanded in the beginning, by the denial of permission in this Alpha course, to make criticism of gross error, in its name; so that it is put in place nicely, in order to be surpassed by whatever chooses to come, given authority by the use of the august name of God, the Spirit of God: and this, so far from being subject to biblical testing, with the removal of the same.
Indeed SINCE high authorities in Romanism utterly and unequivocally endorse the Alpha course, the writer of which has congratulated the pope on his evangelisation, making it a reciprocity on the grand scale, it follows that the course
i) neither declares salvation by grace through faith ONLY,
so that what is not of grace is excluded in salvation (Ephesians 2:1-10, SMR pp. 523-532).
ii) nor prohibits moving on from the Bible to traditions and revelations,
whenever given, to be added to and synthesised with it.
Romanism is such an example:
if it excluded this, Rome would be out. Since that religious body declares itself in accord with the course, and this is one of its most major and historic fallacies, it follows that the Alpha course not only omits these necessary exclusions and purity tests in its mode, but is clearly endorsing such movements as at least ACCEPTABLE through their tragic breach.
It is as near acceptable to Bible believing Christians, who follow His word, as is darkness to light; and indeed, ONE of its ways is in that very milieu of breach.
Both Rome and the Anglican Alpha Movement are moving through their various and varied congregation with one world religious unification movements, towards the predicted finale of one religion, the wrong one, and one victim, the Church. Innovation becomes the word of God and the living and immutable God is forsaken by orphans who publicise their virtual preference. Just as Bishop Swing has been one leader in this (News 121), so the US Temple of Understanding is one phase of its expression The Church does not however fail; but those who truly belong to it need to follow the word of God through these thickets (cf. Revelation 12:11), and avoid them as directed (Romans 16:17) and depart from what, like ancillary motors, supports these activities.
Of course as to the Alpha Course, its approach is greatly endorsed by Romanism, including several cardinals. Reciprocally, Gumbel, the writer of the course, in an interview with the Pope congratulated that alien authority on his evangelisation work around the world (1994). Generally, ecumenical-type leaders appear delighted with Alpha*1D; but still, even that makes the popularity phenomenal.
There is a reason.
In summary form, there are readily to be found 10 breaches of the biblical commands which are necessary in order to run such a course as this. As for TEMPORARILY suspending the word of God, for good results, ask Balaam! (Numbers 22-24, II Peter 2:15-16, Revelation 2:14). As to Paul's exemplary approach, he would not 'give way' to an unbiblical proposition FOR ONE HOUR! (cf. Galatians 2:5).
Yes, did Paul 'tone it down' for the men of Athens ? He RELATED to their ideas and used them, but transcended them at once, and exposed them (Acts 17). In the synagogues, did he listen ? Of course, but he came with a message and they responded in two ways: to delight or to hate. If he was stoned, he did not change his ways, but people prayed over him and he arose. He did NOT participate in genial mingling with what had not Christ, but confronted with martial vigour, what despised, departed from or manipulated the testimony concerning Him (cf. Acts 16ff.). So unaccomplished in diplomatic manoeuvre and twirling, swirling combinations of concepts was he, that he was stoned!
His work was not about what was to be wrought and taught in some alien, humanistic, spiritistic sallying its own or another name, whatever, but about what had both been and been done, with NO OTHER GOSPEL, no other Spirit and no other Jesus. Bound into history, with faith bound by His authorised word, Christ leaves enough room for a zero to wriggle, but nothing else. With God, wriggling is woe! (cf. Matthew 23).
As to Paul, the word of God was NOT EVEN BOUND when he was in prison! II Timothy 2:7-11 has this declaration:
"Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.
"Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him."
We do not live in ever new rambling with new names for innovation; but as those dead in their confrontations, calumniations, mutations and innovations, whose God is the Rock and His word the criterion..
We do not live to channel Christ into a new mould with the Moslem Koran (cf. More Marvels ... Ch. 4, SMR pp. 1080ff.), a format for human tradition to sculp, as in Romanism, an adversative populist concept with the people the redeemer as in Communism, which rules them with a rod of iron as in China now and Russia then (cf. News 37, 98, SMR p. 971). Nor do we live to be carried off with new doctrines as if by a stork (as in Zechariah 5:9ff. - there destination Babylon cf. Revelation 13), with some spiritistic excuse. Yet all these things are ready to mix, to propound some kind of synthesis, some more openly than others; and towards all these things there are those who seek, as a supreme target, to gain unification of religions, such as in the Blair operation now empowered in the Middle East.
For all syncretism and synthesis, absolute truth in Christ Jesus the Lord is as unavailable as a pure maiden to a drunken ogre in a catastrophic orgy. While the evil one knows how to appear as an angel of light (II Corinthians 11), let there be no mistake, revisionism has his favour, and corruption his countenance; for to gain by offering loss is unprofitable; but to offer liberty from discipline has much appeal to many. Trading in the truth for a new model, in fact a new Christ with new principles, not according to what He has as the great physician actively and actually prescribed, this is the fashion.
Ultimately it is so because in this End of the Age period, the time which WAS to come, as Paul described it in II Timothy 4:3: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up to themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth."
THIS is THAT time; and this is as much a sign and symptom of it as was the atomic bomb (cf. Joel 2:30: "And I will show ... pillars of smoke ... before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord..." cf. SMR p. 803, *5), etched in bold outline here, and that just before Joel 3:1ff., where the return of Israel is announced, leading on to the conflagration to come, "in those days."
It is as in Luke 21:24, where the restoration of Jerusalem to Israel is a signal of the end of the Age; and these three, they are but some of many signals predicted to be simultaneous, or in this stampeding period, parts of a pattern like a tartan, strikingly unforgettable and readily recognisable.
It is not hidden.
All these things are slated and have arrived, each energised by what energises the other, and all planted like a tree of vast branches, in one.
The concept of trading off truth for a time for effect is so far from God, who is a Spirit that NOWHERE in the entire Bible is commendable action to be found in presenting doctrine concerning God that compromises, delays or extends HIS own word, in its integrity wrought in fidelity in every phase of teaching.
BUY the truth and do NOT SELL it: this is the word of Proverbs. Christ IS the truth (there is no beyond, for He is the truth incarnate, and while more is to come in clarity - for now we see as in a glass darkly, then face to face - yet the gospel is immutable (Galatians 1), the word of God as given is irreconcilable with any addition or subtraction (Revelation 22:18-19, Proverbs 30:6, Deuteronomy 4, 12, Matthew 5:17ff.., Isaiah 8:20). TRUTH not only DOES not become something else, but does not move contrary to its very definition; and Christ gives it in Himself. "I am the truth" (John 14:6). He is not like it or an introduction to it. He IS IT! Therein is faith or disfaith. You believe or reject.
His body is to OBEY the Head, and the Head is Himself, as if fitting for one and ONLY one: the God who made us! (Colossians 1:15).
It is possible to confuse the word of God with the word of men, but only if you are blind or shut your eyes! (cf. Matthew 13:14ff.).
In fact, just as the truth is permeated with error in the parts of the Alpha course which allow speaking without correction in the anti-authoritative sessions, so by the domain of 'spirit' being adduced at the end, there is a non-authoritative plethora, a new look innovation, an abundance, cornucopia of 'revelation' which can go anywhere, as is enabled by the convivial approaches to be found in the Alpha movement, both to Romanism and major church doctrines, vary as they do. Criticise not, goes the word; and hence : Hence what but to endorse opposites, or bear with them as if true, as in Canon Law in Romanism's approach, so that you believe everything and anything, and in fact believe what you can or will.
The net result is just as in the major heresies of Romanism and Islam, where something to do with the Bible is presented, and THEN the Pope or the visions of Muhammad are added, while various clear statements are subtracted in PRACTICE! (cf. SMR pp. 1042-1088H).
These things are precisely what is needed for the self-declared mission of Tony Blair, now Middle East envoy working on behalf of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU. In the BBC News, June 27, 2007, Blair is reported as declaring this: "The absolute priority is to try to give effect to what is now the consensus across the international community - that the only way of bringing stability and peace to the Middle East is a two-state solution." That is the first probe. We will come to further such probes in a little.
With a place to work in Jerusalem, Blair is now nearing the sort of situation exhibited in Daniel 11:45, though of course this is merely preliminary, and who is to complete the scenario, this remains to be seen. The motion however is as sure as tumultuous waters gaining momentum on a sloping plane, as they surge to the city.
Now there is a further development, of prime importance as the end of the Age comes into complete fruition; yet it is one which, amongst the evil, bringing in two good things. The first is this: it makes the date of return of Christ, unknown to man but near, nearer yet! (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5). The second is that the final deliverance of Israel comes closer, not perhaps for all, for there are marshes (Ezekiel 47); but it comes with sweet relief for many.
WHAT deliverance ? That of Zechariah 12:10-13:1 when at last their recalcitrant mood and mode is transformed by divine revelation of the crucified Christ and His significance and His pardon, and they wash! Yes, even in Jerusalem, they wash in the blood of the Lamb, and some of these no doubt are to be seen in the vision of Revelation 7:1-14, which brings focus on things Jewish within the Gospel resultant!
But what is this further development concerning Tony Blair, newly announced convert to Romanism - providing a much broader field than what he had before, namely Romanism instead of Great Britain ? It is this.
He has founded an organisation (The Australian May 31, 2008). It is called the Faith Foundation. Launched in New York at the end of May, 2008, and is very thirsty. Blair is statedly seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for its ... functions. It is planned to engineer understanding between faiths, and of course, 'foster action on poverty and disease.'
With Headquarters in London, this organisation is intended to extend its wand over Europe, America, the Middle East and the Far East.
The report indicates that Blair compressed and contained his religious ideas when in office to a large extent, for fear of alienating the secular mass of Britons, but that now he is acting freely. Time and tide religion of course is far removed from truth-at-any- godly-cost religion, which is that of faith (Hebrews 11). That is for those ready to be sawn in sunder or living in caves and through their Lord bringing many to realisation before the Kingdom comes with its lawful Head, Jesus Christ (cf. Revelation 1:7; 19).
In his speech, Blair declared this:
"Religious faith will be of the same significance to the 21st century as political ideology was to the 20th century. In an era of globalisation,
there is nothing more important than getting people of different faiths
and cultures to understand each other better and live in peace
and mutual respect, and to give faith itself its proper place in the future."
That reminds one of the Prince Charles approach to ceasing to be, were he Head of the Church of England on earth, 'defender of the faith', while instead becoming some new thing: 'Defender of Faiths'. Here is 'faith' in its vaguely uncohesive sense, littering the truth with 'faiths', adopting what is venerable in the mind of man, becoming immemorable to the word of God, and in the end, hostile to it, since it would rule, and so would man; and the two conflict in the end as in the beginning. Eve also and in similar plaint had other ideas about faiths, whom to believe and how far to go in which direction, choicely and choosily. Her way was a catastrophe for the innocence of man; the new and final way is a matching catastrophe for the remedy of man. One played with the creation, in its goodness; the other plays with the regeneration or the remedy in its restoration.
It is not so much a slow learning curve, as an antithesis without antidote, for to turn from the truth to error is not to be recommended, as Hebrews 10:29ff. shows, as II Peter 3:22 shows. Revisionism as with Balaam, this is not reality but urbanity, sick secularism or spiritual vagrancy as in Jude. Playing with remedy by the authority of man is like a child playing with the 'sticks' or levers in an atomic plant; except that it is eternally dangerous, whereas that is merely so in the temporal sphere.
The SORT of faith*3 which is now to be brought in some kind of historical harrumph into prominence, by a century, the 21st., is not the sort which is of Christ, for HE is ALWAYS central in frame of reference, point of impact and significance to all, whether they hear or forbear. This has its own parameters.
But what is it like ? It is like a tractor, the power source, travelling along the rows of vines in a vineyard, picking up here this contribution from the wild grapes, here that, in order to have them in various sub-trailers, all loaded and led to the winery, the winery of the wrath of God.
The indications (cf. News 121, 122) of the present time are clear, manifest and mandatory. On all sides, many churches and not a few large ones are leaving the Bible in substantial numbers, inventing new ideas of revelation by spirits and revelations and mystic nuances, by powers and presences, by old false prophets like Muhammad, or newer ones like the pope, by Pentecostal excesses and unification's common denominators. Blair's action is analogous to trying to make Elijah's Mt Carmel one of mellow, mutual understanding, Christ's talk with the devil one of dizzy dialogue, His words of confrontation with the Pharisees and scribes, something of a peaceable mutuality and the like.
What is it then ? it is illusion vested in pomp and sated with circumstance.
However its point for us is this. The Alpha course is ONE relatively new model for the introduction of precisely this sort of dialogue instead of declaration, mutuality instead of singularity, intrusive spirits instead of rock-like word, synthesis instead of absolute truth and merger instead of the mouth of God saying, Thus says the Lord! If there is to be more of this, then some other lord, not 'chained' to the Bible, but accelerated by consensus, may indeed give his edicts. Such is clearly predicted in Revelation 13. It will not be nuances then! It rarely is when confusion and dreams engineer attitudes which are flash in sound, and dismal in eventual deeds, when failure being the end of such things, force is imported.
Here now is the way for MAN, the man who has come of Age! Now he is encouraged to seek to show his mastery over God, his marriage to gods of this and that kind with mutual respect, which you can do if you are not really dealing with God so that it is just your subjectivity and that of your god(s), allied as seems most profitable to avoid (always unnecessary and forbidden) spiritual wars. That is the new program, and its object is the health and wealth of the beast (Daniel 7, Revelation 13). It must be move to provide, or to seem to provide ...an external form of peace in order to enable prosperity and continuity even at the cost of truth.
God is despatched, and man becomes master of ANY WORD around, thank you very much. In the end, Blair's Rome will no more be the mooted authority for a human take-over such as occurred with papal elevation (cf. SMR pp. 911ff.).
That is precisely the biblically predicted function of the second beast (Revelation 13:11-16). His role is notable and deserves direction attention here."
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth,
and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
"And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
"He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
"He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark .."
This is taken a little further than the present to establish the direction of flow, perhaps with cybernetic, bionic procedures.
Blair is one who is explicitly moving in the Unification of Religions direction, in that of the WCC and the UN, in that of Alpha with its synthetic desire to have NO CRITICISM of major religious bodies amid the churches, and no doubt, soon, no criticism of those allied to major ecclesiastical bodies. You then move for the West to the Chinese intolerance of the East, as so well shown even in such a mild movement as that of Falun Gong.
Thus there comes a lust to enable still greater use of this free word which has moved
through Muhammad to USE the Bible
in order to diverge from it (its authority
as base conjoined with the
movement of contemporary
excitement, to battle or to balm),
through the papacy with the singular voice to add in liberty,
through the secular
mystic sections, the New Age machinations and the like
Alas for many, there is often in this type of pathological revisionism and categorical innovation a sense of progress, and those involved in many cases may have little or no idea of where they are going, and what is the base master plan behind the many secretions and accretions provided for the culture they form, and for the movement they make! In the first, for example, Balaam, now a monument to double-mindedness, was singularly clear that he would stick to the word of God only (Numbers 22:18) ... it was just that he followed the men he had been TOLD not to follow, at the first, and held revisionist views! (cf. Numbers 22ff., Jude 11, II Peter 2:14ff., Revelation 2:14ff.).
Yet the word of God is a conspicuous warning both in example (as in Jude) and in principle as exposed above. It is never wise to be wiser than God, or to assume yours is a power or a knowledge beyond his, or that your plan supersedes his, or adds to it or can mould it ... for a purpose.
Thus we see the Alpha course, dear to the Lutheran movement, dear to the Romanist movement, dear to the Anglican majority it seems, each dear to all, all moving from their respective bases. This is occurring whether with the Lutheran despatch away from the Luther Reformation from Rome, the Anglican away even in major measure, from the most basic biblical morality, whether with the Roman elevation above the Bible in its proclamatory prince, the pope, or with the biblical start of Alpha, in its refusal to APPLY the Bible, even to the most categorical departure from the biblical faith imaginable, as in Romanism (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088D).
If you have eyes, then see.
See The Majestic Might of the Merciful Messiah Ch. 3.
See for example:
Questions and Answers 4,
News 59, Biblical Blessings Ch. 2, pp. 19ff.;
Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 1, 4, 5, pp. 60ff.,
News 11 cf. 8, Repent or Perish Ch. 5, esp. pp. 102ff.,
Things Old and New Ch. 10, Epilogue, Appendix;
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8;
News 85, Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ ... Ch. 9,
It Bubbles ... 11,
SMR 685, 696, 721,723, 743, 750B, 867-868, 919, 922, 956-957, 1031C, 1060
Aviary of Idolatry, Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 5,
News 37. 44, 69, 97 (the exploiters, the fanciful,
the Communists, the de-godders and the realities), 98,
News 150 - Taiwan,
The Grating Grandeur and Aggrandisement of Man,
and the Meekness of the Majestic Messiah Ch. 2
Beauty for Ashes Ch. 6 (and Hong Kong, and the movement of nations in the last century a concern),
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8;
SMR pp. 925ff., 971-972;
Beauty of Holiness Ch. 3
(war and force, rising downwards, Tiananmen and truth),
Ch. 4 (liberty, Tiananmen, worship and its direction in time, its terms and code of truth); History, Review and Overview Ch. 1,
Impossible to Men, Open to God Ch. 5
See also Lord of Life Ch. 8.
See SMR pp. 911ff., 1032-1088H.
As well they might.
Consider this from Gumbel's 'The Spirit and Evangelism',
Renewal, May 1995, p15, as cited The Apologetics Coordination Team
Still Gumbel says: "We need to unite... there has been some comment which is not
helpful to unity. Let us drop that and get on. It is wonderful that the movement of
the Spirit will always bring churches together. He is doing that right across the
denominations and within the traditions... we are seeing Roman Catholics coming
now... Nobody is suspicious of anybody else... People are no longer 'labelling'
themselves or others. I long for the day when we drop all these labels and just
regard ourselves as Christians with a commission from Jesus Christ." [Renewal,
*2 See for example SMR pp. 1032ff. Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 14, Divine Agenda Ch. 6.
*3 Contrast for example, biblical preaching such as
Sinners Only and
The Mastery of the Mystery of Man, with
The Lost Cross and
The Supernatural Gospel for Divine Redemption of the Human Life - Galatians 1,
with the formulations, as variable as the weather, as unreliable as disease, as revisionist as is cancer, which proceed from the mouth of nature gods, mystic gods, hybrid gods. These are found to be ... alert to the populace and their wishes and immune to the glory of God in His explicit, unimpugnable word from the wisdom of eternity, standing always, always sure.
By all means have a redesigned Christ (II Corinthians 11) or a different spirit (loc. cit.), or indeed another Gospel (Galatians 1), but know this, that any attempt to assimilate this or the Bible or the Bible to this, is like proposing marriage to a safety pin.
It does not match (cf. Jeremiah 23).
A basic text for this Alpha movement, is Gumbel's Questions of Life. Another is his Searching Issues.
This is accompanied by other works, especially numerous long-playing videos, manuals and the like. The citations do not seem to vary, nor does the work screened show divergence from basic principles, often unbiblical, but frequently manoeuvred into play.
For further Web work on Alpha, good criticism, see The Alpha Course, by Chris Hand:
Data of interest on the overall topic may be found at:
Some sound points are made in:
Some useful perspectives are to be found in:
The Manchester Guardian item is located at: