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Most of this edition of CETF was written when Kathleen, Jonathan and I were in Australia "house-hunting".  In Sydney we met a pastor who had personally attended an outreach dinner at the North Sydney Rugby Union Club hosted by the North Side Christian Fellowship (NSCF) at $50 a head. John Iuliano is senior pastor of this AoG church. His wife was present at the event. Darren Beadman *1 a, famous Australian jockey, was guest speaker. Both comperes for the evening are known members at NSCF. Each spoke of the "ministry" from NSCF to businessmen. The official church insignia was printed on the back of the programme. The main compere openly admitted that he followed the horses and had won money by backing Darren Beadman's mounts. All the businessmen were encouraged to place their business cards in a draw at the end of the night with first prize being a day at the races with special privileges.
In Brisbane we were told by another pastor that Frank Houston, former AoG State Superintendent and father of Brian Houston, President of AoG in Australia, during a visit to Tasmania stated publicly that there is nothing wrong with a flutter at the races and that he was supporting Darren Beadman's return to the track. Some years ago when I was a certificated minister with AoG in Australia I warned Frank Houston that the course he was pursuing would ultimately undo most if not all of the good that he had achieved in his Pentecostal denomination. It is happening as we plan to show in the things that we will expose regarding the Houstons, God willing, in the next edition of Vanguard.
We've Reached A WATERSHEDIn Darwin we stayed with our daughter and son-in-law Amanda and Jeffrey Pitman and their three children, Joshua, Amy and Izack. This is the city made famous by cyclone Tracy, which virtually flattened the place in 1974. Out of the resultant rubble the resilient and innovative Northern Territory outback "Aussies" have built a modern and attractive 80,000-population metropolis that thankfully has not had to face the fury of Tracy with her category 4 winds, over recent times. It came close last year when Cyclone Edna (category 5 which is the highest measure on the cyclone scale) was heading that way. She turned back to sea, then turned again and vented her spleen on Broom in Western Australia. We experienced the tail end of Cyclone Steve (category 2), which had hit Cairns in Northern Queensland as a high category 2 and later tipped millions of gallons of rain on the tropical landscape around Darwin. It was quite an experience even at the tail end and one that made for interesting living. One evening I tried my hand at cooking lamb chops and sausages on the out-door barbecue with the tropical storm playing games with the gas flame. We got there eventually. The "tucker" was quite good! The following morning we felt the after-shocks of an earthquake, which, at its source, way out at sea, measured 7 on the Richter scale. Later we read in the local newspaper that Cyclone Steve had caused 600 families to flee their homes in Katherine (300 miles south of Darwin) due to flooding. After Darwin it moved out to sea and experienced a "third life" which is not common for cyclones, before causing havoc in Western Australia near Perth. Such is life in this out-back tropical region. After Darwin we headed for what was planned as five days in Melbourne, where we caught up on things at our CWM office in Victoria and did a bit of preaching for friends Werner and Ella Schultz, who pastor an independent Pentecostal church in the eastern suburbs. In the event we extended the stay for an extra week to preach at special meetings previously planned with a guest speaker from Germany who had cancelled at short notice. The Lord helped us mightily with good attendances and great encouragement to the local pastor and church. Thanks to the O'Briens for their kind hospitality during our 12 days in Victoria. Maureen is doing a marvellous job with the CWM office and resource material. In Melbourne we were able to spend some time with our eldest son, Stephen, who provided us with another indication that our thought to possibly settle in South Queensland is the right "leading". He plans to move to Brisbane later this year. Is it too much to secretly desire to be close to immediate family members having been separated for so long a time? "Please Lord hear the prayer of our hearts and may your will be done." In South Brisbane a number of folks have been making sounds about the possibility of our setting up some form of ministry. Please join us in prayer that the will of the Lord is done. We sense that we may be more effective in terms of the Kingdom of God back in the country of our adoption. For this to happen we will need the Lord's intervention, which is always a necessary element in spiritual guidance and one of the reasons why the Lord keeps His "righteous ones" dependent on Him and His provision. That's a hard truth for the false faith and prosperity teachers to swallow. In Queensland, as in all the Australian states and throughout New Zealand, there are so many people who have left Pentecostal churches such as Assemblies of God because of the "funny stuff" and the lack of discernment on the part of church leaders. Others are leaving because they are sensing that "big" is not always "beautiful" and the large business-based corporations that have masqueraded as churches over recent times have, in many cases become spiritually abusive to members who question what's happening with finance and doctrine. Some of these people are constantly asking us for help. Now requests are coming from the more conservative church fellowships such as Presbyterian and Brethren, which traditionally have been "non-charismatic". In Brisbane we learned that Bill Newman, one of Australia's leading evangelical evangelists and a member of the Open Brethren, had been quoted in support of a recent Brisbane based National Apostolic-Prophetic Conference (Feb 10-12, 2000) with Peter Wagner and Mike and Cindy Jacobs as keynote speakers. Amazingly Bill Newman, who has the reputation for being orthodox (though he has drifted into ecumenism more recently) and highly successful as an evangelist wrote: "This 21st Century Church Conference may well prove to be the most important investment of your time in light of your future ministry. This is one conference not to miss (just imagine if you had missed the day of Pentecost!) " Well none of us is old enough to have been present on "the day of Pentecost" and I for one am glad I missed the advertised 21st Century (we're not there yet) National Apostolic-Prophetic Conference why? The whole thing is founded upon a false premise. It is sheer heresy. Here is part of their leading statement authored by Peter Wagner and Ben Gray, convenor of the event: "The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit that is changing the shape of Christianity globally. It is truly a new day! The church is changing. New names! New methods! New worship expressions. The Lord IS ESTABLISHING THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE CHURCH FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM. THIS FOUNDATION IS BUILT UPON APOSTLES AND PROPHETS "*2 Of course Peter Wagner and those listed, which include many of the known promoters of the false Revival Now stuff in Australia, including Brian Houston, Phil Pringle, Mark Connors, John Lewis, Danny Guglielmucci et al are among these self-appointed apostles. The words of Paul a true apostle are most apt: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ" 2 Corinthians 11:13. Just step back and look at the statement made by Wagner and Gray. It is totally heretical. Such outrageous heresy cannot possibly be a work of the Holy Spirit, who is the spirit of truth and not of error. Furthermore it simply echoes the false teaching of Rick Joyner, Paul Cain and Bob Jones of the defunct Kansas City prophets. Well known and internationally respected prophecy teacher, Clifford Hill has identified Bob Jones as an occultist who used his so called "spiritual powers" to obtain sexual favours from a number of women. *3 Why men like Wagner and Joyner continue to rely on someone like Bob Jones is a mystery unless they themselves are also influenced by the occult.
All of that aside, the statement is false for the following reasons: 1) FIRSTLY true Christianity and the real church will never change their shape. Our Lord promised that He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. If Christianity and the church are changed, in the way that Wagner and his associates suggest, then the gates of hell have prevailed and our Lord was wrong. What they are projecting is "their" church and not Christ's church and therefore it is not TRUE Christianity. 2) SECONDLY the bible clearly teaches that the foundation of the true church is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself: "According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For no other foundation can any man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" 1 Corinthians 3:10-11. 3) THIRDLY the most prolific analogy of leadership in scripture is that of a shepherd-sheep relationship. It is interesting that in the Levant (Israel) in bible times the shepherd led his sheep by walking in front of them he did not drive them from behind.Thus he led by example and often had to stop and pursue the one that strayed from the path. This is a good lesson for leadership in churches and relevant to this whole discussion. Wagner and his associates claim that it is modern end time "apostles" who form the basis on which the foundation of this new church will be built. Their statement doesn't make sense either logically or theologically. How can "the foundation" of the church be "built upon apostles and prophets"? Scripture does not claim this even in respect of the original "apostles and prophets". The clear interpretation of the following verses from Ephesians, in the light of those quoted above from Corinthians, is that the apostles and prophets were chosen by God to lay the foundation of the church. They were not the basis on which that foundation was laid, which is what Wagner and his associates claim regarding themselves. This is a fundamental heresy and one that the founders of historic Protestantism refuted to the point of martyrdom. Roman Catholicism teaches that the church is founded upon Peter. The Reformers, relying solely upon the Word of God, taught that the true church is founded upon Christ alone. "Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" Ephesians 2:19-20. These verses clearly refer to the work and witness of the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles who pointed to Christ in what they said and wrote. Christ is the corner stone and the capstone of the building that is His church for He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and ending and for anyone to claim to replace Him in any capacity is not only arrant nonsense but also arrogant heresy. This teaching of Wagner, which is supported by so many Australian Pentecostal leaders, including the President of AoG and of the Australian Christian Churches, Brian Houston, must be rejected totally no matter who endorses or supports it. Sadly men like Bill Newman, who are unaware of the enormous background intrigue that is going on in the Revival Now camp *4 and who sadly lack the spiritual discernment that is required to avoid deception, are being sucked in by all this nonsense, which is simply adding to the current apostasy that is rampant within the church. We are witnessing exactly what the bible warns us about. At times it feels as if the enemy is deploying a blitzkrieg attack on faith and on the faithful just as Revelation 12:12 implies: " . for the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time." "Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors shall grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished for all good works" 2 Timothy 3:12-17. "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their destructive ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness they shall with deceptive words exploit you: whose judgment now of a long time will not linger, and their destruction will not slumber" 2 Peter 2:1-3. *5 These and other scams put forward by Avanzini and Marilyn Hickey et al have received de-facto endorsement by AoG and other Pentecostal church leaders in Australia and New Zealand by virtue of the fact that these leaders promote the "ministry" of such people. Once more we warn all those who are part of these denominations and movements that if you remain silent on these things you are giving tacit approval to what is happening. In all honesty if you retain adherence to AoG you MUST face the issue and confront those who are responsible for introducing and promoting these people and their ministries. In Australia the up-front runners have been David and Marie Cartledge and by implication all of their National AoG Executive colleagues and their counterparts in New Zealand. They are held accountable. I suspect that in some cases it's a matter of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours". They promote the money scams of the American based ministries in Australia and for their efforts receive reciprocal treatment when they visit USA. David Cartledge is well known for his "pendulum swings" when the going gets tough. He was the main promoter of Jimmy Swaggart leading up to Swaggart's exposure and escaped only by the skin of his teeth. At least he's clever enough to see the wolf coming. 2) Secondly, The Cairns Post (03/02/00) reported that a local 57-year-old AoG pastor, Terry Gould had died following an attack in a hotel room. A man charged with his murder was remanded in custody to reappear on March 8. *6 This is a deep tragedy to everyone concerned, especially to the family. CWM has expressed our deepest sympathy in a direct communiqué to Pastor David Anglis at the Cairns Christian Centre, which significantly only weeks previous to this occurrence carried out some act of so called "spiritual warfare" in which they supposedly "bound the devil" in Cairns. Senior pastor Chris Brock is clearly a protégé of the Faith Prosperity school of thought following his ministry stint in Texas (early 1991 to December 1995), who has received many warnings about his extreme "faith" teaching. Under his leadership a person associated with our ministry in that city was the subject of a death threat by way of a so-called prophecy. You can read this "story behind the story" by visiting: http://www.ozemail.com.au/~rseaborn/Death_Prophecy. html" We understand that issues canvassed on this web site and by CWM are now featuring in a university thesis on the lack of justice in the Pentecostal Movement in Australia. 3) Thirdly, The Alnor Report *7 under the heading "The Misadventures of Suzanne Hinn" quotes the Cape Times newspaper of South Africa who published a story (December 4, 1999) about shoplifting from the Edgar's department store, by a woman calling herself Penny Hinn, who claimed to be married to "popular tele-evangelist Benny Hinn". Christian journalist Jackie Alnor, reports the following from the Cape Times newspaper (March 3, 2000): "Prosecutor Brandon Lawrence told the Cape Times that although he believed he had a strong case against Penny Hinn, he had dropped the serious charges because the court roll was full. . . The Benny Hinn Ministries in Florida, US, yesterday at first declined to comment on the matter, preferring instead to answer questions in writing. However, when pressed further a woman at the ministry, said pastor Hinn was married to Suzanne. This is the name Hinn says she uses in the US. He [the prosecutor] had earlier considered sending her for psychiatric evaluation. Hinn, who describes herself as a religious person, was arrested at Edgar's Store in Adderley Street on December 4 and released on R1,000 bail for allegedly stealing two sets of ladies pyjamas. These were allegedly found in her bag as she was about to leave the store". According to The Alnor Report: "Suzanne Hinn can be seen making gestures like a charging bull, charging across the platform back and forth and then sliding on her belly across the floor at Comedy Central's website on Real Video. *8 To repeat myself, we have said for some time now that those like the Hinns who are into the false Revival Now stuff will reveal their true character and the falsity of their teaching by the things that they themselves do and say. God will remove their sensibility and their basis of rational judgement and they will be exposed for what they are. This is happening, but there is something else that we need to note from all of this and that is the extreme danger of issuing curses and death threats upon followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, which has been the recent practice of Benny Hinn and others, as we have reported previously and as is again referred to in an article published in this CETF and written by Douglas Dean of Gainesville, Florida, who describes himself as "a finally liberated 20-year veteran of churches that abuse". He has written another compelling article on the "Fatherhood Fallacy" *9 which, we have just learned, was introduced into Australia by Rick Godwin at a Hillsong event and was picked up by some church leaders (notably AoG), who failed to recognise it as just another expression of the heavy shepherding heresy of the Fort Lauderdale Five from the 70s and who have promoted it to the abuse and detriment of the members of their congregations *10. As we have asserted previously this is nothing other than a modern day expression of the doctrine and practice of the Nicolaitans, which God hates. It seems clear that it was in this context of authority and of "lording" it over God's people that our Lord commanded, "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" Matthew 23:9.
PLEASE REMEMBER US IN YOUR PRAYERS
As the ministry of CWM gathers momentum so the needs and pressures increase. However, through it all there are indications of the oversight and leading of the Lord. With the prospect of our removal back to Australia, some time ago I asked Richard and Leighanne Verrent whether there was any chance of their taking on more of the administrative work in New Zealand. They agreed, providing Richard's parents, who live in Levin, would help. Bill and Raewyn accepted and so we started to use the Levin address for contact purposes mid-way through last year. By the time you receive this Richard and his family will have moved from Napier to a situation much closer to his parents. In the meantime Owen and Frances Betteridge have offered to continue managing the CWM database and organising the mailing out of CETF and VANGUARD from Napier. We could not have managed without the tremendous amount of voluntary work done by our friends in Napier and Levin. Please remember them in your prayers. A veritable army of volunteers are arising throughout the world to aid us in the calling the Lord has laid upon our lives. They all need your prayer support. Rob Ward of Wellington initiated our internet and web site work and now there are a number of people involved as assistants and researchers in Britain, America and throughout Australia and New Zealand. With these developments we have felt that we should more clearly state the reason for our existence and our purpose in ministry.
*1 See RH Seaborn's web pages <firstname.lastname@example.org> for the abuse of Darren Beadman by AoG. "www.ozemail.com.au/~rseaborn/darren_beadman.html" "www.ozemail.com.au/~rseaborn/darren_beadman_2.html"
Appeared in Volume 6.1 April 2000
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