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Correspondence:
THE CHRISTMAS THEME

On December 16 CWM-Fellowship hosted a Carols by Candlelight, which was previously publicised in our e-Mailer. This prompted some

moderately critical correspondence. The following are typical:

“Putting Christ Back Into CHRISTmas” But He was never in it: we are commanded to remember His death, not celebrate His birth according to the Bible: We live our lives doing that! See article herewith. (See attached fi le: The Bible on Christmas.doc) Blessings, GM, South Africa


If we are only willing to search and investigate the information in the Bible, we do know the precise day of the year through scripture and that is Tishri 15, i.e. the Feast of Tabernacles. However I could even give you the year but that can be debated out. But unfortunately most Christians want to stick to pagan feasts that God does not approve!

SA, UK


Philip Powell responded as follows:

I would certainly be interested to read the evidence re the precise date. I think you have highlighted the major problem when you suggest it’s open to debate, which I think will always rage over this issue. Here are my comments to another person who wrote to me. Hope it helps to explain why we do what we do in this respect: We simply use it as an occasion to preach the gospel, i.e. that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was raised etc. We are not specifi cally commanded to assemble on a Sunday. We do it as a convenience thing. It is legitimate to use ALL occasions to proclaim the message including what the world recognises as CHRISTmas. I can see no problem.
Some object over the pagan links but continue to refer to Thursday, Sunday etc which were named after pagan deities. There is no end to that sort of argument. We cannot change history, nor should we try. Just REDEEM the time by buying up EVERY opportunity to proclaim Christ and for that we have biblical precedent and principle on which to operate. I appreciate any typical teaching about the Jewish feasts including what you attached, BUT the fact of the matter is that “Christ is the end of the law” including the feasts. He is the great anti-type of all types. We are no longer commanded or required to keep any of the Jewish feasts. It is legalism to teach otherwise. Extrapolate truth by all means, but don’t go further than that or you will end in bondage which many well-meaning exponents from the Jewish Messianic camp have done. Some observe Hanukkah as a replacement, but fail to see that simply because Christ as a Jew possibly kept all the feasts, HE is the end to all that. Interestingly there is no reference to His having kept Pentecost. I wonder why? I have always felt and taught that it is on account of the fact that it relates to HIS heavenly ministry not HIS earthly ministry. If we are not careful we will “strain out gnats and swallow camels” over the issue. Every blessing,


AOG - UK

Hello. Am new to this website (http://www.christian-witness.org); most interesting reading. I had lost contact with AOG here in UK 30 years ago (born into it—you will know what I mean) and subsequent Home Missions worker in the movement—I remember Philip Powell when he was pastoring in Manchester. AOG has changed in many respects. I am gradually catching up—somewhat confused about things like the G121—and unsure at this stage as to making further contact and fellowship. I recall people such as pastor Clifford Rees in the AOG movement, who Philip Powell will know and am wondering what his advice might be! My enquiry comes from a sincere heart trying to catch up after a long time away from my fellowship roots. I am increasingly concerned to see G12 principles operating in AOG fellowships. Whilst recognising that their churches are autonomous, it would seem obvious that the AOG national leadership approved of and infl uenced it, following one of its board member’s visit to G12 overseas. Was it a case of AOG deciding it was time to try everything, going in the name of becoming less exclusive and more inclusive? I might call it, “enthusiasm gone mad syndrome“. For the life of me, I can’t believe that G12 was God inspired, from what I now see. What a change compared to my time in the movement back in the 60s/70s, though I do retain reservations about some AOG approaches operating in that era. I think that AOG in those days would have kept well away from it and been more discerning. I can imagine the uproar in the 1978 AOG General Conference at Minehead, (the last one I attended as a pastor) should there have been any mention of a G12 structure then. It would be wrong of me to deny, that numerous Christians have benefi ted, but the fact remains that it has seriously affected so many, often with long term health problems. Only yesterday I was in touch with a former leader within a G12 fellowship (AOG connections). He shared the fact that he was rejected because of his differing opinions about the nature of G12 and of the hurt and injustice done to him. Furthermore, I believe that one can so easily spill out statements such as “the Lord told me this and that” as casually as dishing up fi sh and chips... unintentionally maybe, but still misusing the Name of our Lord. Sensible discernment is often a missing thread and the church in many areas needs to return to that. Perhaps larger and more regular proportions of common sense would be helpful too...
Thanks,

John Howell, UK

delwin@btinternet.com

*1 César Castellanos, whose idea was to “disciple” church members, with them holding some degree of accountability, initially developed the Government of 12 (G12) strategy. The main leader would disciple 12 people (on values, teaching, prayer and ministry on a weekly basis) until those people themselves were ready to lead their own groups. Each disciple would fi nd 12 new disciples and so the process would go on until there were 144 — and on and on the process would go.

OF INTEREST:
John Howell refers to several “old-time” godly AoG pastors—Douglas Christie, remembered as the offi cial AoG conference organist and George Newsholme well-known AOG-UK college principal and his own father Harry Howell an Elim pastor. He writes: “Now that the dark nights are here, I plough through your [CWM] archives. Lots of interesting articles. It does give insight …. Mr [Clifford] Rees conducted my wedding (1976) and dedicated my son (1978). Have always thought well of him. But I wonder how he fi ts into the current AOG climate (can’t see him being into G12 and the Paul Weaver/Gerald Coates antics etc). Maybe I’m wrong. I guess Mr Rees would be forthright, but guess he just gets on with fulfi lling his ministry, which he is called to do. He is truly a gentleman.”


AG- USA
Editorial Comment: The following two >letters were addressed to James Sundquist with whom CWM is working closely in exposing
the hypocrisy of Thomas Trask and other AG-USA personnel in supporting Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven deceit and deception. The letters are published with the knowledge an approval of the authors. This was sent to AG-USA offi cials including Thomas Trask and George Wood on 05/02/07 for comment prior to publication. As at 15/02/07 there has been no response from the AG-USA hierarchy.


I appreciate the stand you have taken concerning Rick Warrens Purpose Driven stuff and some of the other theological and doctrinal errors now overtaking the Assemblies of God. I am a former student of the late Dr Opal Reddin at CBC. She was a great and godly lady who worked tirelessly to defend the faith once delivered to the saints. For some time after her passing I felt rather hopeless about the Assemblies of God and the Pentecostal Movement in general.
Then the Lord reminded me that He has called us to take the torch of the Word and the Spirit that those who have gone before are passing to us. I have pastored two A/G in the southern Missouri district.

I have sincerely thought about leaving the Assemblies of God because Im tired of the drift toward liberalism and apostasy. The ecumenical movement within our ranks is an abomination that is leading us into the camp of Rome. With the backing this movement has within our ranks, I doubt we can turn this trend back, but we have an obligation to hold on to all the truth of God's Word as long as we can before we either have to leave or are driven out.

Right now I am between ministries, and my wife and I are seriously seeking the Lord as to whether we should remain in the A/G. Leading A/G ministers, teachers, theologians, and executive leaders are embracing the Emerging Church Movement (ECM)?the next logical step toward Rome and apostasy. Dr Earl Creps at AGTS2 is a huge promoter of ECM.
He apparently operates with impunity and immunity. I recently wrote a letter to Superintendent Thomas Trask about the errors of Rick Warren, ECM, and the Ecumenical Movement. He wrote back to tell me how he and our other leaders were doing everything in their power to preserve and promote sound doctrine in A/G churches.

A few days after he wrote that letter to me I discovered that Creps is involved in this stuff up to his eyeballs right under the noses of the folks on Boonville Avenue.3 I try to give people the benefi t of the doubt as much as possible, but I fi nd it impossible to believe that Trask and others at the General Council headquarters are not aware of the activities of Earl Creps.
If Trask is indeed aware of this?as I strongly suspect, then he is either deceived into accepting these false teachings, or he lied to me. I think we're in trouble either way. Dr Creps has just published a book titled, Off- Road Disciplines that promotes many of the errors of the ECM. Leonard Sweet endorsed it and Dan Kimball wrote the foreword, both of whom are major players in the Emerging Church Movement. In fact, Leonard Sweet is as much New Age as he is anything else.

When Tony Campolo spoke at Valley Forge Christian College I confronted Superintendent Trask about it. He told me that I should talk to the college president before I talked to him. He quoted Matthew 18:15-17. I wrote back to him that this was not a Matthew 18:15-17 issue.
The issue was that a rank heretic would be speaking in one of our colleges over which our leaders had the responsibility to protect the minds and souls of young people. This put the responsibility back on him to stop it, but he didn't stop it. Yet these same leaders have destroyed the A/G ministries and ministers who have done nothing immoral, unethical, or unlawful but simply refused to go along with the political correctness now coming from Springfi eld. Academia has operated without restraint for at least the past 15 years. I had the opportunity to confront a lesbian who was an Evangel University graduate when she was attending SMS4 now MSU5 as a graduate student. I was the Hebrew Editing Assistant, working on the Old Testament Complete Biblical Library project for World Library Press, and she was presenting a paper on 'Feminist Theologies'.

We were in a meeting of theologians, students, and researchers. She referred to 'Gay Theologies'. During the question and answer period I listened quietly for as long as I could stand it.
Finally I asked her a few short questions including whether her interest in and familiarity with 'Feminist' and 'Gay' theologies was due to the fact that she herself was a lesbian. She did not answer outright, but she did sheepishly confi rm my suspicion. Amazingly, those who gave me the most grief for my questions were fellow A/G ministers and professors.
However, they found that I was in my usual recalcitrant mood when dealing with wolves that are perverting and destroying the fl ock of God.
I have never been easily intimidated, and the more I am around backslidden and unsaved ministers the worse it gets. I'm just plain intolerant!
I will continue to address these issues as the Lord gives me opportunity, but I suspect that I will fi nd myself in trouble eventually.
Again, I thank you for your work!
keep it up!
It is an encouragement and a great resource to all believers who love the Lord and His Word.
JL,
Missouri
USA

Brother
I want to give you an update on what’s been happening here locally with the PDC/PDL Movement. I am so thankful for your books; “Whose Driving The Purpose Driven Church.” They have been so helpful. Thank you. My former church of which we had spoken about in our fi rst phone conversation has split and is on the verge of falling apart.
This church went down from an average Sunday congregation of about 2000 down to what is today about 600 or less. The senior pastor has resigned and the new pastor is a Rick Warren follower. I have started a church, “The Joy of Jesus Christian Centre”, and I am preaching against this destructive movement. The Lord has led me to host a conference on the 21st of this month to openly discuss the problems associated with the PDC/PDL.
Dr NoahHutchings has agreed to join me that day and speak on the same subject. If you have any other information you can send, please advise. I thank the Lord for you and your ministry. Keep up the good work and may the Lord richly bless you now and forever. Sincerely Yours In Christ,

JG,
Oklahoma USA

*2 AGTS stands for the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, located in Springfi eld, Missouri, USA
*3 The address of the Assemblies of God headquarters located in Springfi eld, Missouri.
*4 SMS stands for Southwest Missouri State University, located in Springfi eld, Missouri
*5 MSU, which stands for Missouri State University was formerly SMS and is located in Springfi eld, Missouri.
*6 True To His Ways available from CWM AU$24 plus post—see front cover for contact details.


Open Letter to Thomas Trask
On January 11, 2007 Steve Svendsen wrote a letter confronting AG-USA General Superintendent Thomas Trask with the spreading departure from sound doctrine within Assemblies of God as evidenced by the use of the evolving Seeker Sensitive, Church Growth teachings of Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels and Rick Warren.
Mr Trask responded but failed to answer the most important question and hedged the entire issue.
You can read both letters at: http://contending. org/traskletter&response20070112.htm AND HERE... at the CWM Web Site.

Steve Svendsen is a former long-term member of Bethel AG, who has been conducting a survey among AG-USA state superintendents, pastors and members on this matter of growing concern. CETF plans to keep you informed.

TTHEOPHOSTIC COUNSELLING
Elijah House Prayer Ministry – being sued
Editorial Comment: Some time back CWM issued a warning about Theophostic Counselling which had been adopted by “DUNAMIS” Brisbane, pastors Shawn Hanson and Trevor Chandler) and by others.
We believe that the following report justifi es our warning:
Go to: www.lyingspirits.com/news2006.html
— for an interesting summary of law suits originating in British Columbia, Canada, involving the so-called “Christian prayer counselling” ministry of Elijah House, founded by U.S. residents John and Paula Sandford.
They use “inner healing” techniques drawn from occultism, especially the “recovery” of repressed memories in order to heal those memories (as they say).
This is sometimes called “Theophostic Prayer Counselling” (TPC). Elijah House counsellors are, among other things, taught to help people recover emotional wounds and hidden memories in order to “apply the healing power of Jesus” through prayer. In my book True to His Ways6 I compared this practice with kundalini yoga (which is actually orthodox Hinduism). In yoga, practitioners uncover repressed memories and then apply the healing power of kundalini (i.e., the serpent). Eastern thought, not the Bible, is the source of such practice.
In the early 1990s a Canadian lawyer, under the tutelage of John Sandford, left her law practice to head up Canadian operations for Elijah House. However, they closed down the Canadian offi ces in the early 2000s. Around that time a man sued for divorce, saying his marriage was torn apart as a result of counselling that caused his wife to have false memories of sexual and satanic abuse. Recently, the wife apparently realised that she had been deluded and she sued Elijah House. More information is in linked statement.
In 2005 one of the leaders of Elijah House personally told me they were planning to send representatives to carry their teaching into individual churches, especially in the USA, having decided that they need to take their practices directly into church congregations.
Christians beware:
www.lyingspirits.com/news2006.html Ruth Davis, Baruch House Publishing Co, True to His Ways:
Purity in Christian Spiritual Practice.
http://www. truetohisways.com

TITHING
Dear Philip:
My brother receives CETF and referred me to your article on ‘tithing’ (CETF 37 Sept 2006—p 21-23).
The ‘tithing’ issue became a saga for us in the Revival Centres Australia (a “cult” really) over many years.
Some of the ‘pastors’, often from quite humble beginnings, became multimillionaires (one eventually living in a heritage listed mansion mainly through their heavy emphasis on ‘tithing’—talk about “white-collar crime”!) I found your article to be very informative and a ‘breath of fresh air’ after enduring years of stonewalling about a very contentious subject.
Judging the reactions one gets for daring to even question it, could it be that this is because it is linked to the church’s “$ hip pocket nerve”?
Some refuse to countenance the possibility that tithing is not supported in the New Testament. Others adopt an off-handed “we cannot tell” (Matthew 21:27) type of response—but we’re going to keep on promoting it anyway.
As we know, exotic species of flora/fauna, freed from the “checks and balances” found in their native lands, can turn into rampant monsters when introduced into another country. In like manner, tithing found its perfect place in the Old Testament with eleven tribes supporting a twelfth (Levi) and providing “meat in my (God’s) house” (Malachi 3:10) with primary produce for the tabernacle/temple sacrifi ces and offerings as well as other aspects outlined in your article. Introducing the Old Testament law of tithing into the Christian church has turned it into a “rampant monster” in many places, especially where large congregations feel compelled to funnel a tenth of their incomes (which can be a $colossal collective amount !) to a few selected individuals—often just one man, the pastor, which makes a mockery of scriptures such as 1 Peter 5:2 and 1 Timothy 3:3.
A pastor in such a situation has no need to be “greedy of fi lthy lucre” as ‘tithing’ will pour money all over him! Attached (see below) is a question, (obviously ‘loaded’—but nonetheless genuine), that I unsuccessfully attempted to gain an answer to over quite some time.
As you observed on page 21 (CETF 37), of the three occurrences where Christ commented on tithing, “…He condemns those who practised it as being hypocrites”.
In Galatians, Paul condemns those who seek to keep any part or parts of the law to the exclusion of the rest of the law. His point is that such people, and this must include the proponents of tithing, are “debtors to do the whole law”.
Because that’s impossible, they are automatically “cursed” for “continuing not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them”.
One can’t pick and choose about keeping the law! Thanks again for a very interesting and well thought out article.

Observance of Tithing in the Christian Church
—THE GREAT CON
The fi nal verse in the Old Testament dealing directly with the law states that it is to be kept in its entirety:
Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments (Malachi 4:4).
Therefore, previous mention of such laws as those dealing with sacrifi cial animals (Malachi 1) and tithing (Malachi 3) have to be viewed in the context of keeping the ‘whole’ law (see Gal 5:3).
Nehemiah realised that the Law of Moses had to be kept as a whole when he set about “…to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord…” (Nehemiah 10:29) and identifi ed tithing as part of that law “…and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites…” (Nehemiah 10:37).
With the emphasis placed by Paul on keeping “all” the law, why does Galatians 3:10 and Galatians 5:3 apply to circumcision (pre-existing the giving of the law, carried out by Abraham on a type of Christ, Isaac, and subsequently incorporate into the law) but (apparently?) not to tithing (pre-existing the giving of the law, Abraham again to a type of Christ, Melchizedec, and subsequently incorporated into the law)?
That is my question — why don’t these verses apply to tithing?
All who rely on the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things which are written in the book of the law to do them (Galatians 3:10).
For I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law (Galatians 5:3).


POLICY: We value and encourage your communications on any matter and especially on subjects raised in our publications. However due to the large amount of correspondence that we receive Philip Powell can not undertake to answer personal correspondence.
WE are receiving so many letters and emails that it is impractical to publish them all.

CWM issues a regular electronic Mailer, which among other things seeks to warn Christians about false doctrine and abusive practices within the Christian community.
Good advice resulted from our publishing the story.
You can join the CWM Mailer at http://www. christian-witness.org/join.html for future despatches.

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