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Vanguard 16 at the Christian Witness Ministries Web Site
Christian Witness Ministries

Conference Weekend
7th -- 9th March 2003

THIS year with the attraction of Bill Randles along with Philip Powell being in Melbourne, three New Zealanders (Lawrie Cornish was the other one) decided to fly across to join the "Victorians" at Glen Waverley.

Seeing as it had been a long time since Robin and I had been to Melbourne we decided to come a few days beforehand to re-discover the city. Unfortunately this was also the time of the Grand Prix car race, which made finding accommodation difficult.

However Maureen and Terry O'Brien found us somewhere in the Glen Waverley area -- a short walk away from the conference centre.
It was an excellent opportunity to catch up with some of the Australian email correspondents.

We were pleased to come face-to-face with Terry and Maureen O'Brien of Loch Sport (distribution centre of CWM products), Mark and Rachel Schroeder of Inkspot Printing (printers to CWM and Moriel), Margaret Godwin of Trafalgar (the face of Moriel in Australia), Mike and Mercy Roberts of Brisbane (the people who record everything on video tape with their travelling studio/bus), and Aghi and Mile Maisano of AM Meetings Plus (the people who help CWM with conference bookings and can arrange venues for visiting speakers around Australia).

The weekend get-together was held in the local Glen Waverley Community Hall under the umbrella of the "Kingsway Christian Fellowship" guided by the musical pastor Werner Schultz and his wife Ella. Kingsway Christian Fellowship also supplied the musical accompaniment for all the music items.

The messages from both Bill Randles and Philip Powell were invigorating and thought provoking under the general topic of WORSHIP -- "Lord Make Me a Sanctuary".
The two spoke alternatively on the following subjects with Philip starting the series:

  • Spirit & Soul in Worship;
  • Jesus Our Priest;
  • God Establishes His Throne;
  • Acceptable Worship;
  • Fellow-ship God-ward and Man-ward;
  • The Sacrifice of Praise;
  • Show Me Thy Glory;
  • The Knowledge of God.

On a negative note it must be said that greater benefit would have been derived from more Question sessions, which are a necessary part of any gathering.
The tendency for each of the two speakers to pursue an interesting side point or two and then fail to return to the main subject thus leaving "gaps" would have been easily sorted out by a quick relevant question immediately after the session. But for all that, the overall tone was high and strengthening.
Enlarged view available
The times between each session were also valuable as we were able to meet the people we previously only knew as electronic personalities. Overall we considered the weekend was worthwhile on many fronts and are grateful to the organisers who put so much hard work into the event, especially to Maureen O'Brien voluntary CWM manager in Australia and to her several volunteer assistants.

Appeared in Issue CETF NR MONTH YEAR
"...contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" -- Jude v3

I N this issue of Vanguard, we start with a fascinating and thought provoking analysis of current events in the light of Bible prophecy by Tony Pearce.

In the first of two articles, Tony comments on the conflict in Iraq, and how it was more than the war of 'good against evil' that many would have us believe.
From the economic significance of Iraq's oil resources to the Spiritual significance of Babylon, this article is certainly not one to be missed!

In his second article, Tony not only discusses the worldwide threat of Islamic terrorism, but he also discusses the often ignored flawed response of the so-called civilised nations -- a shameful suppression of the civil liberties of the individual.
Crucially, Tony notes how it is this suppression of civil liberties that fits in with biblical prophecy concerning the coming world dictator. Many people around the world are reacting to the current instability by panicking or sinking into despair.
As Christians, we can have a certainty that God is in control. In a look at the story of Daniel in the den of lions, Roger Winter Smith focuses on God's care for the one He loves, and how it is glorifying to God to allow Him to deliver His beloved from danger.
Our God reigns, and He loves us -- thus we should learn to trust in Him whatever our circumstances. Roger observes that Daniel's persecution was designed to stop him [discourage from] praying.

The lesson is clear -- persecution and distress should not distract us from prayer. With this in mind, we are glad that Philip Foster presents the next part of his series on the Lord's Prayer -- that most wonderful piece of instruction given by our Lord.
In this part, Philip discusses the line Deliver us from evil, and how this can refer to both times of trouble and Satan himself. We are warned away from a preoccupation with the devil, and encouraged to centre our prayers upon the Lord -- the One who is able to deliver us.

Philip Powell continues his series on the Matthew 13 Kingdom Parables with a study of the parable of the Wheat and Tares.
An often overlooked aspect to this parable is that until maturity, the wheat and the tares grow together and are indistinguishable. Such is the church today, in which those who are the children of God grow side by side with those who are the children of Satan ... but a time of separation and judgment is inevitable.
In this context, we should not be surprised when respected ministers are exposed as frauds, deceivers or anti-Semitic -- their true colours are only revealed in maturity.
Philip addresses some important issues, such as how the Lord's command not to uproot the tares does not forbid us from identifying them, and how crucial it is that we know how to react to the tares so that we do not damage the wheat.
In all of these things, we see the theme of God's sovereignty as paramount. Will we come to terms with His sovereignty over the church, the nations, and us?
He is in control of world events as this age moves into the next. He is in control of His church, and will ensure that a pure bride is presented with much rejoicing.
Are we steadfast in our determination to make Him Lord over every aspect of our lives?
My own article discusses the term pastor, as part three of my series on Biblical Ecclesiology. This is a potentially contentious subject as ideas on church government differ widely across the different denominations.

I recently participated in a Faculty Panel at Yale University on the subject of Iraq -- beyond the headlines. The idea was to present a fairer account of Iraq, its history and people, than is often presented in the media. I was given the title Jews and Christians in Iraq, and a number of friends subsequently suggested that this would be of interest beyond the confines of Yale's academic community.
So in this issue of Vanguard, we include an expanded version of this presentation.
As always, we give our readers a chance to respond in our Letters Page, and we also bring news of our recent CWM conference in Australia and the imminent CWM UK conference, as well as some other reports from around the world.
Finally we present our by-now traditional Unmasked section, although this time it is more of a Donning the Mask Again section, as we discuss the worrying trend of disgraced ministers returning to positions of authority in the Church.
We prefix this with a note on the restoration of those who have fallen, which is something we wholeheartedly seek. But the question remains — what manner of restoration does the individual seek? Is it a restoration in faith, fellowship, ministry or authority?

So we commend this issue of Vanguard to our readers and, as always, our readers are invited to respond.


Appeared in Issue 16 Vanguard - May 2003
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-Last revised-31 August, 2004