Second News Update of 1998


  • HELLO again! and welcome to the second News Update from me, Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries.

    You will have noticed my dating system is conveniently loose, to allow me to default on providing a regular monthly or bi-monthly edition of this Update. I don't know how other people manage, but I never have enough time for all that I need to do. Just lately I have been toying with the idea of writing down all that I do in a day, just to see if I'm justified in feeling so guilty - but I'm pretty sure the answer would be that I'm trying to do too much. (as usual!).

    I comfort myself with the assurance that those who produce a book every year, answer a sack of mail every day, and appear regularly on TV and talk shows, probably don't have to do their own office work at the same time (and do THEY, I wonder, also have to wash their own undies, or scrape dried pizza off the inside of the oven? Hmmm... I guess not. My case is proven.)

    And so to the news. Not that there's much of it around at the moment. People keep asking me, what's happening? And I say - well, um.

    It would be a mistake to think things are quietening down, however. This is the lull before the storm - and WHAT a storm! My main concern at this moment is that we learn how to prepare for the worst, not forgetting that God will guard and keep us. But even so, we need to check the foundations of our spiritual building to make sure we have Rock foundations.

    The headlong dive into apostasy shows no sign of slowing; indeed, things are moving faster all the while, driving thousands towards the abyss of false teaching and demonic manifestations.

    It amazes me how gullible Christians can be, accepting things that are plainly wrong, even by the standards of the world, never mind the Word of God. Some Christians are so determined to follow their leaders, no matter what, that they are prepared to swallow any poison for the sake of blind obedience. And they condemn anyone who tries to stop them, too!

    A few years back, no right-thinking Christian would have attended a joint meeting of Church people and Occultists for the purpose of promoting "alternative healing techniques". Some may even have opposed it, and spoken out against such a thing.

    But today, things have changed. A pall of indifference has come over the Church, and "anything goes". So I feel sure there were some poor deluded believers attending the "Celebration of Health and Healing" held at Sherborne Abbey on April 4th, thinking to obtain a few pointers on healing.

    However, this meeting was organised jointly by the clergy of the Church's Ministry of Healing and the National Federation of Spiritual Healers. The latter group (NFSH) is a new-age/occultic group founded by the spiritualist Harry Edwards, and is an umbrella organisation for over 7,000 "healers" in the UK alone who do not have to be "religious" or have any belief whatever to join the NFSH.

    If you'd like to get a taste of what this group stands for, browse over to some of their linked sites such as "Paths of Wisdom" at http://www.ursasoft.com/paths/index.html, or try the pseudo-religious "Madonna Ministry" newsletters such as http://www.paradigm-sys.com/madonnanews/news1197-3.html and news1197-1.html

    The Sherborne Abbey meeting offered a series of seminars including ones on Tai Chi, Healing of Memories, and the "Power of Self-healing", and concluded with a service of healing, with laying on of hands, prayer and anointing.


    Another mixture entering the Church is a "new-thought" theology championed by scholars such as Clark Pinnock. Of course, there have always been theological differences of opinion, and heresies, in the Church. This latest attack on the gospel would not be so worrying, except it is being supported by charismatic, restoration and revivalist leaders. In other words, this is no dry debate confined to the academic halls, but an issue likely to affect believers - young, wet-behind-the-ear believers in charismatic fellowships.

    In the January 1998 issue of the Christian newspaper "Evangelicals Now" there was a report entitled PINNOCK AND REVIVAL CONFERENCE. It concerned a major conference held in November under the auspices of YWAM, Ichthus, Pioneer and HTB - really, about everyone involved in Toronto/Revival in the UK.

    The title for this conference was "A Theology For Revival". It was held at Marsham Evangelical Church, Westminster. The main speaker was Prof Clark Pinnock, Prof of Theo at McMaster Divinity College, Ontario, and one of the authors of "The Openness of God" (Paternoster Press).

    Firstly, considering the nature of this man's work, we have to ask ourselves why the organisers invited him to speak. We must assume they were familiar with and in sympathy with his book, which was used as the textbook for the conference seminars throughout.

    The report highlights various statements made by Prof. Pinnock, which I shall summarise:

    1. God changes his mind in accordance with the circumstances
    2. God relates to humans in time, therefore God is in time, not eternity.
    3. Human free will limits the sovereignty of God.
    4. It is still uncertain who will triumph in the end - God or satan, good or evil.
    5. God does not infallibly know the future, what anyone will do, or how events will turn out.
    6. The definition of God is "love", thus:
      • 6a) there may be a purgatory after death where sinners can advance to redemption.
      • 6b) equally, there may be a possibility of falling away from salvation after death.
    7. Humans are co-workers with God, thus God NEEDS our co-operation in history, in order to fulfil His will.
    8. The ultimate defeat of evil depends heavily upon our actions.
    9. If we withhold our co-operation, evil will triumph and God will be defeated.

    Is this to be the "theology of revival"? How many Christians will be suffering guilt when they are told the redemption of the world depends on THEM?

    Also, this is a recipe for persecution, for anyone who is NOT supporting the current revival will be, by their non-action and criticism, actively HINDERING the redemption of the world and the triumph of God over evil. What a weight for anyone to bear!

    I did an Internet search and found over 200 direct references to Clark Pinnock. And BOY what an education that was! Professor Pillock (as I cannot help calling him) and his involvement in the Church scene right now is a kind of warning light that has begun to flicker, and we should all take notice.

    I will list a few sites of interest for those who want to read up about the man. I downloaded seventy pages but had to stop before I got heresy overload. I am going to make an attempt to extract a few juicy bits from those pages to give you a flavour of Pillock [er, Pinnock] and his beliefs, and connections. (If you want the document containing all my web research on Pinnock, then right-click on this: PINNOCK.ZIP and save the zipped file to your hard disc. It is in Word7 format, 120kb)

    I can do no worse than begin with a comment from Alan Howe, writing on the Christian Research Network web page (URL below)

    Church history is littered with new trends and counter-trends, and our day is no exception. Within the professing evangelical world a sea-change, or megashift in thinking, has been taking place for a number of years, filtering down from the academic world and interacting with some of the changes which have been occurring in the wider church, eg. in the Charismatic Movement.

    The current megashift, this article contends, represents a significant stage in the re-alignment of evangelicalism.

    If our analysis is correct, what has already happened is the widespread toleration of error within the evangelical camp. We are, therefore, now at the next stage, is one in which this error is now vying for a position of equality with orthodoxy.

    Soon, however, biblical orthodoxy, if no attempt at resistance is made, may surrender altogether.

    So what is the megashift? In the February 19th, 1990 issue of the American magazine Christianity Today Robert Brow, a Canadian Anglican, wrote a landmark article to explain the new thinking.

    It seems that the desired theological change was a move away from the language of the court-room, ie. the abandonment of the notion of salvation consisting in terms of the legal acquittal, or justification, of the believing sinner by virtue of the sacrifice offered to God the Father by Jesus Christ the Son on the cross of Calvary. Instead, the preferred model was to be the family-room, in which the concept of the loving, relational divine Trinity would be applied to human beings in terms of a loving Father and His children.

    The result, of course, is the radical down-playing of the fact of human sinfulness and the problem of how men and women are to be reconciled to a God Who is utterly holy. In other words, how can we have a God as our Father before the sentence passed against us, because of our sin, has been set aside?

    One of the respondents to Brow's articulation of the megashift was the American theologian Clark Pinnock. Pinnock's spiritual odyssey reveals him to be an ideal theologian of the New Evangelicalism. In his writings, published over recent years, he reveals the extent of the defection from orthodoxy that the new model represents - but also that the new thinking is not new at all, but just a re-packaging of old errors and heresies.

    Thus in "A Wideness in God's Mercy" (1992) Pinnock argues for the concept of 'pagan saints' (those saved without hearing the gospel, or through a post-mortem opportunity to believe); in "Unbounded Love" (co-authored with Brown: 1994) the doctrine of 'creative love theism' emerges, which is a development of Brow's original article; in "The Openness of God" (co-authored with four others: 1994) Pinnock sets out a doctrine of God which is akin to the 16th century heresy of Socinism in which God neither foreordains nor foreknows anything which may happen; and in "Flame of Love" (1996) he reveals his involvement in the Toronto Blessing and issues a call to dismantle the Reformation and be reconciled with Roman Catholicism.

    Next, there's an interesting discussion of this "megashift" in theology, too long to reproduce in full, but a short extract gives a flavour of this discussion:

    The Megashift: A Discussion with Clark Pinnock
    & Michael Horton with Greg Koukl Moderating.

    This discussion took place on KBRT, a Los Angeles radio station, in September, 1990. (c) 1993 Modern Reformation / ACE

    Horton: Well, what we're really talking about here, again, is what the atonement achieved. If you've wondered why you have heard less about sin, hell, judgment or condemnation from your local pulpit, but instead have heard more talk about God as a loving father without referring to justification and guilt and those types of concepts, it's probably because this shift has taken place. And so the teaching and preaching on a very practical level is informed and shaped by this sort of shift.

    Moderator: So a hundred years ago or so, the emphasis might have been more on hell and wrath such as, "Sinners in the hands of an Angry God," whereas today the emphasis is on the relational aspect of God's love, God's role as a provider, that he cares for all his children and has provided a way for us to know him. Are you saying that in this shift we are losing something in the process that is vital to orthodox Christian understanding?

    Horton: Yes. R.C. Sproul once said it used to be "Sinners in the hands of an Angry God" and now it's "God in the hands of angry sinners." We've seen a shift from a God-centered focus to a man-centered focus probably in part because of the tremendous influence of psychology replacing theology in many pulpits across the country.

    Moderator: Dr. Pinnock, do you feel that there is a shift taking place away from the older model that Mike described, and if so, do you think it is an appropriate one?

    Pinnock: Yes, but I think of the shift as being more broad than just focusing on the cross. It mainly has to do with how God relates to us. In the old model, God is a monarch whose will is always carried out. It is a harsh and negative model, you know, "Sinners in the hand of an angry God." The newer model stresses more the love of God and his dynamic relationship with people which puts more significance on human action than the older view, which tends to be kind of fatalistic.


    Extracts from the web sites

    (1) Horton: Let's move to the heart of the issue--the cross of Christ. What did our Lord actually accomplish?

    Pinnock: Well, it deals with the problem of sin and the forgiveness of God. It's potentially effective for the world and not actually effective, and I think you have to say something like that because of the universal texts in the Bible. So it's not automatically effective for those for whom it is offered.

    (2) In the Western Church the differences between Roman Catholics and various forms of Protestant theology focused on how the payment made by Christ could be accepted or encashed by faith. Based on Pinnock's theology of the Holy Spirit, the at-one-ment by the Spirit offers a new model to review the interminable discussions of the various theories of the atonement. No payment has to be made --- and Satan may tempt but he can never hold us captive for ever. ---the net result is that we are made one with God as the Holy Spirit does in us what He did in the incarnate Son of God.

    In using such terms Pinnock does not want to deny a legal "penal substitutionary model" , but the model no longer holds center stage. Pinnock wants to recover the centrality of the work of the Holy Spirit in every aspect of our atonement. He says for example that atonement is "a power event" . This means that we can experience exactly the same power that was at work in Jesus. In other words "the Spirit's task in atonement" is to transform and empower us so that we can love and suffer rejection, and finally be taken through death and resurrection in the same way as the Son of God.


    [From a Review of "Flame of Love"]

    Pinnock then works at the implications of this for our model of the atonement. In the first chapter Pinnock established that the three Persons of the Trinity intended from the beginning (Genesis 1:26-27) to perfect us into God's image of perfect love. In the second chapter he shows that from the beginning it was Spirit who worked as the agent of creation and recreation. This enables Pinnock to bypass the doctrine of original sin with everyone destined to eternal damnation until the Son has made the payment to save us.

    Readers will be tempted to compare this to the move Matthew Fox made when he replaced original sin by original blessing. The difference is that Matthew Fox is quite clear that he does not want to be a Theist, this life is all there is, and there is no resurrection. Pinnock is decisively Theistic, and the end product is a resurrection into God's heaven of perfected love.


    Pinnock has been at Toronto from the beginning. I found that the TAV's newsletter "Spread The Fire" had Pinnock as guest writer from its first issue in Jan 95. He reviewed the book "Catch The Fire" by Guy Chevreau.

    In this review he says: "the book takes the time needed to prove that the Toronto Blessing is congruent with historical experience of revival which is very important. This is an excellent book then, and (I agree) this is a wonderful outpouring. I attend the meetings regularly since I live just down the road and have found my faith enhanced and my relationship with God enriched. God is very real at these meetings and I love him all the more because of them."


    "More Than One Way? Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World" is the latest multiple-authors book published by Zondervan. It gives four views on pluralism:

    1. Normative pluralism by John Hick: all ethical religions lead to God;
    2. Inclusivism by Clark Pinnock: salvation is universally available, but established by and leading to Christ;
    3. Salvation in Christ by Alister McGrath: agnosticism regarding those who have not heard the gospel; and
    4. Salvation in Christ alone: the traditional evangelical view.

    "Clark Pinnock is to be saluted," says John Hick, "for having done much to lead the evangelical wing of Christianity away from the old exclusivism, which believes that only Christians are saved, to an inclusivism that recognizes that non-Christians may ultimately be saved."

    Pinnock writes,

    "As an inclusivist, I acknowledge my debt to the Catholic Church for its leadership in this regard [at Vatican II]." He goes on to say, "I welcome the Saiva Siddhanta literature of Hinduism, which celebrates a personal God of love, and the emphasis on grace that I see in the Japanese Shin-Shu Amida sect. I also respect the Buddha as a righteous man (Matt. 10:41) and Mohammed as a prophet figure in the style of the Old Testament" (Christian News, 4/15/96). [From: What in the World!- A news service prepared by Bob Jones University for the local church Volume 19, Number 10, published by Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina 29614 to help believers know what the devil is up to. Free church subscriptions: 864-242-5100, ext. 3074 All contents (c)1996, BJU Press. All rights reserved. ]


    Christian Research Network (UK) - Exposé of Pinnock; also offers newsletter on Pinnock: http://web.ukonline.co.uk/crn/crnintro.html

    Michael Horton and Pinnock: http://www.remembrancer.com/ace/MHPinInt.html

    History of the Jesus Movt. (interesting in itself) written by Di Sabatino, student of Pinnock. His thoughts on Pinnock appear on another page, linked to this: http://www.best.com/~dolphin/jpindex.shtml

    Canadian Evangelical Writers (reviews of Pinnock's books) http://www.canlink.com/brow and http://www.canlink.com/creativelove/

    Reformed Site that reviewed Pinnock's books: http://www.founders.org/FJ22/reviews.html

    Sunday Times March 29 1998

    The Millennium Dome

    Britain's contribution to the Millennium hype is a huge dome being built on the meridian, at Greenwich. (pronounced Grenich) The organisers are being secretive about the contents of the Dome, but what is revealed so far gives cause for concern. My suspicion is that the Dome will represent the New Order for mankind, and be a triumph of new-age propaganda. No wonder the organisers are resisting the idea of any overt Christian content.

    A recent poll confirmed what we all suspected: hardly anyone actually wants this expensive monstrosity. When asked how the £770 million should be spent, only 2% of people answered "the Dome".

    In addition, only 12% of Britons linked the millennium with the birth of Christ. Yet the Church is trying hard to steer the Dome into an expression of Christianity; bucking the trends and ignoring the fact that the whole purpose and ethos of the "Millennium Party" and the Dome is non-Christian. While the organisers and designers speak of a "religious and spiritual element" at the Dome, they do not mean to uphold our Saviour as the meaning of it all! Far from it!

    The Church, meanwhile, is being its old self - slow to rise to a challenge, committee-bound, indecisive, plodding and largely irrelevant. It has been admitted that the Church of England has no idea what to suggest for the Christian content of the Dome, despite having set up a group two years ago to discuss their input. The only media report I have read about the Lambeth Group is their conclusion that the Dome's content should be "mainly Christian" (fat chance!!). But since the Lambeth Group includes Muslims and Jews, this decision is inevitably flawed. Have you ever met a practising Muslim or Jew who actually wanted to promote Jesus as the One Lord and Saviour? Then, what kind of relevant scriptural Jesus can we possibly present to this country, if not?

    Furthermore, on BBC radio 4, 1st March 1998, on the Sunday Programme (devoted to religious affairs), Joel Edwards, the head of the Evangelical Alliance in Britain was interviewed (along with a theologian called Mary Gray) about his participation in the Lambeth Group. He said:

    I think I want to underscore the point that this group is absolutely committed to ensure that the priority of the Christian impact is emphasised in whatever way it actually expresses itself. ... But of course if you do have a number of faith groups represented around a table, each representing their own particular faith, then we always have to be aware of the need to give space for each other whilst recognising the priority of the Christian Faith. So what we have discovered over the last 18 months is a very cordial but very clear commitment, not for a mushy kind of indistinct 'porridge' experience of faith but distinct expressions of the different groups which are around the table, all recognising that this is ultimately a Christian event which needs to be reflected in ways which makes that very clear.

    With that kind of mush, we are never going to see a truly scriptural Christian message in the Dome!

    However, the whole point is being missed. This discussion is rather like the Church seeking for a "Christian" content to Bonfire Night, or Halloween!

    There is no real scriptural warrant for "celebrating" the turn of the century, whether it's dated from the birth of Jesus Christ or not. (And it isn't, for most thinking people realise that Jesus was born, in fact, shortly before the BC/AD divide. So, it isn't even the millennium!!)

    We have already passed the BIG DAY, if we want to attach any importance to the 2,000th birthday of Jesus Christ. There is still much discussion over the actual date (and I don't think the Lord wants us to know for sure) but I would be willing to guess it has more to do with the Jubilee of the State of Israel than any dome in Greenwich.

    Secondly, December 31st, 1999 is NOT the last day of this millennium. A decade is ten years, counted from one-to-ten inclusive; and a millennium is a thousand years, counted from one-to-a-thousand inclusive. The last day of this present thousand years of history is actually December 31st 2,000.

    These things seem to have no bearing on the celebrations, however. There is a determination to bring in the Jubilee of the World, and no amount of fact or common sense will stop the new-agers now.

    The official website of the Dome gives a glowing picture:

    "The Dome, on the Prime Meridian at Greenwich, will be the centrepiece of the UK's millennium celebrations - the most exciting and ambitious in the world. Its 80,000 square metres (20 acres) of floor space will be the venue for the largest exhibition ever planned, with 12 vast attractions ranged in a circle around the performance arena for the central experience - a show with live performers and stunning visual effects repeated throughout the day. "

    [Note: a circle of twelve! There is a symbolic and occult significance to this. The twelve stars in a circle on the European flag reflects this theme. A coven of witches consists of twelve, plus one high priestess or priest, making thirteen in all, a specially powerful number in the occult world. In the case of the Dome, a performing Magician stands in the centre of the twelve "zones". There are twelve signs of the zodiac, ranged in a circle; also twelve days of Saturnalia (12 days of Xmas) in which to pass from darkness to light, from chaos to order. Twelve persons in a circle could represent the Council of the New Order, a parody of the Twelve Apostles.]

    "A spectacular opening ceremony on 31 December 1999, to be seen all over the world on TV, will herald the beginning of a year-long celebration of British ideas and technology. Exhibits and attractions designed by Britain's best talents will open up the choices facing humankind in the 21st century and beyond."

    THE ZONES include:

    The Body Zone containing a HUGE statue of a human being, and a child. The Designers are being coy about the sex of the figure, and its real purpose and meaning. Some reports suggested it was supposed to be Brittanica, others that the form is androgynous, but the child figure suggests a Mother-and-Child motif, which will worry those who are following the spiritual trends in this millennium debate. Not only does this have its origins in mythology and goddess-worship, but it suggests the birth of a "baby" for the New Era.

    Spirit Level "A space for spiritual reflection" containing a huge black glass pyramid, surrounded by an acre of meditation gardens, drawing inspiration from Zen Buddhism and Islam. Images are projected onto smoke, symbolising the soul.

    Dreamscape Visitors float on beds along a "river of dreams" that the planners say will "set minds free in a way that only dreams can achieve". The images become ever more bizarre, and loosen the bonds between reality and the imagination. Yet more scope for new-age propaganda here!

    Fuller descriptions of these zones and details of other zones can be found at the official Dome site at http://www.mx2000.co.uk/. Another relevant URL is the Greenwich site at http://millennium.greenwich2000.com/millennium/experience/index.html

    As well as the spiritual content, there is the usual environmental clap-trap, and talk of the "global village" ; we can expect this Dome to be the crowning achievement of all the new-age doctrines of the century. The stated aims reflect this (note - 12 again!):

    • to build a renewed sense of community;
    • to understand, maintain and protect our environment and natural treasures;
    • to celebrate our unique identity and unite behind a shared inheritance;
    • to act as responsible citizens of the shrinking global village;
    • to give Britain access to the best in arts and culture;
    • to equip us with the skills and training needed for the future;
    • to become better educated, committed to lifelong learning;
    • to lead active and fulfilling lives in leisure time;
    • to be a healthier nation
    • to encourage creativity and invention;
    • to become a more tolerant and inclusive society;
    • to create a communicating society.

    There has been little media opposition to the Dome project. That's not surprising with the Government's very own spin doctor, Peter Mandleson, in charge, and people like Sam Chisholm, [Chief Executive and Managing Director of British Sky Broadcasting Group] and Michael Grade, [Chief Executive of Channel 4] on the Board.

    In my Internet searches I did not find one anti-Dome site, probably due to British laziness and indifference. I have the feeling that, had this been an American project, there would be a dozen websites exposing the spiritual, political, financial and cultural truths behind the hype. Somebody needs to go behind the scenes and find out what is REALLY going on.

    However, there have been one or two less adoring news pieces appearing. This one is from Richard Dorment, the Daily Telegraph's Art Critic:

    "Boycott the Dome"

    "I've recently returned from two cities which have been permanently transformed through cultural projects of such intrinsic merit that they make what's happening in Greenwich look hopelessly meretricious. The most relevant for comparison with the Dome is the opening of the Getty Centre in Los Angeles. At a cost of $1 billion - that is, considerably less money than the £775 million earmarked for the Dome - the city got a gleaming white complex of buildings which includes a museum, library, lecture hall and restoration, administrative and research centres."

    "According to one newspaper report, a ticket to the Dome will cost £17.50, plus the cost of the train from Waterloo (which won't be cheap: the boat from the piers below Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges will cost £7.50). For a family of four, we're talking around £100 per visit - and that's just from London. Will there really be a stampede to Greenwich when a return rail ticket from Birkenhead to London costs £160?"

    The Dome organisers are proudly stating their expectations of hosting 12-million visitors (there's that 12 again!) and given the public apathy towards ethics, standards, right and decency, not to speak of Government mismanagement and overspending, Britons will probably flock like sheep to the Dome when it is completed, open-mouthed and closed-minded, ready to be indoctrinated en masse.

    That is assuming, of course, that God allows us to reach the year 2000. The way things are going, there is no certainty that we will. Judgement is heaping up like a wave, ready to pour down on the unsuspecting. Not only a financial crash, but a huge earthquake has been predicted for Tokyo; and the Asian financial markets are at the point of collapse. European interests in these banks are vast, much more so than America - which also has much at stake.


    "The Two Roots of Revival" by Rev. Robert S. Liichow. "The Two Roots of Revival" makes an excellent companion volume to "Counterfeit Christianity". It is over 250 pages of fully documented facts which prove the occult roots of the current "wave" sweeping over hundreds of thousands of charismatic Christians. "Two Roots" contains information which is currently not found in any book written about today's revival. It refutes biblically the arguments given by revivalists attempting to validate their non-Biblical manifestations. The author is a former Word of Faith Pastor & Teacher, who has participated in the last five "moves of the Spirit" within the charismatic renewal. TO ORDER: $12.00 Post Paid Anywhere in the world. Make your check payable to: ICASS and send to P.O. Box 15639, Detroit, MI. 48215, USA. [Website is at Inner-City Christian Discernment Ministries located at: http://www.discernment.org]


    Pastor Gil Rugh of Indian Hills Community Church, Lincoln, NE has written a new book on the Promise Keepers which can be downloaded and read using Adobe Acrobat Reader. The book will be printed in three weeks. For a preview go to: http://www.ihcc.org/Booklets/promiseperspective.pdf

    Finally, there must be many of you who - like me - have read and appreciated Alexander Hislop's classic book "The Two Babylons". Now there is an online version to be obtained in Word format for anyone who would like an interactive disc version of the book. It contains all the text and illustrations, exactly as in the original. Go to: http://members.xoom.com/milesman/Homepage0.html

    I think that's about all until next time, so I will sign off. Keep looking up!!

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