Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Rapture but no secret rapture

There are those who deny the rapture. Some do so because of the mistaken and erroneous belief in a secret event when Christians are mysteriously removed from the earth prior to the tribulation.

The word rapture comes from the Latin rapio which means catch up or snatch. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17 Paul tells us that Christians still alive and left on earth will be caught up (αρπαγησομεθα) together with the risen dead in Christ in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. It can therefore be argued that at the second coming of Christ, when the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with the loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, Christians will be caught up or raptured!

Let us be clear that this is no secret or hidden event. The loud command, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God will herald the clearly visible second coming. Yes, He is coming with the clouds and every eye shall see Him! Revelation 1:7.

Somehow since the 19th century a doctrine of a two stage event has been introduced in which the rapture is separated from the visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The rapture is wrongly understood as a secret event when true Christians are suddenly and mysteriously removed from the earth.
According to this view, Christ is not seen and the elect disappear. Although this doctrine is very well publicized and has been popularized in the Left Behind books and film, its historical background goes no further back than the first half of the 19th century, about 1830. It has been spread through the teaching of Edward Irving, JN Darby, the Scofield Bible, dispensationalism, Hal Lindsey and a host of other preachers and authors.

The last trumpet must clearly refer to a public and visible event. It rules out a secret and hidden rapture.

I would recommend the You Tube video by Bezel333 on this subject under the title The rapture of the church... yes, and no. I have inserted the link so that you can see it.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Contra Benny Hinn

Benny Hinn predicted " right after the year 2000... financial disaster will hit and only those who have been giving to God's work will be spared." This was used cleverly, in the context of the meeting, to get people to give to Benny Hinn! It is very deceitful to say only those who have been giving to God's work will be spared. It is a lie! Anyone with some basic understanding of economics would know that. Look at the greedy hedge fund entrepreneurs and capitalists who have done well out of the current economic problems. They have been spared through clever investments and not by increasing seed i.e money for Benny's ministry. Benny is not, therefore, interested in the truth of the situation but he is playing on people's fear of economic hardship. He exploiting the situation to get people to give. He seems to have convinced many to fund his lavish lifestyle.

It it depressing to find that Christians still support the ministry of Benny Hinn. There is clearly a lack of discernment and intellectual rigour. If people did some proper research into this man's ministry then you will find deceit and dishonesty. Welcome, Holy Spirit contains untruthful reports about events in Canada. When these events were independently investigated it was found that Benny had been very economical with the truth.

Lois C. Krause, director of community relations for Sault Sainte Marie General Hospital, denied all that Hinn claimed. She said it could not have happened in the way Hinn's book describes. She laughed after reading a copy of the story. No miracles occurred in the hospital as Hinn claims, she said, adding that "no patients left that day" due to miraculous occurrences. Some older staff members did recall Hinn's name, but did not remember anything as extraordinary as his book describes. They did not deny the possibility that the chapel meeting was held, but did not recall the meeting as recounted in Welcome, Holy Spirit. Mother Superior Mary Francis, of the Gray Sisters of the Immaculate Conception order, also disputed Hinn's account. She said she did not invite Hinn, but reluctantly allowed his chapel service in deference to the pastoral care department, which initiated the service. The hospital then released a statement, which included the following remarks: "No such events have ever occurred at General Hospital. His pronouncement can neither be verified through the medical records nor by testimony from past or present personnel of this hospital. A summary critique: Welcome, Holy Spirit. The critique is, in fact, written by G.Richard Fisher and M. Kurt Goedelman.

Hinn lied and these lies are in the book. His claims do not stand up to honest scrutiny. This is true with regard to Benny Hinn's claims about healing. God's truth will stand up to every form of scrutiny.

If people took the trouble to look into the way money has been spent, the lack of medical evidence for the alleged healings, the weird prophetic statements (such as the one about the gay community of America) and the broken promises (see the CBC documentary The Fifth Estate in five parts ), they would not give a penny to this man. He seems to have the spirit of Gehazi! Please see my essay on the abuse of the Bible by prosperity teachers on my blog. We need to pray for Benny Hinn and his ilk.

The Bible clearly condemns living in luxury and self-indulgence. There is no question about that and if you need a proof text then James 5:5 will do and the whole context leaves us in no doubt about it. So when my research into the spending of one high profile prosperity preacher revealed that he had stayed in the most expensive suite in the most expensive hotel in Milan, well I find that very difficult to justify as a necessary ministry expense, don't you? Furthermore, it was revealed that he had made various trips in his private jet, which from a forensic accounting point of view, were also hard to explain. When the money obtained in this man's ministry comes from very vulnerable, poor and very needy people, some of whom cannot afford the gifts they have put into the offering, then I think I am justifiably filled with indignation. The Word of God condemns this behaviour, does it not? Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their treatment of needy widows. This behaviour damages the work of the Gospel. It is a stumbling block to unbelievers. The Elmer Gantry character and The Leap of Faith film do resonate in the USA. They do strike a chord and make a point. Some of these prosperity preachers are doing serious damage and they should be accountable. It is sad when they operate without transparency and integrity.

The following documentary is worth watching in six parts:

By the way, I am not anti-charismatic at all as I am charismatic by experience and believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit and miracles of God operate today. I am, however, strongly against certain ministries that exploit the charismatically inclined Christians and use these ministries as a means of gain and self promotion.

Friday, 19 September 2008

The abuse of the Bible by prosperity teachers

It is my contention that prosperity teaching is not biblical but an abuse of the Bible. Prosperity teaching is a false gospel and is based on false foundations. It exploits the vulnerable and it promotes an unhealthy materialistic outlook. It has the spirit of Gehazi rather than the Spirit of God. Those who profit from it often live luxuriously without real concern for the needs of others and without a commitment to a true Christian life of discipleship and taking up the cross daily to follow Christ Jesus as Lord. The prosperity preachers seem to be more concerned about their own bank accounts, cars, mansions and even private jets.

The following theological reflections may be helpful.

The definition and background of the Health and Wealth Gospel Groups

The key teaching can be summarized as follows: it is God’s will for all Christians to be prosperous, spiritually and materially, and to experience health and miracles in their walk with God. An important aspect of prosperity teaching is the doctrine of seed-faith.

According to Hummel, the four main teachings of the Faith movement are revelation knowledge, positive confession, divine healing, and material prosperity. McConnell believes that in its infancy the Faith movement was known for its radical emphasis upon healing, but today the Faith movement is one of the major sources of prosperity teaching among modern charismatics. Those in the Faith movement therefore believe that God works miracles in providing healing and finances.

The movement’s roots have been traced back to E.W. Kenyon, and through to the healing evangelists of the post WWII era and twentieth century materialistic American Protestant Christianity. In some ways the doctrine of prosperity seems to be a gross example of the Church’s cultural accommodation to the worldly values of American materialism.
It is my contention that these Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians use, and abuse, the Bible as a source, inspiration and ultimately an authoritative text to endorse their teaching. All the leading exponents in the Word of Faith movement, those promoting the prosperity teaching, would claim to be preaching a truly Bible based message and would claim to be faithful ministers of the Word of God, the Bible. They would all maintain that they are correctly handling the truths of scripture and God. All of them quote the Bible as a proof text and supreme authority; they normally operate in an environment where the Bible is believed to be the rule of faith and final court of appeal in matters of doctrine. They usually have a very high view of scripture and are brought up in a tradition of Bible proof texts, which amounts to quoting Bible verses, arguably often out of context, to strengthen a point or to back up a doctrine. It is expected that any “anointed” preacher will be able to refer frequently to Bible texts and quote relevant portions from the Bible. In some cases it is claimed that the teaching comes by special revelation and direct inspiration from God.

A key text in support of the prosperity theology is 3 John 2:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

The Authorized Version is preferred because it has the phrase “above all things” which prosperity teachers use to stress that health and prosperity are God’s highest wish and priority for his children. However, to extend the author’s wish for Gaius to refer to financial and material prosperity for all Christians is totally foreign to the text. What was in fact a standard form of greeting in a personal letter in antiquity[1] has been twisted to support a prosperity theology.

The spread of the Gospel does not necessarily involve huge sums of money or extra wealth among Christians. It can be spread in the normal course of daily living and personal testimony. It does not have to involve expensive methods, miracle wealth transfer and mass evangelism. In Latin America and parts of Africa the advance of the Church has occurred among the poor and by the relatively poor; the history of Christianity does not link wealth and the success of the Church. The end-time wealth transfer teaching seems to be based on the prosperity gospel’s obsession with finances and money rather than sound Biblical teaching. One prosperity preacher believes that according to Deuteronomy 8:18 there is an end-time transfer of wealth coming to the people of God.

He asserts that it can be brought to pass through good will gifts, but there is nothing about an end-time transfer of wealth in the New Testament. It is another case of the prosperity preachers finding their pet doctrines in ambiguous texts, and then claiming that it is a legitimate use of the Bible because of a revelation or prophecy. It is also coveting the world’s money and wanting to operate in a materialistic way.

There seems no good reason to link rather obscure texts in Proverbs and Deuteronomy with eschatological doctrines and prosperity. Richard Roberts claims that God gave him “a powerful revelation concerning breaking the spirit of debt”. He bases his revelation on the story of the miracle of the floating axe head in 2 Kings 6. According to Richard Roberts, the passage teaches us principles to remove debt, finance the end-time Gospel, and remove people from the devil’s kingdom. Roberts makes the connection that debt is borrowed money and the axe head was borrowed and lost. To find the missing item the young man had to be specific about the location, tell the whole story and then put something in (a stick) to retrieve the axe head. Roberts sees seed-faith as the answer. He writes:
… Elisha realized that you must put something in first as an act of your obedience, as God directs, if you want to get something out. You must sow a seed to God.

When you put something in and add your faith to it, God can take those things that have sunk to the bottom of your life and cause them to float to the TOP!

I find it ironic that a magazine, from Oral Roberts University (ORU), offered a revelation concerning breaking the spirit of debt, and advertised a tape and book about “blasting debt out of the body of Christ”, yet also mentions in another article that a man had pledged $1,000 towards debt reduction at ORU. The man asserts, “God delivered me from debt as I gave toward ORU’s debt!” Surely this “powerful revelation” should have removed the debt from ORU! This revelation was not powerful enough to help ORU miraculously, or by other methods, to remove their debt. Perhaps these “miracles” take time for the gullible to buy the books and tapes, and to make sufficient donations in seed-faith giving to remove the debt. The use of 2 Kings 6 to teach miracle debt reduction principles is an example of eisegesis, where the obsession with the seed-faith concept has been transported into passage in the Bible. It seems that this teaching, in the context of the magazine, plays on the many vulnerable people who have debts. It puts pressure on them to give to Oral Roberts Ministries in the hope that through this giving they will get money miraculously, as the testimonies in the magazine allege. No doubt those who read the magazine will be finding testimonies by people who will allege that they have had their debts miraculously removed through applying this teaching through seed-faith giving - probably to ORU or Oral Roberts Ministries. The magazine has regular accounts of money coming to people after seed-faith giving.

The Faith teachers are now promising freedom from poverty and sickness. This is certainly the message of Oral Roberts’ book on the subject. In it he proclaims, in a catchy sentence: Sow a seed against the need.

Hickey, Roberts and Osborn have all been key expositors of “point of contact” miracles. This controversial teaching is based on their use of Acts 19: 11-12:
God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. Handkerchiefs and aprons that had been touched by him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Faith teachers claim that healing and other miracles can take place through a point of contact with the healer/miracle worker. The passage in Acts 19:11-12 refers to extraordinary miracles yet the practice of using items like handkerchiefs for healing and working miracles is seen as normative in some healing ministry today. It has been used to justify some unusual practices and fund raising methods. Hickey has claimed that her mother was healed of breast tumour by a point of contact miracle by putting her hand on the television set.

Marilyn Hickey has since used the text in Acts 19 to raise funds for her ministry through various “point of contact” articles, which are given to effect healing and miracles. For example, the healer asks for a donation, a seed sown in faith, to be sent for articles, such as a cloth or handkerchief, which are then forwarded to the person requiring healing. Hanegraaff gives details of Hickey’s manipulative methods:

In one letter, Hickey promised to send a special anointing if the enclosed prayer cloth, along with money, was sent back to her immediately. Hickey promised that if it was returned “right now,” she would have it “anointed with an Acts 19 kind of anointing for ‘special,’ ‘unusual’ and ‘extraordinary’ miracles.” Hickey assured the reader that the Holy Spirit had been dealing with her about the entire matter and that she was excited about it.

Looking at the evidence from Hanegraaff and the Internet, this point of contact teaching seems an appalling example of exploiting the sick and making money out of the needy. It is abusing the Bible, preying on the fears and vulnerability of people needing healing and help. To exploit these people financially seems totally against the spirit of the Gospel of grace, alien to the New Testament teaching and closer to promoting a form of magic and superstition than genuine Christianity. These activities bring dishonour to the Church and are a disgraceful attempt to merchandize “miracles”. This form of religion has more in common with the Temple moneychangers than Jesus and the Apostles. It is more in tune with the spirit of Gehazi than the Spirit of God. It is utterly repellent to people outside the Church who see it for what it is, an attempt to gain money easily. There is really no honest endeavour involved. This abuse of the Bible has made the Faith teachers richer and the poor and the sick financially poorer, though I have met a few who have claimed to have prospered through seed-faith but not as much as the Faith movement leaders; they have the best cars in parking lot and some have their own jet planes!

There is no mention in Acts 19:11-12, or anything other passage, that healing miracles involve any financial arrangement or giving generously to a ministry or a minister. Paul the Apostle never asked for funds to be sent back to him with the handkerchief as a point of contact. Yet this text is used to promote healing ministries and the appeals for money when various items are sent out to heal the sick. In Acts 2 the crippled beggar at Beautiful Gate was not asked to sow a seed-faith gift to Peter and John before healing took place. Unlike the Faith teachers, Peter’s confession was “silver and gold I have not.” It was, ironically, a negative confession that certain Faith teachers condemn.

Some Faith teachers are now urging their followers to utter the positive confession “Money cometh to me, now! I’m a money magnet.” This seems more like using a mantra or magic spell, not genuine Christianity. These “faith confessions” are based on a verse from Isaiah 55: 10-11 where it says:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I send it.

Clearly this text is taken completely out of context to be used to teach positive confession and a seed-faith approach. It is quite false to use this verse to suggest that our words are invested with some power from God to accomplish what we confess.

The health and prosperity gospel promises so much but on closer inspection it delivers so little, because it is based on two false premises:

It is always God’s will to heal everyone.

God intends every believer to be wealthy, to prosper financially.

It tells people what they want to hear, that they can be wealthy and healthy, rather than what the Bible actually says.

[1] Gordon D. Fee, The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels, Vancouver: Regent Bookstore, 1996, p.6. Fee refers to the collection of ancient letters in Select Papyri, New York: Putnam, 1932, pp. 269-395.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

I love to see waterfalls

This year has brought some heavy rain in August. Consequently the waterfalls in Yorkshire have been most spectacular and impressive. I love to hear the water surging over the falls and down into the pools below. I have seen the mighty Niagara Falls a few times, and have been on the Maid of the Mist and behind the Niagara Falls twice. These were memorable and enjoyable experiences that I would not have wanted to miss. I wish everyone could see and experience the Niagara Falls at close quarters. It is something to see before you die. The photograph at the front of this blog shows Janet's Foss, in North Yorkshire. It is a very beautiful setting near Malham Gorge and Gordale Scar, which has lovely waterfalls.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Todd Bentley's Lakeland is called Fakeland

The ministry of Todd Bentley at Lakeland, Florida, has been called Fakeland by Christians who believe that this was not a work of God. A genuine work of the Holy Spirit will result in the conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment. There will be guidance into all truth. Jesus will be glorified. RT Kendall's recent assessment, in Ministry Today and in his website, is correct and shows mature Christian discernment. RT writes:

First, never once have I heard a clear message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the Lakeland platform – except when a guest speaker did it. Second, when people were being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and ‘Bam – bam’, it both trivialized the Trinity and baptism itself. This is serious, serious trivializing. Third, if you were to ask how much a fear of God and conviction of sin emanated from these services – on a scale of 1 to 100 – I would say zero.

We should be concerned about the lack of biblical teaching, the weak presentation of the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and the weird antics on stage. It is really sad to hear of the marital problems that Todd is now having. Many are praying for restoration and reconciliation and for Todd to preach the true Gospel when he has opportunities. Todd clearly needs help. I hope he gets the right guidance.

A recent statement reveals further problems.

We wish to acknowledge, however, that since our last statement from the Fresh Fire Board of Directors, we have discovered new information revealing that Todd Bentley has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff. In light of this new information and in consultation with his leaders and advisors, Todd Bentley has agreed to step down from his position on the Board of Directors and to refrain from all public ministry for a season to receive counsel in his personal life. On behalf of the Fresh Fire leadership and the Board of Directors we wish to apologize to our friends and partners and to the larger body of Christ and to ask for your forgiveness. We are truly sorry for the pain many of you must feel and so regret that in the midst of great revival, the enemy has found a way into our camp. To those who have stood by us, we wish to thank you for what in many cases has been years of support. Thank you for your financial giving towards the vision of this ministry, and thank you especially for your prayers.

We may not agree with this ministry but our prayers are needed.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Concern about Todd Bentley's ministry

I have seen the You Tube videos and looked into the ministry of Todd Bentley. I have also followed discussions on Christian web forums. I am concerned about this ministry, and I would therefore recommend the books and You Tube videos by Andrew Strom on this controversial matter.

To view the Andrew Strom videos:
Pt. 1 -
Pt. 2 -
Pt. 3 -
Pt. 4 -
Pt. 5 -

These videos are challenging. Andrew Strom comes across as a sincere and sensible servant of the Lord who is concerned about genuine revival and biblical Christianity.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Bradwell Pilgrimage 5/7/08

On Saturday 5 July 2008 the weather was fine at Bradwell. It was a perfect day for the pilgrimage. Oh what a lovely Summer's day! The clouds were magnificent. I arrived later than usual and enjoyed a peaceful walk from Bradwell village to the ancient chapel by the sea and the site of the pilgrimage. I stopped for lunch at the pub en route (The Cricketers). I took many photographs and I have attached some of them to this blog. I hope that they will bring pleasure, and happy memories to those who attended the event.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Bradwell Pilgrimage 2008

This year the pilgrimage to Bradwell will take place on Saturday 5 July. It will start with an open air service outside St. Thomas's Church, Bradwell-on-Sea at 11 a.m. After this short service the pilgrims will walk two miles to the chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall. Many pilgrims will be taking picnic lunches but there will be refreshments available in the tent area. Some lunches could be provided at the Othona Community by advance booking arrangements (01621 776564).

Pilgrims are invited to wear something blue as water is the theme. There will be a variety of presentations and activities on this theme throughout the day. There will be a service of renewal of baptism on the beach.

The pilgrimage will conclude with an open air corporate act of worship at 3.45 p.m.

Please visit for more information. Below there are three photographs from last year's pilgrimage. Please scroll down to see them.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Praying for Peniel Church

Prayer changes things. Some put answers to prayers down to coincidences, but more coincidences happen when I pray. God answers prayers. We may not fully understand how the mystery of providence works or how exactly God intervenes in human life and history. God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. Prayer is a mighty weapon and brings divine power to destroy strongholds and to extend the kingdom of God. The prayer of a righteous man is great in its effects. We can ask, seek and knock. God opens and closes doors. He guides and directs our paths.

Christians have been praying for Peniel Church, especially since the resignation and downfall of the infamous Michael Reid. Prayer meetings were prevented in his day. His ministry seemed to rely on public relations and advertising rather than on prayer. The fruit is now plain to see.

However, there is a new era at Peniel Church. It is hoped that fellowship in prayer will be on the new agenda and that there will be joy and freedom in Christ Jesus. The Christian life is to be celebrated, enjoyed not endured with a heavy heart. In the past folk were burdened and heavy laden, but now they can come to Jesus, whose yolk is easy and His burden is light. They can discover that the joy of the Lord is their strength. They need to be strong against the dangerous wolf that worried the sheep and allegedly fleeced the flock. They can stand with the armour of God. Praise God for those who are interceding and bringing their supplications to God for the future of Peniel Church and the defeat of the troublemakers.

I believe that there is more to be revealed concerning the bleak days of the former ministry. Financial irregularities and further moral failings will come to light. They are already coming to light, as I expected. I also expected a move to re-establish the old ministry and a fight to regain some level of leadership. But toothpaste is out of the tube. There is no going back. Much of the damage has been exposed and the wounds have been seen. It is therefore important that we pray for those who have suffered. There clearly needs to be accountability and responsible leadership. This was so patently lacking under the old regime.

I am glad that there are those who have been faithfully praying for Peniel over many years and continue to pray for peace, harmony, repentance and restoration of broken relationships. God is answering prayer. Blessed are the peacemakers.

West Wales

At last I have posted some pictures of Wales. I rejoice in the beauty of West Wales. I particularly love the coastal scenery and have spent many happy hours walking the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. One of my favourite walks is from St Bride's Haven to Broadhaven. The inns of Littlehaven have provided good food and drink. I love the beaches at Marloes, Broadhaven, Druidstone, Nolton and Newgale. They are outstandingly beautiful. Sunsets at Broadhaven have been memorable. The coastal scenery around St David's Head and views out to Ramsey Island (Ynys Dewi) are wonderful.

I have just visited West Wales and enjoyed walking along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path again. I have inserted photographs of some of my favourite places in West Wales. I hope you enjoy looking at the photographs of Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire.

St David's Cathedral was built in a valley, so it was not seen from the sea by the Vikings and other invaders. It has been a centre for faith and culture for many years and a place of pilgrimage.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The decline and fall of Michael Reid Ministries (2)

There are fears that Michael Reid Ministries or Michael Reid (MR) will attempt to make a comeback after the recent dramatic fall. Although MR is held in considerable contempt by some of his Peniel flock, former members and Christians in local churches, there are genuine concerns that he will make efforts to return to the pulpit to preach and exercise a ministry. According to a reliable source, there is now a court order preventing MR from having access to church or school property. Such is the level of concern about his return.

MR clearly loved an audience and he enjoyed the acclaim, the status and the glory of his bishopric. MR was in his element when he was leading services, healing campaigns and special conventions. There seems to be no doubt that he will miss all this and will want it back. Is he now a fish out of water, struggling to survive? Or will he become a big fish in a little new pond? While some believe that his disgrace and fall are terminal, others are no so sure after previous comebacks following alleged serious failures in Liverpool and Ripon.

It will now take a miracle for him to regain and exercise his ministry in the Brentwood area, but he may move on to start a new ministry elsewhere. MR probably has the financial resources and the backing of some loyal followers who believe in his claims to work wonders. He can therefore obtain a new building, employ some talented but enterprising people and charm others to launch a new ministry. Archbishop Earl Paulk managed to survive scandals, revelations of sexual misconduct and moral failings at his Atlanta church. Jimmy Swaggart made a comeback of sorts, but the old glory and following did not return. Jim Bakker wrote a book about his downfall, imprisonment and subsequent change of heart. Perhaps MR will write a book to help his cause, but I expect, that if he does so, he will look for willing and hardworking people to assist him. If MR mentions in this book his shortcomings, failures and faults, which would be very doubtful indeed, then he should find plenty of source material in the Reachout Trust discussion forum posts and help from the Michael Reid Miseries website.

The decline and fall of Michael Reid Ministries (2)

There are those who now fear that in some way Michael Reid Ministries or Michael Reid (MR) will attempt to make some sort of comeback. It is reported that he has comeback before from disasters in Liverpool and Ripon. There are reports that MR is back in this country having returned from the USA. Although he is held in contempt by some members of his flock and certainly by quite a number of former members, there are concerns about that he will want to be in the pulpit and in control again. Is he now a fish out of water? Can he survive and return to being a large fish in a rather small pool? Or is he now finished as a church leader?

From my observations, MR loved an audience and evidently enjoyed the acclaim, the status and the glory of his bishopric. He probably has the financial resources, the connections and loyal band of followers to start a new ministry. Archbishop Earl Paulk managed to continue after serious sexual misconduct and moral failure. Jimmy Swaggart make a comeback of sorts, but the old glory never returned. Jim Bakker wrote a book about his fall, imprisonment and change of heart. Perhaps MR will write a book, but I believe that if does then he will get plenty of assistance. There will be lots of source material in the Reachout Trust discussion forum posts.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

The decline and fall of Michael Reid Ministries, Brentwood, Essex

There were signs of decline when Peniel Pentecostal Church became Michael Reid Ministries. The focus was on a man and his work. In some ways the change was appropriate, because Peniel had moved from being a church to becoming some sort of ministry and arguably a man made one under Michael Reid. There were accounts by former members of bullying, intimidation, fear, shunning, lies about former members, bad language from the pulpit, family and marriage breakdowns, and abusive behaviour. There were no prayer meetings, home fellowship groups, Bible study groups or regular holy communion services.

It was a sad day when a fine scholar and gentleman, who taught theology at the Peniel College of Higher Education, was asked to leave and return to the USA. He was academically well qualified and highly respected by the students and members of Peniel, but shamefully treated by Michael Reid. This learned Christian theologian always acted honourably and with great integrity and he stood up to Michael Reid, who did not allow any difference of opinion. Some believe that the inevitable happened.

The decline continued when Evangelical churches refused to work with Michael Reid on account of his unacceptable behaviour. Michael Reid Ministries left the Evangelical Alliance at this time.
Over the years Michael Reid's track record with churches does not make edifying reading, despite the claims of achieving so much and seeing miracles. It should be acknowledged that he founded a church, a ministry, a school and college of higher education. He managed to acquire the impressive Brizes Park house and grounds for the school. Michael Reid was, of course, helped by the sacrificial giving and hard work of his flock. Some laboured at the school for no pay.

The fall of Michael Reid Ministries (MRM) came when Michael Reid's adulterous relationship was exposed and came to the attention of the national press and media. This was no mere lapse but an affair which lasted about eight years with his choir mistress and music leader. Michael Reid, who was known as the Bishop by his congregation and others, had fervently campaigned for Christian family values in the national media. He had appeared on television upholding such values and strongly condemning homosexuality and immorality. His hypocrisy was, therefore, astounding. His congregation were deeply shocked by these unsavoury revelations. Many felt betrayed.

It has become apparent that Michael Reid did not have the scriptural qualifications of a bishop according to 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Sadly, and we should not rejoice in his downfall, he did not have a good reputation with outsiders but he fell into disgrace and the devil's trap. He has lost the respect of fellow Christians and others. Consequently he would not be welcomed back into leadership, but many Christians are praying for his genuine repentance. There is legitimate rejoicing in the sense of freedom that has now come as a result of Michael Reid's departure.

At the time of writing, websites that once contained What God Can Do For You television programmes, accounts of the work of MRM, videos and photographs have been removed. The television programmes are no longer available on You Tube. The large Michael Reid Ministries board over the main building in Croxtie Green Road is no longer visible. There have been clear attempts to remove all references to MRM. The Peniel Church, as it is now being called, wishes to move on and put the past old regime behind them. Some have testified to a new sense of liberation from fear and intimidation. More accounts of the bad times have surfaced on the Reachout Trust discussion forum and even more are expected.

There are those who now believe that deep repentance must take place at Peniel. It was, in the eyes of many observers, a dysfunctional place. Some have called it a cult. This even led to a court case, which Peniel won. One could argue that Michael Reid built up a cult of personality.

Peniel is in a period of transition. Although some doubt that the new leadership, which were part of the old leadership, will bring about a healthy state of affairs, others are much more optimistic.
I hope that Peniel will be able to repair the damage, become involved with local churches, have a structure of accountability and eventually rejoin the Evangelical Alliance.

I wish them well and pray that they may find love, grace and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ and discover the joy of fellowship with other Christians and churches.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Prayerwalking (2)

The prayerwalk in the Constable Country will take place this year on Saturday 17 May. It will start at 10 a.m. by Royal Square, Dedham and will finish by the Dedham Mill Pond car park at about 4. 30p.m. Please bring a packed lunch. This year the prayerwalk falls on the same day as the FA Cup Final at Wembley.

We will visit the churches of St Mary at Dedham, Langham, Stratford St Mary and East Bergholt returning to Dedham via Flatford and Fen Bridge by the River Stour.

More details about prayerwalking and its spiritual value can be found on the Reachout Trust discussion forum (other groups). Some of my posts are there with some interesting discussion about 2 Thessalonians 2:7, which is continued on another thread.

Friday, 18 April 2008


On the third Saturday of May I lead a prayerwalk in the Constable Country. It starts at Royal Square in Dedham. We visit the churches of St Mary at Dedham, Langham, Stratford St. Mary and East Bergholt. I will post more details soon.

Joy of Christian fellowship

There is tremendous joy in being a Christian, especially in fellowship with other brothers and sisters in our most precious faith. Our faith is more precious than diamonds, silver and gold. It is of eternal value. Meeting Christians in the international family of God is wonderful. It is so good to share in prayer, the breaking of bread, Bible study and worship meetings. When we receive the gift of eternal life by grace through faith we discover the abundant life of Christ and life that has the quality of eternity. It is how God intended us to live, move and have our being.
To glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever.

It is particularly sad when one sees a fellowship or church in crisis. Peniel in Brentwood, Essex, comes to mind. There have been reports of bullying, fear, intimidation and family turmoil. I hope and pray that this fellowship will be able to move on and discover the value of prayer meetings, regular communion, Bible study and home fellowship groups. I have been following developments on the Reachout Trust discussion forum, which I recommend. You will find many interesting topics for Christians to discuss and share their views.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

A visit to Dedham, Essex

Today I visited Dedham, Essex and walked around the beautiful Constable Country on a lovely April day. There was a biting wind but the sun shone brightly at times. I was pleased with the photographs I took.


River Stour