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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Material prosperity - is that the heart of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ?

I have referred to my friend, David Robertson, minister of St Peter's Free Church of Scotland, Dundee, in a previous post.  He has his own blog, and I read his posts with regularity.  There is always something worthwhile to glean from them but, sometimes, he states a matter so clearly and succinctly, that it seems right to republish (with his permission) so that his words reach an even wider audience.

One of the so-called "Prosperity Gospel" preachers has been invited to Scotland, and David has already published an article about this gentleman - the aptly-named Creflo Dollar!   However, the group that has invited Mr Dollar has objected to David's criticism of him.  The following is David's response:

Dear Creflo,
Forgive me for calling you by your first name but since we both profess to be Christian brothers I think it is appropriate. We have other things in common – we were both born in 1962 and we are both pastors in the Christian church. But there I guess the similarities end. You have a church of some 30,000 members, I have one with 125. You have two Rolls Royce’s and a private jet; I have a leased car and pushbike! To you that might sound like jealousy, to me it just indicates the different worlds we live in and the different theologies we have. You of course are a world famous tele-evangelist, with your own ministry and TV show; I am an unknown Scottish Presbyterian minister. So why am I writing you? Why should you listen to me?
Because you are coming to my country in a few weeks, and I have been challenged by the church that is inviting you after I gave a somewhat critical response to a question I was asked from a Scottish newspaper about your forthcoming visit. I then wrote this blog – Why Creflo Dollar is not Welcome in Scotland (   There was, as you might expect, quite a response. I understand that it even made it into your local Atlanta paper, where one of your staff indicated that it was just a little local difficulty, with the implication being that this was some kind of turf war where we were a bit jealous about your coming to another church.
I met with the leaders of that church who invoked Matthew 18 and asked why I had not consulted you first, before writing in public. I told them that I did not think you would even read my letter, never mind respond, but they did not agree and suggested that I was still in the wrong not to do so. I don’t agree with their application of Matthew 18 (see Don Carson on the misapplication of Matthew 18 - but nonetheless I want to respect their desire and write to you.
Firstly I want to apologise if I was wrong in my assumption about your willingness to listen, and also if I have misunderstood your teaching and theology.
Secondly I want to ask you about that theology. I have listened to several of your sermons and it seems clear to me that you specifically teach what is understood as the prosperity gospel, of the ‘name it and claim it variety’. I listened to your latest series on ‘taking authority’ and it seemed to me that you believe Christians have only to ‘take authority’ and claim wealth and health. Could you let me know if my understanding is correct? Did you ask your congregation to finance a $65 million jet for your ministry?
Thirdly, if you do teach this Prosperity Gospel, I would issue a plea to you as a Scottish pastor, who is seeking to communicate the Good News in a society which is increasingly ignorant of Christ, or hostile to him. Please don’t come. Your visit will only cause harm – to the Church, to the culture and to those of us who have to stay and work here. The name of God will be ‘blasphemed amongst the Gentiles because of you’. (Romans 2:24).
Fourthly, if you do come then I would simply ask that you be prepared to discuss/dialogue with myself in public about what the Lord really says and wants. You know how when Peter came to Antioch Paul publicly rebuked him to his face (Galatians 2:11)?  Let's meet and discuss in public.    If I am wrong you can show the church and the world, and I will be corrected and taught the way of God more perfectly. If you are wrong then the same applies to you. What is there for either of us to lose? The God who answers by fire, let Him be God.
I would also like to invite you on your way to Aberdeen to pop in for a wee cup of tea and we could have that same discussion in our own small studios here in Dundee at the Solas Centre for Public Christianity.
If you have a heart for the cause of the Gospel here in Scotland, or for the name and honour of Jesus Christ, then I would urge you to listen to my plea. If you refuse to do so, then I feel bound by my love for Christ and His gospel to do everything that I possibly can to resist the cancerous poison of a false theology which assaults the poor, the weak, and the sick; and which makes a mockery of the cross of Christ. I have no interest in church politics, ‘turf wars’ or any other such examples of the worldly spirit that so often invades the churches. I seek only the glory of Christ and the good of His church.
You are clearly a man with considerable communication gifts – imagine the good that could be done if you used them to preach the Gospel (and yes I am suggesting that if you add to the gospel the whole prosperity doctrine it is not the Good News to the poor that you are preaching)? I look forward to hearing from you ASAP.
Yours in Christ
David A. Robertson
Pastor of St Peters Free Church
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland (a small denomination in Scotland with about 15,000 people in 100 churches).
Dundee, Scotland 30th April 2016

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

How God answers prayer.

I confess to getting annoyed when someone informs me that: "God answered/didn't answer my/our prayer!"  You see, Father God always, without exception, answers every prayer that is brought to Him in the strong Name of the Lord Jesus.  The illustration that I learned, many years ago, is of UK-style traffic lights. When the light is green, the message is that one may move forward safely.  However, there are times when the light is red - and that means "Stop"!  In that case, one goes forward at one's own risk - and will be held responsible for any accident that may occur as a result of having disobeyed the clear signal.  Then again, the red and amber lights may be displayed together.  This means "Wait" until the green light shows.  "Yes", "No", and "Wait".  And these are the three answers to prayer.

Allow me to illustrate further.  When my children were very young, I can imagine (just!) one of them coming to me and asking me if I would provide her with a sports car.  Now, regardless of the financial aspect of such a request, my answer would have been "Not just now.  Perhaps when you are older".  I would not have been refusing her request; merely telling her that the time was not right.  Then again, she might have come to me and asked if I would provide her with some dangerous, addictive, mind-transforming, illegal drug.  As a loving and, I trust, responsible father, my answer would, of course, have been "No!"  This would not have been a temporary delay, but a final and definite decision. There were, quite naturally, many times when my answer was, "Of course", and the request was granted as quickly as possible.  However, on no occasion was there no answer!

The apostle Peter prayed, and Dorcas was raised from death (Acts 9:36ff).  Yet, three times Paul asked the Lord to remove a physical affliction, but He didn't do so (II Cor.12:7ff).   Just these two incidents are a Biblical reminder to us that the Lord doesn't always give us what we would like to receive; other times He seems to make us wait a long time before He responds.

I have listened to amazing testimonies of the way in which Father God has positively answered prayer.  I have many such testimonies from my own experience.  However, very often, I have not received the answer that I wanted, and expected.   In many such cases, I have later realised exactly why my heavenly Father denied me my request; or made me wait.

Contrary to the apparent belief of so many, prayer is not some kind of 'magic wand' by which we may always secure healing, or success, or a new relationship, or whatever.  The little printed and laminated 'plaque' that is on my study wall, reminds me on a daily basis that: "Sincere prayer is not an attempt to influence the Will of God; but a genuine desire to bring my will into line with His."

When you pray, acknowledge that God's will is best.  If you are discouraged because He doesn't seem to be answering, tell Him about it.  Never despair; never doubt. He will either give you the desires of your heart (Ps.37:4[b] - but be sure to read in context!!), or He will uphold you with His supernatural power so that, with Paul, you will be able to experience the truth of His promise: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (II Cor 12:9).

Friday, 22 April 2016


Due to having had to move closer to Bergerac, we are able to offer our residential, static, caravan (38’x13’; 12mx4m) to a discerning buyer.  The ‘van is already sited in a quiet, family-owned, and run, site in the Gironde Départment (33) in SW France.  The nearest large town is Coutras; while Bordeaux, with its airport, is only some 40 kms (25 miles) away.  Bergerac, with its own small airport, is a little over 50 miles away.

If you are looking for a Club, a large swimming complex, two Bars, and a Disco, then Camping Le Chêne du Lac is definitely not for you.  However, if you seek a peaceful site, with friendly, helpful, English-speaking, owners who live on the site themselves, and who are constantly upgrading it (for example, since the top photograph was taken, the roadway has been fully surfaced), then you will love this beautiful corner of France.    Although there is no pool, we do have a private lake, with a sand beach.  There is also free access to pedalos, rubber tubes, kayaks, etc.  How many pools can boast such an array of water activities? Of course, one may swim in the lake as well!

The ‘van, which was privately built to our specifications, is still less than three years old, and has not been host to either smokers or pets.  There are two bedrooms with double beds; one bedroom with bunk beds; and the lounge area has seating that may be made into a full double bed.  This provides sleeping for up to six adults and two children.

The lounge area has the above-mentioned seating, plus a coffee-table, and a TV table — complete with a TV!  We are leaving a clock on the wall, and a Monet print on the opposite wall!  There is an outside aerial that allows the reception of French TV programmes on a number of channels.  By the way, the master bedroom also has TV reception through a wall-mounted aerial socket, with a power socket beside it.     Luxury!
The kitchen area is well fitted with a stainless steel sink; a gas hob, and oven; an electric cooker hood; and oodles of cupboard space.  We are even leaving a microwave!      Safety is of paramount importance, so there is both a smoke alarm, and a fire extinguisher.  A dining-table and four chairs  are also provided.

There is a full bathroom, with wash-hand basin, toilet, and a proper bath with over-bath shower and a glass screen.   Other fitments are in place as shown in the photographs.  There is also an additional, separate toilet — a boon when up to eight people are in residence (or when someone is relaxing in a hot bath!) — complete with wash-hand basin. 

The ‘van boasts full double-glazing, and full, gas-fired, central heating.  The lounge area also has an electric fire, complete with remote control (luxury!!). There are curtains, or venetian blinds, at every  window.  This includes the patio doors that lead from the lounge area to the  verandah which, at this point, also has a roof. 

All of this allows for all-year-round living and, indeed, we have lived in the ‘van as late as November, and as early as January!  The site, of course, is open all year round.  Free Wi-fi is available, and we could usually connect from the ‘van!

The verandah stretches all the way along that end of the ’van, and beyond the front door.  Inset  steps  lead  to ground  level.    At the end of the verandah, but on the ground, is a wooden shed for storage purposes.  The verandah has a full balustrade which provides a level of privacy.   The pitch is clearly marked by shrubs at one end, a low fence at the back, trees at the other end and, of course, the verandah at the front.  There is also room to park a car beside the shed.  The ‘van has a Gas Safety Certificate that is valid until April, 2017, and it is insured until the end of August 2016.  There will be a full bottle of gas left, together with whatever is in the second gas bottle (currently almost full!).  The site rental is currently a mere 160 (app. £125) per calendar month.   Having the ‘van already sited provides a saving of some €1200!  This is not simply a “holiday chalet”, but a fully-fitted residential ‘van.

The price for all of this is only £28,495 sterling (or €36,550) - ovno. 
Viewing may be arranged, or questions asked, by contacting me by e-mail at        

Additional photographs (and enlargements of those provided!) are also available, on request.

This is a wonderful opportunity to own your personal spot in the sun, in one of the most beautiful areas of a beautiful country.   Lots to see, and do, in the area, e.g. St. Emilion, Bordeaux, Bergerac, the Atlantic coast, weekly markets, wine-tasting, walking, horse-riding, cycling, fishing, golfing, and other attractions. There is also the potential of hiring the ‘van  -  especially during the summer months, and over the Easter period.    If one were to do so, even for those periods alone, the anticipated income should more than cover the site rental for the whole year.

Don’t delay - contact me today! 

Thursday, 21 April 2016


It was the apostle Paul who wrote "... I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content." (Phil 4:11).  But what is contentment?  Paul was not writing from some sun-drenched beach, with the waves breaking gently on the sand, and with a cool drink in his hand.  He was writing from a position of 'house arrest' - in rented accommodation, but with chains holding him to a Roman soldier.  He knew that his 'case' might soon be heard.  He knew that he might be acquitted.  He also knew that he could be beheaded - and that, in fact, is what happened.  Yet he can testify to being "content"!

The secret of that contentment was, of course, that he had found his total satisfaction in God. Regardless of the circumstances in which he found himself, his deep inner peace, and his assurance of the Lord's presence, were unshaken.   He knew, from personal experience, the truth of the words that he later wrote to the young pastor, Timothy, his 'son in the faith' (see I Tim.1:18; II Tim.2:1) - "There is great gain in godliness with contentment;" (I Tim 6:6) or, as another version translates the original Greek language: "... godliness accompanied with contentment - that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency - is great and abundant gain." (The Amplified Bible).  That inward sufficiency; that soul-sufficiency; is found only in the Lord Jesus, the Christ.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that that they will be able to find contentment in material things, and in financial riches.  The story is told of a wealthy employer who once heard one of his employees exclaim: "Oh, if only I had £100 I would be perfectly content!"  Knowing that his own great wealth had not given him this inner peace, he told her: "Since I would like to see someone who is perfectly contented, I am going to fulfil your desire."  He gave her the £100 and left but, even before he was out of earshot, he heard her remark, with more than a shade of bitterness, "Why on earth didn't I say £200?"!  The employer smiled.  He had made his point that money doesn't make a person "perfectly contented"!

In the past year or so, there seem to have been an inordinate number of 'celebrity' deaths - quite a few in just the past couple of months.  Some, like Victoria Wood, have died of cancer and, if reports are accurate, with dignity.  But others have died in more suspicious circumstances and, in a number of cases, narcotics of one sort or another have been involved.  These were people who appeared to have "had it made".  But neither fame nor fortune bring real satisfaction.  Decades ago, indeed, that was the 'complaint' sung by the group The Rolling Stones - with the 'rubbery-lipped' Mick Jagger - "I can't find no satisfaction".  I'll ignore the double negative - I know what they were singing.  

Of course, one doesn't have to be a 'celebrity' to be wealthy, and wealth is not the only method of measurement.  There are many highly-cultured, well-educated, people who are far from happy! there many who are wealthy, and even enjoy good health (something that cannot be purchased!) who are, nevertheless, dissatisfied. On the other hand, there are many who enjoy few (if any!) luxuries, and who may even suffer from debilitating health issues yet who, almost physically, radiate joy!  

How can this be?  I would contend that true happiness is not something that the world can give - although it tries to fob us off with imitations.  Soul-sufficiency; true contentment; deep joy; that is not dependant upon our situation or circumstances, is found only in the Lord Jesus, Who said, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11).

True contentment will never be yours until you give Him first place in your life.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Taking offence!

My standard "joke" on the topic is that I never take offence unless I can find a matching gate (you may have to read that aloud to get it!)!  However, I really am amazed at the number of people who take offence at the slightest thing.  A recent newspaper report informed of one woman who was offended by the colour that was named on a can of paint in either Lidl or Aldi.  The name was "Rape Yellow"! Having passed fields of flowering rape on our way to a Praise Evening, earlier this evening. I can quite understand the name.  A veritable sea of waving yellow flowers that will, in due course, be harvested for their seeds in order that the pin might be extracted to produce - yes, you got it: "rape-seed oil"!  I wondered if that particular woman refuses to use such a product in her kitchen.  Now, it is true that she claims to have been the victim of a sexual assault when she was younger and, if that claim is true, then I have a great deal of sympathy for her.  But to be 'offended' by the word on a can of paint!  She presumably never reads a newspaper, or listens to the radio, or watches television.  In all three, the word recurs with saddening regularity!

In the realm of the religious world, it is no better.  Sometimes, indeed, it is often the case that officials decide that a particular group will take offence, and decide that their will be no reference to, e.g., CHRISTmas, but that Winterfest will be celebrated instead!   Even among those who claim to be disciples of Jesus, there are those who are very quick to take offence, whether such offence was intended, or not.

Of course, those of us who "offend" others are in very good company.  Matthew records that, when Jesus had preached in His "home" synagogue, those who had known Him as a boy and young man were astonished at His wisdom. "'Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's Son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this Man get all this?'  And they took offense at Him." (Matt 13:54-57; emphasis added).

David Robertson, the current Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, is a personal friend.   Those who think that I am a "plain speaker" had better not read any of what he says! He is regularly castigated for what he publishes in his blog: "The wee flea".  (That name, I should explain, is a play on the name of his particular denomination, popularly referred to, in Scotland, as "the Wee Frees". Think of the school boy 'jokes' about "flied lice", and you begin to get the picture.  A real flea, of course, also bites - and David's publications certainly do that!). However, all that he actually does is to tell the truth - and that is all that I seek to do myself!  When I post on the controversial topic of abortion, I don't "make things up".  I simply tell it as it is - the deliberate destruction of a human being who just happens to be at a very early stage of its development,but that is undeniably alive, and undeniably human.  That, I will continue to maintain, is murder.  However, that statement offends some who prefer to think of the unborn child as nothing more than a lump of tissue in the maternal womb!

Even the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, didn't see any need to 'pull punches'.  Read Galatians 2:11ff. Paul publicly rebukes his fellow apostle, Peter, and then relates the incident in a letter that was sent to all of the Christian fellowships in Galatia! However, we don't read of Peter making a fuss about it. You see, Paul's record was accurate.

Perhaps this is yet another area in which the world has been allowed to infiltrate the church - when it is the church that is called to infiltrate the world!   Yet God's Word provides clear guidelines for those occasions on which we are 'offended' by the words, or actions, of another.  Matthew 18:15ff is the relevant passage.

Of course, the greatest offence is the rejection of the Lord Jesus, the Christ, as the one and only Way to Father God.  For, as Peter pointed out, "... there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12).  That offends many who prefer to think that they may, by their own good works, earn/purchase/deserve entry to the Kingdom of God.  However, much more seriously, it offends Father God Himself.  He loves you, and me, so much that, in the Persona (not a typo!) of the Son, He allowed Himself to be nailed to a Cross, becoming sin (see II Cor.5:21) that we might become righteous in His sight.

Have you availed yourself of that great offer of salvation?  It is so close to you, right now, as you read these words.  As always, if I may be of any personal assistance, please feel free to contact me using the e-mail address at the top of the page.  I don't check that account on the most regular of bases but, as soon as I find your message, I will happily respond.   By the way, for some reason unknown to me, I have not been able to access any comments for more than a year.  However, if any wishes to comment, they are welcome to use the same e-mail address.   I should also add that this post is not intended to offend anyone but, if it does, please look in the mirror before complaining!  Nothing in it is untrue!

Whatever you do, please be aware that it is your own eternal destiny that is at risk. Please do not let some perceived "offense" be the cause of you spending eternity cut off from Almighty God.