Archive for the ‘false converts’ Category

A parcel deliveryman who convinced his friends, families and even his wife that he was a Metropolitan Police officer was jailed for 20 months today

January 8, 2010

A parcel deliveryman who convinced his friends, families and even his wife that he was a Metropolitan Police officer was jailed for 20 months today.

Stuart Howatson, 31, was so confident of his impersonation that he gave a talk to schoolchildren about the work of the police while wearing a uniform partly bought on eBay and carrying a baton.

At his 2006 wedding, he told guests that Sir John Stevens, then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, would be in attendance and set out a place for him at the dinner reception. When Sir John did not appear, Howatson claimed in his groom’s speech that the Commissioner was absent because of “security issues”.

When questioned by friends, Howatson claimed variously to be a firearms officer, a dog handler, a senior officer on sabbatical leave, and a protection officer for the Queen.

But the real Metropolitan Police became aware of his activities in 2008 after he offered to buy the £720,000 Spanish villa where he spent his honeymoon. He created false bank statements showing monthly deposits from “Met Police” and “MPA” as proof his sound finances while taking several free breaks at the £1,200-week villa.

After two years of bounced cheques and excuses, the owner of the villa, a friend of Howatson’s who was convinced he was being scammed by a genuine police officer, reported him to the Metropolitan Police’s Anti-Corruption Command.

A Met spokesman said the Command at first believed they were dealing with a corrupt police officer. “It was only when we looked into it further that it became apparent he was not a Met officer,” he said.

The Times

The article continues:

Looked like the real thing. Talked like the real thing. Wanted to be the real thing. Wasn’t the real thing.

In sentencing, Judge Hooper, QC described him as “a common trickster and a conman”.

Today he pleaded guilty to possession of articles of police uniform, false accounting, fraud by false representation and possession of and making indecent images of children. He also admitted a charge of possession of an offensive weapon for the baton he had brought to the nursery school.

Detective Inspector Claire Moxon, of the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “Howatson went to great lengths to maintain a long-running deceit, taking advantage of the trust placed in him by the people around him.

“His behaviour has not only deeply affected his family and friends, but risked undermining the integrity and professionalism of genuine police officers everywhere.”

The fake policemen undermines the credibility of the true. That’s another reason why false prophets should be exposed – for the credibility of the gospel.

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The Fruit of Charles Finney’s Pelgianism

November 26, 2009

…even Finney himself spoke of “a burnt district” [Memoirs, 78], and he lamented the absence of any lasting fruit from his evangelistic efforts. He wrote,

I was often instrumental in bringing Christians under great conviction, and into a state of temporary repentance and faith . . . . [But] falling short of urging them up to a point, where they would become so acquainted with Christ as to abide in Him, they would of course soon relapse into their former state [cited in B. B. Warfield, Studies in Perfectionism, 2 vols. (New York: Oxford, 1932), 2:24].

One of Finney’s contemporaries registered a similar assessment, but more bluntly:

During ten years, hundreds, and perhaps thousands, were annually reported to be converted on all hands; but now it is admitted, that real converts are comparatively few. It is declared, even by [Finney] himself, that “the great body of them are a disgrace to religion” [cited in Warfield, 2:23].

B. B. Warfield cited the testimony of Asa Mahan, one of Finney’s close associates,

. . . who tells us—to put it briefly—that everyone who was concerned in these revivals suffered a sad subsequent lapse: the people were left like a dead coal which could not be reignited; the pastors were shorn of all their spiritual power; and the evangelists—”among them all,” he says, “and I was personally acquainted with nearly every one of them—I cannot recall a single man, brother Finney and father Nash excepted, who did not after a few years lose his unction, and become equally disqualified for the office of evangelist and that of pastor.”
Thus the great “Western Revivals” ran out into disaster. . . . Over and over again, when he proposed to revisit one of the churches, delegations were sent him or other means used, to prevent what was thought of as an affliction. . . . Even after a generation had passed by, these burnt children had no liking for the fire [Warfield, 2:26-28].

source

November 23, 2009

(Having come under conviction of sin, Bunyan ‘cleaned up’ his life and ‘got religion’. Realising he had broken it, he was now trying to keep God’s Law. His neighbours were impressed – but he was still a child of the devil; now whitewashed but yet a tomb)

…my neighbours were amazed at this my great conversion, from prodigious profaneness, to something like a moral life; and, truly, so they well might; for this my conversion was as great, as for Tom of Bedlam to become a sober man. Now, therefore, they began to praise, to commend, and to speak well of me, both to my face, and behind my back. Now, I was, as they said, become godly; now, I was become a right honest man. But, oh! When I understood that these were their words and opinions of men, it pleased me mighty well. For though, as yet, I was nothing but a poor painted hypocrite, yet I loved to be talked of as one that was truly godly. I was proud of my godliness, and, indeed, I did all I did, either to be seen of, or to be well spoken of, by man. And thus I continued for about a twelvemonth or more.’

Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press 2008, p.75

The plain exhibition of the doctrines of the Gospel was exceedingly offensive to many of (Henry Martyn’s) hearers

October 9, 2009

The plain exhibition of the doctrines of the Gospel was exceedingly offensive to many of (Henry Martyn’s) hearers. Nor did the ferment thus excited subside quickly, as it often does, into pity or contempt. He had the pain very shortly after, of being personally attacked from the pulpit by some of his brethren, whose zeal hurried them into the violation, not only of an express canon of the Church, but of the yet higher law of Christian charity, and led them to make an intemperate attack upon him and upon many of the truths of the Gospel. Even when he was himself present at Church, Mr. ______ spoke with sufficient plainness of him and of his doctrines, calling them inconsistent, extravagant and absurd; drawing a vast variety of false inferences from them, and thence arguing against them — declaring, for instance, that to affirm repentance to be the gift of God— and to teach that nature is wholly corrupt, was to drive men to despair — that to suppose the righteousness of Christ sufficient to justify, is to make it unnecessary to have any of our own. Though compelled to listen to this downright heresy; to hear himself described as knowing neither what he said, nor whereof he affirmed — and as speaking only to gratify self-sufficiency, pride, and uncharitableness, — “I rejoiced,” said this meek and holy man thus unjustly aspersed, “to receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper afterwards — as the solemnities of that blessed ordinance sweetly tended to soothe any asperity of mind; and I think that I administered the cup to ______ and _______, with sincere good-will.”

The Life and Letters of Henry Martyn, John Sargent, Banner, 1985, p.154-155

Gracelessness

August 25, 2009

His devout parents — Hemingway’s grandparents had attended evangelical Wheaton College — detested Hemingway’s libertine life, and after a time his mother refused to allow him in her presence. One year for his birthday she mailed him a birthday cake and the shotgun his father had used to kill himself. Another year she wrote to explain that a Mother’s life is like a bank. “Every child that is born to her enters the world with a large and prosperous bank account, seemingly inexhaustible.” The child initially makes withdrawals but no deposits during all the early years. When the child is an adult, he must replenish the account that he has drawn down. She then listed all the ways that he should do this: birthday cards, flowers on mother’s day, and above all not “neglecting your duties to God and your Savior, Jesus Christ.” Not unnaturally, Hemingway hated his mother, and he completely rejected the Christian faith. And later he used his father’s shotgun to take his own life.

Philip Yancey (adapted), What’s So Amazing about Grace?, p.38

An Unconverted Minister

August 19, 2009

A graceless, inexperienced preacher is one of the most unhappy creatures upon earth and yet he is ordinarily very insensible of his unhappiness; for he hath so many counters that seem like the gold of saving grace, and so many splendid stones that resemble Christian jewels, that he is seldom troubled with the thoughts of his poverty; but thinks he is ‘rich, and increased in goods, and stands in need of nothing, when he is poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked.’ He is acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, he is exercised in holy duties, he liveth not in open disgraceful sin, he serveth at God’s altar, he reproveth other men’s faults, and preacheth up holiness both of heart and life; and how can this man choose but be holy? Oh what aggravated misery is this, to perish in the midst of plenty! – to famish with the bread of life in our hands, while we offer it to others, and urge it on them! That those ordinances of God should be the occasion of our delusion, which are instituted to be the means of our conviction and salvation! and that while we hold the looking-glass of the gospel to others, to show them the face and aspect of their souls, we should either look on the back part of it ourselves, where we can see nothing, or turn it aside, that it may misrepresent us to ourselves! If such a wretched man would take my counsel, he would make a stand, and call his heart and life to an account, and fall a preaching a while to himself, before he preach any more to others.

Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor, pp.54-55

False Converts

November 5, 2008

The unsound convert takes Christ by halves. He is all for the salvation of Christ—but he is not for sanctification. He is for the privileges—but does not appropriate the person of Christ. He divides the offices and benefits of Christ. This is an error in the foundation. Whoever loves life, let him beware here. It is an undoing mistake, of which you have been often warned, and yet none is more common. Jesus is a sweet Name—but men do not love the Lord Jesus in sincerity. They will not have Him as God offers, ‘to be a Prince and a Savior’ (Acts 5:31). They divide what God has joined, the King who rules—and the Priest who saves. They will not accept the salvation of Christ as He intends it; they divide it here. Every man’s vote is for salvation from suffering—but they do not desire to be saved from sinning. They would have their lives saved—but still would have their lusts. Indeed, many divide here again; they would be content to have some of their sins destroyed—but they cannot leave the lap of Delilah, or divorce the beloved Herodias. They cannot be cruel to the right eye or right hand.

O be infinitely careful here; your soul depends upon it. The sound convert takes a whole Christ, and takes Him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without reserve. He is willing to have Christ upon any terms; he is willing to have the dominion of Christ as well as deliverance by Christ. He says with Paul, ‘Lord, what will you have me to do?’ [Acts 9:6] Anything, Lord! He gives Christ the blank page—to write down His own conditions.

Joseph Alleine, Alarm to the Unconverted, 1671