My Beliefs

In brief

I have set out here a brief statement about my personal faith at this time, which may show the reader whether or not my beliefs and thoughts on Christianity can be interpreted as my holding elitist views. This statement is incomplete, as indeed is any 'testimony' of what is on one's heart tends to be, because the material discussed is what I was prompted to type in relation to several well phrased direct questions.

I was asked to to indicate my views about the nature of the Godhead, the composition of the Body of Christ as revealed in flesh, and my outlook towards the principles and aims of what was then undernet #christian chat channel, by its management in July 1999. Since January 2001, that channel has planted another of the same name in starlink-irc.org.

I accept the concern of any group of people believing in the Christian God that any newcomer to their midst might inject 'extra-biblical' thoughts (that is concepts outside of Biblical teachings) into conversations, perhaps with a view to possible conversions towards a particular belief system.

Having spent nearly twenty years thinking as one of such a church, and having stopped associating with them, I now view with great concern any doctrinal stance (or so-called 'factual statement') that is not totally covered by the Word of God as revealed in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.

It is true that I was at one time a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You can take a link here to explore some of what I used to believe for twenty years of my life. It was through the ministry of my wife who I was courting in 1986 that I saw the extent of their heresy, and I was invited to join a particular anti-cult organisation in 1987 as a result. I refused, feeling there was insufficient love exercised towards those within the cults, prefering to develop my own methods. I quite enjoy addressing groups regarding this particular heresy, having an intimate knowledge of their workings as for a number of years I had pastoral responsibility within the LDS.

In my quest to find a 'church' - an assembled body of people, from the Greek word 'ekklesia', a word which does not mean a building or an organisation - which operated as the New Testament describes, I did what many have done; I looked, and looked, and looked... I tried a number of denominations, finding a bit here and a bit there was 'right' but sadly discovering that many congregations changed their spiritual direction each time they replaced their oversight.


It was from a musical work - an oratorio called 'The Jersualem Passion', composed in 1987 by an Australian - that I actually heard a call to the wider church to listen to God, who would then - in His timing and in the place of His choice (like the second coming) - gather those who were being faithful to Him. As a result, my walk with Him has changed gear, like into 'overdrive', and in the company of a couple of other singers, we present this musical word frequently in homes for elderly people near where the three of us live. This is well received by residents and their staff. The work initially brought us together as singers in a very large choir, from different churches, which is where we still are – different churches.

While the church I attended at that time is part of a divergent stream from the 1948 Saskatchewan 'Latter Rain' revival, it has none of the bells and whistles, what could aptly be called the various 'extravagances' that have crept into the so called 'Word of Faith Movement' and the 'Charismatic Movement' (which both trace their origins to the North Battleford revival), and into a number of 'Pentecostal' churches (which do not). They describe themselves as a 'Renewal' church, one which believes in the need for the Holy Spirit to continuously renew us in both our faith and in our daily walk, and one which accepts scripture as more than just a vague guideline that is optional to follow.

Interestingly the Pentecostal Movement at first totally rejected the doctrines of the 'Manifested Sons of God' and other stuff that came from that revival, but in the last few years, many appear to have bent under pressure and changed their view of biblical truth, accepting it.

Along with many others, I affirm the fact that there are three in the Godhead, yet one, as difficult as that can be to comprehend. We believe in the authority of the scriptures, the books of the Old and New Testaments, nothing more, nothing less.

I subscribe to the biblical teachings which I have heard, because they conform to what the Bible tells us. I have also studied early Christian history out of interest, and have read chunks of various commentators’ stuff on the books of the Bible, some of which seems to be less likely than others!

You could put me in a box and call me a Pentecostal or a Charismatic because I believe in all of the gifts as described in scripture. Equally you could call me a Baptist because I believe in the baptism by immersion of one who is old enough to confess Christ with his mouth (as Paul says). I might be classed as a Calvinist because I believe in predestination (but perhaps not quite as extremely as he did!) or a fundementalist because I accept literally the concept of family order under Christ’s headship.

However, I really dislike man-made 'boxes'; and am therefore reluctant to place anyone in such, even myself. I prefer to consider myself as a sinner, saved only by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, through His atoning sacrifice.

My choice of words, therefore, is that I am a repentant sinner who is joined member to member with all others in the worldwide Body of Christ, which is the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh here on earth. Many of us are eagerly waiting for His return, without any speculation as to when that might be, but trying hard to ensure that each of us has sufficient oil to fill our lamps - and extra for some of our friends too - on the night that the Bridegroom returns 'as a thief in the night'.

Perhaps it would make sense to describe some of the current teachings in many churches which are not supported by biblical scripture. For that reason I do not hold these beliefs.

If you believe in any of these 'new revelations', I urge you to study what the Bible actually says rather than accept blindly what these preachers are telling you. There is a section on this website about 'Heresies'. Please read it.


One of my wife’s sons ministers at an Adelaide city congregation of the Uniting Church of Australia, a 1977 'mainstream' amalgamation of the Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterian churches of Australia. Adelaide is the capital of the state of South Australia, a city with a population I believe around the million mark. While he and I do not always agree on every interpretation of scripture, recently he generously referred to me as the 'family theologian', which I felt was a great compliment, considering his own much longer background in the wider church.

In 1997 Philip and his church sponsored a special 'Passover Remembrance Meal' based upon Jewish tradition which Philip researched while working for the Australian diplomatic service in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv between 1988 and 1990. The re-creation (if you will) of a Passover celebration with a Christian bias was celebrated on the correct day, the Jewish 'Peschar' falling simultaneously with the Western Christian Easter, and a few days later in company with his wife and children, he again celebrated it, this time in our dining room in my house. You may read about it in this link here, and I would remind readers that this adaption by Philip was essentially based upon two liturgical forms of worship - the Christian, as well as the Hebraic observance. This item is also accessible from the 'notes by others' menu item.


Links to a range of source material - written by myself as well as by others - are planned, the subjects including the Latter Rain Revival of 1948, the Faith Movement, the ministry of Philip Powell in New Zealand, which seeks to draw attention to heresies rampant in the wider church - as well as links to sites where concise definitions of various Christian beliefs can be found.

There is a short article already about heresies on this website; please click on the link on the navigation bar to your right.

While in general terms I do not support 'negative' ministry, I feel that Philip is filling a really needed spot in making available information that I believe is more than important - absolutely essential - for all Christians to examine. Their decision whether or not to accept such information is up to them, a God-given gift of choice based on the discerning of truth from error.

This is the same God-given freedom of choice which permits those who choose not to believe in the existence of any God, and those who choose to treat their fellow human beings with disdain, derision and/or inhumanity, to do so.

One cannot blame God for the unfriendly behaviour of human beings.

In the final analysis, each of they will be rewarded according to their faith (or lack of it) and their works - not that works is a pre-requisite for salvation - but rather it is demonstrated evidence of the person having being saved.


In conclusion, I would like to draw attention to "visions" and "dreams" being a valid Christian experience.

I have been greatly blessed to have had one myself, which lasted an entire night. There would have been a reason for my experience, I am sure, if no other reason than the wish to share it.

In early 2001 I was sent a free copy of a modern English revision of a most remarkable account by a young lady a bit over 150 years ago, and I would like to provide a link to a page here where you may read about it.

The translation was done by an Australian pastor who had struggled through the ornate English of the 1850s several times, and his offering of this "translation" (if you like) makes a paperback well worth reading (in my opinion).

Sincerely,

Richard Ashton


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Updated 2nd March 2004