Saturday, September 29, 2012

OPEN LETTER TO TWO PASTORS


September 2012

Mr. Bradley
Liberty Christian Assembly

Mr. Bradley,

Greetings from churchesofreddeer.ca:

On the 23rd of September you received a guest speaker there by the name of Mr. Hawkins. A friend of mine heard this recent speech of his and related the substance of it to me. I recalled then that I had dealt with this man before. I heard him a few years ago via CD.  I knew then, and I know again now, that he is a fraud, a con man, or as they say in New York, a ‘playa.’ His stories and methods remain the same, with very little alteration. He’s still making his rounds, fooling the local churches, and fleecing the sheep. It is your responsibility to see to it that your people are not taken in by this sort of thing. It seems that you need a little help. Appended is the review I sent by letter to Mr. Vallee in 2006 concerning the same guy. For your benefit, I have made some minor clarifications. The guilt be on your own head if you do not heed what Mr. Vallee was too na├»ve or aloof to respond to.

But first, no matter what organization this conniving, irreverent man belongs to, whether good or evil, the fact is that he must be judged by his fruit, then responded to and treated accordingly.

Second, let us suppose that it is okay for a guest speaker to peddle his products in your church. You think it is okay, for you tried to justify it when you introduced Mr. Hawkins to your people. Let’s grant that you are correct (though Jesus has decisively shown that his House should not be a house of merchandise.) Will you agree with me that it is a sin for you to allow a con man to sell his stuff to gullible churchgoers?

Third, should Christians pray under shawls any more than they should pray by rote by the use of beads? Have any of your people come under the law by coming under the shawls that Mr. Hawkins was selling in your church? Should we come under the law against the advice in Galatians?

Fourth, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” A church deceived by a con man is in bondage, not liberty, so long as the con man is there deceiving. Mr. Hawkins is a Judaizer of the sort the Galatian church was warned about by the apostle Paul. He was your guest. You are the pastor who received him. You must share the blame for the wrong he has done.

Now to my review of Mr. Hawkins from 2006.

May 2006

Pastor Vallee
Living Stones Church

Dear Pastor:

I do not attend Living Stones Church. But your ministry there has reached me through one of your CD’s. And therefore you must expect some comments now and then by persons outside your church due to your promotion of the material delivered in your assembly. Stephen Hawkins is the man whose message I have just heard on this CD. He did a kind of motivational/testimonial talk on Sunday, May 21st. About this message I would now like to say a few things.

The man included a lot of sad details in his life story: some of his family members were murdered in the Holocaust; his mother died of cancer at the age of forty-four; from the age of four until the age of eleven he was dispatched by his dad to foster homes far away into Australia and New Zealand; he was shuffled around to thirty-two of these homes during those eight years; he was sexually abused there fifty-six times; was abused yet again while on the boat ride back to England; then again in a place called Cornwall, being raped by four brothers there; attempted suicide; wound up in the hospital for six weeks, during which time his father did not visit him at all; was disowned by this father upon being saved at around the age of thirteen; lived homeless for awhile as a result; was thereafter pronounced dead to his family; and then by the permission of the father was maimed in one finger, burned in the legs, and nearly sliced in the throat by his brothers who attempted to bring him back to his former faith by persecution.

Should we not be wary of a man who tells us an unbelievable story like that about himself, especially when he just happens to have all this stuff for sale to benefit impoverished people? Just review the outline of the tragic life he says he lived, and it seems that few tales could be told by which to better disarm our critical minds. Who would be so callous as to question the truthfulness of a man’s biography when he says he was molested fifty-six times? And yet it is precisely the number fifty-six that should raise our guards just a little, since victims of child sexual abuse tend to repress bad memories, not count them.

Part-way through his address Mr. Hawkins mentions a man he would like to fly over to Canada from Uruguay for the price of $2400.00. Is it not a curious thing for a speaker who boasts of having God alone for his Provider, to drop a precise number down like that in the midst of his testimony? Is he not dropping the hint that this is the minimum amount of money he would like to walk away with today?

What do we do when our mind entertains doubts about a man who states that he was subjected to such appalling indignities as Mr. Hawkins claims to have undergone? Are we still permitted to judge him according to the command to test the spirits? Are we allowed to know him by his fruits just a little, and only then pass judgment? 

Among the choicest fruit in the life of a Christian is his character (Galatians 5.22.) Let’s examine this character some. ‘Lord have mercy,’ Mr. Hawkins is in the habit of carelessly exclaiming. What is this but taking the name of the Lord in vain? What does it mean to take the name of the Lord in vain but to use his name emptily and vainly: to no intelligent, reverent purpose? Because of the fact that 1 in 4 babies are born that way, Mr. Hawkins tells us that he prayed that his baby not be born Chinese. Who says a thing like that but a mocker, a joker, and a racist? He tells us about when he stood up in Swiss Chalet and yelled out his prayer so as to cause a scene and shock everyone in the restaurant. Who acts like that but a pompous buffoon? While recounting the story of his fare being paid for his trip to London, he says to someone in the congregation, ‘If someone offered to pay you to go to Toronto, you’d be happy wouldn’t you? Just nod your head. Good boy.’ What is this but a comedy routine? a routine performed more than once, I might add. ‘Were you a man at 13? Just nod your head. Good boy. Is that a sober evangelist who talks like that, or a sneering clown? This man’s indiscretions are so numerous and so repugnant that a lengthy polemic might be, and perhaps should be, written about it to his own shame: he makes light of brain damage and suicide; makes fun of how some people pray and sing; imitates Hindis and Jamaicans attempting to speak English; and then even imitates a Jew at the Wailing Wall; but his crowning insult is directed at God, to whom he professes to have replied (without a note of contrition for having so done), ‘I don’t speak Italian, hello!’ To much of this irreverence, the members of your congregation laughed and clapped, or at least many of them did, and not one person booed, and you offered to him nothing but praises, the right hand of fellowship, and probably a pocket-full of dollars. I did feel, however, a hush fall over the audience when Mr. Hawkins delivered one of his offensive punch-lines. I was relieved a little about that. Mr. Hawkins assures everyone that he is not Robin Williams. True, he’s much worse than a mere joker: he is a joker in the office of an evangelist. When an East Indian man asked him if he played any musical instruments, Mr. Hawkins replied, ‘The only thing I play is the fool. What is that but the truth coming out for those who have ears to hear?   

What have punch-lines to do with preaching and evangelism, anyway? Do we find any thing like that in the Bible? I fear that God, to teach a church something about his holiness, might strike dead a man who dares to use the pulpit as a theatrical stage. Do you not fear the same, Mr. Vallee? If not, then I boldly declare, though with disappointment, that you have precious little knowledge of, or not much respect for, the holiness that the pulpit space should be possessed of! You heard this man ‘preach’ last October in Fort McMurray. And you had to have him. He has the gift of evangelism, you say. Where is your gift of discernment? Stirring the pot of soup, as you put it, is that how God would have you supply his pulpit?    

We know from ‘listening’ to Mr. Hawkins that he is a mocker and a joker. Is it much of a leap to think he might be a liar too? What are mocking and joking but distortions of truth, anyway? They are subtle forms of lying. Is it wise then, to believe a minister who mocks and jokes? from a pulpit God ordained for the publishing of truth? Even if Hawkins told nothing but the truth in his message, yet because of all his joking and mocking, should a person even listen to him?

Loose morals usually betray the hireling’s true character. We have shown this. But we may turn to the character of his message to make doubly sure of our judgment. Mr. Hawkins quotes Acts 2 about the Spirit being a rushing mighty wind giving utterance, then tacks on Hebrews 13.8 about Jesus being always the same, and then voila! from this ‘exposition’ he would have us believe that God miraculously taught him his languages. This type of ‘exegesis’ is typical among ‘charismatic’ fellows. And this strange belief is an old heresy that goes back as far as the second century among the Montanists, and which has been promoted again and again since, notably among the Irvingites in the early 1800’s, whose leader got tragically disappointed when his ‘doctrines’ fell to the ground at the end of his abrupted life. Languages are learned; tongues are given in a very limited amount of words, for a season and a reason. That is much, much nearer to the proper understanding of this matter. Authentic tongues are given to Christians according to the need of the foreigners present who cannot comprehend the Christians’ language and gospel message. When tongues are attempted when there is no need, should we not wonder about the spirit of the speaker? Hawkins tells us about the time he woke a man up and asked him what his language was so that he could give him the gospel in his own tongue. But what need was there to give the Good News in a foreign tongue since the foreigner understood the proposal put to him in Hawkins’ own tongue? Pride goes with heresy, and so Hawkins would speak in a tongue just because he can. But then, can he, really? Listen closely to Hawkins’ utterances, and you find him repeating foreign expressions over and over again, probably because he knows very little more than a few phrases in these foreign languages he claims to be fluent in. Possibly, he knows a couple or a few languages fluently, and quite possibly, he knows the rest of his thirteen languages no better than an English kid knows French by learning a semester’s worth of French immersion.

More questions could be raised about this man, because of his knocking a woman over in a store by his mighty prayers, &c. But so what? Is he not a successful evangelist who got some people saved in your church? He quoted a total of three verses during the evangelistic portion of his address: John 3.16; and Romans 3.23 and 6.23. He did not interpret. He did not even preach. He said that Jesus is the Messiah. And he said that he himself received him as Lord and Saviour. That’s about all. Possibly, those who responded to his call had been convicted by some preaching before this, and were ripe for being reaped; or maybe their response will yet prove to have been insubstantial: for are we to believe that the Holy Spirit is so much with this mocking joker that he would save souls by the use of him? It is too much for me to swallow. This man is a hawker, a joker, a showboat, a mocker, a braggart, a liar, a trickster, and a parasite. What troubles me more than all this, though, is that a minister in charge of a pulpit would invite a man like that to speak to his congregation. And Mr. Vallee, what are you doing using the Lord’s House as a house of merchandise? If Jesus would not come in and turn your tables over on Sunday, then either the character of Jesus’ ministry on earth is not for churches today, or your church in particular is just so holy as to be above being reproved by the Lord you profess to serve. A character like Mr. Hawkins wants to sell his stuff? even to save children from poverty? If your zeal for God were what it should be, you would send Mr. Hawkins packing so he could hawk his wares outside the House of God.

You may shrug me off as a fanatic, now. But I hope you’ll do better than that. You know that when someone is concerned for the honor of God that he tends to diminish the worth of man. He might even go so far as to call men worms. Be a worm with me, then, Mr. Vallee, and humbly admit the truth of what I have noticed, and then be sorry before God. Do not be afraid of the faces of men. Am I not a worm speaking to a pastor? And yet am I afraid of you? Then do not be afraid of men like Mr. Hawkins. Deny them their speaking engagements and let them join the circus. If you’ll not do it for God, then look after your flock. Don’t tell me something like, ‘I know Mr. Hawkins can be silly sometimes, but we all fall short, &c.’ I don’t want to hear it. I will not be attentive to any apology like that. Mr. Hawkins cursed me more than he blessed me. And he did the same to others even if they do not realize it—because he is unsanctified. No matter how sad the story of a man’s life, there is no allowance for levity in any address given by one who calls himself an evangelist.  

A PICTURE OF MR. STEPHEN HAWKINS


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