Saturday, February 11, 2012

Does the Bible Really Say… Part 1


Neil Trollip has been leading the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ in South Africa since 2008, after Rod Fick, the group’s former evangelist, took his own life in November 2007. The internal church politics of 2007 undoubtedly led to Fick’s illness and subsequent suicide, which later prompted members of four families of this church to relocate to Perth, Australia. Nowadays this church group supports the ‘anti-McKean faction’ better known as the ICOC Co-operational Churches (ICOC).

The Port Elizabeth Church of Christ during the month of February will reflect on “some of the teachings and the doctrine” of the Word of Faith movement in order to find out if it is biblically sound. For some background about the Word of Faith movement go here.

Trollip has developed a three-part critique. He admitted in his first opening address that the topic makes him feel “slightly nervous.” The three part series is called “Does the Bible Really Say…” He even admitted detecting elements of the Word of Faith belief system in “our movement of churches” referring to the ICOC.

Neil Trollip spent more than a year studying material about the Faith movement’s beliefs that according to his own words are “subtle, seeping and cause compromise.” The goal of his series is to inform the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ about the Word of Faith movement and the belief system that underpins it. He hopes to equip his church group through the series he developed as to what the bible actually says. Trollip hopes the series will challenge his group to look critically for signs of subtle or perhaps not so subtle Word of Faith beliefs and attitudes amongst members of the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ.

Perhaps the upside of Trollip’s first message, which he professes to bring “in a way that is full of truth and grace” signalled to members to think for themselves. More so to “test” their “own belief system about God.”
You know, please let not these lessons only improve your head knowledge. Please let these lessons encourage you personally. To test your own belief system about God. And your expectations… your expectations that you have as a Christian. Your expectations of life as a Christian against the truth of the Scriptures.
  • Neil Trollip, Does the Bible Really Say… Part I, February 5, 2012


  • Trollip dropped a bombshell at the end of Part I. He exposed heresies of the Word of Faith movement that allegedly have infiltrated all kinds of popular Christian media. A local Christian radio station – Radio King Fisher is named and shamed. According to Trollip this radio station is infiltrated by Word of Faith doctrine. Popular Christian Book Shops like CUM Books “best selling authors teach Word of Faith doctrine.” People receiving devotional downloads on their cell phones are at risk because Faith movement agents mostly sponsor the content. People should be careful when watching the Faith movement’s popular Christian T.V network – Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).

    The definitive downside came in the closing statements of Trollip’s sermon in Part I. Here, Trollip relies on a typical interrogation tactic often used knowingly or not by ICOC preachers. He asks many rapid questions, one after another. The idea is to follow through with a burst of several questions at once, before the audience has the chance to begin to answer even the first. People holding a position of authority very commonly do it. Even mothers make use of such ‘interrogation tactics.’

    ‘Do you realize what time it is? Where have you been? Who was with you? Why didn’t you call me? Where are your shoes?

    This effect produces increases in stress through cognitive loading (the mental act or process through which knowledge is acquired, including perception, intuition and reasoning) and emotional pressure. Persons on the receiving end have no time to complete the answer before another question and another affects their need for completion, thus increasing their stress levels.

    A small child might be overwhelmed after such ‘interrogation’ and will simply cry. Often a mother will react quickly by deflating the levels of anxiety reassuring the child of her love. In the worst scenario she might say: “Go to your room!”

    In the same way, a preacher using such drastic tactics deflates the level of anxiety created by the rapid-fire questions by telling his audience what he thinks about the questions, thus sharing his own convictions on the matter. Hence, excluding anyone to investigate the matters further. The pulpit is often viewed as a sort of position of authority in churches. Members of the ICOC have a high regard for ICOC leadership. (He 13:17) The heightened tensions of fear and guilt experienced by the audience like the example of the mother-and-child last only for a moment, but in the long run this is effective in instilling an inner doctrine particularly suited for the particular needs within the church group.

    The call for discernment by Trollip has become an inner doctrine (something shared only to the group) – “to listen and read critically.” The question beckons if this call applies only to the Word of Faith or also to the ICOC teachings and doctrines?
    So, let me ask you church. You know, do you read... or let me ask you... what ... what other books do you read, what sort of commentaries do you read? What sort of devotions you rely on every morning? Do you watch TBN? Do you listen to King Fisher Radio? And if you do??? You know, do you read, watch or listen critically? Sifting out the good from the bad? Because there is always something good in it. But I think we are called. The call is 'discernment.' You know, to listen and to read critically. To hold up what is said against the truth of the Word. We got to get into the word of God. That's the only way. To rely on commentaries and TD Jakes, the best selling author and the like to teach us about God will result in a false view of God. We must be in our bibles. You know, do you have the heart of the Bereans that Paul commended in Acts 17?
  • Neil Trollip, Does the Bible Really Say… Part I, February 5, 2012

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