Robert Jones Interviews Robin Brace

Robert Jones (pictured), was saved 22 years ago and has been a minister for 12 years. Robert considers that "The Lord has challenged me to contend for the faith in this generation. Out of this call, I wrote two books, 'You will recieve power,' and 'The power of Godly Wisdom.'" Robert pastors a new church plant in the UK known as "Living Waters," and has recently felt a calling to set up an internet tv station called 'Abundant Life TV.' He has been married to Rebecca for 16 years and they have five children. Robert recently contacted Robin Brace of UK Apologetics requesting an interview. The first part of the interview is the article which follows, but the hope and intention is to follow it up with a TV interview.

Robert Jones, pastor of Living Waters, UK.

Robert Jones: (1) "Robin, I want to thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for Abundant Life TV. For those who have not come across your ministry before, could you tell us a little about yourself, where you grew up, and how you came to a saving faith in and through Jesus?"

Robin: I was born in Cardiff, Wales, UK in 1944 and this is where much of my childhood was spent, but not all of it, we also lived in London and Redhill, Surrey, at various times during my childhood period.
I cannot remember a time when I did not believe in God, I always believed in Him, but my more specific interest in Christianity was seemingly sparked by a childhood friend who was a 'Jehovah's Witness.' I was interested in his commitment to his beliefs. Through him I got to reading the Bible. But I didn't get too far because I found it difficult. One night I can specifically recall kneeling beside my bed and asking God to give me an understanding of His Word. I believe that He did that. That evening I had given up looking at Scripture because it seemed so hard, that is what led to me offering up my prayer. When I looked at it again, just a week or so later, it all suddenly seemed to hang together. I became enthusiastic about the Bible but quickly rejected my friend's 'JW' beliefs. I was sincere but unfortunately I 'jumped tracks' and unwisely became involved in Armstrongism for a number of years. This was the period when I met Tina. We married and had four children. We experienced much of Armstrongism, in the raw, as it were. My eyes finally opened to this dreadful legalism and misguided attempt at 'salvation by works' circa 1988-1992 when, after a comprehensive study of the writings of Paul, I joyfully came to fully understand and to embrace 'justification by faith alone.' I may say that Tina was ahead of me here and had already rejected the errors of Armstrongism. What great joy this new depth of understanding gave me!! Now I not only spoke about Christ but fully understood Him and His wonderful and bounteous grace. But I am angry that our adversary sidetracked me into the terrible errors of Armstrongism for quite a few years and now take great joy in evangelical Christianity. This has given me more determination to counter those who pervert the Holy Scripture. I took my theology degree 1995-98 and it went really well. I really enjoyed taking my theology degree, the three years just flew by.
Apart from raising four children, Tina and I also spent ten years as foster carers. We consider ourselves to be firmly evangelical Christians but we are not affiliated to any particular denomination, neither do we want to be. That's about it really.

Robert Jones: (2) "Obviously from what you have said, biblical truth is a central part of your passion for Jesus, Why do you think truth is so important to a relationship with God?"

Robin: Well I think that pure, unadulterated truth is precisely what God offers to us through the Gospel. Satan is a liar and the father of them and society is permeated with his lies and dangerous half-truths. People walk along, well really mostly just drift along in this kind of spiritual stupor; it's like a fog which they cannot quite see through. Many of them do have some sort of idea of God but it is vague, trivial, undefined, but then Christ our Saviour comes along, breaks through the mist, and says, 'I am the way, and the truth and the life,' (John 14:6). That's audacious - nothing 'politically correct' there!

15. "If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17. the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:15-18, NIV throughout).

Robin Brace, founder of UK Apologetics.

So God offers us His Holy Spirit and He is the Spirit of truth and error, He offers us spiritual discernment, enabling us to see through the worldly errors. For us, the thick mist clears away. This is why Paul wrote that, while the world does not understand us, we have a very canny knowledge of it. The world really does not know what makes Christians 'tick,' and that is the way the New Testament said it would be.

Robert Jones: (3) "It seems from what you say that you believe that truth is under attack from even within the church, but how and why do you think this is the case?"

Robin: Well, of course, we need to be cautious about how we use that word 'church.' In it's purest sense, the Church will not contain real error, for we speak of the body of Christ, the called and chosen entrants within the Book of Life. However, using 'church' in the area of the human institutions which make up the Christian denominations (the way that most of us use the word for much of the time), then, yes - error, often great error, has now entered it!

This seemed to commence on a large scale with the seminaries acceptance of Liberal Protestantism back in the 19th century, onwards into the 20th. This led to the major seminaries sending out unconverted men who had been taught to deny the central truths of the Bible into church pastorates on a very large scale. The damage which was caused was massive - it can't be calculated. This was the single major reason that church membership became decimated in the last century! More recently, we have had other fads and fashions. There have been the 'signs and wonders' people - very dangerous since most such leaders almost invariably have a poor grounding in Scripture. A friend of mine who has experienced some of these things at first hand says the central problem was always spiritual vanity, the setting up of oneself as some sort of 'super apostle.' But now, of course, it is the prosperity teaching which is possibly the biggest danger and this really has widely infiltrated formerly quite sound congregations. The prosperity teaching perverts the Gospel into a materialistic message primarily centred on this present life. My article, The Shame of the Gospel Money-men, addresses the problems which these particular people cause.

Why has all this happened? Quite simple really: Our adversary wants to take over our congregations and drive the true believers out! Don't forget this even started happening in the days of the Apostle John! (3 John 9-10).

Robert Jones: (4) "How would you answer those who say that the living Lord Jesus is still bringing revelation to His people and therefore we should be open to new revelations that the Spirit is bring to the church through apostles and prophets?"

Robin: We should always be cautious where people talk about "new revelations"! - in one sense, there are no new revelations during the present age prior to the return of Christ. But if a person feels that they have fresh insight under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then that is a different matter, but - if genuine - it clearly cannot contradict any sound and well-established biblical doctrine. The New Testament is our bottom line here. The canon of Scripture protects the church from frauds and from spiritual shysters - but only if we let it! (Isaiah 8:20; Acts 17:11; 2 Peter 3:17-18). The age of the major prophets, people like Isaiah and Jeremiah, has now plainly past. The New Testament prophets whom we may read about in places like the Book of Acts, clearly had a more restricted ministry, being concerned with local congregations and the movement of preachers; the national prophets of Israel and Judah who were able to make declarations on a national scale have now clearly departed the scene:

'In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.' (Hebrews 1:1-2).

'The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.' (Luke 16:16).

Of course, revelations will still come but they will be rather like the revelations which sent some of the great missionaries to specific parts of the world, or the outstanding revelations which caused George Muller to act so bravely in establishing his orphanages. People like that did not stand up and demand to be heard in their local churches - they just quietly got on with what the Lord was showing them, in great humility I might add! For any wanting to take it further, I have written on the difference between the Old Testament prophets and the church prophets whom the Book of Acts occasionally mentions here

Robert Jones: (5) "There would be those who would say that many of the so called watchman ministries are overly critical and judgmental, how would you answer this challenge to you and others in this area of ministry?"

Robin: Look, I don't say that that is not a danger, in fact it certainly is a danger and something which I am aware of. For instance, I have several times been invited to condemn certain ministries as being "a cult," but I go to the websites of some of these ministries and I cannot find sufficient evidence to label them in that fashion; maybe that is what they are, but if the evidence is not there, I don't condemn. So I think I try to keep a balance. I also strive to discriminate between what is clearly a cult/sect, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, or the Church of Latter Day Saints (since these groups appear to pervert the all-important message and substance of the Gospel), and a branch of Christianity which I do not personally agree with, such as the Roman Catholic Church, or the dispensationalism which has infiltrated huge swathes of the American evangelistic movement. Doctrinally, I don't agree with either group, but I do recognise that they (mostly) faithfully uphold the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ - not always fully correctly - but they do basically have Jesus and the Gospel. But I do attack liberal theology wherever it raises it's head because it is a woeful biblical compromise which leaves people with absolutely nothing.

Robert Jones: (6) "Today, you find many people who do not like the idea of absolute truth - that is, something which is true for all people in every generation. Even more, they would dislike people who seemingly appoint themselves as guardians of truth. How would you answer people who think like this? What gives you the right to define what is true from what is false?"

Robin: I don't have that right - but the Bible does, and that is where I point. The general attitude you describe is moral relativism and it is now permeating almost everything out there. I mean, this idea that what is true for you may not be true for me. These people will say that you cannot accept what you and I consider to be the Word of God since that might have been 'true' for the Hebrews but it is pretty much irrelevant to modern society. It is a very dangerous teaching. So some people will say to me (and they have said this), what gives you the right be be critical of the Jehovah's Witnesses when they are probably no more barmy than the average evangelical who pins so much faith and dependence on ancient texts? There are ways of dealing with these objections but they need to be carefully thought through by the commited Christian Apologist before a satisfactory 'answer' can be given. The fact that UK Apologetics is not just based in some local church but is available - at least theoretically - to anybody in the world with an internet connection, means I have to be on guard at questions being thrown towards us from all directions.

With respect, the average pastor may never hear some of these questions from within the local church, but the internet, as well as being a commercial global market place, is also a global market place for ideas and philosophies. I get questions coming in from people who have never entered a church in their lives. The questions take all kinds of slants from people from every background. To take just one example, I am amazed that the average British evangelical church has no policy on where they stand on evolution, but I cannot get away with that; it was needful for me to have prayed over the matter and then thought it through very carefully because I get many questions on that. Fortunately, back at university, I got the chance to go right through the matter. Christians should say that they support micro-evolution (variations in kinds, natural selection, selective breeding etc), but do not support macro-evolution (we all evolved from primitive slime over billions of years). In fact the former is the proof that the latter never occurred because when an attempt is made to break a 'kind' you have barreness and other problems. Moreover, the fossil record supports divine creation and rejects evolution. Of course, the whole issue is much more complex than simply macro-evolution vs micro-evolution, the key issue is really one of information. Particles-to-people evolution would have required changes that increase genetic information, but all we observe is a sorting and loss of information. Obviously I have written many articles on this and also present many articles from skilled Creation scientists on UK Apologetics.

What gives me the right to be a guardian of the truth? I believe that the answer to that question lies in the work of the Holy Spirit. He grants us a little of the mind of Christ, so when we look at this world's problems, we don't see millions of unsolvable problems (like the world sees it), but we see one problem: SIN! I don't claim any fanciful title of 'watchman' or any such thing for myself but consider myself simply a Christian to whom the Lord has graciously - for the present - granted a 'voice,' if you will, through the internet. If we believe that the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is a divine revelation (and I submit that the Christian must believe that), then we need to take the following Scripture very seriously:

'Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
4. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.' (Jude 3-4).

So to any who might consider me arrogant, at least I must insist that I have studied theology, religion and philosophy at some depth as well as having studied both Hebrew and Greek. Now this does not make me a fount of all knowledge, but thousands take the pronouncements upon religion of Richard Dawkins very seriously when he is simply an argumentative biologist who has never studied religion or philosophy at all (as his book, 'The God Delusion' makes very plain).

Robert Jones: (7) "Scripture does say (2 Thess. 2; 1 Tim. 4; 2 Tim. 4 etc.,) that in the last days false teaching and lying signs and wonders will come into the church and try to lead people away from sound doctrine to fables made up by man and demons, What advice would you give people about how to test whether something is true and right or not?"

Robin: Well, primarily the solid test of Scripture, of course. But, we have to remember that the early Christians saw 'the last days,' or 'the end times,' as referring to the period between the comings of Christ - not to something in the far distant future. They saw themselves as already living in the last days - please note Hebrews 1:1-2 which I quote at the beginning of this article. The writer states, "...but in these last days..." As I mentioned earlier, an attempt was even made to have the Apostle John thrown out of the church! So, yes, these things started even back then. But, regarding new theories etc., which sometimes surface among Christians, I would simply say: Does this really stack up? Is this really godly? What are the fruits of this? We should not be looking for gimmicks. It alarms me that some modern church leaders always seem to be looking for gimmicks. They want to "get the people in." But - you know what? - we should not even be worried about 'stacking 'em in,' the pastor should say, 'I am only interested in working with the people whom God is calling!' Sure, that may only be 25 people but - so what - as long as they are God's people? Problem is that large areas of modern evangelicalism have bought into the 'profit and merchandise' approach to evangelism. I am told that some pastors can now even get fired if they don't add enough new members. But only the Holy Spirit can add people to the Church. In a blind pursuance of this numbers game, we have confused marketing tactics with the work of the Spirit - it's crazy!

It is also unwise to always be looking for the sensational; some people are like that, they want signs and wonders but are not too interested in really solid Christian teaching week in, week out. Of course, in addition, we all need to keep on warning about the prosperity teaching.

Robert Jones: (8) "For those who want to hold onto a biblical faith in this generation and value ministries like the one the Lord has given you, how can we best support and encourage ministries like your own to grow and develop?"

Robin: Regarding this ministry, the answer is simple: Pray for me and for UK Apologetics. The need is great, I mean the need for prayers because we remain largely a 'one-man-band!' I have few helpers. I most assuredly do not request financial "donations" at all because we remain determined to follow the great example of George Muller in never appealing directly to the public for required funds, but I do request prayers. We are now the major Christian teaching ministry which exists outside of the States yet our strength is small and we run everything on a tiny budget. Then again, both my wife and I have serious health problems so we really need ongoing prayers.

Robin A. Brace, B.D. December, 2009.