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Sunday, August 20, 2017
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Pilgrims' Folly

Pilgrims' Folly

Pilgrimages, be they ecumenical or otherwise, have no merit in respect of salvation. Salvation is through Christ alone, and that by His death in the sinner's place.
Peter Gadsden of the United Protestant Council

An ecumenical pilgrimage, which started out from Rome with the Pope's blessing in the middle of May, 1997, ended in St. Colum's Cathedral, Londonderry, on June 9th. It was to commemorate the arrival of Augustine in Kent and the death of Columba, both events having occurred in the 597 AD. The Pilgrimage took six years to plan with some fifty 'pilgrims' of varying denominational hue setting out from Rome and then four hundred 'pilgrims' setting out from Canterbury on May 26th, splitting up into four streams, and traversing all the main areas of the country where there was some early historical connection with Christianity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury addressed two thousand people at Canterbury, including Prince Charles, on May 26th. In his sermon he eulogised Augustine, claiming he was an ambassador of Christ preaching the same Gospel as Paul to the English. Nothing could be further from the truth, since Augustine brought a Gospel of baptismal regeneration, asserted Papal supremacy and persecuted the Celtic Church which had been in existence for some five hundred years.

Because of the ecumenical nature of the event, accompanied as it was by the distortion of history, the United Protestant Council decided to mount a nation-wide witness to counter the lying propaganda surrounding it and produced a leaflet for handing out on the occasion but suitable also for the enlightenment of God's people. It is only possible to include the highlights from the various witnesses but we hope hat they will encourage God's people.

1997 marks the one thousand, four hundredth anniversary of the death of Columba and the arrival of Augustine in Britain. Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory to convert the Angles into Christians. He landed on the coast of Kent carrying an icon of Christ, a Bible, a book of martyrs and a silver cross. Between 26th May and 9th June, 1997, nation-wide pilgrimages were organised to commemorate this event. "This pilgrimage, so the literature claims, "is being supported by all the main Christian churches in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales".

The question is: Did Augustine, not to be confused with Augustine of Hippo, bring the gospel of Christ to the Angles? Did he convert them to Christ? The answer to both questions is no. Prior to the Augustine mission, he ethnic British people had largely embraced biblical Christianity, Christianity as taught by the Apostles. The Christian faith of Britain in those early days was that established by the Apostles the Prophets and Christ who was and is the chief corner stone. Exactly when the true faith preached these shores cannot be determined with any accuracy. There is however substantial evidence that suggests that it was sometime before the year 50 AD.

There is no doubt that true Christian faith was well established by 3I4AD British bishops were present at the Council of Nicea, out of three hundred British bishops were present at the Council of Nicea, out of three hundred and eighteen bishops at this Council only ten were from the Latin-speaking church. Prior to these councils, the British church suffered severe persecution under Diocletian. The bishops of London, York, Llandaff, Glasgow and Carlisle, with over ten thousand other Christians, were put to death for their faith in Christ. It is therefore very clear that there was a thriving Christian community existing in Britain.

The religion Augustine sought to establish in Britain via the Angles and Saxons, who had invaded Britain in the middle of the 8th century as the Roman occupying forces withdrew, was alien to the 'faith once delivered to the saints'. It was a religious system that embraced idolatry and unbiblical practises, some having described it as "baptised paganism". The ethnic British population and the Anglo-Saxon invaders lived together in an uneasy peace. It was this which was eventually to be employed by Rome to try and force their religion on the British population.

The British Church recognised that this religion was far removed from that which it had been taught. It was not the Gospel of Christ. The British bishops refused to accept the doctrines being propagated by the Augustine mission and furthermore they rejected the claim of universal supremacy, made by the papal church. They were disgusted by the discourteous way that the Roman delegation received them and by their pretensions to have ecclesiastical jurisdiction over them.

...thus the bishops were well able to disprove Augustine's arguments. The early British church was not ignorant of the teachings of the Roman church. It had not been isolated from the events taking place in Europe, and thus the bishops were well able to disprove Augustine's arguments. Some of the heretics' doctrines that had been adopted by Rome prior to Augustine's visit were prayers for the dead and the sign of the Cross, 300 AD. Veneration of the saints and use of images, 375AD. The daily celebration of the Mass, 394 AD. The beginning of the exaltation of Mary and the use of the term "Mother of God," 431 AD which was first given to her at the Count of Ephesus. Extreme unction became a practice in 526 AD; the doctrine of purgatory was invented about 593AD by Gregory. He also imposed the use of Latin for prayer and worship.

The ethnic British church was not, nor had it ever been, part of the Latin Church. It was fiercely independent, having a primacy superior to that of the Roman church. Its doctrines were pure and apostolic It was intractable to all attempts made by the Roman Church to bring about unity. Is it not a pity that such a position is not held by 20th-century bishops? Standing as they did for the testimony of Christ, these early Christians may well be called the first British Protestants, even though the name was to be introduced some eight hundred years late.

During the contention with Augustine, in which he was forced to admit defeat, he said: "If you will not have peace with your brethren, you shall have war with enemies. If you will not show your neighbours the way of life, their swords shall avenge the wrong in putting you to death." From that moment on the British church was in danger of being persecuted by the Church of Rome.

One of the most horrific massacres on record... Rome carried out its dastardly work by using the Anglo-Saxons, who broke he fragile peace and waged war with the ethnic population, forcing them into Devon, Cornwall and Wales. One of the most horrific massacres on record was that which took place in Bangor on the Dee, near Wrexham, where 1,200 Christians, who were at prayer, were slaughtered under the leadership of the Saxon King, Ethelred, in 601AD.

From then until now, the battle for the true Faith has been waged on British soil. Once the British people had been subdued, but not beaten, the light of the Gospel, which had shone brightly, was gradually replaced by the darkness of superstition and paganism. It was not, however, extinguished. Small pockets remained in isolated places. Nevertheless, the religion of Rome held sway until the Reformation, when the light of Gospel Truth once again shone clearly in Britain. Following British capitulation to the Roman Church at Whitby in 664 AD, the nation of Ireland remained free from Papal bondage until the Synod of Cashel in 1171 AD.

Columba held to Biblical truth and trusted wholly and solely in Christ for his salvation. The fact that the organisers of this pilgrimage link Columba and Augustine together in this ecumenical venture can only be seen as a clever attempt to re-write history and plant false information in unsuspecting minds. By bringing these two men together, they tell us that their faith was the same and that they were of one mind spiritually. There is nothing further from the truth. Columba held to Biblical truth and trusted wholly and solely in Christ for his salvation. We might not agree with certain elements of his religious practices, but his faith was sound.

On the other hand, the faith Augustine brought to the Britain was one that was corrupted with idolatry and which added to the work of Christ. His gospel was another gospel, one with which Columba would have had nothing to do.

To celebrate the 1,400th anniversary of the arrival of Augustine is to celebrate the arrival in Britain of a paganised form of Christianity and the arrival of the persecuting Church of Rome. No true Christian can or should ever engage in such pilgrimages. These pilgrimages are but another step by the Ecumenical Movement to reassert the false claim of Papal supremacy in these Islands.

Pilgrimages, be they ecumenical or otherwise, have no merit in respect of salvation. Pilgrimages, be they ecumenical or otherwise, have no merit in respect of salvation. Salvation is through Christ alone, and that by His death in the sinner's place. He shed His Blood the remission of sin. There is no access to God via these ecumenical events. As the Lord Jesus Himself says: "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

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