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Selwyn Hughes

What God revealed about the legacy of this well-known evangelist.

Selwyn Hughes founded Crusade For World Revival (CWR). CWR’s Newsletter summarises:

“It began with one man, Selwyn Hughes. Forty years ago something great was birthed with a few thoughts on the back of a postcard, a desire to help Christians to read the Word of God every day, a vision to pray for revival, a heart to help the hurting and broken, a commitment to come alongside others struggling in ministry and the hope that the gospel might feed a spiritually hungry world.” (CWR Today, Apr-June 2006, p 4.)

The Plaudits

“Selwyn Hughes died peacefully on 9 January [2006]. He is now with His Lord whom he served so faithfully, his life’s work complete; his legacy immense.

“Towards the end of 2005 Selwyn grew increasingly weak. Early in the New Year he was taken to a local hospice for assessment. Whilst there, his health further deteriorated and he was called home to glory. He was free from pain and very peaceful, telling those attending him that he had finished all that God had called him to do and that he was ready to go, looking forward with anticipation to meeting his Lord.

“Selwyn will be remembered as one of the UK’s greatest post-war Christian leaders. His remarkable ministry touched six decades and several generations. He excelled as pastor, teacher, counsellor and writer. He seems to have been in at the start of almost everything significant in church life in the UK for as long as anyone can recall – charismatic renewal, themed Bible reading notes, large-scale celebrations, tours of the Holy Land, prayer for revival, Christian counselling and even the use of the OHP!

“He authored more than 50 books, many of them expounding Christian truth and how to live the Christian life. Selwyn Hughes inspired, wrote and delivered a wide range of training courses, seminars and study guides. He travelled the world for 50 years teaching small groups of church leaders and massed crowds of many thousands. And, of course, his unremitting commitment in writing Every Day With Jesus is legendary. Even this very day nearly one million people in 130 countries will spend time with God, encouraged in their devotion by Selwyn’s words.

“But those are the headlines. Many friends, colleagues and readers will remember a dear man, compassionate correspondent, mentor and brother in Christ.

“September 2005 was a time of joyous celebration and lively anticipation for Selwyn. More than a thousand friends and supporters gathered at Waverley Abbey House to commemorate the 40th anniversary of CWR and Every Day With Jesus. The thronging crowd also heard details of an exciting ten-year vision that builds on four decades of extraordinary ministry and expands still further the reach and scope of CWR. Selwyn eagerly embraced what lay ahead and expressed his very real confidence in those to whom it would fall to perpetuate the ministry he began.

Selwyn knew his Lord was calling him home. Tellingly, he concluded the epilogue to his autobiography by saying, ‘There was a time nearly ten years ago when I said I was ready to go but eager to stay. Now, however, things are different. Now I am eager to go but willing to stay.’

“In June 2005 Selwyn received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Brunel University for ‘outstanding service to Christian education.’ This was fitting public recognition of his truly outstanding gift and ministry. Lord Carey took the opportunity to describe Selwyn as ‘a giant in the faith’.

“It gave him huge joy to preach in the Cardiff International Arena at the 100th Anniversary of the Welsh Revival, the event that had so impacted his own life and ministry.

“Selwyn will be terribly missed, but the immense legacy of his ministry ensures that the effects of his faith and passion for Christ will continue to touch and transform the lives of thousands upon thousands for years to come.” (CWR Today, Apr-June 2006, pp 1-2.)

But there’s a big problem!

Deceptive Legacy

The eulogy above is effectively worship. The man is being given adulation. What about his faults? What about the heresies that are still not ironed out in his teaching? What about the influence of those errors on the many thousands who will yet learn of ‘Biblical truth’ through his materials, but who will be given a distorted picture?

Of course, I realise that a deceived person cannot warn others about the deception to which he himself is subject. So it falls to another to point out deficiencies. If you have been around ‘the Church’ for a good number of years, you will know that such responsibility is the prophet’s lot.

When a prophet receives revelation from God about a church leader, don’t you think God considers the issue which He raises highly important? You bet!

Here is my account of what God showed me:

24th August 2006. M. Selwyn Hughes.

A friend had left with us a copy of CWR Today, the magazine produced by Crusade For World Revival (CWR), an organisation founded by Selwyn Hughes who died in January. Yesterday, Helena was looking at this and commenting to me. She said Selwyn was about 78 (6 x 13) when he died, which is significant. Was he a false minister? Considering his total lack of acknowledgement or response to several letters I wrote to him in the past, and how he promoted himself, I now had my reservations about him.

Not wanting to prejudge him or be wrong, before going to bed, I prayed that God would show me (if that is what He wanted to do). In the early hours I had a nightmare. It was frightening! [It was not clear whether I was put in SH’s position, or the position of some of those whom he taught.]

I was in a rectangular box and couldn’t get out [the trap of the teaching, or various lacks in it, in CWR’s ministry, and/or SH’s spiritual situation]. I felt I was lost, that my fate was irreversible. It was a state of utter hopelessness and fear. It was horrific! For about ten minutes (I guess) I felt this sheer panic and terror at the realisation that I had not made it into God’s kingdom and that I could not do so.

Then I woke up and realised – thankfully! – that this nightmare scenario was only a dream! It was so real and ghastly! Was God saying that Selwyn Hughes was NOT a true minister? Or was God trying to point out the horrendous trap that lies in impartial acceptance of the truth of God? SH preached about Jesus, and promoted some of what Jesus taught, but he didn’t preach the whole truth, and most of all, what he established was an institution (Waverley Abbey House) that glorified himself as much as Jesus. No one is exempt from the judgement of God, and His judgement is not going to be pleasant for many ministers who have taken the name of Christ to glorify themselves.

That is what I wrote immediately after the dream that morning. The dream is a stark warning from God! Jesus warned of those who could cause others to stumble:

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin [Gk skandalizo, to entrap, trip up, ensnare, stumble], it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea... Woe to that man by whom the offence comes! (Matt 18:6-7.)

What Jesus is talking about is something that comes to cause a potential child of God to stumble spiritually, and thereby not enter the Kingdom of God. There are various ways offences can come. In the present context, people can be seriously led astray by false teaching. If you are fed subtle heresy that speaks about Christ, but which denies Him – it sounds an impossible contradiction, but it happens throughout the Church where antinomian teaching replaces truth – believers who choose antinomian error rather than humble obedience will find them- selves shut outside the door on the Fateful Day.

This is why Jesus warned so forcefully to beware of men bringing deception in His name (Matt 24:4,5), and why Peter prophesied of widespread destructive heresies that would deny the Lord who bought us (2 Pet 2:1), and why Paul also predicted a great falling away from truth (2 Thes 2:3).

It sounds almost heretical to suggest, but it is possible that many thousands, even millions, of Christians are headed for hell because they have chosen to accept a theology that is providing them licence to disobey God. Their belief in Jesus is such that it ‘allows’ them to indulge in unrighteousness without upsetting their conscience.

And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thes 2:11,12).

I wrote to Selwyn Hughes some years before his death. He advertised on the back page of The Plain Truth magazine. I warned him that by so doing he was associating with a cult which has very serious charges to answer to God. (Explained in God Speaks To The WCG.) He never acknowledged my letter.

Another time I wrote to him to notify him of how revival would come to Britain, for which he had been praying for decades. I informed him of what God had said about Diana being raised from the dead, and of the resultant witness to the nation for the purpose of restoring and publicising the ‘lost’ truths which the Church desperately needs to regain.

Again, there wasn’t a whisper of a reply; not even an acknowledgement in politeness.

When we wrote to Buckingham Palace, or 10 Downing Street, or Clarence House (Prince Charles’ residence), we received a brief reply. Why can’t a minister of God do that? Was Selwyn Hughes above that? Did he consider that he had all truth and so didn’t need to hear from me or anyone else?

Was he consumed with some sort of ambition that he didn’t care that he paid one of the worst cults for advertising space to promote his materials? Was CWR a vehicle that elevated HIM more than Christ?

A year or two after I notified him of the dreams about Diana’s resurrection as part of the last revival in this age, his glossy, plush magazine Revival World Report folded up. It’s a pity he couldn’t believe what God sent to him, to help him see more clearly.

When God sends a prophet and you reject the prophet, you reject the message he brought to you from God. You may not reject God completely, but it doesn’t please Him when you effectively say, “Thanks, God, but I’d rather not. You keep it.”

And if many thousands of people think that Selwyn Hughes was a paragon, that his teachings were without fault, or that they don’t need anything more, spiritually, is that not a recipe for failure? Is that not the Laodicean syndrome, which God cannot abide?! (Rev 3:16.) And is it possible that the legacy of Selwyn’s teaching is a dangerous mixture of truth and error that can deceive people into complacency and cause them to stumble? (Matt 18:6.)

Does it only lead into idolatry to publish a glowing obituary like the aforementioned? Where a man is lifted up, is not Jesus dethroned?

I would like to think that Selwyn Hughes was saved, and did make it into God’s kingdom. But you must not take lightly the warning God gave about the effect of his teaching. Some people are not going to make it into God’s kingdom BECAUSE of the subtle error in Selwyn Hughes’ teaching! Paul also warned about this in 1 Corinthians 3 (vs 10-18).

If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are (1 Cor 3:17).

Malcolm B Heap

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