Saturday, 20 April 2019

An open letter to the Christians in the DUP

It was recently revealed that the Democratic Unionist Party is running its first openly homosexual candidate in the upcoming Local Government Elections in Northern Ireland prompts this request for the Christians in the party. Given the historically evangelical roots of the DUP, its former campaign to 'Save Ulster from Sodomy', and its ongoing policy of opposing the introduction of same sex marriage to Northern Ireland, it is necessary to ask a question of the Christians within the DUP. The question is particularly relevant for its currently elected Christian politicians, and prospective councillors who are standing for office in the current election.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Rome is still the enemy

What is the great enemy of the Christian church? With the rise of Islamic extremism and the advance of the Muslim faith in the west Islam will often be named as the church's number one enemy, and militant Islam does indeed pose a great threat to the freedoms and liberties which we currently enjoy. Yet Islam is not the true church's great enemy. The LGBT movement will also be a popular candidate, and for good reason as it presents us with the greatest moral dilemma of our generation. Yet whilst it is in complete opposition to God and the bible it too is not the church's historic great foe. The recent rise of these movements in our society has caused many to lose sight of that great antagonist which has stood in opposition to the true church for centuries, and which continues to do so; the church of Rome, the 'mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.' C.H. Spurgeon said that 'Romanism is a most ingenious imitation of the gospel' and that is what makes it a greater threat to the church than Islam, for whilst the faith of Mohamed does not purport to be Christian, the religion of Rome does make that claim, and indeed make it exclusively of itself. In identifying Rome as the great enemy of the church we do not seek to imply that individual Roman Catholics are our enemy, rather they are the mission field. Yet the papacy and the Roman system of worship is in all its parts opposed to the true church of God, and must ever be regarded by the true church of Christ as its adversary.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

The Charismatic's Roman Catholic Dilemma

What does a charismatic do with 160 million Roman Catholics? Whilst that may sound like the start of a joke, it is actually an important question. It is a question posed by the existence of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, a movement within the church of Rome purported to comprise some 160 million members in 2013, and which practices the charismatic gifts of prophecy, healing and tongues. The dilemma which this movement presents for charismatics arises from two issues; firstly the charismatic propensity of making the outward manifestation of the supernatural gifts the sure evidence of the infilling or baptism of the Holy Spirit, and secondly the existence of those same supposed gifts within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

The unscriptural position of 'gay but celibate'

The wedge of compromise is always driven in at the thin end, something that is as true when dealing with the issue of homosexuality as it is with any other matter. Many evangelical churches today still take a faithful stand against same sex marriage, and denounce all homosexual acts as sinful. Yet where the compromise is increasingly being found is on the issue of homosexual desires, with a growing acceptance of the 'gay but celibate' argument. The concept of 'living out' as a Christian has been promoted by men such as Sam Alberry, with the term 'same sex attracted Christians' replacing homosexual, and gaining an increased acceptance. In most cases the groups advancing this view are teaching that homosexual acts are sinful, however the matter of 'same sex attraction' itself is not necessarily so. Is this approach biblical and one that we can accept, and what should our response be to this agenda?

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Who was Saint Nicholas?

Saint Nicholas is best known for being the inspiration behind the legend of Santa Claus due to his habit of secretly giving gifts, but who was he and what is his importance in Church history? It is easy to dismiss many of the early church figures as Roman Catholic, due to the appendage of 'Saint' to their name by Rome, and also due to the style of illustrations which have been left to depict them. In many cases this view is inaccurate, especially when dealing with the earliest centuries of the Church, and so it is in the case of Nicholas. Born in 270 AD he was appointed bishop of Myra in what is modern day Turkey. Many legends have grown up around him, most of them only appearing centuries after his death and being without historical foundation, however his most significant contribution to the church was at the Council of Nicaea.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Binning the church's musical heritage

What happens when a church isolates itself from history; when in its desire to be uber relevant, it cuts all ties to the history of the Christian church, to its doctrine and worship? These thoughts were prompted by a local church publishing its playlist of worship songs on the streaming service Spotify. Of the twenty four songs that were sung in its services from September to November only one song was more than two years old, with that particular song, 'Sinking Deep' by Hillsong Young and Free, being released just five years ago. At five years old it is hardly outdated, yet in the world of seeker sensitive churches it is likely to be on the verge of becoming so. Of the twenty three other songs on the list eight were released this year, seven last year, and a further eight in 2016. A similar trend was evident in August; of the thirty songs on their playlist at that time, only five had been released more than two years ago (ranging from 2013 to 2015). In both playlists the groups behind the songs would cause great concern, with the like of Hillsong and Bethel Music featuring prominently, however our focus here is rather on the issue of exclusively singing newly released songs in public worship.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Spurgeon's cause to remember the 5th of November

The 5th of November is a famous date in the English calendar. The following entry for this day from C.H. Spurgeon's devotional 'Morning and Evening' reminds of why it is a date of significance and worth remembering by the Protestants of our land.

'No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper' (Isaiah 54:17)

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Bethel Church, Bethel Music and Jesus Culture: A Warning

The city of Redding in California is the source of some of today's most popular Christian music. The non-denominational charismatic megachurch known as Bethel Church, based in Redding and pastured by Bill and Beni Johnson, is the fountain from which two groups, Bethel Music and Jesus Culture, have sprung. Their influence and popularity has grown considerably in recent years and has spread far beyond the confines of northern California, now sitting alongside the likes of Hillsong in terms of popular appeal. Northern Ireland is no exception to this, with either Bethel Music or Jesus Culture having held concerts or other events here over the past few years; Mandela Hall at Queens University, Whitewell Metropolitian Tabernacle and especially Journey Community Church in Antrim among those who have facilitated them. As part of their current UK tour they will be playing once again in Belfast, this time on 9th October at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle.