Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Separation not isolation

In today's ecumenical age it is always important to emphasise the need for believers to separate from those who hold false doctrine. We are not to fellowship with those who profess Christianity, yet deny the fundamental truths of God's Word, but are rather we are instructed to 'come out from among them'. Likewise what is necessary on an ecclesiastical level is also important when it comes to our relationship with the world. This is not to be characterised by integration but instead by separation, for although we live in a sinful world, we are not to be partakers of that sin, but are to come apart from it. Biblical separation is good, it is beneficial and it is to practised by all believers, yet it is important that it is practised properly. Our view of separation must never be taken to the point where we isolate ourselves from everyone who disagrees with us when the points of disagreement concern secondary issues.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Who are Bethel Church?

To most people in Northern Ireland the name of Bethel Church, Redding would have meant very little up until a couple of weeks ago. However since then anyone who has kept abreast of religious news in the province may have heard of them in connection with the split which has developed at St Matthias' Parish Church at Knocknamuckey near Lurgan. Many issues have been raised in relation to this split, but one of the main reasons cited for it has been the hosting of a service involving representatives from Bethel Church, based in northern California. Such has been the difference of opinion that the congregation has now split in two, with the minister at the centre of the controversy, Rev Alan Kilpatrick, holding his services in the Goodyear Sports and Social Club, whilst the remainder of the congregation have continued to worship at Knocknamuckley.

Whatever other issues there might be within the parish of Knocknamuckley, and within the Church of Ireland at large, those who have expressed concern at the teachings of Bethel Church, and the association of their congregation with it are absolutely right in being concerned. The doctrines of Bethel church are both unscriptural and dangerous, and as this ministry has been recently highlighted in our media, it is perhaps beneficial that we expose some of their error, lest anyone be drawn to them. This would be particularly important for any young believers who follow the band 'Jesus Culture', as this band (who recently played in the province) was formed in Bethel Church in 1999 and continues to have a strong association with the church.

In truth the errors associated with Bethel Church are so numerous and far reaching that we cannot possibly deal with them all within the scope of this blog post, nor go into detail on any point. What we will simply seek to do is highlight some of the more serious, dangerous, and indeed bizarre teachings which has emanated from Bethel Church.