Monday, 24 March 2014

Press statement on behalf of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster

As a denomination we would like to affirm our support for the Observance of the Lord's Day in keeping with the words of the Fourth Commandment which states:
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."

In recent days two sporting events, namely the NW200 and the Euro 2016 football, have brought to the fore the sanctity of Sunday. While the NW200 has never taken place on a Sunday, and we hope and pray it never will, there is now the possibility of it being used as a contingency day for racing. 
In relation to the Euro 2016 football we are told that the decision has been made by UEFA and cannot be changed, but it means that for the first time Northern Ireland will play international football at Windsor Park on a Sunday. It is interesting to note that within the rules dealing with the UEFA draw there is an allowance made with regard to political difference between countries, yet there is no account taken of religious views.

Sunday is a special day for a number of reasons:
  • It brings to our attention the creation institution where one day in seven is appointed for rest.
  • It is a reminder of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on the first day of the week when He rose victorious over sin and the grave.
  • It is a foreshadowing of the eternal rest purchased by Christ for those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and are trusting in Him alone for salvation.

The Lord's Day is for rest and worship, and has been observed as such in Northern Ireland for many years. It is a day when according to the command of Scripture, men and women set aside the regular affairs of life to attend a place of worship and spend time with God. The Westminster Confession of Faith, Shorter catechism puts it in this manner:
"The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God's worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy."

There is blessing in keeping the Lord's Day. A blessing that benefits man spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Today, stress is a major problem, life is too busy and there is little time for God or family, it is for this reason that there is a day of rest. Mark 2:27
There is a very true saying:
"A Sabbath well spent brings a week of content, and strength for the toil of the morrow, but a Sabbath profaned, whate’er be gained, is a certain forerunner of sorrow."

May we as a country and nation return to honouring the Lord's Day and seek His pardon for breaking His law.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Consider Christ campaign continues in South of Ireland

The 'Consider Christ' Campaign began in Northern Ireland in Autumn 2009 – a £100,000 advertising campaign designed to reach our country with the message of the Gospel of grace. Since then, this Campaign has expanded into more of the Counties of Ireland. Over 250 individuals have involved themselves with the outreach into the South of Ireland with tens of thousands of gospel tracts and invitations to specially organised meetings being distributed.

A number of outreaches are planned for the following dates, if you are interested in joining up for one of the outreach events do not hesitate to contact us via email for further details:

  • Saturday 22nd March

  • Saturday 10th May 

  • Saturday 16th August

  • Saturday 4th October

  • Saturday 29th November

Posted by Paul Thompson.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Northern Ireland Attorney General's criticism in defense of 'Christian rights'

Attorney General John Larkin has criticised the UK’s highest court for finding against Christians who refused to rent a double room to a gay couple.
In a defence of Christians’ rights to live out their faith, Mr Larkin said that November’s decision by the Supreme Court seemed to leave such Christians with the option of either leaving business or “being complicit in what the Christian must regard as deeply sinful”.
Addressing the topic ‘Do Christians have rights?’, at a conference organised by the Presbyterian Church, Northern Ireland’s first Roman Catholic Attorney General made clear his dismay at the implications of the ruling.
He said that Christians needed to be “sensitive” to someone who found themselves refused a room because of their sexual orientation.
But, referring to the case of Hazelmary and Peter Bull, who were found to have discriminated against Stephen Preddy and Martyn Hall, Mr Larkin said that the case was a strong example of “the clash of rights” — between the right against discrimination and the right to freedom of religious observance.
Referring to Baroness Hale, the deputy president of the Supreme Court and one of those who found in favour of the gay couple in a majority decision (another was Lord Kerr, Northern Ireland’s former Lord Chief Justice), Mr Larkin said that her comments demonstrated “the extent of the failure to understand the orthodox Christian position”.
The outspoken Attorney General focussed on a single paragraph of Baroness Hale’s decision, in which she said: “There is no question of replacing ‘legal oppression of one community (homosexual couples) with legal oppression of another (those sharing the defendants’ beliefs)’.
“If Mr Preddy and Mr Hall ran a hotel which denied a double room to Mr and Mrs Bull, whether on the ground of their Christian beliefs or on the ground of their sexual orientation, they would find themselves in the same situation that Mr and Mrs Bull find themselves today.”
Referring to those comments, Mr Larkin said: “If these words are intended by Baroness Hale to be reassuring to Christians, I do not think that their intended outcome is likely to be achieved.
“What is striking in the passage that I have just quoted is, it seems to me, the extent of the failure to understand the orthodox Christian position.”
Mr Larkin said that if Mr and Mrs Bull had refused to serve a meal to a gay couple, that would be not just unlawful but “incapable of moral justification”.
However, he said: “On the other hand, a Christian who wishes to adhere to traditional Christian moral principles cannot without committing serious sin make available premises to facilitate a purpose which that Christian believes to be gravely sinful. To do so, the Christian believes, is to be complicit in the sin...”
He said that Baroness Hale offered “a false equivalence” and said “she doesn’t appear to appreciate the nature of Christian objection”.
“A homosexual couple who ran a hotel would not be troubled on some philosophical ground connected to homosexuality at the thought of a Christian married couple occupying a room in their hotel...on the other hand, were a Christian couple to make accommodation which they think ought to be reserved for married couples available to unmarried couples it does violence to their beliefs and makes them complicit in what they regard as deeply sinful.”
Mr Larkin said that he did not believe that “some boor who for his own obscure reasons does not like homosexual people should be able to deny services to them as an expression of his own dislike; the law prohibits such a denial of services, and in my view, rightly so”.
“On the other hand, I do think that a Christian in business should not be placed in a position in which he now seems placed by the Supreme Court decision in Bull and Hall where she or he must choose between withdrawing from business or being complicit in what the Christian must regard as deeply sinful,” said Mr Larkin.

The above is taken from the Belfast Newsletter 31st Jan 2014

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Marriage and biblical virtues.

Government and Morals statement regarding Belfast's 'Marie Stopes Clinic'

The Government and Morals Committee of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster has issued the following statement in response to the proposed opening of the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast:   

News that the Marie Stopes abortion clinic is poised to open for business in Belfast is a cause for lamentation, not celebration.

That Marie Stopes International has courted fierce controversy during its existence is a point beyond debate.  Its 2010 advert offering advice on abortion services attracted almost 5000 complaints; a 2011 video that targeted children with gross images and vile suggestions caused even more extreme offence.

We have listened carefully to the arguments put forward in recent days to justify the need for this clinic in our capital city, and to the assurances given that it will operate within the strictures of our local laws.  However, we are profoundly unimpressed by both these arguments and assurances.  Our considered view is that the opening of this clinic is simply a vehicle by which the boundaries of the current law on abortion in Northern Ireland will be increasingly pushed, so providing encouragement to others whose wicked objective is to have ‘abortion on demand’ in our country.

Our conscience is bound by Scripture that teaches us not to deliberately kill innocent human beings (cf. Exodus 23:7; Proverbs 6:16,17; Revelation 21:8; 22:15; Matthew 15:19,20; and Romans 13:8-10).

In the light of these (and other) Scriptures, we recognise it as our duty to act as a voice for the unborn and must therefore oppose those who, “gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood” (Psalm 94:21).  To find this potential slaughterhouse located in the centre of our capital city is indescribably appalling.

Free Presbyterian Government and Morals Committee, What are we about?

People often say that right and wrong are just a matter of opinion and that therefore there are no absolute moral standards.

But can a society survive without a moral consensus? This is a vital question in our age of extreme individualism. Who decides what is moral?Can we still have moral values if there is no fixed moral reference point against which to judge right from wrong?

Lord Patrick Devlin, Justice of the High Court, Queen's Bench, from 1948-1960, and Lord of Appeal from 1961-1969, wrote that no society has yet solved the problem of how to teach morality without religion. He believed that the law of the land must base itself on Christian morals and, to the limit of its ability, enforce them for the compelling reason that without the help of Christian teaching the law will fail.

Lord Devlin further points out that the law, both criminal and civil, claims to be able to speak about morality and immorality generally. He says that, as a matter of history, it derived the moral principles it enforces from Christian teaching. They do not shift as they are revealed by God. Moral standards are not relative but absolute.

Christianity was once part of the law of the land. Today laws are changing and morals are deteriorating because their Biblical foundations are no longer accepted by our legislators and the courts.When a nation breaks with its Christian heritage it goes against its own welfare and societal health. According to the apostle Paul, the law of God was structured to give life (Romans 7:10). A departure from God's law makes society sick unto death.

This blog exists to spotlight those areas where our country is descending into the darkness of moral and spiritual bondage - and to call God's people to the exercise of earnest prayer and effective protest so that our legislators and populace may rediscover those Biblical foundations so vital to our nation's health.

"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34)

"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3)

The 'Government and Morals Committee' is an appointed board within the Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.