Monday, 3 June 2013

Set Up a New Reformed Evangelical Church

In an earlier post, I suggested that those evangelicals who are more loyal to the church than they are to the Gospel are prepared to stand idly by and watch fellow-evangelicals being slaughtered by the church and not lift a hand to help them.  Shame on them all!

I read recently of how this exact thing goes on within the Scottish Presbyterian churches. The writer echoed my viewpoint when he said that he watched in horror as evangelicals were being hung out to dry by their evangelical colleagues. At times they were instrumental in betraying evangelicals, and stood there watching what was happening but doing nothing about it.

He referred to a divinity student in the Presbytery of Glasgow whose views on women's ordination were reported to Presbytery. Not one evangelical supported him and he was forced to leave. Another evangelical in another Presbytery was accused of being a 'troublemaker' in relation to the same issue, and rather than being given the support of his fellow evangelicals, found himself ostracised and he too had to leave. A third situation involved a young minister who confronted a ruling elder about an inappropriate (sinful and unbiblical) relationship he was having. This came to Presbytery and neither the Presbytery nor the evangelical ministers in it supported him, and he too was told to keep quiet about this, or to leave the ministry. He left.

It seems that evangelicals in today's churches are rather more like evan-jelly-cals than Bible believing Christians; the emphasis here is on the jelly. Ministers within the established denominations have no reason to believe that when hardy comes to hardy, they can be sure of the support of fellow-evangelicals at Presbytery or Assembly levels. These evangelicals are first and foremost churchmen rather than Gospel-men; that means that you just cannot trust them to support biblical standards either in morals or in doctrine.

Where are soundly evangelical ministers to go to who want to minister the Word of God and preach the everlasting Gospel of redeeming grace? Answer? It is impossible to say. Presbyterianism, in all its shades and varieties, is painted in the same colours. Every minister's pre-occupation is to protect himself and secure his job. Ministers within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, some of them, live in fear of getting on the wrong side of church authorities. This was the response I got when I asked why ministers will not support their brother evangelicals. They are living in fear of the church hierarchy, and they know that they have the power of life and death over their ministries. These men have taken real power into their own hands, and, my, they are prepared to use it - but only against evangelicals whose congregations do not want their preaching. They will not lift a hand to discipline or remove liberals and ecumenicals, and other time-servers, those who keep in with the authorities. 

Surely the time has now come for reformed evangelicals to come together and set up a new Christian church. The unfaithfulness of the current churches is depressing. When evangelical ministers are being abused by and within their congregations and then dismissed by their Presbyteries working in conjunction with the powerful Judicial Commission. This cannot go on indefinitely. "The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (Dan.11:32)Now is the time for action. Think of Luther and Calvin, Cranmer and Latimer, men who knew their God and who did great things for Him. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Discerning Churches - But Not In The Right Way!

What do you think of this? A religious denomination is very happy to allow rank liberals who are accredited by them and within their ranks to take churches, but they will not allow a Gospel minister to be called to its congregations. If these ministers are "one of us," then what they believe and preach is of no account whatever. So long as they can pass their theological exams, they're in!

I understand that churches must guard their official teaching role, but when it reaches the point where churches that call themselves 'evangelical' and 'reformed' simply do not want Gospel preachers - and actually remove such men from their ministry - preferring instead those who could not preach their way out of a wet paper bag and who have no clear Gospel message, things have reached an awful pitch.

The church today is in reality a 'power club,' and loves to be able to control its ministers and what and how they preach.

Gospel ministers coming into a dead denomination are guaranteed a rough time. The denomination might be orthodox and even admit theological liberals to its ranks, but evangelicals are a different matter altogether. Church authorities do not seem to care about the eternal destinies of its members so long as they keep on paying into church funds, and they enjoy being members of the 'club.'

Church members do not all like to hear a straight Gospel sermon, and these members also know that the church leaders will support them against a Gospel minister, so they can gradually remove the Gospel from their denomination. The Gospel really is Christian Counter Culture, hence the opposition from those churches that will protect their religious culture against all comers.  To them, their culture and its maintenance is much more important than a Gospel that challenges that culture. 'Keep the culture, but get rid of Jesus,' the culture seems to be.

This is happening in Northern Ireland, a land once known for its evangelical fervour. The church here still has a name to live, but that life is difficult to find in many instances. "Essay readers" occupy many of her pulpits, but few preachers as such. These theological essay's are read with studied detachment, and with the occasional quote from classical authors to prove the preacher's cleverness, but it's no more than a name. And church leaders imagine they are serving the Lord by persecuting those ministers who are fearless Gospel preachers and working towards securing their removal permanently from their church.

And here's the rub: they see the church as "their" church primarily, and only secondarily, and at best, the church of God. We have our traditions to maintain. Our traditions are precious to us, whether they have any biblical validity is of no account. If any minister lays a hand on that "sacred cow," they are to be removed immediately if not sooner.

The ruthlessness of churches that regard themselves as authentically reformed gives the lie to their claim to preach "the doctrines of grace." In today's confused ecclesiastical world, Christian church members have to re-consider their continued membership of and financial support to such churches. How can they continue to support a church that takes legal action against its ministers for preaching the Gospel! And how can they provide financial support to any church that treats Gospel ministers and members so despicably.

The time is fast approaching when a new church body must be set up to safeguard the Gospel for the generations to come. One thing Christians cannot do id this: they cannot expect apostate churches to preach a biblical Gospel with fire sent down from heaven. And if they cannot expect that, then they are not to be expected to remain in such denominations. Reform of the church according to the Scriptures is urgently needed, and God will guide His redeemed people in the right way and at the right time to bring this to pass.