Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Rebuke from Four Servants of the LORD to Free Presbyterian Ministers & Presbytery Members

‘Leaving God’s Word to Serve Parliamentary Tables’
by: Martyn McGeown

A minister of the Word and sacraments is to give himself "wholly" or "entirely" to the prayerful study and faithful preaching of the Holy Scriptures (I Tim. 4:15; Acts 6:4). Thus he is to serve Christ as a pastor or shepherd for the edification of his congregation. Therefore, unless a church is unable to support a preacher financially, he may not have a second job. This includes working in politics. Yet Rev. Ian Paisley and Rev. William McCrea have been working as preachers and politicians for decades.

The apostles refused to do the work of deacons alongside the teaching labours of their office. They declared, "It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve [dining] tables" (Acts 6:2). But these Free Presbyterian ministers are leaving the Word of God to serve parliamentary tables.

This has been allowed to go on in the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster for many years, but now that some of its members object to the DUP's power-sharing with Sinn Fein in the N. Ireland Assembly, many are (rightly) questioning the lawfulness of having Christian ministers in political office at all. Rev. Paisley ought not merely stand down as Free Presbyterian moderator, after over half a century in that position. A Christian pastor ought not also be a politician in the first place, never mind First Minister of N. Ireland!
In his last inspired epistle, the apostle (and soon to be martyr) Paul, writing to Timothy the evangelist (II Tim. 4:1-5) on the work of his spiritual office, draws lessons for Christian ministers from three callings: soldiers, athletes and farmers (II Tim. 2:3-6). The first of these—the soldier analogy—is especially relevant in this connection because it requires ministers that they focus on their duties as preachers of the Word and pastors of Christ's flock without entanglement in temporal affairs: "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (v. 4). Yet for decades Rev. Paisley has been leader of his own political party and a member of two or three parliaments (the N. Ireland Assembly in Stormont, Belfast; the United Kingdom Parliament in Westminster, London; and the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France), alongside his duties as a minister of a congregation and moderator of a denomination. In 2004, he withdrew from the European Parliament but now he is First Minister of Northern Ireland. These political offices involve electioneering, helping constituents, sitting and debating in parliament, etc., besides his work of preaching, writing, counselling, etc., in the church. Whereas one can only admire such a phenomenal work-rate sustained for so long, it is clear that Ian Paisley's career in several political offices while a minister in a Christian congregation is totally contrary to the Word of God and displeasing and dishonouring to the Lord Jesus: "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (v. 4). What soldier, whether in first century Rome or elsewhere, would be allowed to remain as a soldier while also working as a politician in two or three parliaments (with all that this entails) and even being First Minister in one of them! No special circumstances may be lawfully made against breaking this command of Christ. Indeed, the apostle concludes his three instructive analogies for Christian ministers (vv. 3-6) with this exhortation: "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things" (v. 7). Evidently, neither Rev. Paisley nor the denomination which has allowed him to get away with this disobedience for decades has considered or understood what the Holy Spirit here is saying to ministers. Contrary to apostolic teaching, Revs. Paisley and McCrea are leaving the Word of God to serve parliamentary tables.

Now it would appear that this sin against the first mark of a true church (faithful preaching of the gospel by ministers of the Word) is leading to sin against the third mark of a true church (faithful church discipline). Magherafelt Free Presbyterian elder, Raymond Linton has been "suspended" from his church office and is no longer able to receive the Lord's Supper for opposing Rev. Paisley's political activities (Newsletter, 18 July, 2007). This is basically excommunication, the final stage of church discipline (Matt 18:15-17; I Cor. 5), which may only be used in cases where members walk wilfully and impenitently in sin, for example, adultery, sodomy, drunkenness or the like (I Cor. 6:9-11). Disagreeing with the denomination's moderator is not an excommunicable offence.
Sadly, many churches in N. Ireland are woefully lacking in any discipline (allowing members to maintain heresies or lead wicked lives), but now the Free Presbyterian Church appears to be using discipline tyrannically. What structure exists in the Free Presbyterian Church for appeal if the local session and the presbytery are the only governing bodies? This is very serious because along with pure preaching and the proper administration of the sacraments, faithful church discipline is one of the three marks of a true church.

Thus the Belgic Confession (1561), a Reformation creed states,
... The marks, by which the true church is known, are these:

[1] if the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein;

[2] if she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ;
[3] if church discipline is exercised in punishing of sin: in short, if all things are managed according to the pure Word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected, and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only Head of the church.

Hereby the true church may certainly be known, from which no man has a right to separate himself. With respect to those, who are members of the church, they may be known by the marks of Christians: namely, by faith; and when they have received Jesus Christ the only Saviour, they avoid sin, follow after righteousness, love the true God and their neighbour, neither turn aside to the right or left, and crucify the flesh with the works thereof. But this is not to be understood, as if there did not remain in them great infirmities; but they fight against them through the Spirit, all the days of their life, continually taking their refuge in the blood, death, passion and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, 'in whom they have remission of sins, through faith in him.'

As for the false church, she ascribes more power and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the Word of God, and will not submit herself to the yoke of Christ. Neither does she administer the sacraments as appointed by Christ in his Word, but adds to and takes from them, as she thinks proper; she relieth more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those, who live holily according to the Word of God, and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness, and idolatry. These two churches are easily known and distinguished from each other (article 29).

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

Martyn McGeown is a CPR ministerial student . . (End of Article)


“The Free Presbyterian Church has come under pressure to further sever its political links with the DUP. Last Friday, after a five-hour meeting of the church’s Presbytery, Ian Paisley announced he would step down as Free Presbyterian moderator in January. The DUP leader also said he intended to continue his work as a clergyman.” Excerpt from Article entitled: “Church political ties ‘must end’” – BBC – Sept. 10, 2007
Re: John Newton, Preacher
“Newton understood that Christian transformation is a gradual process and that his calling was to nurture people toward Christian faith and character, not to engage firsthand in politics.”Article: ‘How do Christian Faith and Politics Connect?’
By: John Turner - April 4, 2007
"My prayer is that God will preserve that part of the Separated witness represented by the Free Church in Ulster, and that dirty politics will not destroy its testimony for Christ." Comment posted at Sermon Audio by: FPC Minister Stephen Hamilton, Allentown, PAArticle: 'Paisley - the price I paid to cut deal' - Belfast Telegraph TV/Interview of June 10, 2007
“Preacher-politician is a contradiction of terms, an oxymoron. Politics, by definition, means compromise, and a preacher of God's Word by definition is uncompromising. Sin is sin, and is not made lawful by acts of Congress or any other body of government. Preachers are to give themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, not to serving tables. (Acts 6:4)” Article: Christian Politics By Colonel Myrl Allinder - Jun 6, 2007
“Raymond Linton says Mr McCrea and Mr Paisley should stand down as preachers, if they will not quit politics.”
Article: ‘IRA Has Been Defeated’ - Belfast Today
By: Steven Dempster - July 18, 2007

Breaking News: "Ian Paisley today refused to rule out remaining leader of the church he founded. The First Minister was quizzed about his future as a religious leader but would only say: 'You'll have to wait and see.'"

Periodical: Belfast Telegraph/Politics/Sept. 25, 2007


UPDATE: As of Nov. 1, no answer from Rev./Dr. Ian Paisley to Rev. Barry Galbraith & Rev. Philip Murphy's letter of Sept. 4, (Reformed Pres. Church of Ireland). Rev. Murphy's response to my e-mail inquiry and the RP's letter follow:
Dear June:
I send this e-mail in response to your inquiry, did we receive a reply from the first minister? No, we did not even receive an acknowledgement of receipt of our letter.
Yours in the Lord Philip
(Rev. Murphy has given me permission to post his e-mail.)
Letter to First Minister
The following letter was sent from the Southern Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church to the First Minister, the Rt Hon. Dr. I. Paisley.

September 4, 2007

Dear Dr Paisley,

We have been asked to write on behalf of the Southern Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland to express our deep sense of concern in the following terms.

Since your acceptance of the office of First Minister of Northern Ireland, we have not yet heard of any indication that, as one who has long professed the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you are intending to resist the implementation of any of the laws supporting homosexual behaviour. These laws include provisions giving to those engaged in same-sex partnerships rights to goods and services which Christians, in certain businesses and service industries, will be unable to provide with a good conscience.

May we respectfully remind you that your first responsibility is to the Lord Jesus Christ as 'the prince of the kings of the earth' (Rev.1:5). Civil government is not spiritually and morally neutral and is not independent of the authority of the Word of God.

Your primary obligation is to uphold the Law of God as the standard of right and wrong in the public domain.

To participate in implementing legislation that promotes sin is to participate in rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that the higher authorities in Westminster or Brussels may require it is no justification; 'Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye' (Acts 4:19); 'we ought to obey God rather than men' (Acts 5:29). Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not bow down to the golden image despite the fact that the human law requiring it was crystal clear (Dan.3:16-18).

Many of the martyrs lost their lives rather than participate in legally required sin. They did not appeal to 'the political realities of the situation' to justify compromise of Biblical principle. John the Baptist lost his life over what some might regard as a minor moral issue.

In calling upon you to raise a testimony to the need to bring our laws into conformity to the Law of God, as well as urging you to oppose the Sexual Orientation Regulations generally, we would also mention two other specific matters.

Firstly, we are greatly troubled that at this year's 'Gay Pride' parade in Belfast a new low was reached by the unhindered display of a placard blaspheming the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. As you know, your government subsidises this obnoxious event and yet, to date, we have not heard of you or your party resisting this iniquitous misuse of tax-payers' money. Will you be writing to the DCAL minister, Mr Edwin Poots, and to the Director of the Northern Ireland Events Company to object to the funding of this parade? Has a complaint from you been lodged with the Parades Commission?

Secondly, regarding the consultation on the Gender Goods and Services Directive, may we ask what efforts you intend to make to oppose the transgender rights proposals as a whole and also to ensure that there are safeguards for churches and Christian organisations?

For a Christian, the approach of 'I am only obeying orders' simply will not do. Our first loyalty must always be to Christ and His Word. Given your high profile, failure to practice this on your part will encourage Christians to follow your compromise and take the path of least resistance to secure a quiet life. The evangelical cause will be further weakened in Northern Ireland and the salt will have lost yet more of its savour (Matt.5:13).

As this letter deals with public matters, it is an open one to the extent that we intend to make it available in Christian circles. Be assured, however, that in fairness to you we will make equally available any reply you may send to us.

Assuring you of our prayers 'for all that are in authority' (1 Timothy 2:2).

Yours sincerely,

Rev Barry Galbraith (Moderator)

Rev Philip Murphy (Acting Clerk)

Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland -
Against Compromise
By: John MacArthur
Copyright 2007, Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

It was Martin Luther who said:

“The world at the present time is sagaciously discussing how to quell the controversy and strife over doctrine and faith, and how to effect a compromise between the Church and the Papacy. Let the learned, the wise, it is said, bishops, emperor and princes, arbitrate. Each side can easily yield something, and it is better to concede some things which can be construed according to individual interpretation, than that so much persecution, bloodshed, war, and terrible, endless dissension and destruction be permitted.“

Here is lack of understanding, for understanding proves by the Word that such patchwork is not according to God’s will, but that doctrine, faith and worship must be preserved pure and unadulterated; there must be no mingling with human nonsense, human opinions or wisdom.“

The Scriptures give us this rule: ‘We must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29).

”It is interesting to speculate what the church would be like today if Martin Luther had been prone to compromise. The pressure was heavy on him to tone down his teaching, soften his message, stop poking his finger in the eye of the papacy. Even many of his friends and supporters urged Luther to come to terms with Rome for the sake of harmony in the church. Luther himself prayed earnestly that the effect of his teaching would not be divisive.

When he nailed his 95 Theses to the door, the last thing he wanted to do was split the church.

Yet sometimes division is fitting, even healthy, for the church. Especially in times like Luther’s—and like ours—when the visible church seems full of counterfeit Christians, it is right for the true people of God to declare themselves. Compromise is sometimes a worse evil than division. Second Corinthians 6:14-17 isn’t speaking only of marriage when it says,

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

“I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.

“This article originally appeared in Pulpit Magazine, an online magazine of the Shepherds’ Fellowship, Grace Community Church.”
A Hard Fought ‘Campaign for Truth’ in the Free Presbyterian Church ends with a Lie . . Christian Discipline set aside for Situation Ethics

"Nothing has ever more largely promoted the true than the break with the false."
C. H. Spurgeon
September 15, 2007

Dear Free Pres. Christian Brother & Sister:

I trust by now you have read the aforementioned articles, for it is in that context, that I would desire to share a few thoughts with you.
Matters that pertain to . . . that relate to . . . the government of the church, including those that pertain to church discipline are to be examined . . . resolved . . . decided without exception solely in the light of God’s Word in the church of Jesus Christ, irregardless of the situation and/or consequences that may follow. To do otherwise is to enter into what is commonly regarded as situation ethics, “a moral theory developed by an ecumenist in the 1960s.” (quote: Rev. Ivan Foster: Article: ‘It is never right to do wrong to do right!’)

Every professing church of Jesus Christ must willingly submit to His government . . His Word . . . His authority in every aspect of congregational life if they would preserve the purity, the integrity, and the unity of their members and bring a true and faithful witness of Jesus Christ to the lost.

The reason for . . . the necessity of . . . the exercise of proper church discipline without partiality to its’ members, as well as the implications of its’ absence, are set forth in the article that follows, written by Dr. Albert Mohler, Gospel Minister & President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, entitled: ‘Church Discipline’.

I would urge every Free Presbyterian church member to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider Dr. Mohler’s solemn words in light of the FPC Presbytery’s recent decision absolving Dr. Ian Paisley, their Moderator, of any wrongdoing.

The FPC, well-noted for it’s consistent denouncements of the doctrinal errors of others, and for their protests against sinful practices inconsistent with scripture, i.e., most notably in the Roman Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, would be well-advised to take heed to the words of one of their ministerial colleagues, who speaks the

“truth in love” to them now.

In the matter regarding charges brought against Dr. Paisley, the prime order of business at the General Presbytery Meeting of the FPC on Sept. 7, 2007, a move that can only be described as a political maneuver, was taken. A deal was struck and a compromise was entered into, to avoid, we are told, a split in the denomination, allowing Dr. Paisley to bow out gracefully from his post as their Moderator of 50+ years.

It is especially sad and disheartening to those of us who prayerfully supported and fought so hard alongside Rev. Ivan Foster and others in the FPC in this campaign for truth, only to see these matters now decided in the context of “situation ethics”, and resolved in such a way that honours a man above Christ, the only head of the church, who is to have the pre-eminence in all things . . . to see a campaign for Truth end in a Lie and a mockery of justice grieves our souls!

“He who loves not Christ above all, loves not Christ at all.” Augustine

The decision on Sept. 7 is a denial of the facts and a flat contradiction of the overwhelming evidence produced to the contrary, and a repudiation of the assertions so forcefully and vigorously made by senior FPC Gospel Minister Ivan Foster, and others over the past six (6+) months, that his actions were:

"unscriptural, unethical and immoral."

The official Presbytery Statement . . Press Release . . was very brief and tells us very little about what transpired at the General Presbytery Meeting of the FPC.

The newspaper accounts reveal and inform us that a “deal was struck . . a compromise was reached." This we are told was to avoid a “split in the church”. In other words . . the end justified the means! This is a classic example of “situation ethics”, which the bible militates against and which Rev. Foster decried in his article entitled: It is never right to do wrong to do right – Bob Jones, Sr. – 1883 – 1968’

Various news reports of the Presbytery Meeting follow:

Article: Church united again after it makes a compromise deal
10 September 2007 – Belfast Today

Church united again after it makes a compromise deal.”
Article: Paisley pays price for political power
Belfast Telegraph - Sunday, September 09, 2007

“The decision by the church to delay the annual election of a Moderator until January is described as a 'stopgap' strategy to allow Mr Paisley to depart gracefully from a role he has held for decades.

One insider said: "It became very obvious that if he did stand he would lose and in those circumstances he pleaded with them not to humiliate him and just let it run to the end of the year and just walk away."
Article: Paisley happy with church decision
Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday September 9, 2007 - The Observer

“It's worth remembering too that the church drew up a commission that investigated his role as First Minister and it concluded that he had breached no rules of the Presbytery.”
Article: Paisley forced to quit as head of church
Last Updated: 08/09/2007 14:40

“One insider said: "It became very obvious that if he did stand he would lose and in those circumstances he pleaded with them not to humiliate him and just let it run to the end of the year and just walk away."
Article: Belfast's Paisley Loses his Flock – Monday. Sept. 10, 2007 – By: Chris Thornton/Belfast - TIME/CNN

“A deal was crafted that allows Paisley to step down without a vote. In return, critical articles were taken off the Internet by his opponents, although they described his removal as "a start."
Paisley preached as normal later on the Sunday morning of the church coup, and had put his First Minister's hat back on by Monday afternoon.”
Article: No amount of rhetoric will save face for 'Lundy'
Roy Garland, Irish News
September 11, 2007

“Ian Paisley should take his own advice, adorn sackcloth and ashes and lead by example – not by repenting for accepting the post of first minister but for misleading the people for so long.

This would not be easy for a politician, but Ian Paisley is a church leader and should be able to eat humble pie.”
(End of News Accounts)
Resolving a conflict in the Church of Jesus Christ through deals and compromise is not God’s way. Truth is to be upheld at all times and is to form the only basis for unity in Christ’s church. This is affirmed in Rev. Foster’s article entitled: ‘Whither Free Presbyterianism?', where he states: “Some fear to speak lest they split their congregations. They can never unite them except by teaching them the truth.”

Various newspaper accounts further inform us that the Presbytery, by an overwhelming majority agreed to separate politics from the church. That proves to be without substance, as Dr. Paisley remains Moderator & Gospel Minister of the FPC, and at the same time, First Minister of Northern Ireland. In addition, Rev. McCrea, also an FPC Gospel Minister, continues to hold a position in government as well. Until such time as Dr. Paisley and Rev. McCrea actually vacate one of these positions, there has been no separation of politics from the FPC.

Mr. Poots, an FPC Deacon, in his position as Minister for Culture, Arts & Leisure of Northern Ireland, has promoted . . supported . . . and funded sodomite activities, more recently the ‘Gay Pride Parade’ in Belfast this past August. This behaviour, which can only be characterized as unscantified, flatly contradicts 'The Stand' of the Free Presbyterian Church.

If the FPC truly regards the bible as their only rule for faith and practice, then accountability for wrongdoing must be properly assigned to those who by their “public sin” . . . their rebellion against God’s law . . have insulted Christ and brought His name into disrepute . . . have set an ungodly example . . .and have undermined and weakened the collective witness of the professing church of Jesus Christ.

The following are excerpts from the Principal Issues at the Concerned Free Presbyterian website, that plainly set forth the EVIDENCE of WRONGDOING by Dr. Paisley. If you recall, this site was raised in response to the entrance of Dr. Paisley into power-sharing with SF/IRA, though now taken down, we understand, as part of the deal.
Principal Issues
Disrespect for Presbytery
In 1998 the Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church declared that it was “unscriptural, unethical and immoral” to share power with “those who have supported and advocated violence”. Such a decision by Presbytery is effectively law for the entire denomination. If anyone wished to change the policy of the church on that issue there are procedures for doing so. But to wilfully disregard the determination of Presbytery and do the very thing that the Presbytery proscribed - that is rebellion.

In short, Dr. Paisley’s occupation of the office of First Minister is a perpetual act of contempt, disrespect and rebellion against the will and authority of our Presbytery.
Unequal Yoke with Murderers
Not so long ago our own minister spoke upon the ‘unequal yoke’. We were reminded that it had an application not just in the context of fellowship/worship, but also in the context of relationships, whether of a romantic or business nature. And of course one of the greatest reasons against such is that the child of God will invariably find themselves in a position whereby time after time they are tempted to compromise. In the new executive we have a business relationship which is based upon the unequal yoke.
Sponsorship of Sodomy
We are without doubt, when it comes to what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. We take exception to the stance recently adopted on it by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. And yet we are in the position where the Moderator of our church presides over an office which grants huge sums to promote the “rights” of people whose behaviour God describes as an abomination. Last year Dr. Paisley told a Craigavon DUP Councillor who broke the party whip that he had “sinned” in voting against the Civil Partnership legislation when it came before Council. This issue also raises the question of the terms of the Pledge of Ministerial Office which Dr. Paisley has taken. Why has he been unable to comment on the remarks of Ian Paisley Jnr about homosexuals? Is it possible that our Moderator is now legally bound and cannot criticise homosexuals even to the extent of defending Ian Paisley Jnrs’ right to say what he said? Does any such legal restriction extend to the pulpit? This is a very serious issue and one which our church should demand an answer to immediately.

To say that Dr. Paisley was acting as First Minister and not as Moderator, or that he had no choice if he wished to retain the office and be a force for good – is avoidance and denial. This issue could not be clearer. The simple alternative to doing what is patently wrong is not to do it. Unfortunately this matter has already brought the testimony of our church on this subject into disrepute.
The recent Christian Institute court case against "equality" legislation was sponsored by our church to the tune of thousands of pounds, only to find that the Gay lobby are being defended in the courts by lawyers paid for by the OFMDFM. The Free Presbyterian Church is funding a court case against their own Moderator.
Ecclesiastical Separation
The raison d’etre of our denomination has been to witness against false ecumenism. Our stance on separation has been our single most distinguishing feature. We have been brought up to the sound of ‘come out from among them and be ye separate’. We have been indoctrinated with the words of Paul – ‘have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them’. And yet in May we witnessed the attendance of our Moderator along with Martin McGuinness, Dr. Eames, et al at the official opening of the Church of Ireland’s Jethro Centre in Lurgan. “Jethro” is a cross-community initiative i.e. ecumenical.

In the ‘News Letter’ and ‘Lurgan Mail’ we read of the congratulations and commendation which Dr. Paisley extended to the local parish (a renowned ecumenical parish) on their cross community work over the decades. It is ostrich like behaviour to deny that this affects the stand of our church, or confuses those in the pews as to our position
(End of Principal Issues - Concerned Free Presbyterians)
Clearly and unarguably, the aforementioned constitutes wrongdoing and sin that was committed publicly by Dr. Paisley, and guilt must be properly ascribed. Appropriate church discipline must be imposed without reservation, without distinction, without partiality, without exception, and in accordance with the plain teaching of scripture, if they would serve our Lord "in sincerity and in truth", and if indeed the bible is the only rule for faith and practice for Free Presbyterians!
The following article of Wednesday, August 29, was obtained from the blogspot called “What Need of Further Lies”, managed by Samuel Morrison. Like the Concerned Free Presbyterian website, it too has been taken down as part of the deal!
Paisley vs. the Free Presbyterian Church
Remember how Paisley claimed he couldn’t comment on the Sexual Orientation Regulations because they were the subject of a judicial review? Well what he didn’t tell us was that the judicial review had been brought by the Christian Institute in a court case which was funded by a number of evangelical churches – including the Free Presbyterian Church. Not only that but the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister (i.e. Ian and Martin’s government department) was the defendant in the case.

On the 1st August I lodged a Freedom of Information request with Ian and Martin’s office.
Here is my reply:

Dear Mr Morrison, Freedom of Information Act 2000 I refer to your request for information about the Sexual Orientation Regulations legal action which was received on 31st July 2007. I am writing to confirm that OFMDFM has now completed its search for this information – please see the responses to each of your questions below.

Q1: Can you confirm that lawyers defended OFMDFM in the action brought by the Christian Institute? Yes.

Q2: How much to date (ie at 31st July 2007) has it cost the OFMDFM to defend this action? To date, internal legal costs amount to approximately £7,000. Costs in such cases are determined at the conclusion of the Judicial Review. Other costs therefore may subsequently be determined by the Judge at the delivery of his final judgement.

Remember – “Costs in such cases are determined at the conclusion of the Judicial Review” - £7,000 is only the very tip of the iceberg. When Ian Paisley said “Allister ought to realise that my staff and I have much more important things to be doing at the present time than responding to his perpetual petty attacks and insults” what he meant was: “My staff are much too busy fighting court cases paid for by the church of which I am moderator to answer principled people like yourself”. Although there have been some, honourable exceptions, the vast majority of Free Presbyterian ministers have stayed silent on the issue of government funding for sodomites (just as they have on the issue of terrorists in government – which is just as clearly condemned in Scripture). Will they ignore the fact that their own moderator is fighting them in the courts as well?
(End of Article)
To NOW affirm there was no wrongdoing committed on the part of Dr. Paisley and to capriciously dismiss the charges and allegations made against him by Rev. Ivan Foster and others, given summary expression in the excerpts drawn from the Issues mentioned above, at the Concerned Free Presbyterian website, is a flat contradiction of the facts.

To assert that a deal . . a compromise was reached to avoid a split in the denomination and to attempt to justify the decision to absolve Dr. Paisley of any wrongdoing on that basis, is to engage in "situation ethics."

The Presbytery was looking out for their interests . . avoiding a split in the denomination.

Dr. Paisley was looking out for his interest, i.e., his reputation . . his honour . . his good name!
Both parties acted in the interest of Dr. Paisley's reputation seeking to spare him the humiliation . . the embarassment . . of being forced to vacate the office of Moderator by a vote, and the shame of being disciplined publicly for his wrongdoing, instead of seeking a remedy for the disrepute and contempt brought upon the name of Christ.

Neither of the parties, it would appear, were the least bit interested in securing an apology to the insult . . the affront that has been paid Christ in these offences, nor for the undermining effect they have brought upon the Cause of Christ and the collective witness of the professing Church of Jesus Christ.

In the setting aside of Truth to achieve Unity, the members of the FPC Presbytery have shown partiality in their dealings with Dr. Paisley, and have once again spurned God's Law . . His Word . . His Way . . His Will, and have subordinated it to man's!

Clearly Dr. Paisley got the best end of the deal, but the honour of Christ was not in view in these proceedings, neither was God glorified in them, because Truth was not upheld!

Yet, as troubling and unsettling as all this is, what is perhaps even more disturbing is that Dr. Paisley has made no admission of wrongdoing!

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." Proverbs 28:13

If as the Presbytery Commission would have us NOW believe that there was no wrongdoing on Dr. Paisley's part, that he has not committed public sin, then it would appear that those who brought these serious allegations/charges against him, owe him a very public apology for bearing false witness.

Consider this excerpt from Rev. Ivan Foster’s article again, ‘It is never right to do wrong to do right’:

“Dr Alan Cairns in his Dictionary of Theological Terms, states:

“ . . . the validity of any decision or behaviour must be judged in the context of the situation in which the subject finds himself.

This is known as situation ethics, the idea that the moral quality of an action is not determined by any absolute standard of right and wrong but by the situation in which a person makes his ethical choices.”
Now consider these passages from God’s Word:

Deuteronomy 1:17a
“Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's:"

Acts 5:29b
". . . . We ought to obey God rather than men."

Revelation 18:4a". . . come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
Dear Christian . . please take time to read Dr. Mohler's article below, outlining the proper procedure according to God's Word for administering church discipline.

In His Cause & For His Glory,

Ralph & June Nadolny,
Members of the Body of Christ, by His grace!

The Disappearance of Church Discipline--How Can We Recover? Part Three
By: Dr. Albert Mohler

In 1 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul confronted a case of gross moral failure in the Corinthian church. In the face of such sin, however, the church had done nothing. So how should the Corinthians have responded to this public sin? Paul speaks in this passage of delivering this sinner unto Satan and removing him from fellowship. How is this to be done?

To the Galatians Paul wrote that "if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted." [Galatians 6:1] This teaching is clear, indicating that spiritual leaders of the church are to confront a sinning member with a spirit of humility and gentleness, and with the goal of restoration. But what are the precise steps to be taken?

The Lord himself provided these instructions as He taught his disciples. "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." [Matthew 18:15-17]

The Lord instructed his disciples that they should first confront a sinning brother in private. "Show him his fault," instructed the Lord. If the brother acknowledges the sin and repents, the brother has been won. The fact that the first step is a private confrontation is very important. This limits the injury caused by the sin, and avoids a public spectacle, which would tarnish the witness of the church to the gospel.

In the event the private confrontation does not lead to repentance, restoration, and reconciliation, the next step is to take witnesses. Jesus cited the Deuteronomic law which required multiple witnesses of a crime for conviction. Yet his purpose here seems larger than the mere establishment of the facts of the case. Jesus seems to intend for the witnesses to be an important presence in the event of the confrontation, thus adding corroborating testimony concerning the confrontation of a sinning brother. The brother cannot claim that he was not confronted with his sin in a brotherly context.

If the brother does not listen even in the presence of one or two witnesses, this becomes a matter for the congregation. "Tell it to the church" instructed Jesus, and the church is to judge the matter before the Lord, and render a judgment which is binding upon the sinner. This step is extremely serious, and the congregation now bears a corporate responsibility. The church must render its judgment based upon the principles of God's Word and the facts of the case. Again, the goal is the restoration of a sinning brother or sister--not a public spectacle.

Sadly, this congregational confrontation may not avail. If it does not, the only recourse is separation from the sinning brother. "Let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector," instructed the Lord, indicating that the separation is to be real and public. The congregation is not to consider the former brother as a part of the church. This drastic and extreme act is to follow when a brother or sister will not submit to the discipline of the church. We should note that the church should still bear witness to this man, but not as a brother to a brother, until and unless repentance and restoration are evident.

What is the church's authority in church discipline? Jesus addressed this issue directly, even as He declared the establishment of the church after Peter's great confession. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." [Matthew 16:19] This 'power of the keys' is one of the critical controversies between evangelicals and the Church of Rome. Roman Catholics believe that the Pope, as Peter's successor, holds the keys, and thus the power of binding and loosing. Protestants, however, believe that the Lord granted the keys to the church. This interpretation is supported by the Lord's repetition of the matter in Matthew 18:18, "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." Here, the context reveals that the power of binding and loosing is held by the church.

The terms 'binding' and 'loosing' were familiar terms used by rabbis in the first century to refer to the power of judging matters on the basis of the Bible. The Jewish authorities would determine how (or whether) the Scriptures applied in a specific situation, and would render judgment by either 'binding,' which meant to restrict, or 'loosing,' which meant to liberate. The church still bears this responsibility and wields this power.

John Calvin, the great Genevan Reformer, believed that the power of 'binding' should be understood as excommunication, and 'loosing' as reception into membership: "But the church binds him whom it excommunicates--not that it casts him into everlasting ruin and despair, but because it condemns his life and morals, and already warns him of his condemnation unless he should repent. It looses him when it receives into communion, for it makes him a sharer of the unity which is in Christ Jesus."

Calvin's interpretation is fully in agreement at this point with Martin Luther, whose essay on "The Keys" [1530] is a massive refutation of papal claims and Roman Catholic tradition. Luther saw the keys as one of Christ's great gifts to the church. "Both of these keys are extremely necessary in Christendom, so that we can never thank God enough for them." As a pastor and theologian, Luther saw the great need for the church to bear the keys, and he understood this ministry to be gracious in the recovery of sinning saints. As Luther reflected, "For the dear Man, the faithful Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ, is well aware that his beloved Christians are frail, that the devil, the flesh, and the world would tempt them unceasingly and in many ways, and that at times they would fall into sin. Therefore, he has given us this remedy, the key which binds, so that we might not remain too confident in our sins, arrogant, barbarous, and without God, and the key which looses, that we should not despair in our sins."

What about a church leader who sins? Paul instructed Timothy that a church leader--an elder--is "to be considered worthy of double honor," when he rules well. [1 Timothy 5:17] When an elder sins, however, this is a matter of great consequence. First, no accusation is to be received on the basis of just one uncorroborated witness. If a charge is substantiated by two or three witnesses, however, the congregation is to "rebuke [him] in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning." [1Timothy 5:20]

Clearly, leadership carries a higher burden, and the sins of an elder cause an even greater injury to the church. The public rebuke is necessary, for the elder sins against the entire congregation. As James warned, "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment." [James 3:1]

The scandals of moral failure on the part of church leaders have caused tremendous injury to the cause of Christ. The 'stricter judgment' should be a vivid warning to those who would violate the Word of God and lead others into sin by example. The failure of the contemporary church to apply consistent biblical church discipline has left most of these scandals unresolved on biblical grounds--and thus a continuing stain on the church.
(End of Article)

The following articles/editorials, 'Power-sharing with murderers - right or wrong?', 'It is never right to do wrong to do right', 'Edwin Poots is a disgrace to his church office', and 'The Choice for Christians within the Democratic Unionist Party', written by Rev. Ivan Foster, have been reprinted here with permission.

I would ask every FPC member to consider the clear and plain evidence of "WRONGDOING" on the part of Rev. Ian Paisley set forth in these articles, and the contradictory determination of the Presbytery Commission that convened on Sept. 7 that there was no evidence of wrongdoing! "Be not decieved; God is not mocked." (Gal. 6:7)
Power-sharing with murderers — right or wrong?

The position of the General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian church on power-sharing with murderers is clear and unequivocal. It is not the present position adopted by its Moderator, Dr. Ian R K Paisley MP.

His agreeing to lead his Democratic Unionist Party into a power-sharing coalition with Sinn Fein/IRA is quite contrary to the political position he espoused just a very short time ago. However, given the propensity of politicians to change their minds and their manifestos, what is far more important is the fact that it is quite contrary to the position he and the Free Presbyterian Church have proclaimed as the teaching of the Word of God.
On 28th February, 1988, the 350th Anniversary of the Signing of the National Covenant of Scotland, the General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster held a solemn Sabbath of remembrance and of entering into a Covenant with God. That Covenant read:
The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster Covenant
Our Object************************************** A Testimony

“As God providentially raised up Elijah, we believe He is now calling out a faithful remnant to maintain a testimony, free from compromise against every opposition of the enemy.As a separated Church of God, sinners saved by grace and born again of the Holy Spirit, conscious of the violation of God’s commandments so rampant in this evil age, and conscious also that we could have a name to live and be dead, we humble ourselves before God and solemnly covenant together, by His grace, to stand with Christ in this evil day, for all that He is for, and against all that He is against.

As worshippers of the one God of heaven and earth, in the Trinity of His sacred persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to Whom be all honour and glory for ever, Amen.As a Witness to the whole Word of God, the Bible, in its sixty-six books, verbally inspired by God the Holy Ghost, as the final authority of all matters of Doctrine, Faith and Practice — the infallible Word of God to man.

As a Witness to the Infallibility of the Person and Word of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who was God — God manifest in the flesh by the Virgin Birth, and essentially not only Son of God but God the Son.

To maintain a Testimony to the Glory and Honour of the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ in His three mediatorial offices, Prophet, Priest and King. He alone is the sole King and only head of the Church.

To maintain a Testimony to the Crown Rights of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords, the Prince of the kings of this earth and Governor among the nations.

To maintain a Testimony to the Gospel of the Free Grace of Almighty God and the Power of the Precious Blood of the Lamb, in a day of apostasy, declension and compromise.

To maintain a Testimony to the truth of Christ against the Roman anti-Christ, the supernaturalism of Christianity against the anti-supernaturalism of modernism so-called, the divine unity of the Church against the delusive uniformity of the ecumenical movement headed up in the World Council of Churches, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit's infilling against the deceptions of charismatic fanaticism and the fervour of true Christian zeal against the formality of dead and defunct orthodoxy.

‘We preach Christ Crucified,’ His Virgin Birth, His Virtuous Life, His Vicarious Death, His Victorious Resurrection, His Vivid Ascension, His Vitalising Intercession and His Visible Appearing.These blessings and this complete victory of our adorable Lord are secured and sealed to us by the precious blood of the eternal Covenant. Heb 13:20-21.‘Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints,’ Jude 3.‘Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand,’ Ephesions 6:13.”

A copy of the above Covenant, signed by those worshippers present at the services of Lord's Day February 28th, hangs as a silent witness in the church buildings of most of our congregations to the solemn oath Free Presbyterians took to ‘stand with Christ in this evil day, for all that He is for, and against all that He is against.’

On May 20th, 1998, the General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster was associated with an advert in the local press, calling on all to say NO" in the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement. It was signed by most if not all of the then ministers of the Free Presbyterian church.The wording of the advert makes timely reading in the light of the recent agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein/IRA in which they both committed themselves to the establishing of a coalition government in Northern Ireland.
Included in the advert was a statement from the Presbytery, part of which reads: "The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster recognising the Bible as our sole rule of faith and practice — vehemently opposes the recent April Agreement (the Good Friday Agreement). Our opposition to the Agreement stems from the fact that it is unscriptural, unethical and immoral.

Another part of that 1998 advert reads: “We the undersigned, having professed faith in Christ as our Lord and Saviour and bound in conscience by the infallibility of the Word of God, declare the truth that governments have divinely been given the power of the sword for the punishment of evil doers, and the power of protection for the praise of them that do well.The Agreement flies in the face of Holy Scripture and punishes those that do well and praises those that are evil doers.
We protest against this outrage.”‘For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil,’ Romans 13:3-4.”

The advert ended with a call: “The above individuals are all Protestant ministers, office bearers or church workers convinced of the immoral and anti-biblical nature of ‘The Agreement’. On May 22nd we believe it is right to vote: 'NO'.”

Dr. Ian Paisley was the prime mover in getting the Free Presbyterian Church to agree to the 1988 Solemn Covenant and the placing of the Presbytery statement in the1998 advertisement which called for the rejection of power-sharing with murderers, and, to his honour, the chief author of both documents.

The Agreement of St Andrews and the Good Friday Agreement have at their heart the unscriptural principle of placing unrepentant murderers in government. The quotation from Romans 13:3-4 declares God’s view of murderers in government. On this basis alone this new agreement demands the same rejection of every Christian as did the 1998 agreement.

Dr. Paisley, along with those ministers and elders who vainly try to justify the Moderator's present position, is acting in defiance of the central principle of the 1988 Covenant which declared that we would “stand with Christ in this evil day, for all that He is for, and against all that He is against” and the central declaration of the 1998 Presbytery pronouncement that power-sharing with murderers is “unscriptural, unethical and immoral.”

No good can come of this changed allegiance and this going back on solemn undertakings and declarations. That will become abundantly clear if the present coalition with Sinn Fein/IRA is persisted in by the DUP and its leadership.

More importantly, the Free Presbyterian Church, if it finally decides that it is going to go along with such compromise, will pay the price that God’s people have ever paid for backsliding and disobedience.As a denomination, we are in danger of turning from God and His paths. If we do that we, and above all our children, will reap a most terrible harvest.

“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water,” Jeremiah 2:13.

“But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee,” Psalm 81:11-16.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Ivan Foster, April 2nd 2007. - (End of Article)
“It is never right to do wrong to do right” — Bob Jones Sr. 1883 - 1968

This article was posted at approximately 2.00 pm on Thursday May 31st, 2007. At 6.05 pm, I received a phone call from Rev David McIlveen. He told me that the words attributed to him in the article by "The Newsletter" political editor, Stephen Dempster, were never uttered by him and that he would be taking the issue up with Mr. Dempster.I have altered my reply to "The Newsletter" article to take into account Rev McIlveen's denial.However, such words as these do form the basis of the defence commonly used to excuse the actions of Dr Paisley and the DUP in entering a power-sharing arrangement with a political party which has come to power through murder. Accordingly, I will leave the article with the appropriate clarifications inserted.Subsequent to the above, I received an e-mail from Stephen Dempster in which he acknowledges that Rev McIlveen did not make the disputed comment that appeared in his article. Part of the e-mail read: "I feel I should accept responsibility for the paragraph in which he was paraphrased as saying that people should take into account Dr Paisley's decision on power-sharing had been a dilemma and had to take into account the outcome for the Union would have been dire if he had not agreed to devolution. It should not have appeared in the newspaper. I offered my apology and he has graciously accepted." Ivan Foster. (1/6/07, 3.07 pm)

An article appeared in “The Belfast Newsletter” of Thursday 31st May 2007. It was about the monthly meeting of the Ulster Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church the next evening.As is to be expected, it was full of errors, misrepresentations, ecclesiastical ‘spin’ and falsehoods.It also contained an example of a moral theory developed by an ecumenist in the 1960s. It is called “Situation Ethics”!

Basically the theory propounds the unscriptural notion that sometimes vital moral principles can be cast aside in certain situations, if it is believed that the cause of God may best be served by doing so. It is a tampering with the standard against which human behaviour will be judged.

Dr Alan Cairns in his Dictionary of Theological Terms, states: “According to the relativist, the idea of what is right can never be settled by divine law, but by the cultural norms. Furthermore, the validity of any decision or behaviour must be judged in the context of the situation in which the subject finds himself. This is known as situation ethics, the idea that the moral quality of an action is not determined by any absolute standard of right and wrong but by the situation in which a person makes his ethical choices.This ethical relativism has opened the door for the acceptance by society of all sorts of deviant behaviour, from abortion-on-demand, to homosexuality, to euthanasia.

Many people see the moral morass which moral relativism has brought the nation as a threat to the very fabric of society. However, among them are those who, though decrying relativism in morals, uphold the same theory with regard to truth. Without absolute truth there are not absolute standards for life. But given that Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6), and that God’s “word is truth” (John 17:17), the Bible is a sufficient statement of moral standards for all men, in all places, at all times.” Page 306.

The writer of the article alleges that Rev. David McIlveen, of Sandown Free Presbyterian Church, asked “ . . people to consider the dilemma Mr Paisley had faced in power-sharing with Sinn Fein — suspecting that if he had not, the outcome for the Union would have been dire.”Rev. McIlveen denies uttering these words and is to challenge "The Newsletter" about the truthfulness of its report (See above). However, these words, whoever uttered them, form the basis of the excuse used by the defenders of the DUP's power-sharing with Sinn Fein/IRA and must therefore be addressed for they are an example of “Situation Ethics."

Power-sharing with Sinn Fein is deemed unpalatable and in other circumstances should not take place, but because of the alleged consequences that might have taken place, had Dr. Paisley and the DUP refused to power-share with Sinn Fein, when there “may” have been dire consequences, that which would otherwise be wrong, now becomes right and morally acceptable!

What a pity Daniel did not have the wisdom of those who think like this! He might have been spared the trauma of the lions’ den if he had been aware that there were circumstances in which doing what is wrong is sometimes acceptable to God, such as the circumstances he found himself in. He could comply with the demands of the king and stop praying and so spare himself from being fed to the lions because to do right would result in dire consequences.

Church history would have to be completely rewritten if the millions of persecuted and martyred saints had known that they could do wrong, reject the plain teaching of the law of God and not sin.Such thinking as displayed by those who advance this defence is utter nonsense and worse than that is unscriptural.

That which is wrong in the light of God’s truth never can become right, no matter what circumstances may arise.

It was wrong in the past for the murderers of Sinn Fein/IRA to be placed in government. That was plainly stated in a statement issued by our Presbytery in 1998. Since then, Sinn Fein/IRA may have undergone some peripheral alterations to their political stance but they remain loyal to the actions that took place during their 30 years of terrorist war against the majority of the population in Northern Ireland. They have made that abundantly clear by their celebrating of the attack upon Loughall police station in 1987 when 8 of their killers were shot dead by the security forces. Smiles and platitudes do not evidence a change of heart.

The truth is the DUP wanted into power and have used, as an excuse to cover their inexcusable actions in fulfilling that desire for power, the alleged threat of “dire” action against Ulster if power-sharing are refused.Even if there were dire consequences, why did not those who would be modern-day Lord Carsons, follow his example and defy the threats?

No evidence that there ever were threats has ever been produced and they have even been denied by Bertie Ahern, the Dublin premier. Jim Allister, MEP, former senior DUP member, has stated that no threat was ever discussed by the DUP executive.

Sadly, the whole thing was a sham to cover the shame of the DUP going back on its word.Now we have the thinking of modernists employed in an attempt to justify that shame. Free Presbyterians need to note that the enemy of modernism is knocking at the gates and, sadly, there appear to be some ready to open those gates and allow the enemy in!
“It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law,” Psalm 119:126.
Rev. Ivan Foster - 31st May 2007.
(End of Article)
“Edwin Poots is a disgrace to his church office”

The following article is from the “Belfast Telegraph of Saturday, Sept 1, 2007.

It reveals that Mr. Edwin Poots, a deacon in the Free Presbyterian Church is totally unfitted for such an office since his views on the music of this world is unchristian and contrary to the standards set forth in Holy Scripture and proclaimed by The Free Presbyterian Church.The article states :

“Poots hits all the right notes with our top bands”

‘Stormont minister Edwin Poots last night said he was committed to help fund Belfast's first dedicated music centre.Speaking at the Oh Yeah Centre in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure said he was impressed with what the non-profit project was striving to do and that he would consider backing it financially if it helped produce "more bands like Snow Patrol and Ash" .

The minister was one of a number of high-profile guests at the centre yesterday, along with Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody and Tim Wheeler of Ash. Both bands are playing in front of up to 30,000 fans at Ward Park in Bangor tonight.

Lightbody and Wheeler met with several politicians yesterday at Oh Yeah to show them what the centre is about and to encourage them to invest in the venture.

Lightbody, who admitted he stole the idea for Oh Yeah from the Nerve Centre in Londonderry, along with drummer Jonny Quinn and music journalist Stuart Bailie, said Snow Patrol never had such a place to practise or to turn to for advice when they were first starting out.

"I'd have loved a place like the Outlet Building to hang out in where I could meet kids as crazy about music as I was and start a band. Or just to have someone to talk to about how or where to begin, " he said.

Wheeler, from Downpatrick, said Ash used to practise in someone's living room or "in a garage, annoying the neighbours".

"This is long overdue for Belfast," he added.

"The music scene in Belfast needs a hub like this. As a musician from Northern Ireland I remember how difficult it was starting out."

Guests at the open day, which included Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers, were treated to music by Wheeler, who sang Ash hit Oh Yeah and The Undertones track Teenage Kicks, as well as The Fools and singer/songwriter Foy Vance.

Afterwards both Mr Rodgers and Mr Poots said they had been very impressed with the calibre of talent on show and what the Oh Yeah centre was about.

Mr Rodgers said: "There are big demands on Belfast City Council's resources but I support what the centre is about and I think it is a great idea for young people."

Mr Poots said his department had already been in talks with the Department of Finance and Personnel about possible funding.’(Bolding inserted for emphasis)

Just what is the character of those ‘musicians’ and their ‘music’ with which Mr. Poots was ‘very impressed’ and for whom he is anxious to provide funding?

A look at Wikipedia”, the online encyclopedia, will clearly show the immoral titles, themes and lyrics employed by these ‘musicians’.

That anyone calling themselves a Christian should commend them and so influence the young to listen to such filth, is reprehensible in itself. But when that person is an office-bearer in the Free Presbyterian Church one has to wonder what view of his behaviour his minister and session hold and whether they will stand up for the Word of God and what it has to say on the issue.

That Mr. Poots is going to try and obtain funding for such an abomination and blasphemous enterprise sets out afresh how far from the standards of God those who have sold themselves to obtain the ‘glory’ of public office have gone.

Murderers in government, funding for sodomy, the pursuit of lottery funds and now the promotion of blasphemous and filthy ‘music’ in which the name of the Lord Jesus is desecrated and intermingled with obscenities.

May God bring the Free Presbyterian Church back to its fundamental beliefs before ‘ichabod’ is written over its portals.

Ivan Foster . . . (End of Article)

---------------NO WRONGDOING ? ? ?

The choice for Christians within the Democratic Unionist Party

“ . . . choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD,” Joshua 24:15.“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” Matthew 6:24.

Recent headlines in the Belfast Telegraph of 3rd May, 2007, must surely bring home to those who profess to be Christians and who desire the passing glories of government office, that there is a cost to be borne.The headlines said: “Extra funding for Gay Pride... from a DUP ministry”. The article states, “Belfast's annual Gay Pride Festival was boosted by a grant increase from an incoming DUP minister's department.Festival organisers were yesterday offered a £5,110 allocation for this year's celebrations - £2,110 more than the 2006 funding.” The article continued: “The financial support has been made available by an offshoot of the Department of Culture, which will have DUP MLA Edwin Poots as its Minister from next week.Mr Poots is a member of the Free Presbyterian Church and has been a vociferous opponent of recent gay rights legislation in Northern Ireland.He signalled yesterday that he will not intervene over the Belfast Gay Pride funding, despite strong opposition from within his Church.While stressing that his views on same sex relationships were well known, the incoming minister pointed to equality legislation provisions."There is little point making decisions that will end up being overturned in a court of law," he stated. Mr Poots also said that he would not have a direct input on such grant-aid issues.”

Irrespective of whether the minister-elect’s imput is great or small, direct or indirect, the “buck stops with him”! He is the one who will be in charge of that department of the power-sharing government.If, as he says, he will not intervene or attempt to stop such a grant being made then he will share in the culpability of a most shameful act, namely using public funds to promote and celebrate that which he has opposed in the past and which is an abomination before God.

To say that he will not oppose the funding because "there is little point making decisions that will end up being overturned in a court of law" is like Pilate saying that it was useless to release Christ because Caesar would simply have had Him re-arrested and crucified!

Mr. Poots has another course of action open to him. He could resign as minister-elect and so refuse to be part of any betrayal of the gospel of Christ of which betrayal he will be a part if, on May 8th, he dons the dark mantle of Culture minister.

For any party entering upon the responsibilities of government there is always the challenge of making unpleasant decisions. Making unpleasant decisions is one thing but making unprincipled and unscriptural and anti-God decisions is another!

The Christians within the Democratic Unionist Party have made life even harder for themselves by yoking themselves to the chariot of the party of robbery, terror and murder, Sinn Fein/IRA.They can never do anything contrary to that permitted by their partners. That being so, they must make a choice between GOVERNMENT and GOD.Indeed, they should have made it long ago but I believe that it is becoming clear that the lustre of political glory blinded them to the reality of what it was they were entering into.

Edwin Poots has, providentially, been the first to come face to face with the price that his political ambitions will require of him. The choice that he must make is that which must be made by all those Christians who harbour ambitions to be great in the eyes of men.

Mr. Poots cannot serve God and the world. He cannot please God and the iniquitous sodomite lobby or, indeed, his Sinn Fein/IRA partners.

If he acquiesces to this demand, then he is throwing his lot in with the enemies of God and will be contravening the standards of God’s Word for a Christian and becomes an opponent of those in Ulster who are seeking to uphold God’s holy standards.

Let him remember that which he would have learned at Sabbath School. “What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him” (Shorter Catechism Question 2).

He stands at a crossroads. One way is the way of political ambition and the other is the way of obedience to God’s Word.

The choice is his.

May the Lord enable him to make the right choice.

Ivan Foster, May 3rd, 2007.
Since the mounting of this article, the Belfast Telegraph of 4th May, 2007, has published an article indicating that the Department of the First Minister, Dr Paisley, will be responsible for administering £180,000 during 2007-2008, “to support lesbian, gay and bisexual people”! (See same dilemma that faces Edwin Poots will face all believers who accept the role of government ministers in this power-sharing arrangement with Sinn Fein/IRA.

I appeal for Christians to pray for those who have got themselves caught up in this sordid matter.

(End of Article)


The following 'Submission' was previously posted at the now decommissioned 'Concerned Free Presbyterians' website:

28 June 2007

Terms of reference:
"To look at the difficulties and concerns that exist within the [Free
Presbyterian] Church in relation to the present political situation".

1. We would like to indicate to the Commission first of all that this submission comes as a result of our letter dated 17 May 2007 asking for our names to be removed from the membership of the Free Presbyterian Church. That letter was read to the session of the church and it was then suggested by a member of the session that we should be given the opportunity to make a submission to the Commission while suspending our resignation. Since the offer has been made to us, we believe it is our Christian duty to produce a submission, but in doing so we wish to stress that we are not pursuing any particular agenda, political or other.

2. Like many others, we have been profoundly disturbed and perplexed by what has occurred recently in Northern Ireland and our primary concern is to honestly contribute to the defence of the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and not to engage in any form of vain controversial debate.

3. The cause of the very serious problem that the Free Presbyterian Church is confronted with could be summarized as follows: the approval by the leadership of the Free Presbyterian Church of its association with Marxist terrorist-related politicians within the government of Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Act 1998, amended by the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006, which are both the implementation of the Belfast / St Andrews Agreement.

4. In 1998, following the Agreement reached at the multi-party negotiations and before the referendum, 158 Protestant ministers, office bearers and church workers (mostly from the Free Presbyterian Church) signed a petition against the Belfast Agreement, which was published in the Belfast Newsletter.

The petition read:
"WE, the undersigned, having professed faith in Christ as our Lord and Saviour, and bound in conscience by the infallibility of the Word of God, declare the truth that Governments have divinely been given the power of the sword for the punishment of evil doers, and the power of protection for the praise of them that do well.

1) We were asked to make the submission as concise as possible. We have therefore not dealt here with the impact of terrorism on democracy, the historical example of collaboration with fascism (such as the RĂ©gime de Vichy in France) and terrorism (particularly in South Africa) or the fundamental principles that a democratic state should apply to combat terrorism.

The Agreement flies in the face of Holy Scriptures and punishes those that do well and praises those that are evil doers.

We protest against this outrage.

'For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon Him that doeth evil.'
Romans 13 vs 3-4."

Followed the names of the signatories and it concluded:

5. This petition clearly addressed the issue of evildoers - in this case terrorist-related politicians - taking office in the government of Northern Ireland, whatever commitment they may have taken such as "to non-violence and to exclusively democratic and peaceful means" 2)It confirms the principle set out in Holy Scripture, that men or women steeped in the practice of carrying out evil deeds 3) should not be permitted under any circumstances to exercise the executive power in the government of any country (this also applies to the legislative and judicial powers).

6. The question that therefore needs to be addressed is whether or not any substantial modification to the Belfast Agreement has been achieved to prevent terroristrelated politicians from accessing the government of Northern Ireland at the very least.

7. On 27 December 2006, the Voice for Democracy Umbrella Group sent letter to all Free Presbyterian ministers concerning the St Andrews agreement and the prospect of having terrorist-related politicians in the government of Northern Ireland, if elections were to take place on 7 March 2007. It was further explained that in this case "the Bible-believing electorate will be indirectly asked to vote terrorist-related politicians into government, since voting for a pro-agreement party would automatically be an endorsement of the abhorrent power-sharing system".

8. Along with this letter was enclosed the analysis "Weighed and found wanting", which provided comments on the DUP document "St Andrews Agreement / Devolution Consultation." The analysis made clear that under the Belfast / St Andrews Agreement, terrorist-related politicians would succeed in entering the government of Northern Ireland.
2) The Belfast Agreement, Strand One, Annexe A, Pledge of office (b), page 10.
Johnston, Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd 2003.

9. Another document was also enclosed entitled "Understanding the Belfast / St Andrews Agreement". The purpose of this document was to explain what exactly was entailed in the Belfast Agreement and the practical changes made to it by the St Andrews agreement and the legislation that ensued (the Northern Ireland Act 1998, amended by the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006). The analysis highlighted the fact that the constitutional system put in place by the Belfast Agreement had not been fundamentally changed by the St Andrews agreement. Therefore, from a Biblical point of view the Belfast / St Andrews Agreement had to be resisted at all costs.

10. The St Andrews agreement has indeed advanced what was already contained in the Belfast Agreement, with slight modifications 4). It has confirmed the right given to terrorist-related politicians to access the Executive and to share power on an equal basis with genuine democrats. Furthermore, as a result of the Belfast / St Andrews Agreement, there is effectively no legal impediment for the process towards a united Ireland to deliver the demands and expectations of IRA /Sinn Fein. By agreeing to the Belfast / St Andrews Agreement, and the legislation that followed, Unionists have agreed to take part in a process that will eventually deliver a de facto united Ireland. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about whether Northern Ireland should be integrated into the Republic of Ireland or not, but what is unacceptable from a Biblical point of view is to support a system that gives an unfettered right to terrorists to be in government, and then for those who claim to be Christians to collaborate with them in the implementation of this undemocratic system.

11. In a second letter dated 27 February 2007, sent by the Voice for Democracy Umbrella Group to all Free Presbyterian ministers concerning the forthcoming elections on 7 March 2007, it was indicated that "the Bible-believing electorate is being indirectly asked to vote terrorist-related politicians into the government of Northern Ireland, since voting for a pro-agreement party (DUP or UUP) is an automatic endorsement of the power-sharing system".

12. That letter drew attention to the deceptive and misleading claims and promises of the DUP and included an evaluation of the DUP election leaflet then being distributed. The letter stated: "It is our conviction that any form of association or compromise with terrorist-related politicians on behalf of ministers or elders of the Free Presbyterian Church will undoubtedly seriously undermine the testimony of that church in Northern Ireland and throughout the world. The betrayal of former pledges made by Free Presbyterians will also provide unbelievers with an excuse for turning away from the gospel. Faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ should remain our priority whatever the cost."
4) See Understanding the Belfast / St Andrews Agreement, the Northern Ireland Act 1998 amended by the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 (as at 15th December 2006), by the Voice for Democracy Umbrella Group.

13. Finally, a letter dated 21 April 2007 was sent by the Voice for Democracy Umbrella Group to all Free Presbyterian ministers in relation to the forthcoming devolution of power from Westminster to the Northern Ireland Assembly, due to take place on 8 May 2007 and leading to the existence of an Executive partly constituted of terrorist-related politicians. Included with that letter was an article published in the Daily Mail on 4 April 2007 entitled "From an Old Bailey bomber to Northern Ireland Minister".

14. The letter stated that "power-sharing with terrorist-related politicians was not required, but has been deliberately chosen by the leadership of the DUP. Devolution is not necessary, indeed 'plan B' never materially existed, but was only an empty threat without intent used by the British Government to pressurize Unionists. Without devolution, direct rule would naturally continue and cooperation between the British and Irish Governments, in relation to Northern Ireland, would remain within the framework defined by the principles of international law".

15. The decision to effectively compromise with Marxist 5) terrorists was therefore made in blatant violation of both the Covenant entered into by the General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, held on 28 February 1988, and the public statement of the General Presbytery made on 20 May 1998 against the Good Friday agreement.

16. In the Covenant of 28th February 1988, the members of the Presbytery declared: "We believe He [God] is now calling out a faithful remnant to maintain a testimony, free from compromise against every opposition of the enemy." The members proclaimed: "We humble ourselves before God and solemnly covenant together, by His grace, to stand with Christ in this evil day, for all that He is for and against all that He is against."

17. In the public statement of 20th May 1998, the members of the Presbytery stated: "The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, recognising the Bible as our sole rule of faith and practice, vehemently opposes the recent April Agreement (the Good Friday Agreement). Our opposition to the Agreement stems from the fact that it is unscriptural, unethical and immoral."

18. We humbly submit that in view of the above, the statement made in 1998 concerning the Belfast Agreement is applicable in the very same way to the Belfast / St Andrews Agreement and to the legislation that put into force the Agreement, which are indeed unscriptural, unethical and immoral (Romans 13:3- 5; Psalm 12:8; Proverbs 6:17; Exodus 23:2a).

Consequently, we believe that God cannot be in favour of a constitutional arrangement that is in breach of His Word and will not approve of his people taking part in it. The Covenant entered into in 1988 is a very solemn act and according to the Word of God it should be kept and upheld (Proverbs 20:25; Ecclesiastes 5:6; Romans 1:31).
5) Marx and Satan, Pastor Richard Wurmbrandt. Marx was a Devil worshipper and the implementation of his doctrine by his adepts at government level has always resulted in the persecution of Bible believing Christians.

19. We further submit that fundamental principles based on Holy Scripture should always be adhered to in any circumstances, even if this should lead the faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ to be mocked, scourged, bound, imprisoned, stoned, sawn asunder, tortured or slain with the sword (Hebrews 11:36-37).

20. However, God has very clearly set out the conditions for the deliverance of his people and the first principle to be put into practice is undoubtedly obedience to His Word. The Lord says: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (II Chronicles 7:14).

We respectfully submit that the Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, acting in a spirit of love and meekness, should:

- confirm its adherence to the Covenant made on 28 February 1988;

- confirm the statement made on 20 May 1998 and the one published in the
Newsletter the same month;

- disassociate itself from any involvement with those who are compromising with and associating with Marxist terrorist-related politicians within the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly;

- commit itself to maintaining a faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ, free from compromise, to the glory of God.

Axel Schmidt
BA, MA(Hons), DSSSL, Group ESCP Legal Consultant

Delwyn Schmidt BA, CELTA Lecturer, Author

(End of Letter)