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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

New Moderator announced

The Belfast Telegraph have announced that the next moderator of the Presbyterian Church will be Rev Ivan Patterson, minister of Newcastle Presbyterian Church, Co Down who has been nominated by 12 out of the 19 Presbyteries.

There follows a short biographical sketch of his life and achievements. One piece of information lacking is whether he preaches the gospel or not? Or will he be like the outgoing incumbent Norman Hamilton who is more at home running back from Africa to get introduced to the pope.

10 comments:

Andrew said...

'Achievements' being used loosely of course! In today’s Telegraph he states the Presbyterian Church's biggest challenge this years relates to the PMS crisis. Don't worry about their souls, as long they have their money that’s more important?!

Rev Brian McClung said...

Very true Andrew

We live in the days of the 'social gospel' where churches and ministers seem to think their chief calling is to attend to the material needs of people rather than the spiritual.

Brian McClung

Chris H said...

What utter nonsense you both are talking. You speak as elitists void of the fact that there are other people in this world other than yourselves. What you say Andrew is not "very true", who made you judge of another man's achievements? You (Andrew) are quick to cast a cold eye over the life of another man as are you Brian with your provocative posts concerning the new moderator. You'd be well advised to cast a cold eye first over your own achievements. Rather than pray for God's blessing you both are more preoccupied with slander. There is little of Christ reflected in your sentiments. Your reflections above are a malignancy that need ripped out of the body of Christ. Potent, harmful words that are more concerned with your own egos than the furthering of any type of gospel. Consider yourself graciously rebuked. Disgraceful. You remind me of a bunch of kids in a playground.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Chris H

There is nothing gracious about you rebuke. I am sure Andrew can answer for himself but I will certainly make a few points:

1. The problem is that there are ministers in the Presbyterian Church who are not saved and do not preach the Gospel. My parents left the Presbyterian church over 35 years ago because of the deadness and lack of gospel preaching. I preached at a funeral recently and afterwards one attender lamented that the gospel was not similarly preached in her Presbyterian church or at funeral services.

2. For a long time there has been an alternating between an 'evangelical' moderator and an 'non-evangelical' moderator. Why is this? Is it trying to keep two opposing sides happy? The Scripture asks: how can two walk together except they be agreed?

3. Presbyterian ministers like the outgoing moderator who run after the pope or popery are breaking their ordination vows. Like me they signed the Westminster Confession of Faith as a confession of Scriptural teaching and a confession of their own faith. The WCF denounces Romanism and the pope.

4. A minister's chief calling is to preach the gospel. Paul said in 1 Cor 9:16 … woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel. The gospel is a social action plan of doing good etc. It is the preaching of saving faith in Christ crucified as the only way of salvation to the exclusion of all other ways. This sadly this does not happen in many Presbyterian pulpits.

I think I am well justified in asking the question that I did: does the new moderator preach the gospel? If he doesn't then it matters not what other 'achievements' he or any other minister has to their name they are failing in their duty.

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

Sorry - point 4 of the above comment should have read:

The gospel is NOT a social action plan of doing good etc. It is the preaching of saving faith in Christ crucified as the only way of salvation to the exclusion of all other ways. This sadly this does not happen in many Presbyterian pulpits.

Brian McClung

Andrew McDonald said...

Chris

I certainly do not regard myself as elitist; I don't believe that that Free Presbyterians are the only ones who will be in heaven, for salvation is not through any church, but through Christ’s atoning work on the cross. However one of Rev Patterson’s ‘achievements’ is that he was the first chairman of Youth Link, a body where the Presbyterian Church works alongside the church of Rome, and of course Rome does claim that there is no salvation outside of it. I trust you are also as critical of them for their elitism.

Is there little of Christ in our sentiments? I think you will find that Christ descried the Pharisees as a ‘generation of vipers’ and ‘whited sepulchres’, it was not complimentary language but it was true as is our criticism of those who would compromise the gospel. Don’t confuse the language of denunciation as being the language of hatred. We would desire the majority of our time be devoted to preaching Christ and spreading the good news of the gospel, but there are times when we must speak out against that which is wrong and contrary to the teaching of His Word.

Andrew

Gerry said...

2. points if you will sir!

What exactly do you mean when you say 'Preach the Gospel'

There are as far as I know 4 Gospels in the Bible Matthew Mark Luke and John,

No other book is called a Gospel,

and secondly Will there be any street/housing estate outreaches this year against the 1st sin of the sodomites by any from your churches/ministers. The sin of Fornication.

The Free Presbyterian Church has a very public stance against the 2nd sin of Sodom, the gay sin, but what do you do to combat the first?

As you know in the 7th verse of the Epistle of Jude it mentions the sin or Fornication before the gay sin of going after strange flesh.

This sin is out of Control in our society, and you dont need me to tell you that, my first grandson was born as a result of it and my younger brother his first 2 grand children were born as a result of it. Marriage seems to be being thrown out with the bath water.

And yet no-one who preaches the 'social gospel' or 'spiritual gospel' seems to have a voice on the subject.

I remember G.W Bush coming in for comments when he said that homosexuality was the greatest threat to marriage today. I think he was overlooking Adultery Divorce and the epidemic of Fornication,


Sincerely

Gerry (most people erroneously think that means RC, my back ground is Gospel Hall, my parents were not tribal)

Rev Brian McClung said...

Gerry

By 'preaching the Gospel' I simply mean expounding its truths and setting these truths forth as the only way of salvation to the exclusion of all other ways.

The essence of the Gospel is salvation by faith alone in Christ alone.

While the four Gospels may be so named every book in the Bible sets forth the gospel of saving grace from Genesis through to Revelation.

I fail to understand your point about 'street/housing estates outreaches'.

The point you make about fornication is very valid. The FPC seeks to be vocal against all sin. We are not perfect by any means and come short in many aspects of contending for the faith but we seek to take a stand for public morality on a whole series of issues.

There are a number of reasons as to why we particularly protest against Sodomy:

1. There are sins more heinous and grievous in the sight of God than others. So teaches the Shorter Catechism No.83 -
Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous? Answer - Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others, John 19:11.

Sodomy is one of those more heinous sins. The Word of God describes it as 'vile affections' Rom 1:26, 'against nature' Rom 1:26, unseemly Rom 1:27.

2. It is also the mark of apostasy in a nation. A study of the appearance of sodomy among any people in the Bible is associated with departure from God.

3. It leaves a nation who countenances this particular sin open to the judgment of God.

For these reasons we protest so strongly against this particular sin.

Brian McClung

Factually confused said...

I have only a few small points if you would allow me to humbly make them:

1) Norman Hamilton did not in fact get introduced to the pope. That was precisely the controversy. He attended an Anglican service where the pope was also present but he did not stay on for the the next session to be introduced to the pope.

2) The Presbyterian Church in Ireland announced the election of the new Moderator not the Belfast Telegraph. The Belfast Telegraph has no role in electing a Moderator. Nor should it.

3) It's impossible to be an outgoing incumbent. That's a contradiction.

4) It's hard to be at home running, one usually stands still.

5) All church leaders, regardless of denomination require our faithful prayer for their ministry and service. I'm sure Ivan Patterson would have been reassured had you committed yourself and your congregation to praying for him so that through him the kingdom of God may grow and respond to the spiritual and material needs of a needy generation.

Thanks for reading.

Confused.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Confused

Sorry you are so confused. We will deal with your pedantic points first of all and then the substantive issues of what happened between Norman Hamilton and the pope and praying for Ivan Patterson.

Pedantic points:
1. The Oxford dictionary defines the word 'announce' to mean 'to make known or to give information about'. This the Belfast Telegraph did indeed do with regard to the election of a Presbyterian moderator and that is why I used the word to described what they did. Neither I or the Belfast Telegraph claimed that they had any part in electing the moderator.

2. The word 'incumbent' is defined as someone 'currently holding office'. An outgoing incumbent would therefore be someone who is currently holding an office which they will be leaving shortly. I understand that to be exactly what is happening with Norman Hamilton in the coming months. I fail to see the contradiction there. Maybe you could enlighten me further.

3. In using the phrase 'more at home running back' I am evidently using metaphors as you can't physically run back from Africa. If you cannot see that then I apologise to you profusely for using complicated terms.

Now the substantive points:
1. Your excuses for Norman Hamilton are well wide of the mark. There was indeed a controversy over him going to London at all, with one Presbyterian minister's comments reported on the front page of the Newsletter saying he was ashamed of what Norman Hamilton was doing.

He did indeed want to meet the Pope as I said. His gripe was that the occasion in London wasn't long enough to have the discussion with him he would like. It was not any championing of Biblical Protestantism that made him refuse to stay on and meet the Pope. [I heard the interview with him on Talkback on the Friday of that week]

He wanted it to be known that this was not to be taken as a snub to the Pope. The very opposite is the present position of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland for the clerk of the Assembly Dr Donald Watts, shook the Pope's hand in Edinburgh on the Thursday beforehand.

4. Before anyone could be a position of praying for the new moderator you would have to know whether he is a converted man or not and whether he preaches the gospel or not. These two points are sadly in serious doubt with ministers in the Presbyterian church.

If he is not converted and doesn't preach the gospel, like some others who have held the post of Presbyterian moderator in the past, then the kingdom of God will never grow nor will he be capable of responding to the spiritual and material needs of a needy generation.

Brian McClung