I find it most bizarre to note that Rev. David Latimer has constantly resorted to the line, “I’m not a politician, but a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” in an effort to defend his performance at the recent Sinn Fein conference.
A quick check of the New Testament will reveal that ministers of the Gospel of Christ told the truth, issued robust challenges and did not airbrush the iniquities of their audiences, but rather confronted them with a clear call to repentance.
Peter, in preaching to a crowd of Jewish worshippers on the day of Pentecost, directly charged them with killing Christ “by their wicked hands” and proceeded to urge them to repent of their sin (Acts 2:23, 38).
Stephen, in what proved to be his final sermon, accused his hearers of being “betrayers and murderers” – the latest in a long line of men who persecuted and killed the true prophets of God (Acts 7:51-53).
Paul, invited to address Felix, delivered such a pointed message to that Roman leader that as he “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come,” Felix trembled (Acts 24:25).
Regrettably, Rev. Latimer displayed little of the characteristics of a minister of the Gospel of Christ when he made his appearance at the Sinn Fein conference.
Not a single Bible reference. Not a solitary challenge. Rather, in a simpering, self-promoting performance, he chose to confer what is likely to be the most inappropriate word of congratulation we will hear in our lifetime, before revising history in such a way that would fill the most ardent republicans with pride - and further riddle their victims with pain.
Instead of parking himself in news bulletins and talk shows in a futile effort to explain statements he never should have uttered, or to repeat his pitch for a bigger platform from which he wishes to lead this country in a ‘Day of Hope and Transformation,’ Mr Latimer would spend his time more profitably if he took soundings from the true victims in our country and tried to understand the rawness of their wounds. He would then be far less likely to allow himself to be cast in the role of a propagandist for unrepentant terrorists.
Sadly, in David Latimer, Max Clifford has a viable rival. But Jesus Christ does not have a reliable minister.
Rev. Ian Brown
Londonderry Free Presbyterian Church