The big event in the ecumenical calendar so far this month has been the Four Corners Festival in Belfast, which has ran from 1st February and concludes tomorrow (Sunday, 11th February).
It is a crossover between religion and politics and is organised and attended by lots of worthies who don’t really have much by way of strong convictions, except that everyone should just accept that all religions have merit, regardless of whether they’ll send you to hell. And of course that telling people they’re sinners is awfully impolite.
The two main figures behind it are a Presbyterian minister called Rev Steve Stockman and a Jesuit priest by the name of ‘Father’ Martin Magill. That’s right, a Jesuit, the Roman Catholic order which led the Counter Reformation, the charge to snuff out the light of the gospel gloriously unveiled through Martin Luther and others.
A host of events have been held so far and tonight (Saturday, 10th February) there is a most interesting occasion.
Pastor Alain Emerson, leader of the Emmanuel Church, a non-denominational church in the Craigavon area, but one which claims to uphold the truth of Christ, is going to be speaking at a service in St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church on Donegall Street in Belfast.
The purpose of the event is to plug a book he’s written, called ‘Luminous Dark’.
It addresses the loss he suffered when his 23 year old wife sadly passed away, and, while we have not read the book, we certainly have no issue with the principle of anyone trying to help others coping with bereavement.
What we do have issue with is a leader of what claims to be a God glorifying church giving legitimacy to the deceit of Rome by addressing a meeting there.
David, the Psalmist, extolled the virtue of avoiding associating with the unrighteous in Psalm 26:4-5 when, under the inspiration of God, he said: “I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers, and will not sit with the wicked.”
If it was right for David to practice so, then surely it is right for us as well.
The Emmanuel Church, which has its main congregation in Lurgan with a new one just started in Portadown, is a very modern church which eschews suits and ties, female head coverings, traditional hymns, the Authorised Version of the Bible, traditional gender roles within the church and traditional Bible teaching. Meetings often take the form of soft rock concerts. This itself is something we will perhaps revisit in another posting.
As is often the case with such modern churches, it is very social media savvy, regularly updating its Facebook and Twitter pages and sharing information on all manner of meetings. Its online calendar is packed with various events as well.
However, conspicuous by its absence from any of the church’s online platforms is Alain Emerson’s attendance at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. There is the same glaring absence from Alain Emerson’s own Twitter page.
Why might this be? It’s not as if either Alain Emerson or the Emmanuel Church are infrequent social media posters. It’s not as if it’s a last minute appointment he has been unable to publicise in time.
Is Alain Emerson and / or the Emmanuel Church trying to keep it a secret? Surely he would want as many people as possible to be informed of a meeting at which he is discussing such an important topic?
Among the services being held today in St Patrick’s is the Confessional, where the priest claims to have authority to intercede on our behalf and forgive our sins, and the celebration of the blasphemous Mass, where the priest, according to his ritual, crucifies our Lord again, despite the Bible saying of Christ in Hebrews 10:12 – “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God”.
If Alain Emerson gets down early for the meeting, perhaps he’ll be able to catch one or other of these.
His attendance may be kept a secret from many, but nothing is secret from God. Jeremiah 16:17 says: “For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.”
Those are sobering words for us all, and we must all be conscious of the fact that God is all-seeing and all-knowing.
If anyone reading this has a connection with the Emmanuel Church or knows someone who is connected with the church, please share this with them and ensure Alain Emerson is taken to task for tacitly endorsing the deceit of Rome.
Jude v 23: “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
EDIT: We have just been made aware that Alain Emerson posted on his Twitter page late on Saturday morning to express his excitement at attending the “beautiful candlelit St Patrick’s Church” as part of the “brilliant” Four Corners Festival. This was shortly after this post had been completed, but before it was posted. We are happy to accept Alain Emerson had mentioned his attendance prior to the meeting taking place.
However, we would call on any worshippers connected with Emmanuel to question him directly on the appropriateness of his speaking in a Roman Catholic Church.