Old dead ecumenism in the traditional churches has led to the ringing of many a death knell on old churches and May Street Presbyterian Church is the latest to fall victim to the onward march of ecumenical compromise.
Once the clerical domain of that great Presbyterian figure, Rev Henry Cooke, who led the purging of Arians and Arminians from his denomination, May Street has long been reduced to a husk of a church, hence its closure as of last week.
Sad as it is to see a church go, it is equally sad to see it will now be put to use by some of the leading figures in the charismatic movement in Northern Ireland.
Central Belfast, a church under the auspices of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church, will take over the running of the church.
Readers of ‘Protestant Revival’ will be well aware of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church.
We first highlighted the antics which go on under its roof when we pointed out the foolish, irreverent action of its minister, Rev John Dickinson, who allowed himself to be carried out of the church in a ‘crowd surfing’ manner by the foolish people in attendance.
This action, in fairness to Rev John Dickinson (pictured, below), was prompted and encouraged by that leader of the 24-7 Prayer movement and ardent ecumenist, Pete Greig.
We previously wrote about him helping the Roman Catholic Church to lure more people through its doors and about how he claimed God had told him that He was “quite enjoying” a bunch of young women prayer dancing to the music of ABBA.
And it was his prompting which led to the embarrassing incident in Carnmoney Presbyterian Church, which saw Rev John Dickinson later giving a rather sheepish interview to the Belfast Telegraph indicating he didn’t plan to repeat such a ludicrous activity.
However, Rev John Dickinson was then entirely responsible for his actions when he tweeted his excitement at reading the life story of Vicky Beeching, noted Contemporary Christian Musician and so-called ‘gay Christian’, who describes herself as an ‘LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) equality campaigner’.
The book he expressed delight at reading is entitled ‘Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole, And Living Free From Shame’, hardly a subtle title.
Regardless, these are the credentials of the minister of the parent church which has taken over the May Street Presbyterian Church building.
The old congregation has left after 190 years of worship on that site and, glorying in ecumenical compromise to the end, had a Romanist priest in attendance to wave them off.
‘Father’ Michael McGinnity of the nearby St Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church, which, a Belfast Telegraph article reporting on the matter says has “long been associated” with May Street Presbyterian Church, did a reading at the meeting.
May Street Presbyterian Church played host to a meeting of the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer initiative last May, organised by the local leader of the 24-7 Prayer movement, Alain ‘Ecumenical’ Emerson, the glorifier of Jesuit founder Ignatius of Loyola and lead pastor of Emmanuel Church in the Craigavon area.
‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is an ecumenical prayer initiative and has the backing of Rome, who produce prayer guides for those looking to take part in it.
And there it was, devoted to ecumenism to the last, even though departure from God is what closed it.
The church has amalgamated with Fisherwick Presbyterian Church and is the second ecumenical Presbyterian church to close in the past few months. It is following hot on the heels of Fortwilliam and Macrory Presbyterian Church, itself an amalgamation and formerly led by ‘Rev’ Lesley Carroll, a woman who expressed her desire for ecumenism to make progress in Northern Ireland at a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity event in a Roman Catholic chapel in County Tyrone.
She is also the Deputy Chief Commissioner of the (In)Equality Commission which brought the disgraceful legal action against Asher’s bakery.
This clearly demonstrates that ecumenism, which is a departure from God’s Word, leads to destruction, as has befallen Fortwilliam and Macrory and now May Street Presbyterian churches.
Jeremiah 29:17-19 speaks of how the people of Israel were warned about their apostasy yet failed to listen to God’s servants and they were taken into captivity by the Babylonians.
Ulster has had many faithful servants speaking out against ecumenism and other forms of religious betrayal. However, so many have refused to listen and May Street is the latest to reap this sorry harvest.
Those verses say: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them: Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the Lord, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the Lord.”
The service at May Street was called a ‘Dawning Of A New Era’ service, which is something of a fairly euphemistic badge to put upon death.
However, there is an element of accuracy to this as well as it refers to the new era of charismatism taking over as the chief interest of much of professing Christendom.
Just as straightforward ecumenism was de rigueur a number of decades ago, the charismatic movement, which eschews traditional, Biblical theology in favour of creating a venue of entertainment, is now all the rage.
The old dead churches are striving to survive by bringing in the rock bands and turning church into a concert and, in many cases, are currently enjoying a surge in popularity.
And, with Central Belfast, headed up by Rev John Dickinson’s son, David Dickinson (pictured, top), that is exactly what is happening.
David Dickinson also presumably didn’t have an issue with ‘Father’ Michael McGinnity being in attendance at the meeting as he too was there to apparently receive a special baton from May Street’s clerk of session, Arthur Acheson.
This is also a fine allegory for the passing of the baton from old style ecumenism, which has led to the death of so many churches, to the new charismatic ecumenism.
It is no less deadly, but gives the appearance of life as its adherents jump up and down to the latest inane, shallow compilations put together by the revered worship leaders so beloved in such establishments.
Dear reader, please don’t be taken in by this attractive to the senses veneer applied to the same old dead ecumenism which leads so many astray.
Instead, separate yourself from such and dedicate yourself to actually honouring God, rather than claiming to do so while engaging in actions which run contrary to that very claim.
1 Peter 1:15-17, 23: “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”