1 Corinthians 1:17-18: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
In this modernistic, liberal age, many forms of worldly entertainment have been brought in to try to attract a crowd.
These can be quite successful (though that is absolutely no excuse for employing them), as the popularity of churches like the Vineyard and various community / fellowship type churches has proven.
Mostly, it entails the introduction of worldly music with a thin veneer of Christianity from the worship bands.
However, a far more offensive to God form of worldly entertainment was brought into a Baptist church in Belfast on Sunday, 10th February.
For Newtownbreda Baptist Church brought in a stand-up comedian to take their Sunday night service two Lord’s days ago.
Yes, you are reading that correctly, this is not a joke – Newtownbreda Baptist Church became Newtownbreda Comedy Club for the night as a stand-up comic took the platform in this most modern, trendy, hipster of Baptist churches.
Mark Ritchie (pictured on the right of our top image), a Scotsman, apparently blends comedy with a religious message as his routine, which has seen him perform at the well-known Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an annual event for aspiring and established comics alike.
His stand-up tours have taken on frankly blasphemous titles, including “For The Love Of God” and “God Only Knows”.
These are commonly used oaths by the unconverted when expressing exasperation or confusion as they grievously take our precious Saviour’s wonderful name in vain.
Yet here is a man who claims to be proclaiming God’s Word using such blasphemies to make money.
And he is directly disobeying the Third Commandment, which can be found in Exodus 20:7 and says: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
And here was this man in Newtownbreda Baptist Church being paraded as an admirable and appropriate character to provide spiritual guidance to those in attendance.
This is how Newtownbreda Baptist Church / Newtownbreda Comedy Club promoted the event on facebook: “We have Mark Ritchie coming for a night of community and comedy. We’ll be having @percyscoffeeandfood there and also a free BBQ”.
So it’s a night of community and comedy? No mention of the cross at Calvary? Sure that wouldn’t draw the punters in quite like a few jokes and a cheeseburger.
We have not heard the routine / sermon / message brought by Mark Ritchie to Newtownbreda. Rather oddly, it is the only service held there in months which does not appear to have been uploaded to the church’s website. Why would that be?
However, we have listened to a 35 minute routine by Mark Ritchie at a church in England from two years ago and for that to even be considered a religious sermon is frankly offensive.
A significant length of time goes by before he even mentions the Bible and then he reads a single verse therefrom, before going back to telling his little stories, which had the most tenuous of links to what he was apparently talking about. All of them were uproariously funny though, at least if you listened to the congregation / audience, so that means it’s ok.
Was there mention of how we might be saved? No.
Was there mention of the substitutionary death on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ? No.
Was there mention of repentance and sorrow over sin? No.
Was there mention of the atoning blood of Jesus which washes away all sin to those who believe on Him? No.
Not much of a message then, was it?
The upshot of the message, as far as we could gather, was that we should engage in a “daring culture”, whatever that’s supposed to mean.
This “daring culture” certainly doesn’t involve over encumbering yourself with knowledge of or serious study of God’s Word, it seems to be more about making bold, impressive sounding, yet meaningless statements.
Certainly, there was some very dubious phraseology employed to, we assume, describe someone becoming a Christian.
He spoke on several occasions of people “making a first time response to Jesus”. What is that supposed to mean? What, then, is a second or third time response to Jesus?
Of course, the terms “getting saved”, “being born again” or “having your sins washed away” are so terribly old fashioned, though increasingly even those terms are being polluted by some churches.
When Mark Ritchie appeared at Newtownbreda Baptist Church two weeks ago, he claimed that “26 people said yes to Jesus”. Newtownbreda Comedy Club repeated that phrase, though they claimed it was 25.
Of course, one might ask, if 25/26 people “said yes to Jesus”, what was the question?
The top of this article shows that God used what the worldly person would consider the “foolishness of preaching” the cross of Christ as his ordained means of sharing the gospel and bringing sinners to repentance.
This point is further demonstrated in Romans 10:13-14, which says: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
The worldly person certainly doesn’t think stand-up comedy is foolishness, that’s why theatres up and down our land are regularly packed out with those wishing to hear the latest comic, most of whom promote the foul and whose language is still fouler.
In what we have heard of Mark Ritchie, there was absolutely NO mention of the cross of Christ, though of course he wasn’t preaching anyway, he was simply bringing the world into the church.
And Newtownbreda Baptist Church invited that man into their church, whose very tour titles take the Lord’s name in vain.
Sadly, this is not the first time we have been forced to highlight this church, which is located in east Belfast.
Only last month we pointed out its membership of the Evangelical Alliance, a grouping headed up by Peter Lynas, who is habitually involved with Romanists and promoting relationships with Rome.
His ecumenical activities are too numerous to reproduce here, but you can click here to get a rundown of his compromise with Rome, which includes praising so-called Protestant ministers and church officers for running down to Dublin to cower before the Pope.
Highlighting this Baptist church, and others, saw us attract great opprobrium but the fact remains Newtownbreda Baptist Church continues to be yoked with a group that includes creation deniers and Jesuit promoters and is evidently more than happy to be so.
Even when this was brought clearly into their view they decided to harden their neck and continue in the same direction.
Indeed, within a matter of weeks of us highlighting this unholy alliance, Newtownbreda Baptist Church had invited ‘Papist’ Peter Lynas down to speak at their Sunday night service, and he also spoke about the document he produced looking at what he suggest be the church’s response to the rising tide of sodomy and transgenderism.
It is called ‘Transformed’ and it is certainly not recommended to any church or Christian, containing as it does the suggestion by Peter Lynas himself that churches provide “trans” accessible toilets in churches.
The document he wrote says that “providing toilets that are clearly accessible to trans people will be an important part of the welcome provided by churches and charities”.
But Newtownbreda Baptist Church, whose pastor is Trevor Ramsey (pictured on the left of our top image), saw fit to invite him down and now they are turning to an easy-believist stand-up comic who is seeking people to “say yes to Jesus” without actually preaching the gospel.
What a cheap gospel is being taught – ‘come on in, grab a hot dog, have a laugh, we’ll give God a brief mention, stick your hand up to say you like Jesus and now you’re on your way to heaven’.
This is outrageous and Newtownbreda Baptist Church / Comedy Club is guilty of encouraging this sort of shallow gospel message.
May God save Ulster from such disrespect for His Word and His House.
Psalm 89:7: “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.”
13 thoughts on “Laugh yourself to heaven at Newtownbreda Baptist Church / Comedy Club”
Dear Brother ,
Thank you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the sole head and only king of the church, for exposing the blasphemous night of comedy held in the so called Newtownbreda Church a few weeks ago. Such antics help prove this assembly has lost sight of the Gospel, the Glory of God and the Blessed Redeemer of God Elect. It is becoming more Laodicean by the day.
The church leadership need to repent and if they don’t we fear that the Lord will remove the candlestick. I will publicly and privately be calling for such repentance. They have added to their sin by having Peter Lynas preach another of his popish liberal messages. What utter tripe to call for Trans Toilets. Lord open his eyes.
I have just heard of this ungodly comedian in the pulpit from many within my own congregation this morning. Naturally they are very upset and have urged me to publicly speak out against this, something I am always willing to do.
You have written a brilliant article that I have just read and really appreciate. It is great that such a website like yours exists to help in the exposure of all the religious compromise and apostasy in our day and generation. We in Carryduff FPC are praying for a Protestant Revival.
Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel.
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I think you have completely missed the point and have miss understood who Mark Ritchie is, mark Ritchie is a not just a comedian, the church you are talking didn’t just get a comedian off the street Mark, son of a minister, left Musselburgh Scotland in 1987 to spend three years at bible college. He then became Assistant Minister in Barnsley for six years. July 1996 saw Mark go full time as a national Evangelist.. Mark is married to Tamzin and they have two children, Jordan and Keziah, and currently live in Nottingham.
he has talked at Spring Harvest, Soul Survivor, Audacious and New Day these events don’t just get anyone these are big theology sound based events these events would not invite him if he was doing something wrong.
“I really do believe Mark is one of our best communicators. He is able to present Christianity in a relevant way and in a language which people can understand, Mark Ritchie is outstanding, unique and wonderful. He is insightful and inspiring. He has both wit and wisdom. I always have a faith-lift when I listen to him.”
— Revd Canon J.John (Church of England minster)
“Mark Ritchie is one of the UK’s premier communicators of the Gospel. I always know that he will deliver the gospel in a relevant, humorous, and clear manner.” —Glyn Barrett, Senior Leader, Audacious Church, Manchester
Mark leads an evangelistic organisation called 73rd Trust, which seeks to engage the unchurched through relevant communication of the gospel.
Sadly we are all too aware of who Mark Ritchie is. We have already read the profile of him you appear to have copy and pasted off the internet.
We have also already heard him in preaching mode, we refer to it in the article.
Your inclusion of him featuring at Soul Survivor offers us no consolation, indeed it makes matters worse. Our most recent article (at time of writing) highlights the rampant ecumenism of Mike Pilavachi and his Soul Survivor church and you can find several further links in that article demonstrating that point beyond any doubt.
Soul Survivor, among other things, holds a Roman Catholic Mass at its summer camps. This is a blasphemy. To say, as you appear to be, that it is theologically “sound” is really rather futile and, frankly, erroneous.
Canon J John is another character we have featured on this page and he is another unsafe guide. Indeed, he has described himself as being “intoxicated” under the false delusion of the ‘Toronto Blessing’. Gaining his commendation is more akin to a condemnation.
We do not know if you are a friend of his or simply a fan, but Mark Ritchie’s ‘material’ and shallow, easy-believist message are far from commendable to any who professes to be a Christian.
We trust this will be impressed upon your heart and mind.
Have you read the bit in the bible about Pentecost the people around the apostles thought the apostles were drunk I think you have missed that bit or ignored it
To be thought as drunk the apostles must have been doing something strange I like to hear what you think of this
We fear you have rather ignored or missed the context of the passage you refer to.
There are several important differences.
Canon J John described *himself* as being intoxicated. It was “others mocking” (Acts 2:13) who made that baseless claim against the apostles. Peter outright stated this was a false allegation, saying “these are not drunken”.
Canon J John said he was intoxicated. Peter said he and the apostles were not.
What the apostles were doing which was considered strange at that time was speaking in the tongues of those who were in attendance.
Acts 2:8,11-12: “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? … we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?”
It is important to point out these are not the tongues of the modern charismatic church, which are in fact little more than self-serving gibberish.
It is interesting to note you choose to focus on an issue we didn’t even refer to in our initial reply, nor did you refer to it in your initial comment. Mark Ritchie has been left to the side in an attempt to defend Canon J John.
We can only hope this is because you have realised Mark Ritchie’s comedy schtick is not an appropriate way to be claiming to be sharing the gospel.
Jesus ate with sinners and people the religious people of the day rejected
Paul went to a Greek temple and talked about Greek god/statue to talk to people to get on their level he did not say you are all sinners for worshiping idols
We’re not sure what the point of this comment is, but what we will say is that neither Jesus nor Paul joined in with false worship or condoned it. If this is an attempt at a justification for using a worldly means to draw people into the church, then it is very much an ill-advised premise you are propagating.
I did not say that they did
We didn’t say that you said they did Christian, we were just covering that base as we were unsure what you meant by the comment