The apparently “leading” religious figures interviewed each week by the old ecumenist Alf McCreary in the Belfast Telegraph are almost invariably deeply unimpressive.
With the likes of ‘Papist’ Peter Lynas taking his opportunity when profiled in the ‘What I Believe’ feature to have a swipe at anyone standing up for the truth of God’s Word as displaying “residual bigotry”, Christian Aid leader Rosamond Bennett claiming to have been saved without asking for forgiveness of sins and saying God might be a woman and Presbyterian cleric Rev Ernie Rea outrageously saying that “if hell exists, it is empty”, the bar has not been set especially high by those featured therein when it comes to religious standards.
And living up (or is it down?) to those less than impressive standards now is Canon Katie McAteer, recently appointed as the first ever female canon of St Columb’s Cathedral in Londonderry, though most likely she would prefer to call it “Derry”, the nom de plume assigned to that historic walled city by those who hate any semblance of Britishness in our land or who seek to cower to the whims of Romanism and Irish republicanism, Church of Ireland clerics typically being high up in that category.
Having her profile raised for being in a more senior role in a vocation she ought not to be involved in (1 Timothy 2:12), she was prime fodder for Alf McCreary’s feature which might better be titled ‘Heretic of the Week’ or something in that vein.
He tends to studiously avoid featuring any individuals who might not be fully paid up members of the apostasy in our land, with only occasional, minor blips.
And Canon Katie McAteer, who, it is revealed in the article is the daughter of a Church of England vicar, fits the standard bill wonderfully for the feature.
The question ‘how and when did you come to faith?’ almost exclusively brings with it a deeply concerning answer.
Of course the question itself is flexible enough in its phrasing to allow for such answers, but that does not excuse the risible responses of many of these allegedly leading figures in Christendom in Northern Ireland.
And Canon Katie McAteer’s response is undoubtedly one of the most unimpressive answers one could imagine.
This was her answer: “Although I had been brought up understanding difference amongst Christians, it didn’t really prepare me for Northern Ireland. Suddenly the world was “divided” between Protestants and Catholics. I was not brought up to refer to myself as “Protestant”, I was C of E (Church of England)!
“I was unsure and a little wary of contacting churches here – the term “Low Church” was quite scary to a relatively sheltered “High Church” girl like me.
“However, I made myself known to the then rector of Christ Church, who very quickly accepted me.”
Sorry Katie McAteer – the question was ‘how and when did you come to faith’, not ‘how did you come to attend a church in Northern Ireland?’
There is no mention of grief over sins, a burden of guilt for how she had despised the Saviour or how she cried out in repentance to God for mercy and for salvation.
None of this is contained in her story.
Surely if she is a true child of God, saved by the previous blood of the Saviour, she would be delighted to have an opportunity to tell the tens of thousands of readers of the Belfast Telegraph, no doubt many of whom are unsaved, of how God had gloriously saved her and taken her from being on the broad path which leads to destruction and set her on the narrow road to an eternity in heaven.
If we are truly saved, would we not delight in recounting how God spoke to our souls and convinced and convicted us of our sins?
The psalmist said in Psalm 13:5 that “my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation”.
Isaiah 61:10 says: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”
If Canon Katie McAteer is clothed with the garments of salvation, if she is covered with the robe of righteousness, would she not delight to tell of how God had saved her?
Instead, her apparent method of “coming to faith” consists of making herself known to the rector.
How does introducing yourself to the minister equate to being saved?
Not only is it a deeply concerning answer but it is a shamefully missed opportunity.
People could be very much misled by such a pathetic answer, thinking that introducing yourself to the minister is what saves you.
Going to church doesn’t save, paying into a church doesn’t save, saying hello to a minister doesn’t save, only placing your faith in Christ alone can save.
We can do nothing of ourselves to obtain salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
How many supposed ministers dilute the gospel message and ignore the absolute necessity of the all-atoning blood of Christ at Calvary in our salvation.
Dear reader, if you are as yet without a Saviour, won’t you come to God today in humility and repentance.
Jesus promises in John 6:37 that “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”.
We cannot get to God our own way, no matter what the likes of Canon Katie McAteer would have the unsaved believe.
One must only look at the example of Cain for proof of that.
He thought his offering would meet with God’s approval, but because he did things his way, it was not accepted by God.
This is the same, sadly, for so many who have been led astray by ministers who fail to tell of the need of salvation.
But any reading this now cannot say they have not been warned – won’t you come to the Saviour even now?
1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”