St Patrick’s Church of Ireland cathedral in Armagh is one of the main venues for ecumenism in Northern Ireland, and it lived up (or down, perhaps) to its inglorious reputation on Sunday past.
The guest speaker at their service at the weekend was a senior Benedictine monk, who is based at the monastery in Rostrevor, County Down.
‘Father’ Mark-Ephrem Nolan, originally from Belfast, is a leading figure in that monastery, of which one of its key purposes is to promote “reconciliation”, an ecumenical watchword.
This is outlined very clearly by ‘Father’ Mark Ephrem-Nolan, the ‘Superior’ of the Holy Cross Monastery, as it is called, in an article on the ‘Contemporary Christianity’ website.
He highlights in that article how, from its very establishment, the monastery has been a vehicle for ecumenism.
It says: “We celebrated the opening and consecration of our new monastery on the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 18 January, 2004. The liturgical celebrations marking this event gathered together and invited the active participation of Christians from all denominations.”
Speaking at that event was the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, itself a demonstration of despicable ecumenism.
George Carey said: “We want this community to be a vocal witness to the power of God’s love expressed so tangibly in the gospel of peace brought to us through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What George Carey so brazenly ignores there is that, regardless of whether the intentions of that monastery are good, the root is not in Christ.
The Roman Catholic Church is a pagan corruption of true Christianity.
Furthermore, the gospel of peace in the Bible is not the ignoring of critical theological differences, but rather it is the peace which comes through true salvation, which Rome seeks to rob of all which comes under its influence.
There can be no peace with Rome until Rome makes peace with God, and Rome, despite its honeyed words, has no intention of doing that.
Dear reader, do not be deceived by the soft, friendly approach of ecumenists of all shades. Do not be lured into thinking that all who claim to be Christian are that in reality.
Psalm 55:21: “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.”
Ecumenists will strive to be all things to all men, but their end destination is the dilution and degradation of the true gospel message of peace with God through the atoning blood of the once for all sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sadly, this ‘Father’ Mark-Ephrem Nolan proudly attests that many so-called Protestants have been sucked in by the deceit of ecumenism, as “50% of those who come for a time of quiet reflection come from the Protestant churches.”
Worse still, he says that “around 90% of the young people who frequent our monastic guesthouse are drawn from the Protestant churches”.
The problem, by his own claims, gets worse as the age drops, and this should be even more concerning as it demonstrates the next generation of so-called Protestants are totally given over to mean compromise with Rome.
They’ll never be able to contend for the true faith when they are linked, arm in arm, with Popery.
‘Father’ Mark-Ephrem Nolan also confirms his entire mission is an ecumenical one.
He says: “Ecumenism is not an activity for our community, but rather underpins our whole way of life.”
And that was surely demonstrated on Sunday past when he sermonised at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland cathedral in Armagh.
‘Father’ Mark-Ephrem Nolan is, in fact, an ecumenical canon at the cathedral, first appointed to the role in 2012, one year after the church changed its rules so as they could let him in.
A Diocesan Ecumenical report from 2012 says: “Provision for two ecumenical canons was included in a new statute governing St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, enacted by the General Synod of the Church of Ireland in 2011.”
This is rather telling; St Patrick’s Church of Ireland cathedral, Armagh, sought to change the rules to fit with their current notions and fancies, but God doesn’t change to suit modern tastes.
Malachi 3:6: “For I am the Lord, I change not”.
Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
The current Dean of Armagh, the Very Rev Gregory Dunstan (pictured, top), is quoted in that same report welcoming his appointment, saying: “In Mark-Ephrem Nolan and Dr Donald Watts (the other appointee), the Archbishop has chosen two distinguished Christians each of whom, through their own particular ministry, have exercised great influence for good in the life of the whole Church in Ireland. I am delighted at their appointment.”
These are very ecumenical words, and shows that Very Rev Gregory Dunstan considers Rome to be part of God’s church, which is a very sad position to take, as Rome denies the key gospel message of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone.
Given ‘Father’ Mark-Ephrem Nolan is an ecumenical canon in St Patrick’s, it is unsurprising that this was not his first time preaching there, having preached at the installation of Armagh Presbyterian minister Rev Tony Davidson as an ecumenical canon last year, and no doubt having spoken there on numerous occasions over the five years preceding that.
However, this doesn’t mean we should ignore it, or shrug our shoulders and move on, we ought to continually be in opposition to that which serves to bring dishonour to God, and that is certainly what ecumenism does.
We ought to be separated to Christ if we profess his name, not joining forces with a church which denies his message of salvation by faith alone.
Paul’s determination to please God is a great example for us to follow.
He was able to say in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
Paul kept fighting to the end, he didn’t give up or decide he’d done enough for God, he kept waging the spiritual warfare for as long as God gave him power, and it is the same for us.
We ought not to be weary of well doing.
Look at the reward that awaited Paul in the following verse.
2 Timothy 4:8: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Let us too be determined to finish the course and never shrink away from defending and contending for the faith.