I call on Christians to repent of all forms of bigotry

A Bible reading and a prayer is a reflection of who we are as a society
A Bible reading and a prayer is a reflection of who we are as a society

The church in Northern Ireland needs to repent.

By church I mean those who belong to Jesus Christ by grace through faith.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

Many Christians in Northern Ireland are praying for and expecting revival.

I suggest that God is first expecting our repentance.

God expects his people to come under the authority of the definition of love presented in the Holy Scripture.

I call on every Christian be they layman or woman or preacher to renounce hatred towards other human beings made in the image of God, and to repent of all forms of bigotry, and religio-cultural triumphalism.

Could it be that Christians (especially our politicians who name the name) need to listen to the one they claim is their Lord when he commands them to “Love your enemies”.

I have never heard a single “Christian” politician in our land use the word ‘love’ toward anyone from an opposing party. Surely something’s not right.

We can love whilst we disagree. Why are Christian people with a public platform wasting their opportunity to present Christ in a true light? “Resounding gongs and clanging symbols” abound in our government.

Amid the marching season, I respectfully wish to ask a few questions of my brothers in Christ involved in the LOL (and any brother involved in republican marches too for that matter).

Is this what Christian love looks like? Is this compatible with a prayerful reading of 1 Corinthians 13? Is this what the Lord had in mind when he sent you on the great commission to reach all men of every nation for him?

Is this communicating accurately to the other community the heart of Jesus towards them?

Is this what Jesus would be doing if he were in Northern Ireland for the day? Would he join you on the march or would he politely excuse himself and go reach out in love to the people you seem to believe you are ‘witnessing’ to?

Would he be found in a ‘stumbling block’ parade which, whether intended to or not, often alienates and antagonises and gives a misconception of what the gospel is and who the gospel is for?

The Church has an elephant in the room that needs exposing and discussing.

The idol of religion and culture. Be it republican or unionist this idol cannot, it seems, even be touched, or discussed, much less removed from its place. The pulpits are shamefully silent on the matter.

This idol cannot be questioned. No one is prepared to smash their idol for Jesus sake. It is a slippery idol for it always has a way of defending itself in the name of some kind of honour.

It always has an uncanny way of making itself right. It always has “principle” and “truth” behind it but always at the expense of grace and love. This idol (like all idols) always finds an argument to excuse its presence.

That’s why it remains a barrier to the spread of the gospel in Ireland . But if those praying for revival are serious then this idol must be repeatedly confronted in a loving manner. “Come out from among them and be separate”.

Let me with all the authority of Gods word behind me call every man and woman who names the name of Christ to repent of all bitterness, unforgiveness and sectarian hatred, and let me remind you of your duty to love your neighbour, more, to love your enemy. Let me remind you that “whoever does not love does not know God, because God is Love” (1 John 4 v8).

Will I be alienated for saying these things? Maybe. We will see. Darkness hates light. So they did to the Prophets exposing idolatry in Israel.

Anyway, I will continue to follow the Lord and receive such criticism in love. Why? For God promises us that “Love never fails”.

Can we not see that hatred has failed in this land for centuries? Bigotry has failed. Religion and marching hasn’t been a great method of adding to the Church either it seems. Why have all these failed? Because only Love never fails.

Seeking revival Ireland? Time to repent. He will hear us then.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrong doing but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Cor 13

Mark Taggart, Fermanagh