If society turns bad, good people such as pastor McConnell go to jail

Pastor James McConnell surrounded by supporters outside court in Belfast.  Kevin Scott/Presseye
Pastor James McConnell surrounded by supporters outside court in Belfast. Kevin Scott/Presseye

It was good to see so many fellow Christians solidly supporting Pastor James McConnell outside the court house, where he is accused of making grossly offensive remarks about Islam.

I know many people are praying for him at this time. The risk now is that he could end up in prison. However, it’s not only bad people that go to prison. Good people go to prison too, when their government or society turn bad.

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The rule of law was originally founded on the laws in the Bible, and now new man-made laws are being used to incriminate Bible-believing Christians. How bizarre.

The Apostle Peter was put in prison for his faith and controversial statements in defence of the Gospel (Acts 5:18-23), but he was miraculously delivered by an Angel of the LORD! The guards outside found the doors still locked and Peter and those with him were in the Temple teaching the people. They were not hiding, but were filled with new vigour, proclaiming the goodness of God, and the message of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, a Jew, who had shown Jerusalem, and the world, an even bigger miracle by rising from the dead.

Now, I am not wishing for Pastor McConnell to end up in prison, but as the wise old man Gamaliel said of the Apostles, “Take heed what ye intend to do to these men, for if this be of men, it will come to naught, but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest ye find yourself fighting against God.” God is still the same God when Peter was incarcerated and he can just as easily release Pastor McConnell from this situation too. It is my hope that the case will be successful for this brave pastor, which will also be an encouragement for Christians everywhere. Free speech is being threatened and levelled at born-again Christians whom Jesus called to be a light to the world. Will that light end up under a bushel? Praise God for a man like James McConnell, even if he is misunderstood or misrepresented by his detractors.

After all, Jesus was too.

Colin Nevin, Bangor