God has richly blessed the Free Presbyterian denomination since its inception on March 17,1951. Our history is a beautiful story of God’s provision, protection, and power in the lives of ordinary individuals. I am thankful to those people who made the necessary sacrifices over the years to maintain a faithful witness for Christ. As the youngest minister in the Free Presbyterian Church of North America (FPCNA), I realize the importance of knowing our history, not just so that we do not forget it, but so that our past can help inform the future of this denomination. There are several things about our past that have helped shape my desires for the future of this denomination.
First, we must persist in prayer. To study the history of this denomination is to study the prayer meeting. In the formative years of the FPC, and the later revival of the work in 1966, days and nights of prayer were commonplace. God was moving when His people were praying, and God was moving because His people were praying. Christians saw the need for prayer and persisted even at their personal inconvenience. An older gentleman once told me how he would take his lunchbox to the night time prayer meeting because he knew he would not get home before work the next morning. May the Lord burden us to be persistent in prayer again (all night if needed) that we might see His work advance.
Second, we must protest again. The FPC was a denomination that regularly stood against spiritual apostasy and national sin. These protests brought awareness of apostasy and the legalizing of evil that was taking place in Canada, the United States, and Ulster. Even though some issues for protest have changed today, the need for protest has not. We cannot be silent when children are being murdered in the womb daily or when bills are read in parliaments to criminalize gospel preaching. We should also use various forms of protest, such as writing to our representatives, refusing to subscribe to media platforms that fund evil practices or publically gather for preaching and prayer against sinful events. We must remember, however, that a critical aspect in protesting is evangelism.
It is important to tell people what we are standing against, but it is equally important to tell them what we stand for. Protest and evangelism must go hand in hand.
Third, we should publish more material. Whether it be writing books, podcasting, or social media, we should be publishing our beliefs and perspectives, making them more accessible to the world. Some FPC ministers have written books; however, most of these works were printed in the earlier years of the FPC. We need a renewed interest among our ministers to produce material on doctrine, history, ethics, and current issues. It is often difficult to recommend a book, podcast, or media platform with complete confidence in its content. The answer to this is to publish our own material, utilizing the various modern means at our disposal.
Fourth, we must continue to preach Christ. The FPC in Ulster and North America was built up spiritually and numerically through Christ-centred gospel preaching. Our preaching must continue to centre on Christ’s person and His work. If the day comes when this is no longer the case, there is no future purpose for this denomination. We must also remember that our forefathers were not dry, emotionless preachers. They were passionate when presenting Christ to saints and sinners alike. This was in stark contrast to the boring lectures delivered by ministers in other “reformed” churches. I trust that we would continue to be passionate preachers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am so glad to be serving in this denomination. May the Lord revisit us with revival power, for we need it now more than ever.