Stockport Evangelical Church

Stockport Evangelical Church
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9 KJV)

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

J.D. Drysdale - Prophet of Holiness

John Douglas Drysdale was such a unique figure in the history of the modern church and something of a maverick. As a young Scottish Preacher, he settled in Birkenhead in the North West of England in 1916. He began to attract the interest of those seeking a more vital Christianity, with his strong views on holiness (he taught the doctrine of Entire Sanctification) and uncompromising approach to Evangelism, it wasn't long before he founded Emmanuel Church in Cloughton Rd and later Emmanuel Bible School, of which he was Principal.  

In his book "The Price of Revival," Drysdale wrote, "Don't let us pander to worldlings...Save us from soft sentimental preaching!" His rejection of worldliness was unrelenting and almost an obsession. He condemned "those men who are hunting for all sorts of entertainments... to bring people into the church." His solution? "Tell them their sins until they loathe them, and turn to our adorable Saviour who is able to heal them, and fill them with His own joy and peace."
Yet for all the radical language, there was an incredible gentleness and tender love with Drysdale. He was a lifelong Pacifist, at a time when it was not popular, even for a Christian to be so. His compassion for souls meant that he would often spend hours in prayer, sometimes rolling on the floor as if in agony, crying out to God, "just one soul Lord, just give me one soul!"
In his most famous book, "J.D. Drysdale - Prophet of Holiness," he explained his distaste for what has been called cheap grace: "One lesson impressed upon me in my study of the Gospels, is the fact that Jesus never made converts on the cheap...He always challenged them to count the cost."
Drysdale operated a system in his own church, partly based on John Wesley's "Rules for Societies-Bands,"  that worked on the basis of church membership.
"It is required of all who desire to unite with us and thus walk in fellowship with us, that they shall show evidence of salvation from their sins by a godly walk and a vital piety; that they shall earnestly desire to be cleansed from all indwelling sin and that they shall evidence this..."
He always valued cleanliness of heart and life, over the size of his congregation.
Drysdale was author and Co-author of a number of publications, such as;
A Work of Faith
Fourteen Years After
 After his death, Emmanuel Bible School was eventually swallowed up by The Nazarene Bible College and much of its library found its way into The Nazarene Theological College in Didsbury, Manchester.

The mention of Drysdale in Christian circles today (unless they are Wesleyan/Holiness circles) is, I imagine, almost none existent. He was not a Wesley, a Spurgeon, or a Lloyd-Jones, and yet in his own time and place, he was the epitome of the faithful shepherd; and in his own small way, he left a legacy of faith and practice that was radical, brave and God honouring.
Paul Jennings.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Where do you fit in the body?

"And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you." 1 Corinthians 12:21 (KJV)

As a Pastor it is sometimes a little embarrassing plugging one's church service and reminding the congregation that "we would really like it if everyone could show their support for..." that special meeting you have been praying over and burning the midnight oil in preparation for. However, being part of a local congregation and finding your role in that gathering of Believers, is an important part of what it means to be a Christian.

The word "church" is the English translation of the Greek word "Ekklesia," meaning "called out ones" or "congregation." It is clear, from this word, that the church is not a building but a body of people - Christ's body.
"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Romans 12:5 (KJV)
Some may say that they are part of Christ's body, but they are fine on their own. They have their Bible, prayer-life and are actively serving the Lord and sharing the Gospel. They don't need their congregation! But what if the congregation need you?
Here are 14 reasons by Kenneth Kuykendall why you might not want to miss that next meeting: 

The body of the congregation is incomplete.
•Your voice is not heard in the worship and singing of the saints.
•You cannot actively serve others who may need your gifts.
•You cannot contribute in the offering.
•You do not receive the Word of God in a preaching format.
•You miss out on corporate prayer.
•You forfeit fellowship with other believers.
•You send a message to the youth that missing church is acceptable.
•You make it easier to miss the next week, and then the next.
•You become susceptible to apathy and indifference.
•You make it harder for others to bear the weight and burdens of ministry.
•You miss opportunities to share your own struggles with the saints of God.
•You cause unnecessary worry for your pastor, teacher, staff, and leaders.
•You miss out on altar invitations, life-changing decisions, and spiritual experiences.
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25 (KJV)

Friday, 8 November 2013

Liberal Fascism


 So there I was, discussing the judgement of God with three teenage girls in the centre of Stockport. It was one of those moments that will stay with me forever. There was nothing overly dramatic, or unusual about the encounter; God’s judgement of the wicked is something that comes up again and again with those who seek to justify their sins. The girls were not excessively hostile, or anti-Christian, in fact their lack of conviction about anything, was perhaps one of the most disturbing elements of the whole scenario! It was simply the way in which their response to the matter was articulated. After I had explained the guilt of sin, the holiness of God and the righteous justice of the Judge of all mankind, one of the girls responded with, “but judging people is like not nice. It’s like not fair!”  
Peter Hitchens, brother of the late Christopher, once quipped, “Hell was abolished around the same time that abortion was legalized and the death penalty done away with!” The idea of eternal punishment was so beyond the mind-set of this teenage trio, who were the products of systematic secularization and Humanistic grooming, that all they could do was cry, “That’s not fair!"
We live in a largely secular society; a society that seems to worship the intellectual elite. Why then is it, that so many cannot express their thoughts intelligently, or apply any kind of robust argumentation, or engagement with the Christian faith, other than “it’s not fair!”
When it comes to fairness, it is significant how this society, and particularly the present government, have redefined that word.  Many of those who are calling for fairness and tolerance have actually become the least tolerant members of our society. They have in fact become the heralds of a new politically-correct dawn; one that author Jonah Goldberg rightly defined as “Liberal Fascism.”
Liberal Fascism

National Secular Society
In 2011 a legal challenge from the National Secular Society was brought against Bideford Town Council for saying prayers in meetings.
After conducting an investigation, the Mail on Sunday found that more than a fifth of councils still have a Bible reading or a prayer at the start of meetings. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has also reaffirmed the freedom for town hall officials to say formal prayers.
The newspaper’s Freedom of Information Act request found that 59 out of 271 councils, 22 per cent, have a prayer or reading in their meetings.
Mr Pickles warned: “It’s clear that some politically correct town hall officials are still trying to marginalise faith and impose an illiberal and intolerant secularism.”
Scottish Secular Society
A secularist pressure group has targeted every school in Scotland demanding to know about their chaplaincy services.

The Scottish Secular Society (SSS) wrote a letter in September asking 24 questions, including whether material disagreeing with homosexuality had been distributed in the school.

But The Christian Institute urged schools not to be intimidated by the ‘hostile’ Freedom of Information (FOI) request, and reminded schools that it IS lawful for them to invite in religious groups.

Colin Hart, the charity’s director, said, “we want to reassure you that schools are fully within their rights to invite chaplains and representatives of faith groups or religious organisations to conduct activities on their premises."

Mr Hart also said: “The FOI request is wide in scope and shows the SSS’s hostility towards any lawful manifestation of religious and moral belief within Scottish schools.”
Girl Guides
In September 2013, Girl guiding UK officially introduced a new Humanist oath, replacing “to love my God” with “to be true to myself and develop my beliefs”. In Northern Ireland the new politically correct ousting of God has come in for some criticism.
The vast majority of Girl guide groups in Northern Ireland meet in Church buildings.
The Methodist, Presbyterian and Church of Ireland denominations have joined together to voice their “deep concern” about the move.
An online petition urging Girl guiding Ulster to reinstate the old promise, and make an atheist pledge optional, has already been signed by more than 1000 people.
Dr Alan Clifford
Dr Alan Clifford, the Pastor of a Reformed Christian church in Norwich, sent two gospel tracts by email, one entitled ‘Christ Can Cure – Good News for Gays’; and the other ‘Jesus Christ – the Saviour we all need’ to his local LGBT Project, Norwich Pride. Instead of responding via email, or simply deleting the tracts, they phoned the police.
The police arrived and graciously offered Pastor Clifford the option of an on-the-spot fine of £90, which he politely refused.
The officers asked if he was aware that he’d actually committed a homophobic offence as defined by the official police leaflet which the officer then produced. The leaflet defined such an offence as ‘any incident which is perceived to be homophobic by the victim or any other person’.
 As Adrian Hilton of the Daily Mail put it, “Dr Clifford patiently refuted the accusation, by explaining pedantically (as a doctor of theology might) that the meaning of ‘homophobia’ stems from the Greek ‘phobia’, meaning ‘fear’, and does not embrace hatred. Whilst acknowledging the changing vernacular usage, he explained: ‘I certainly fear the influence of homosexuality on society, but this should not be regarded as “hatred” unless criticism is taken to mean “hatred”.
The subtitle of the tract was ‘A Compassionate call to Christian Conversion.’ Dr Clifford asked: ‘Is that hatred? We don’t hate these people. We love them and want to help them. So, even though the gay-pride people are upset, we are guilty of no crime.’”
In a society that is as wide and diverse as the United Kingdom, one wonders, why there is no room for those who hold to traditional religious beliefs? Nick Clegg recently became embroiled in a row over a pro-gay marriage speech, after aides had to remove comments in the draft version calling opponents "bigots".  Why is tolerance extended only to those who hold secular, atheistic, humanistic, pro-Homosexual and irreligious worldviews? Why are convictions, which we might describe as “liberal,” NOT open to intelligent debate and critique? Christian beliefs are not only criticized, but openly lambasted, parodied and blasphemed; and that with very little fear of prosecution; is that “fair?”
The word of God delivers the following warning:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)
We can rest in this, that whilst men often act biasedly, politically, manipulatively and indeed wickedly; at least  “God is no respecter of persons.” Now that’s fair!

For more information on the influence of hostile Secularism, please watch the following video.