Saturday, 28 April 2012

Who is Sufficient for Christian Ministry!

What will God have to do to me, with me, or in me for me to be useful in His hand?  That was the single question that exercised my mind and heart as I walked the beautiful sun-kissed beach at Portstewart, Northern Ireland.  I am booked to preach twice tomorrow (Sunday), and the responsibility of this task is heavy upon me.  I know what needs to be preached, but "who is sufficient for these things?"  I feel so unworthy to stand in a pulpit with the Christian Gospel; but this is the work to which God has called me, so I will not be disobedient to God's call.
How then am I to minister?  Well, I must be utterly dependent upon God's grace, totally reliant upon God's gracious enabling; I must seek Him as never before and cast myself unreservedly upon Him.  He will help me.

Confessions and Longings of a Preacher

I am still enjoying immensely the DMLJ sermons and hopefully benefitting from them.  They are so fresh and relevant and easy to follow.  I know I can learn from his approach to preaching and hope to become a better preacher of the everlasting Gospel.  His evangelistic zeal is affecting, and I feel challenged by what I am reading.  There is certainly no 'take it or leave it' with the Doctor when he preaches the Gospel.  He appeals to his hearers, pleads with them and urges them to trust Christ as the only Saviour there is for them.  I wish I had the same warmth and intensity when it comes to closing a Gospel sermon.  I can but try to be better, but as always, unless the unction of God is upon the preacher and preaching, it will avail nothing.

But we pray on and preach on.  I am greatly encouraged by the Doctor's view that it is not great preachers or great sermons that God blesses, nor even great orthodoxy, but great likeness to Jesus (McCheyne's term) - that bit rebukes me, mind you.  I will not be a great preacher nor will my sermons be great sermons, but I can strive to be more like my Saviour, and depend much more on the risen Lord to send His Spirit upon us each Lord's day, and whenever I have opportunity to preach the Gospel of God.


This is the ‘virtue’ that is honoured within Christian churches today.  In the olden days, this was more of a ‘vice,’ but not today.  It is this characteristic that enables the church’s leaders do whatever they wish.  It opens the way for them to admit into church membership unconverted sinners and to baptise the infants of unregenerate church members; they only have to say they are Christians for the church to accept them as Christians.  No man can see the true state of another’s heart or his standing before God, so if they say the right things, we will probe no further.

For such people to be honest and say they are not Christians at all will be for their babies to go unbaptised – perish the thought for those of Romanising mind-fix. 

Indeed, for ministers of the truth to prefer deceit is shameful.  Ministers are no longer allowed to preach in many pulpits because they have the courage to speak the truth.  Hypocrisy is preferred because that opens doors to ‘ministry’ rather than closing them.  Pretending that things in the church garden are rosy is what is expected of preachers; we do not want preachers who tell it as it is, do we? 

Every church gets on at this business.  I have not yet met a church or denomination that admits that it is having problems or it has got it wrong on some matters.  If such a church exists, please let me know.

Oh, yes, the infallible Roman Catholicism has admitted it has done a few wrong things in the past, not serious wrong, you understand; just minor misdemeanours like systematically abusing the most innocent and vulnerable within its lurid jurisdiction, and then successfully covering this up for many decades. 

But those churches that do not claim infallibility act as if they were by not admitting to any wrongdoing ever. 

You see, it is better to be dishonest in church affairs than otherwise because being otherwise only lets the side down – and we can’t have that, can we?

Thursday, 26 April 2012


Without looking any further, Christ's beatitudes highlight the essential difference between the Christian and the non-Christian.  The Bible regards this difference as something absolutely basic and fundamental.  It is of critical urgency that the Church recognises this difference and acts to demonstrate that she recognises this difference. 

The contemporary church demonstrates that she has lost or blurred this distinction.  What is happening is that the world has come into the church, often invited and welcomed in by evangelical ministers, and the church has thereby become worldly.   

The difference between Christian and non-Christians is not as clear as it once was; it’s a bit like the difficulty people have in telling boys from girls.  During the church’s best periods, this distinction was as clear as could be.  But tyhat is not the case today.  And the reason?  The church has departed from her sole King and Head, Jesus Christ. 

The big concern today for many churches is to attract the man of the world into her; so in order to do that the church has to become as like that man she is trying to attract as she can.  But are non-church worldlings entering the church as a result?  No.  Just a trickle will come to some churches, but the vast majority of people just can’t tell the difference between the church and their social contacts.  The church in her brightest times has never worked in that way.  It has not worked in the past, and it never will work.  And the sooner the church learns this lesson, the better.

Is there an answer to this malady?  Yes, and it’s this.  When the church is as different as she can be from those she is trying to attract and win, then she is successful.  This is ironic.  Opposites attract.  Men of the world are fed-up with having ‘more of the same.’  They are looking for something different, something that is challenging.  When she finds a church that is categorically different from itself, her message has that drawing power that Christians have long prayed for.

When the church’s life and message is different from those of the world, people sit up and listen.  At first they will hate and resent that challenging message; but they will come to see that this is the truth.  This has been the pattern in every revival the church has known.  When Christians and the church seeks to become as like Christ as they can be, they will be so unlike the world they are trying to win to the Saviour. 

Now, there’s a challenge for you!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Walking By On The Other Side - Graceless Ministers

The Priests and the Levites haven't gone away, you know!  They are still alive and well within the Christian Church.  They are still doing what they know best; walking by on the other side.  They cannot be seen to be associating with 'the unclean,' or 'the great unwashed.'  No, no.  That would never do.  After all, we are middle class churchmen who work in middle class churches.

"We cannot be seen to associate with 'lesser' mortals.  Just think of the effect that might have on us as individuals, the disgrace, the talk at ministerial fraternals, and also our future.  We have to be careful to endorse whatever the church says and does, be it right ot wrong, if ever we want to become Moderator or Archbishop or President.  Can't mess that one up, can we?

What makes this really astonishing is that many of these men claim not only to believe the doctrines of grace, but preach them.  Yet, they refuse to help the outcasts or have anything to do with them.  They only associate with the pure and perfect.  They have no facility in their hearts to accept the repentant and the forgiven.  Therefore they have no grace!

If pressed, such preachers will admit that they just do not believe in what Paul describes as "Christian, or spiritual, warfare."  There is no devil, no Satan, therefore no such thing as Satanic attacks.  Because there is, in their view, no devil, there can be no such thing as Satanic attack.  That all went out when men came of age.  In the old days when men were not well educated they believed in all this weird spiritual stuff; but not today.  We are educated and clever and sophosticated; we have moved on from there and no longer believe in "spiritual forces of wickedness in high or heavenly places."  Poor Paul; he was a man of his age who did not have the knowledge of psychology that we possess.

Today, everything can be explained by human psychology.  The Bible is outdated."

Now, if you believe in practice any of the above, you must re-examine the foundations of your profession of faith.  You might well have drank in the unfaithfulness of liberal theology, which, I'm sure, many of you were taught at seminary or college.

If you do not believe in the above, then thank God that He has not only saved you but kept you from the destructive influences of all forms of theological liberalism.  That teaching does not believe in the existence of the devil, so it does not believe in a personal devil who attacks and seeks to destroy the children and servants of God.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Hazlett Lynch's Books

For a selection of my published books, please visit here.

Thank you.


What is the most effective way to ensure the church follows your personal agenda?  Easy.  Do not allow any discussion about those things that matter.  Bring down the guillotine fast.  Cut off those who want to oppose your plans.  Refuse any input from those who see things differently.  Those who support the minister’s materialistic plans as providing ‘good leadership’ have missed something inportant somewhere.

But, really, who is calling the shots in such churches?  Unless I am totally mistaken, it is the young people in the churches who are setting the entire church agenda.  They have to be catered for at all costs.  Their changing needs must be accommodated and met at all costs. 

And that brings me to another point.  When young people, people who may or may not be Christians, even though they are church members, write the agenda for the entire congregation, that church is in very serious trouble.  First, they do not have the spiritual knowledge or maturity, not just to take but to be given that role.  Their experience is still being formed (which is true for all of us, though older Christian people have loads of life experience as well as Christian experience).  They are still being educated, will go off to university, some will not return to their home area again, and when they start earning, they will link themselves to their local church and contribute to that.  The home church that they helped to plunge into enormous debt will receive nothing of their financial contributions. 

People in Northern Ireland are crying out for what they call ‘common sense politics.’  In the church scene, some mature church people are asking for the same but are not finding it.  Hair-brain ideas are proposed and no one knows where the money will come from to fund such projects.  True, I believe that God Himself will provide the resources for His work; but there’s a condition, as Hudson Taylor once famously said: “God’s work done in God’s way will not lack the resources.”  The question has to be asked of many enterprises: is what is proposed doing God’s work in the way He approves?

How easy it is for ambitious ministers who (secretly) want the new build to be named after them, to let their imaginations and their desire to be named in stone run away with them.  And for what?  Worldly fame.

Can anyone honestly say that when personal ambition enters a project, that work is being done in God’s way?  When people want to make a name for themselves, like they did at Babel (Gen.11), they merely succeed in drawing down God’s displeasure upon all involved.

But some are prepared to do just that!

Response to Alex Kane on Reconciliation

Hello Alex.  Thank you for your analysis of the current (and future) situations and for your honesty about the 'rerconciliation industry' - my words.  This industry has been established by the government, and has bought many vulnerable people into it and paid them well. 
I work with the innocent victims of terrorism, and have sought to promote true reconciliation in Northern Ireland.  But what have I found?  Just this: the reconciliation that I was promoting, and still do, is not what the government, the funding bodies and other 'do-gooders' want; in fact, it is the very opposite of that fiasco that Europe funds with its millions of Euros.  The EU will fund 'pretend' reconciliation because that shows that it is doing something to improve things in Northern Ireland.  It has a 'tick-box' mentality, meaning that if it can show that it has funded so many 'reconciliation events,' it is contributing to our best interests.  The fact is that our country has not made much progress in the past almost two decades, despite superficial appearances to the contrary.
For example, the EU will fund tea and scones parties, and day outings; it will keep inexperienced people in post and support those who support the government policies of member states.  The EU, through the SEUPB, does not seem to be remotely interested in promoting genuine peace and reconciliation.  Even when organisations have been funded to do this crucial work, it was being manipulated by SEUPB people by insisting that a percentage of project participants had to be from the 'other' side.  Social engineering is a big part of the modus operandi of the EU and almost a condition of receiving its funding, in my experience - a point that I raised with them and objected to on numerous occasions.
The 'reconciliation industry' has promoted useless initiatives (because they keep people on the ground actively involved in paper pushing, following protocols, adhering to silly procurement policies, keeping all kinds of irrelevant records, and ensuring that the EU gets the credit for whatever has been done.  It is ego-stroking activity that the EU supports, not real reconciliation work.
Like you, Alex, I have no wish or desire to be reconcilied to the men and the organisation that murdered my young brother in 1977, but with this difference - certain necessary conditions must be met before I will be reconciled to anyone.  The IRA, including those who were not actively involved in that atrocity for my family (the commanders, 2IC's, brigadiers,etc - many of whom probably now sit in Stormont), will have to acknowledge that it was totally indefensible and unjustifiable for them to murder my policeman brother.  They must admit to this, and make a specific confession - a general confession is useless - telling everything they know about that terrorist attack (who did what, when, how, where and why).  Without this, there will be no reconciliation between us. And any attempted justification or re-writing of the facts or cover-up, either by them of by the HET, will merely demonstrate the hypocrisy and insincerity of their words.  As David Ervine once famously said, the IRA are 'corporate liars,' which makes anything they say suspect from the outset.
They must repent of what they did; which means that they must come to see it and be convinced that they did was totally unacceptable behaviour as a means of fulfilling political goals.  They must say this and show it.  They must with profound grief for and hatred of what they did, turn away from it and turn to God in Christ Who alone can forgive them.  Without true and genuine repentance there is no possibiity of reconciliation between us.  The IRA is coin vinced of the rightnes of its campaign of terror, so getting them to admit of wrongdoing and repent of its sins and crime is a dead duck.  Which is another way of saying that IRA/SF is not remotely interested in reconciliation in Northern Ireland, so anyone who is taken in by their sugared words is a bigger fool that even he or she is prepared to accept.
These evil-doers must make a commitment not to return to such practice in the pursuit of their political goals and aspirations. Here they have a moral responsibility to inform on those within their camp who are still committed to and involved in terrorist violence.  They must do all in their power to forsake their past living and behaviours, both in practice and intellectually, and thus demonstrate that they have really changed.  Without this, there will be no reconciliation between us.  I'll not hold my breathe for this to happen.
This implies that once this admission, etc has been made and received, those actively involved and their apologists must be barred from holding poublic office at any level.  This was done successfully in Colombia under Press. Uribes.
The change I'm looking for goes well beyond a cessation of terrorist activity, though it includes that.  I want to see a change of heart, a change of mind and of thinking about the things they did, that they  were totally wrong and without defense or justification, a change that will lead to fundamental change in direction.  Unless the change goes right to the root of the problem, it is ephemeral and will not last.  I am looking for lasting change because everything short of that will lead us back into what we do not want - more terrorism.
The 'do-gooders' will not buy into this because it challenges and undermines everything they have thought and done in the past, and that many are still doing.  They are big into healing deep wounds lightly, superficially.  They do not seem to be interested in the total health of the entire body of people.  They want to be well-thought of as 'peace-makers,' as Adams & Co. now are.  They want to secure the plaudits of men and nations, and receive whatever honours of state that can be heaped upon them.  This self-serving 'industry' is nauseating in the extreme, but it always attracts those who are in it for themselves. 
Indeed, probably the best reconciliation work is done away from the public gaze and away from the cameras; but this is not recognised because the EU gets no credit for it. 
Finally, I do not believe that Northern Ireland's difficulties can be resolved by writing God out of the equation.  Let's admit it - all human governments are, by definition and practice, anti-God in their orientation, so there is no hope to be expected from that quarter.  The sooner our nation gets back to God in Christ, the sooner will we see a return to better days for us all. 
And let us not depend on the churches to help in this regard either - their past record is not impressive.  No.  Our people must do before God what I have stated the IRA must do at a political level, and seek their reconciliation first with God and then with each other.  Only when that has been done, will Northern Ireland know the blessing of God once again. 
Neither atheism nor humanism has anything worthwhile to offer our beleaguered land and people.  The sooner we realise that, the better.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Part-Time Preachers

I have often mused on the matter of uncalled men 'taking up' preaching as a kind of part-time occupation which they can have in conjunction with their full-time employment.  Men who will not leave their full-time paid post in order to serve Christ in the full-time Christian ministry obviously do not see the Christian ministry as a full-time work.  It is not the kind of work that they want to 'waste' their lives doing, but they don't mind the pulpit supply fee that goes along with it - especially in the big denominations.

I have no problem with men being paid their fee for exercising their God-given ministry, because the worker is worthy of his reward, and those who labour in the Word and doctrine are worthy of a double portion. Nor have I a problem with those men who are under call by God to the full-time Christian ministry. 

Further, I have no difficulty with Gospel men who have been forced out of their ministry and are still under call from God receiving their supply fees for the work they do.

Where I do have a problem is when men hold on to their 'worldly' professions and still seek to exercise the ministry that is the domain of 'called' men of the Gospel.

In addition, I have known a man with his own career who preached virtually every Sunday in the year, receiving his fee for the work because this fee paid his mortgage.  What prostitution of the Christian ministry this really is.

Then you have men who were called into the Christian ministry who have sought to be appointed as Chairmen of government boards which attract a lucrative salary; they do this alongside their pastoral ministry, and reap the benefits of so doing. Others go into full-time politics, reap their MP's salaries and also their salaries from their congregation.  More prostitution of the teaching elder's office.

Moreover, these part-time preachers must never have read the most solemn caution delivered by the apostle James when he said that the judgement to be faced by preachers will be greater than those who are not preachers.  It is the most solemn and solemnising work on earth.  It is the single most important work on earth.  So critical is this work that only men dedicated to it are properly equipped and qualified for it.

Let us pray to God to raise up men who will dedicate themselves to the Gospel ministry because no man who sets his hand to the plough and looks back (to whatever) is fit for the Kingdom of God.  We need men who are singular in their desire to serve Christ in the Gospel.  Part-timers are of very limited usefulness. 

No cause of any importance has ever been served well with only part-time workers.