An appeal to the members of the Free Presbyterian Church and especially to the Presbytery members

By Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)

I believe that there is an evil undercurrent flowing and growing within the Free Presbyterian Church.

It remains to be seen if it will be rebuked and repudiated or if it will be ignored or, worse still, endorsed by the members, ministers and elders, especially those who make up the membership of our General Presbytery.

I am referring to the case of Rev David Wilson dancing publicly but a few weeks after he took an oath before the Lord and those gathered at his ordination back in mid-September, to “expose and oppose the IMMORALITY AND SOCIAL VICES of this present evil world such as DRINKING, DANCING and GAMBLING”, and the support given him in abusive emails by those who claim to be Free Presbyterians!

There can be NO EXCUSE offered for such a display. The ordination oath clearly states DANCING, that is every form of dancing. As there can be no exceptions to prohibition of Drinking and Gambling, under any circumstances, the same goes for dancing.

We are under a divine injunction to, “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” 1 Thessalonians 5:22. No matter how innocent an act of dancing may be claimed to be, it has the ‘appearance’, the form and fashion of that which is the world’s activity and we must therefore ‘hold one’s self off from’, as the original Greek may be explained!

If David Wilson ‘dancing’ is excused, then Free Presbyterian properties will soon be dance halls!

Those who have sought to defend this ‘wedding dance’ have done so by saying that it was an expression of ‘holy joy before the Lord’. If that is so, why, as I am led to believe, did no one else join in this dance? Did the new groom not feel such joy? Did the bride’s mother not feel happy before the Lord? It would appear that no one else felt that dancing in this fashion was a proper manner of expressing a rejoicing in the Lord that day!

Whatever decision the Presbytery will make will undoubtedly decide the future direction and destination of a church which was called into existence by the Lord, as was described in the 1988 Covenant, signed throughout the congregations, wherein each signatory before God solemnly covenanted, “by His Grace, to stand with Christ in this evil day, for all that He is for, and against all that He is against.” That covenant was solemnly undertaken on February 28th, just 25 years ago!

The church’s position on dancing was underscored in a statement issued by the Moderator, Dr Ian Paisley, back in May 2001 and ordered by the Presbytery to be read in all the congregations.

The statement read:

To be read in the Churches, by order of the General Presbytery of the Church.

The basis of Christian behaviour is Christian belief. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. As a man believes so he behaves. His ethics are based on his theology. The Bible emphasises the unbreakable link between Doctrine and Discipline.

The Christian is called to holy living because of holy believing. God is his Lord, and the doing of the Lord’s will is his delight. God is holy, and demands holiness from His people. Holiness is not conformity to the traditions of men, but to the tests of God. His revealed commandments are the standard to which we must bow, and the rule by which we must walk.

Psalm 1. The true Christian must shun anything which works against God’s holy standards.

He puts off the works of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21.

Those that do so bear the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22. The true Christian crucifies the flesh. Galatians 5:23. The dancing of the world, hugging the other sex, set to music, is sensual and clearly caters to the lust of the flesh. At ordination, all the ministers of the Free Presbyterian Church vow to denounce dancing, drinking, gambling, and the crazes of the present evil world.

Line dancing and other worldly practices are now freely indulged in by professing Christians at wedding receptions and other social occasions.

Line dancing is as sinful as any other type of dancing, with its sexual gestures and touchings. It is sensual, and not a crucifying of lust but an excitement to lust.

No Christian who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit should engage in it. It aids and abets fleshly lusts which war against the soul. The Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and those who defile it God will destroy.

As a Presbytery, we warn our members of the sinfulness of such dancing performances and exhort them not to participate in such practices.

As the God Who has called us is holy, so let us all be holy, obeying His call to separation from this present evil world. We should not touch the unclean things of a corrupted world, but we should make a clear distinction between the clean and the unclean.”

That was the publicly declared position of the Free Presbyterian Church less than 20 years ago, yet I have been abused by Free Presbyterians, including at least one minister, for holding to that position!

To take an oath before God and then defiantly break it within a few short weeks in a self-publicised manner, is to defy and deny the authority of the ‘only King and Head of the Church’, the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is very apparent that the Free Presbyterian Church is facing that challenge from hell that the generations of God’s saints have repeatedly faced. It is the same challenge to which Jude responded in those memorable and oft-quoted words.

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ,” Jude 1:3-4.

That day which came upon the Presbyterian Church in Ireland nearly 100 years ago, is drawing near to us. In 1927 J N Davey faced charges of heresy. Despite their professed adherence to the Westminster Confession of Faith, his fellow ministers and elders exonerated him from heresy, even when he had denied the deity of the Lord Jesus.

It may be said, indeed, will be said, that the issue facing the Free Presbyterian Church today is not in the same league at all with that which Presbyterians faced in 1927.

I beg to differ. All sin is essentially ONE. SMALL sins, as described by some, are but BIG waiting to grow! David’s most foolish staying at home and neglecting his kingly duties, developed into lust, adultery and the murder of a perfectly innocent and godly man, (2 Samuel 11:1—12:12).

As I have already said, there are the elements in a blatant oath-breaking, like that of David Wilson, which are found in J N Davey’s blasphemy, for in both there is a defying of the of the authority of Christ.

May the Lord be pleased to hear prayer and intervene in the affairs of our Church before it drifts downward and the evils of the apostasy everywhere seen in the ranks of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, begin to grow and flourish amongst us!

Sincerely in Christ’s name,

Ivan Foster
23rd November, 2023