Of late, I have been given to understand that there are those ministers in the Free Presbyterian Church who would seek to impress upon younger ministers and students that such is the case.
I would suggest that for those who say this, the days of protest never existed! To protest exposed one to reproach and shame, even the shame of the cross and that is not for the modern ‘evangelical’! Furthermore, someone might challenge them about their protest and claim it was ‘unchristian’ and ‘lacking in love’ and since they didn’t really believe that they should be protesting, how would they put up a defence?
Better to stay at home and hide under the bed in such circumstances!
Well, Holy Scripture teaches us that ‘the days of protest’ are not over and will continue for the true and faithful believer until the return of the Saviour Himself.
Proof of this may be found in the words of the Lord Himself in Jeremiah 11:7. “For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day [that] I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, [even] unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice.”
It clearly had been the practice of the Lord to ‘protest’ continually and that most ‘earnestly’ against the disobedience and failures and sins of Israel all their days, until the times of Jeremiah and of course afterwards as well. The word ‘protest’ is used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:31. It means ‘to firmly affirm by an oath’.
That a ‘Christian protest’ will be found on the earth until the Saviour’s return is evident from Revelation 11.
“And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” Revelation 11:3-12.
These two ‘protesters’ will be given power to protest far beyond the limits to which we are curtailed by the Lord today. But their witness is what I would call ‘A PROTEST’!!
The word ‘protest’ in the New Testament is likely an intensive form of a Greek word that is translated ‘verily’, ‘yea’, ‘truth’, and other such words. It appears in Peter’s second reply to the Lord (John 21:16) when asked by Him, “Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me?” Peter reply showed all the signs of vehemency and stridency. “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.” The word translated ‘yea’ is our word ‘protest’!
To protest is merely to affirm fervently the truth. That is what the Free Presbyterian Church from its beginnings sought to do in the face of the ecumenical and modernistic betrayal of God’s truth by the Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian churches.
It is a word which is incorporated into our religious characterisation. We are ‘PROTESTANTS’! That word came about in the times of Luther and the witness of other reformers and was employed by those who wished to classify those who, in the words of one definition of the origins of the words: “Protestants are so called after the declaration (protestatio) of Martin Luther and his supporters dissenting from the decision of the Diet of Spires (1529), which reaffirmed the edict of the Diet of Worms against the Reformation. All Protestants reject the authority of the Papacy, both religious and political, and find authority in the text of the Bible, made available to all in vernacular translation.”
To now claim that ‘the days of protest are over’ is tantamount to saying that the ‘Reformation is dead” and carries all the hallmarks of surrender to the devil’s lie and a cowardly betrayal of the Lord and His truth!
May the Lord deliver the Free Presbyterian Church from such deceitful notions, born of the devil’s lie!
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
16th October 2021.