The rising bourgeoisie that had invited back the Stewart monarchy to re-establish order after the chaos of the later Cromwellian period had concluded that papist monarchs could not be trusted to rule in the manner in which the new elites wanted; hence the invitation to William of Orange and the development of the idea that basic civil liberties and good government could be preserved only by a Protestant monarch.
Until the Catholic Emancipation Act of , Catholics were excluded from most parts of civil society, and, under that Act, Catholics continued to be excluded from many senior and inXuential political oYces. The Irish setting raised the conXict between Protestants and Catholics to a level not known in the rest of Britain, but most Britons shared a similar commitment to antiCatholicism.
Rhetorical devices such as the Coronation Oath, which requires the monarch to promote the Protestant faith and reasserts the perils of Catholic rule, had deep resonances in Ireland, where they could be translated into judgements on the political conXict between unionists and nationalists, but such devices were fabricated in London and had a similar, albeit attenuated, resonance in the rest of the realm.
If this point seems to have been laboured, it is only because it is very easy for modern commentators to suppose that Irish evangelical Protestants such as Ian Paisley have somehow invented a new set of religious beliefs to justify their political postures. Kaufmann ed. Brewer and G. The Protestants organized their resistance to any breaking of the Union and in the Wrst decade of the century demonstrated their opposition to a united and independent Ireland by joining Sir Edward Carsons potentially revolutionary Ulster Volunteer Force UVF.
The onset of the First World War postponed the need for rebellion. However, Protestant opposition to Rome rule was not eradicated. If anything, it had been reinforced by the Irish Republican Easter Rising in Dublin in and the violent struggles that followed it. For the Protestants, the rising was proof positive of Catholic treachery: their opponents waited until Britain was occupied in a bloody struggle for democracy and freedom and attacked from the rear.
Ireland was partitioned. Partition had the eVect of increasing the importance of Presbyterianism in Irish Protestantism. Although many Presbyterians were stranded on the wrong side of the border especially in Monaghan , the majority were in the new state of Northern Ireland and a large part of the Church of Ireland Protestants were in the Free State.
And the Church of Ireland people in the new state were well organized into a working alliance with the Presbyterians through the Orange Order and the Unionist Party. The period after the foundation of Northern Ireland as a political unit was a time of considerable Protestant unity. Not all religious revivals are reactions to social or political unrest, but, in religious cultures, such stresses do often produce popular movements of increased religious commitment.
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Collective recommitment to the shared tradition is one way in which people can bolster their sense of community and reaYrm those values that they hold to 11 For a brief history of the foundation of the Northern Ireland state, see D. With a degree of exaggeration, a historian of Protestant crusades in post-partition Ulster explains their success as a reaction to civil strife.
Ulster has undergone many changes during the past four years. Its boundaries have been modiWed, and its Government recast. Four years ago, the North of Ireland was in a state of chaos. Fears and uncertainty Wlled the minds of people. Politicians were at their wits end.
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Murder and destruction, for the time being, seemed to be on the throne. No one could possibly describe the hopelessness of the situation, as things continued to travel from bad to worse. What God provided was William P. Nicholson, an Ulster-born evangelist who was at home in Bangor recuperating from an illness contracted while working in America.
He was asked to address a local meeting of Christian workers. The crowds attending the meetings grew and many were converted. Nicholsons fame soon spread, and he was invited to preach at meetings in Portadown, Lisburn, Newtownards, and Dromore. In his blunt and sometimes vulgar manner, Nicholson preached the message of eternal damnation, repentance, faith, and salvation, and thousands responded. What is signiWcant about these revival meetings is that they were sponsored by clergymen of all the major Protestant denominations and attended by sizeable numbers of working-class people.
Shipyard workers marched from the yards to the services in the Presbyterian church on the Ravenhill Road in East Belfast: It was in one of these services that about men openly came out for Christ, many of them publicly destroying their betting books, cards, etc. Salvation became epidemic and on the street and the car, the topic was either Nicholson or the work he was accomplishing.
Tramwaymen, railwaymen, postmen and policemen were all roped in. Nicholson Belfast: Emerald Isle Books, See also S. Murray, W. It is this unusual appeal to working people that makes these meetings interesting. By the s the major Protestant denominations had lost contact with most of the lower classes in the British cities.
What made the Belfast situation diVerent was the importance of religion in establishing the social identity of Ulster Protestants. To make sense of their opposition to the Home Rule movement, and of the crisis from which Ulster was just emerging, they had to retain at least a nominal attachment to Protestantism. Nicholson was then able to use the sense of crisis to call large numbers of these people from their nominal Protestantism to a serious personal commitment.
The strong sense of Protestant denominational cooperation was short lived. Nicholsons Wrst campaigns between and had been integrating; his second series of meetings three years later was supported by a much narrower evangelical base and tended to be divisive. There were two general reasons for this shift. From the point of view of the audience, the crisis had passed. The civil war in the Free State had taken the pressure oV Ulster, and the world appeared to be settling down. With the external threat removed, the overwhelming pull to dramatic commitment to a shared religious ideology was attenuated, and people could return to their own denominational attachments.
The second general reason concerns a shift in the religious climate most easily described as the rise of fundamentalism. Perhaps the most important was the popularity of what was rather arrogantly called the Higher Criticism. The logic 14 For brief accounts of the Higher Critical method, see R. Grant and D. Every civilization has its own worldview, its own set of background beliefs expressed through its language, and the early Christians were no exception.
Christ was a real person, but what we know of him has been heavily overlaid with the worldview of the people of this time. In order to discover what God really intends for us we must strip away the Hebrew and Aramaic myths and get to the real heart of the Christian message. The same scholars were drawing on recent historical and archaeological discovery to dismantle the Bible.
It was no longer to be regarded as the revealed Word of God but as a collection of writings put together by a variety of authors who borrowed from and embellished various ancient texts to make sense of what they saw and experienced. The Higher Criticism was coupled with a desire to remove the miraculous and supernatural elements from Christianity in order to produce a rational version of the faith that would be acceptable to a culture that knew about science and technology and that, so the higher critics reasoned, could no longer believe that the Red Sea really parted or that Jonah lived inside a big Wsh.
This rationalism gradually permeated all the major Protestant denominations and it was not only a theological movement. Its proponents tended also to be socially liberal and politically progressive. They believed that the gospel entailed Christians being socially reformers because the improvement of peoples material conditions would make them more receptive to the preaching of the Word.
The conservatives tended to the view that man was beyond redemption and that only religious conversion could improve anything. Hence they thought that one should preach the gospel, get men saved, and then social and economic reform and prosperity would follow naturally from a saved population acting righteously. Fundamentalism as an organized movement had its origins in America, although the controversy that produced it was to be found in all the Protestant churches.
Tauris, The fundamentalists argued that the Bible was the divinely inspired and revealed word of God. It was infallible. If there was a conXict between science and religion, then science was wrong. There was a Trinity of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; it was not just a case of Jesus being a particularly inspiring and holy man. And he was born to a virgin, as the Bible said. Nicholson was a fundamentalist, and he brought to Northern Ireland an aggressive critique of liberalism in the Protestant churches. By he was being seen, not as a man who united Protestants, but as a sectarian whose preaching against the evils of modernism and liberalism would split the denominations.
The anti-modernist Nicholson struck a chord with some Irish Presbyterians. An initial skirmish in the inevitable war between the liberals and conservatives came with a split in the Scottish Free Church. Although the Free Church had been formed in by conservatives who left the national Kirk because it was unable to divorce itself from the civil state enough to purify itself, the Free Churchmen especially those of the growing urban middle class had quickly become advocates of liberalism and modernism.
In the majority of them united with another organization of Presbyterians that had grown from earlier splits from the national Kirk. A rump refused to accept the merger and claimed that, as they were continuing in the beliefs of the original Free Church, they were entitled to all the property of the Free Church. At the end of a bruising legal battle, the House of Lords found in favour of the small conservative remnant. The Irish Presbyterian Church was a sister reformed church and in its early diYcult years it had been supported by the Scots.
Hence there was considerable interest among the Irish in the Free Churchs battles. The leading spokesmen of the Irish Presbyterian Church supported the main body of the Free Church in its desire to unite with the United Presbyterians. James Hunter, a leading conservative in the Belfast Presbytery, proposed a motion supporting the conservative rump. He was heavily defeated. With the legal disputes in Scotland and the fundamentalist movement in America, it was inevitable that the Irish Presbyterians would eventually turn from taking sides in other peoples controversies to.
Although he did not openly argue that the conservatives should abandon the Presbyterian Church, he was increasingly aggressive in his preaching against the liberals in the Irish Presbyterian theological colleges. One consequence of his preaching was the formation of the Bible Standards League to maintain the infallible Truth and Divine Authority of the whole Bible against liberals such as Professor J. Ernest Davey, who wished to argue that one could select from the Bible certain general principles that were infallible and dismiss other sections as wrong or mythical.
Hunter regarded it as his supreme task to stem the tide of theological liberalism, and he now became conWrmed in his opinion that the Church was less than loyal to her creedal statements.
Although Presbyterians took the Bible as the only standard of authoritative knowledge, they accepted the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Longer and Shorter Catechisms as subordinate standards. These were documents drawn up in the s and accepted by the Church of Scotland in They had long been an embarrassment to liberals, and in a group led by Henry Montgomery was driven out of the Irish Presbyterian Church when Henry Cooke persuaded the majority of the church that all ministers and elders should subscribe their name to the Confession.
In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, liberals in the various Scottish Presbyterian churches had modiWed their commitment to the Confession with Declaratory Acts that claimed to interpret the Confession but that actually undermined it. By the s there was pressure in the Irish Presbyterian Church for a similar relaxation of commitment to the Westminster Confession.
Conservatives such as James Hunter and 16 J. Austin Fulton, J. The simmering dispute in the church was brought to a head by liberals. In thirteen college students petitioned the Belfast Presbytery to know exactly what obligations would be imposed on them by their subscribing to the ordination formula, which included the Westminster Confession.
The General Assembly established a commission to consider the matter. Hunter issued a series of pamphlets criticizing the theological teachers. The Belfast Presbytery replied by censuring Hunter for pursuing his campaign outside the church. He appealed against the censure and was defeated in the Assembly by votes to a fair reXection of the balance of power in the church. Hunter and supporters then pursued two leading theologians for heresy and were again defeated.
The arguments are worth describing in some detail because they are precisely those that motivated Ian Paisley forty years later. J Ernest Davey, Hunters main target, was a good representative of the liberal tradition in theology and the Higher Critical tradition in biblical criticism. He wanted to modify the traditional Protestantism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to something that could encompass the new ideas of science and Freudian psychology.
He was a believer in new lightthe idea that Gods revelation was not Wxed but was always changing and improving. We knew more about the world than did the Divines who wrote the Westminster Confession and we certainly knew more about the way in which the Bible texts were constructed, so why should we be constrained by the categories of thought they used?
A subsidiary element in the controversy concerned professionalism. The liberals, though they were hardly aware of it, were snobs. They slid very easily from arguing that new forms of scholarship were useful tools for understanding the Christian message, to suggesting that they were, in some sense, essential, and that only professional theologians who understood the new German rational philosophy or Freudian psychology could speak with authority on matters of doctrine.
The conservatives were extremely bitter at this shift from the basic tenet of reformed Protestantism that all that was necessary for salvation was in the Bible and available there for any normal person to comprehend. One of the conservative protagonists summarized the liberal view of the Bible thus: a discredited. A biography of Davey, written forty years after his trial for heresy, begins by denigrating the conservatives for a lack of scholarship: The people whose antipathy to Professor Davey was aroused had, for the most part, little qualiWcation, if any, for forming theological opinions and less for pronouncing theological judgements.
Conservatives saw the theologians advocating a new priestcraft. Liberals saw the fundamentalists hiding from the modern world with their heads in the sands of seventeenth-century dogma. Most of the supporters of the Bible Standards League remained in the IPC, arguing that they could best defend orthodoxy from within, and public interest in the controversy evaporated.
By the s the new Irish Evangelical Church had recruited only nine congregations, six of them in the Belfast area. As the failure of the schism provides a useful contrast with Paisleys later success, it is worth making a few general observations. Hunter and his supporters were working in an environment that had not been prepared for schism. Although many in the IPC were unhappy at its direction, there were few organized networks of disaVected Presbyterians. By the time Paisley led his movement, a considerable infrastructure of mission halls and evangelistic organizations had been created by small groups of people gradually distancing themselves 18 J.
Hunter was trying to do too much too soon. A second problem was the new churchs identity. Omitting the word Presbyterian from the title Irish Evangelical Church was, in a culture with such a strong Presbyterian heritage, a tactical mistake. The confusion of name reXected deeper uncertainty. Within Wve years of its foundation, some leading men were expelled for deviation on beliefs about the second coming of the Lord. Only then did the church clarify its doctrinal basis and signal its commitment to a Presbyterian sort of orthodoxy rather than to conservativism generally.
Thirdly, the dissidents did not work hard to recruit a following. They set out their stall and waited for customers to turn up. Having been members of a large national organization of congregations, they were not prepared for the arduous task of selling their product. Fourthly, a small point with profound implications: the new church decided to have its students for the ministry trained by the Free Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.
In many ways this was sensible, as the two churches were extremely close in doctrine and practice and the Free Church of Scotland was well staVed with able teachers. But this made it diYcult for a clear Irish Evangelical Church identity to develop among the ministers, who instead saw themselves as being simply evangelical Presbyterians. But by far the most important diVerence between this schism and Paisleys movement was the general climate of the times. I have already mentioned the tenor of the early Nicholson crusades with their appeal to social cohesion and the way that harmonized with a very general desire of Ulster Protestants to pull together after the crises that accompanied the formation of the Ulster state.
The s were a period of consolidation. The Unionist Party was Wrmly established as the political voice of the Ulster Protestants, and people who had just come through a major crisis had little appetite for creating further divisions. What handicapped Hunters revolt was the absence of any major threat to Protestant identity in the political sphere. Here it is enough to note that, because their critique of liberalism was conWned to the religious sphere, the schismatics of the s were denied an important aid in the promotion of their conservative views.
Apprenticed to the drapery trade in Omagh, he was converted at a YMCA meeting and he began to preach. At that time many pious families in the country areas of Ulster held prayer meetings in their kitchens. Recent converts were encouraged to talk about their experience and those who showed a gift for witnessing to what the Lord had done for them would be encouraged to speak at more formal, larger meetings such as open-air rallies.
Kyle Paisley followed such a route into evangelism: As I look back upon those days I can see the guiding hand of the Lord upon my life. He led me to conduct monthly meetings at Grangemore, a short distance from Armagh and this meeting continued with great blessing for approximately four years. This was really the foundation of a great work of God in the city of Armagh and led Wnally to the commencement of the Wrst Baptist church in the Mall.
While pastoring in Armagh, Paisley met and married a Scots girl from a Covenanter background. The Reformed Presbyterian Church, to give the Covenanters their formal title, was the most conservative of the various 1 R. Scottish Presbyterian churches.
It was not some late schism but had always been outside the national Church of Scotland because it believed the state church had been set up on terms that gave too much inXuence over religion to the monarch, without the monarch making a matching commitment to impose the true faith on the populace.
Although almost extinct in Scotland, the Covenanters have to this day maintained a conservative theology and an old-fashioned style of worship: they sing only the metrical Psalms of David and those unaccompanied. They generally do not vote or hold public oYce though even this very limited withdrawal of consent is often now compromised.
The desire to maintain religious purity, so strong in the younger Paisleys ministry, was inherited from his father. Although most Irish Baptists were solidly conservative, many English assemblies were adopting modernist ideas, and some pastors were, albeit tentatively, becoming involved in the various interdenominational meetings and associations that were later collectively dubbed the ecumenical movement.
With a few of his Xock, Kyle Paisley started services in a disused carpet warehouse. He then trusted in the Lord to provide and acquired a building site by the railway lines. A plain single-storey buildingthe Waveney Road Tabernaclewas erected, and the small congregation set out in its Covenant its Wrm opposition to the antisuper-naturalism of modernism, and the deceptions of fanaticism, and the formality of a dead and defunct orthodoxy.
In a day of apostasy, declension and compromise, the remnant would maintain a faithful witness to the belief that the Bible was the whole Word of God. The parents of William Beattie, who became one of Ian Paisleys early colleagues, were Antrim farmers, the descendants of the old Scots settlers and Presbyterian since their arrival in Ireland.
But they were opposed to the modernism of Professor Davey and other leading Wgures in the church and they wanted to hear orthodox preaching. The Irish Evangelical Church had no congregations in the Ballymena area and there was no Reformed Presbyterian Church nearby and so they found themselves drawn to the Baptist congregation led by Kyle Paisley. The foundation of a small independent Baptist work in Ballymena was a matter of little signiWcance even in Ulster, but it was part of the wider fundamentalist controversy and that was signalled by Dr.
Shields, one of the leading North American fundamentalists, laying the foundation stone for the Waveney Road Tabernacle. Ian Paisleys childhood was unexceptional, except perhaps in the rigour of his religious socialization and the decor to which that gave rise. The words Salvation to the Uppermost now on the wall beside his church pulpit were a text Wxed to a large portrait of General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, that adorned his bedroom wall.
By his own account his schooling was perfectly normal and his family life happy. After a brief period working on the farm of a family friend near Sixmilecross in County Tyrone, Ian began to preach at small meetings and felt a call to full-time Christian work. In he returned to Ulster and he enrolled as a student with the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Belfast, although he had no intention of becoming a minister in that denomination.
There he acquired a thorough grounding in Calvinist 4 It is an interesting sign of the extent to which critics of Paisley will go to uncover anything to his discredit that biographers have tried to make something of the fact that he did not enlist, and one potential author asked me if it was not the case that he had been sent to college to avoid the call-up! He was only 14 in In addition to the Reformed Presbyterians who taught him, he became acquainted with W. Grier, who, since the death of James Hunter in , had become the leading Wgure in the Irish Evangelical Church and on occasions he acted as a supply preacher for Grier.
His performance was acceptable and he was invited to become its pastor. It had been formed as a result of a schism in the Ravenhill Presbyterian Church, the building that had been packed in by the shipyard workers coming to hear W. Nicholson preach against modernism. The minister of that church and his elders had been signatories to the heresy charges laid against Davey, and the congregation was generally very conservative. The occasion for the division was almost trivial and involved a large amount of personal friction in addition to the basic tension between theological positions.
Some members took strong exception to modern dress and hairstyles. In particular they wanted the kirk session to censure some girls for having their hair bobbed in the fashion of the day. One of the girls was the daughter of the minister, John Ross. Despite the fact that Ross was himself deeply conservative and had been a signatory to the charges against Davey, the issue divided the kirk session against him.
In March a small number of conservative members left to meet in a building yards down the Ravenhill Road. Adam Loughridge, a former Principal of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Hall, for making these details known to me. Most schisms involve arguments about which side best represents the tradition. In some disputes, real estate is at issue. In others, it is the symbolic estate that is fought over.
The formation of Ian Paisley s Free Presbyterian Church in began an argument, which still runs, over the propriety of the label Presbyterian. Such arguments are not trivial: they have major implications for the ability of contending parties to recruit others with the claim that they represent the heritage. The people who moved down the Ravenhill Road to form their own congregation were Presbyterians, and the leaders of the schism were ordained elders of the IPC. When Ian Paisley accepted their call, he was stepping into the Presbyterian tradition. However, by the time he was called, eleven years had elapsed and some of the original Presbyterians had left and been replaced by evangelical Protestants drawn from across the denominational spectrum.
There were Methodists, Baptists, and Brethren, and, for eighteen months prior to Paisleys call, the congregation had been led by a Brethren evangelist. Nonetheless, Paisley was consolidating the foundations of the Presbyterianism he had acquired from his mothers inXuence, his own training with the Reformed Presbyterians, and his connection with Griers schismatic Presbyterians, when he accepted the call of a secession Presbyterian church. DiVerent denominations have diVerent notions of how someone is called to the ministry.
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The Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches have a high theory of ordination. They believe that the ability to interpret Gods will correctly and to perform religious rituals was passed from Christ to his Apostles, and from them to a succession of oYce holders. Only people in the correct succession have a valid calling. Reformed denominations have no such magical conception of the ministrythere is no mystical quality that is passed from one generation of priests to the nextbut most still have some ceremony in which representatives of the church test and endorse aspiring ministers.
At the low end of the spectrum, denominations such as the Baptists and the Brethren hold that whether someone has been genuinely called to lead a community of Christians is known only by the fruits of his ministry. Ian Paisley himself tends to the low position, while the traditional Presbyterian view has usually been somewhere between the high apostolic succession notion of Catholics or Anglicans and the free-for-all.
For this reason, the Irish Presbyterians have been keen to show that Paisley was not properly ordained. Professor T. Revd Thomas Rowan, an old Irish Presbyterian minister who had worked with the American evangelists Moody and Sankey in their missions at the end of the previous century, brought the charge to the congregationthe part of an ordination in which the congregation are reminded of their obligations, especially to pray for their new minister.
Grier, one of the founders of the Irish Evangelical Church, preached and charged Paisley to be faithful in contending for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Of the four ministers who took part in the service, three were Presbyterians. The only non-Presbyterian involved was Ian Paisleys father. Thus, unless one takes a rather high view of ordination, and reformed Protestantism does not do so, Paisley was validly ordained. However, to treat the question in this way is to discuss it only in the terms set by Paisleys critics.
Paisley himself had no great commitment to a speciWcally Presbyterian style of ordination: I dont think that the emphasis is on denominational ordination.
Paisley: Religion and Politics in Northern Ireland
I think the emphasis is on a Christian minister. The 6 J. The context makes it clear which. Paisley was more interested in establishing his evangelical credentials than he was in laying the foundations for an argument that had not yet started. This can be seen in the attention that Paisley devotes to two other elements of his entry to the ministry: encouragement from a great revival preacher and a profound spiritual experience that followed a number of years of little success.
In most of his accounts, he gives as much space to Nicholsons presence at his Wrst Sunday service as he does to his actual ordination. He is fond of repeating Nicholsons remarks to him after the service. After I had Wnished Mr Nicholson got up, walked forward to the Communion Table, rapped it and said to me: Young man, have you ever seen a cows tongue?
I said Yes, sir. What is it like? I said It is like a Wle. Then he lifted his hand and prayed, Lord give this young man a tongue like an old cow. A good example of Paisleys often neglected ability to laugh at himself was given when he told the story during a BBC television interview.
After he had delivered the punch line, he paused and added: And 10 Paisley, Four Windows, 8. To put oneself in the tradition of which Nicholson was part is to claim an important resource. Nicholson Memorialand his opponents, especially conservatives within the IPC, are keen to deny his inheritance. Sidney Murray, an admirer of Nicholson, wrote to Evangelical Voice, a magazine of a pressure group in the IPC, to contest my analysis and save Nicholson from Paisley by showing that Nicholson was not a separatist.
Murray is correct that Nicholson, although highly critical of its liberals, continued to support the IPC. He did attend Paisleys Ravenhill Mission Church, but he also worshipped at the Ravenhill Presbyterian Church when he returned to Belfast in the early s. Nicholsons lasting impact on Ulster religious life came through the Christian Workers Union: a ginger group within the church rather than a separatist movement. But I would argue against Murrays conclusion that Paisley was motivated by beliefs that Nicholson did not hold.
Paisley and Nicholson were very close in theology. What had changed between the world of the late s and s, and Paisleys world of the s, was the degree of apostasy in the IPC. Nicholson was concerned to stem and reverse an emergent trend.
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Paisley had come to the conclusion that the rot had set in so Wrmly that only radical separation would do. I see nothing in Nicholsons beliefs that would have led him to act in a manner diVerent from Paisley had he been faced with the same circumstances. The next few years of Paisleys ministry were trying but outwardly uneventful. In October he had a profound religious experience.
Feeling a deWnite weakness in his ministry, he called three friends to a late night prayer meeting. They prayed through the Wrst night, the next day, and into the second night. By the close, Paisley felt himself to have been Wlled with the Holy Spirit and possessed of renewed evangelistic power. This new phase in his ministry brought him into some conXict with some congregants who expected to be consulted about his work.
For example, they were oVended when he saw Ricos Circus tent in the grounds of the Ormeau Park and persuaded Rico to let him use it for an evangelistic rally. Without consulting his committee, he had posters printed and handbills distributed advertising the meetings and drew a crowd of almost a thousand people. Like many a group formed as a schism from a larger body and convinced of its own possession of the saving truth, the Ravenhill congregation had turned inwards. Some members drew such satisfaction from being part of a select band that knows something the rest of the world does not know that they had no great desire to see the band extended.
While Paisley worked the doors of the small working-class streets of East Belfast and held tent missions on cleared ground, resentment grew and Paisley fed it by frequently preaching against those members of the congregation whose religion was more formal than real. Well, if my preaching lacked Wre it now caught the Wre, but I tell you when that happens in a Church you are in for trouble, and I was sure in for trouble. When you meet the Devil in trousers he is very vicious, but when you meet the Devil in a skirt, then you are for it! I met the Devil in a skirt.
There was one woman in that congregation and she vowed that she would Wnish me for good. Of course that sort of thing has to come to a head and it came to the head one night when I preached a sermon on Hell. Her unconverted father was in the meeting and she was entirely upset that I would dare to talk about Hell and oVend her father. Going out she said to me I want to talk with you. I said All right, in fact I would like to talk with you. So we went into the little room and we shut the door and she started on me.
She said Your ministry is. Search the catalogue for collection items held by the National Library of Australia. Bruce, Steve. Paisley : religion and politics in Northern Ireland. Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video.
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Cite this Email this Add to favourites Print this page. Instead of the customary thanks to his election workers, Paisley delivered the following extemporised prayer:. In those five sentences we have the entire gospel according to Paisley: the threat from popery without; the treachery of the liberal Protestant churches within; the evil south of the Border; the fear of betrayal by Westminster; and, in the last line, the solution of divine intervention.
Forward to January All the unionist MPs resigned their seats to use the subsequent by elections as a protest against the hated Anglo Irish Accord. Ian Paisley and James Molyneaux campaigned together in a show of unionist unity. The point of the elections was to maximise the unionist vote. But the night before polling, a small crowd of Paisley's ministers and church members infiltrated an ecumenical service in the Church of Ireland's St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, and barracked the guest speaker, Cardinal Suenens. For Paisley, making a stand for his religious beliefs was worth the risk of alienating Church of Ireland unionists.
Then to this summer, to the opening of the Stormont talks on the future of Northern Ireland. While the media scrum in the car park concentrated on the excluded Sinn Fein leaders, the DUP delegation gathered in its office to prepare for what might have been the start of a new era. When Paisley arrived to brief his troops, he called them to order, took out of his pocket a very well thumbed Bible, and announced: "Let us begin with a reading from God's word.
Given the size and physical presence of Dr Ian Paisley MP MEP, that analogy is no bad place to start trying to understand the man who regularly collects almost , votes in the North's European elections. For Paisley, the Northern conflict is virtually a religious war. He has been in parliament for 25 years but he has been a preacher for twice as long and his politics comes from his faith. His mental map is that of the 16th century Protestant reformer.
Not for nothing is his church called the Martyrs Memorial. At times Rome uses subtle weapons - its influence within the EU or its insistence that the children of mixed marriages be raised as Catholics. At other times it has been brutal - the Spanish Inquisition, the persecution of the French Huguenots, the Gunpowder Plot. Though the tactics vary, the project remains the same.
Rome has never given up trying to win back what it lost at the Reformation and Ulster, with its proud history of evangelical Protestantism, is an affront which must be destroyed. Whatever the Pope says about peace, the IRA is doing his work for him. Add to that the general supposition that the Protestant religion inspires a variety of civil virtues - temperance, diligence, loyalty, democracy - while Romanism inspires subservience, authoritarianism, intemperance and, through the unnatural institution of "bachelor priests", sexual perversion, and one can understand why Ian Paisley is a unionist.
The core of Paisley's political support shares his religious interpretation of the struggle.