Ulster or God?

4 Mar
Rev. Ian Paisely the First Minister of Northern Ireland and the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party today announced that he is stepping down from both these roles in May. There already has been much reaction to the 81 year old’s decision, the leader of the Alliance Party, David Ford, said “History will judge whether Ian Paisley will be remembered for 40 years of saying no or one year of saying probably.” Personally I will remember him for his dramatic U-turn from “Never, Never, Never” to “Possibly, Ok, How you doing Martin?”.
In the interview with BBC Newsline he identified the two main pillars behind all of his decisions, including the decision to form a government with Sinn Fein, as his Christian faith and the people’s best interests. This is where I strongly disagree with Paisley. Surely these are not two seperate cornerstones rather what God says is what is best for the people of Northern Ireland. Deuteronomy 16:20 reads “Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” Paisley did not follow the path of justice when he went into government with unrepentant terrorists such as Deputy First Minister McGuiness. He chose the path of power and to placed what he believed to be the best interests of Northern Ireland over God’s command. Being a politician involves tough decisions but in this instance “Big Ian” made the wrong one. Even if God’s way seems harder we must follow it and trust him for the consequnces. Christ must be acknowledged as King in the daily situations we face and the governing of Northern Ireland. Pray that as in times past our country may be ruled in accordance to God’s word.

The man who loved Ulster more than God?

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18 Responses to “Ulster or God?”

  1. Daniel Ritchie March 7, 2008 at 7:11 pm #

    James

    Tell your dad that he was ripped off on that Phil Arthur book. It only cost me £2.50 at Evangelical Bookshop.

    It didn’t take him long to read it mind you – I only mentioned it a couple of weeks ago.

  2. Anonymous March 8, 2008 at 3:33 am #

    I think this is a very naive commentary on the situation.

  3. James McCullough March 8, 2008 at 1:51 pm #

    Care to expand Mr/Mrs Annonymous?
    Are you suggesting it is “naive” to follow God’s commands?

  4. Anonymous March 10, 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    its “miss” James….For God and Ulster…….note the order in which these appear….

  5. James McCullough March 10, 2008 at 7:15 pm #

    The statement “For God and Ulster” could be considered blasphemous as it restricts God to working in a particular piece of land.

    Despite that do you believe that the Rev. Ian Paisley has put God before the supposed interests of Ulster? As Christians we serve a just God and should therefore be committed to seeing justice done. Ian Paisley and the DUP are part of a coalition government with unrepentant terrorists. Is that seeking justice?

  6. abeeeeeeee March 12, 2008 at 9:25 pm #

    hmmmmm

    james.

    what would you have done?

    first minister mccullough..scary stufffff

  7. James McCullough March 12, 2008 at 9:54 pm #

    lol I don’t think that is a possibility!

    In his position I hope I would have refused to become part of a power-sharing executive with Sinn Fein. Direct rule from London (or Dublin!) is preferable to condoning the actions of terrorists.

    I’m not saying that it would have been an easy decision and I never lived through the horror that was the Troubles but we are to put obeying God first, above everything else. Justice must come before peace as it is commanded by God and is the only sure foundation for peace.
    As Spurgeon once said “Your duty is to do the right: the consequences are with God”.

  8. Daniel Ritchie March 13, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    Spurgeon also once said when given the choice between two evils, choose neither.

    However, I am not sure I would label the term “For God and Ulster” as blasphemous. This is because blasphemy is something which is a direct attack upon God. It might be better to say that it’s profane (an unholy use of God’s name). Would not the Covenanters have used the term “For God and Scotland” as what they did was both for the glory of God and the good of the Scottish nation? Having said that, I understand what you mean, and the term is probably used profanely by most people, and it is perhaps best to avoid it for this reason.

  9. James McCullough March 13, 2008 at 5:49 pm #

    Yes perhaps profanity would be a word in some circumstances of the usage of the phrase. On the other hand I suppose we must remember that whilst patriotism is a good thing in moderation we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom (Phil 2:30) and the crown rights of King Jesus must come above all else. Therefore I would doubt (though I may be wrong) that the Covenanters would have used such a slogan as it could be said to imply at least near parity in importance, thus a direct attack on the royal majesty of Christ. This was the reason I referred to it as blasphemy.

    Ultamitely, of course, what Christ commands is best for our nation and this is where a Christian can be truely patriotic. So whilst being for Ulster politically has no justifiable link to being “For God”. In the end being “For God” will be the best for “Ulster”. This is where I am suggesting that by confusing his priorities the decision to go into government with Sinn Fein will be best for anyone.

  10. Daniel Ritchie March 13, 2008 at 6:22 pm #

    James

    Thanks for your helpful reply; since the term “For God and Ulster” is normally employed in order to justify actions which are actually opposed to the glory of Christ, then those who use it in such a way are certainly guilty of profanity.

    However, whether or not this means that the phrase in and of itself is wrong is an issue I would prefer to withold judgment on.

  11. James McCullough March 13, 2008 at 7:43 pm #

    I have just realised that in my previous comment I made a whooper of a typo error. The last line should read ” by confusing his priorities the decision to go into government with Sinn Fein will NOT be best for anyone.”

    Though its probably safe to assume that everyone recognised it was a mistake from what I said in the article!lol

  12. James Scott March 13, 2008 at 11:00 pm #

    Ah james always thought u were a republican sympathiser lol

  13. Anonymous March 21, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    so- reading your article i completely disagree that what honours God and what’s best for the people can’t be separate. They can’t be different but they can be two valid concerns. Building houses on green field sites, rubbish collections, changes to the audio system inside parliament. They’re not exactly issues with strong moral or religious choices involved (though I’m sure you could bandy about some tenuous arguments). They’re just common sense. It’s what’s best for the people. Rev. Ian Paisley is perfectly right to say both affect his decisions.

  14. Daniel Ritchie March 21, 2008 at 9:45 pm #

    Mr Anonymous

    There is no such thing as religious neutrality in anything that we do (Ps. 24:1).

    Laws against building on green-field sites are a denial of Biblical rights to private property.

    State-controlled rubbish collections are not Biblical. People should clear up their own rubbish, without “Nanny State” doing it for them. Moroever, the tax-payer has to pay for it (i.e. have their money stolen). Indeed, it is usually property-owning rate-payers that have to pay for non-rate payers getting their bins collected. Whenever Maggie Thatcher tried to replace the rates with a poll-tax in which everyone paid an equal share (a Biblical principle Ex. 30:15), the envious voters arose in fury, as they wanted the rich to pay for the poor.

  15. Anonymous April 7, 2008 at 6:20 pm #

    Fair enough article,but dyu not think that if you’re goin to slag Northern Irish politicians Ian Paisley is one of the best?? The government includes murderers and and you choose the pastor because of the order of words in his speech??

  16. Anonymous April 13, 2008 at 12:28 am #

    You have actually got to be kidding me (re 21st March 20:45). Margaret Thatcher’s idea that there is no such thing as communities, only individuals, and the policies that came from that isn’t Biblical either.
    And RPs wonder why they get a name for being weird.

  17. Daniel Ritchie April 13, 2008 at 11:01 pm #

    Mr Anonymous

    I did not say that EVERYTHING Margaret Thatcher said and did while in office was Biblical. All I did was point out that her idea of a poll tax – where everyone paid an equal share – is a Biblical principle of taxation.

    Admittedly her comment that “there is no such thing as society” was not prudent, however, it is often taken out of context, as she went on to say “only familes” – thus she was not a total individualist.

    Furthermore, her views on limited civil government (the pagan nations in the OT had totalitarian states), privatized industry (remember ancient Egypt had state-run industries and a large bureaucracy), low taxation (the Bible warns us that taxation which comes anywhere near 10% is tyrannical – 1 Sam. 8), and the eventual abolition of the welfare/nanny state (welfare, healthcare, education and so on is the duty of the family and the church, not the civil government) are all Scriptural principles.

    For more on these themes see my book – A Conquered Kingdom: Biblical Civil Government (especially chapter 5 “Christianity versus Statism).

  18. James McCullough April 21, 2008 at 9:34 am #

    Dear Anon
    I agree that there are far “worse” men and women in the government of Northern Ireland however I was striving to point out the flaws of forming a coalition government with such people and therefore condoning their actions. I also believe Paisley also has a lot to answer for in regard to his attitude towards O’Neill pre-Troubles.

    Please refrain from cheap accusations such as “weird”. The structure of Civil Government wasn’t really what this post was about as I am not very well informed on this issue. However what Daniel is trying to do is bring Scripture to bear on current issues whish is what our parliament should be debating; how Biblical principles are applied to current situations.

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