Free Presbyterian Forward Movement

Saturday 1st September, 1979, marked an historic day in the history of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster for on that day the new thousand seater Free Presbyterian Church in Ballymena was officially opened. One of the local papers "The Ballymena Guardian" reported the occasion as follows:

The Rev. Ian Paisley has warned that the new Free Presbyterian Church on the Toome Road, Ballymena - officially opened on Saturday - is not to be looked on as some sort of entertainment centre.

The Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church told the huge congregation: "We have not built an entertainment centre or a badminton court. We have built a preaching house".

The new church, which is costing over a 14 million, is to be known as the James Kyle Paisley Memorial Free Presbyterian Church in memory of Dr. Paisley's father and throughout Saturday's service there were moving tributes to him.

Just before the service got under way the congregation stood in two minutes' silence in memory of those who died on "Bloody Monday".

The church was filled to capacity over an hour before the opening ceremony began and even with the addition of a large tent where the service was screened on close circuit television, many people had to stand outside.

The presentation of the key to Dr. Paisley was made by Architect, Mr. Samuel Dennis and as he officially opened the new building, the Moderator declared that it was an historic occasion. [2]

"It would be hard for me to express my feelings today on this very historic occasion the opening of this preaching house in Ballymena. I was brought up in this town, my father was a separatist and a fundamentalist. We all feel today that we are sharing the harvest of a faithful plougher who ploughed his furrow in this town," Dr. Paisley declared

Chairman for the service was Minister of the church, the Rev. R. J. Beggs, who welcomed people from as far away as Londonderry and Enniskillen. There was a special welcome too for the Mayor of Ballymena, Alderman Sandy Spence, and in the congregation were several members of the Borough Council.

Mr. Beggs said that he had many people to thank for the building of the new church Architect, Mr. Samuel Dennis; Main Contractor, Mr. Robert Steele; Clerk of Works, Mr. Sandy McCosh; Electricians, Mr. Robert Orr and Mr. Roy Cooper; Mr. John M'Auley; the Sub-contractors and many voluntary workers who helped during the building programme.

Prayers were offered by the Rev. S. B. Cooke, Armagh, and the Bible reading was given by the Rev. Gordon Cooke, Enniskillen. Greetings from churches in the Presbytery were read by the Rev. Alan Cairns which included a telegram from the Rev. Frank McClelland of the Free Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Canada.

Mr. Cairns also paid tribute to Dr. Paisley's father and spoke highly of his work for the church. Guest soloist for the afternoon was Rev. William McCrea.

Dr. Paisley said that he appreciated more than he could say, the naming of the church after his father whom, he said, had "always been my hero".

He took as his text, First Corinthians, Chapter 1 verses 18, 21 and 23 from which his theme was the preaching of Christ crucified.

He said that the pulpit was not for a surpliced priest but for a scriptural preacher and that although the Sacraments of Baptism and the Celebration of the Lord's Supper were important, the preaching of the gospel was paramount.

"This house is a preaching house and I believe it will never deteriorate from that and this pulpit will be the preacher's throne. When things are dark, it is good to preach; when things are bright we must preach. The preacher's sermons will never be dull for they are taken from an inexhaustible book - from the Word", he stressed.

Lost Art

Dr. Paisley declared that today the art of preaching was lost and that many people had turned to symbols.

He said: "In Protestant churches there are appearing the symbols of the cross and the crucifix. It is not the symbols but the substance. We have got to return to a scriptural definition and grasp the mystery of the cross".

He added that today it was not considered right to talk about sin in the modern pulpit.

"Give us a gospel, says the modern man, that never denounces or condemns sin but sin is rebellion and lawlessness. And remember, God condemned sin at the cross".

Dr. Paisley also spoke of pleasing God and said that without faith it was impossible to please Him.


During the afternoon a number of presentations were made and Clerk of Session, Mr. Roy Sampson handed over gifts to the architect, contractor and electricians while Mr. Samuel Dennis presented a gift to the Rev. and Mrs. Beggs. They also received [3] a gift from Elder, Mr. William Russell on behalf of the session, committee and members of the congregation.

Mr. Beggs also announced that gifts of money totalling 5,225 had been received and that already 145,000 had been raised for the building fund.

He made special mention of gifts from younger members of the church - Caroline and Jacqueline Miller who raised 30 and Joyce and Gordon Wilson who raised 5.62.

The following gifts were also received: pulpit chairs from Gladys Young and family in memory of her late husband, Councillor Albert Young; pulpit Bible from Mrs. Young senior and her son; pulpit fall from Mr. and Mrs. Bertie Smith; communion table and chairs - Mr. and Mrs. Stewart McAuley; rose bowl - a committee member, and a vestibule table - Miss Vera Speers; cooker - Mr. and Mrs. Wilbert Clarke; minister's desk, chair and side chairs - Mr. and Mrs. William Wilson and family; cabinet - Miss Renne Clarke; six communion glasses, tray and plate anonymous; piano - Mr. and Mrs. John McDowell.

On Sunday afternoon, the preacher at the first gospel rally in the new church was the Rev. Ian Paisley with the song leader, the Rev. William McCrea and on Monday evening, Mr. McCrea, Mary Clements and other guests took part in an evening of praise with guest organist, Mr. Ian McDowell.

An old time gospel campaign is also being held each evening with guest preacher, the Rev. Ian Paisley.

"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
History of the Separatist Witness in Ballymena written by Rev. James Beggs

Ballymena's new Free Presbyterian Church on the Toome Road stands in memory of Pastor James Kyle Paisley - father of the Rev. Ian Paisley.

An account of his life and ministry and a history of the Free Presbyterian Church here is to be found in a special booklet compiled by his son-in-law, the Rev. R. J. Beggs, entitled "Great Is Thy Faithfulness", the foreword of which is written by Dr. Paisley.

James Kyle Paisley was born in August, 1891, at Sixmilecross and educated at the National School there before entering the drapery business in Omagh at the age of 15.

Writes Mr. Beggs: "We mention this apprenticeship for it was during it that the greatest event in his life took place - his conversion".

After his conversion, Mr. Paisley immediately began to take an interest in the souls of men. His evangelism began at home and he was instrumental in leading his father, mother and only sister to the Lord. He first preached at Cottage meetings in the Mountfield district, and also conducted open air services which led him to open the family home at Kilcam for the preaching of the Gospel. [4]

It was during those early days that he took his first step of separation and joined a handful of believers who met each week in Omagh Orange Hall. Eventually he moved to Dungannon and in 1915 moved to Armagh.

It was at that time that he began to think of full-time service in the work of the Lord, and a band of believers - members of the Baptist Assembly in Armagh - called Mr. Paisley as their pastor. He then entered the Irish Baptist College in Dublin, and after graduating continued to pastor the Armagh Church.

Armagh too was to be the city where he first met Isabella Turnbull, who was later to become his wife.

In December, 1927, a call to Pastor Paisley was made from Hill Street, Baptist church, in Ballymena, and in May, 1928, he accepted the call.

Early in his ministry in Ballymena he found that the connection of that church with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland was something he could not be associated with and he tendered his resignation.

Then, Mr. Paisley found a house and opened a hall on the Waveney Road where Jeannie Clarke, who laid one of the foundation stones for the Toome Road building, was among the first to be saved.

The need for a centre for the separatist work in Ballymena, however, soon became evident, and a Gospel Tabernacle was built on the Waveney Road site.

The new building was opened in 1935, and it was after the Second World War that his son, Ian, also began to preach the Gospel.

It was in those post-war years that the Free Presbyterian Church began to emerge - a new work led by his son Ian, which Pastor Paisley wholeheartedly supported. Indeed, on many occasions, Pastor Paisley preached in the pulpits of the Free Presbyterian Church.

In the early sixties, however, his health began to fail and in 1966 he retired from active ministry.

In the same year the Rev. Jim Beggs became Student Minister at the Free Presbyterian church in Ballymena, where Dr. Paisley was minister, and which still met in the Waveney Road Gospel Tabernacle.

However, as the church grew and expanded it became evident that the building would not adequately accommodate the congregation and the Toome Road site was acquired.

Morning services were moved to Ballymena Town Hall before the High Street Church became available.

It was in October, 1976, that Dr. Paisley cut the first sod at the new site, and just over a year ago the foundation stones were placed in the new church, the first stone being laid in memory of Pastor Paisley.

On April 2nd 1972, Mrs. Paisley passed away, and just over a year later Pastor Paisley died.

Today, the new church stands in memory of Pastor Paisley and there were many tributes to him on Saturday as the building was officially opened.

As part of Dr. Paisley's foreword reads: "My indebtedness to my father cannot be expressed. It is beyond evaluation. He taught me how to get my priorities right. He ingrained into me the great teaching of the Saviour, that a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses".

."He showed me that the secret of the ministry was neither popularity nor conformity to ecclesiastical procedures and formalities, but rather a conformity to God's Word and a fidelity to the Holy Book and Holy Gospel". [5]

"The Harvest of a Lonely Ploughman"

Under the above heading "The Ballymena Observer" carried the following report of the opening of the new Ballymena Free Presbyterian Church. 

Hundreds of Ulster's Free Presbyterians converged on Ballymena, on Saturday, to see their leader, Rev. Ian Paisley, declare open a new church dedicated to the memory of his late father, Pastor James Kyle Paisley.

The magnificent building, at Toome Road, is costing in excess of 2 million.

It is the home of the thriving Ballymena Free Presbyterian congregation which was "born" in 1966 from the Gospel Tabernacle, at Waveney Road where Pastor Paisley ministered.

From the early afternoon crowds of well-wishers flooded into Ballymena for the opening ceremony.

At times traffic was bumper to bumper in Harryville and more than a dozen special buses joined hundreds of cars in the spacious car park.


Every conceivable empty space in the church - the hallway, stairs, balcony and kitchen - was packed with people.

The sun shone brightly as even the emergency exits were thrown open to allow the people who crowded around the outside of the building to hear the service.

The proceedings were relayed by loudspeaker and closed circuit television to the car park and a tent erected nearby to accommodate the overflow.

Ministers of Free Presbyterian churches throughout the province brought the good wishes of their congregations and special guests included the mayor, Alderman Sandy Spence, and a number of Ballymena councillors.

At a short ceremony at the front door of the new building the Free Presbyterian Moderator was presented with a key by the architect, Mr. Samuel Dennis.


It was an emotional moment as Mr. Paisley, who was accompanied by his brother-in-law, the Rev. Jim Beggs, minister of the church, officially declared the building open and offered a prayer of dedication.

He said: "It is hard to express my feelings on this very historic occasion, the opening of this preaching house in Ballymena.

"I was brought up in this town where my father was a separatist and fundamentalist preacher".

Mr. Paisley said that they were reaping the harvest which had been sown by his father whom he described as "A lonely ploughman who ploughed a straight furrow in the town".

Before the service began, the congregation stood in silent tribute to the people who had lost their lives in the troubles.


It was conducted by Mr. Beggs. Prayer was offered by the Rev. S. B. Cooke, minister of Armagh Free Presbyterian Church, and the lesson was read by the Rev. Gordon Cooke, Enniskillen. [6]

One of the country's best known gospel singers, the Rev. William McCrea, who is minister of Magherafelt Free Presbyterian Church sang two solos.

Greetings and good wishes from other churches in the Presbytery were conveyed to the Ballymena congregation by the Rev. Alan Cairns, minister of Ballymoney Free Presbyterian Church.

One telegram was read from the Rev. F. McClelland and the Free Presbyterian congregation in Toronto, Canada.

In a lengthy tribute to all who had been involved in the planning of the new church Mr. Beggs had a special word of thanks for the architect, Mr. Dennis; the main contractor, Mr. Robert Steele, Cullybackey; clerk of works, Mr. Sandy McCosh and the team of voluntary workers from the congregation led by elders Mr. Robert Orr and Mr. Roy Cooper.


As a mark of the congregation's appreciation the Clerk of Session, Mr. Roy Sampson, handed over gifts to the architect, the contractor and the volunteers.

Reciprocating, Mr. Dennis presented Mr. and Mrs. Beggs with a gift they were also given a gift from the congregation to mark the church opening by elder, Mr. William Russell.

Mr. Beggs told the congregation that although the final figure was not yet known the church was likely to cost in excess of 250,000.

However, he pointed out that thanks to the generosity and endeavours of the congregation some 145,000 had already been raised.

He said they were hoping that the offering from the opening service would reach 10,000 and explained that gifts donated before the service - including one of 1,000 had already reached 5,225.


He made particular mention of two younger members of the congregation, Caroline and Jacqueline Miller who gave their 'piggy bank' containing 30.20.

Also Joyce and Gordon Wilson, who donated a sweet jar of pennies, containing 5.62.

In his address, Mr. Paisley thanked the Ballymena congregation for naming the new church in memory of his father. "I appreciate that more than you will ever know," he told them.

He stressed that the church was above all a "preaching house" for the preaching of the word of god.

"This beautiful building is to be used for preaching and we in the Free Presbyterian Church are in the preaching business," he declared.


"This is not a bowling alley, not a badminton club, nor an entertainment centre, but a preaching house. This pulpit is not for a surpliced priest but a scriptural preacher".

Mr. Paisley maintained that although the sacraments were important the salvation of the inner soul was linked by God with the preaching of the gospel.

He said that the only hope for the Church in the modern world would be if it was ministered to by a race of heaven sent, inspired preachers.

He prayed that the pulpit in the new Ballymena Free Presbyterian church would always be occupied by such a man.

The service concluded with the benediction.

Tea was served by the ladies of the congregation.

The opening of the new church has been marked by the donation of a number of substantial gifts to the congregation.

Cash donations to the building fund have come in from well-wishers in sister churches and gifts of furnishings from members of the [7] congregation include:

Pulpit chairs from Mrs. Gladys Young; pulpit fall from Mr. and Mrs. Bertie Smith.

Communion table and chairs, from Mr. and Mrs. Stewart McAuley and a silver rose bowl for the table from a committee member and his wife who wish to remain anonymous.

A reading desk has come from Miss Lily McKendron and a hall table from Miss Vera Spiers.

In the minister's room a desk and chairs were given by Mr. and Mrs. William Wilson and family.

Six communion trays and vessels were donated by a couple who wish to remain anonymous.

Mr. and Mrs. John McDowell gave a piano and a cooker for the kitchen was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Wilbert Clarke.

Soul Winning Times at Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church

After weeks of prayerful and personal preparation, coupled with the distribution of 20,000 invitations, the Mossley Old Tyme Gospel Campaign got under way, on Sunday 9th September. The Campaign was held in Mossley Orange Hall, the present place of worship for the Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Congregation. Their minister, Rev. Reginald Cranston was the Evangelist, with Mr. Sam Houston being the Song Leader and Soloist.

It had been the sincere prayer of all, that the blessed Holy Ghost would move in a mighty way, convicting many souls, "of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment". God answered the prayers of His people in a wonderful way, when 23 precious souls were brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and 4 backsliders were restored to the Lord, during the three week campaign. the meetings were well attended, with the Hall being full almost every evening.

Each Monday night was "Testimony Night", and it was on the first Monday that a young woman was saved, by the grace of God. She later testified, that for months she had been under a great burden of sin, often crying herself to sleep, such was her trouble of soul. She knew her need of Jesus Christ, but there was none to show her "the way". She had been so troubled, that at one stage she contemplated committing suicide. When she heard of the Campaign, she made her way to the meeting, and that Monday she was "born again", her burden was no more, it was under the blood, and the peace that God alone can give, flooded her soul.

On another night a compulsive gambler and his wife came to Christ. When he witnessed for Christ in his place of work, his workmates could not understand what had happened, but God had broken "the power of cancelled sin and set the prisoner free". For this man and his wife the blessing of God did not end there, for on the final night of the Campaign, two of their daughters were wonderfully and gloriously saved.

Another example of the saving power of the blood of Christ, was witnessed during the final-week of the Campaign, when a "Punk [8] Rocker" was found on his knees at Calvary. During the meeting he had sat trembling, under great conviction of sin. When others had left, this young man said he would like to speak to Mr. Cranston. After he was shown the way of salvation as revealed in the word of God, he got down on his knees, and asked God for forgiveness in the only way he knew how. He prayed, "Lord you know that I'm a bad egg, forgive me, and save me from my sin now". He left the meeting with the assurance that the Lord had heard his cry, "and saved him out of all his troubles".

After one of the meetings, a man left under great conviction of sin. that night he was unable to sleep. The next day he was still greatly troubled. Trying to take his mind of the matter, he went out to do some gardening, but it was no good. He threw down the spade, went in to the house and phoned a member of the congregation, and said that he must get to the meeting that night, to get right with God. Mr. Cranston was informed about the man's concern, and he went to his home, and had the great joy of pointing the man to Christ. On the final night of the Campaign, his dear wife was restored after twelve years in "the far country".

At the penultimate meeting of the Campaign, Mr. Cranston preached on the subject of the "Unpardonable Sin". The power of God the Holy Ghost was evident in the meeting, at the end of which, seven precious souls came to Christ. One woman said, "Until tonight, it was religion that I had, but now I have redemption".

The Campaign reached a memorable climax, and was brought to a glorious conclusion, when Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley preached the final message. The Hall was packed to capacity, with every available space taken, including the pulpit. Dr. Paisley preached from Genesis 6:3 "My spirit shall not always strive with man". Dr. Paisley preached with great power and with great liberty, "and the power of the Lord was present to heal" souls. At this meeting five precious souls were brought to Christ. But the saving work of the Lord did not end there. One woman went home from that service, and could find no rest nor peace for her soul. All sleep was taken from her eyes. It was not until the next day that she found that peace, "that passeth all understanding", when in her own home she came as a guilty sinner to Jesus. She immediately testified to others, about what the Lord had done for her soul.

We give all the praise, honour, and glory to the blessed Lord Jesus Christ for all that He has done in the Newtownabbey area. We praise Him for all those whose hearts, homes and lives have been changed by the power of the blood of the Lamb. We praise Him for every soul saved, every backslider restored, and every saint blessed.

Mr. Cranston would like to thank most sincerely, all the congregations that prayed for the Campaign, and attended the meetings, including many of the Young People's Fellowships.

Please continue to pray for all the new born babes in Christ, and all who have been restored to the Lord, that each one will, "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ".

"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name". Ps. 103:1. [9]

New Church Opens in Dromore, Co. Down

The following is the report of the opening of the new church building in Dromore, Co. Down as it appeared in "The Star" the local newspaper.

'A Conspiracy to Halt our Progress' - Paisley by Harry McCandless

Dromore was ablaze with evangelical fervour on Saturday afternoon when the new Banbridge Road Free Presbyterian Church was officially opened by the Moderator, Dr. Ian Paisley.

The building, which has cost 29,000, is the forerunner of a modern, permanent church to be erected on the same site, and the congregation, formed just over four years ago, will be calling a minister of its own.

In a dynamic message to a packed congregation, Dr. Paisley spoke of the opposition to the establishment of the church in Dromore and of how it had been faced and overcome, and in a thundering proclamation, greeted with a chorus of hallelujahs, he added: "We are here, and we are here to stay".

"We are opening in Dromore, not a bowling alley or a ping-pong centre, nor are we opening an entertainment centre", said the Moderator.

"We are not here to entertain the goats, we are here to feed the sheep and we are opening today a preaching house for the preaching of the Word of the Living God".


A debt of 12,000 on the building, which had been announced, was swiftly reduced by an offering which amounted to 3,046.

The chairman Rev. Fred Greenfield, minister of the present church in Banbridge, said the Free Presbyterian Church did not depend on pea-soup suppers or daffodil teas for its financial support. they got it from the Lord's people "as God has prospered them," he said.

The new church building has seating for about 250 people, but it is estimated that about 400 found accommodation for the historic opening which was the ambition of the 60-strong congregation since it was set up more than four years ago.

As was later explained by the chairman, Mr. Greenfield, the Dromore church had its roots in a mission conducted in 1975 by the Rev. Fred Buick. Afterwards services took place in the Royal British Legion Hall in Princess Street and they thanked God that the door was opened there to the preaching of the Gospel until a building of the type they now had could be provided. [10]

Mr. Greenfield said plans to build a larger, modern church on the site were already in the pipeline and they looked forward to this being achieved.

When Mr. Paisley arrived at the door he was presented with a key with which to open the church, by the builder, Mr. David Ferguson, Dromore.

Turning the key, Dr. Paisley said: "It gives me great pleasure this afternoon in the name of the true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and for the preaching of the Gospel, the defence of our evangelical and reformed heritage, and for the salvation of souls and for the defence of our Protestant faith, to declare this building open for the preaching of God's precious Word."

The service opened with the singing of the hymn, "Revive Thy work, O Lord", which was followed with prayer by the Rev. Alan Smylie, minister of the Free Presbyterian Church at Coragarry, Co. Monaghan, who had been minister in Dromore for a time and conducted a mission in the town two years ago. There was then Scripture reading by the Rev. Stanley Barnes, Hillsborough, from Psalm 126.


Mr. Greenfield extended a welcome to the large congregation who had come on what he described as "this historic occasion for the people of Dromore". He bade them welcome in the Name of Christ, the great King and Head of the Church, and in extending a special welcome to Dr. Paisley, he said they thanked God for his stand for the Gospel. "We are glad to have him here", added Mr. Greenfield, "to preach the first sermon in this church".

Mr. Greenfield had another special welcome for a foundation member of the congregation, Mrs. Nellie Graham, on her 80th birthday, because she had experienced the New Birth and that was why the church there - so that people might be born again of the Spirit of God.

The chairman also welcomed some members of Banbridge Council - Mr. Herbert Heslip (vice-chairman), Mr. Jim McElroy and Mr. David Herron; and from Lisburn Alderman William Belshaw and Councillor Charles Poots. (Banbridge councillor Mr. Brian Biggerstaff is a member of the committee of the new Dromore church).


Mr. Greenfield went on to trace the short history of the congregation and recalled how it had been born out of Mr. Buick's mission in 1975. After giving details of the cost of the new building and its furnishings etc., at 29,000, he said the debt outstanding was 12,000. This, however, was speedily reduced as the offering amounted to the generous sum of f3,046.

Mr. Greenfield thanked all who had presented gifts of various kinds for the new building and he intimated that there had been a large number of financial donations as well as monetary gifts from their sister churches.

He said the church was constituted as a Free Presbyterian Church in Dromore in July, 1976, and two Sunday services had been going since then from strength to strength in the Royal British Legion Hall, for the use of which they wished to thank the committee very sincerely.


They had also weekly prayer meetings and a Sabbath School going, Mr. Greenfield paid tribute to the Rev. Alan Smylie, who was pastor in Dromore for almost two years, and who, "like Elijah of old", had gone south and was over the Border at Coragarry, and they praised God for those who had found salvation through his ministry and for the way in which the people of God had been built up in their faith while he was minister in the town. [11] 

He said the site for the church building was purchased last year and at the present time the Free Presbyterian Church in Dromore had been going for four years and three months and, he added, "We are here to stay, we are not going to be chased.

"We are here to preach the Gospel and 'to contend for the faith once and for all delivered onto the saints' ".

Mr. Greenfield appealed for increased membership of the church and for support for the three-week mission, being held to mark the opening, by the Rev. William Whiteside, Kilkeel.


The chairman went on to thank a number of people who had been involved in the events leading up to the opening. These included the builder, Mr. David Ferguson, who had provided them with a very beautiful and comfortable place in which to worship, and he added that there were plans to go ahead with a more permanent building on that site.

He praised the committee of the Royal British Legion Hall for opening their doors to the preaching of the Gospel and their own church in Banbridge for use of chairs, Mr. Robert Graham for his assistance with the catering, the RUC for assisting with traffic arrangements and many others who had given in help in various ways.

Mr. Greenfield said they were thankful to people for giving. God had a way of building His Church and in the Free Presbyterian Church as their Moderator had often said, they did not depend on pea-soup suppers or daffodil teas, or anything like that, but they believed that if the Lord's people gave as God has prospered them, God would continue to prosper them.


Saying how very delighted he was to be in Dromore and for having the joy of ministering to the congregation on that historic occasion, Dr. Paisley read from Mark's Gospel, chapter 12, verses 35-37, part of which says: The Lord says to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool".

Dr. Paisley took as his text a sentence from verse 37: "And the common people heard him gladly".

He said with preaching, Christianity stood or fell. "If the Bible is given its divinely ordained place, then preaching will be the most important feature of worship in the church," he added.

Dr. Paisley said: "The highest form of worship is the declaration of the Gospel. It is above the sacraments of the church, because the sacraments of the church are seen in ordinances, but the preaching of God's Word is the only thing that saves the soul.


"There is no salvation in the sacrament of baptism. We repudiate totally, as Protestants, Rome's teaching of baptismal regeneration. The child or the adult after baptism may be a little wetter, but no better spiritually. If I thought that water would make a miraculous change I would summon the fire engines here today and hose you all down, and then all would be well, according to those who hold the Popish doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

"The precious and wonderful privilege of sitting at God's Table, of receiving the emblems of the broken Body and shed Blood of Christ - that wonderful privilege - has nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation of the soul. The man unsaved has no right to sit at God's Table. The Bible says he will eat and drink damnation to himself. So the only ordinance in the Church that is a saving ordinance is the preaching of the Gospel.

"And we are opening in Dromore not a bowling alley or a ping-pong centre. We are [12] not opening an entertainment centre. We are not here to entertain the goats, we are here to feed the sheep, and we are opening today a preaching house for the preaching of the Word of the Living God".

Having said that the work of the preacher was to be directed towards the savings of the souls of his audience, to seek their redemption, Dr. Paisley said there was an unbridgeable gulf between the ends of the public platform and the goal of the Christian hope. Christianity then rose or fell on preaching and the only preaching worthy of the name was the preaching of the Gospel, which was the preaching of Christ and Him crucified.

Dr. Paisley dealt with the subject of apostasy and he said that every Church which had joined the ecumenical bandwagon and had "bought tickets on the Rome express" were becoming weaker and weaker in preaching.


He said he had recently heard about a church where the minister had guaranteed to speak for only 10 minutes that he claimed, was one of the attractions, and he quoted the late evangelist, Rev. W. P. Nicholson, who said: "Sermonettes made Christianettes, but they never made a Christian".

Speaking of how the Free Presbyterian Church was going forward, Dr. Paisley referred to opposition they had had in Dromore and the planning appeals that had taken place to even get the right to put up a Protestant place of worship. If they were told the full story one would think they were in Italy under the Pope's nose or in Russia under the shadow of the Kremlin.


"They would deny us the very right to worship God and a place to meet for the worship of God Almighty," he added.

He said there was a conspiracy abroad to stop the forward march of the Free Presbyterian Church, and the reason was that it was a preaching Church, nothing would stop them. Preaching he claimed, would be the salvation of this country - the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Paisley said he hoped the message of the new Dromore church would reach out to the homesteads, the houses and the cottages of the locality and that the influence of the church would be a magnetic one, drawing all men to Jesus.


Other Free Presbyterian Ministers present, as well as those already mentioned, were Rev. Michael Patrick, Moneyslane; and Rev. Henry Cairns, Tandragee.

The organist was Mrs. Isobel Ferguson, wife of the builder of the new church.

Members of the Committee of the Dromore congregation are: Messrs. Brian Biggerstaff, Irvine Dawson, Aubrey Malcolmson and Robert Skelton.

Women of the congregation assisted by stewards served tea to all present. [13]


The Whitefield College of the Bible, the new Missionary Training School and Evangelistic Institution of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster was officially opened on October 6th, 1979 in the Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church. The night before a Presbytery Dinner was held with the Office Bearers and wives of the Church in attendance. Approximately 400 people were present. Dr. Bob Jones, Chancellor of Bob Jones University was the guest of honour. Dr. Ian Paisley, Moderator of the Church and President of the College, Rev. John Douglas, Principle of the College and Rev. David McIlveen, College Registrar all addressed the Meeting.

2000 people gathered in the Martyrs Memorial Church on the Saturday night. Dr. Paisley gave a brief resume of George Whitefield's life and ministry. Dr. Bob Jones then preached the inauguration sermon on what he called the curriculum of the true College:-

"Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things"

(Philippians 4:8)

The Rev. John Douglas, Principal, also addressed the meeting. Over 8,000 was raised for the College through the offering and special gifts.

Eighteen students are in residence. The Halls of Residence for the College are situated at 33 Cyprus Avenue. The Matron of the Halls of Residence is Miss Martha Dennison, S.R.N., S.C.N. who was introduced by Dr. Paisley to the congregation.

The students brought a special message in song entitled "How Great Thou Art".

Prospective students should write to the Registrar, Rev. David McIlveen, 18 Gilnahirk Rise, Belfast BT5 7DE. The Principal's address is Rev. John Douglas, 40 Lombard Avenue, Lisburn, Co. Antrim.

The name of George Whitefield is one to be conjured with. With the one exception of Charles Haddon Spurgeon I know of no other English speaking preacher who in pulpit power approaches anywhere near to him. Yes and Spurgeon, rightly called, as far as man is concerned, "the Prince of Preachers", himself named Whitefield "the Chiefest of Preachers".

That George Whitefield, a boy of tragic family life, an apprentice public bar tender and drawer of ale, a poor servitor at Oxford University, a sneered at and despised member of the Holy Club, the earliest Methodist society, someone without superior scholarship, wealthy patronage and ecclesiastical good will, should become such a pulpit master that the most prominent of the nation felt honoured to listen to his preaching is nothing short of a miracle of free grace. Yes and that is exactly what it was.

Intent, like Martin Luther two centuries before, to find peace with God, Whitefield traversed that unprofitable cul-de-sac of self afflicted penitence and punishment. He spurned his food, walked around in torn and shabby dress, never, lest he be thought [14] proud, cleaned his shoes and spent dreary hours at lifeless and monotonous devotions practising diligently vain repetitions like the heathen and vainly thinking like them to be heard for his much speaking.

Then into his hand came that gem of spiritual classics. "The Life of God in the Soul of Man" by Henry Scougal. The way of salvation became clear. The great truth of justification dawned upon his soul. The lost was saved. From that day George Whitefield really, truly, wonderfully and gloriously lived. The dead became alive.

Mr. Spurgeon wrote in 1879:- "There is no end to the interest which attaches to such a man as George Whitefield. Often as I have read his life, I am conscious of distinct quickening whenever I turn to it. He lived. Other men seem to be only half-alive; but Whitefield was all life, fire, wing, force. My own model, if I may have such a thing in due subordination to my Lord, is George Whitefield; but with unequal footsteps must I follow in his glorious track."

There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvanist, I answer - I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it. But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvanistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than

George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one "of whom the world was not worthy." I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvanist in or out of Heaven.

Immediately after he was ordained as a deacon in the Church of England, Whitefield commenced his great and unparalleled preaching career. He was a startler from the beginning. After his first sermon in Gloucester Cathedral protests were made to the bishop that he had driven at least ten people mad.

Under God the Holy Ghost, he was the kindler of fires, the fires of evangelism and revival, which no opposition, satanic or human, political or ecclesiastical could ever put out.

He set all London ablaze. His magnetism to draw a crowd has never been surpassed when one considers firstly the early hour of five or six on a winter's morning when some of his meetings were convened and secondly the almost non-existence of press advertising.

The most momentous step which he ever took, a step which shocked the whole religious world of England, conformist, nonconformist and papist alike, was to preach in the open-air to the coalminers of Bristol - old hoary custom, sedate formalism and ecclesiastical usages pontifically so far divorced from Christ's example forbad such a step.

The white gutters on those miners' black and grimy cheeks, channelled by the floods of [15] penitential tears shed so freely as they listened to the gospel of redeeming love, bore most eloquent testimony to the irresistability of this pre-eminent preacher of the Word.

Thus began that most glorious chapter called Field Preaching in the great epoch of the Second Evangelical Awakening.

The story of Whitefield is one of unflagging zeal, undying dedication, and untarnished consecration. He spared not himself often saying that the best cure for his often times physical infirmities was a good pulpit sweat.

He crossed the Atlantic Ocean some thirteen times. He joined the Tennents and Jonathan Edwards in that great Revival which shook the Colonies and of which he was the principal instigator. That Revival without doubt laid the rock foundation upon which the goodly edifice of American freedom and fundamentalism arose. Princeton College the forerunner of Princeton University and Theological Seminary and the successor of Tennents famous Log College honoured him with their first honorary M.A. degree.

So much did men hang on his words when he preached that as he mounted the stairs to what in a few hours became his death bed chamber, his auditory pressed him so hard that he stopped and preached to them until the candle which he held burned itself out an omen that George Whitefield's fiery preaching had burned itself out.

Viciously attacked in life by those who hated both the Message and the Man who so faithfully delivered it his very bones were not allowed to rest. Buried under the pulpit of Presbyterian Church at Newburyport his coffin was raided and a leg bone stolen. He was a startler to the very end.

Whitefield was a mighty evangelist with a voice as tender as a mother soothing her affrightened child but as tempestuous as the resurrection trumpet. He was most moving in his pulpit tears and most solemn in what has become known as his black cap sentence of sinners. But it was his message which was the real secret of his pulpit power. In this, his great strength lay. He was a Calvinist that is glorying in God's free grace rather than in man's free will. He was a true Calvinist walking in the great succession of the Reformers. There was nothing hyper about him. He was a soul winner par excellence. 500 souls on one occasion after he had preached intimated they had found Christ. His gospel appeals were the most moving of his pulpit utterances.

Moreover he was a man of large heart. He was not the property of the Church of England which largely disowned him. He belonged to the Universal Church, the Church militant here on earth.

He was moderator to the Calvinistic Methodists of Wales the forerunners of the Presbyterian Church in the Principality. His open air pulpit to this day is preserved at Treveca in Wales. He fellowshipped and preached with ministers of all Protestant denominations, Congregationalists and Baptists included. The Arminianism of John Wesley did not hinder him in joining with the Methodist founder in the glorious work of evangelism and it was Wesley who at Whitefield's own prior request preached his funeral sermon in England.