Update from Chair of “Headway Ireland” Methodist Evangelicals Together. September 2020

Secretary: Rev Ken Robinson

Dear Members and Friends of Headway (Ireland),

We greet you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Sovereign.

Times of lockdown
These are difficult months of COVID19 lockdown. I have been thinking about the Christian view of time. Because of the future hope which we have as believers, we view time differently and can learn to spend days under pressure yet with purpose and with peace.

Non-believers are shaped by their past history and present circumstances but the view of time which Christians have is additionally shaped by our future hope. Christians are not constantly viewing the rear-view mirror. Our history is not only locked in the past but is going somewhere, because Christ has died (past), Christ is risen (present) and Christ will come again (future). The future hope of believers has a hugely positive impact in times of pressure, persecution and pain.

In Romans 13 verse 11, 12, we have insight into a Christian view of time. “And do this understanding the present time…. because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” God is always working his purposes out.

God made time and manages time. Our timing is partial but God’s timing is perfect. We do well to remember that we live between the two comings of Christ. An old hymn starts: “My times are in Thy hands, my God I wish them there.” God is trustworthy and we are learning to trust God more.

While our view of time is a difference between the believer and unbeliever whom Paul describes bluntly as “without God and without hope” (Ephesians 2v12), the major difference is that believers are marked by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1v13).

Knowing God
Dr J I Packer in his book Knowing God, describes four characteristics of the one who truly knows God.

….they have great energy for God.
….they have great thoughts of God.
….they show great boldness for God.
….they have great contentment in God.

Dr Packer passed home to God on 17 July 2020 at the age of 93. With his friend John Stott he gave leadership to Anglican evangelicalism. I first met him in Belfast at a Christian Union Conference which I helped organize. I remember him as a charming man who was at home among students. He was an admirer of the theology of John Calvin and the evangelistic zeal of John Wesley and was an authority on both. When asked for a final word to the Church he said: “Glorify Christ in every way.”

Headway developments

I write to give you an update on the revised plans of Headway (Ireland). We now operate within the constraints of public health guidelines and our planned events and planned events have to be postponed on convert to virtual events.

Our Headway (Ireland) AGM will take place on Friday 2nd October 2020 but will be convened by zoom. At this meeting I have requested that a new Chair should be appointed. It has been my privilege to serve in this capacity for six years.

We are grateful that Headway has been given a respectful hearing in Irish Methodism on many issues and not least in the debate about the redefinition of marriage. Presently our church adheres to the traditional, biblical view of marriage although the pressure for revisionism in both Church and nation is unrelenting. Please pray for the new Headway leadership as it continues to promote traditional biblical teaching.

Spring Celebration 2021

The coronavirus resulted in government lockdown which meant that the Headway (Ireland) Spring Gathering with David Hull of Methodist Evangelicals Together had to be postponed. Plans are in place to hold this celebration in 2021, possibly by Zoom if necessary. David has been asked to address the topic: “Living Biblically in the Church and the World.” Pray for David Hull and MET as British Methodism has agreed a discussion document which is revisionist and disregards the plain teaching of Holy Scripture. This British document does not apply to the Methodist Church in Ireland.

We are glad to know of your encouragements and concerns. Please continue to pray, personally and corporately, for the Methodist Church in Ireland and for the work of Headway (Ireland). Our Secretary, Rev Ken Robinson can be contacted at ptrobinson@btinternet.com.

May God bless you.

Rev. Ken Todd (Chairman)