by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
November 10, 2002

They beat the man half to death, and then they nailed his hands to a fence railing. Firefighters cut him loose and took him to the hospital with his hands still nailed to that wooden pole. It happened in Belfast, Northern Ireland last week. Protestants were responsible. Protestants like that give a bad image to our religion throughout the world.

We expect terrorism from Muslims and Catholics, but the world has a right to expect better things from Protestants. After all, we are supposed to be born again! Can you imagine an early follower of Jesus, in the book of Acts, nailing a pagan Roman to a fence railing? Certainly not! The Christians in those early days were persecuted themselves, but they never retaliated.

I know that the Catholics in Northern Ireland have often been vicious toward the Protestants. But they have not burned them alive as Nero did. They have not thrown them to wild beasts in the Coloseum, as the pagan Romans did.

Those early Christians overcame Rome by praying for their enemies, even when they were burned alive or thrown to the lions. Too bad the Protestants in Belfast who drove nails through a man's hands didn't learn to follow the example of those Christians who lived in the first century!

What will the conservative preachers in Northern Ireland say in their pulpits this Sunday? They'll probably say a word or two to condemn this cowardly act. But they should say far more than that. They should say that a large number of the Protestants in Northern Ireland have never been converted. Many of those who attend conservative churches every Sunday are lost people, depending on false hopes rather than experiencing a Puritan conversion.

Yes, the conservative ministers in Belfast should condemn the crucifixion of this Catholic - but they should go far deeper in their preaching - speaking forcefully to unconverted Protestants. But that would require the courage of a W. P. Nicholson, or a George Whitefield! Revival cannot come to Belfast without the conscience-probing preaching of men like them.