Moor Park Methodist Church, Preston

The former Moor Park Methodist Church in Preston is architecturally striking. Built of brick in an Italianate style, it communicates Methodism at its 1860s zenith- wealthy, vibrant and not short of confidence. It closed in 1984, and is now housing the Abrar Academy, an independent Islamic school for boys. Somehow, the ornate and symmetrical building style lends itself to Islamic values; it might just pass for a structure in dusty North Africa or the middle east.

Although the school’s website looks good and it appears to provide a rounded education, some Christians might be tempted to bewail the current occupants’ denial of the Lord Jesus' divinity, especially while utilising a building that was built for His worship. Yet I wonder if God ‘gave it over’, much as He is said to do in the first chapters of the book of Romans. Decades before this church closed its doors, celebrity Methodist preachers like Dr Lesley Weatherhead were denying Christ’s divinity, suggesting that He merely enjoyed a special or unique relationship with God. Those Preston Methodists who had been pleased to continue worshipping here in the years after Weatherhead’s presidency of the Methodist Conference in 1955 were presumably unconcerned by his apostasy. So neither should they have been too troubled by their building’s usage being transferred to a religion that formally and officially denies Christ’s deity. I have more respect for sincere and honest Muslims than slippery ‘Christian’ theologians and denominations which deny the truth of the gospel while covering themselves with thin, ecclesiastical chiffon.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting. Romans 1:28, NKJV.