The protest took place outside Newry Town Hall.
MEMBERS of the Free Presbyterian Church (FPC) held a protest outside Newry Town Hall on Thursday against a performance of, what they call, the “blasphemous” 'Jesus Christ Superstar'.
Around 50 members of the church, including four ministers, gathered on the footpath opposite the main entrance where they mounted their hour-long vigil.
They believe that the musical denies the deity of Jesus Christ, portraying him as a weak man and implies that he is engaged in an immoral relationship with a prostitute.
Specially prepared Gospel tracts, along with other relevant materials, were distributed to patrons as they entered the building.
Rev. Daniel Henderson of Moneyslane FPC said Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice's 'rock opera' “makes a mockery of the Saviour and the Bible record of His life”.
He said, “The entire performance from start to finish portrays Jesus Christ as a mere man that is in a sinful relationship with a prostitute and the Opera refuses to acknowledge that He rose from the dead on the third day.
“The storyline depicts Jesus Christ as being a burnt-out celebrity that went to the Cross in order to keep His fame.”
Rev. Henderson added that he said the show was “offensive to Bible-believing, born-again Christians”.
“As local Free Presbyterians, we felt it was our duty to raise a voice of opposition against something that tries to mock the Lord Jesus,” added the Minister.
“Let me be clear. Jesus Christ was not a ‘Superstar’. Jesus Christ is Saviour. He came to this world to die upon the cross so that we could be saved from our sins - and the Bible says: “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved”.
Rev. Paul Hanna of Mount Merrion FPC in Belfast said that they received a largely warm welcome from those attending the show.
“Many commented on our presence and many of those actually thanked us for the printed material as well as the conversations we were able to enter into,” he said.
“Some who took the Gospel tracts, entered the building and actually came back outside to thank us for the information given to them.
“Surprisingly, only one of those to whom we spoke to was openly antagonistic towards our protest... [and] made a point in engaging with us and attempted to defend the production by saying, amongst other things, that it was ‘run by kids, for kids'.
“This is of course, a very sad reflection on the state of our land today – so often the sin and reproach of a nation causes the young and the elderly to suffer first and the most – this fact is clear from what was said in an attempt to defend holding such offensive productions in our land today.”
The protesters sang hymns for 45 minutes, finishing off with 'There Is Power In The Blood of the Lamb'.
Newry Musical Society, who were running the show between March 12-15, said that they didn't wish to comment on the protest.