Christians are meant to go against society’s tide, says under-fire Church

Biblical teaching on morality encourages Christians to imitate Jesus Christ even when culture is going a different way, a leading Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) figure has said.

Stafford Carson spoke out in the Belfast Telegraph following criticism of the Church’s decision about who it allows to be full members.

“As everyday disciples of Jesus, we affirm that our commitment to Christ means that we honour Him in everything”, he said. “It is not an easy road to travel”.

Obedience to Christ

During its General Assembly last week, PCI decided that those who wanted to be “communicant members” or have their infants baptised must hold a “credible profession of faith”.

This profession cannot be held by same-sex couples because “their outward conduct and lifestyle is at variance with a life of obedience to Christ”.

The PCI said it “invites and welcomes all” to services and to receive pastoral care and, like Jesus, “reaches out to all with love and compassion”.

Out of step

The Very Revd Dr Carson explained that following Jesus Christ as Lord “often challenges us at the deepest level of our beings”.

“Looking on and reading much of what has been said and written, it may seem that the Church is out of step with society.

“That’s not surprising, since the days of the early church, the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord has often placed Christians at odds with their surrounding culture.

“That is why the New Testament writers encourage us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2).

Marriage

“We are called to honour and love Christ, even if this means we do come into conflict with society’s prevailing views on this and other issues.”

He added that the Bible is clear that marriage is solely between one man and one woman, and that the Scriptures “are our final authority in all matters of faith and practice”.

Revd Dr Carson concluded that Christians must honour Jesus in “all that we do”.

“That commitment is not designed to exclude or offend anyone. It is not an easy road to travel, but it is an essential part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.”

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