The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has stated emphatically that it will not reinterpret the Bible’s stance on issues such as marriage, abortion, and ‘gender identity’.
Speaking at the denomination’s General Assembly 2022, outgoing Moderator Rt Revd Dr David Bruce told elders that the church must be confident in its God-given calling, especially in face of criticism.
He said the church needs to tell the world that the Bible is “our supreme standard we consider to be the word of God. We will not re-write it, re-edit it or re-frame it.”
‘Beauty of truth’
Revd Bruce said that critics claim the church’s views are “incomprehensible, or even dangerous” and pressure it to change its view.
But the Moderator commented: “Of course the gospel is offensive! It says we are all dead in transgressions and sins. Not that we are merely mistaken, or misguided, or confused, but spiritually dead, without hope and without God in the world. But at the heart of its offensiveness is the beauty of its truth. You don’t need to stay dead.”
We will not re-write it, re-edit it or re-frame it
The Republic of Ireland legalised same-sex marriage in 2015, but in 2018 the denomination voted not to accept those in same-sex relationships into full membership.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Northern Ireland since January 2020 after being imposed by MPs from Westminster.
It comes as the Baptist Union of Great Britain is set to reconsider its commitment to one man, one woman marriage for its ministers.
In a letter to members of the Baptist Churches, the Union’s Core Leadership Team said it was “reflecting” on a request to allow ministers to marry someone of the same sex.
Individual churches may choose to host same-sex weddings, but in rules for members of the Baptist ministry, same-sex marriage is deemed gross misconduct.