Presbyterian Church does tolerate dissent
I note, with some concern, the rambling article of your columnist, Fionola Meredith (Comment, June 16).
This article displays a total lack of knowledge and is grossly offensive and arrogant in its assertiveness when it argues in support of active discrimination.
That, in itself, is a total negation of the equality she advocates.
On her own admission, she is certainly living on a different planet.
Fionola does not appear to understand that dissent is tolerated in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI).
The individual is free to speak and dissent from any Church court decision, but "shall not thereby free himself from obligation loyally to implement the decision so long as it stands unaltered" (Code Par.104 (3)).
Modern Presbyterians still stand by the "principles of enlightenment, equality and liberty, and supported Catholic emancipation".
When it comes to the doctrine, the Church takes her instructions from the word of God and not the whims of the ever-changing attitudes of the populace. The teaching of the PCI is, therefore, founded on scripture.
At ordinations and installations, the PCI states: "It is the privilege, right and duty of everyone to examine the scriptures personally and each individual is bound to submit to their authority."
Equally at ordinations, ministers and elders (male and female) are required to affirm that they accept the Westminster Confession of Faith "as a confession of my faith". That Confession states: "Marriage is between one man and one woman."
It is therefore dishonest to sign a document which in all conscience you cannot accept. As a matter of personal integrity, if you change your mind you should declare that and resign.
Rev Brian Kennaway
Presbyterian Minister (retired)