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letter of the day: Why all the sudden outrage when the Presbyterian Church is merely clarifying its theological stance?



THE letter by 230-plus Presbyterians (News, July 6) has a certain stable-door-closing ring about it.

The 2018 Presbyterian General Assembly did nothing other than clarify the logical consequences of the current theological stance of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. So, why the outrage?

Several years ago, the General Assembly required that not only would same-sex marriage not be carried out, or blessed, in any Presbyterian Church in Ireland, but it required that a statement be read at all marriages in a Presbyterian Church, stating that the only form of marriage (and, therefore, union) recognised by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland is heterosexual marriage and that between one man and one women.

Since then, it was clear that any other union was not recognised by the Church and this has had repercussions - logical repercussions - which have surfaced this year.

Clearly, if the only union recognised by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland is that between a man and women in marriage, then heterosexual co-habiting, same-sex co-habiting and/or civil partnerships are not deemed what the Church sees as acceptable.

So, co-habiting individuals, either gay or straight, and their offspring are logically outside the parameters accepted by the Church and, therefore, this affects communicant membership and access to baptism.

Some ministers and congregations may have ignored these consequences, but it is illogical to be hurt and/or insulted when the logic of this theological position is clearly stated.

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So why, I ask, is there really surprise and outrage over this issue? The Assembly didn't change any interpretation, or introduce any new policies, this year.

If change is being sought, then that has to be the target of the debate - not the consequences of the debate.

Therefore, if the 230-plus signatories who expressed their objections in the recent letter were honest, they should accept the reality: they are five, maybe 10, years too late.


Millisle, Co Down

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