Presbyterian Church and marriage

Sir, – Since my letter of September 26th some contributors have missed the essential point of what was written, and even taken the “scenic route” around the subject.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland is a confessional church. That in effect means that the church’s ministers and elders who sign the Westminster Confession, as a confession of their faith, are tied both morally and legally to that document.

It is not the “teaching of the General Assembly on marriage” but the teaching of scripture and our understanding of that as reflected in the confession of faith, which states that “Marriage is between one man and one woman.”

The right of dissent applies only to the decisions of the General Assembly, not to the confession of faith.

Just as in any other organisation or club, if a person changes their mind about the ethos or rules of that organisation they are free to leave. If any minister or elder of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland changes their mind on the doctrine of the church as reflected in the Westminster Confession they are also free to leave, and over the years many have done so.

– Yours, etc,

Rev BRIAN KENNAWAY, Retired Minister, Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Belfast.


This Letter appeared in the Irish Times on 1 October 2015