Presbyterians and dissenting tradition

Sir, – While I have no wish to prolong this discussion I must respond to Prof Paul Carmichel (October 3rd).

In 1988 the Presbyterian Church in Ireland revised its understanding of the confession by declaring, “the historical interpretation of the pope of Rome as the personal and literal fulfilment of the Biblical figure of ‘the antichrist’ and ‘the man of sin’ is not manifestly evident from scripture”.

Other churches have also clarified their understanding of the antichrist, in the confession.

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church in America and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, are two such churches.

Prof Carmichel is correct to affirm that historically the statement on marriage was “clearly intended as an outright, unequivocal prohibition of polygamy, not a 17th-century censure of homosexuality”.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has, however, understood this as “exclusively between one man and one woman”, which is a censure of homosexuality. – Yours, etc,

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

This Letter appeared in the Irish Times on 7th October 2015