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Church – PCI under fire

August 2018

Dr Stafford Carson
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Biblical teaching on morality encourages Christians to imitate Jesus Christ even when culture is going a different way, a leading Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) figure has said.

The Very Rev. Dr Stafford Carson spoke out in the Belfast Telegraph, following criticism of the Church’s decision about who it allows to be full members. He is quoted as saying: ‘As everyday disciples of Jesus, we affirm that our commitment to Christ means that we honour him in everything. It is not an easy road to travel’.

This follows the PCI’s general assembly in June, in which delegates decided that those who wanted to be communicant members, or have their infants baptised, must hold a ‘credible profession of faith’.

The PCI said such a profession of faith could not be held by same-sex couples, because ‘their outward conduct and lifestyle is at variance with a life of obedience to Christ’.

In the Belfast Telegraph, Dr Carson explained: ‘Looking on and reading much of what has been said and written, it may seem that the Church is out of step with society. That’s not surprising. ‘Since the days of the early church, the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord has often placed Christians at odds with their surrounding culture. That is why the New Testament writers encourage us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2)’.

He added the Bible is clear that marriage is solely between one man and one woman, and that Scripture was the final authority for Christians.