Traditional Christian values reaffirmed by new Presbyterian moderator
LGTB people told church is not homophobic
Dr Ian McNie: “Values associated with the beginning and ending of life, the family dynamic, freedom of conscience and the sanctity of marriage are all under threat.” Photograph: Jamie Trimble/Presbyterian Church/PA
The new Presbyterian moderator has said the church is facing ever-increasing intolerance. “Opinions are expressed and laws enacted that are at variance with what we, as Christians, stand for. Values associated with the beginning and ending of life, the family dynamic, freedom of conscience and the sanctity of marriage are all under threat,” said Rev Dr Ian McNie.
At his installation in Belfast last night, Dr McNie said: “As a church we want to unashamedly and unambiguously reaffirm our total commitment to the biblical and historical position of marriage, that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman, believing that this is God’s blueprint for the wellbeing of society, and any redefinition of this position is not within his plan for his creation.”
He added: “Tolerance is a two-way street. By definition tolerance accepts there are different opinions and that we should agree to disagree in an agreeable manner, not the definition that is currently postulated – that tolerance is the acceptance of different opinions and that all opinions are equally correct and should be endorsed as correct.”
That “leads to a position where Christians are required to promote ideas and deliver services that are contrary to their beliefs. True tolerance can only flourish in an atmosphere of mutual respect in disagreement.”
If the church today was “going to penetrate the world, stepping outside our comfort zone will not only be an option but a necessity. To retreat into the corner, keep our hands clean and backs covered is not the policy established by Jesus Christ. ”
In his address, the outgoing moderator the Rev Dr Michael Barry said he wanted to speak to those “who accuse us as Presbyterians of bias and attack, and that is the LGBT community. In recent campaigns, we have been accused of being homophobic. I can state categorically that we as a church are not homophobic. We do not agree with such a lifestyle. We believe it is contrary to the Bible’s teaching on marriage.
“We were saddened by the referendum in the Republic of Ireland, but we must be allowed to disagree without being smeared. And if there are any who take the name of Presbyterian and who are carrying on a hate campaign against the LGBT community, then they must stop.”
Installation of the new moderator marks the opening of this year’s Presbyterian general assembly, which continues until Thursday.