Presbyterian view of same-sex relations

 

Sir, – I take exception to the tendency of some members of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland to confuse their own conservative interpretation of the Christian Scriptures with the Scriptures themselves. Yet those of us involved in education know that repetition is central to teaching and learning. So, readers of the Letters Page will be kind enough to indulge me when I state clearly and unambiguously, and in the interest of the truth, that the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s most recent statement to the effect that “the Church of Scotland has departed from the clear teaching of Scripture on the matter of same-sex relations” is but one interpretation of those same scriptures that we all acknowledge as a rule of life (Presbyterian Notes, June 10th).

Furthermore, that conservative interpretation is increasingly in a minority and at variance with the more engaged approach taken by the Church of Scotland, the Reformed Church in France, the United Reformed Church in England, and the Presbyterian Church (US), among others. Their approach permits a variety of ecclesial and liturgical practices in the matter of same-sex relations, which allows for the ongoing process of interpretation of Scripture in these matters to proceed. Thus, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s refusal to engage in dialogue in a matter on which the mind of the Reformed Church universal is divided is to be regretted. And the Church of Scotland’s gracious invitation to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland “to agree to disagree together” is to be applauded as a more faithful understanding of what it means to be Reformed Christians.

Readers should also be made aware that a very large number of Presbyterians (including members who are ordained and in leadership) in the Republic and in Northern Ireland have sought, and continue to seek, to open a conversation on these matters, a conversation that has so far been refused. That refusal is not in my name. – Yours, etc,

Prof RUTH WHELAN,

Dublin 12.