Local clergy and politicians have been urged to adhere to “biblical norms” and resist legalisation of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
The call was issued by Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church, Newtownabbey, in response to last week’s vote in the Assembly where, for the first time, a majority of MLAs voted in favour of a change in the law. The vote was quashed by a DUP petition of concern.
In a statement issued at the weekend, the church said: “In light of the vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly on Monday, approving of same-sex marriage, the Reformed Presbyterian Church wishes to reiterate its adherence to the Biblical norms for marriage.”It continued: “In Matthew 19:4-5 Jesus says: ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’
“Jesus Christ unambiguously affirms that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman, and that this was the purpose of God the Creator from the very beginning of the human family.”
The Reformed Church maintains that: “In context, Jesus applies this affirmation by teaching that divorce is a breach of God’s purpose in the creation and union of the two complementary sexes. It is a logical extension of his application to see also bigamous and homosexual unions as breaches of God’s purpose.”
It argues that: “Christians cannot approve of same-sex marriage without opposing the teaching of their Master, Jesus Christ.”
The statement added: “Furthermore, in Matthew 18:7 Jesus says: ‘Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes.’
“We would respectfully remind all those in authority, and especially those responsible for Northern Ireland legislation, that their work contributes significantly to the direction taken by society. If it is a serious thing in the eyes of Jesus Christ, the Judge of the living and the dead, when one person puts a moral stumbling block in front of another person, how much more serious is it when a legislature puts a stumbling block before a whole nation?
“We recognise with gratitude that many Christian churches in Northern Ireland affirm like us the Biblical norms of marriage. We would, therefore, exhort our brother ministers to continue faithfully preaching Jesus Christ so that the flock of God under their care may see him clearly.”
The reformed church quoted: “In Matthew 24:12 Jesus describes days in which, ‘because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold’.
“We believe that the only true defence against the current downgrade in the land is the forthright presentation of the gospel, by which our love for the Saviour of the world is kept warm and fresh,” the Trinity statement added.
“The only true liberty is liberty based on the gospel of Jesus Christ the King. In so far as we lose the gospel, we lose liberty, and it will not quickly or easily be regained,” it concluded.
l Have your say: Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to us at Letters To The Editor, Larne Times, 8 Dunluce Street, Larne BT40 1JG.