Christ asked his disciples: are you leaving too?

A rainbow flag, symbolising gay pride. Among the key decisions taken at the General Assembly were ones concerning homosexuality, including a decision to bar people in same-sex relationships from full membership
A rainbow flag, symbolising gay pride. Among the key decisions taken at the General Assembly were ones concerning homosexuality, including a decision to bar people in same-sex relationships from full membership

There has been much controversy following important decisions taken at the recent General Assembly.

Prominent people – clerical, lay and political, not to mention the media – have taken the view that these decisions will result in great harm being caused to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Many will resign membership, while others will be deterred from joining, is their opinion basically.

At one stage in the public ministry of Jesus Christ, many who had been following him felt they could no longer accept what he was teaching: “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

We then read: “From that time, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:60-66, NIV).

There is no record of Jesus trying to persuade them to change their minds.

Nor did he modify or simplify anything he had previously said.

He simply asked his 12 chosen disciples: Will you go away also?

To which Peter responded on behalf of the others: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” ( John 6:67-68).

A church or individual Christian that adheres to the authority of the Word of God in its entirety and obeys its precepts will surely prosper.

I believe recognition of that authority and guidance was demonstrated at the General Assembly.

Victor Garland, Belfast, BT12

Elder at Richview Church, south Belfast

(This letter first appeared in this month’s edition of Herald magazine, run by the Presbyterian Church)