In light of recent comments reported in the local Press by Rev Christine Bradley, of Armagh Road Presbyterian Church (Portadown), in support of homosexual relationships and the ‘yes’ vote in the Irish referendum on marriage; and given the subsequent remarks carried in the regional Press by Dr John Dunlop a former moderator of the Presbyterian Church, who also condoned such relationships, we on behalf of the Kirk Session of Bethany Free Presbyterian Church Portadown, feel compelled to respond to the issue raised in those reports.
We do so by highlighting how the Word of God addresses the matter.
Scripture describes homosexual activity as a most serious and wicked sin - Romans 1: 26-27 “… for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet”.
Furthermore, it is a sinful practice that will end in the judgment of God upon those who engage in it, if it is not repented of and truly forsaken “… Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” Jude v 7.
However, the good news is that the gospel of Jesus Christ can save and deliver homosexuals from their sin as was the case in the church at Corinth in New Testament times, “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, … shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” 1st Corinthians 6: 9-11.
That the Rev Bradley and Dr Dunlop, ostensibly Christian ministers, should hold such an unchristian view, let alone give public utterance to it, is a matter that causes astonishment and sadness given the substance of the view expressed and the source from which it emanates.
That Presbyterian ministers can promote such immoral views which contradict Scripture is most concerning. In light of this we therefore urge genuine believers to consider and obey the exhortations of the apostle Paul recorded in 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18 and Ephesians 5:11, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial…wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you”, and “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them”.
These apostolic injunctions were written in order to maintain the purity of the church. They were relevant then and they are now. As they were to be obeyed then, so they are to be obeyed now. They have nothing whatsoever to do with equality issues. They concern the glory of God, and whether we all as guilty lost defiant sinners are willing to obey his Word in these and in all matters.
Rev Darryl Abernethy, Dr Kenneth Elliott, Mr Ronald Whiteside (Clerk of Session)