Among the St Patrick’s Day parades in various places around the world, some homosexual groups are marching.
But what does Patrick himself – the man who is supposed to be honoured by such parades – have to say about homosexuality? In his autobiography, after being kidnapped and forced into slavery as a shepherd, Patrick relates his escape from Ireland. He boarded a ship without complying with the request of the (male) sailors: “I refused to suck their breasts for fear of God, but rather hoped they would come to the faith of Jesus Christ, because they were pagans” (Confession 18).
In fifth-century pagan Ireland, sucking a man’s nipple was a sign of friendship or of the reception of protection. Patrick “refused” to engage in it out of the “fear of God” to avoid any homosexual connotations. Instead, this faithful Christian, whose two writings are saturated with the Word of God, and who would later return to Ireland as a missionary and be known as its patron saint, “rather hoped they would come to the faith of Jesus Christ”.
Patrick preached, rebuked sin, and called to repentance and faith in Christ crucified in the confidence that Scripture consists of the words “of God and the apostles and prophets, who have never lied. He that believeth shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned. God hath spoken” (Letter to Coroticus 20).
This includes God’s beautiful creation of marriage between one man and one woman (Gen. 1:27; 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6), as a picture of the union of Christ and His bride the church (Eph. 5:22-33), and, therefore, the prophetic and apostolic opposition to sodomy and lesbianism (Gen. 19:1-29; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Isa. 3:9; Eze. 16:49-50; Rom. 1:26-27; I Cor. 6:9-11; I Tim. 1:10; Jude 7).
Rev Angus Stewart, Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena