Free Presbyterians slam supporters of ‘yes’ vote

Dr Ken Elliott and Rev Darryl Abernethy together.
Dr Ken Elliott and Rev Darryl Abernethy together.

The ministers and kirk session of Bethany Free Presbyterian Church in Portadown have come out strongly against the ‘yes’ vote for same sex relationship in the Republic.

They have criticised clergy in mainstream Presbyterianism who have supported the 62 per cent decision, either directly or tacitly.

A statement from Bethany ministers, Rev Darryl Abernethy and Dr Kenneth Elliott, and from clerk of session Ronald Whiteside describes homosexual activity as “a most serious and wicked sin” – quoting from the Book of Romans in the Bible.

The statement starts with criticism of Rev Christina Bradley of Armagh Road Presbyterian Church who claimed, “The (Republic of Ireland) referendum wasn’t a debate on the institution of marriage as the basis of human society as we know it, but about ending discrimination.

“This warm-heartedness is good to see in a world which often is a cold place as much for women in leadership as it is for gay and lesbian people in churches. I welcome the ‘yes’ vote.”

And the Bethany statement is also critical of the former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Dr John Dunlop when he claimed, “Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are equal members of the church, as they have an orientation about which they can do nothing. I am partially left-handed and there is nothing I can do about that.” He was addressing the church’s General Assembly last week.

The Free Presbyterian statement counters – “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 when it says – ‘Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

It goes on – “That the Rev Bradley and Dr Dunlop, ostensibly Christian ministe++rs, 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 anti-Biblical views and practices of a most serious kind is also concerning.”