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PCI Moderator Betrays Confession at Westminster

Rev. Angus Stewart


The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI), Dr. Norman Hamilton of Ballysillan PCI in Belfast, stated that was "glad to change [his] travel plans" to accept an invitation to attend a religious service at which the Pope, as an honoured guest, delivered a speech (Friday 17 September, 2010).

The venue for this ecumenical service with the Bishop of Rome (on his papal tour of the UK) is striking: Westminster Abbey in London, where the Westminster Confession of Faith, the creed of Presbyterianism worldwide and of Dr. Hamilton and the denomination he represents and (to some extent) leads.

The dogmas of the Pope and the Church of Rome are clearly opposed by the Westminster Confession, especially its chapters on Scripture (ch. 1), God's eternal decree (3), divine providence (5), man's original sin and total depravity (6), the bondage of fallen man's will (9), effectual calling (10), justification by faith alone (11), good works (16), the perseverance of the saints (17), liberty of conscience (20), religious worship and the Lord's Day (21), oaths and vows (22), the church (25), the sacraments (27), baptism (28), the Lord's Supper (29), church discipline (30) and church synods and councils (31). Indeed, it is highly doubtful if there is even one of the 33 chapters of the creed formulated at Westminster Abbey with which the Pope could honestly agree.

Rome's theistic evolution (4:1), prayers to saints or for the dead (21:2, 4) and purgatory (32:1) are condemned by the Westminster Confession. "Popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience ... are superstitious and sinful snares" (22:7). The "Pope [has not] any power or jurisdiction over [the state] or over any of [the] people," including in the UK, and "ecclesiastical persons [e.g., paedophile priests] are not exempted" from civil authority and punishment (23:4). Indeed, the Westminster Confession states that the pope is "antichrist" (25:6) and the mass is "most abominably injurious to Christ's one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect" (29:2).

No doubt the Pope rejoiced at being received and revered in the historic building in which the Westminster Confession was written. Dr. Hamilton may even have cast a guilty glance towards Westminster Abbey's Jerusalem Chamber where the Westminster divines drafted their great Reformed confession—a confession he signed. Members of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland will look on with dismay or in denial at yet another public mark of their moderator's and denomination's betrayal of the truth of Jesus Christ set forth in their church's confession. The Westminster divines would be appalled and even the stones of Westminster Abbey would cry out if they could!