Is the Presbyterian Church in Ireland a Faithful
Rev. Angus Stewart
The Church of Rome declares that the Presbyterian
Church is not a church "in the proper sense" (Dominus Iesus,
para. 17). The official confession of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
(PCI), the Westminster Confession (WC), also raises questions in
this regard, though for totally different reasons.
Churches "are more or less pure, according as the
doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered
and public worship performed more or less purely in them" (25:4), and
"some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but
synagogues of Satan" (25:5).
Where does this leave the PCI?
Union Theological College, the PCI’s seminary,
teaches higher criticism of the Bible which is opposed to the absolute
authority and inerrancy of Scripture (1). Many reject biblical creation
in "six days" (2:1) for the foolishness of the big bang and
evolutionism. The gospel of God’s sovereign grace in Christ—total
depravity, election and reprobation, particular atonement, irresistible
grace—is rejected by many ministers and members for free-will
Arminianism condemned by Westminster Confession
9:3. Christ’s headship over His church (30:1) is despised by appointing
women ministers and elders, for Christ did not call them and does not
speak or rule through them (I Tim. 2:12). The present Moderator, Rev.
Ken Newell, is well known for his false ecumenism with Rome, yet a
majority of the presbyteries voted for him. Many churches allow those
who do not make a credible profession of faith access to the sacraments
(27:1; 29:8). Reformed worship regulated by God’s Word (21:1), including
singing the God-breathed Psalms (21:5), is replaced with uninspired
hymns and choruses, choirs, bands, liturgical dance, plays etc. in
The PCI is "degenerating" (25:5) in doctrine,
sacraments and worship—the marks by which a church is to be tested
With higher criticism, unbelieving science, liberal
and Arminian theology, political correctness, feminism, unbiblical
ecumenism and shallow and confused preaching predominating in the PCI,
the Westminster Confession becomes a dead letter and church
discipline of false teachers—something "necessary ... for vindicating
the honour of Christ and the holy profession of the gospel"—is lost
(30:3). As the PCI departs further from God’s truth, it becomes ever
more closely entangled with Rome.