Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Is the Presbyterian Church in Ireland a Faithful Church?

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 Presbyterian services.

The PCI is "degenerating" (25:5) in doctrine, sacraments and worship—the marks by which a church is to be tested (25:4).

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.