Presbyterian Moderator Should be Disciplined
Rev. Angus Stewart
The 2004-2005 moderator of the Presbyterian Church in
Ireland (PCI), Rev. Ken Newell, is walking in disobedience to the Word
of God as summarised in his church’s official creed and so ought to be
under church discipline.
The Westminster Confession states, "it is the
duty of Christians only to marry in the Lord. And therefore ... [they]
should not marry with infidels, Papists or other idolaters" (24:3).
Though his confession teaches that Roman Catholics are non-Christians
and idolaters, the PCI moderator speaks of them and fellowships with
them as his "brothers in Christ."
Since this is the Westminster Confession’s
view of individual Roman Catholics, there can be no doubt that the Roman
Church is included amongst the false churches which "have so degenerated
as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan" (25:5). Yet
Rev. Newell helped set up a fellowship between his congregation (Fitzroy
Presbyterian Church) and Clonard Roman Catholic Church and engages in
pulpit exchanges with Roman priests.
The Westminster Confession declares that "the
Popish sacrifice of the mass ... is most abominably injurious to
Christ’s one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation of all the sins of
the elect" (29:2) and that "Transubstantiation ... hath been and is the
cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries" (29:6). The
PCI moderator, however, attended a Roman Catholic mass in Seattle (17
March, 2004) as the guest speaker.
It looks like "the time" has come in the PCI "when
they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall
heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (II Tim. 4:3). After
all, instead of being disciplined for undermining the Word of God summed
in the Westminster Confession (Rev. Newell’s long history of
ecumenism was well known), a majority of the presbyteries elected him as
Have any of the 300,000 or so members of the PCI
officially protested against the moderator’s flagrant, public sins and
called for his discipline? What of the pastors and elders called to
"watch" over the flock (Heb. 13:7)? For the love of the truth of Jesus
Christ, Irish Presbyterians must not sit idly by while the moderator of
their church—the church of the Irish Presbyterian founding fathers and
Henry Cooke—undermines the biblical faith of the Reformation. Remember,
false doctrine, when tolerated, spreads relentlessly. "Know ye not that
a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" (Gal. 5:9).