Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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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 moderator!

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).