Moderator Invites Roman Primate of Ireland
to the General Assembly
The Westminster Confession
(WC), the official creed of the Presbyterian Church in
Ireland (PCI), states that "such as profess the true
reformed religion should not marry with infidels, Papists,
or other idolaters" (WC 24:3). Yet the 2004-2005 PCI
Moderator, Rev. Ken Newell, invited the primate of the Roman
Catholic Church in Ireland, Dr. Sean Brady, to be his
honoured guest at the opening night of the Presbyterian
General Assembly (7 June, 2004).
A church is Presbyterian to the degree in which she is
faithful to Presbyterian doctrine, sacraments, worship,
discipline and church government as set forth in the Westminster Confession as a summary of the Bible’s
Presbyterianism confesses the sufficiency of the
self-interpreting canonical Scriptures (WC 1). God is
absolutely sovereign over all things (3), including the fall
of Adam and all other sins (4:4). Man "hath wholly lost all
ability of will to any spiritual good" (9:3), and even his
possession of a corrupted nature is itself "properly sin"
(6:5). "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his
glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto
everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting
death" (3:3). Christ died for "the elect only" (3:6) whom in
due time He irresistibly calls (10) and justifies by
imputing to them the righteousness of Christ alone received
by faith alone (11). All elect saints certainly persevere by
grace to the end (17) and even in this life receive
assurance of their salvation (18). All these doctrines are
denied by Rome. In fact, there are very few of the 33
chapters of the Westminster Confession which do not
contradict Roman dogma.
Contrary to Romanism, Presbyterianism acknowledges "only two
sacraments ordained by Christ" and not seven (27:4). Water
baptism does not regenerate (28:5). The mass is "most
abominably injurious to Christ’s one only sacrifice" (29:2).
Transubstantiation "hath been and is the cause of manifold
superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries" (29:6).
Presbyterianism avows that "the acceptable way of
worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so
limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be
worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men,
or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible
representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy
Scripture" (21:1). Only the Triune God is to be worshipped
and that only through the mediation of Christ alone (21:2).
The "whole time" of the Lord’s Day is to be "kept holy"
(21:8); prayer "for the dead" is forbidden (21:4).
Presbyterian discipline (30) and church government (31) are
likewise opposed to the hierarchical Roman system that finds
its apex in the Pope who claims to be the vicar of Christ on
The Westminster Confession states, "Whosoever taketh
an oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn
an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully
persuaded is the truth" (22:3). "An oath is to be taken in
the plain and common sense of the words, without
equivocation or mental reservation" (22:4).
Clearly the PCI moderator has broken his oath of
faithfulness to the Westminster Confession (opposed
as it is to the doctrine, sacraments, worship, discipline
and church government of Roman Catholicism) by inviting the
Roman Primate of Ireland to be his honoured guest at the
opening night of Irish Presbyterianism’s highest assembly.
And only three of the twenty-one presbyteries protested, and
even then only weakly!
John Calvin: "But as it is
necessary for us to separate from the Papists if we wish to follow God,
it is better a hundred times to separate from them than to be united
together, and thus to form an ungodly and wicked union against God.
Agreement or union is, indeed, singularly a good thing, because there is
nothing better or more desirable than peace. But we must ever bear in
mind, that in order that men may happily unite together, obedience to
God's word must be the beginning. The bond, then, of lawful concord
among us is this—that we obey God from first to last; for accursed is
every union where there is no regard to God and to his word" (Comm. on