Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church in Newtownabbey has called on all Christian churches to continue “reaffirming the Biblical norms of marriage.”
Elders at the Doagh Road church made the appeal in the wake of last week’s vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly during which a majority of MLAs (53 - 52) voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.
Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK where gay marriage is not legal after the DUP again blocked the motion using a petition of concern. But the majority support for the SDLP/Sinn Fein motion has sparked Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church to “reiterate its adherence to the Biblical norms for marriage.”
A statement issued on behalf of the church’s elders said: “Jesus Christ unambiguously affirms that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman, and that this was the purpose of God the Creator from the very beginning of the human family. In context, Jesus applies this affirmation by teaching that divorce is a breach of God’s purpose in the creation and union of the two complementary sexes. It is a logical extension of his application to see also bigamous and homosexual unions as breaches of God’s purpose. Christians cannot approve of same-sex marriage without opposing the teaching of their Master, Jesus Christ.”
The statement continues: “We would respectfully remind all those in authority, and especially those responsible for Northern Ireland legislation, that their work contributes significantly to the direction taken by society. If it is a serious thing in the eyes of Jesus Christ, the Judge of the living and the dead, when one person puts a moral stumbling block in front of another person, how much more serious is it when a legislature puts a stumbling block before a whole nation?”
It concludes: “We recognise with gratitude that many Christian churches in Northern Ireland affirm like us the Biblical norms of marriage. We would, therefore, exhort our brother ministers to continue faithfully preaching Jesus Christ so that the flock of God under their care may see him clearly. In Matthew 24:12 Jesus describes days in which, “because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” We believe that the only true defence against the current downgrade in the land is the forthright presentation of the gospel, by which our love for the Saviour of the world is kept warm and fresh.
“The only true liberty is liberty based on the gospel of Jesus Christ the King. In so far as we lose the gospel, we lose liberty, and it will not quickly or easily be regained.”
The ban on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland is now being challenged in the courts.