GOVERNMENT AND MORALS COMMITTEE
19th May 2015
Though today’s ruling in the Belfast County Court against the Ashers Baking Company is hugely disappointing, it is hardly surprising. Over the course of many years the Parliaments and courtrooms of our nation have increasingly legislated for sin and against righteousness.
However even allowing for this ruinous trend does not help us to understand how a judge in Belfast can reach a verdict that rules in favour of the promotion of an activity – same-sex marriage – that, by four successive votes in our legislative Assembly, remains illegal in Northern Ireland.
In legal terms, this is a significant judgment because it militates against freedom of conscience and freedom of speech and effectively opens the door to other opportunists to bring an endless stream of expensive “discrimination” cases against a wide variety of businesses, both Christian and non-Christian.
This ruling has also established what we long suspected: a bogus “equality” is being foisted upon us which dictates that a Christian may exercise his right of conscience to hold to Biblical principles when he is at home, but not when he is in the workplace, whereas a homosexual may exercise his right to promote an immoral cause both at home and in the workplace. In the latter arena, this ruling affirms that ‘gay rights’ do not equal, but trump, those of Christians.
That this outcome is not what the majority of persons in our country wished for was evidenced by a huge groundswell of support that manifested itself across Northern Ireland when the Equality Commission decided to ‘persecute’ this small family-run business. Successive polls gauged support for Ashers as running between 70% and 90%.
In Scriptural terms, the ruling against Ashers confirms the reliability and relevance of the Bible, God’s relevation to man. An outstanding commentary on current world events is provided by the Old Testament prophecy of Habakkuk. Among many salient phrases, the 4th verse of the opening chapter of this book summarises what we have witnessed today: “Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.”
No matter what any secular court determines, the Bible remains unshaken in its verdict that same-sex marriage is sin (Genesis 2:24, Malachi 2:15, Mark 10:7-9, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
A study of this short book of Habakkuk reveals the reasons behind events in our world today, details God’s coming judgment upon sin, and assures us that, no matter what else happens, He remains in control and will certainly build His Church. Those who read Habakkuk will not fail to be impressed by God’s prescription for His people: genuine repentance produces revival blessings.
The primary allegiance of the Christian is always to a higher authority and Judge; as the apostles of the first century avowed, so we maintain today: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
As a fellowship of churches, we express our continued support for Ashers in this contrived controversy, plus we urgently call on our government to withdraw support from the promotion of this wickedness and direct our nation back to biblical values before the greater clouds of condemnation that are gathering over our nation burst upon us.
Rev. John Greer (Moderator)
Rev. Ian Brown (Clerk)
Rev. Thomas Murray (Deputy Moderator)
GOVERNMENT AND MORALS COMMITTEE
This week we see two great moral issues brought to the fore in Northern Ireland that should cause deep concern to the heart of every Bible believing Christian.
Firstly there is the court case regarding Ashers Baking Company and secondly the Euro 2016 qualifier being played on the Lord’s Day.
Firstly in regard to the court case against Ashers, the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster would like to reiterate its support for the Biblical definition of marriage as found in – Mark 10:6-8 “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.”
We reject and oppose the efforts by some to introduce a form of “marriage” that is contrary to Scriptural teaching and will undoubtedly be detrimental to society and the family unit.
Testimonies from those who have been brought up in the environment of same-sex “marriage” reveal that both male and female parenting, by a mother and a father is the “best and most successful family structure” within the home.
In our adherence to the Divine institution of marriage, we wholly oppose the efforts that are being made by the so-called Equality Commission to prosecute Ashers Baking Company Ltd, for their refusal to endorse unlawful “gay marriage”. We believe that they, as well as everyone else, should be permitted to conduct their lawful business enterprise in accordance with their Christian conscience.
The recent comments in the Guardian by the chairman of this publically-funded body Mr Michael Wardlow, that Christians should “either look at the law or maybe that is not the business they should be in” clearly highlight the attitude of the Commission to those opposed to “gay marriage”. It would certainly seem from this statement and others made by the Commission that they have decided that sodomite partnerships should be made legal in Northern Ireland.
Secondly in connection with the football match, we would once again voice our opposition to the decision by the IFA to permit this game to be played at Windsor Park on the Lord’s Day 29th March. The fourth commandment states “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”. This match is a blatant dismissal of this command and serves only to please the television companies. It has been planned without any thought for, or consultation with, the local church community.
We have expressed our views to the IFA and have undertaken a public protest to display our opposition to this dishonouring of the Lord’s Day.
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34
STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF DR. IAN R. K. PAISLEY
FORMER MODERATOR OF THE GENERAL PRESBYTERY OF THE FREE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF ULSTER
It is with deep sadness and regret that we have learned of the passing of Dr. Paisley, retired minister of our denomination and former moderator of the General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.
We pay tribute to the many, many years of faithful Gospel ministry that Dr. Paisley exercised both in Northern Ireland and also farther afield. Under the hand of God, Dr. Paisley was mightily used of the Lord in the conversion of many to Jesus Christ. Throughout the Free Presbyterian Church at home and abroad and in various other Christian churches there are large numbers of people who recognise Dr. Paisley as the instrument God used to bring them to the Saviour.
We remember also the huge contribution that Dr. Paisley made to the foundation and formation of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster; and we salute his gifted leadership in his role as moderator of Presbytery over many decades.
We are grateful that through Dr. Paisley’s faithful and anointed preaching of God’s Word and the stand he took for Christ’s cause, the Spirit of God raised a Biblical witness against apostasy from Christ. And we thank the Lord that this witness for truth continues under the blessing of God to this day.
We publicly extend to his wife and family our sincere Christian sympathy on the home-going of their dear loved one. In their time of deepest loss, when their hearts are broken and grief-stricken, we assure them of our prayerful support.
“…Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:1-2
On behalf of the General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster:
Rev. John Greer, Moderator
Rev. Thomas Murray, Deputy-Moderator
Rev. Ian Brown, Clerk