Friday, 25 October 2019

Day of Defiance


Monday the 21st October is a notable date in the calendar of Northern Ireland for all the wrong reasons. It has been termed by many the “darkest day”. A day when the abortion law that has saved the lives of over 100,000 babies was liberalised, a day when marriage is to be redefined to include that which is contrary to God’s law.

These changes are not being implemented as a result of a decision by the citizens of Northern Ireland nor by the majority of their elected representatives but have been forced on the people following decisions at Westminster and the fact that the Northern Ireland assembly is not functioning.

We commend those MLA’s who signed a petition to trigger a recall of the Assembly on Monday and who sought to introduce the “Defence of the Unborn Child Bill 2019”. Sadly, other parties did not have the same interest or desire to preserve the life of the unborn child despite all their talk of equality and tolerance.

The moral landscape of Northern Ireland has changed overnight and not for the better.
We now have a society where there is the potential to have the most liberal abortion laws in Europe.
Instead of the mother’s womb being a place of safety it could now be the place of death. There is now the very real possibility that a child conceived through an act of sexual crime will be put to death for the crimes of the father. Likewise, a child thought to have abnormalities instead of receiving dedicated care and affection, may be unwanted and discarded by abortion. The little one who has offended no one could be aborted and put to death if viewed as an inconvenience.

God’s institution of marriage, an illustration of Christ’s relationship with His Church (Eph 5:25) is to be changed to include that which is corrupt and sinful, that which is condemned in the Word of God.

In both of these cases, no consideration has been given to those who may object or have a differing point of view. 
We hear much about Human Rights, tolerance, equality but does it exist for the medical professionals who have devoted their lives to the preservation of human life and oppose abortion?
Does it exist for those who hold to the Biblical definition of marriage?

What has happened is the mark of a secular, sinful, selfish world. 
Paul writes in-
2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

The well-known verse in John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave”. This is the essence of the Gospel. A God that loves and One that gave, what a contrast with the world we live in. The Lord Jesus Christ in giving His life for fallen man was selfless but what we have seen taken place in Northern Ireland reveals the sinful selfish heart of mankind.

Despite the darkness, there is hope for fallen man. In love and grace, God has provided salvation for the repentant sinner and that applies to those involved in abortion and homosexuality.

In such a time we are reminded that God is sovereign, that Christians have a duty to pray and to witness. Regardless of what society is doing, we are still to “preach Christ crucified”!

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Presbytery Statement on impending Abortion Legislation.

TIME TO BE A VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS


Our nation is counting down the days – until the 31st October.  Will our Parliament finally deliver on the expressed will of its people, or will it trigger yet another mechanism by which to invoke another delay to, if not revoke the result of, the referendum?

Of greater concern to us in Northern Ireland than any Brexit deadline is the fact that we can see the whites of the eyes of another cut-off point and can hear the clock ticking on a much more sinister countdown.  One that threatens to put out eyes before they can open; to close the ears of that child whose sensory faculties are rapidly developing inside the womb of its mother; to mechanically – and monstrously – revoke that child’s right ever to live, or learn to speak, or cheer, or vote. 

Exhilaration
While for some – the kind of people who recently celebrated with air punches and cheers in New South Wales, Australia, after they overturned an 119-year-old law against abortion and replaced it with a most radically permissive regime; and those who in May 2018 when the barriers to abortion fell in the Republic of Ireland threatened “The North is next!” – 21st October 2019 cannot come quickly enough; yet for many in Northern Ireland this is a date to be dreaded.

Extremity
It is horrendous to think that our province has been railroaded to such a degree that from being the safest place in the British Isles for an unborn baby she will accommodate one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world, with little to no protections for anyone, including our health workers, but especially the most defenceless, the unborn child.

As one Australian MP recently depicted it, this is “the slavery debate of our time” and laws imposed upon Northern Ireland without local consultation gives the green light to our own version of the notoriously wicked Holocaust.  

Euphemisms
Naturally this is disputed by those in our society who perversely portray abortion as a   “progressive” measure.  It does not seem to register with them that the murder of the most defenceless of our society should never be couched in terms of advancement.

The euphemisms employed to deliberately mask and minimise the crude, cruel dismemberment of a living child in its mothers’ womb are not only threadbare but terrifying.  In a calculated effort to diminish the horror, terms are pulled into play such as, “a woman’s right to choose,” the deceptive, “a compassionate response to crisis pregnancy,” or the ridiculous description, “healthcare.”  Since when did we take pleasure in healthcare that is locked into only one outcome – death?  Abortion is neither health care nor a woman’s right:  it is murder; the unjustifiable, unconscionable, sinful slaughter of the innocent.  It is a completely bewildering sight to witness some political parties vigorously campaign to outlaw smacking a child, yet at the same time support the violent killing of a child in the womb.

Education
When we permit God’s Word to be our educator, we discover that the weight of Biblical evidence indicates that the Lord considers the unborn child to be a person – therefore that child’s life should be protected as other people’s lives are protected.  The Scriptures plainly teach:
• As a basic commandment (number 6), “Thou shalt not kill.”
• In many passages in the Bible the child in the womb is described as a person:  “The children struggled within her” (Rebekah, Genesis 25:22); Elizabeth “conceived a son in her old age” (Luke 1:36&57); “the babe leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41).
• God’s judgment always falls on those who slay the unborn (2 Kings 8:11-12; 15:16; Amos 1:13).
• God requires the same punishment for killing a child in the womb as He does for killing a man (Exodus 21:22-23).

Earnestness
With these facts in mind and the deadline quickly approaching, I appeal to Julian Smith MP, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to recognise the mobilisation of local public sentiment on this issue, to remember the previous votes of the Stormont Assembly not to relax our abortion law, to redress the ambush on our democracy launched and facilitated by the unwarranted interventions of Stella Creasy and John Bercow respectively, and recall the Stormont Assembly before 21 October so that our own elected representatives can take the necessary action both to prevent this law coming into effect and so stop this Death March before it is allowed to begin.  Only by this means will we raise a necessary voice for the voiceless and reverse one of the most wicked impositions of our times:  “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction” (Proverbs 31:8).

Rev. Ian Brown
Minister, Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church,
on behalf of the General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Westminster laws for Northern Ireland


On the 18th of July 2019 when the (Executive Formation) Bill was being debated in the house of Commons, amendments were introduced by Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow and Conor McGinn MP for St Helens North. They related to the imposing upon Northern Ireland legislation on the redefining of marriage and abortion. This would be the responsibility of the Secretary of State if the Northern Ireland Assembly was not functioning by the 21st October.

Sadly, both amendments were passed by the majority of the house despite being opposed by the majority of the Northern Ireland MP’s, whom we commend for their opposition.

In light of this the following article by the Rev Ian Brown was published in the Belfast Newsletter-

On history’s side? I aim to be on eternity’s side

I realise that the dark decisions taken by the British Parliament respecting Northern Ireland are not yet binding... although we are well aware that they shall be if the cartel of wicked men and women who voted in favour of these nefarious schemes have anything fur­ther to do with it.
Some elements rose to the fore in our nation's Parliament this week.
One element was hypocrisy.
The Scottish National Party further dis­honoured itself in these votes. This party has made great noises in the past about abstaining on all votes that affect other devolved jurisdictions in order to ringfence their own issues. But here there was no such reticence.

Another feature of the debates in Parliament was perversity.
Since the measures passed by Par­liament specifically target Ulster. I will respond in true Ulster fashion by 'calling a spade a spade'.
Same-sex marriage is perverse. It is a perversion of God's order, that marriage should only and always be between one man and one woman in a loyal and lifelong union (Genesis 1:26- 27; 2:24: Mark 10:6-9).
Abortion is perverse. An allegation recently surfaced that, on the lead up to the recent Irish referendum on abortion, YouTube (owned by Google) "blacklisted" a large number of videos on its platform: 'abortion is barbaric', 'abortion is wrong', abortion is murdering".
If this is correct, my phrase (for the purpose of this piece) would also have been blocked: abortion is perverse.
It is not health care, or a woman's right: it is murder; the unjustifiable, unconscionable, sinful slaughter of the innocent (cf. Psalm 139:13-16; Psalm 127; Job 31:15; Psalm 22:10).

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 dictates that all birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law and it is thus an offence, with certain exceptions. to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird, or intentionally take or destroy the egg of any wild bird. Yet the legislation proposed for Northern Ireland will permit babies to be killed in their mother's womb, with not the slightest risk of penalty by any authority.

History was made in Parliament this week. I thank God for those who registered their opposition to these assaults on decency and democracy. Liberals are fond of pulling in the meaningless statement. ‘On the right side of history.' As history goes in cycles it is pretty impossible to get on the right side of it!
This, of course, is yet another crude cudgel used by the opponents of true righteousness to force silence on any-one who speaks from a conscience educated by God's Holy Word, the Bible. Personally. I don't care about "being on the right side of history." Not at all. What I do care about - intensely-is being on the right side in eternity.

It is recorded of our Lord in Matthew 25:32-33 &46: "Before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33. And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
46. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

No doubt the so-called 'emissaries of equality' would feel an objection rise within them right here: "How dare God be so partial? How dare He discriminate!" Whether they like it or not, God will do as He pleases - He is God - and what He does will always be right.

Man may celebrate today as if, in breaking God's laws, he has shaken off all obligations to his Creator and does not need to worry about Him being the eventual and eternal Judge of his actions. Of course man imagined this thousands of years ago, as is detailed in Psalm 2:2-5: "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying.
3. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast
away their cords from us.
4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5. Then shall He speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure."

Despite the wicked decisions of men. God is on the throne, still. For time - and eternity. Some of the men and women in Parliament today may not live to see these abominations imposed on Northern Ireland - but all will be obliged to give an account to God for desecrating His laws today and heaping further misery and judgment on our nation.

Meantime, let us continue to pray that God's promise in Isaiah 59:19 will be fulfilled before our eyes: "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him."


Institution of Marriage


A STATEMENT BY THE PRESBYTERY OFFICERS ON OUR CHURCH’S POSITION ON MARRIAGE

The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster unreservedly subscribes to the fundamental principle that God’s infallible Word is the final authority on all matters of faith and practice. 

Accordingly, the Free Presbyterian Church publicly re-emphasises its purpose to uphold the clear revelation of Scripture that marriage is a covenant and conjugal union between a man and a woman, (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-5). As Christ’s teaching in this Matthew 19 passage reveals, this divine injunction of marriage between male and female is binding upon all of mankind throughout all time.  The injunction is designed to provide the only framework within which stable family life can exist. Consequently, the pathway to the improvement of society is found in adherence to the Biblical principle of marriage. “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people,” (Proverbs 14:34).

In keeping with this clear Biblical teaching and authority, the Free Presbyterian Church underlines its opposition to all marital and sexual relationships outside the covenant of Biblical marriage. Scripture clearly reveals that such marital and sexual relationships are sinful and will prohibit entrance into the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators…nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind…shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Therefore, as a Church we are saddened by the attempts of political parties to normalise and promote marital and sexual relationships that are in contravention of the clear teaching of Scripture. We would remind political leaders that they are subject to God’s moral law and should endeavour to honour it, keeping in mind that one day all men will give an account of themselves to God (Romans 14:12). We would also put on record the Biblical reminder that only through repentance from such sin and by faith in Christ alone will forgiveness and acceptance with God be obtained (1 Corinthians 6:11).  



REAFFIRMATION OF THIS PRESBYTERY’S POSITION ON MARRIAGE
IN THE LIGHT OF THE INCREASING ABANDONMENT OF BIBLICAL TEACHING ON THE MATTER

As apostasy from God and His Word deepens in our nation, all kinds of immorality abound throughout society. The consequence of every aspect of this increasing immorality is that God’s institution of marriage is constantly treated with scorn as a sinful people give vent to their corrupt lusts. Sadly, in a relatively short period of time, there has been an alarming abandonment of the teaching of Scripture on marriage as ordained by God. This contempt for Biblical marriage includes, not only the abandonment of it as a divine institution, but also direct attack upon it in the promotion and acceptance of so-called same-sex marriage. Legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales was passed by the Parliament of the UK, July 2013. In Scotland the legislation of same-sex marriage was passed by the Scottish Parliament, February 2014. Currently there is an increasing lobby for its legislation in Northern Ireland. Those who spearhead this lobby do so in defiance of God’s moral law and with arrogant contempt toward those who wish to honour the Lord’s revealed will for marriage. Moreover, this attack upon the divine institution of marriage, through favour and acceptance being shown toward same-sex marriage, is witnessed in varying degrees among visible bodies within professing ‘Christendom’ in the UK.

In such a day it is the duty of every section of Christ’s Church to remain faithful to Scripture on the subject of marriage and to reaffirm in a public manner a clear, Biblically-based position on this issue. That is the purpose of this position paper as formulated by the Officers of the General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. We believe that this reaffirmation is in keeping with the ordination vow taken by all ministers and ruling elders in which they promise before God to believe “…the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments not merely to contain but to be the verbally inspired Word of the Living God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.” This vow in relation to Scripture binds our consciences on what God has revealed about the institution of marriage.

GOD’S INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE
In Genesis 1:27 Moses writes – “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” This is a general statement of the creation of man in God’s image but stressing distinction of gender. In Genesis 2 the Holy Spirit gives us some of the finer details, not only of human creation but of the institution of marriage also. The account of the two events melt into one as is especially seen in the record of the creation of Eve. The striking fact is that while Eve was taken from Adam in her creation, she was then joined to him again by the act of marriage. This is the import of Adam’s words in v.23 – “And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” Adam’s words indicate that the beautiful creature brought to him by God was of the same species and nature as he possessed; a human being like him. Yet at the same time he knew that there was a difference, indicated by his next words – “…she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” In our English translation, but even more especially in the Hebrew original, it is seen that the man and the woman, while the same in nature, were different in gender. The Hebrew word for ‘man’ is ISH – one sense of the word being that it signifies husband. But the Hebrew word for ‘woman’ is ISHA – indicating one who is designed by God to be a wife.

The clear message is that the creation of Eve paved the way for the divine institution of marriage. God’s intention for marriage was that marriage would be constituted by two human beings coming together; but two people of different genders – male and female, as the Hebrew words ISH and ISHA signify. This fact is then reinforced by the divine comment in v.24 – “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Again, the word for man in this verse is ISH. The word for ‘wife’ is the same Hebrew word as for ‘woman’ in v.23. So, the verse could be read – “…a husband shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his woman and they shall be one flesh.” The Genesis 2 record of the divine institution of marriage is fundamental to a Biblical view of marriage. It undergirds all that the rest of Scripture has to say on the subject. It contains the implicit warning that any attempt to erode God’s revealed will for marriage – such as is inherent within same-sex marriage – will bring His just displeasure. In addition, Genesis 2 makes it incumbent upon Christ’s Church to be the voice for God’s institution of marriage when that institution is under virulent attack by the same-sex marriage agenda.

CHRIST’S PROPHETIC WARNING ABOUT THE LAST DAYS
The Lord Jesus Christ, the only Head of the Church, in Luke 17:28-30 delivers teaching that shows that the sin of same-sex or sodomite practices will mark the last days. In these verses the Lord draws a parallel between the days of Lot and the time of His Second Advent. In the course of what He teaches, the Lord specifically verifies the historicity of the destruction of Sodom. He declares – “…the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” Certainly the focus of Christ in Luke 17 is on the sudden destruction that will come on sinners at His coming just as sudden destruction came on the people of Sodom. However, other Scriptures such as Genesis 19 make it exceedingly clear that the sin for which the people of Sodom and its partner cities were destroyed was the sin of same-sex alliances. Therefore, in the parallel that Christ draws in Luke 17, there is surely the inference at least that the sin that brought God’s wrath on Sodom will characterise the times that precede His coming again. In the light of the global acceptance of same-sex or sodomite behaviour, Christ’s Church would do well to heed His prophetic warning in Luke 17.

GOD’S ABHORRENCE OF SAME-SEX SIN ABOVE OTHER SINS
Our Shorter Catechism teaches that while every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse, yet there are some sins that are more heinous than others. Scripture leaves us in no doubt that same-sex partnerships at any level constitute sin that is heinous in the sight of God and is utterly abhorrent to Him. It is a sin that God specifically abominates, Leviticus 18:22; 20:13. The language used plainly speaks of a sexual alliance between men; and declares that “…they have committed an abomination.” In Romans 1:24-28 Paul describes the state of the Gentile world of the 1st century. His description plainly refers to same-sex sin on the part of men with men and women with women, vs.26-27. His exposure of this sin reveals that when nations and peoples are overrun by such sin it is a sign that they have been abandoned or given up by God. In Jude v.7 the sinners of Sodom and its associated cities “…are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” It is very striking that while the Spirit could have presented other Old Testament examples of sinners enduring such suffering, He chooses Sodom and its allies. His choice underlines the divine abhorrence of same-sex sin.

FORGIVENESS FOR ALL WHO REPENT OF SAME-SEX ALLIANCES
While Almighty God abhors the sin of sodomy and will judge all who refuse to repent of this sin, yet He is merciful to those who turn from it and seek forgiveness through Christ’s one atoning sacrifice. This is the clear teaching of the Spirit of God in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. The sin of sodomy is in view in the particular sins that Paul highlights. In v.9 the Apostle includes those who are “…effeminate,” and “…abusers of themselves with mankind.” These terms refer to both passive and active participants in same-sex relationships; thus debarring those who are guilty from entering the kingdom of God. However, v.11 gives the assurance that where there is repentance from such sin, for the penitent one there is cleansing from this sin, to be set apart to live a holy life through Christ, accepted and declared righteous by God in justification.

CONCLUDING AFFIRMATION
In the light of these Scriptures this Presbytery affirms:
·         That marriage between one man and one woman was ordained of God and is therefore a divine institution;
·         That since civil government is to base its laws on marriage upon divine law, the law of the land should uphold the divine institution of marriage. It follows –
·         That while marriage is also a civil contract, no civil government has the right to change the divine institution of marriage;
·         That the introduction and legislation of so-called same-sex partnerships or marriages by the state is a violation of God’s moral law in relation to marriage and is abhorrent to Him;
·         That all ministers and elders of the General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, who at ordination subscribed the Westminster Confession of Faith, which in Ch.24, Section 1 states that “Marriage is to be between one man and one woman,” are thereby before God bound by that ordination oath not only to uphold the divine institution of marriage between male and female but are also required not to condone or endorse any same-sex or sodomite alliance. It follows, therefore –
·         That as ministers and elders of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, being bound by our adherence to the infallible Scriptures and by our ordination vow to defend the truths of the said Scriptures; we hereby re-affirm our adherence to its unchanging and unchangeable teaching on the divine and sacred institution of marriage and our opposition to acceptance and promotion of same-sex alliances.



Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Supreme Court Victory for Ashers




We are delighted with the news that on Wednesday 10th October 2018 the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Ashers Baking Company.

They stated regarding Ashers- “By being required to produce the cake they were being required to express a message with which they deeply disagreed.”

The legal action was originally brought against family-run Ashers bakery in May 2014 by gay rights activist Gareth Lee. He asked for a cake with the campaign slogan, ‘Support Gay Marriage’.

Ashers, owned by Colin and Karen McArthur and managed by their son Daniel, refused to make the cake because it carried a message contrary to the family’s firmly-held Christian beliefs.
But the taxpayer-funded Equality Commission for Northern Ireland launched a civil action against the family-run bakery, claiming its actions violated Northern Ireland’s equality laws.

In the ensuing court case, District Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled that religious beliefs could not dictate the law and ordered the firm to pay damages of £500. Mounting an unsuccessful challenge at the Court of Appeal in Belfast in 2016, Ashers contended that it never had an issue with Mr Lee's sexuality, rather the message he was seeking to put on the cake.

The Christian Institute which represented the family then took the case to the UK Supreme Court. 
In a unanimous decision, five of the UK’s most senior judges upheld Ashers’ appeal against claims of discrimination.

Speaking on behalf of The Christian Institute, Deputy Director (Public Affairs) Simon Calvert called the ruling “a total vindication of Ashers Baking Company and the McArthur family.”
“The Court strongly agreed with Ashers’ lawyers that this case has always been about the message on the cake and not the customer; the message, not the messenger.
“Equality law was never intended to be used in the way the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland tried to use it in this case.” 

The Supreme court also raised concern about the Equality Commission- “The Court of Appeal expressed some concern that the correspondence between the ECNI and the bakery may have created the impression that the ECNI was not interested in assisting members of the faith community when they found themselves in difficulties as a result of their deeply held religious beliefs (para 106). It is obviously necessary for a body such as the ECNI to offer its services to all people who may need them because of a protected characteristic and not to give the impression of favouring one such characteristic over others.”

Questions need to be asked of the unelected Equality Commission regarding their pursuing of this case and the costs (approx. £250,000) which have been incurred for the Northern Ireland taxpayer.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Response to Abortion Referendum result in the Republic of Ireland


Much of Ireland imagines they have joined the ranks of the liberated as a result of the demolition of its constitutional protection for the unborn. It does not seem to care that by the same action it has effectively delivered a death sentence on a significant percentage of its potential population.

Actions of this nature are the inevitable consequence of secularisation. As belief in God and awareness of His Word declines, so does resistance to abortion laws. It’s a matter of anthropology: when man believes himself to be a random event instead of a purposeful creation, he will inevitably draw the same conclusion about those both within him and around him. This will then enable him to weigh lives on utilitarian scales and so make distinctions about their respective value. 

The Bible makes it plain that God considers even the deliberate abandonment of one’s child as an extreme example of heartlessness (Isaiah 49:15); and does not distinguish between the value of the child in the womb and the child who has made it into the world, using exactly the same word to describe both (Luke 1:41&44; Luke 18:15). 

We are obliged to show compassion and offer care to the small percentage of women who are caught in extreme circumstances, though while the ‘Yes' campaign centred its focus on those emotive margins to gain its advantage, it is extremely disingenuous and dangerous to ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of women who have presented themselves for abortion have done so for socio-economic reasons.

The result of this referendum is a terrible outcome for everyone. People who have celebrated this event with the kind of enthusiasm that is more typical of a pop concert may not even realise the extent of what they have done; declaring their freedom even as they are delivered into the chains of their own judgment. When men sin with abandonment, God gives them over to sin that they may be consumed by it. They pour the drink into the glass with gladness, but do not yet realise that they will be made to drink it with grief, every last drop.

Which is why the majority in County Donegal, plus the minority across the rest of the Republic of Ireland, who voted to preserve the lives of both mother and child, deserve our humble thanks – and all the efforts of those who are now determined to extend the stretch of the killing fields to Northern Ireland should be implacably resisted.

Rev. Ian Brown
Clerk, Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Ireland's Abortion Referendum

In 1983 after a referendum, Ireland added what is known as the "Eight Amendment" to its Constitution. 
The wording is found below-

"The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

Thirty-five years later the highly sensitive subject of abortion has been thrust into the spotlight due to the planned referendum to repeal this Eighth Amendment on the 25th May. 

By permitting the vote the Irish Government has not only pandered to political liberalism but also endorsed a process that, if approved, will lead to the deaths of an incalculable number of innocent children.

Recently, the Government was to be commended for their swift and unreserved condemnation of the murder of innocents in places such as Manchester and London, but this same Government clearly fails to recognise that life within the womb is also to be preserved and protected. 

Abortion transcends national boundaries and political ideologies. Life is not the creation of man but of the God of Heaven. God created man in His own image and breathed life into him so that man "became a living soul" (Genesis ch 2v7), thus setting him apart from the animal kingdom. As such, human life is precious, and a warning is given against taking this life, except in righteous judgement. 

Since Scripture clearly shows that God alone created life, it naturally follows that no human being has an absolute right over their own life or that of another. This prohibition also extends to the child in the womb. 
While some try to dispute the point at which life begins, the Free Presbyterian Church in Ireland totally rejects the view that the unborn child is not a living person. The Bible plainly teaches that life begins at conception.  
  • The Psalmist David writes "for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139v14). 
  • Job specifically says "There is a man child conceived",(Job ch 3v3). 
  • It is said of Jeremiah the prophet "before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee" (Jeremiah ch 1v5). 
  • Dr Luke records how Elizabeth rejoiced at the Virgin Mary's news and how that "the babe leaped in her womb" (Luke ch 1v41).
From the moment of conception, a new person forms within the mother, one who is genetically distinct and physically separate from her. So then, the issue of abortion cannot only be a matter of maternal choice because it involves purposefully taking away the life of another human being. In no other walk of life would this be considered either lawful or moral. 

While we recognize that there may be circumstances where both the life of mother and child cannot simultaneously be preserved and acknowledge that the support needed for each expectant mother can differ, it must be stressed that the deliberate act of abortion can never be justified. 

Government legislation may seek to accommodate the destruction of the body but it cannot destroy the eternal soul. For anyone to sentence the life of an unborn child to its physical death is an act of murder and rebellion against God the Creator.      

For these reasons the preservation of the Eighth Amendment must be maintained.