Northern Ireland news

Free Presbyterian minister attacks Catholic Church ahead of the Pope's visit

Free Presbyterian minister Rev Ian Brown has attacked the Catholic Church ahead of the Pope's visit this weekend
Connla Young

A senior figure in the Free Presbyterian Church has branded the teachings of the Catholic Church “arrogant and unscriptural”.

Some Protestant Church leaders have accepted an invitation to attend a civic reception for the pontiff at Dublin Castle on Saturday, including Presbyterian moderator Dr Charles McMullen.

But Rev Ian Brown, who is Clerk of the General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, attacked Catholic teachings.

"Love for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and concern for the eternal souls of men will prevent any bible believer from union or communion with a Roman Catholic Church that remains as contrary to holy scripture today as it ever has been."

He added: “The arrogant and unscriptural titles, claims and teachings that the Pope still clings to only serve to underline the enduring relevance and pertinence of Luther’s comment in his Smalcald Articles.”

The Smalcald Articles are a summary of Lutheran doctrine written by Martin Luther in the 16th century which refer to the Pope as the antichrist.


Presbyterian Moderator Dr Charles McMullen

In a statement, Rev Brown also criticised the Presbyterian Church.

“How can the Presbyterian Church of Ireland present its recent vote in favour of its moderator participating in the upcoming papal visit as anything other than a betrayal of our Lord Jesus Christ?" he said.

Rev Brown is minister at Martyrs Free Presbyterian Church on east Belfast's Ravenhill Road, which was once served by former DUP leader and Free Presbyterian founder Ian Paisley.

Pope Francis

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