Public Morals Committee responds to "Conscience clause" consultation


Dear Mr Givan, 

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church, is increasingly concerned with the marginalisation of Christians in the UK. The recent Ashers Bakery case highlights great inequality in how some groups within our society have their beliefs protected while others are now being persecuted for their beliefs. As such we believe that a Freedom of Conscience Bill is needed for our Province. In particular, the NI Sexual Orientation Regulations should be amended to protect Christians so they are no longer asked to go against their conscience by “equality” law. 

We believe the Christian conscience has been and continues to be a morally good and stabilising effect on society as a whole. In accordance with Matthew 5:13,14 we seek to be salt and light in a fallen world. Sadly the state has moved away from this Biblical perspective and the secularising agenda is now working against the church, and is beginning to persecute those whose core belief is to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves. 

We therefore appreciate every effort to amend our legislation to ensure that there is even-handedness for all whose conscience is bound by what they believe. It is our prayer that Christians will be protected by the state when asked to go against conscience by promoting, endorsing or facilitating homosexuality. We want to see protection for the likes of Ashers and other family run Christian businesses, without the victimisation of any other group in society. 

We fully support your amendment clause and pray that you will know of wide support from many others churches, as well as from others outside the church who also value their right to live out their beliefs in the workplace without persecution. 

Yours sincerely, 
Robert Johnston.

Download PDF statement here

Statement from Public Morals Committee of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church - 3rd February 2015


The Evangelical Presbyterian Church, along with many other Christian churches and individuals, is greatly concerned that the NI Equality Commission has decided to pursue what we regard as a malicious prosecution against the owners of Ashers Baking Company.

Ashers did not refuse to provide a service to a customer, but they were within their rights to refuse to promote same sex marriage, which is not legal in Northern Ireland. By so doing, they were merely acting according to conscience which was well informed by the Word of God. Such a Biblically informed conscience is not to be prosecuted, but rather it is to be valued.

As Christians we take our Bible seriously and therefore we believe that we are duty bound to love our neighbour no matter who they are or what they believe. We freely acknowledge that we have no superiority over others who refuse to accept the Bible. But we also believe that God’s design of sex along with His rules that protect it, are what is best for everyone without exception.  

We believe the Bible is the best foundation for society, and in an increasingly secular age, it is vital that those who hold to Biblical standards are not penalised for so doing. We believe it is quite wrong for the state to insist that Christians in the workplace should be forced to act contrary to their Biblically directed conscience on this matter.

We fear that if the prosecution is successful, it will further endanger Christian freedom of conscience and lead to increasing levels of intolerance against those who hold to the Bible. Such an outcome would not only have grave implications for Christians, but would not be good for society as a whole.

We assure Ashers of our full support, and we urge all Christians to make this a matter for prayer in the coming days.

Rev Robert Johnston
Public Morals Committee

Evangelical Presbyterian Church

CEF Training Event

The EPC Youth Committee have organised a training event for those involved in youth/children’s work on Monday 23rd February 2015 (7:30pm – 9:30pm).  The evening is open for the whole denomination and will be run by Child Evangelism Fellowship of Ireland (CEF).

The topics that will be covered in the evening are shown below:

Teaching God’s Word
-  Making your Bible story live

Class Hour
-  Foundations for life (Bible verses-more than memorising)
-  Managing your classroom (dynamics of discipline)

EPC Camp Reunions

The EPC Junior Camp reunion will take place on Saturday 21st February 2015 at Ballyclare EPC.  The booking form is available here.

The EPC Senior Camp reunion will take place from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th February 2015 at Ganaway Activity Centre, Millisle.  The booking form is available here.

Details of the EPC Inters Camp Reunion will be available soon.

Free Church of Scotland Prayer Notes - February 2015

The Free Church of Scotland prayer notes for February 2015 are now available here.

Free Church of Scotland Prayer Notes - January 2015

The Free Church of Scotland prayer notes for January 2015 are now available here.

Free Church of Scotland Prayer Notes - December 2014

The Free Church of Scotland prayer notes for December 2014 are now available here.

Electronic Version of The Evangelical Presbyterian Nov-Dec 2014 - Now Available

The PDF of the November-December issue of The Evangelical Presbyterian is available here.  Articles include:
  • First Word - Blood swept lands and seas of red
  • Interview with Derek Lamont
  • From Addiction to Absolution
  • Bible Study Fellowship
  • Presbytery News - Dr. Sid Garland
  • Praying in the Will of God - Robert Johnston
  • A New Hymn to Sing - Dr. Timothy McCormick
  • Prof. Robert Rodgers
  • Obituary - Mr. Fred Ball
  • Book Reviews
  • Dear Rev.

Electronic Version of The Evangelical Presbyterian Sep-Oct 2014 - Now Available

The PDF of the September-October issue of The Evangelical Presbyterian is available here.  Articles include:
  • First Word - The unknown warrior
  • Let's go deeper - The Sinlessness of Christ - Trevor Kane
  • The Evolution Controversy - Understanding the Biology - Robert Beckett
  • EPC Spain Outreach Team 2014
  • Knock Summer Outreach Team 2014
  • Changes at the top? - John Grier
  • The Path to Eternal Life - Robert Johnston
  • The Return of Christ (Part 11: What happens to us if we die before Jesus returns?)
  • Obituary - Thomas Ball
  • Book Reviews
  • Dear Rev. 

Morning Service from Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Morning Service on BBC Radio Ulster from Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church on Sunday 23 November 2014 at 10:15am.

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