First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing), Warrenpoint
Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland

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Ethos


First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing), Warrenpoint has a non-dogmatic liberal Christian ethos. The Constitution of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland, which was drawn up upon its formation in 1910, expresses the ethos of both our denomination and our congregation.

Constitution of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland
I. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Rule of Christian Faith and Duty under the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.
II. That it is the inalienable right of every Christian to search these records of Divine Truth for his own instruction and guidance, to form his own opinions with regard to what they teach, and to worship God in sincerity, agreeably to the dictates of his own conscience, without privation, penalty, or inconvenience inflicted by his fellow-men.
III. That the imposition of Human Tests and Confessions of Faith and the vain efforts of men to produce an unattainable uniformity of belief, have tended to restrict the sacred right of private judgment, and to prevent that free enquiry and discussion, which are essential to the extension of religious knowledge.
IV. That forasmuch as our Master, Christ, has described the true disciple in these words, saying, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another:" and further, has emphasised the two great commandments, saying, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these": and forasmuch as Christ himself has said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven:"
We, therefore, refuse to impose conditions upon the Church, which He, Himself, has not sanctioned, and we solemnly declare our allegiance to the principle, as the real bond of union among Christians, that the teaching of Christ Himself must take precedence of the doctrines of a later time, and that unity is to be sought, not in uniformity of creed but in a common standard of righteousness and obedience to the commandments which Christ Himself has laid down.
V. That we now, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and earnestly imploring the blessing of Almighty God, solemnly associate ourselves as the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland.
VI. That the Constitution and Government of the Church be Presbyterian.
VII. That we solemnly guarantee to the Congregations which are under our care, and to those which may hereafter form a portion of our Church, the full, free, unrestricted exercise of their unquestionable right to elect, in all cases of vacancy, Ministers entertaining such views of Divine Truth as the Congregations may themselves approve.
VIII. That the accredited Ministers of other Christian Churches may, at all times, be invited to sit and deliberate with us in the Church Courts, and to join with us in the affectionate intercourse of Ministerial services and Christian communion.
Provided that nothing contained in the said scheme for the constitution of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland shall be construed or taken as in any way affecting the name, property, funds, or endowments of any kind or description whatever of the existing Synods, Presbyteries, or Congregations respectively, or of the use, distribution, or application of such property, funds, or endowments.

The booklet "On Being A Non-Subscribing Presbyterian", which was written in 2009 by three Non-Subscribing Presbyterian ministers (the Rev. Dr John Nelson, the Rev. Dr Scott Peddie and the Rev. Dr David Steers), expands on the principles of our Constitution and provides an excellent insight into our church's ethos.

Our congregation would also still be in agreement with the view expressed by the Rev. Henry Montgomery, the best known of the ministers of the Remonstrant Synod of Ulster in the 19th century, when he stated:

Genuine Christian liberty does not consist in casting off the Christian Faith, or in a wild licence to believe or disbelieve the great truths of the Gospel. It authorises both ministers and congregations to think and act freely within the limits of the Gospel; should it go beyond those limits our liberty might be rational or philosophical, but it would cease to be Christian.



I give you a new commandment: love one another; as I have loved you, so you are to love one another. If there is this love among you, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.

John 13:34-35


Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

2 Corinthians 3:17b