Explaining the decision to receive the report, a spokesperson for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland said:
Today’s debate, which was conducted in a spirit of grace, honesty and respect by all who took part, was one of many that we have had this week - around 120 reports on a range of issues before us, trying constantly to respond biblically, theologically and pastorally to different situations in a changing world.
Members were not discussing whether to prevent anyone from attending worship, coming into church, receiving communion, or having access to pastoral care, as our Church is open to all. What was before the General Assembly was the acceptance of a paper that posed a theological question of what represents a ‘credible profession of faith’ in our Church and the outworking of that in a person’s life – something that applies to all who want to be a member of our Church, regardless of background, orientation or anything else.
On many issues the Church provides guidance to our ministers and elders in Kirk Sessions and we wanted to consider what a credible profession of faith means for same sex couples who want to become communicant members of the Church. The same principle also applies to everyone, regardless of background or circumstance and those who want to baptise their children.
The Doctrine Committee’s Report was received by the General Assembly and now becomes the formal position of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. While this has been clarified today, an even greater truth remains that all men and women are loved by God, who calls them to know Him through faith in Jesus Christ.