First Holywood
(non-subscribing)
Presbyterian Church


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Beliefs

Liberal Christian Thought

The Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland is a small but significant denomination with a historical witness to liberal Christianity. Although a separate denomination in its own right, it has no exact parallel with any other church outside Ireland and may best be understood in relation to Irish Presbyterianism, in which tradition it had its origins and with which it still retains a deep affinity.


Non-Subscription Means:

that the minister and elders of this church are not required to sign the Westminster Confession of Faith unlike those in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

that the minister and elders of this church accept the Bible alone as the rule of the Christian faith and duty under the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.

that the minister and members of this church have the duty and freedom to discover for themselves what God is teaching His people through the words of Scripture.

that the church is not a closed community but is open to the wisdom and insight of other churches and welcomes the fellowship of other Christian people.

that we are not bound by compulsory subscription to man-made creeds and doctrines of Faith. We declare allegiance to the principle that: the teaching of Christ must take precedence over the doctrines of a later time, and Christian unity is to be sought, not in the uniformity of creed but in a common standard of duty and adherence to the commandments set out in the Holy Bible.



Respect for All

The term "Non-Subscribing" was applied in 1721 to those congregations and their ministers who resented compulsory subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith as a test of soundness of faith. Their resentment was based on their profound feeling that man-made creeds and confessions limit and restrict the sacred right of private judgement.

The Constitution of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland, of which our Congregation is a constituent part, has been described as 'a noble document, an ideal basis for the united Christian Church of the future'. So we are not members of an opposition Church but rather we belong to a friendly church which regards all people with respect. Ministers of other churches are, by our constitution, welcome to join in Communion and to occupy our pulpits.

The first clause of the Constitution of the Non-Subscribing Church of Ireland states:-
'That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Rule of the Christian Faith and Duty under the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.'

Agreement among Christians of every detail of doctrine is not necessary to the acceptable practice of the faith, and true unity is to be sought, not in the uniformity of creed, but in a common standard of righteousness and obedience to the commandments which Christ has laid down.


Free Enquiry

We believe that it is the inalienable right of every Christian to search the Scriptures and, with prayerful consideration, to seek the will of God through lives of discipleship.

We believe that the Christian way of life is a life after His pattern. Of Non-Subscribers of the past it can be honestly said 'they went about doing good.'

The Principles of free enquiry and love of liberty have bound the leaders together over the years to minister to the spiritual wants of many and aid the spread of true religion and just freedom among succeeding generations of worshippers.


Faith guided by Reason

We meet for the worship of God and the service of man, recognizing a Divine purpose in nature and human life, regarding Jesus Christ as the sole King and Head of the Church. We hold that scripture is the only rule of faith and Duty under the teaching of Christ.

We accept the guidance of our reason and conscience and we believe that human creeds and confessions restrict the sacred rights of private judgement which is a fundamental principle of the Reformation.

Everyone is invited to attend our services of worship and explore our unique approach to faith.

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