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Public Lecture by Professor Laurence Kirkpatrick: Faith and Fundamentalism

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Charles Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College
Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TD
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About the Event

Laurence Kirkpatrick studied ancient history and theology at The Queen's University of Belfast (QUB) and early church history at the University of Glasgow. He was then minister of Muckamore Presbyterian Church for 12 years before his appointment as Professor of Church History in Union Theological College in Belfast in 1996. He had wide administrative experience of academic advisement and course development, serving as the Secretary of Presbyterian Faculty of Theology in Ireland and QUB Advisor of Studies, and was Chair of the Practical Theology, Systematic Theology and Church History Subject Board of Queen's University Institute of Theology and he was regarded by students as the most popular and effective of the lecturers at UTC.

However after a series of votes on homosexuality by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) in June 2018, including its decision to sever its relations with the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church in England and Wales over their more liberal stance on homosexuality, Professor Kirkpatrick gave an interview to BBC in which he said that he would be "horrified" if a student "was taught that a same-sex, sexually active relationship was sinful". He was immediately suspended after 22 years service as a professor and later found guilty of "gross misconduct" by a church disciplinary panel for expressing these views since they were contrary to the doctrinal position of the church. He was sacked in May of this year and PCI blamed him for the decision by QUB to withdraw all recognition of the academic teaching and degrees at UTC. This incident was widely seen as one of the most significant markers of the slide into fundamentalism that has lately characterised PCI, the largest protestant denomination in Northern Ireland.

The Rev Dr Kirkpatrick will speak on Faith and Fundamentalism, not only from his many years of academic study as a Professor of Church History, but also from recent painful personal experience.

While attendance at the lecture is free of charge please register so that we are able to manage numbers.

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