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Evangelicals say 'No' to same-sex marriage

Over 70 of Scotland’s largest evangelical churches, attended by more than 20,000 people, have signed an open letter to First Minister Alex Salmond urging him not to redefine marriage.
 


Same sex marriageChurch leaders from a wide spectrum of denominations in Scotland have written on open  letter to First Minister Alex Salmond inviting him to desist from any moves to re-define marriage.

Amongst the list of signatories is Rev. Jim Turrent who was formerly the pastor of Culloden Baptist Church and is now the pastor of Central Baptist Church in Dundee.

 Jim TurrentHe said:

"If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it happening again? Canada has legalised same-sex marriage, and now there is a legal case in a Canadian court trying to legalise polygamy.
“Mexico City legalised same-sex marriage two years ago, now the City is proposing temporary marriages that only last two years. Once you start to unpick marriage, the whole fabric can unravel.”

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The text of the letter to Alex Salmond referred to above is copied below.

Open Letter to First Minister:


We write as leaders of some of Scotland’s largest Evangelical churches. Like everyone, we want to help build a better, stronger Scotland. As churches we are actively engaged in our communities for the good of all people.

We join with others to express our support for retaining the current legal definition of marriage, which has served Scotland well for centuries. We are concerned about the implications if marriage is redefined. It stands to reason a redefinition will be promoted as standard by public bodies. This has significant implications across society, not least for what children will be taught in schools.

Marriage – although it has been undermined in recent decades – remains a vital universal institution that has benefited Scottish society for centuries. The marriage of one man to one woman, for life, for the rearing of children in a stable environment, is a cornerstone of society. It is embedded in history and in cultures around the world.

Marriage is also rooted in nature. The opposite sexes of men and women are integral to its character and to its success. Children do best when they are raised by the mother and father who conceived them. Numerous independent studies show this to be true. Of course there will be exceptions, however, in redefining marriage people are being told that a child does not need a mother and a father.

Government did not invent marriage, and it is astonishing that it is seeking to legally redefine it at the behest of a small minority. What is to stop it being redefined further? There is a very real risk of definition-creep. If marriage is redefined who is to say that, for example, polygamy should not be legalised?

In supporting marriage, we are not removing rights from anyone. Redefining marriage is not an issue of equality or fairness, as argued by those calling for this change. Equality does not mean sameness but recognises diversity. In the Scottish Government’s consultation document it is abundantly clear that homosexual couples already have the rights of marriage available through civil partnerships.

Despite the sincere promises to protect those who disagree with redefining marriage, we have well-founded misgivings about the religious liberty implications. However, our chief concern is that Scottish society will be the poorer if the definition of marriage is rewritten. Marriage is foundational and so much else rests upon it. You cannot radically alter the definition of marriage without it having knock-on effects on so much else in our society.

We agree with the Scottish Government that this debate should be conducted with courtesy and respect. We call upon First Minister Alex Salmond to uphold the clear understanding of marriage that has served Scotland well for centuries.

List of Signatories:

Signed by (in alphabetical order of church name):
Pastor Stephen Ritchie, of Assemblies of God, Fraserburgh
Revd Calum Iain Macleod, of Back Free Church, Isle of Lewis
Pastor Stuart Keir, of Banchory Christian Fellowship Church
Revd David MacPherson, of Bon Accord Free Church, Aberdeen
Pastor Bernie McLaughlin, of Bridge Church, Irvine
Revd Alex MacDonald, of Buccleuch & Greyfriars Free Church, Edinburgh
Pastor Wayne Sutton, of Carrubbers Christian Fellowship, Edinburgh
Mr Alasdair H B Fyfe, of Cartsbridge Evangelical Church, Glasgow
Revd Jim Turrent, of Central Baptist Church, Dundee
Revd Paul Rees, of Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh
Revd Mark Malcolm, of Chryston Parish Church, Glasgow
Mr Chuck Freeland, of City Church, Aberdeen
Revd Thomas S Sinclair, of St Columba’s Church of Scotland, Stornoway
Revd Jim Robertson, of Culloden: The Barn Church of Scotland
Revd Jeremy Middleton, of Davidson Mains Parish Church
Pastor Jeremy McQuoid, of Deeside Christian Fellowship Church, Aberdeen
Pastor Brian Taylor, of Destiny Church, Aberdeen
Pastor Peter Anderson, of Destiny Church, Edinburgh
Pastor Andrew Owen, of Destiny Church, Glasgow
Revd Alex Cowie, of Dowanvale Free Church, Glasgow
Revd Alistair Purss, of Dumfries Baptist Church
Revd Graham Swanson, of Elgin Baptist Church
Pastor Tom Paton, of Elim Christian Fellowship, Paisley
Revd Derrick Thames, of Erskine Church of the Nazarene
Revd Michael R Healy, of Findlay Memorial Baptist Church, Glasgow
Revd Peter Park, of Fraserburgh Old Church of Scotland
Revd Kenneth Gray, of Freeland Church of Scotland, Bridge of Weir
Revd Matthew Henderson, of Gerrard Street Baptist Church, Aberdeen
Revd Dominic Smart, of Gilcomston South Church of Scotland, Aberdeen
Revd Iain Sutherland, of Gillespie Memorial Church, Dumfermline
Revd Dr Colin Dow, of Glasgow City Free Church
Pastor James Glass, of Glasgow Elim Church, Govanhill
Mr Andrew Hunter, of Greenview Evangelical Church, Glasgow
Revd Derek Hutchinson/Revd Graham Shearer, of Hamilton Baptist Church
Pastor Martin Clarke, of Hillview Community Church, Aberdeen
Revd Kenny Borthwick, of Holy Trinity Church, Wester Hailes
Revd Phil Hair, of Holyrood Abbey Church of Scotland, Edinburgh
Revd Murdo Maclean, of Kenmuir Mount Vernon and Carmyle Church of Scotland
The Leadership of Kings Church, Edinburgh
Dr Iain Duthie, of Kings Community Church, Aberdeen
Revd John C A Ferguson, of Kingsview Christian Centre, Inverness
Revd Ian Watson, of Kirkmuirhill Church of Scotland, Lanarkshire
Revd David Scott, of Logie and St John’s (Cross) Church of Scotland, Dundee
Revd Calum Stark, of Macduff Church of Scotland
Revd Tommy MacNeil, of Martin’s Memorial Church of Scotland, Stornoway
Revd Karl Martin, of Morningside Baptist Church, Edinburgh
Revd Francis Murphy, of Mount Kirk Church of Scotland, Greenock
Mr Steve Crosthwaite, of Newcraigs Evangelical Church, Kirkcaldy
Pastor Brian More, of Newton Mearns Baptist Church, Glasgow
Revd Calum Jack, of North Parish Church, Stirling
Pastor Iain Macaulay, of Queens Park Baptist Church, Glasgow
Pastor Joseph Ewen, of Riverside Church Network, Banff
Pastor Alastair Simmons, of Riverside Evangelical Church, Ayr
Revd David Meredith, of Smithton-Culloden Free Church, Inverness
Pastor Colin Mutch, of Southside Christian Fellowship, Ayr
Revd Derek Lamont, of St Columba’s Free Church, Edinburgh
Revd Dr William Philip, of St George’s Tron Church, Glasgow
Revd Alberto de Paula, of St James’ Church of Scotland, Broughty Ferry
Revd Canon Malcolm Round, of St Mungo’s Church, Balerno, Edinburgh
Revd Fergus Buchanan, of St Paul’s Parish Church, Milngavie
Mr Bryan Kee, of St Peter’s Free Church of Scotland, Dundee
Revd David McCarthy, of St Silas Episcopal Church, Glasgow
Revd Jonathan de Groot, of St Stephen’s Comely Bank, Edinburgh
Revd Iver Martin, of Stornoway Free Church
Revd Graeme Craig, of Stornoway Free Church Continuing
Revd Paul Amed, of Stornoway High Church of Scotland and Barvas Church of Scotland
Revd David M Clark, of Dundee: The Steeple Church
Pastor Jimmy Dowds, of The Vine, Dunfermline
Revd Peter Dickson, of Trinity Church, Aberdeen
Pastor Jamie Watters, of West End Vineyard Church, Glasgow
Revd Alan McWilliam, of Whiteinch Church of Scotland
The Leadership of Woodhill Evangelical Church, Bishopbriggs


Footnote: It should be stressed that not every minister was aware of this letter and others would have signed it if they had had the opportunity.

Christians Together, 23/11/2011

Feedback:
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Seumas, Tobermory (Guest) 13/11/2012 21:32
Penny, my understanding of the "3 fold division of the law" is this (correct me, anybody, if I have this wrong)

The OT Law, as given in the first books of the OT has three parts to it - ceremonial, civic and moral. The 10 Commandments are part of the Moral Law for example. The WCF in Chapter XIX explains this 3 fold division :

http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/index.html?body=/documents/wcf_with_proofs/ch_XIX.html

As can be seen from that, the civic and ceremonial no longer apply, but the moral law does. I know many evangelical and reformed Christians who are comfortable with this view. So far so good.

If the Moral Law is still considered relevant (and most Christians would accept the 10 Commandments as being relevant in deed necessary) then the laws against various sexual activity as outlined in Deuteronomy and Leviticus must still be extant. These cannot be "civic" or "ceremonial". They can only be moral. And if the laws are extant, then surely so are the punishments for breaking them. The OT is quite unequivocal in this.

If capital punishment for murder is divinely demanded, then surely capital punishment for various abnormal sexual practices is also required? Bible says it is.

This is where it gets pretty messy IMO. There were moves afoot in Uganda, recently for death for homosexuals to become the law. And in Iran gays are frequently strung up. (OK thats Islam at work, but it is derived from the same Abrahamic root)

Any sophisticated theologian got any ideas?
Penny Lee 13/11/2012 22:26
Leviticus chapter 18 lists all the forbidden sexual relationships, including homosexuality. All of them are forbidden yet at least a few of them are relatively commonplace today - A man having sex with both a woman and either her daughter or sister - we have seen it happen occasionally, a man going out first with the woman but ending up having a relationship with her sister/daughter. And certainly "a neighbour's wife" is pretty common today! It is worth noting though that homosexual and bestial acts are the only ones described in that chapter as "detestable" or "a perversion" so they are clearly seen as worse transgressions than the others.

Then, in chapter 21, it lists the punishments for these acts. Homosexuality incurs the same punishment as most of the other types of forbidden relationship, including adultery. Now we clearly don't suggest that adulterers are killed today so why would be expecting it for homosexuals? Even those who cursed their parents were to be killed.

However, were these laws not purely for the Israelites when they entered the promised land? More was being expected from them since they were God's chosen people. When we contrast that with how Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery, He would surely have had to condone her being stoned to death if that was the punishment still in force for that sin. Yet he didn't! He did not suggest that what the woman did was not wrong, but He was merciful to her as He would be to us today when we are caught sinning. The important thing though is that we have to accept that we were sinning and do all we can to put it right. That seems to be the part that many people are not prepared to do and it is that which separates us from God.
Editor 14/11/2012 09:44
Seumas and Penny, please continue your discussion. Given that I am working on the subject (in an 'on-off' fashion as time permits) I would be interested in your views.

However, if I can throw in a statement (and feel free to disagree): The church is not Israel and Israel is not the church. While there is a continuity between OT and NT; there are also extremely important discontinuities.
Penny Lee 14/11/2012 10:38
It is my understanding (and I may be wrong) that whilst the original sins were and always will be wrong the punishments for them were more severe for the children of Israel at that time due to the special nature of their relationship with God:

"You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. But I said to you, ‘You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations."
(Leviticus 20, verses 23,24).
Ray Lite (Guest) 14/11/2012 22:35
"However, if I can throw in a statement (and feel free to disagree): The church is not Israel and Israel is not the church. While there is a continuity between OT and NT; there are also extremely important discontinuities."

It is known that there are 'types and shadows' in the OT which relate to the NT, especially in relation to Christ. So, should this not also be the case regarding Christ's Church in relation to Israel?


Editor 15/11/2012 12:09
"It is known that there are 'types and shadows'..."

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi has been described as a 'type' of Nelson Mandela. However no one in their right mind would say that they were the same thing.

Have a look at the Derek Prince video on -
http://www.christianstogether.net/Articles/305538/Christians_Together_in/Christian_Life/Church_Family/Organisation_Reports_and/Esther_414/Israel_the_Jews.aspx

And any questions relating directly to the place of Israel (as distinct from the church) would be better discussed there. Thanks
john (Guest) 16/11/2012 01:21
hi look like its not so stright forward after all
so we are getting some where

John a REAL person
John (Guest) 17/11/2012 23:54
hi
Slow responce
Sandra (Guest) from Fraserburg (Guest) 09/12/2012 21:30
Leviticus 18:22 - Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 - Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
guest (Guest) 10/12/2012 09:38
whatever
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