Various Items 

Kirk confirms its spiritual demise

In a debate where ‘unity’ trumped ‘Truth’ on all sides of the debate the Church of Scotland meeting in General Assembly voted to allow congregations to call gay ministers.

And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah."

Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty says concerning the prophets: "I will make them eat bitter food and drink poisoned water, because from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land."
(Jer 23:14-15)

General AssemblyFollowing an 11th-hour intervention by the immediate past Moderator Rev. Albert Bogle, the Church of Scotland's highest court voted for his motion which now allows local congregations to call clergy who are actively homosexual.

The present and presiding Moderator, the Right Reverend Lorna Hood, said: "This is a massive vote for the peace and unity of the Church."
Rev. John Chalmers, Principal Clerk of the Kirk, affirmed that view and, using the euphemism-of-choice, stated: "At the end of a long day we came down to a choice of two motions, both of which were for what we have called from the beginning: 'the mixed economy'."

In fact the 'mixed economy' would be better described as a dog's dinner. Mr. Bogle might  find a satisfaction in the 'success' of his motion which (officially) maintains the Kirk's traditional view of marriage. However, by allowing actively-gay clergy to operate within its ranks the national church has effectively declared itself apostate; and all the while endeavouring to fool itself into believing that it is 'contending earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints'.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Roy Patton the current Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland addressed the Assembly on behalf of what is Northern Ireland's largest Protestant denomination. While commending the Assembly for the way in which the debate was being conducted, nevertheless conveyed with "sadness" his view that "if the Assembly follows a particular 'trajectory' as described in the revisionist approach then that would cause serious tensions between our two denominations". In what he described as "great heart-searching" he continued: "We find it hard to comprehend why the Spirit of God would lead a Church away from what we would understand as the clear teaching of Scripture to be."

According to Rev. David Randall the decision is a failure of leadership. He said such sitting on the fence would anger many traditionalists who believe Scripture does not sanction, but indeed outlaws, homosexual activity.

"Are we to stand by Scripture or are we to go with the flow of social trends?"
Mr. Randall is a senior retired minister of the Church of Scotland with two sons who are currently serving as parish ministers in the Kirk. He saw the revisionist agenda as having been "forced upon us", and that by going down the revisionist route the Church would "lose members, ministers, congregations and money." In challenging the departure from God's eternal word in favour of contemporary opinion he asked: "Are we to stand by Scripture or are we to go with the flow of social trends?"

In believing that the great national institution has successfully charted a passage through the turbulent seas of human sexuality the Kirk is deluding itself; and has failed the nation which it claims to represent as the national church.

"At a time when the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has not so much quit the high ground but blown up the mountain top, a clear vote would offer the promise of a Kirk revival, and even a leadership role in civic Scotland"  (The Times, 18 May 2013)
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob cannot stand compromise. In days of old He wrote to His chosen people:
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live" (Deut 30:19).

Taking over from Moses as leader of nation Joshua spoke clearly to the people:
" But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

The prophet Elijah addressed the people at Mount Carmel: '
"How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word' (1 Kings 18:21).

The Psalmist wrote:
"My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end. I hate double-minded men, but I love your law."
(Ps 119:112-113).
And the apostle James spelled it out:
"Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:8).

In the event it will take a further two years to apply and ratify the proposals for which the Assembly voted. In 2013/14 the necessary legislative changes will be drawn up and then 'send down' under the Barrier Act to the local presbyteries for approval. (And of course divine intervention to reverse the process cannot be discounted.) However what is abundantly clear is that the prevailing mood within the national Church of Scotland – which it will most likely affirm on a different issue later this week regarding God' covenant promises to Abraham – is on a collision course with the Almighty.

The whole issue exposes fundamental weaknesses in how the institutional church has structured itself; and the reactions and responses by its ministers, members and congregations in the months to come remain to be seen.

"As a national institution the Church of Scotland is finished.".
Meanwhile, it is worth considering the opinion of Harry Reid – former editor of the Herald and biographer to the Kirk in his book 'Outside Verdict' (St. Andrew's Press 2002).
Following recent media reports at the time of Aberdeen's Gilcomston Church departure from the denomination the former editor of the Herald newspaper opined that the Church of Scotland, as a national institution, is finished. Speaking on television in the wake of the Assembly decision he suggested that the Church will not-so-much collapse as disintegrate.

Whatever the outcome, the national Church of Scotland can no longer be regarded with any respect whatsoever in regard to preaching and maintaining the Truth of God's Word.

Two and a half thousand years ago and through the prophet Ezekiel God spoke to the nation of Israel:

"I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone. Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.

"I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.'"
(Ezek 36:21-22)

The prophet's words were addressed to the nation of Israel, and they cannot be interpreted and applied – as some would wish to do – to any other nation/state today. But the principle nevertheless applies. God will see to it that His Name (which in Hebrew thought describes His character) and His Word will prevail: not because of the Church of Scotland but rather in spite of it.

In the wake of the General Assembly's decision one possible option for defecting Church of Scotland people and congregations is the invitation from the Free Church of Scotland to "come on over to my place". However any mass influx of former Kirk ministers and members could serve to destabilize the Free Church as the denomination is presently in a fine balace of conservative/progressive tensions – evidenced most recently by the serious differences of opinion of how sung worship should be conducted.

The factious and fractious historical pattern of Scottish Presbyterianism shows no sign of changing any time soon.

Ed footnote: Please note that consistence stance of this website is that God is displeased with all sin – whether it be of a homosexual or heterosexual nature or not. Forgiveness and restoration into a relationship with a loving God is available through personal repentance and the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The above article essentially relates to the failure of one denomination to hold fast to the Word of God against the pressures of this age.

Christians Together, 22/05/2013

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Various Items > Kirk confirms its spiritual demise