Tag Archives: General Assembly

Sermon – Change & Decay?

The newly retired Moderator of a fellow Scottish Presbyterian Church has an Internet blog, written in his capacity as a Parish Minister in his particular denomination.

He seems to spend virtually every post, criticising, condemning, and commentating negatively on the Kirk.

According to this narrow minded bigoted view, the Church of Scotland has become apostate, heretical, unbiblical – because of recent decisions made by our General Assembly and by words spoken by individual ministerial colleagues. He has actually gone as far as to suggest that the Kirk deserves to die – an appalling and unsavoury remark from a fellow Christian minister.

In the immortal words of Dad’s Army’s Private Fraser (John Lawrie – from just down the road in Dumfries), “We’re doomed. Doomed, I tell ye!”

Certainly, there is a lot happening within the Kirk that is causing strain and stress.

Take for example, the Assembly’s discussion and debate on the Overture regarding Ministers in Same Sex Marriage. Although that comparatively brief discussion was, on the whole, conducted in a civilised manner, before this, there has been so much bile, unpleasantness, and a downright lack of Christian charity.

Several ministers and some congregations have left the Kirk as a result.

Last Saturday, at the Assembly, 215 commissioners voted against the Overture. 339 voted “for”.

Division, disagreement, disruption

Over the years, numerically, we are in decline….. for many different reasons – such as members becoming older and sadly being no longer with us; of younger people who have no interest; of some long term members who – for whatever the reason – have just given up.

The way we were – St Mary’s Church, 1901

 

I was ordained in 1974. Then Kirk membership was about a million. 42 years on – it’s standing at around 370,000.

I remember sometime around 1990, a member of staff from the Church Offices came to address my then Presbytery – Lothian.

He talked about church decline by way of membership numbers, and mentioned that if the trend continued, Edinburgh (our neighbouring Presbytery) would have no members by 2029 – and would effectively disappear.

Friendly rivalry caused many of us there at that evening’s meeting to guffaw – though it was no laughing matter.

He paused for a moment, then said: “I don’t know why you’re laughing; YOUR Presbytery will disappear the year after – in 2030!”

But – let’s say this…..

 

  • The Church still stands.

Despite knock backs, despite setbacks, despite the downward trajectory we seem to be on – we’re still here….. we always will be.

Do you remember the story of Christ arriving in Heaven, and being asked how many folk he’d left to carry on, and he answers “Twelve”

“Twelve!” comes the incredulous reply, “Is that all?”

And he answers, “It’s enough”.

Things may not get as few as that here, but think of how the Church is actually growing – in Africa, Russia, China…… that’s more than enough!

I read yesterday that in 1900, there were 8 million Christians in Africa. Now there are 335 million. And the growth rate continues to accelerate.

For Christianity the 20th century was numerically the most successful century since Christ was crucified. By 2010, there were 2.2 billion Christians in the world, 31% of its population.

 

  • And we stand for something.

Societal patterns are changing, as are attitudes, and as is need.

What is Church? It’s a group or congregation. Very often interpreted as people coming together on – usually a Sunday – to sing hymns, listen to the Minister say prayers (as to actually praying themselves) and listening to a sermon for ten/fifteen minutes…. then going home for lunch.

That may be “being” Church…. but “doing” Church involves more, so much more.

Helping, feeding, caring for those in need should be the ‘why’ of what we, if we truly want to “do”, not the how or the what. Following Christ’s teaching demands that we share the essentials of life unconditionally.

This is integral not peripheral, the beginning and not a side-line or optional extra. Jesus’ unequivocally states that we encounter ultimate meaning when we treat others as we would wish to be treated, love others as we love ourselves and meet the needs of the vulnerable, excluded and marginalised.

This is the imperative which drives and shapes the Church and its existence as a servant community, taking us back to Christ’s theology as found in his Parable of the Kingdom in Matthew 25

image

 

  • And the Church doesn’t stand still

If you cast your mind back to the short address I gave near the beginning of today’s service – about the dog and the rabbit……

Let me – as it were – turn it around a bit…… and remind you of that wonderful poem written by Francis Thomson – The Hound of Heaven…..

“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears I hid from Him…”

Thomson’s story is punctuated by sorrow, failure and addiction. The squalor and self-medication of his age come through in every chapter of his life, ultimately ending in his death at age 48. But Thompson’s real legacy is not the opium that consumed his body, but the paw prints of a Hound he says relentlessly pursued his soul.

Thompson knew that Hound as the God Who draws sinners to Himself even as they flee from His voice, a dauntless Hunter of hearts.

 


In the 1930’s Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers. In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with vengeance. Thousands of Bibles were confiscated, and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags-prison camps-where most died, unjustly condemned as “enemies of the state.”

An American missionary team were many years later to discover that there was a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored since Stalin’s day.

They got permission to remove them, helped by several Russians .

One helper was a young man-a skeptical, hostile agnostic who had come only for the day’s wages. As they were loading Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. Eventually they found him in a corner of the warehouse, weeping.

He had slipped away hoping to take a Bible for himself. What he did not know was that he was being pursued by the “Hound of Heaven.” What he found shook him to the core.

The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother. It had been her personal Bible. Out of the thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the very one belonging to his grandmother-a woman, who throughout her entire life, was persecuted for her faith.

the “Hound of Heaven” who had tracked him down to that very warehouse with devastating effect.

Jesus is truly the ever-present, all-seeing “Hound of Heaven.” He can still track us down wherever we’re hiding!

He called that young Russian man and how many more like him will he seek and find!

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

“God is not politically correct”

Letter to the Scotsman newspaper

19:22Sunday 17 May 2015 00:00Monday 18 May 2015

I WAS exceptionally disappointed with the Church Of Scotland’s decision to allow gay ministers who are in civil partnerships to be ordained. I feel this is a grave mistake and will cause more division and disunity within an already divided church.

The Bible is very clear on this subject, that marriage is for a man and a woman and it seems that the Church Of Scotland have departed from the word of God and bowed their knee to political correctness. However, God is not politically correct. On their own head be it.

With a 182 against the decision and 309 for, it cant be seen as an overwhelming majority that supported this move. I congratulate the 182 for the courage of their convictions and being prepared to stand by the Bible.

We live in an age where almost anything is tolerated and if we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything.

GORDON KENNEDY

Simpson Square

Perth

a comment on the above:
‘Mr Kennedy, you are absolutely right. The bible is perfectly clear on this subject. God hates gays. It is also clear on the fact he likes slavery. And sexism. And genocide.

Will you be urging the Kirk to return to traditional values in all these respects, or just the one that resonates with your homophobia?’

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

Like a mighty tortoise moves the Kirk of God….. but we’re getting there

Church votes in favour of allowing ministers in same sex civil partnerships

16 May, 2015
The Church of Scotland has voted in favour of allowing people in same sex civil partnerships to be called as ministers and deacons.
The Church of Scotland has voted in favour of allowing people in same sex civil partnerships to be called as ministers and deacons.

The historic decision was made by the General Assembly on the Mound in Edinburgh today, where the motion was passed by 309 votes in favour and 182 against.

The outcome is the culmination of years of deliberation within the Church. The motion has faced a series of debates and votes before the final decision was arrived at this afternoon. This included 31 of the Church’s presbyteries endorsing the move to 14 who opposed it.

This means the Church has adopted a position which maintains a traditional view of marriage between a man and woman, but allows individual congregations to ‘opt out’ if they wish to appoint a minister or a deacon in a same sex civil partnership.

In a speech later today the outgoing Moderator Very Rev John Chalmers is expected to say:

“There’s something else that we have to learn as a Church and that is the power of harmony. Of course we need the freedom across the Church to shape the life and worship of the Church according to local needs and local gifts (and we have seen wonderful examples of this – from Soul Space at Johnstone High Parish to the Shed in Stornoway) but we cannot go on suffering the pain of internal attacks which are designed to undermine the work or the place of others. It’s time to play for the team.

“And let me be very clear here – I am not speaking to one side or another of the theological spectrum. I am speaking to both ends and middle. It is time to stop calling each other names, time to shun the idea that we should define ourselves by our differences and instead define ourselves by what we hold in common – our baptism into Christ, our dependence on God’s grace, our will to serve the poor and so on.”

Co-ordinator of the Principal Clerk’s office, Very Rev David Arnott, said: “The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland decided today to allow individual Kirk Sessions the possibility of allowing a Nominating Committee to consider an application from a minister living in a civil partnership. During a vacancy a Kirk Session may, but only if it so wishes, and after due deliberation, agree to a Nominating Committee accepting an application from such a minister. No Kirk Session may be coerced into doing so against its own wishes. This decision was in line with a majority of presbyteries who voted in favour of such a move.”

Because the debate predates the legalisation of gay marriage the proposed change mentions only civil partnerships, not same-sex marriages.

The Assembly will be asked on Thursday to consider amending today’s new Church law to include ministers in same-sex marriages.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

Yer a’ doomed!

Hebrides News 

Church of Scotland “should heed the Gospel” 30/5/14

Sirs,

I see that the apostate Church of Scotland continues to plunge the depths of religious degradation. They have done so again by voting in favour of proposals which could eventually open the pulpits to more people in same-sex relationships. It is both alarming and nauseating how, at the recent General Assembly, 369 commissioners opted for plans to let individual congregations depart from the Biblical mandate and have a pastor set over them who…wait for it…has a same-sex male or female partner.

Coming from so called ‘religious people’ this vote was quite unbelievable. Instead of agreeing with the absolute truth of what the Bible unambiguously says about such unions, and throwing these ungodly ‘option plans’ out the church window in Edinburgh, they dared to rubbish the truth nil and void. In allowing these plans to be further considered, they have all manifested the ungodly spirit of their own hearts. Yes, very many things could be said about these commissioners, but we don’t need to and we won’t – the Bible says it all for us.

In arrogantly and proudly thinking themselves wiser than God in asking Presbyteries to consider the options, all these 369 commissioners have earned – and shame on everyone of them – the sombre title of a fool: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…fools make a mock at sin” (Romans 1v22& Proverbs 14v9).

And it doesn’t end there. Not only have they brought God’s wrath and judgement upon each of themselves personally, they have also incurred God’s grievous woes: “Woe unto them that degree unrighteous decrees (laws) and that write grievousness which they have prescribed…woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil…woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes.” (Isaiah 10v1& 5v20-21).

God’s word further testifies to what is true of ungodly and immoral church commissioners when they disregard God’s laws and resist the truth. They are called “traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God…men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the truth.” (2Timothy 3v4&8) Although the Church of Scotland continues to mock sin in all its vile colours, God will not be mocked and neither will He allow His word to be mocked.

Every true and genuine Christian believes, without question, and with absolute certainty, the unchanging truth of God’s unchanging word as recorded in the Bible. Not so some 369 commissioners at the 2014 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and what a damning indictment on them. God’s loud clarion call to each of them, and to everyone else within and without the walls of a church, whatever it’s denominational label, is ‘repent and believe the gospel.’

Mr Donald J Morrison
85 Old Edinburgh Road
Inverness
Letters @hebrides.biz
Letters should be sent within the body of an e-mail – no attachments, please – and require the writer’s full name, full address and phone number before publication.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

Hootsman Comment

Hootsman Comment

Leave a comment

May 22, 2014 · 09:26

Hootsmon

some of the readers’ comments – online edition of the Scotsman (following its report on the Kirk’s debate yesterday about same-sex ministerial civil unions.

Some nasty stuff here

 

 

 

pigpen

8:37 AM on 22/05/2014

Stick to the way of the Bible, or are people wanting to run
religion in the manner they wish? Dangerous.

 

 

The Ayrshire Bard

8:27 AM on 22/05/2014

I’m not sure that a gay minister can discuss the sanctity of marriage with a young couple prior to their marriage?

 

 

Thucydides

8:12 AM on 22/05/2014

I fear for the Kirk now.
The Word of God rejected, the flock misled.
Nothing new in this, Paul warned about it very early on in Ephesus and it has occurred constantly since. 
The difficult but probably correct decision for the believers in the Kirk now is to decide if they can stay in a Kirk that has failed to apply the Word of God, clearly written, to their lives. A difficult personal decision must be made.
Loyalty to Jesus their Lord, or loyalty to a disobedient church.
The end result of either decision, while hard, is obvious.

 

 

AntoineBisset

8:09 AM on 22/05/2014

“But Rev Bryan Kerr, countering the Evangelical motion, said that while he was not “100 per cent comfortable” with the gay clergy plans, he said it offered “the best chance of peace and unity” for the Kirk.”

Peace and unity of the Church are far from being the important point. Adhering to the teachings of Christ as promulgated by Christians down the centuries is. Up till now Christian teaching has been clear that homosexuality is a deviation from the norm that is not to be condoned.

 

 

Richard Lionheart

7:50 AM on 22/05/2014

“go into the world of darkness and conform to all it’s ways”
the Gospel according to the CofS!

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

Atttendance by Commisioners (delegates) is Compulsory

Leave a comment

May 16, 2014 · 18:40

The General Assembly

Leave a comment

November 18, 2013 · 21:46

The Kirk and Gay Clergy (article from “The Scotsman” newspaper)

General Assembly

 

Church of Scotland faces breakaway over gay clergy

The General Assembly decided to allow gay clergy. Picture: Getty
The General Assembly decided to allow gay clergy. Picture: Getty

By ALISTAIR MUNRO and CRAIG BROWN
Published on 31/05/2013 03:14

THE Church of Scotland is facing a fresh crisis over the controversial issue of allowing gay clergy after two churches threatened to break away from the Kirk.

Congregations at the two churches, both in the Western Isles, are to vote on whether to quit the Kirk over the issue.

The congregation at Kinloch and elders of Stornoway High, on the Isle of Lewis, are the first to react to the Kirk’s decision to allow gay clergy, which was passed last week by the General Assembly. Sources suggested at least ten more congregations could be considering similar votes this summer and warned the Church of Scotland “could be facing extinction in the Western Isles”.

The ordaining of ministers in same-sex relationships has divided the Kirk since traditionalist members attempted to block the appointment of Scott Rennie, who is gay, in 2009.

So far, two congregations have left the Kirk over the issue – St George’s Tron Church in Glasgow and Gilcomston South Church in Aberdeen – both 
before the Church of Scotland took the historic step last week of voting in favour of allowing openly gay men and women to become ministers.

The two churches now considering breaking away are from the evangelical wing of the Kirk, which believes in the “gospel truth” and follow the written word of the Bible.

The evangelical wing is strong in many parts of the Highlands and Islands, and is at odds with Church’s more liberal sections and their position on the ordination of gay ministers.

One source from within the evangelicals said: “On current form, it is perfectly conceivable that in two years time the Church of Scotland will have nobody left in places like Lewis. Many congregations across Scotland are deeply unhappy with what the General Assembly decided.

“Now that Kinloch have announced their intention to leave, it could have a domino effect across the Highlands and Islands, with many more planning to leave – easily running into double figures. If rumours are correct, come May 2015 the national church could be facing extinction in the Western Isles.”

The minister and members of Kinloch Church of Scotland have made a unanimous decision to consider their position, saying they are unhappy with the way in which the Kirk has handled the issue of gay ministers.

Kinloch minister, the Rev Iain Murdo Campbell, said the General Assembly should not have even tackled the matter.

He added that it was not so much the decision by the General Assembly that had caused them to consider a breakaway from the Kirk, but the fact the issue was being discussed at all. “They have been investigating and talking about this for at least four years,” he said.

“As far as we can see this is a question of what authority God’s word has within the denomination within the Church.

“If the word of God had the authority, which it should have, the question and debate would never have been in the General Assembly in the first place.

“God has spoken quite clearly and it only takes a few seconds to read what God has to say on this issue.”

Meanwhile, elders at Stornoway High Church held a meeting on Wednesday night and also decided to vote on whether to leave the Kirk. The congregation narrowly voted to remain part of the Kirk in 2011 when it became clear that the Church of Scotland was moving in the direction of allowing gay people to become ministers.

At the General Assembly earlier this month an attempt was made to find a compromise to satisfy all within the Kirk, but it has not gone down well with the evangelical wing.

The General Assembly maintained the Church’s traditional stance on the doctrine of human sexuality, but allowed congregations to decide themselves on whether to allow a minister in a same-sex relationship.

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “We have not been informed of any congregation wishing to leave the Church of Scotland following last week’s General Assembly and the debate on the proposals put forward by the Theological Commission, and we would be saddened if this were the case at such an early stage.”

A summit is to take place for evangelical ministers next month to hold “crisis talks”.

It has been organised by Rev Kenny Borthwick, now leader of Holy Trinity Church in Edinburgh, urging traditionalists to gather and “repent, pray and work for reformation that is so badly needed”.

A Free Church of Scotland spokesman said: “By voting for political correctness over faithfulness to the Bible, it can be no surprise the Church of Scotland has jeopardised its own future.”

Just prior to the General Assembly, the Free Church’s moderator Rev Dr Iain D Campbell said the underlying principal of the 1843 Disruption – which caused the split in the Church 170 years ago – was the key issue, ultimately freedom for the Church to be governed by the “Word of God” alone.

Over the past few years a number of ministers have left the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay clergy.

The Reverend Paul Gibson resigned his charge of Tain Parish Church after just eight months into the post. The Reverend Ivor MacDonald left Kilmuir and Stenscholl on Skye and the Reverend John Murdo MacDonald resigned from Lochalsh.

The Church of Scotland is facing a fresh crisis over the controversial issue of allowing gay clergy after two churches threatened to break away from the Kirk.

Congregations at the two churches, both in the Western Isles, are to vote on whether to quit the Kirk over the issue.

The congregation at Kinloch and elders of Stornoway High, on the Isle of Lewis, are the first to react to the Kirk’s decision to allow gay clergy, which was passed last week by the General Assembly. Sources suggested at least ten more congregations could be considering similar votes this summer and warned the Church of Scotland “could be facing extinction in the Western Isles”.

The ordaining of ministers in same-sex relationships has divided the Kirk since traditionalist members attempted to block the appointment of Scott Rennie, who is gay, in 2009.

So far, two congregations have left the Kirk over the issue – St George’s Tron Church in Glasgow and Gilcomston South Church in Aberdeen – both 
before the Church of Scotland took the historic step last week of voting in favour of allowing openly gay men and women to become ministers.

The two churches now considering breaking away are from the evangelical wing of the Kirk, which believes in the “gospel truth” and follow the written word of the Bible.

The evangelical wing is strong in many parts of the Highlands and Islands, and is at odds with Church’s more liberal sections and their position on the ordination of gay ministers.

One source from within the evangelicals said: “On current form, it is perfectly conceivable that in two years time the Church of Scotland will have nobody left in places like Lewis. Many congregations across Scotland are deeply unhappy with what the General Assembly decided.

“Now that Kinloch have announced their intention to leave, it could have a domino effect across the Highlands and Islands, with many more planning to leave – easily running into double figures. If rumours are correct, come May 2015 the national church could be facing extinction in the Western Isles.”

The minister and members of Kinloch Church of Scotland have made a unanimous decision to consider their position, saying they are unhappy with the way in which the Kirk has handled the issue of gay ministers.

Kinloch minister, the Rev Iain Murdo Campbell, said the General Assembly should not have even tackled the matter.

He added that it was not so much the decision by the General Assembly that had caused them to consider a breakaway from the Kirk, but the fact the issue was being discussed at all. “They have been investigating and talking about this for at least four years,” he said.

“As far as we can see this is a question of what authority God’s word has within the denomination within the Church.

“If the word of God had the authority, which it should have, the question and debate would never have been in the General Assembly in the first place.

“God has spoken quite clearly and it only takes a few seconds to read what God has to say on this issue.”

Meanwhile, elders at Stornoway High Church held a meeting on Wednesday night and also decided to vote on whether to leave the Kirk. The congregation narrowly voted to remain part of the Kirk in 2011 when it became clear that the Church of Scotland was moving in the direction of allowing gay people to become ministers.

At the General Assembly earlier this month an attempt was made to find a compromise to satisfy all within the Kirk, but it has not gone down well with the evangelical wing.

The General Assembly maintained the Church’s traditional stance on the doctrine of human sexuality, but allowed congregations to decide themselves on whether to allow a minister in a same-sex relationship.

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “We have not been informed of any congregation wishing to leave the Church of Scotland following last week’s General Assembly and the debate on the proposals put forward by the Theological Commission, and we would be saddened if this were the case at such an early stage.”

A summit is to take place for evangelical ministers next month to hold “crisis talks”.

It has been organised by Rev Kenny Borthwick, now leader of Holy Trinity Church in Edinburgh, urging traditionalists to gather and “repent, pray and work for reformation that is so badly needed”.

A Free Church of Scotland spokesman said: “By voting for political correctness over faithfulness to the Bible, it can be no surprise the Church of Scotland has jeopardised its own future.”

Just prior to the General Assembly, the Free Church’s moderator Rev Dr Iain D Campbell said the underlying principal of the 1843 Disruption – which caused the split in the Church 170 years ago – was the key issue, ultimately freedom for the Church to be governed by the “Word of God” alone.

Over the past few years a number of ministers have left the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay clergy.

The Reverend Paul Gibson resigned his charge of Tain Parish Church after just eight months into the post. The Reverend Ivor MacDonald left Kilmuir and Stenscholl on Skye and the Reverend John Murdo MacDonald resigned from Lochalsh.

SEE ALSO

• Analysis: Secessionists likely to be trickle not flood

• Aberdeen church breaks away over gay ministers row

• Church of Scotland faces exodus over gay clergy

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

The Church of Scotland and Gay Clergy 1

from the “Herald”

Kirk facing backlash after vote to allow gay ministers

Brian Donnelly
Senior News Reporter
Tuesday 21 May 2013

THE Church of Scotland has voted to allow the appointment of ministers in same-sex relationships in a historic shift, despite a lingering threat of an evangelical split.

TENSE TIMES: The Kirk's Procurator Laura Dunlop with the Clerks at the General Assembly in Edinburgh during the debate on gay clergy yesterday. Picture: Gordon Terris

TENSE TIMES: The Kirk’s Procurator Laura Dunlop with the Clerks at the General Assembly in Edinburgh during the debate on gay clergy yesterday. Picture: Gordon Terris

Two former moderators to the Church’s General Assembly were key to the day-long debate, which was sparked by the appointment of the openly gay Reverend Scott Rennie to Queen’s Cross Parish Church in Aberdeen four years ago.

A surprise 11th-hour challenge to the Kirk’s own Theological Commission by last year’s moderator, the Very Reverend Albert Bogle, led to the groundbreaking decision. The final vote was 340 to 282.

The current Moderator, the Right Reverend Lorna Hood, said: “This is a massive vote for the peace and unity of the Church.”

And Mr Rennie welcomed the move last night, saying decision would allow congregations to call the minister of their choice: be they lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight.

But traditionalists warned it could cost the Kirk “members, ministers, congregations and money”.

Mr Bogle’s motion at the Kirk’s annual gathering called for a traditionalist stance, but allowing congregations to opt out. It overturned the commission’s revisionist option that would have meant congregations against gay ministers in same-sex relationships would have to opt out.

How it will work is unclear and a new Theological Forum will examine the issue. The process of opting out may involve some form of congregational declaration, one minister suggested.

Such a decision was failure of leadership, according the Reverend David Randall, who said such sitting on the fence would anger many traditionalists who believe Scripture does not sanction homosexuality.

A moratorium on recruitment of gay clergy remains in place until at least next year.

Former moderator the Very Reverend Dr John Cairns introduced a strongly revisionist amendment to allow all gay clergy. He reminded commissioners of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s previous address to the assembly when he said “all belong to the Church”.

He withdrew his motion after his speech to the assembly at The Mound in Edinburgh.

Mr Bogle described Mr Cairns as a “clever fox” before laying out his motion. He said he felt compelled to lodge his challenge. He said: “I have put myself out on a limb just has John [Cairns] has, and if I am cut off I am cut off.”

Mr Bogle’s motion was accepted by some traditionalists. Seconding the move, the Reverend Alan Hamilton of Killermont Parish in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, said: “I do not want to depart from the traditional view of the Church, a view I believe is enshrined in the Bible and the will of God.

“But I believe this is the time for the Church, particularly traditionalists like me, to concede to allow others who disagree space to express that disagreement.”

He described it as an option that “does not require the Church to abandon its traditional position and all that flows from it, not least our position among world churches”.

However, Mr Randall said the issue of gay clergy “has been forced upon us by the revisionists who want us to turn our backs on what common sense tells us”.

“If we go revisionist or try to sit on the fence then we will lose members, ministers, congregations and money. Are we to stand by Scripture or are we to go with the flow of social trends?”

The Reverend John Chalmers, Principal Clerk of the Kirk, said: “This has been a massive vote for the peace and unity of the Church. 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.”

Tom French, policy co-ordinator for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) campaign group, Equality Network, said: “We welcome this decision by the Church of Scotland, which is particularly important for the many LGBT people within the Church and their friends and family.

“This is a positive step forward for a more equal society, and speaks to the progressive values of 21st-century Scotland.”

The decision will go back to General Assembly next year for the law to be drafted and fully introduced in 2015.

The appointment of Mr Rennie, who was backed by most of his congregation and by the General Assembly, in 2009 caused two congregations and six ministers to break away.

1 Comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic