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A gay minister for Queen's Cross Church

A Brechin minister who is in a 'live-in' relationship with another man has been chosen by Queens Cross Church of Scotland in Aberdeen: according to one influential minister, the matter could split the national Kirk.

 


 

Queens Cross churchCHURCH of Scotland leaders have approved the controversial appointment of a gay minister at an Aberdeen church despite opposition from conservative members who do not approve of his lifestyle, it has emerged.

The city’s presbytery voted 60-24 to instal the Rev Scott Rennie at Queen’s Cross Church. However, sources within the Kirk say it is highly likely that critics will lodge an appeal to block the move within the next 10 days.

The Church of Scotland General Assembly, which is divided over civil partnerships, would then make the final decision in May.

Mr Rennie is currently minister at Brechin Cathedral in Angus, where he has worked since 1999. Separated from his wife with whom he has a young daughter, he shares the manse with another man.

The Church of Scotland said Mr Rennie was widely recognised as an “enthusiastic and gifted preacher”. And Prof Trevor Salmon, joint session clerk at Queen’s Cross, said: “This appointment was given a resounding endorsement by the kirk session and congregation. “We believe Scott Rennie has the qualities to build upon the tradition of excellent ministry that has been a hallmark of Queen’s Cross worship for many years.”   Read on in the Press and Journal...

  

Meanwhile, within the Church of Scotland nationally, a group of evangelicals (Bible-believers) have been at work visibly and behind the scenes in an attempt to combat spiritual declension within the Kirk. Rev. Ian Watson is one of the Steering Group of Forward Together and on his personal blog he has commented (January 8): "The evangelicals in Aberdeen argued against sustaining the call. It's not going too far to call this [proposed appointment] schismatic."

An appeal against Aberdeen Presbytery's decision is now being considered; and, if the appeal (or a 'petition') goes through, the matter will duly come before the General Assembly in May. Watson also comments: "Make no mistake, this issue has the potential to wreck the Church of Scotland." At the time of writing, no official statement was available from Forward Together. [A notice has since appeared on the FT web site which includes the observation: "This has caused enormous tremors throughout the Church as it is aggressively taking the debate on homosexuality onto a new level."]

 

Footnotes:

Rev. Graeme Longmuir has reported in the press: "Almost three-quarters [60 - 24 Ed.] of those voting in favour of the Rev. Scott Rennie's call to Queen's Cross Church."


Rev. Rennie was born and raised in Bucksburn in Aberdeen. He served as assistant at Queen’s Cross church before winning the Scots Fellowship to study for a masters in sacred theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City: he later returned to the UK in 1999 when he was called to be minister at the cathedral.
He is on the Church of Scotland’s taskforce on human sexuality and is treasurer of OneKirk—a network of ministers and members of the Church of Scotland working for an inclusive, progressive church. He is working towards a doctor of ministry degree at Aberdeen University and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.


In the Church of Scotland tradition (and similar arrangements apply in the other presbyterian denominations in Scotland) a local congregation 'calls' a minister. This call is then ratified by the local presbytery which is a geographically-defined gathering of every minister (active and retired) and a representative elder from every local congregation within the presbytery boundaries. The mechanisms are designed to be consensual and collegiate; in practice the usual resort, at local and national level, is to a vote.
Whilst a minister is 'called' by a local congregation, he (or she) is installed and can be deposed only by the incumbent's presbytery.

----------------------------

Comment


General Assembly HallThe Church of Scotland, as a corporate body, has fought hard to evade the above issue - one over which many other denominations are also currently being exercised.

Back in 2000, the embryonic Scottish Parliament was severly tested and the nation as a whole was aflame over the issue of how and whether homosexuality would be taught to school children.
In customary fashion during the May of that year, the Church of Scotland held its annual General Assembly in Edinburgh.  Whilst this annual convocation was once described as 'the nearest thing that Scotland has to a Parliament', the yearly gathering has fallen in esteem, and no longer attracts the same public and media attention as once it did. However in that year, many in Scotland stood on tiptoe and strained their ears to hear what the General Assembly would say on the very important issue. But sadly, when eventually some sound was heard, it struggled out of the Assembly Hall as a confused and muffled note. Accordingly, the Kirk was seen  as 'tried and found wanting' - and the people of Scotland were failed - by the body which purports to be 'the national church'.

 

Decision time

However, God has a concern for us and His church, and He cannot abide waywardness. About two thousand seven hundred years ago He said through the prophet Amos: "Behold I am about to put a plumb line In the midst of My people...." He was setting His righteous standard into their midst. And as any builder or surveyor knows, there are not 'degrees of plumbness': a structure is either vertical or it's not.


Yet the Church of Scotland, and not just the Church of Scotland, has been ducking and weaving to avoid confronting the issue; and prevarication, obfuscation and procrastination have been the order of the day. But the God of the church of Jesus Christ is perhaps bringing these denominations to a point of decision. Moses called for a definitive response: "I have set before you life and death". So choose life that you may live". Joshua also laid it on the line: "Choose you this day whom you will serve." And he made his personal choice clear. Later the prophet Elijah rebuked the people of God: "How long will you hesitate between two opinions?"

The proverb states: "Where there is no vision, the people cast of restraint." Where there is no leadership, every man does what is right in his own eyes. And when those who are charged with tending the flock lack assurance and courage, then the sheep become unsettled and are vulnerable to all manner of prey.

 

So the nation needs an answer. The condition we are in is dire, but the root of the problem and the basic remedy is neither socio-political nor economic: it is spiritual. And the nation - in the pew and in the street - is being denied clear spiritual direction.

 

The issue is fundamental; and there are consequences

 

If the issue were of minor import then the tragedy would not be what it is. However the matter of right sexual relationships is fundamental to God's creational order for the family, representing as it does the basic building block on which all societies, if they aspire to be healthy, depend. The devil knows this, and what we are seeing is a diabolical, enduring and insidious attack on God's fundamental principles for wholesome living.

 

And we need to remember that God will not contend for ever with us - neither with individuals, nations nor denominations. Ultimately He will give us over to the consequences of our rebellious hearts. This is what Paul wrote about to the church in Rome:

 

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

Rom 1:21-24

 

Payer needed

Rev. Watson rounds off his blog entry: "Pray for the Church of Scotland. Is God finished with her? "  The question assuredly is not merely rhetorical.

Pray also for Forward Together. The group's response to this (and other critical issues) will test its mettle; and the situation provides opportunity to show real leadership in this 'vacancy' of clear biblical standards in Aberdeen presbytery; and certainly in and from the national church. Pray also for the many biblically-faithful men and women in the Kirk - in pulpit and pew.


Even outwith the C of S some have expressed the view that if revival is to come to Scotland, it will be through the national church. Who knows? Certainly if some calamity were to strike the nation, it would be to their local parish church that many unchurched people people would turn.

However, others see too much emphasis and far too much drain of effort being put into maintaining denominational and ecclesiastical structures, rather than on faithfully defending and proclaiming God's word - irrespective of the consequences for denominational cohesion.


-------

 

Perhaps in an allusion to the dynamic in Amos' day,  Derek Prince who, in his lifetime, was an international and highly-respected Bible teacher once remarked:

quote

"If God wishes to revive the church, he first of all electrifies the fence."


What he meant by this remark of course, is that He will not allow us to continue sitting on it.

 


Homosexualtiy - Signs of Messianic Era (Derek Prince)

 

Update report (17/01/09):

Twelve Church of Scotland ministers and elders are trying to block the appointment of a gay minister in Aberdeen, it emerged last night.

They object to the decision to instal Scott Rennie at Queen’s Cross Church because they do not approve of his lifestyle.

The Aberdeen Presbytery members, who include ministers Louis Kinsey of St Columba's at Bridge of Don, Peter Dickson of High Holburn, Hugh Wallace of Newhills and Nigel Parker of Bucksburn Stoneywood, have signed a letter of protest to Kirk’s HQ in Edinburgh.

Prof Trevor Salmon, Queen’s Cross joint session clerk, said members, office-bearers and Mr Rennie are “dismayed” by the protest and branded the dissenters “small-minded”. A Kirk spokesman confirmed an appeal has been lodged against Mr Rennie’s appointment.

If the complaint is upheld, it will be referred to the Kirk’s General Assembly in May.

Aberdeen-born Mr Rennie is separated from his wife, with whom he has a young daughter, and shares the manse with another man.

Read on in the  Press and Journal....

Footnote: The options which required consideration by those who are opposed to the proposal were to either appeal against it (which is now the chosen course of action) or alternatively put a petition to the General Assembly in May. There were (are) pros and cons in terms of due process; and whether the issue would be addressed as being particular to the present case, or in general relating to the wider principles involved.



Christians Together, 09/01/2009

Feedback:
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Kathleen Lavanchy 27/03/2009 13:03
Why is there even a discussion on this situation? The Bible is very clear and you either stand fast in Gods word or you don't you cannot serve two masters.Mens opinion is irrelevant when there is a clear "Thus sayeth the Lord". All sin is equal in Gods eyes and that includes homosexuality. Jesus Christ came to save us "FROM" sin not "IN" it. If we don't speak up for the truth then teir blood will be on our hands when Jesus comes again.
Kathleen
Peter Carr 27/03/2009 16:57
God has given responsibility to people for the interpretation of His word and for church govt.
Timothy Won-welve (Guest) 11/04/2009 12:42
I wonder why there is so much fuss about this. The central issue is...who is qualified to teach with authority in the church. A sinful lifestyle as in the Aberdeen case is a clear no no in Bible - but Bible also has other standards. Why are many evangelicals not concerned that the Bible teaches that even within Christs flock - Teaching authority is not to be conveyed upon young converts, elders that have not been "tested" as to their doctrine and our dear sisters in Christ?
Editor 20/04/2009 17:14
Kirk's magazine criticises Bible's stance against gays

CHRISTIANS who use the Bible to argue against homosexuality have been criticised in the Church of Scotland's official magazine.
An editorial in the new edition of Life and Work says even those with a traditionalist view of scripture do not take everything in the Bible literally.

It says: "Every student of the Bible is a selective literalist. Those who swear by the anti-homosexual laws in the Book of Leviticus wouldn't publicly advocate slavery or stoning women taken in adultery. They presumably no longer accept Biblical teaching on sexual matters such as polygamy and sex with slaves.

Read full report in The Scotsman:
http://news.scotsman.com/politics/Kirk39s---magazine-criticises.5183362.jp

The main thrust of the arguments in favour of accepting homosexuality as a valid lifestyle is based on-

* no-one takes the whole of the Bible literally (of course not; some is type/allegory etc.)
* homosexuality is genetic (born that way; can't help it) (wonder if bank robbery could be OK on the same basis?)
* nothing in the Gospels about it (i.e. careful to avoid passages elsewhere in the NT which are clear about it)
Alec (Guest) 20/04/2009 19:41
Quote: "Every student of the Bible is a selective literalist"

So called "bible-believing" evangelicals are as bad as any body else. The NT clearly forbids women to speak in church or to be in positions of authority. Yet what did the evangelicals in the C of S have to say (or do) about the ordination of women? Nothing. So for them now to complain about gays is pretty rich.

BTW, that editorial comment above is pretty poor "homosexuality is genetic (born that way; can't help it) (wonder if bank robbery could be OK on the same basis?)"

Sexual orientation is like skin colour. No choice about it whatsoever. Bank robbery is a specific act of choice.

The christian churches, esp the evangelical ones are perceived today to be obsessed with sexual matters. Have a look at Forward Together's press releases page:

http://www.forwardtogether.org.uk/press.htm

I reckon that 95% of these releases relate to smae sex relationships.

These people need to get a grip. They make christianity look ridiculous, bigoted, homophobic and completely out of touch. And about as far removed from the teachings of the man from Galilee as its possible to get.
Peter Carr 20/04/2009 20:00
I think the main concern of this thread is the question of active homosexuals in leadership positions within the church, particularly if they have a responsibility of publicly proclaiming God's word (therefore the concern is also extended to the sexually immoral, both hetro and homosexual).

There is no place for homophobia, however there is clearly a place for defending God's word, particularly when it comes to the requirements of those set aside for the office or calling to preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God.
John Parker (Guest) 20/04/2009 22:47
Eric you said: "Sexual orientation is like skin colour. No choice about it whatsoever. Bank robbery is a specific act of choice."

I know of many former homosexuals who have changed their ways; I don't know of anyone who has managed to change the colour of their eyes. The "genetic" argument just does not stand up.

Homosexuality can be caused by domineering mothers and/or unloving fathers (plus other factors), but not by the genes that they pass on.

Have a look at:
http://www.igroops.com/igroops/sbm+webpages+5
Editor 22/04/2009 10:10
A Times article reports: A potential rift within the Church of Scotland over gay relationships emerged yesterday after the Church’s house magazine backed civil partnerships and openly gay ministers.

Accusing religious traditionalists of selectively quoting the Bible to support their attacks on homosexual relations, the editorial in Life And Work urged the Kirk to show strong leadership on an issue that has threatened to split the Church of England and could prove just as divisive in Scotland.

Read on in The Times -
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6136167.ece

In the editorial, Life and Work editor Muriel Armstrong has written in support of gay parterships, and whilst the official line is that Life and Work is "not the voice of the church", the timing and content of this article coming as it does immediately preceding the General Assembly in May is highly 'political' and obviously intended to influence the debate in the Assembly.

One thing that both sides of the debate seem to agree on is that 'crunch time is near'. Maybe it is; or maybe the Kirk will continue to succeed in ducking a weaving to the deteriment of the good people of Scotland who should rightfully expect clear leadership from the national church.

Of course 'unity' is the cry, but unity which is superficial and devoid of Truth is no unity whatsoever.
sam (Guest) 05/05/2009 09:31
anyone, gay straight or otherwise should be allowed to spred the word. i am not religious and believe none of it but i do believe that religion is about looking after people and that everyone is created equal.there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, it has existed in the animal kingdom since the dawn of time and you dont see animals signing petitions or picking on their gay counterparts, thats because it doesnt matter!

open your eyes to the future, embrace it, lead it and make it your own..we cant do this alone, we must be a team
not homosexual but annoyed (Guest) 05/05/2009 09:36
''Homosexuality can be caused by domineering mothers and/or unloving fathers (plus other factors), but not by the genes that they pass on.''

John Parker, you are an idiot...

The fact that you christians discard obvious scientific evidence to the contrary in this case and indeed in many other cases where you disregard solid evidence will eventually be the downfall of your vicious, segregated and completely crazy cult.

bring it on
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