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The Kirk is imploding


The induction of Rev. Scott Rennie to Queens' Cross Church in Aberdeen reveals the Church of Scotland as a denomination in deep crisis.



General AssemblyWriting late on Friday night I am assuming that the deed has been done.

The advice given out by the Church of Scotland’s (Acting) Principal Clerk (PC) to Rev. Scott Rennie at the Kirk’s General Assembly in May was: “Don’t rob a bank” (or the like) before the month of July.

The occasion of this very public piece of counsel followed the Assembly’s decision to endorse the call of Aberdeen Presbytery (see Footnotes) to the minister who was/is living in a homosexual relationship with his male partner.

On the assumption that he has followed the advice, Rennie will have moved – at 7.00pm this evening – from his present charge at Brechin Cathedral to become the minister at Queen’s Cross Church (Aberdeen).
 
The underlying reason behind the PC’s remark was that those gathered at any induction are invited to examine the candidate’s ‘life and doctrine’, and to declare if there is any good reason to question the appointment. It is at this moment, and prior to the ‘laying on of hands’ by members of the local presbytery, that any relevant issue can be raised by anyone present.
However by giving out the advice that she did, the PC – in a de facto sense – pre-empted any dissenting voices (assuming that Rennie’s bank-robbing record remains clear).
 
At the time of writing it is not known if any objection on ‘life and doctrine’ grounds was lodged. But with the full weight of the Assembly’s May decision behind it, Aberdeen Presbytery have been on very safe ground in terms of facing down any protest. In fact the first induction of an openly-gay minister has been – subsequent to the Assembly’s decision – almost a fait accompli. It represents, in the eyes of many, a line being crossed – taking Scotland’s national church into outright apostasy (wilful unbelief, unrighteousness and heresy).

The ramifications of this act are seismic, and – as in any impending earthquake – the extent of the ensuing devastations and after-shocks is totally unpredictable. (More on this soon.)

Shameless procedural maneouvering

 
But apart from the act itself, the way in which this situation was handled at the General Assembly exposes the Church of Scotland’s highest court as manipulative to the point of deviousness. By ensuring that the running order was cleverly set and defended (defying logic and objections), the case in point (Rennie’s proposed induction) was decided before the principle (relating to same-sex relationships, brought by Lochcarron/Skye Presbytery) was debated.
In fact the debate on the principle was effectively out-flanked by a preceding motion to appoint a Special Commission to report back in two years time. So in the event the Lochcarron/Skye ‘overture’ was withdrawn and never brought to the floor of the Assembly. Accordingly the Kirk’s highest court, through the clever orchestration of mechanisms and procedures, effectively gave its blessing to a gross departure from biblical standards on a most serious matter of morality and God's appointed order for human sexual relationships.

A point of no return

 
Let no one be of any doubt that in spite of a 2-year moratorium on any further inductions of gay ministers, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. The Rubicon has been crossed, the dam has been burst and the stable door has been thrown wide. The interim ban was and is a sop to appease dissenters. Certainly no fig leaf is required to cover the sin, as no establishment shame is evident.
 
As soon as decency (and that’s not quite the right word) allows, another such incident will occur; and one presbytery after another will follow the Aberdeen example in 'domino' fashion. The Queen's Cross induction is seen and and understood by all others as a ‘precedent’, but dismissed by the ecclesiastical intelligentsia and the bureaucratic sophistry of the Kirk’s HQ in 121 George Street, Edinburgh which states that 'nothing has changed.'

Without going into a theological analysis at this point, God sees into it all. And He is not mocked.

A dereliction of faith and duty

 
In an age when all of the supporting pillars of our society are being shaken, the Church of Scotland would have been in a strong position to bring some stability, sense and direction into the life of the nation. As it is, the institution is imploding; it has lost whatever residual credibility it possessed, and has brought shame, in the eyes of the world, on Scottish Christianity and its history of taking faith in Jesus Christ to nations everywhere.

If ever we needed to pray for our nation in our age it is now. God has promised to 'shake all things, so that that those things which cannot be shaken will remain' (Heb. 12:26-27); and as we know He is 'watching over His Word to perform it.'

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Footnotes:

1. A summary of responses and a biblical perspective will (d.v.) follow shortly.

2. A short presbyterian lexicon:

General Assembly: meets in May of each year as both a judicial court and legislative body. The GA is the highest court and authoritative body in the Church: it is comprised of ‘Commissioners’ who are selected from the clergy and laity within the Church. The commissioners have voting rights.
 
Moderator of the General Assembly: each year a new moderator is appointed. Up until very recently the position – which is largely ambassadorial – has gone to a male minister (clergyman). However there has now been a women in the post.
 
Overture: effectively a ‘motion’ submitted in advance of an Assembly for the Assembly’s consideration.
 
Presbytery (in this case, that of Aberdeen): a court covering (typically) a city or a region and comprising the minister and a representative elder from each local congregation within the presbytery’s geographical boundary. Retired ministers can also be active members of a presbytery.
 
Principal Clark (PC) : a quasi-legal/chief administrator post in the Church of Scotland’s HQ in Edinburgh. The PC gives advice on procedure to each new incoming moderator at the Kirk’s annual General Assembly in May. At the May 2009 General Assembly the Acting Principal Clerk (a woman) performed the role.
 
Special Commission: in this case a dedicated 2-year process by a 9-person team appointed to examine and report back to the Assembly in 2011 on the question of sexuality.




Christians Together, 03/07/2009

Feedback:
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Editor 25/07/2009 17:58
A minister in the Highlands has quit from the Church of Scotland following the decisions made at the May General Assembly. Rev. Thomas MacKinnon is to leave his charge at the parish of Kilmuir and Logie Easter (north of Invergordon.

Read report in the Scotsman -
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Highlands-minister-is-first-to.5493118.jp
a h 26/07/2009 01:46
Good for him. God bless him.
Editor 02/08/2009 18:34
Some recent reports from the Press and Journal

HEADLINE:Church of Scotland member will not take communion: Councillor resigns from Kirk over gay minister.

A councillor has announced he is giving up his membership of the Church of Scotland due to his feelings over the appointment of its first openly gay minister.

Read on - http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/1328937

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HEADLINE: Dundee minister urges Kirk members to join Free Church.

A MINISTER claimed last night the Church of Scotland is “finished” as a place of worship for traditionalists, and urged them to join the Free Church of Scotland.

Read on.. http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/1332602

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HEADLINE: Kirk accused of stifling freedom of speech.

A minister has accused the Church of Scotland of stifling freedom of speech by stopping people from making public statements about ordination and homosexuality.

The Rev Louis Kinsey, of St Columba’s Church in Aberdeen, is calling on Kirk officials to overturn a “patronising” decision taken at the General Assembly in May following the controversial appointment of openly gay minister Scott Rennie to a church in the city.

It was agreed that no public statements should be made until a special commission investigating the induction and ordination of active homosexuals in the ministry reports back to the assembly in 2011.

Read on - http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/1333924
Editor 06/08/2009 14:28
The Glasgow Herald has today reported that 35 Church of Scotland churches around Scotland (two being in Inverness) "have agreed to place the unambiguous [Fellowship of Confessing Churches] statement [of belief] in a prominent place in their churches".

See article: http://tinyurl.com/n8tyks

Needless to say the media sense conflict and the spin is combative. However for these churches to say clearly what they believe is doing nothing that groupings have done through the centuries, and assists in bringing come clarity to a confused and disturbing overall picture.

Meanwhile (the Herald reports that) the Kirk's HQ is saying nothing (under the terms of its own moratorium on public discussion).

[The article quotes on Aberdeen minister: 'The Rev Louis Kinsey, of St Columba's Church in Aberdeen, who vehemently opposed the appointment of Mr Rennie, said the moratorium "only adds to the momentum towards disintegration"'.]
Eddie Hallahan 07/08/2009 10:19
On our local news site

http://www.hebridesnews.co.uk/island_churches_rebel.html
Editor 15/09/2009 21:18
An action by Hamilton Presbytery of the Church of Scotland has heightened the crisis facing the Kirk over the matter of gay clergy by licensing a student (as a candidate for ministry) who is in a civil partnership.

Now a former Wick minister (Rev. Bill Wallace erstwhile of Pultneytown and Thrumster) has asked the Church's HQ for clarification.

What Hamilton Presbytery seems to have done is exploited a loophole in the moratorium on appointing gay clergy. What is generally agreed is that while there is no trespass involved the action breaches the spirit of the moratorium and is futher evidence of a clear and determined strategy by those who wish to further the cause of making homosexuality acceptable within the national church.

See Herald report:
http://tinyurl.com/ryq9b5
Alec (Guest) 16/09/2009 08:00
Editors comment: "making homosexuality acceptable "

Yet again, the lie is given to the business of "homosexuality is OK as long as you are not sexually active" " We dont disapprove of homosexuals, only their behaviour"

Well apparently, according to this site anyway, homosexuality (orientation as opposed to behaviour" is "unacceptable"

Another commntator in another thread referred to "throwing homosexual ministers into the street" with no distinction whatsoever between orientation and behaviour

These are just 2 examples of this sort of language being used - there have been many more over the past few months here and in other places.

And it gives the lie to the "love the sinner hate the sin" that we often hear,

I would suggest that a bit more care is taken with how you people word things, otherwise your true agenda might show....
Editor 16/09/2009 09:00
As a further outline of the situation a C of S minister (Rev. Louis Kinsey) has said on his blog -
"it will only further increase the sense of deep mistrust that many now feel in the Kirk towards the powers that be within the denominational institution and at the central offices of the Church."

See full story -
http://tinyurl.com/q4x4ol
Nick Harris 09/02/2013 03:37
Before I make this comment I would stress that I am fully aware that we need to love the sinner and hate the sin and that homophobia is wrong for a Christian.
I am old enough to remember the common use of the word p**f to describe a homosexual. Indeed the word can still be found in modern dictionaries today but it politically incorrect to use it.
This word p**f was replaced by the word gay and I certainly remember that the word gay was one of the most endearing words in the dictionary. Indeed my next door neighbour was a lovely lady whose christian name was Gay along with many other uses for this word including a feeling of gaety etc. This beautiful word was quite simply stolen by the homosexual community as a replacement for the word p**f. There was no vote taken by the rest of the "straight" members of society that these people could adopt the word gay and by doing so steal from us all forever the real meaning of the word gay without giving us a satisfactory replacement. Which of coarse is impossible to do. What is now far more objectionable is the fact that they have quite brazzenly stolen the word marriage from us as well. There was no hint from the Government that the rest of the "straight" members of our society would have some form of vote on the issue they have quite simply been allowed to steal it and what is worse is that the leadership of our mainstream Churches haven't stood up and cried enough is enough,
Yes indeed this country has crossed the rubicon and my wife and I as pensioners can stand it no longer and are emigrating to Spain where there remains some semblance of moral normality.
David (Guest) 09/02/2013 05:40
Mr Harris
I was brought up being called a poof, not a nice experience.
Like you I remember how homosexual where treated back then.
Maybe now its gone a wee bit too much the other way, why is this ??
What really has happen is the church has put it under the carpet for too many years and we are now seeing the results.
In our younger day there was a high rate of Suicide amongst homosexuals because of the way they where treated

What part of Spain ??

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Current News > The Kirk is imploding