DISSENT in the Kirk
Following the Church of Scotland General Assembly at the end of May and the decision to allow homosexual ministers to operate within the church, many are now expressing serious dissent regarding these actions.
Church of Scotland parish minister Rev. Gordon Kennedy of Portpatrick and Stranraer has written publicly to announce a new web site which allows all within the Kirk to express their concern regarding the course on which the church is following.
He writes concerning the web site www.dissent.uk.com -
"This web site contains a statement of distress at and dissent from the recent decision of the General Assembly on the matter of same-sex and the ministry.
The web site offers the facility for any and every congregation, minister, elder, office bearer and member to express his/her dissent regarding the Assembly outcome.
I hope you may find that this dissent helpful for you and your congregation. If so, please spread news of this as widely as you can."
The Church of Scotland has now issued a 'Further statement following the Special Commission on Same Sex Relationships and the Ministry' which affirms the setting up of a two-year theological study around same-sex relationships, civil partnerships and marriage.
These developments along with other news and arrangements which are currently being put into place are strongly suggestive of a very signficant backlash to the Assembly's decision. It may not be too long before the depth of upset and anger becomes all too apparent.
Meanwhile four other Church of Scotland ministers and one Kirk Session have written in the following terms:
Lochs and Crossbost Church of Scotland
Rev. David J. Randall
St. George's Tron Church, Glasgow
Gilcomston Church of Scotland, Aberdeen
Draft Kirk Session Statement
Fellowship of Confessing Churches
Lochs and Crossbost Church of Scotland
(list of statements)
• On the 23rd May 2011 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland resolved to permit the Induction into parish churches of those actively and openly engaged in homosexual practices. With this decision they have chosen to define as sacred, and on a par with the sanctity of Christian marriage, acts which the Word of God nowhere approves but everywhere identifies as sinful. This is not merely a question of personal morality or even of the interpretation of Scripture, but rather a question of the nature, character and identity of the God whom we worship. Is it the God of the Bible or is it not? The General Assembly decision has effectively declared that the God of the Bible may be respected but is not necessarily to be obeyed. If He is not to be obeyed, what then is the context of our prayers to Him, and the singing of His supposed praises and the reading of His Word, if its demands may be so lightly and easily dispensed with? We have effectively replaced the God of the Bible with an alternative Jesus re-made in the world’s image, with another Gospel, and a different God.
• Consequently in the light of the General Assembly’s decision it is with the utmost sorrow and heartfelt grief that I have today informed the Kirk Session, and yesterday informed the Clerk to the Presbytery of Lewis, of my intention to demit the pastoral charge of Lochs Crossbost, and to resign from the active ministry of the Church of Scotland with effect from 31st August 2011
. [Emphasis added Ed.]
I realise that this is rather longer notice than is customary, but there are a number of commitments and engagements which I feel obliged to honour before leaving. I also hope the additional notice may give the Presbytery a little more time to find the necessary replacements for the Presbytery posts which I currently hold. Naturally I hope it will also afford a little more time for myself and the family to arrange our domestic affairs.
• There will be those among you who will feel my decision to be entirely the wrong one. What of the flock? What of the people who will be left leaderless, and without a shepherd? I am not insensitive to such claims, nor am I out of sympathy with them. But what kind of shepherd, what kind of leader would I have been, had I preached to you of taking up the Cross to follow Christ, and then to refuse any sacrifice the Lord may require of me? The Cross is not simply to be preached, it is to be lived.
• That said, there will be many Church of Scotland ministers who will share my point of view but will not, in all conscience feel that they must lay down their charge and demit, and their individual consciences must, MUST, be respected as honourable and right for them, and between them and the Lord. I think no less of those honourable evangelical brethren who feel their place is to stay, and I hope and pray they will think no less of me whose conscience now dictates that I must leave.
• I do not expect, encourage or require that any of you should follow me out of the Church of Scotland, for I have nowhere to lead you, and I do not know the direction of my own future. I know only that whilst many good, godly and devout Christian men & women will continue within the fold of the Church of Scotland, I personally cannot continue to serve, and receive the stipend, of a Church which as an institution, has chosen its own gods, and departed from the God of the Bible, whatever words may be used to contrary. I have taken you as far as the Lord has allowed me to do. Over the past 18 years opportunities to have left this people, this parish, and to have served elsewhere, have been many and varied, but I have never felt it to be the Lord’s call....until now. Nothing but the Lord could compel me to sever these pastoral bonds, or to depart from the Church of my Fathers. Much less could anything but the necessity of faithfulness to the Lord persuade me to embark upon a course of action which has been the cause, and doubtless will continue to be the cause, of so many tears, such heartbreak, and such utter devastation to every single member of my family. And to me.
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Rev. Andrew Coghill
Lochs and Crossbost, Lewis
Statement from Rev. David J. Randall
On Monday 23rd May 2011 the Church of Scotland, through its supreme court, the General Assembly, resolved to depart from its historic adherence to the Bible as its supreme rule of faith and life.
This outcome was reached in the context of a decision on whether practising homosexuals should be eligible for induction as ministers. It is clear that wherever the Bible mentions homosexual practice, it rejects it as unnatural and displeasing to the Creator of the human race. Many attempts have been made to re-interpret, modify or tone down the Bible’s teaching on this subject, but even advocates of homosexual ordination have admitted that the Bible’s teaching on the matter is clear.
It was emphasised before and during the Assembly that the real issue facing the General Assembly was the question of biblical authority: would the Church adhere to its acknowledgement at every ordination that “the Word of God contained in the Scriptures (is its) supreme rule of faith and life”.
Would the Church stand under God’s Word, or would it regard itself as the supreme authority?
Despite many excellent speeches by so-called “traditionalists”, who emphasised the crucial importance of these questions and pled with the Church to stand by its own title-deeds, the Assembly treated Scripture in a cavalier fashion and effectively trashed God’s Word .
The report of the Special Commission had clearly stated that there was no impetus for change. They had required all Presbyteries and Kirk Session to have special meetings to consider the matter and send in their responses. The Assembly chose to totally ignore the outcome of the Special Commission’s findings, leaving many people wondering what had been the point of the whole exercise. One commissioner ably summarised the situation facing the Assembly; he cogently argued that the revisionist proposals came on the back of a report which confirmed that the revisionist position
• is not wanted by the church
• is not supported by Scripture
• is not mandated by science
• is not required by law
• would destroy ecumenical relations
• would split the church in two
• and, after all that, would fall under the Barrier Act.
Despite all this, the Church has set its trajectory towards the acceptance of practising homosexuals. The Theological Commission which is to be set up has been told which direction it must take (and that it should even look at liturgies for the blessing of civil partnerships, despite all previous rejection by the Assembly).
In the aftermath of the decision, two things have been claimed by liberals:
a) Some have weakly tried to claim that no final decisions have been made. In a press statement, the Moderator said that he wanted to “stress that no decisions yet have been made”, and in his next sentence went on, “We very much hope that people who disagree with what has been decided will nevertheless remain part of our church”! It is clear that the Assembly has set its course for the induction and later ordination/induction of people living in situations which the Bible forbids.
b) The other claim is that what unites us all is greater than what divides us. This is simply untrue, since the issues concern the authority of Scripture, the definition of right and wrong, the authority of Christ as King and Head of the church. Sadly, the things that now divide us are greater than the things that unite us.
The Assembly has left conservative and evangelical members of the Church of Scotland ashamed, dismayed, disgusted and angered. Such comments are not made by people who are enemies of the Church. On the contrary, the record could show that such dismay is felt by people who have given much time and energy to the service of Christ through the Church, serving on committees, boards and councils as well as in their own parishes. Evangelicals have indeed been remarkably patient within an increasingly liberal church in recent years and take no pleasure whatsoever in the recognition that the Church now, in kicking away its own foundations, has rendered itself an apostate Church.
In the coming weeks, much consideration will have to be given to the proper action that should be taken by “traditionalist” ministers, elders, members and congregations. Options will need to be explored, but acceptance of this decision of the Assembly is not such an option.
Rev. David J. Randall
retired recently from Macduff
Walking away from Jesus
(St. George's Tron; Glasgow)
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in …ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ… scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.… It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. [Jude 1:3-4, 18,19]
I write in the immediate aftermath of our General Assembly, where the debate on the issue of same sex relations in the ministry resulted in a resounding defeat for those, like ourselves, committed to the orthodox, historic Christian gospel, to the absolute standard of authority upon which the Church of Scotland was founded, the Bible, and to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the principal subordinate standard of the Church of Scotland.
Let me quote directly from the official News Release from the Church of Scotland on Monday evening (called Good News from the Church of Scotland
which is an ironic misnomer if ever there was one):
“Commissioners voted by 351 to 294 to adopt deliverance 7B, which means a move towards the acceptance for training, induction and ordination of those in same-sex relationships for the ministry.
The Assembly also voted to allow ministers and deacons in same-sex relationships ordained before 2009 to be inducted into pastoral charges (by 393 to 252.)”
[these are very decisive majorities as far as our GA is concerned - often votes are very close]
“A theological commission will be set up to bring recommendations to the 2013 General Assembly, as well as considering whether ministers should have freedom of conscience to bless civil partnerships and possible liturgy for such occasions.”
Speaking after the debate, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Right Reverend David Arnott, said.... ‘We as the National Church will continue to provide guidance and spiritual leadership for the people of Scotland.’ ”
That the last paragraph will be greeted with astonishment by Christian people who must wonder what kind of guidance and spiritual leadership can possibly be given by a denomination that has thus departed so dramatically and decisively from its moorings in the historic, reformed and biblical faith.
The Church of Scotland was established as we know it today when the Articles Declaratory of the Constitution of the Church of Scotland in Matters Spiritual
were declared lawful by Parliament in the Church of Scotland Act 1921. The first declaratory Article states clearly:
The Church of Scotland adheres to the Scottish Reformation; receives the Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as its supreme rule of faith and life; and avows the fundamental doctrines of the Catholic faith founded thereupon.
The Scriptures of both Old and New Testament, our ‘supreme rule of faith and life’, speak with one voice and unequivocally on the issue of same sex union. Sexual sin is not the unpardonable sin, but like all sin, must not be acquiesced in—far less celebrated as holy—but must be repented of, or else one cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, that is, cannot find salvation.
Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9-10)
When the church faces controversial questions, The Westminster Confession of Faith (which the Second Declaratory Article states as ‘the principal subordinate standard of the Church of Scotland’) is clear about how these things are to be resolved:
The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture. [WCF I.X.]
The Confession realistically acknowledges that people will often try to justify sinful behaviour, and warns us presciently: this is not a secondary matter; to use the language of Christian freedom and love to justify sinful behaviour in fact destroys the gospel itself, because the gospel’s whole purpose and goal is that we are saved from sin for holiness and righteousness:
They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end [goal] of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. [WCF XX.III]
Thus, the decision of the General Assembly this year has set a clear ‘trajectory’ (to use the words of the Special Commission) that leads away
from the Christian Scriptures, the Christian gospel, and the love of Christ himself, for Jesus said ‘whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me’
It is not that the voice of the truth was not heard; faithful brethren articulated clearly, competently and graciously the truth of God, and warned against the consequences of such a departure. Many interventions were made. But every attempt to amend the deliverances—even those which would have served simply to give more time and discussion—was defeated heavily. In the end, the revisionists won by a large and decisive majority.
If there is some comfort in all this, it is that God has now granted great clarity
as to the true position and direction of our denomination. Those who have been naively deceiving themselves about the severity of the situation must now see the truth as it really is. We must all face the facts that some have been reluctant to acknowledge hitherto: the so called ‘win-able middle ground’ of the church simply does not exist. There is no middle ground. In so rejecting the Scriptures and the reformed confessions the ‘middle’, the centre of gravity of those who claim to represent The Church of Scotland today, has drifted to the point of now no longer being recognisably Christian in the sense understood by all Christians historically and the majority worldwide Christian Church today.
Nor are these simply impersonal ‘forces’ dividing the church, as if people were caught helplessly in the midst and we can all ‘work together for unity’. No. The rift is being caused by many—the majority, it seems—of people choosing wilfully to walk away from the biblical gospel, and walk apart from those who cannot and will not likewise abandon the faith once for all delivered to the saints, the faith of our fathers, the faith of the worldwide Church, and of our Church.
As the debate went on and I watched online (I was not a commissioner this year) it was as if, with Ezekiel, one could see the glory of God departing. One after another, speeches of increasingly blasphemous character seemed to indicate the withdrawal of all divine restraint, the Lord giving this institution over to self-destructive folly, and the inevitability of self-inflicted disaster. In the days of Samuel, when wicked corruption of priesthood and people was left weakly unopposed by good but feeble Eli, in the end the Ark of the Covenant—representing God's holy presence—was removed from the midst leaving people crying "Ichabod": The Glory has departed.
This week I was reading my father, James Philip’s Bible readings and came upon these words, on 1 John 5:16:
There are some sins in believers which bring them to their death. God is more honoured in taking them out of the way than in healing and restoring them…. All human sin is an admixture of ignorance and wilfulness, and one can visualise the possibility of sinful attitudes becoming more and more wilful and deliberate and presumptuous, and less and less partaking of the ignorance that makes sin ‘forgivable’ (see 1 Tim 1:13) until the possibility of forgiveness is past, and the irrevocable step has been taken which puts a man beyond the reach of the grace of God… ‘the sin unto death’ concerning which John says ‘I do not say that one should pray for that’…
He went on to speak of the corporate application of this same principle, citing the example of Jeremiah, where repeatedly the prophet is explicitly told by God not to pray for a people confidently proud of their status as “the national church” with their mantra ‘the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord’, but whose hearts were far from the God whose temple it was (see Jer 7:16, 11:14 and 14:11).
In the experience of Judah there came a point beyond which God would have no more to do with them. They had by the persistence of their sins passed the point of no return, and nothing then would have availed to turn away the threatened doom. And nothing did; for the people of God were swept away into captivity in the judgment that came upon their ‘sin unto death’.
So, it seems, in today’s Church of Scotland; his merciful hand of restraint has been lifted. As the apostle Paul describes in Romans chapter 1:
Claiming to be wise, they became fools...Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity...because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.... And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (Rom. 1:22...28)
Where, then, does this leave our church fellowship in St George's-Tron?
Alas, it seems, greatly at odds with the clearly expressed official will of the denomination to which we are affiliated. But, notwithstanding the deliberations and decisions of even the highest court of our denomination, we are simply not at liberty to walk away from Christ and his gospel, or depart from the historic foundations of our Church or separate from communion with orthodox Christian believers globally. To do so would be sin against God, and sin against our Christian brothers and sisters worldwide, many of whom are facing great persecution for their adherence to the truth. It would be to choose fellowship (koinonia) with the works of darkness and break fellowship with the worldwide believing church. This we cannot do. It is an instance when we must obey God rather than men. Our own Westminster Confession is plain here also:
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or beside it in matters of faith or worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commandments out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also. [WCF XX.II]
Dear friends, as has become increasingly clear over recent months in the hostility we have already experienced from our presbytery, we are entering days of uncertainty and difficulty as a fellowship when our faith is going to be tested in many ways, some of which we cannot easily anticipate. This should not surprise us. Jesus said “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”
[Mark 8:34]. He warned that to be faithful would mean being at odds with many in the world and in the religious establishment, and indeed this has been the history of the church throughout the ages, and in our own land also.
Having lived for generations in days of peace we have forgotten that those who have stood for the biblical faith in Scotland have often been persecuted; just visit the graveyards of the Covenanters in Ayrshire for a reminder of the terrible ‘killing times’ of the 17th Century when many of our forebears gave their lives for the faith we proclaim today. The original Wynd Church, the antecedent of our present-day congregation, was itself formed in 1687 in dark days, by a determined group of believers who would not bow the knee to the imposition of high church episcopacy by the establishment, and courageously stood for their evangelical biblical faith against the odds. We thank God that we are unlikely to face the extremity of violence of those times. But violent opposition we may well have to endure, and we shall need great grace, courage, and unity if we too are not to be found unfaithful in facing the challenges the Lord is allowing us to meet in coming days.
We are not alone, of course. There are other churches in Scotland who feel as we do, grieving deeply over the decisions of the General Assembly and mourning together with us over such defiance of his Word. Grieving together, but also standing together, and acting together. I am sure that Dick Lucas is absolutely right in the words of encouragement he sent to us this week:
I see one thing in your favour … a clear cut and final decision, even if it is to embrace depravity. This at least means for you that no biblically minded Minister or congregation, can temporize over the matter.
We commit to praying and supporting all such, as many congregations now enter days of uncertainty and great difficulty and the rupture of communion becomes evident. We must pray for ourselves and for all with whom we unite in solidarity that we shall have courage to make whatever stand our Lord calls us to, however difficult and misunderstood it may be by some. May we all, as Faber’s hymn says, ‘learn to scorn the praise of men, and learn to lose with God’, that being found faithful in word and deed, the name of Christ may be honoured in us and through us.
Much prayer is needed. But not prayer alone. Having cited two of my chief mentors in life and ministry, let me quote from the third, William Still. Both he and my father, though greatly loyal to the Church of Scotland ministry, spoke to me often of a day when faithfulness to Christ and loyalty to the denomination could (and very probably would) come into such conflict that one would have to give way to the other. Neither was in any doubt where their loyalties would lie. They also saw clearly how it is that real cleansing and change is effected in a corrupted church. Writing in his Congregational Record as long ago as 1970, Mr Still’s words could hardly be more apt today:
“I am amazed at the ineptitude not only of individuals, but of whole schools of thought, and even denominations, in respect of evils which beset and bedevil their work. … What the Christian church needs in so many situations is great rows! The Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles is not afraid of disturbance. Sometimes it is necessary.… Major evils, radical departures from biblical orthodoxy, deep corruption, bitter feuds, and adamant worldliness may not be dealt with by prayer without action…. If anyone ever used the Word of God as a hammer to break the rock in pieces, or as wildfire to set the straw, or as we say in Scotland, the heather on fire, it was Jesus.”
This week, indeed, the touch-paper of such a fire of disturbance has been lit. Let us pray that through it what William Still called the real Church of Jesus Christ in Scotland would grow and be strengthened even as a result of all that has happened, and that these things, which seem calamitous, would ‘really serve to advance the gospel’ as Paul's own trials and imprisonment certainly did (Phil 1:12).
Finally, beloved in the Lord, in all that lies ahead, in all we may be required to do, and in all we may have to face, let us remember and cherish the command of the apostle we were considering together the very week of the General Assembly:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them…. Do not overcome evil by evil, but overcome evil with good’ [Rom 12:21]
and also the comforting words of our Lord Jesus himself:
‘In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world!’ [John 16:33]
Yours, in the truth that is in Jesus Christ, who alone is the Divine King and Head of this Church,
(Rev.) William J U Philip
(list of statements)
28 May 2011
(list of statements)
Statement out at Gilcomston Church of Scotland on Sunday 5 June 2011.
"The Kirk Session of Gilcomston South Church believes that the decisions of the General Assembly on Monday 23rd May concerning same-sex partnerships and the ordained ministry represented a clear and deliberate move away from the authority of Scripture as the Word of God and our supreme rule of faith and life. It is therefore with great sadness that we feel we can no longer be part of the Church of Scotland and will take such measures as will allow us and the congregation to leave the denomination. The Kirk Session has therefore agreed to call a congregational meeting on Monday 27th June.
"Our decision is not a knee-jerk reaction. It is the culmination of careful study, sincere discussion and prayer over the past two and a half years. We have weighed up many different options and believe the decision we have reached has the most integrity.
"Our decision is not about Scott Rennie. Our decision is a response to the way in which the General Assembly, as the highest court of the Kirk, has marginalised the Bible by approving the practice of same-sex relationship for ordained ministers. Our decision is about the Bible and its place in a modern church and a modern Scotland. Those who twist our view into a personalised attack on one man badly misrepresent us.
"Our decision comes from a view shared by most Christians. This view has been shared throughout 2000 years of the history of the worldwide Christian church. The Kirk prefers to align itself with a handful of Western European and North American denominations, which have torn themselves apart by taking the same novel line. The Kirk need not wring its hands in false anguish that it has managed to split the broad and historic Church of Scotland. The General Assembly knew exactly what is was doing. Far from showing courage by doing this, it showed contempt for our Christian brothers and sisters all over the world. Ironically, the Kirk, seen against this worldwide and historic Christian family, is in a tiny minority.
"We believe the Bible is the supreme rule for what God wants us to believe and how God wants us to live. Despite our great sadness that we feel we must leave the Church of Scotland, we retain a clear conviction about what the Bible teaches.
"We believe that God loves us as we are but that his love doesn't leave us where we are. Jesus loves us by transforming us. Jesus shows us that God understands and loves every single person unconditionally. Jesus also show us that God's love is not the same as God's approval, even of things that we might see as natural for us. Love can say 'No' precisely because it is love. That's why Gilcomston has proved to be open and welcoming to a large, diverse and increasing number of people. We appreciate the many differences that we all have and we understand the many temptations that we all face.
"We also believe that it is God who has the say over what is right and wrong. It is for us to work out from the whole Bible what God says and then to follow him and trust him. We believe that it is definitely not our place to tell God what he must approve on the basis of our understanding of ourselves, which is what was argued at the General Assembly. Jesus said that anyone who wants to follow him must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and walk in his way.
"This is why we took this decision. We seek to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, with integrity and joy, and to tell the Bible's good news, the message of the cross, that we are more sinful than we can begin to understand and more loved than we could ever imagine."
A draft Kirk Session statement
(from a Church of Scotland source)
************Church Kirk Session Statement
(list of statements)
1. The Kirk Session of ************ Church trusts wholly and entirely in the revelation of God through the Scriptures, which we recognize to be the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. (i)
2. ************ Church welcomes all.
a. For clarity, we make no distinction in terms of sexual orientation.
b. We call everyone, and each other, to ongoing repentance, walking together with us in a life of obedient faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, expressed in submission to his commands through the apostles (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 17:30; John 14:21; 2 Peter 3:2).
3. The Kirk Session of ************ Church finds certain decisions (ii) reached by the General Assembly 2011 to be:
a. Contrary to the character and will of God revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and therefore blasphemous.
b. Contrary to the hitherto clearly established doctrinal foundations, teaching and belief of the Church of Scotland on this matter, and therefore heretical.
4. The Kirk Session of ************ Church therefore finds its communion (koinonia) with the present structures of the Church of Scotland to have been severely impaired by the radical departure of the denomination away from the Scriptures, from historic Christian orthodoxy, and from its own confessional teachings in the matter of sexual purity.
5. The Kirk Session note and fully support the decision of our Minister should he surrender receipt of his stipend in order to maintain personal integrity in his ministry.
6. The Kirk Session recognize its primary role to be the service of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Church represented in the congregation of ************ Church and considers its duty as trustees of the charity of ************ Church to be at odds with the now-stated trajectory of the national church.
7. By reason of the resulting severe impairment of communion/fellowship caused by the matters above the Kirk Session of ************ Church finds itself meantime:
a. unable to contribute funds (iii) to the current structures of National Church or the Presbytery of ********
b. unable to recognize proper oversight from the Presbytery of *******
c. unable to participate in regular meetings, committees or occasional meetings of the Presbytery of ********* or of the national denominational structures.
d. willing to remain open to discussion with the Presbytery and the denomination towards resolving our impaired relationship in such a way as to be able to carry out our ministry in good conscience.
8. The Kirk Session of ************ Church deeply regrets the breach of fellowship forced upon us by the General Assembly, and the disunity that has been and will be further caused by this issue.
9. The Kirk Session of ************ Church remains deeply committed to serving the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through leading the ministry of our congregation in ************ Church, to the whole parish, and beyond, in fellowship with all who submit to the authority of Christ through his apostles.
(i) Or, to express this more fully, in the language of the First Declaratory Article of the Constitution of the Church of Scotland
, and the Westminster Confession of Faith
, the principal Subordinate Standard of the Church of Scotland:
The Kirk Session of ******** receives the Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as its supreme rule of faith and life and avows the fundamental doctrines of the Catholic faith founded thereupon.' We 'adhere to the Scottish Reformation' and adhere to the Westminster Confession's statement that in deciding all matters of faith and conduct 'the supreme judge...can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.'
(ii) in particular the decision to uphold sections 4 and 7b of the deliverance of the special commission. Section 4 allows any ministers and deacons ordained before May 2009 who are in, or may enter, same sex relationships to be freely inducted into charges on an ongoing basis. Section 7b set up a special theological commission with a stated trajectory away from orthodox biblical teaching.
(iii) Fellowship/Communion (koinonia
) finds tangible expression in sharing (sugkoinoneo
) 'in the matter of giving and receiving' (Phil 4:5). We are in fellowship, or active partnership, with those we share finances with. But we are clearly commanded by the apostle 'do not share (koinoneo
) in the sins of others' (1 Tim 5:22).
Fellowship of Confessing Churches
(extract of Statement)
Thus,the decision of the General Assembly this year has set a clear trajectory that leads away from the Christian Scriptures,the Christian gospel,and the love of Christ himself,for Jesus himself said ‘whoever has my commandments and keeps them,he it is who loves me’ (John 14:21). In so doing,our denomination positions itself outwith the fellowship of orthodox, creedal Christianity worldwide and has thus forced a grievous crisis of communion. We must obey God rather than men.
We acknowledge that God has provided great clarity as to the position and direction of our denomination. We must now give careful consideration to the proper action to be taken by ministers,elders,members and congregations who cannot and will not walk away from Christ and his gospel,depart from the historic foundations of our Church and separate from communion with orthodox Christian believers worldwide.
We deeply grieve over the decisions of the General Assembly and mourn together over such defiance of his Word. We commit to praying and supporting one another by all means possible as many congregations now enter days of uncertainty and great difficulty as the rupture of communion becomes evident.
We must not be surprised to find our faith tested in many ways,some of which we cannot easily anticipate. Jesus said:‘If anyone would come after me,he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mark 8:34). Christ warned that to be faithful would mean being at odds with many in the world and in the religious establishment,and indeed this has been the history of the church throughout the ages,and in our own land also.
Churches in membership at 13/06/11
The South West
Kenmuir Mt Vernon Church,Glasgow
St Margaret’s Tollcross,Glasgow
Torrance Parish Church
Balmaclellan and Kells,Castle Douglas
Caldercruix and Longriggend
Dalry Church,Castle Douglas
Kirkmuirhill Parish Church
New Luce,Newton Stewart
Old Luce,Newton Stewart
St Andrew’s Church,Harthill
St Columba Church,Kilmacolm
Troqueer Parish Church,Dumfries
Blackridge Parish Church
The South East
Davidson’s Mains Church,Edinburgh
Holyrood Abbey Church,Edinburgh
New Restalrig Church,Edinburgh
St Catherine’s Argyle,Edinburgh
Bo’ness Old Kirk,Bo’ness
Logie &St.John’s (Cross),Dundee
Brightons Parish Church,Falkirk
Larbert Old Church
The North East
Gilcomston South Church,Aberdeen
St Columba’s Church,Aberdeen
Banff Parish Church
Gardenstown Parish Church
Macduff Parish Church
New Deer:St Kane’s
Peterhead:St Andrew’s Church
Peterhead &Boddam:Trinity Parish Churc
Alness Parish Church
Connel Church of Scotland,Argyll
Durness &Kinlochbervie Church
Glenelg &Kintail,Kyle of Lochalsh
Invergordon Church of Scotland
Lochalsh Parish,Kyle of Lochalsh
Tain Parish Church
Kilmuir &Stenscholl,Isle of Skye
Snizort Church of Scotland,Isle of Skye
Strath &Sleat Parish,Isle of Skye
Barvas,Isle of Lewis
Cross Ness,Isle of Lewis
Kinloch Church of Scotland,Isle of Lewis
Knock,Isle of Lewis
Lochs-Crossbost,Isle of Lewis
High Church Stornoway,Isle of Lewis
Uig Church of Scotland,Isle of Lewis
Tarbert,Isle of Harris
Manish-Scarista,Isle of Harris
Carinish Church of Scotland,North Uist
Kilmuir &Paible Church of Scotland,North Uist
Berneray and Lochmaddy Church of Scotland,North Uist
(list of statements)