What Now?

Yesterday the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland voted 351 to 294 to take a major step towards the acceptance for training, induction and ordination of those in same-sex relationships for the ministry. The Assembly also voted by 393 to 252 to allow ministers and deacons in same-sex relationships and ordained before 2009 to be inducted into pastoral charges.

There is now no going back.

It may be painful but realistically all that remains is for the revisionists to gradually mop up resistance and enforce their victory; and for the orthodox to devise our future outwith the Church of Scotland.

We can see the political adroitness of the revisionists in how this matter is being dealt with. Although, as acknowledged by the Report of the Special Commission, this marks a serious departure from the historic teaching of the Church, it will not go down to Presbyteries under the Barrier Act. (The Barrier Act is a mechanism designed to prevent the GA from introducing major legislation without the approval of the local Church). The argument is that this move does not need scrutiny by Presbyteries as nothing has been formally enacted. The underlying political reason for keeping it from Presbyteries is of course that they might well vote against this fundamental revision of the nature of the Church and its relationship to the Scriptures. Meanwhile the transformation of the Church continues apace.

A theological commission is to be set up to bring recommendations concerning homosexual ordination to the 2013 General Assembly. It will also consider whether ministers should have freedom of conscience to bless civil partnerships and possible liturgy for such occasions. It will be interesting to see who is included in this commission and what proportion of its membership take a clear cut orthodox biblical stance. There will be token representation, but that will be merely to legitimise the decision to fully accept that the CofS thinks homosexual acts are not against the Word of God.

The most we can do is institute delaying tactics to slow down the inevitable. This plays the revisionist game. We will become so tired of it all, the commissions, the discussions, the votes, the “thus far and no further” until the next “thus far and no further,” that we will be worn down and just accept the inevitable by slow painful degree.

The best we can do is grit our teeth, take our stand now, acknowledge that the establishment within the Church are going to have their way no matter what, and begin serious discussions about our future outwith the Church of Scotland.


4 thoughts on “What Now?

  1. I agree Campbell. It is surely an Ichabod moment. I went down to the church buildings at St Rollox this morning and found the tree outside the front door snapped in half by what happened yesterday…….

  2. I am saddened butnot surprised by yesterday’s decision, we I feel are getting what we deserve for as a church we have not remained faithful to God and his teaching through his word. Whenever a question over scriptural matters, moral standpoint or even an opinion the CofS is often silent, not like our counterparts in the RC church.

    I am personally in a quandary as to how I will move forward as there would be little point of remaining in the CofS and fighting from within as I fear the battle and the war has been lost, and all it took was good men to do nothing.

    I had a look on the Internet to see which dominations hold fast toa scriptural posistion on this matter and it is surprising how many have changed by some degree or another.

    I think it is time to break away and split the church, there is nothing to be gained be gained by delaying we will only loose more to the muddle ground at best.

    The only peace I have at the moment is the absolute belief in Gods sovereignty and know that his will will always be done.

  3. I see there is a majority of “traditionalists” on the commission. Ironically this does indeed reflect the breadth of theological opinion in the Church of Scotland, and it’s good to see it. However I see this as a sop to evangelicals to try to stop us leaving now. This wil now drag on till 2013, or most likely 2014, but by then I think many will have left.

    The Assembly showed no respect for Scripture, for the universal Church, even for its own Sessions and and Presbyteries, or for its own Special Commission, who were all apparently shocked at the vote. The “centre” ground that used to encompass past moderators has been lost and these men have much to answer for. They have implied that this is a storm in a teacup like women’s ordination that will soon blow over.

    I hope evangelicals can show a maturity and unity that we are not always good at, and that we can keep congregations together as we work out the implications of leaving. I would like too, to see an understanding approach from the Law Dept and General Trustees so that congregations could take buildings with them. But don’t hold your breath!

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