Snowballs in Hell?

The Church of Scotland faces its deepest crisis in more than 150 years. There is no way in which we can responsibly underplay the seriousness of the decisions which have to be made very shortly due to the recent decision by the General Assembly to  train for the ministry those in homosexual relationships. Not since 1843 have we encountered as serious a situation.

There is, however, a vital difference between today and 1843. In 1843 the evangelicals in the Church were prepared for a Disruption. There had been more than a decade of conferences, organisation, publications, lectures and political organisation. Today when we consider evangelicals in the CofS the only comparison is with those who are unable to organise a bacchanalian spree in an establishment devoted to the fermentation of alcoholic beverages.

Despite calls for a coherent and cohesive response to the progressive assault on biblical Christianity which has been mounted over the last quarter of a century we evangelicals have navel gazed and indulged in in-fighting for our own wee patch of the kail yaird.

Forward Together, the Crieff Fellowship, Confessing Churches, these CofS organsiations have all pursued their legitimate concerns, but done so apart. In the meantime we have lost ground and those who hold to the truth have found themselves regularly trounced in Presbytery and General Assembly and the CofS has gently and inexorably abandoned its connection with the Bible to become just one more ecclesiastical organisation owing more to the popular ethic of the day than to the eternal Word of God.

Is it possible that we can have a coherent response to the continuing destruction of the CofS and its transformation into just another mediocre religious clique, disparaged by its trendy friends and scorned by the universal, catholic Church?

There is to be a meeting for those concerned about the state of the Church in St George’s Tron, Glasgow on Friday 17th June. The purpose is to hammer out a coherent response to the crisis facing the CofS. As expected responses vary.

Already individual ministers have notified Presbytery of their intention to demit their charges. There is at least one instance of a congregation setting up a parallel church, civil recognition and all, ready for the day when they move over to an independent existence.

On the other hand there are those who, despite the harsh evidence of history, are determined to continue in the CofS until the bitter end of inevitable defeat.

In between the extremes, the majority, recognising reality, look for leadership about how to leave. We must make every effort to take action together. Those on the extremes, much as we must respect their principled stance, either going now or staying to inescapable end, weaken the cause.

We have to recognise the reality that our church has been stolen from us. We should acknowledge our responsibility for allowing this to happen because it was we who left the doors ajar and windows open to the burglars. But bemoaning our past or remaining blinkered about our future does us no good.

Our imperative at present is to avoid the extremes of going no matter what, or staying no matter what. Our task today is to organise our departure as a body tomorrow.

Will this happen? Compressed spheres of frozen water and temperatures
reminiscent of Hades come to mind. But then, prayer counts.

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About Campbell

Now retired but once upon a time a parish minister in Glasgow, before that the South West and initially the Black Isle. Been a prison chaplain and lecturer. Still am constantly bemused by the weird world around me.
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4 Responses to Snowballs in Hell?

  1. James Torrens says:

    Thanks for this Campbell. I wonder, though, if the churches that have ‘moved first’ will in fact be helpful to other ministers and elders trying to help their congregations (if not their sessions) see the inevitability of some kind of ‘distancing’ from the establishment – which of course has distanced itself from the one holy, catholic, apostolic church. I also wonder if our 19th century fathers would have taken 10 years to do what they did if they were faced with this issue rather than patronage.

  2. Ewan W. Wilson says:

    One does wonder what WILL be perceived as ‘the inescapable bitter end’ amongst Kirk evangelicals, if anything at all. God helps them who help themselves but from the shambolic virtually paralysed response of Kirk evangelical leaders over the past two years of outrageously imposed silence it is plain as a slap in the face that no presbyterian coordination has been happening at all. More like head in sand burying, sadly.
    Thankfully at least Gilcomston have had enough, a few Lewis ministers but pitifully few others..

  3. Louise Hogg says:

    How long should the individual wait for the congregation they are part of to act? Go too quickly and the impact/unity of those yet to act is undermined. Wait too long and it might be assumed within the congregation that you’re not going to take action.

  4. Libby McFadzean (Mrs) says:

    I too am in a quandry over what to do: stay or leave the CofS. It has been my church here in Dunscore (South West of Scotland) for 37 years! For now, I have compromised. I no longer attend the Sunday services, choosing rather to attend the Dumfries Baptist church where I hear the Bible faithfully expounded. My name is still on the CofS roll. As I say, for the moment. I am looking for leadership, but am in despair over what the CofS is doing! They are losing all credibility and respect.

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