Friday, 21 November 2014



YOUTH AND TRUTH

The Forward Together website, as usual, carries the Church of Scotland news, culled from the Aberdeen Press and Journal, that the new moderator of the National Youth Assembly has been appointed.  What it does not carry is the equally important news that Hannah Mary Goodlad is an enthusiastic supporter of the Rev Scott Rennie, the homosexual activist whose civil partnership with another man brought to a head the present crisis in the Church of Scotland.  Miss Goodlad, who is joining the Aberdeen Queen’s Cross congregation, is reported as saying, “Scott is a great speaker and his interpretation of theology and the way he relates the Bible to modern day life is excellent.”

Now evangelicals may argue that the National Youth Assembly has no constitutional position, that they do not, of course, send their young people to it anyway, and that the Youth Assembly is as broad as the church as a whole, therefore the appointment of someone else to a national position who is a supporter of the introduction of active homosexuals into office is of no consequence. They may also argue that although their contributions go towards the finance of such an institution they cannot be held responsible for its debates and decisions.

I am not against the church enabling youth to reflect on their faith and be guided by those of spiritual experience as they mature in the faith.  Our recent Free Church Presbytery of Glasgow and Argyll have given £1000 to help support the development of our local teens and twenties work.  However, it does seem biblically inappropriate when the mania for listening to the voice of youth goes as far as giving them delegates at General Assembly, (I presume they are not actual commissioners but only guests, with the right to speak in debates but not vote.)  

Ten representatives of the National Youth Assembly, including the NYA moderator, and a youth representative from each presbytery are invited to each General Assembly. The Kirk’s website informs us that the Youth Assembly is “designed to enable young adults to have a voice within the Church of Scotland. The NYA consists of a series of discussions on topics ranging from fashion to politics, from tax avoidance to climate change and from social media to marriage. After the event feedback from the discussions is collated and alongside a report printed in the ‘Blue Book’, is presented to the following General Assembly by the NYA moderator.”

The same spin on youth was seen earlier in the year when the press releases were carried by the national media about Rev Michael Mair who at 25 was to become the Kirk’s youngest minister – incidentally he also is an active promoter of active homosexuals in ministry. I don’t want to burst Mr Mair’s bubble but historically the Kirk has had many younger ministers.  Indeed, I myself was ordained in the Church of Scotland at 23 and that, not after a truncated course, but after the then regular 6 year double degree requirement.

To return to the original point, is there a conspiracy in the national church to promote and publicise those who stand against biblical norms on sexual ethics, especially if they represent the voice of youth and the spirit of the age.

I do not think this will influence the current votes taking place in Presbyteries.  The latest figures I have seen are 19 to 10 in favour of allowing congregations to appoint active homosexuals as ministers. This means that in the remaining 19 presbyteries still to vote there would need to be a complete reversal of the current voting pattern if the legislation is to fall. 80% of the still to vote presbyteries would now need to vote against the proposed legislation in order to give a majority against.  However, even a 73% vote against by the remaining presbyteries, giving a dead heat of 24 presbyteries on either side would be enough to halt the legislation as it requires a majority of presbyteries to approve it before it can become law. Technically, even if the majority of presbyteries voted for the legislation the General Assembly of 2015 could reject it.

I end by quoting Johnny Cash, “And the lonely voice of youth cries, “What is truth?”” They will certainly not find the answer in the 65% of presbyteries who have, thus far, voted again Scripture.