Monday, 26 January 2015

Clarification on the Church of Scotland Evangelicals

In my last post I said some things that may have been misunderstood.  I was concerned to draw a parallel between the men who left the national church in 1843, where the situation was not one of moral apostasy but a lesser issue of church state relationships, and men in the national church today.

I wrote, “What would Cunningham say today to men in the ministry of the Church of Scotland?  How would he speak to professed evangelicals who seem unwilling to leave the security and the financial certainty of the national church to bear witness to the truth of Scripture?

In 1843 the men who left departed from a situation of security and financial certainty into the uncertainty of the Free Church ministry. Cunningham emphasises the point of their sacrifice and balances this with an emphasis on the evangelical opportunities that their position in the Free Church would give them.

No-one doubts that ministry within the national church carries a certain security and a reasonable financial certainty.  Again, no-one doubts that to leave the established church would involve great financial sacrifice.
However, what I had written may give the impression that I believe the sole reason or main reason that men will not leave is the financial security that they would sacrifice.  This was not what I intended to suggest, and I apologise if that is the impression given.

Having been in this position I know the cost of the sacrifice involved.  I lost my stipend and my home at a time when I had a wife and three young children to provide for.  It would be untrue to say that I gave no consideration to those financial factors before I took my decision. I also lost friends who did not agree with my decision.

I am passionate about this issue. I sincerely believe that those who choose to remain within the national church are violating clear biblical principles.  If my polemic at times leads me to state things in such a way that unecessarily offends, then that is not what I seek. What I seek is to change opinions and win men away from a denomination that I believe is apostate and to suggest that there is a positive, evangelical, presbyterian and confessional alternative within the re-invigorated Free Church of Scotland.

However, one thing has become clear.  This is not a situation of dialogue.  There is no forum for the mutual exchange of views. Whenever I comment, even when it is only to share news, I raise the ire of some. To offer a biblical critique of the arguments of those who choose to stay in the national church would no longer be welcome.

I have decided therefore to make no more public comments on the situation within the national church.  I would be perfectly happy to meet with others individually, but I see that public comment is not welcome or necessarily beneficial.

So, again I apologise if you believe I was insinuating that love of money, position, or status were the only or main reason for men staying in.  However, I would plead with those who are determined to remain within an increasingly anti-evangelical and anti-biblical denomination; consider that you may be wrong.


  1. It is not your job to 'win' people from what you perceive to be an 'apostate' denomination, and to actively say you're aim is to get them in to the Free Church is pretty ridiculous.

    If God called them to the Church of Scotland then they must obey God and not man. There are many faithful ministers who still preach truth and grace, and to tar them as unbiblical is unfair.

    Is the Church of Scotland in a rough state? Yes it is, but that does not mean you turn tail and run. If that is the case then those who push their own agenda have already won.

    If God has called you, what right have you to walk from it into something you have NOT been called to?

  2. It is a pity that this individual fails to mention who he / she is.
    The problem is that this is pure subjectivism. There is no interaction with Scripture, but simply a statement that amounts to, “I feel called; I am answerable to no-one. My subjective extra-biblical claim to a call direct from God is not examinable.”
    Thankfully, there are indeed still some / many who are trying to be faithful within the national church. However, I believe that consistent faithfulness will require them eventually to leave what is an increasingly apostate body.
    As for saying it is not my job to win those whom I consider to be in the wrong, that is contrary to Galatians 6:1, “Brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” I may not always get the gentleness right, but I am genuinely trying to get men to walk biblically.
    This anonymous reply makes me despair of having a rational biblical discussion with some of those who remain in the Church of Scotland. It is one of the reasons that I am ceasing to publish further comments on the national church.