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.