Monday, 30 November 2015

Church Discipline

Church Discipline

A timely reminder of the importance of Church discipline can be found by listening to the recent 9Marks conference held at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  The speakers were not all Baptists: Danny Akin, Mark Dever, Garrett Kell, Thabiti Anyabwile, Mez McConnell (from Edinburgh) and Ligon Duncan all spoke. Dr Duncan of Reformed Theological Seminary brought the conference to a conclusion by highlighting how church discipline brings congregational unity.

Presbyterians in Scotland are all at sea when it comes to the biblical basis and value of church discipline, some belonging to bodies that have long since ceased to discipline those who teach false doctrine or engage in sexual immorality.  These addresses show how important church discipline, faithfully and lovingly applied, is to the well being of the Church.  Indeed, it is one of the essential marks of the true church.

The videos of the sessions are available at

Why I am no longer in the Church of Scotland (4)

Why I am no longer in the Church of Scotland (4)

In 1995 I produced a small booklet on biblical separation. This is the third extract from that booklet:

Matthew 7:15 -23
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons vin your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Jesus here warns of false prophets, whose teaching and conduct will evidence their falsehood.  They are a danger to the flock.  They do not belong to his kingdom, despite their pretentious claims. Is it conceivable that Christ wishes the Church today to recognise and embrace the present descendants of these false prophets? Is it possible that he wishes the Church to tolerate them in her midst? Is not the warning given in order that the Church might recognise, discipline and remove these dangerous men?

Matthew 13:24 -30, 36 – 42
24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This passage is invariably appealed to by those who embrace a broad church or mixed church philosophy.  It is claimed that the parable shows that it is both impossible and undesirable to seek to remove the tares, (the sons of the evil one); we must leave that to the final judgement.

However, as Jesus himself makes clear, the field in question is not the church but the world. The parable does not teach that discipline cannot or should not be exercised by the church, but that evil cannot be eradicated from the world until the day of judgement. Those who interpret it of the Church, in clear and direct opposition to Christ’s statement, would logically have to accept that “no separation” must mean no discipline ever leading to the removal of individuals from the Church.  However, the New Testament clearly evidences instructions from both Christ and his apostles concerning the exclusion of unrepentant sinners from the fellowship of the visible Church.

Are we to accept Christ’s interpretation of his own parable, or are we to impose an interpretation that contradicts what Christ himself says and cannot be reconciled with clear New Testament evidence of the removal of the grossly immoral or doctrinally unsound who refuse to repent?

Matthew 16:6, 12
6 Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”… 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Jesus warns his people against false teaching, which like yeast will spread and corrupt his Church.  There is a two-fold duty enjoined – “watch”, which implies diligent awareness of a possible danger, and “beware”, which shows that such teaching is recognised to be harmful and destructive. By implication Jesus does not mean recognise false teaching and accommodate it; he means recognise it and deal with it.

Matthew 24:4, 5, 23 – 25
4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray… 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.

Again, a warning is given to test the assertions of those who claim to speak in Christ’s name or exercise his authority.  Does Christ merely intend the Church to note these individuals, or does he intend that she refuses to give formal recognition to them and withholds fellowship from them?  It is not an adequate response to say that progressive liberal false teachers do not claim to be christs – they do claim to speak for Christ and have pretentions to a higher insight than Christ who, they say, was restricted by a primitive worldview and outmoded morality. Such teachers “lead astray” the visible Church, and Christ forewarns against them.  The general principle is that teachers of falsehood are to be recognised and rejected.

Note 2015: It is interesting that some evangelicals will make a false appeal to Matthew 16, but will not interact with the other passages in Mathew on false teachers.  Remember that by remaining in denominational fellowship with those who teach false doctrine and embrace sexual immorality, they are recognising the legitimacy of their status and authority within the denomination.  All of Christ’s warnings are either ignored, or reduced to the sphere of the local fellowship where, one would hope, evangelicals might exercise some biblical discipline.  However, experience has shown that even within the local sphere some professed evangelicals exercise no biblical discipline.
(To be continued)

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Why I am no longer in the Church of Scotland (3)

Why I am no longer in the Church of Scotland (3)

In 1995 I produced a small booklet on biblical separation. This is the second extract from that booklet:

Martin Luther had a saying that he used on a number of occasions, “God led me on.” By this he meant that through particular circumstances in the course of his ministry and work as a Reformer he was forced to reconsider certain issues, go back to Scripture, look at it in a new light and prayerfully seek to follow the leading of the Spirit. It was because God led him on that his thinking developed and deepened and we had the great spiritual movement that we know as the Reformation.

There should be no embarrassment on the part of any Christian in saying “God led me on.” If that development is towards a more balanced and thoughtful understanding of Scripture, it is part of the process of spiritual growth and sanctification. If a man’s opinions shift so radically that he must reassess his place in the church, it is necessary to face that openly and honestly.

Although some may think that particular issues such as the law officially excluding from office those opposed to the ordination of women, or the acceptance of those who openly commend and approve of certain sexual practices are behind my current unease, that is not strictly true. These issues, although important, merely reflect an underlying and more fundamental change or development in my own position.

When as a young man of 22 I was licensed into the ministry of the Church of Scotland I came with all the zeal and much of the ignorance that youth possesses. I entered what I knew to be a broad church.  That is, I entered a denomination where I knew that other views beside evangelical Reformed orthodoxy held a place. I believed these other views to be wrong; I believed that the church’s confessional standards were faithful to evangelical truth; I believed it was possible to reform the church.

Working with non-evangelicals was not a problem. I choose not to identify with them.  I did not participate in their ordinations. I did not (privately) recognise their status. However, at the level of the wider church I was involved in a measure of evangelical two mindedness. I had to work with non-evangelicals at Presbytery level and accept the decisions they made at presbytery and General Assembly. I made financial contributions which would in part finance their teaching and further their ministry.

However, I was content in this situation.  I could get on undisturbed with my ministry in the local church.  The decisions of Presbytery or the General Assembly that were unbiblical, I simply ignored. I even worked within the structures, serving on both Presbytery and Assembly committees doing what I could to facilitate biblical change – but to little effect.

The one thing I never did was to study what the Word of God had to say on the doctrine of the Church. In essence I had no doctrine of the Church. I was a pietist who believed that individuals needed to be saved, that they could be nourished through fellowship, prayer and bible study within the local church and by biblical preaching on the Lord’s Day.

I never really interacted with the separatist position. When I studied the writings of the great men of the past it was with an eye to personal salvation and spiritual nurture, not to their struggle for a biblical church. I felt uneasy when I read Owen or Spurgeon on anything to do with the Church; I read Lloyd Jones for personal nurture not guidance on ecclesiology.  After all, I belonged to a body of men within my denomination who all claimed to be evangelical and even Reformed and whose leaders spoke of the infiltration and transformation of the broad church.

Whenever issues regarding doctrinal discipline and relationships with apostates arose in reading or preaching through Scripture I nimbly skated over them as divisive and unedifying. Besides, what separatist voices I did hear were harsh and aggressive, not conducive to Christ-like holiness and love. Sadly, those apostles of separation merely confirmed me in my own thinking.

I was not sure what changed my mind. In part it was a reaction to circumstances  - seeing the impotence of evangelicalism to prevent the denomination drifting further from Scripture into more false ecumenism, more liberalism, more toleration of that which was fundamentally unbiblical. Also, seeing in evangelicalism itself a drift away from a firm commitment to Scripture and a clear commitment to confessionalism, together with a drift towards a na├»ve pragmatism disillusioned me.  Seeing that men, even the best of men, had feet of clay and that their teaching had to be weighed by Scripture, not merely adopted as gospel on their personal authority, also distressed me. Continued reading of the Puritans, Spurgeon, Lloyd Jones and especially Machen raised questions for me.

Yet supremely it has been a renewed study of Scripture itself that has brought about my change of mind. As I have studied the Word afresh, coming to it without preconceptions or prejudice I have seen that to which I had formerly been blind. Does the New Testament teach that we are to fellowship with those who oppose sound doctrine? Does it envisage a situation in which doctrinal and moral error is tolerated? Does it present a picture of biblical churches being tied to other so-called churches which reject the Gospel? Does it tell us that biblical churches are to be under the authority of denominations that are in the majority non-Christian?

I have certainly changed my mind. I now believe that biblical churches must denounce and reject error in all its forms, discipline those who teach falsehood, and separate from those who reject God’s Word and refuse to be corrected. Where biblical discipline is no longer possible and falsehood is supported and promoted, I believe the local church must separate from an institution that is no longer under the authority of Christ and no longer subject to his Word.

What I have done in this document is not argue the case with regard to any particular error, for example the legal exclusion from the Church of Scotland ministry of men opposed to women’s ordination or the toleration of those who openly and actively defend and support homosexual activities. Rather, I have simply gone through the New Testament and recorded those passages that seem to speak on the issue of fellowship with error, the discipline of falsehood, and separation from false teachers. I have given some comments on certain passages to clarify what they are saying.  I am sure there are omissions in the discussion and it is by no means complete.
(To be continued)

Note 2015:  I see those today who argue as I did prior to 1995.  Meanwhile the denomination has moved further into moral and doctrinal apostasy, a significant number of ministers have left and the largest evangelical churches in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen have left the denomination.  “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  (George Santayana)

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Why I am no longer in the Church of Scotland (2)

Why I am no longer in the Church of Scotland (2)

I left the Church of Scotland in 1995 after 19 years service in the ministry of the denomination.  Although specific doctrinal and moral concerns precipitated my going, it was also based on a more fundamental rethink of the doctrine of the church.  I published and privately distributed a short booklet, "Biblical Separation” that gave my reasons for going and contained a survey of NT teaching on heresy, apostasy and biblical church discipline.

Now might be an opportune time to make this booklet available in blog form, especially as a counterbalance to the arguments of those such as the Covenant Fellowship and the Church of Scotland Evangelical Network who are putting forward their case for remaining within an apostate denomination.

1995 (Part 1)

The following booklet was written by Rev Robert M Walker, formerly minister of Gardenstown Church of Scotland.  Mr Walker resigned from the Church of Scotland ministry in September 1995.  The booklet is essentially the document presented to the Kirk Session of Gardenstown Church, containing his views on what the New Testament teaches regarding church fellowship with those who teach false doctrine or encourage immoral conduct.

Although Mr Walker’s views are presented in general form, the specific issue that led to his resignation is the charge that the Church of Scotland permits its ministers to support and encourage homosexual practices, and that the denomination now publicises and thereby promotes these opinions.

Contrary to the Word of God, and to its own previously declared position, the Church of Scotland takes no action against those ministers who teach that homosexual practices are acceptable in the church.  Ministers, Assembly Conveners, Professors and ex-Moderators have all spoken openly and publically in defence of homosexual conduct in the church.  None have ever been disciplined.

This position was openly affirmed as an acceptable alternative in the reports of the Panel on Doctrine and also the Board of Social Responsibility received by the 1994 General Assembly.  Despite 1983 legislation that declared such a position unacceptable, it is now seen as part of the wide theological diversity within the denomination, and accepted that such views should be tolerated.

The 1995 General Assembly went further in commending to congregations Study Guidelines which again set forth as a legitimate alternative view the pro-homosexual conduct viewpoint.  These Guidelines are said to give “a fair and  balanced account of the current diversity within the Church.”

The purpose of these Study Guidelines is to “deepen the Christian reflection and understanding in these areas… this will need a genuine openness to where the Spirit of God is leading us.”  The Guidelines are not designed to enable the church to reaffirm a biblical position, but to proceed to a new openness on this issue.

These facts are being kept from genuine evangelical people within the denomination! Even when they are grudgingly acknowledged, evangelicals are refusing to respond to them.  By ignoring the specific directions of the New Testament on these issues, by refusing to listen to clear biblical testimony, evangelical people are in danger of bringing themselves under God’s judgement.

To have chosen to continue in denominational fellowship with a denomination that permits its office bearers and to teach the legitimacy of homosexual activity, and promotes and publicises these views in official denominational publications is folly.

Quotes from official Church of Scotland resources

Many committed gay and lesbian Christians do not see their disposition as evil; they see it as a positive gift of God – to be enjoyed as part of the fullness of life which homosexuals are entitled to enjoy.

Those who have found their lives enriched by gay relationships argue that it begs to put the initial disposition in a negative light. The way a relationship is handled, and the nurture it offers to each partner, is a truer criterion of its work: and the desire to relate in bodily wholeness to another human being is as positive in the homosexual as in the heterosexual.

Many human partnerships display valued and sought-for qualities, and we must ask whether such relationships, which include the possibility of genital sexuality, are to be denied to those who are of the same sex.

The Board would recognise that in the Church of Scotland there are some who are convinced that in the light of scientific evidence, socio-psychological understanding, critical scholarship and personal integrity, the view that homosexual practices are necessarily sinful can no longer be held with integrity and sincerity.

Of homosexual marriages, conducted by Ministers: It is likely that in future years more requests for ministerial affirmations of some same sex relationships may be made to Ministers if couples learn, (as the Panel hopes they will), that their love dare speak its name inside the Church.  We believe it would be wrong for Church courts  either to prescribe or forbid such affirmations.

The above quotations amply prove that within the Church of Scotland  office-bearers may actively support the legitimacy of homosexual practices, and that denominational reports promote and publicise this position.

Can evangelical people willingly exist in a denomination where such a diversity of moral opinion is recognised and welcomed? Can they, with any loyalty to Christ and his Word, continue in such a denominational connection?

Note 2015:  It is difficult looking back to what I said twenty years ago.  The situation today is rooted in what was happening in the 90s, and all that I predicted has come to pass.  It is hard to see history repeat itself; the current generation of evangelicals within the denomination are weaker theologically than they were in 1995.  I stand by all that I wrote in the past, and take no satisfaction in prophecies now fulfilled.

Why I am no longer in the Church of Scotland (1)

Why I am no longer in the Church of Scotland (1)

At last, the Church of Scotland Evangelical Network has given us the weight reasons why their members choose to remain within the Church of Scotland, despite the growing moral and doctrinal apostasy of the denomination.

I suppose they are getting their argument in early before the denomination reveals the returns from presbyteries for and against allowing members and office-bearers to contract gay “marriages”. It does not matter what these returns are, or what the subsequent decision of the 2016 General Assembly is, these men (and women) are firmly committed to remaining with the denomination whatever may come.

I have to say that I am totally underwhelmed by the reasons given.  They are subjective; they are pragmatic; they appeal to extra-biblical revelation; and where they attempt to root themselves in Scripture they exhibit a level of hermeneutical incompetence that is shameful.

There is no equivalent umbrella body for those who are no longer in the Church of Scotland – although the Free Church seems to be the preferred choice of those who are committed to upholding Scripture and confessional Reformed theology.  If we were to ask a select number of those faithful men who have left the denomination why they left I am quite certain that their responses would be well reasoned arguments in terms of the teaching of Scripture, not vague and subjective appeals to emotionalism. 

(See the forthcoming book by David Randal “A Sad Departure – Why We Could not Stay in the Church of Scotland” )

I realise that trying to conduct a biblical debate with those professed evangelicals who refuse to leave is a bit like trying to nail blancmange to the wall – it is almost impossible to pin them down.  I am also increasingly coming to suspect that the difference between those who leave and the majority of those professed evangelicals who stay is the fault line of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.  Many evangelicals are tainted with the same refusal to engage with and submit to Scripture’s teaching and authority as is exhibited in the denomination itself; the difference is merely one of degree..  It makes me wonder what they mean by calling themselves “evangelical” – a slippery term that has multiple definitions.  They certainly, in the main, could not be described as confessionally Reformed.

So let me return to some of the reasons given for remaining in.

Some are subjective, based on a sense of personal call not only to ministry but to ministry within a particular denomination or indeed a particular place.  Being convinced by this extra-biblical revelation they cannot submit to the actual NT teaching on the church, biblical purity, apostasy and discipline.  One writer says, “My staying does not depend on the GA or any other body making decisions I agree with; it depends on the presence of God.”  That puts it in a nutshell: no matter what heresy or sexual immorality the denomination tolerates or promotes, if I can sense the presence of God then I will stay.  Then there are the pragmatic arguments – “this is the best place to fish from”, an argument which even on its own pragmatism is subject to challenge.

One writer at least makes an attempt to base his argument on Scripture, citing Ephesians.  Ephesians mentions the “church”, the “Church of Scotland” has the word “church” in its name, therefore it must be identified with the true church of Ephesians and all that Ephesians says of the church must apply to the denomination.  Well, “the Roman Catholic Church” also has the word “church” in its name, so surely it must be a true church that we cannot leave.  

In fact, this point applies to all of the testimonies: if the principles contained in them has been applied in the past there would never have been a Reformation in Scotland! We would all have been obliged to remain in the “church” as it then existed because that is what some had been called to as priests and we cannot over-ride the divine call.  Similarly God had evidently been doing a work of renewal in Scotland (Hamilton, Wishart, Knox etc.) and that was evidence of his presence and therefore  we must remain within the true church (of Rome), and beside it was the best boat to fish from…

As a practical response to these testimonies I intend to publish a series on “Why I am No Longer in the Church of Scotland”, and a study on the Church in Ephesus and how it handled heresy.  I would invite biblical debate on any of the points I will be raising.  

Thursday, 19 November 2015



Aids to introduce the psalms sung in worship.

John Brown of Haddington, 18th century Scottish theologian.

In this psalm of lamentation and woe, we have

(1.) David's mournful complaints of God's withdrawment of his gracious and comfortable presence, ver. 1.

(2.) His mournful and shocking representation of the wicked men, who persecuted him, during God's absence: They proudly gloried in themselves; they counteracted the laws, and contemned the judgments of God; they contradicted and defiled their opposers; they were malicious, treacherous, crafty, hypocritical, and atheistical persecutors, ver. 2-11.

(3.) His earnest supplications for relief to the people of God, attended with the firm faith of obtaining it, ver. 12-18.

While I sing these lines, ponder, O my soul, what a privilege it is to enjoy familiar fellowship with God! What abominations lie hid in an evil heart of unbelief! What a mercy, that the Lord hath withheld me from that outrage in wickedness, of which my corrupt nature is capable. Let all my views of sins and of judgments cause me to flee to Jesus for relief. If he prepare my heart to pray, he will surely grant my requests.

John Cumming, 19th century Scottish Presbyterian.

This Psalm teaches us, in the first verse, that the people of God have not, at all times, the full experience of his favour and nearness. For wise and merciful purposes, our God sometimes
stands "afar off" from us.

From verse 2 to 11 David describes the enmity and relentless cruelty of the enemies of God, and prays for their conviction, and next for the confusion of their wicked plans.

From verse 11 to 14 he intercedes for mercy and favour to the meek, the orphan, and the poor,and rejoices in the assurance that God will hear his prayers.

In the midst of abounding' iniquity and numerous enemies within and without, let us rejoice in the delightful truth conveyed in that text, " The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." The marks of the wicked are ever the same "boasting," " pride," " vain glory," "subtle cruelty," and such like. " Behold he prayeth " is still the characteristic of a regenerate man.

 David Dickson   Scottish Covenanter, 17th century

This Psalm wanteth an inscription, and that in God’s wisdom, that being less restricted to a particular man’s case, it may be of more general use, whensoever the godly find themselves in a condition whereunto this prayer may be suitable: and specially in time of general persecution.

The prophet here complaineth to God and craveth justice against the persecuters of his people, because of the intolerable wickedness of the oppressor, ver. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Secondly, he prayeth for hastening of the delivery of the Lords people, and for hastening of judgment upon the persecuters, for vindication of the glory of Gods justice against his enemies, and of his mercy to his people. Ver. 12, 13, 14, 15.

Thirdly, he professeth his confidence that he shall be
heard, and so glorifieth God, Ver. 16, 17, 18.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Vox Populi, Vox Dei

Vox Populi, Vox Dei

The Church of Scotland continues in its search for relevance by decreeing that its focus will now be determined by public opinion poll:

10000 Voices for Change has a simple premise: “Ask 10000 people in local churches and in every part of Scottish society - politicians, voluntary organisations, people from every walk of life, including those who are the most disadvantaged and excluded in Scottish society - to help us develop new ideas and priorities to work on in the future.”

Having rejected the ultimate authority of Scripture, no longer feeling constrained to follow either the ethical teaching or doctrinal instruction of the Bible, the increasingly desperate denomination has now decided that the voice of the people is the voice of God.  Their declaration has no reference to God, Christ, or Scripture – only to the aggregate wisdom of their opinion poll sample, which will of course embrace all walks of life, religious and non-religious and perhaps even anti-religious.  This is where the increasingly progressive liberal agenda of the denomination leads – the vertical God dimension is reduced to the horizontal human dimension.

Issues of inequality and injustice are addressed by Scripture, and it is right that Christians in obedience to Scripture seek to see “justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)  But it is the God of Scripture who gets to define what these issues are, and not the latest whim of a secular society that rejects both God and his Word.

As Professor John Haldane, the Catholic philosopher, says addressing this new campaign by the national church, “The reality is that the Kirk has lost its way, lost its confidence and largely lost its faith. I fear it is finished as a significant force in Scottish society and is visibly dying.  As regards a changing Scotland, a more urgent matter for the Kirk might be the dying of the Christian light, and I seriously doubt whether in 2035 the Kirk will still exist save as a residual legal corporation..” 

(See his excellent article- apart from the bit about the papacy - at )

Monday, 9 November 2015

More Propaganda

More Propaganda

The Evening Times is my local newspaper and I usually have a quick look at it online. It is primarily a local evening paper, being top-heavy with football stories about Glasgow Rangers or Celtic foorball clubs.

What then of this feature?

Apart from the absurdity of the red arrow –“ want more “local” stories like these” – why is it in the newspaper?  Why are comments disabled?

Isn’t this an example of tainted reporting, in the hope that evangelical Christians can be discredited by association with extreme and anti-biblical viewpoints? Paint all evangelicals as raving nutcases advocating drowning children and there is no need to give a reasoned answer to their objections to same-sex marriage.  Allow no comment and they cannot even make a reasoned response to such gutter journalism.

Next week, I am expecting a headline saying “Reliable Historical Source Shows Christians Ate Babies”

See Andy McGowan’s article at:

Not that Andy McGowan – the other one, I hasten to add.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Spiritual State of Scotland

The Spiritual State of Scotland

The majority of Church of Scotland presbyteries vote today on the acceptance of office-bearers in gay “marriages” – the denomination has already accepted practicing homosexuals in "civil partnerships". It seems to me that a quibble about terminology, (marriage or civil partnership), overlooks the fact that the sin is in the approval and practice of unbiblical conduct, whatever it may be called.  The denomination has already whitewashed the sin by its previous approval and seems unlikely to listen to the valid biblical and legal objections that will be raised by the evangelicals.  The situation is dire!

However, God is sovereign, and Scotland has risen out of the mire of a destructive theological progressive liberalism and insipid evangelicalism before: 

“Over vast tracts of the country, a cold, semi-sceptical moderatism held undisturbed sway, while the evangelism which here and there nominally maintained its ground was seldom of that strong, fervent, and high-toned type with which happily we are now so familiar. Error spoke aloud with clear and unfaltering tongue on the high places of the land, while truth, scorned and down-trodden, uttered its voice with stammering and muffled accents, and offered but a feeble resistance to the strong, triumphant tide of latitudinarian indifference that was rolling on. There was a good deal of nominal orthodoxy — fully more, perhaps, than a few years afterwards — but little holy unction. fervour, or power.”

"The Pastor of Kilsyth ; or, Memorials of the life and times of the Rev. W.H. Burns D.D." Rev. Islay Burns, St. Peter's Free Church, Dundee. 1860.

The renewal that followed could not be contained within the established national church and eventually led to the Disruption and the formation of the Free Church of Scotland, (1843). The differences are significant, however, for what was being faced then was the cold semi-orthodoxy of Moderatism, not the high handed rejection of Scripture, Christian ethical tradition, and fundamental truths of Christian and Reformed orthodoxy.