Plenty will be said in the upcoming days about the decision taken by the Church of Scotland General Assembly, the decision which allows an individual in a same-sex civil partnership (and undoubtedly after Thursday, also those in same-sex ‘marriages’) to become an ordained minister.
I would like to start by saying that I know there are many brothers and sisters in the COS who are upset and sad about the decision, please continue to pray for your Church, as we all will. For any in the COS, a group called Covenant Fellowship Scotland has been established to seek the “reformation and renewal of the Church of Scotland.”
So what 3 points can be drawn from this decision:
1. The real problem is not ministers in same-sex relationships
The vote is a blatant disregard for scripture’s definition of marriage and also for it’s definition of what it means to be a minister, though these two points alone are terribly sad and very revealing, they are only the symptoms of the real underlying problem.
2. The real problem is a blatant disregard for Scripture
The COS’s (current) deviation from scripture did not start after yesterday’s vote. No, it started the very moment that it was proposed a clear Biblical principle could be argued in the courts of the Church, and the clear words of the creator debated by his created beings. Not for a second would I discourage the discussion of God’s word, we are instructed to do it:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
To be living as Christians we must study and discuss the scriptures, and in our study we might well disagree on some points.
But in saying that, some points of scripture are so piercingly precise and obvious that when read in context with the rest of the book and with rest of the bible, the message cannot be mistaken.
Yesterday’s vote is one of these points, and the bible is clear on the topic.
The fact that the COS believes that the clear points of Scripture can be argued in a General Assembly, and be decided by a vote, show’s it’s opinion on God’s revealed word.
An opinion which seems to be that God’ word is completely infallible and perfect, that is, apart from the parts we don’t like and that make us feel uncomfortable, those bits aren’t so important.
3. Emotion over Scripture?
This is more of a point 2.5 rather than a point 3, but just to piggy-back on the previous point, we can ask the question:
“Is the COS following the Scripture or following the will of man?”
Take a look at any of the social media posts about this decision, about half the posts are from Church members who are “proud of the bravery shown today”, and the other half are from people apparently out-with the Church who are also congratulating the Church on the decision that was made.
In watching the debate today, and after following it for a few years, the same issue has appeared time and time again, that is the emphasis is on emotion and feelings rather than on scripture.
The arguments in favour of the change almost exclusively drew on stories and personal anecdotes, all very genuine and sincere, but also all lacking in any scriptural backing.
The arguments against the change were all clearly and logically argued from our “only infallible rule of faith and practice”, not on the changing and sinful bases of our own emotions and thoughts.
The two cannot be compared, one side arguing from sinful human reason and emotion, the other arguing from the very word direct from God.
Again these are just my initial thoughts on what went on yesterday, although blatantly against God’s revealed word there is still hope for renewal and reformation for the Church of Scotland, there still remains plenty of faithful members and congregations who also long for such a day.
As always, comments and thoughts are very welcome