Monday, April 10, 2006

Save the CofS?

I wish I knew who came up with idea to use as the http for a campaign to raise awareness about the civil partnerships furore in the Church of Scotland. However I’m not sure how I’d react if I did know – so please don’t publish any names if you leave a comment!

I should declare an interest here – I’m currently preparing for ministry in the Church of Scotland as a ‘candidate for ministry’. As such I am bound to my local presbytery and to the Ministries Council. Funnily enough the convenor of that council has signed the statement found at On the other hand, my local presbytery would be the last presbytery to ever do such a thing. I feel slightly torn!

The last time I looked at the list of signatories there were just over 100 Church of Scotland ministers. This means that, assuming these ministers are all current parish ministers, perhaps 15% of working CofS parish ministers have signed up to a statement that is written in classic disruption language. The question is: do these ministers really intend to form a remnant Church of Scotland? If so, would this be the Church of Scotland according to the law of the church in 2005? I have only noticed one female minister on the list so far… And, what would this church actually believe about doctrine and practice? The Westminster Confession and its associated orders and directories? What would a successful Save the CofS campaign actually save?

Forward Together appears to be preparing procedural opposition to the report that is raising all the bother. If successful it will achieve something unique in the history of the Church of Scotland’s last 100 years or so. It will be the first major demonstration of evangelical political power in the Kirk (that I know about at least). But I don’t think non-evangelicals will be converted, and I don’t think they will leave the church in disgust.

If, as I predicted in an earlier post, the report is successful I dread to think what the outcome will be. Those who have signed up to a disruption style statement will be forced into one of two positions. They will have to stand by their principles and announce to the world another Scottish Presbyterian denomination. Or they will have to carry on in a situation described by Carl Trueman in a recent blogpost. Neither scenario is appealing to up-and-coming CofS ministers...


Anonymous said...

I think If I was in your position, I'd leave the organisation, if the Forward Together group got their way.

Jonathan said...

So long as the fundamentals remain in place, at least in theory, then I see no need for these men to leave the C of S over the issue.
They can stand firm on an issue (as some have done by refusing to consider women for the position of elders for example) whilst remaining in the C of S. A kind of independence within the organisation I guess.
Does the Kirk's adherance to the Bible and Westminster standards trump any subsequent laws passed in the eyes of the law? If not then I'd imagine that another disruption is likely...maybe should have happened sooner.

Anonymous said...

Which of the 2 scenarios is it then?