Monday, May 4, 2009

Church of Scotland - Reformation21 Blog

Over at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Reformation21 Blog, I found an interesting discussion concerning the state of affairs in the Church of Scotland. A struggle is breaking out concerning the issue of homosexuality amongst the clergy. A number of evangelicals in that church are signing a petition against a change in church law.

At this blog are differing views about the petition and its effectiveness. On one side are men like Dr. Phil Ryken, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, who defends the evangelicals and has also signed the petition. He defends the evangelicals in the Church of Scotland for taking a stand on this important issue, which is, in his words, 'a watershed issue'. Click here to read his entire post.

On the other side are men like Dr. Carl Trueman, Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, who feel that it is too late for a petition. He argues that the Church of Scotland lost its footing long ago when it began to tolerate deviations from historical creeds and confessions. He argues that the debate was lost when evangelicals surrendered the church courts to those holding liberal views in exchange for the freedom to preach freely in their particular churches. Furthermore, he considers homosexuality not to be the watershed issue Ryken thinks it is -- it is, in fact, the end result of a long chain of human rebellion.

Having just come back from presbytery and preparing for General Assembly in a few weeks I found this quote from Carl Trueman very helpful. I say this because of the on-going debate in the PCA about the topic of 'deaconesses' (which are not prescribed by our constitution):

"The policy of ceding church courts to the liberals has proved disastrous. I feel for friends caught in the crossfire in Aberdeen but, as I said earlier, a petition is too little too late. These battles are not won by petitions which have no ecclesiastical status; nor are they won by preaching to the converted at large Reformed conferences or to congregations of the faithful in the big C of S churches. They are won by the nasty, brutish, hard labour of fighting in the church courts, face to face, toe to toe, eyeball to eyeball, with those who would seek to take over session, presbyteries, synods, and General Assemblies for evil"
here here to read Trueman's entire post).

I have tremendous respect for both men and their posts are charitable and gracious. Personally, I side with Trueman on this one. Whose side do you take?

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