In a previous missive, I asked openly if one of the various Presbyterian churches in Scotland were heading for a long overdue Disruption following the appointment by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland of the Reverend Scott Rennie to Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeenshire. It would appear that this has been put on hold, as traditionalists from the CoS have been offered a place by a minister in the Free Church of Scotland (just as traditionalist members of the Church of England defected to the Roman Catholic Church in the 1990s rather than permit the distaff side to become priests).
Although I cannot tell if he has approached the FCoS, one CoS minister – the Reverend Thomas Mackinnon at Kimuir and Logie Easter near Invergordon – has decided to demit, i.e. stand-down as minister. Regardless of my disagreeing with him, I do acknowledge his decision to accept personal inconvenience for his views: one should be free to be as quietly socially conservative as one pleases. At the same time, Councillor John Hogg (Independent for Moray Council representing Heldon and Laich) has written his parish minister at Alves and Burghead Church:
“I find that I can no longer reconcile my communicant membership of the Church of Scotland with either the General Assembly’s support for Aberdeen Presbytery’s decision to sustain the call from Queen’s Cross church to the Rev Scott Rennie, or their fudging of the issue of ordaining openly practising homosexuals.
“I cannot be a part of a church which places secular liberalism above the authority of the Bible.”
That is the rub about secular liberalism: it allows one to practice one’s faith in private and not even be penalized in the public or professional spheres, as long as one does not attempt to constrain others. Religious institutions, such as the CoS and FCoS, also benefit from charitable status and considerable tax breaks funded by non-believers. I think they are getting a very good deal on that front.
And, where in the Christian Bible does it argue specifically against homosexuality? My experience of homophobes, even religious ones, is that they are less aghast at the thought of heterosexual couples engaging in non-marital sex. This suggests a dislike of other people’s sex habits which over-rides “the authority of the Bible” (if that is considered to be objecting to lack of fidelity, or non-marriage).
As far as I can tell, Hogg has not accepted similar inconvenience as Mackinnon but intends to remaining using the facilities at Alves and Burghead and participate in parish life: just decline to accept communion.