A FORMER Kirk minister has claimed the Church of Scotland has become “radically liberal” and faces a “haemorrhaging” of evangelical membership over the issue of ordination of openly gay clergy.
• Rev Ivor MacDonald cites induction of gay clergy and “radically liberal” Church of Scotland as reason for leaving Kirk
• “[It is] clear that the denomination had rejected biblical teaching over the whole of life”
The Rev Ivor MacDonald, formerly of Kilmuir and Stenscholl, on the Isle of Skye, will today become the first Kirk minister who left over the divisive issue of gay clergy to be inducted to a Free Church congregation.
Speaking to The Scotsman about his reasons for leaving the Kirk, Mr MacDonald said that when the Church’s General Assembly upheld the decision by Queen’s Cross Church, in Aberdeen, to appoint openly gay minister Scott Rennie, a point of “no going back” had been passed.
“It became very clear that this wasn’t about homosexual practice or not, it was about whether the Bible was authoritative in the Church,” he said.
“In 2009, the decisions that were made in relation to this issue made it clear that the denomination had rejected biblical teaching over the whole of life.”
He added that the 2011 Assembly ruling, stating that practising homosexuals that were already in posts could be inducted into other charges, confirmed that a “line had been crossed”.
That resulted in him leaving the church in October last year.
Mr MacDonald, 53, said that despite the Kirk’s insistence that no final decision would be taken on gay ordination until after the 2013 Assembly, he was “quite clear” that evangelicals had lost the debate already.
Describing his departure from the Kirk as “heartbreaking”, Mr MacDonald said the Kirk had become “inhospitable to evangelical belief” and that its “radically liberal stance” would be unappealing to new ministers and result in a “haemorrhaging” of evangelical members.
He said that his induction into a Free Kirk congregation in Coatbridge would be a “great relief” and offered a chance to move away from being part of an “embattled minority trying to assert biblical norms”.
Ordained into the Kirk in 1993, Mr MacDonald had previously worked as an agricultural adviser with Scottish colleges.
A Church of Scotland spokesman said Mr MacDonald was entitled to his opinion, but it did not reflect the views of the membership of the Kirk.
He said: “No decision has been made about the ordination of people in same-sex relationships. That will be debated in the 2013 General Assembly and no doubt a decision will be made at some point after that.”
A Free Church of Scotland spokesman said: “We are delighted Reverend Ivor MacDonald is to be inducted to Coatbridge.”