Lack of leadership offers a test of faith

This year’s General Assembly of the Church of Scotland promised to be one of the most momentous since the Scottish Parliament accepted The Scots Confession in 1560.

In the debate over the ordination of gay ministers it is therefore disappointing to see a Church so bereft of strong leadership, particularly when it still aspires to have a central role in the life of a nation contemplating its own future.

Whatever one’s views over this important issue are, surely it is important that the Church is seen to offer courageous and impassioned leadership to its people.

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What has transpired this week seems far short of this standard. First, we have a Theological Commission which spends two years studying the issue of same-sex relationships and producing a 94-page report, and yet is not able to recommend any particular course of action.

Then, we have a debate at the General Assembly where an over-riding concern of key Church leaders seems to have been to “keep us together” through 11th-hour compromise, rather than to show inspired leadership in guiding the Church to a consistent way forward, whatever that way might have been.

Finally, we have a General Assembly of around 850 commissioners (according to the Church of Scotland’s website), and yet on such a fundamental matter as the ordination of gay ministers only 622 chose to vote on the issue.

Surely the combined effect of this lack of leadership is to stretch the essence of the Protestant faith, that assemblies and ministers may offer guidance but they cannot dictate, too far.

One can only hope that individual congregations are able to show greater conviction in their own day-to-day challenges, thus enabling the Church to persuade people in Scotland that it remains both relevant and a source of good news stories of growth and vitality.

Graham Watson

High Street

Earlsferry, Fife

The Kirk’s move on gay clergy, while welcome, kindles memories of a similar compromise (some might say theological fudge) in the 1990s.

Then, during the same Assembly, the Kirk reaffirmed its moral opposition to the National Lottery and all forms of gambling, while simultaneously deciding that it was morally all right to accept money from the Big Lottery Fund for church projects.

One former Moderator commented at the time that this money could be made useful to the church with “God’s redemptive power”.

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The decision and the theological contortions applied to explain it brought forth similar cries of derision from the Free and Free Presbyterian Churches that we now hear over the gay marriage issue.

The old adage that one man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh is proven once again.

Alistair McBay

National Secular Society

Atholl Crescent


The seemingly never-ending debate on gay rights, gay clergy and gay marriages drove me to ponder upon the change of attitudes to homosexuality over the centuries.

At one time it was a capital offence, then deportation and imprisonment became the sanctions. Over the years it was severely frowned upon followed by merely not being talked about.

It then became accepted and gradually approved of. It seems that today it is almost fashionable. I’m 74 and hope to be dead before it becomes compulsory.

Donald Lewis


East Lothian

One of the interesting side issues to the Kirk’s gay marriage fudge is the widespread assumption that all Christians believe that the “word of God” as expressed in the Bible is immutable, eternal and therefore not to be challenged.

Regardless of the point, well made by many correspondents, that many Biblical tenets such as the acceptance of slavery have long been overturned, there are also many respectable Christian theologians who propose the opposite view to the immutability idea.

“Process theology” in essence proposes that it’s humans who are unchanging, while God is constantly in a state of change.

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Although God’s nature as the holy and divine Creator remains eternally solid, the fact that God interacts with the changing universe, and is affected by the actions which take place there, means that God is changeable over the course of time.

Judging from the speed with which the established churches have begun to accept that gay people might be that way because it’s how God created them, the process theologians seem to have a point – God is able to change Her views much quicker than Her human creation!

(Dr) Mary Brown

Dalvenie Road


Monday was a very dark day for Scotland spiritually with the Church Of Scotland, the head of the church in our nation totally turning away from God’s word by allowing practising homosexuals to be ordained as ministers.

This decision is fundamentally wrong and being made out of political correctness and will potentially cause a huge split in the church.

God very clearly in the Bible says that practising homosexuality is against what his best for mankind is and He does not change his mind.

The Church Of Scotland has deviated from the Word Of God and seems to forget that God is not politically correct.

Gordon Kennedy

Simpson Square


Groucho Marx famously said: “These are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.” It seems the Church of Scotland is now saying the same thing.

While holding a “traditionalist” position, congregations can opt out as and when they please. The only difference, however, is that Groucho was joking.

(Dr) Euan Dodds

Considine Gardens


As yet another stone in the hallowed wall of Christianity falls to the ground will, in the future, sin be a thing of the past?

Tommy Nimmo