Church of Scotland magazine urges members to accept homosexuality

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Scott Rennie

By ALEXANDER LAWRIE

THE CHURCH of Scotland has come under fire after calling for the Kirk’s members to accept homosexuality.

The church’s in-house magazine is urging Christians across the country to finally give their blessing to the lifestyle – just as they prepare to vote next month on the controversial appointment of a gay minister in Aberdeen.

In her final editorial, Muriel Armstrong, the Life and Work magazine’s editor, challenges the widely-held belief that homosexuality is outlawed by the Bible.

But Christian traditionalists have hit back at the development claiming the “peace and unity of the church” would be “seriously undermined” if homosexuality was accepted.

Ms Armstrong accuses some Christians of being selective in their interpretation of the readings, she writes: “What is clear to the lay-person is that not everything Biblical is Christ-like.

“Every student of the Bible is a selective literalist.

“Those who swear by the anti-homosexual laws in the Book of Leviticus wouldn’t publicly advocate slavery or stoning women taken in adultery.

“They presumably no longer accept Biblical teaching on sexual matters such as polygamy and sex with slaves.”

Minister backed by congregation

The deeply divisive matter has surfaced just weeks before the church votes on the appointment of the Reverend Scott Rennie, an Aberdeen minister who has been open with his parishioners about his relationship with another man.

He was overwhelmingly backed by his Queen’s Cross congregation to be their minister.

But opponents to the move have taken their case to General Assembly in an attempt to halt the ministerial appointment.

Ms Armstrong added: “Maybe it’s time for the Kirk to lead the way, to be true to its reforming character, as it has done over many issues over decades and centuries.

“In the Kirk’s version of ‘democracy’ is it right that a minority group could overturn the majority decision of a congregation and a Presbytery?

“The dissenters, who have taken ordination vows to preserve the unity and peace of the Church, perhaps ought to ‘agree to differ’ on this and allow the Church of Scotland to remain a broad and inclusive church that can celebrate its diversity while remaining true to the Gospel.”

Christians dissent

But Christian group Forward Together have hit back at the magazine’s editor saying they are “deeply concerned” over the latest development.

A statement on their website reads: “At the recent meeting of Aberdeen Presbytery (6th January 2009) the call of Rev Scott Rennie to Aberdeen Queen’s Cross from Brechin Cathedral was upheld, although a substantial number registered their dissent. 

“Mr Rennie has openly stated that he is intending taking his male partner with him to live in the manse. This has caused enormous tremors throughout the Church as it is aggressively taking the debate on homosexuality onto a new level. 

“Forward Together is deeply concerned over this development and asks for Christians to pray for wisdom for those in Aberdeen Presbytery and the wider courts of the Church.

“We cherish the peace and unity of the Church and feel this new development will seriously undermine both. 
“As a group within the Church of Scotland, Forward Together’s desire is to be faithful to the Word of God in all areas of life and doctrine.

“We will respond to any challenge to the Church’s evangelical heritage.”

Editorial independence

And the Reverend Ian Galloway, convener of the Kirk’s Church and Society Council, also distanced himself from the Ms Armstrong’s controversial comments.

He said: “Life and Work is an editorially independent magazine and the views that are expressed by the editor are hers.

“They don’t represent any official line of the Church. The Church does not have a particular view, and there are different views within the Church of Scotland.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. It is not the case thart Muriel Armstrong’s editorial was calling on all members of the Church of Scotland to ‘accept homosexuality’.

    She points out the truth when she says that all students of the Bible are selective literalists. Those holding to Leviticus’ statement that two men shall not ‘lie together’ would never suggest that a child should be stoned for talking back to his parents or that men and women should not have intercourse during a woman’s period (both statements are found right along side the statement about homosexual activity).

    But her editorial recognises the broad spectrum of theological opinion on the C of S. And she makes a plea that we respect each others’ conscious on these matters.

    No one is asking Forward Together to change their position on homosexuality or to call an openly gay minister to a conservative church.

    What Muriel IS asking is that Forward Together provide their more progressive brothers and sisters in Christ the same consideration. We have no desire to force our theology on them. We simply ask that they do not force their theology on us.

    And THAT is what they are attempting to do in this attempt to block Rev. Rennie’s call. Queen’s Cross and Rev. Rennie both believe that God is calling him to their church. Who are Forward Together to deny that call, simply because they disagree with Rev. Rennie and Queen’s Cross’ theology?

    It’s the Disruption of 1843 all over again – although the irony, of course, is that now it is conservative congregations who wish to impose their theology on everyone else.

    • Impose their theology on everyone else. I have not imposed my “theology” on everyone else. Don’t you thank the US Constitution and Bill of Rights you can choose where you go and what you do? Just imagine if that is taken from you! It will if the USA chooses to join the World Union in the near future. Then your going to be told what you will and won’t do. As for Leviticus, it makes a person squirm inside when your sins look at you in the mirror and you don’ t like it being known, or have to think about it or be responsible for it. I know. I am a human being who reads The Holy Bible and studies it. I am also learning the Bible was written by people who lived over 1000’s of years ago and what applied then has changed but the foundations are unchanging. God does not allow for wiggle room does He? So who is it we should really blame? I think God, He is responsible for His Word which makes us not happy because there is only one path that we get to meet up with the Savior. Not everyone is happy about that, nor believes it. Terrible to think the “nor believes it” have to meet up with someone they have conflicted with most of their life and don’t want to have to face, ehh?

  2. Jesus Christ never did anything unless He saw the Father do it? This answers homosexuality. God doesn’t change but man does. Mans conflict is all thru his life fighting against God until man turns from his sins, and repents. The fight is not between man and man it is God and man. All this homophobia propagands, Christians against homosexuals, “The Bible says this” “No! It doesn’t! It says this!” is just smoke from both sides. The war inside never ends till peace thru Christ. We know we have all sinned. We got that right. You know what is going to happen to some churches? Just like the pagans, sexual perversion will become their “religion”, their idol, has it not already? So what is next? Sexual depravity knows no end, those who embrace it are ever trying to come up with “new” inventions to satisfy their lusts. That is the war inside being revealed outwardly. So why go after Christians? Just because one doesn’t like to be told your sinning, your going the wrong way, the way of death, hell and the grave. Hurts…

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