Evangelism Scotland The Church in Scotland

Why Post- Referendum Reconciliation is a bit of a Sham

I suspect that this will be the most upsetting and ‘hurtful’ piece I have written for some time – at least for some people. So I apologise in advance. It is not intentional but I cannot keep silent. I cannot be reconciled to the unbiblical and harmful notion of ‘reconciliation’ which has been almost universally endorsed in both the secular and Christian press. Please don’t shoot the messenger – just tell me if the message is wrong (ie.unbiblical!). Anyway here is my latest post in Christian Today



  1. Spot on! This was all about the ‘National’ Church being indispensable to civic Scotland. Just don’t allow the claims of Christ to get in the way. After all the same Moderator called an inter faith gathering to consider the place of religion in the future independant Scotland. As long as the the priveleged position of the Church of Scotland was maintained. But then of course the Free Church are all for the Establishment Principle!

  2. What was “hurtful” about that? There is a need for reconciliation where there are broken relationships. This “reconciling” apparently required no repentance and no forgiveness. It followed a process which enabled relationships to remain intact in spite of (deeply) differing commitments among those participating.

    The only thing “hurtful” about it, so far as I can see, is that you will write these columns for “Christian Today” which so overloads its webpages with junk and e-detritus that it makes my poor old laptop seize up and threaten to go into meltdown! Thankfully, it has now recovered. 😉

  3. A fine piece!
    Reconciliation of men minus God is no more than an attempt to build a Catholic anti-Church, or a new Babel, if you prefer.

  4. I find myself feeling a range of emotions from relief though empathy to concern then anger on reading your post David.

    I am relieved that you do acknowledge “a well thought out and appropriate political sermon” given by Rev John Chalmers though why you mention it was a “waste of time” in the light of your comment is puzzling.

    I do empathise with you that on the whole with a few exceptions the campaigning during the referendum was run well which then questions the need for a service or reconciliation. You can be forgiven as a YES voter for pointing the finger at “unionist thugs”. Of course neither side can claim to be the paragon of virtue as regards conduct. Also at core with sharing the same values as you it give me pleasure to see you being unashamed about the gospel of reconciliation of humanity to God. Of course you will acknowledge that the second commandment follows form the first with love of fellow humanity and the reconciliation that brings.

    I am concerned at the assumption you have made that the CofS was putting itself forward as you claim. I don’t see any such claim being made at the commemoration of WWI at St Giles Cathedral. Surely if what you were claim is true then it would be true for both services not one and not the other?

    I felt angry on reading your comment about “astute observers” of the CofS alluding to the first remove your log out of your own eye that Jesus talked of with the accusation of hypocrisy therein.

    I am astounded how an opinion about a sermon can go from being “well thought out and appropriate” to a thinly veiled accusation of hypocrisy. How can something be appropriate and hypocritical at the same time? Nevertheless whatever you say, you are still my brother in Christ. I just wish there could not be tribalism between the Free Church and the CofS that exists. No real security will be found in either but only in Christ. It grieves me that the process of reconciliation between God and humanity is hindered by such, making the gospel appear unattractive and even repulsive, which it is not.

    I rejoice that on this one occasion at least, the church was seen to be relevant. For me it also is a proud moment to be in Scotland with as you rightly say David how the referendum was conducted for the most part. In some way mysteriously in God’s providence my hope and expectation is that this is him ushering in the fruits of the kingdom.

    1. Adam – it was an appropriate political sermon. That is the problem – preachers should not be delivering political sermons – we are supposed to teach the Word of God. And please stop accusing me of tribalism – this has nothing to do with the Free Church – it has everything to do with the C of S advocating ‘reconciliation’ whilst refusing to be reconciled with its erstwhile brethren and seeking to punish them. And if you think this is what makes the church ‘relevant’ then God save us from relevance! The gospel of reconciliation only comes through Christ and the acknowledgement of our sin – the moderators sermon ignored all of that.

      1. David, dear brother, I hear that you think I have been tribalistic by your comment by your comment on fb. I don’t think I have. I don’t think anybody reading these comments here or on fb will have seen me accusing you of tribalism but rather would have seen a generic caution against tribalism and insensitivity from me and and implied agreement of the need for that between us.

        Clearly we see things differently at times and in support of what you have mentioned previously of the need to not participate in “stupid games” but prefer instead the God of the bible, I’m going to leave judgment and conviction on these to Christ.

        Your comment about the CofS “seeking to punish” “erstwhile brethren” is interesting. That’s not been my empirical reality, rather I have found acceptance within the CofS. Of course in principle if there is any seeking to punish, it could be happening from either the CofS or the Free church and wherever such is occurring I agree with you, a return to the God of the bible must be paramount, as must be an absence of tribalism and insensitivity as is our implied agreement elsewhere.

        I can’t comment on preachers delivering political sermons or the sermon omitting reconciliation between God and humanity. It seems to me that if someone is a preacher then perhaps it’s worthwhile considering whether or not to make political comment whether in church or out of it. It seems to me that church is not about a building and a sermon in a Sunday but about the body of Christ and that our conversation here is every bit about being church as fellowship over a cup of tea after a message on a Sunday!

        I do agree with you ultimately that it is about reconciliation between God and humanity and that if we all acted accordingly rather than attending to what you have described as “stupid games” we would be in a much better place.

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