Christianity Newspaper Letters

The Intellectual faculties of Free Church Elders – Letter in The Sunday Herald

IAN Bell compares the “intellectual faculties of imams with the ­fantasies of priests or elders of the Free Church of Scotland”.

I’m sure priests or imams can answer for themselves, but I wonder why he felt free to have this ­gratuitous dig at Free Church elders? I suspect he does not ­actually know any.

The Free Church elders in my congregation are not the dark-suited killjoys of urban myth so beloved by those who consider themselves enlightened liberals who would never darken the door of a church.

My church elders are ordinary people who are seeking to do their jobs, care for their families and live according to their belief in Jesus Christ.

The artist, aid worker, software engineer, counsellor, office worker, doctor, preacher, dentist, council worker, social worker and retired Church of Scotland minister that make up my church’s eldership would be horrified at Ian Bell’s implication that they somehow lack “intellectual faculties”, or that they could be compared to those who demand that their views be obeyed by all or else violence will ensue.

We do not ask that Mr Bell respect us because we are Free Church elders – simply that he does not automatically dismiss our views just because we are Free Church elders.

Our Christianity compels us to love him and respect him as ­someone made in the image of God.

It is because we do so that we can feel free to point out that even Sunday Herald columnists can sometimes write prejudiced nonsense, and still wish God’s ­blessing on him.

David Robertson, St Peter’s Free Church, Dundee


  1. Hi,

    Just wondering is there any biblical grounding on why the free church appoints only male: elders, deacons and ministers(leadership in general)? And if not what is the reasoning behind it from a curious perspective? Kind regards,

    1. Yes – the bible teaches that only men should be elders. I think we are wrong to just have male deacons. And I don’t see any problem with women in leadership roles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *