The Scottgate Tapes – A Revealing Insight into the Current State of the Church of Scotland

This is one blog I was praying I would not have to write.   So much so that I have held of writing for days in the hope that common sense and Christian decency would prevail. But time has run out. I have to admit it…in my naivety I have been played and suckered. And it’s not a nice feeling.

On Wednesday September 30th I found myself walking down South Clerk St towards Salisbury Mayfield Church of Scotland. I was in a literal cold sweat to the extent that I wondered if I was going to collapse. Why was I in such a state? Because I felt I was walking into the lions den. I was there to debate Rev. Scott McKenna, minister of the Church, on the bible, the atonement and the future of the church in Scotland. You can see the advert linked here:

https://theweeflea.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/the-most-important-debate-scott-mckenna-angus-morrison-the-atonement-and-the-future-of-the-church-in-scotland/

At one level I was excited. Because the church was packed with over 250 people on a midweek evening to discuss theology; because I liked Scott when I had met him previously and believed that he genuinely wanted to have an open discussion about these vital issues; because it was a great opportunity to speak the good news in a different context. But I was also aware there was something else going on. I won’t go into details but I was under considerable pressure to back off and indeed even to give up and walk away. Even as I walked into the church I sensed not only the sense of anticipation but also the hostility from some, and also a strange sense that something was wrong.

This was made worse when I went into the vestry and met with Scott and Rev John Chalmers, the former Moderator who was there to replace the current Moderator, Rev Angus Morrison, who had called off because of a sore throat. John informed me at 7:25pm that the event would not be recorded. I was somewhat surprised at this because in setting up the event we had offered to film it and we were assured that there was no need to do so because the Church would do so and put it online.   This was an important aspect of the evening as this was a public discussion about subjects of vital importance to the whole church, and rather than rely on out of context quotes and sound bites reported on social media, it was important that people could hear and see the whole debate for themselves.(the interest and demand from people from people has been phenomenal). So I insisted that it be recorded and they agreed.

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We went out, had the debate which went much as I had expected. Scott denied the Bible, called the atoning work of Christ on the cross barbaric (and Calvinist!) and at the end suggested that the future of the Church in Scotland rested on leadership styles like the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury as well as ‘mindfulness’.  I did my best to answer him in as biblical and gracious a way as possible. (I accept that I got some things wrong, said some things in a wrong way, wish I had said others,  and sometimes let my tongue run away with things-  God have mercy on me, a sinner).  My concern was for Scott and also for those who hear him preach, that he would turn away from his heresy and man-made gospel which is no gospel at all.   At this point I would normally suggest that you go to the video and judge for yourselves. Except even as I write, the video has been destroyed. The destruction of the tapes of this event is a revealing insight into the current rotten state of the Church of Scotland establishment.  Lets just call it the Scottgate scandal.  

I was informed on the Thursday that the video would not be put online because I had hurt Scott’s feelings by suggesting that I would excommunicate him if he were a member of my church.   He also thought that it would not be a good witness, and he did not want that statement put online (ironically of course it was put on line immediately and tweeted all over the place by some of his supporters).  He informed me today, after further correspondence that he had instructed that the tapes be destroyed.
So what can we learn from this?

Let me qualify what I am about to say that my intention in this debate was not to attack the Church of Scotland. The moderator, Angus Morrison, had indicated quite rightly that he would be upset if this was to be used as an opportunity to attack the Church of Scotland. I was happy to tell him that there was nothing to fear on my part. as that was not my plan nor intention. In fact as I said at the debate, I was there to defend the Church of Scotland and the traditional Confessional theology of the Church of Scotland. I love the Church of Scotland and long for its renewal. I support those within the Kirk who remain to proclaim Christ and his Word.  I would return to the Kirk tomorrow, if it returned to faith of its forefathers. I am upset that the Church of Scotland is currently being attacked, but the attack is not from people like me. Christians within the C of S should not be concerned about those outside who are peering into the tent, but rather about those inside who are pulling down the main poles and causing the whole thing to collapse. In my view it is those who support and promote an unbiblical theology, who are undermining and destroying the Church of Scotland. In Wednesdays debate I would not have been too upset if people attacked the Church of Scotland or the Free Church, but I was upset that this would be used as an opportunity to undermine and attack the gospel.

However in this report I am criticising the Church of Scotland establishment. It will do everything it can to preserve itself and has little or no interest in the gospel. Its guidebook seems to be more House of Cards than the Bible; its prophet is Machiavelli rather than Christ. It is deceitful, manipulative and political. As many who have left the C of S can testify, the establishment is also bullying and vindictive, doing its best to ensure that those who leave are dealt with as severely as possible so that others who stay learn the lesson that if they leave they are in for a hard time.

The disappointing thing about what could have been an open and honest debate is that, once the establishment got involved it was turned into a political event.  Forget all the guff about wanting openness and transparency, they were all about closing down the debate and muddying the waters as much as possible. Their primary aim was to prevent Scott’s heresies (and the challenge to them) being put on the Internet. So Angus Morrison was replaced by the Principal Clerk and it was made clear that this must not be recorded and put out. Scott tells me that the decision was his and his alone and that it was because of my last comment on excommunication that he decided on the Thursday not to post the video. However the Rev Neil Campbell from Dumfries wrote the following on his blog “Before the discussion began I asked whether the discussion was going to be recorded and made available online. John Chalmers told me that it would not.” The decision to destroy the tapes is in direct contravention of a promise that was made to us: Further to our conversation yesterday, I have spoken to Revd McKenna and he has said that, as this is not a Solas event, the video work will be done in-house. I am more than willing to supply you with a copy of the footage.”   In accordance with that promise we have requested the footage. But it has been destroyed. A broken promise.

So the question is why would the Church of Scotland be so concerned to prevent publicity about the debate? (Although Life and Work reported it before the debate took place, there was not a mention by any official source afterwards- after all 250 people coming to a meeting about theology on a midweek evening is not really a big deal at all!). Why destroy the tapes? What was so incriminating on them?  It was not to preserve Scott’s hurt feelings. Nor was it because they are concerned about Christian witness.
This quote from the following letter I received from a life long Church of Scotland couple helps explain why: “We too were horrified to learn in March of Mr. McKenna’s denial of the atonement. We protested to Edinburgh Presbytery expecting disciplinary action. None was forthcoming and we felt made to feel wrong for mentioning this fundamental aspect of the faith. We fear that Mr. McKenna is not only risking God’s judgement on himself but also on his congregation and the rest of us for doing nothing.”   The unpalatable truth for evangelicals and traditional Presbyterians is that Scott McKenna is not on the eccentric fringes of the Church of Scotland. He is one of its mainstream leaders who I suspect is being lined up for higher office.   To have such a man openly and publicly teach such heresy (which itself is against the standards and teachings of the C of S) would be the last straw for many such people. So in order to do damage limitation, and prevent more people joining the growing exodus from the C of S, they decided to try and bury the evidence.

They have done so in two ways. Firstly they have prevented the video of the event being made public and not mentioned the debate at all in any of their communications.  Secondly, as a consequence, they have allowed the narrative to be built up through various online and social media reports, that I am a nasty, arrogant, Free Church fundamentalist. And because the video is not available that cannot be easily contradicted.  It’s classic political spin.  Sideline, manipulate, mock. Appeal to prejudices and misconceptions.   People believe what they want to believe. Haters will hate.

For example, Rev Peter Nimmo immediately tweeted “Free Church minister excommunicates another clergyman who’s not even a member of his own denomination”   – to which another minister responded “I noted that. Stunned by the gracelessness (and worse) of the Free Church Minister. We need to pray for him” (as an aside I wonder right now if this was really meant and not just a rhetorical device. I find the notion that there are some liberal ministers praying for me right now, concerned for my soul and my growth in grace, quite fanciful as well as somewhat amusing).

Then along came this blog from another minister who had been there – http://www.neilgcampbell.net/rev-scott-s.-mckenna-and-rev-david-andrew-robertson-a-misjudged-conversation/

Apart from the astonishing hint that his own moderator’s non involvement was a political move rather than an illness, he then went on to stick the boot into me. “David Robertson came across as arrogant and confrontational. He knew the will and purpose of God. Scott McKenna, as you will hear him state, he would excommunicate. Robertson is (according to Robertson) correct. Scott McKenna was more gracious.”   I was deluded, dangerous and unChristlike (for those not used to the jargon, ‘unChristlike= ‘not nice”). The trouble is that such a narrative now cannot be checked because the evidence has apparently been destroyed.

I will deal with Mr Campbell’s extraordinarily confused contradictory blog at another time (because it is a classic example of how judgemental and illogical ‘liberals’ can be).   But for the moment, let me just deal with the excommunication question. Scott had said that at least we don’t excommunicate one another, to which I responded that if he was in my church; sadly, I would have to excommunicate him, because he does not recognise the body and blood of Christ. We do not worship the same Christ. That seems to be a fairly obvious and Christian position.

Scott regarded the notion of excommunicating another Christian, as being so offensive that it could not be put on the Internet. He had no problem in putting on the Internet that the notion that Jesus died for our sins is ‘ghastly theology’, but suggesting that any church might excommunicate anyone for denying basic Christian doctrine was a step too far. Indeed so appalling that the tapes must be destroyed.

But that means that Scott must believe that nobody can ever be excommunicated. Because after all the only people who can be excommunicated are those who are communicants (i.e. professing Christians) in the first place.   Would Scott not excommunicate a professing Christian who was an unrepentant racist? thief? wife beater?   Why then should it be considered incredible that the Church should excommunicate those who deny the basic and foundational doctrines of the church?

And in terms of being hurt, it may have offended Scott that I think those who sit at the Lords table should actually be Christians who believe in the Christ of the Bible, but offense works two ways. I find it incredibly offensive, hurtful and disrespectful to refer to the God of the bible as a despot and vindictive and immoral.   I think this leaves us with a despot of a god. A barbaric god who is vindictive and immoral.” Coming from Richard Dawkins, that is at least understandable. Coming from a professed minister of the Gospel it is appalling.

The scandal is that the Church of Scotland after inviting the moderator of the Free Church to engage in an open, frank and transparent discussion, have decided to try and bury that discussion by destroying the tapes of it. It’s breath-taking in its audacity and stupidity. And it is a direct contradiction of their expressed desire to have a respectful debate. I feel very disrespected, used and abused. But I am not hurt. At least not for myself. Allowing my name to be trashed is a minor inconvenience. Allowing Christ’s name to be trashed is a major sin.  My heart breaks for the cause of the gospel in Scotland and for the ordinary Christians who are still within the Church of Scotland (many of whom expressed appreciation after the debate).  The implications of Scottgate are incredible.

  • The Church of Scotland is dying. Without a major miracle of renewal and reformation, the Church of Scotland is in its death throes within Scotland. It’s establishment is rotten to the core, its doctrine has become unbiblical nonsense, it’s discipline non existent in some cases – tyrannical in others, its membership and congregations are in free-fall and there is little evidence that many in the Kirk are prepared to wake up to the realities of the situation. The ship is sinking and people just want to argue about what uniforms the band is wearing and what tunes they should be playing.
  • The Tipping Point has come for Evangelicals. Some evangelicals are continually telling me that God has not finished with the C of S yet and that as they have been called by God, they should remain within it to fight for the Gospel. Unlike some, I am prepared to say ‘fair enough, go for it’, with one caveat. If God has called you to remain and fight – then fight! One C of S minister asked why I was engaging in debate with Scott and why it was not leading evangelicals like the moderator or others in the councils of power? That’s a great question.

I want to say to my evangelical brothers and sisters, I feel like I took a bullet for you last week. And I’m probably done.  It’s not my job to fight your battles.  My interest is in communicating the gospel to the 95% of people in Scotland who are not in the Church of Scotland.   But we need you.   When are you going to actually stand up and fight? You were prepared to fight to some degree over the appointment of a minister in a same sex partnership. Is not this denial of the very core of the faith once delivered to the saints even more important?   You know the deal, as Paul told the Corinthians: Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1).     I know that you have a formula that says that you can have disagreement about matters that do not enter into the substance of the faith. Can you get anything more substantive than this? Paul states that it is of first importance that Christ died for our sins, Scott says that such a teaching is wrong ghastly theology. Both can’t be right. And both can’t exist in the same church. Scott does not believe in the Bible, he does not believe in the Jesus of the Bible and he does not believe in the Cross of Christ. And yet in a Presbyterian church you recognize him as a Christian brother, a fellow minister, and someone who, as part of the church courts, you have sworn to submit to.

A minister approached me after the debate and said that he felt it was an historic event and could have enormous implications for the future of the Church. I had hoped so. I had hoped that this debate would expose the irrationality and weakness of unbiblical liberal theology. I had hoped that it would inspire others to fight the good fight. Most of all I had hoped for Scotts conversion! I think the debate achieved the first aim, but what about the latter two?   I pray for Scott and I make an appeal to my brothers and sisters still in the C of S. You say that you are not in it at any cost, that there will come a tipping point. Has that point not come? Is it not time to stand up and fight?

And please, ‘stand up and fight’ does not mean go away and write another paper, have another conference, set up yet another evangelical group to talk to yourselves. You are Presbyterian men and women. Behave as such. Forget the politics and the quiet infiltration. Don’t fall for the fantasy of the ‘one more push and we will have the great evangelical victory’. Be open. Be upfront. Love the Lord and his people and the people of Scotland with passion and purity. Pray. Repent. Have faith. Preach the Word. Serve the poor. Don’t hide under the cloak of a powerless pietism. Fight the good fight of the faith. Unite with those who share that faith –within and without the Kirk. And if you lose and get thrown out so be it. Your fight is not to try and keep fellow evangelicals within, or to trash those who have left. Your fight is not to preserve your job or home or ministry.  Your fight is for the very heart of the Gospel. We stand with you. Don’t dare claim to be the descendants of John Knox, the Covenanters or the Disruption fathers, if you are not prepared to do even this one thing. And don’t whine about how difficult it is to stay within the Church of Scotland if you do nothing!

There is another choice. You can just be honest and give up on any hope of the Church being reformed and renewed (even if you throw in a bit of pietistic revivalism to give the flock hope) and instead decide to stay to look after your own local congregation. You can decide to abandon any pretence of real Presbyterianism, act as an independent congregation, refuse to send up funds to central funds and prepare your congregation for being thrown out. Because that is what will eventually happen. Whilst 121 will protect and cover up anti-gospel heresy they won’t tolerate anyone not giving them money or challenging their power.

Angus Morrison was not able to attend because of a sore throat. It was explained on the night that he had ‘lost his voice’. Somewhat unfairly this caused much merriment. Angus is a good man and I take him at his word.  However I do think it is an apt question to ask the evangelicals within the C of S – have you lost your voice? Where is the prophetic witness? Where is the passion for the Lord and the lost? Not the complaining, not the backbiting, not the politics, not the internal conferences and the talking to yourselves. Where is the voice that speaks to the church and through the church to the nation? Because right now the silence is deafening.

A few years ago I was told by a leading evangelical within the C of S that the strategy now was to get a seat at the table, get more evangelicals as conveners and even moderator. In one sense that has worked. In another it has been a disaster. What’s the point of having a seat at the table, if you don’t get to determine the menu?   How can you be neutral or ‘moderate’ in any position of power, when it comes to the basics of the Gospel? Political power in the church is not just about sitting on committees, attending receptions, kissing babies and playing the game of telling everyone how wonderful they are, and how hunky dory everything is. It’s also about prophetic leadership and having the guts to challenge the status quo and the power cliques within the organisation. It’s about in love, speaking truth into power.

I read this today from Karl Dalhfred – One of the greatest threats to the Christian church is not heretics or false teachers, but rather those who have the right theology but are willing to overlook and tolerate gross error for the sake of unity, and castigate those who speak up for truth as being divisive or unChristian.” Is it not time for those who are evangelical ministers and elders within the C of S to protect the flock of which Christ has made them undershepherds by dealing with the gross error that now exists at the heart of the Church? If they are not prepared to do so, can they blame the sheep who decide to leave and look for pastures new?

  • The Gospel of Niceness is not the Gospel of Nicea. I was under phenomenal pressure on Wednesday night. JC (John Chalmers) did not mind me arguing about theology; neither did Scott, as long as I was prepared to admit that we were all Christians who were on the same road, following the same Christ.   I felt pressured and was tempted. After all I could have been nice, said that whilst we disagreed we were all Christian brothers and sisters and gone home saying that I had stood for the Gospel by arguing for the atonement, the Bible and Jesus. Everyone would have been happy. Except me. Because I know my bible. And I know my Lord. I know that the Israelites were told to have no other gods except God. I know that they were not allowed to pick and mix between Yahweh and the idols of the nations around.   I know that the early Christians came under enormous pressure to admit that Caesar was Lord as well as Jesus. They could easily have said Jesus is Lord and then bowed to Caesar as well (to keep the peace, and their heads).   But they didn’t.   They loved Jesus. They were faithful unto death. To stand in front of that crowded church and give into the pressure to affirm the confused liberal non-existent Christ of Scott, as the same as the Christ of the Scriptures, would have been a betrayal of all that is sacred, holy and beautiful. If my answer upset people (and some clearly were), and if it upset Scott then I am truly sorry, but that is a price I have to pay. I actually hate upsetting people, especially those I like. But I am not going to deny Christ, on order to bow to personal or political pressure.  I am not Martin Luther but this was for me a Lutheresque moment – “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God”.

David Robertson

St Peters Free Church

Dundee

  1. As we went into the debate I had a suspicion that something was not right and I said to two of the Solas people, ‘there is something up here….I think you should record this on your phones so that we have a record”. And so they did. Here it is. http://tapesfromscotland.org/mayfielddiscussion/David%20Robertson%20v%20Scott%20debate.MP3

 Of course the sound quality is not great and you don’t get the body language or the facial expressions but you will certainly get a flavour of it. And for the record we have transcribed it and will put it on this blog later. As I warned John and Scott in the vestry before the meeting- any attempt to suppress the debate would rebound badly upon them. They either did not listen, or thought that the benefits of suppressing the truth were worth the risk of the bad publicity.   Well now they have both the bad publicity and the truth.   Spin that.

We now also have a full transcript of the evening – you can get it here…

https://theweeflea.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/a-theological-conversation-with-scott-mckenna/#more-1819

Speaking of spin, perhaps these words from another Scott, this time Walter, are apposite for the situation. In his poem Marmion he writes:

Oh, what a tangled web we weave

When first we practise to deceive!

 And from the same poem, in terms of the fight for the Gospel, these words are also appropriate,

Where’s the coward that would not dare

To fight for such a land?

If we love the land of Scotland and its people, then lets fight for the gospel (not our denominations).

Christian Today carried an article about this – here –

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/theological.gulf.in.scotland.deepens.between.evangelicals.and.liberals/67003.htm

 

 

 

 

 


71 thoughts on “The Scottgate Tapes – A Revealing Insight into the Current State of the Church of Scotland

  1. This reminds me of the brave stand, which our mentor, Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones took during the late 20th century. He called upon Bible-believing Christians to withdraw from the hopelessly compromised ecclesiastical structures of the day. In my book, THE CHANGING CHURCH IN EUROPE (1979), I concluded that the only hope in Britain was a vigorous, Biblical Free Church. And this is still my position.

  2. I am staggered by this. For the Church of Scotland to engage in this level of deception is incredible. It is not a dying church – it is a dead church.

    The ‘Rev’ Scott McKenna is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is, frankly, sickening that someone like this is posing as a minister of God.

    Well done in having the wit to make your own recording and shame McKenna and the CoS.

    1. Your “opinion” that the c of s is dead, is disrespectful to the many ministers and churches who preach Christ crucified faithfully and who wrestle with the anti biblical stance of others at every turn.

      1. Derek, You will note that I said that the C of S is dying…not dead. And I have many friends within the C of S who are preaching Christ crucified…but they are getting fewer because more and more are leaving. I would be delighted to hear just how those within the C of S are ‘wrestling’ with the anti-biblical stance at every turn. I have given you an open goal – a minister who publicly and openly denies the basis of the Gospel. In a Presbyterian church that is more than enough for a libel. Tell me of any minister who is going to do so? And if not why stay in such a denomination?

  3. Thank you, David. We owe you a huge debt of gratitude – both for your personal courage and the clear challenge to the rest of us.

  4. Just last night I was speaking to someone and saying how much I was looking forward to the video of the debate being posted online, and how helpful I thought it would be.

    And now I read this.

    I too am astonished.

  5. Thanks David. We have a great King who will continue to reign and let us all continue to seek to do the Lord’s work, the Lord’s way. “But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” 2 Cor. 4:2

  6. This latest debacle shows it is now beyond debate that the Church of Scotland is ‘rotten to the core’. The machinations of the C of S to prevent a wider dissemination of the debate are worthy of Stalin’s USSR. Equally worrying is the diplomatic illness of the C of S Moderator who was supposed to chair the event. If the Moderator claims to be an evangelical, he must stand up for Christ…..indeed failure to do so will surely bring him under judgement. For Scotland’s Bible believing onlookers in other denominations, the whole situation must beggar belief. Bible believing Christians in the C of S now have a stark choice……stand up and fight with all of your might…..or leave……you are either for Christ or against…there is no middle ground!!

  7. You know what David this may come from left field yet I am reminded that if I want to serve the Lord with my whole mind, heart and soul and I am to defend the faith that was once delivered to the saints – then this is what I am in for and dare I expect anything less and please for one second don’t think I consider myself an apostle by any stretch of the imagination.
    For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
    We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honorable, but we are despised
    Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;
    And labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure it
    Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the trash of all things unto this day.
    Go to that prayer closet David, forget the whole world, pour out your heart to the Lord, praise Him and Worship him. Then when your ready go back out there wielding your sword the word of God and for Jesus sake keep doing what you do best and that is defending the pure gospel and making Christ known.
    You are a blessing to us here in Australia.

  8. David, there was never a hope that the debate itself would be anything other than an opportunity to have two positions put “out there”. I have just listened to a sermon of Scott McKenna – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu4eFPBu8R0. This is a re-interpretation of scripture – totally fanciful – motivated, I fear, by the desire to deny all the implications of the fall and original sin, and thus requiring the concepts to be denied. It is eloquent, stated with conviction, and dangerous. I would not hope very much that Scott McKenna could be persuaded that he is wrong!

    McKenna is more dangerous than Holloway, or Spong, in that he would appear to accept (in some sense) the divinity of Jesus, and the facts of his death. He has evidently made up his mind to reject the reformed position, almost entirely. But his theology points people away from the saving work of Christ, and offers them no hope.

    I hope that I am honest enough to recognise my own sinfulness to the point that the fall is not only believable, but irrefutable. Thank God for Jesus, in that he died for me. McKenna’s ghastly God would not have done that. A glorious loving God would. Be grateful that you had the opportunity to proclaim the gospel to a crowd, many of whom are not hearing it week by week in their church. And keep on urging the evangelicals in the CoS to stand up!

  9. I would love to say I am surprised by this but I am not. As a former member of the CoS it had become clear to me that they were, and indeed have been, deviating from the Bible for quite some time. I have to agree this is a CoS establishment issue and one that I have seen at work, particularly in my involvement with youth work. Hearing from others, including nominal attendees, it is clear it is not just me who has noticed this. While it is sad to hear this from fellow brothers and sisters I think the saddest part is when those who nominally attend feel it is no longer relevant as it doesn’t offer anything other than be nice and have tea and biscuits after the service. All this does is further entrench their apathy until they stop altogether or only turn up for Christmas services, weddings, funerals, etc.
    The demise in the Gospel within the CoS is heart breaking when I think of all the Godly men and woman who have gone before us. When you take the message of the cross away all you’re left with is a rather twee social club. We may have mocked the atheist church thing but without the cross and salvation is what’s being offered really any different? Perhaps the only difference is the unconditional message that I’m sure many people would recognize from many churches of; God loves you because you’re so special. Whilst we are all fearfully and wonderfully made we are also horrendously broken sinners and that is what makes grace so scandalous and leaves us in awe of the God of the Bible. Such a message as being perpetuated and disseminated by cross deniers waters down God’s love, God’s holiness, His justice, etc. The gospel of niceness, as Mr Robertson put it, is indeed no gospel, and worse still is a gospel that potentially leaves people on the highway to Hell. not offending people into eternal joy and salvation but comforting them into torment and separation from God.
    While we should mourn over the CoS waywardness I hope that there will be a restoration of it in the same way God restored his people after their exile. There are still those who love and serve God faithfully in the CoS and I hope they speak prophetically into the situation and point everything back to God.

  10. Rise up, people of the Word. You are a Kingdom people and the fields are ripe for harvest. Let the Light shine through the darkness to transform the land through the power of His Spirit.

  11. I’m no judge, David, but having listened to the recording I don’t think you were “suckered” at all – though the will may have been there, and though the behaviour of some was certainly shameful.

    Of course they weren’t going to publish the debate, after you so obviously had the best of the “conversation”; what’s most interesting is that apparently the great and the good in the Kirk KNEW BEFOREHAND that you would.

    Equally of course, some will have bethought them that the readiest damage limitation – with the evidence gone – was to put it about that your well-known pugnacity led you to unbecomingly judgemental lengths 🙂

    But it wasn’t so. And God knows it, and thanks to your friend with the phone, now everyone who’s interested knows it too.
    So truth was spoken, and was not suppressed by unrighteousness, which is a good outcome.

  12. Reblogged this on Julesjewels6952 and commented:
    The slide has been obvious for many years and what saddens me is the folk I know though professing to love Christ, remain in this denomination.

    1. Julian, I am a member of a CofS church. I find a place the feels like home there where I can connect with Christ. I’ve been to different churches across liberal/conservative/charismatic spectrum and find out of all this is where I can belong.

      If reading this saddens you then may I suggest consideration as to why it does other than making it personal? What is it about other denominations that might make someone be at home in the CofS? Yes there is syncretism in the CofS – what about others? Is there spiritual pride, is there spritisim masquerading as Christ likeness, is there a failure to show grace?

      One thing I am sure of, something that is often said – there is no perfect church.

  13. Hello

    As an ex member of the C of S now attending the Free Church, I couldn’t agree more with what you do and say in God’s name. You are a great encouragement. My husband John and I will continue to pray for you. Thank you.

    Pray that God will continue to pour his rich blessings on you.

    Carole MacDonald Muir of Ord

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  14. David, you truly wiped the floor with McKenna. It was actually embarrassing. All McKenna could do was just sit there with an embarrassed smirk on his increasingly red face. That is why he decided to delete the tape: he totally lost the debate and no doubt the CoS establishment (i.e. John Chalmers) told him to wipe it, otherwise it would further damage the reputation of the coffee club/property management company that the CoS now is (if that’s possible).

    I have to say though, this absolute lack of respect and contempt for the MODERATOR of a “sister church” is shameful and the duplicity involved incredible. But really, what do you expect from such an apostate outfit?

    McKenna is an out-and-out heretic and his behaviour is to be expected: “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:16-20).

    1. Dear David
      I am appalled by this post and by many of the replies. The character assassination of Scott McKenna is just not right. I know Scott well…in fact I would call him a friend. This is surprising since we are so different. I am combative, abrasive (part of my working class background) opinionated and love a good old fashioned gloves off debate. I would happily debate you David anywhere anytime and you can bring as many camera’s as you like! Scott on the other hand is one of the few genuinely good and gracious people I have met…he often humbles me just by being himself. I am tired of meeting supposedly “nice” people in the middle class institution that is the Church where people wear masks and play games and fulfil roles. I confess that when I first met Scott I immediately thought he was one of those. Shame on me! Instead I have come to know one of the most genuine and I hesitate to use the word, spiritual people I have ever met. Therefore I am really angered and saddened by what is written here about him.

      Let me be clear I am to the right of Scott theologically as I am obviously to the left of you David. In all things it is the “issues” that need to be debated and personal attacks should not have a place at all within Christian discourse. I have heard quite scathing criticism from evangelicals about you (even concerning the debate with Scott) which I will not repeat as they don’t achieve anything. We all need to be better than that.

      I consider your post to be inflammatory and it has worked if the replies are anything to go by. One of the problems in human relations is that of perceived reality. It occurs at every level. You have given us your perception of what was agreed and understood in relation to the evening however I have no doubt that could be different from the other people involved. It is clear from what you wrote that you had a very specific agenda for the evening and after reading that I am surprised that you are surprised that the Moderator or Principal Clerk may have had reservations about the publicity…if indeed that is the case.

      And then there is Scott. What did you think he was expecting? What did he hope the evening would be about? What was his understanding from your prior conversations? After all it was his Church and it wasn’t a Solas event. You were a guest! When you phone him to apologise for the obnoxious use of “Scottgate” you might ask him!

      I am also left wondering if on the tapes issue Scott has been caught between two clashing plates and left to carry the can. That would be very unfair indeed

      Finally, regarding the evening itself you give the impression of trepidation before hand (Daniel in the Lion’s den) pressure during, and of course the retrospective “took a bullet”. Since when were you a “shrinking violet?” Please!!!! You are not a victim David, nor a martyr! Your language throughout your post is to say the least overly dramatic. That doesn’t help.

      1. Russell, What a string of accusations! Could you tell me where I assassinated Scott’s character? Can you tell me what is written here about him that he does not say himself or based on what he says himself?

        ” I have heard quite scathing criticism from evangelicals about you (even concerning the debate with Scott) which I will not repeat as they don’t achieve anything. We all need to be better than that.” What a cheap and nasty comment! Innuendo, gossip and condemnation all in one go…and you don’t have to provide a bit of evidence….’I have heard’ is always the language of the malicious gossip.

        Perceived reality…writes the minister who just gives us a whole load of perceptions…and not one actual factual statement in his post! I on the other hand posted the agreement we had with Salisbury Mayfield where we were promised the tapes. But hey, thats just perceived reality!

        I did have a specific agenda – which I shared with Scott – that I wanted to share the gospel with his congregation and with others who were hearing his false teaching. And I prayed, and do pray, specifically, for his own conversion. That was my aim. You don’t need to read anything else into it. If I just wanted to trash him I could do what you have just done here – on the internet.

        And I don’t claim to be a victim nor a martyr. The reason I was concerned because I knew that I would receive precisely the kind of posts you have sent.

        My one question for you is – never mind whether Scott is nice (which I agree with) or spiritual (which I have no idea what you mean) – I ask simply – is he a Christian when he denies the Bible, the Cross and Christ?

        As for debating….feel free – let me know the subject, time and place and I will do what I can!

  15. Every evangelical in Scotland will be encouraged by the positive messages in favour of the Gospel of Christ. What now worries me is the absence of any comment from the Moderator of the Church of Scotland who absented himself the debate due to ‘illness’. While I wish him a speedy recovery, I, like every other born again believer in Scotland now wish to hear from the Moderator. The following are 3 of the many questions which the Revd Morrison must answer: Will the Moderator as a Bible believing evangelical condemn and use the procedures of the Kirk to discipline the Revd McKenna? If not, why? Will the Moderator condemn the destruction of the tape? If not why? Is the Moderator prepared to take a stand for Christ in the public square?

  16. Dear David

    As I read I felt the sense of angst and heartache that must have been yours on this occasion. You have sought to honour the Lord and be true to His gospel, and that will always come at a price. The aspect of Christian service for the Lord to which you have undoubtedly been called, and for which you have certainly been gifted, is far more arduous than most of us will ever realise.

    May the Lord give all of that grace and help that you will need, not only during such events but after them.

    Keep on keeping on.

    David Cassells 1 Cor 15:58

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    1. Hi David,

      I think you missed a major point here. This was never meant to be a ‘debate’ as you describe it. The flyer clearly states ‘conversation’. In the opening remarks John Chalmers uses the phrase ‘respectful dialogue,’ which again is entirely different than a debate.

      You had an opportunity here to model to our faith community and beyond that Christians are capable of dialogue, even when they don’t see eye to eye. Instead, you used this as an opportunity to personally attack Scott McKenna in a very personal and inappropriate way. Your judgement of him came through louder than any of your theology. I encourage you to reflect on how you would handle such a conversation in the future.

      1. Hi Hayley,

        I hesitate to ‘debate’ with you but I’m afraid you have missed the point. This was never designed to be a fire side chat between a couple of philosopher Christians discussing the finer points of theology, before all agreeing that we are all jolly fine chaps and isn’t everything wonderful. You have several difficulties here which I would like to help you with (and if you think that is patronising just think about how your post comes across!).

        1) You are presupposing that we are both Christians. Given that we believe in different Christs, have different bibles, different Gods and a different view of salvation, would you like to explain how that is possible? The whole point of the discussion/conversation/debate was because I wrote that Scott was teaching anti-Christian theology and I wanted his congregation to hear that.

        2) I never personally attacked Scott. I find this tendency amongst liberals to automatically equate disagreement with someone as personal attack very disturbing. It is an attempt to shut down any discussion or debate and to marginalise or minimise any points of difference. I challenge you to show one place where I personally attacked Scott. It should not be too difficult for you as you saw it as ‘a very personal and inappropriate way’. But I suspect that is irrelevant to you. You make up a personal attack so that you can just dismiss the arguments.

        3) Re John Chalmers and the ‘respectful dialogue’. Actions speak louder than words. I wonder how respectful you think it is that the C of S promised that the whole thing would be filmed and then put online (and that we would be given the tapes) and yet they then destroyed them. How respectful was it to marginalise the conversation and say nothing in public about it afterwards? And how respectful to allow my name to be trashed, in the kind of way that you have attempted?

        No the bottom line is that the kind of emotional and irrational bullying, that your post is a mild example of, just does not wash with me. It is an attempt to squash any kind of discussion and to silence those who actually dare to speak as well as believe the Bible. Incidentally as you may have gathered I find your post (and its pathetic attempt to smear me as some kind of vicious and nasty person) not respectful at all. However I will give you the benefit of the doubt and let you prove what you said – show me one place where I personally attacked Scott in a very personal and inappropriate way….will I hold my breath? Or will you justify your accusation by just saying this answer proves your point? (see the Devilish Advice about Dealing with Christian Ministers who actually believe the Bible – for an explanation of the tactics you are using!)…

  17. Praise God for the faithfulness of the Free Church of Scotland. After a disastrous flirtation with a charismatic church 8 years ago, I chose the Free Church over any other in my area because of its adherence to the Bible. I knew then that the Church of Scotland had lost its way and I’m grateful for the God-given insight that made me a Wee Free! I’m looking forward to listening to the recordings. God bless you, David, for standing true and being such a strong Biblical example for us all.

  18. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be “anathema” – eternally condemned. “ Galatians, 1:8`

    If I had to choose between St. Paul and the Rev. McKenna I think I know where myl choice would fall. The Rev. McKenna will be forgotten in a very short time, but the damage he creates will last much longer.

    I write this, not because I want to be contentious, but because it is crucial that McKenna and his supporters realise that their mortal souls are in the deepest danger despite their religiosity. In my view they are possibly guilty of the “unforgivable sin” (Mark 3, 28-29).

    David, you have done your best. Now shake the dust off your shoes and move on. (Mt 10,14). You have fulfilled your “watchman” calling on this occasion (Ezek 3, 17-19). Undoubtedly there will be other issues – but “sufficient to the day be the evil thereof”. (Matt 6,34 AV)

    God bless – we are praying for you.

  19. Thank you, David. What rogues, eh?

    The heretics always demand the use of the name of Christian. It’s a fingerprint of heresy. You now see the rottenness plain.

  20. Dear David,
    after your blog, my mind is in a spin.All I can say at the present time is this;that as the Lord was graciously leading me to Christ during my young years , many Gospel preachers/ witnesses of the
    true Gospel of Christ ministered to me of the Atonement. Only this brings us peace with God and I stand on this.To God be the glory !

  21. Having seen a video of the entire discussion, David, I can assure you that you did most assuredly come across as arrogant, vindictive and fundamentalist (some way say extremist… myself included).

    Mr. McKenna, on the other hand, came across as a relatively reasonable, moderate voice, who can see a route to a future where religion can comfortably exist in a Nation where religion, in general, is on an inevitable decline.

    You excommunicated someone who ought to be your ally. You are, by your own hand, catalysing the demise of christianity in Scotland generally. For my own part, I say, fair enough and keep at it.

    Your brand of divisive posturing and othering only serves to quicken the marginalisation of all churches, and hasten the collapse of their strangle-hold on positions of power within Government and Education. Long may this divisive fracturing continue… And well done to you for continuing to have such an active hand in the demise of religion as a political force in Scotland.

    1. Paul – thanks….how sweet. Quelle surprize! An SS (Secular Scotland) member thinks I am arrogant, vindictive and extremist…and thanks for your support for Scott McKenna – those who know SS will realise what a badge of dishonour that is for a Christian minister. SS are an anti-religious hate group who for some reason have become obsessed with me. There is hardly a day goes by without a thread devoted to attacking me being placed on their FB page (today is no exception). They are so obsessed that they sent some people to this debate to film it. One has to wonder why? After all it was a theological debate and they have no interest in theology. The trouble for them is that they have been trawling (and trolling) all over the place, looking for dirt on yours truly and as yet have not come up with anything. Now they are almost wetting themselves with excitement that they have a video of the event (given that the C of S destroyed theirs). Tow of their leaders both said that they would be happy to share it (I presume by posting online) but their chairman intervened and said it was their tape and they would do what they like with it. Personally I am delighted that they are so keen on watching a debate in which the Gospel was explained and I am delighted that they came to church to hear it. Its an honour that you think the event was so important that you sent people to secretly film it. I pray that God would bless it to you Paul…and all your colleagues who get a wee thrill out of watching a secret tape….you might get more than you bargained for….

      1. That you suggest people who uphold a Secular view “have no interest in Theology” shows that you either do not understand Secularism (many Secularists are religious believers as well, and Theology is an interesting topic even for those of us with no religious beliefs), or are knowingly and actively misrepresenting what Secularism stands for.

        For the record, My response here was a personal one, and not representative of any organisation I am a member of.

        You are doing a pretty great job of showing yourself up, without me having to go to any effort in that regard. All the best.

  22. Dear David,

    I see my previous comment didn’t make it past moderation. Perhaps I was feeling defensive with comments about the CoS, a beloved denomination to me and I may have responded harshly, If there was anything I wrote or in the manner I wrote it in that was not helpful, I apologise.

    Wayne rightly mentioned that Martin Lloyd appealed at the 1966 Evangelical Alliance conference for evangelicals to withdraw from denominations. It will be remembered that John Stott in his position as chair said that he believed Lloyd-Jones was in error for Scripture showed that there was a “remnant”. In spite of their differing theological positions, they remained friends.

    I’m sad to read of your being “played and suckered. And it’s not a nice feeling.”

    So what now for the church in Scotland?

    I appreciate the passion and intelligence expressed for the word of God and the distress shown at sin. However emotionally, for health reasons I have to distance myself and for that reason can’t with all conscience give a huge AMEN to what you have written even thought i would like to offer support.

    The reason is this – a few years ago, I bordered on being ill, devastated by the spiritual climate of the church. It required seeing my doctor. Thankfully when being referred to a psychologist, the diagnosis was although I was borderline ill with anxiety and depression, the was she described it was that I was going through difficulties like a lot of people do. I was prescribed sessions of mindfulness meditation and compassion therapy. Jesus met me in healing through these in a way that I wasn’t finding a connection with Jesus in church.

    I’ve learned to keep my heart more guarded in church circles and attending a CofS church, for me has resulted in feeling like being at home, a round peg in around hole free from the stress and sadness that I had been experiencing previously. I don’t know why I feel more at home there but I have never been more at peace and full of joy. I have to go with the fruit.

    May you heal fro recent events and know the peace of the Lord David. May you be strong in the Lord equipped with God’s armour to engage in battle effectively against the dark forces in the world and evil spirits in the heavenly realms.

  23. Good work, David. I posted this comment on the aformentioned Neil Campbell blog:

    I find it strange that you talk about the dangers of evangelical certainty with scripture and then turn around and quote Matthew as an “unequivocal statement” by Jesus in your defense.

    What about the unequivocal statement by Christ that he would give his life a ransom for the many? I guess that doesn’t fit the cherry picking approach you take to the Bible.

  24. Agreeing with Curlew, Ian Sutherland, Elliot Morrison and Goodfeltg here. I wish I had no C of S connection – then I could simply pray for “them” and largely keep out of things.

    However, like many in Scotland, my situation is more complicated than that. I was a member in Mayfield Salisbury in the days when a Christian elder attempted to challenge and question the “theology” preached there. As expected he was treated with contempt, almost physically pushed out of the way, mocked etc. Eventually he left – but had “done what he could”.

    Where I am now a sound minister has recently arrived – but what genuine backing can he expect from his own kirk session if he stands up to be counted in this? Fine for him to say he follows Christ, but if he challenges the Church to discipline? To take action?

    And what next for the many who feel they have no where else to go? In rural areas? Surrounded by “Christians” who, to be quite honest, they can’t trust to be such? There is a need to separate the sheep from the goats.

  25. “Scott denied the Bible, called the atoning work of Christ on the cross barbaric (and Calvinist!) and at the end suggested that the future of the Church in Scotland rested on leadership styles like the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury as well as ‘mind fulness’. ”

    I am rater surprise at Scott’s comments on the Archbishope of Canterbury. Welby is a strong bible believing evangelical who would be totally at odds with Scott’s theology.

    Also he has clearly recently concluded that there is little or no prospect of the world wide Anglican commumity remaining united in its present form due to the polarisation of liberals and evangelicals, and has invite all the national leaders to a conference in January to discuss possible ways forward. He is proposing a looser “federation” of some sort, rather than trying to maintain a deeply divided “communion”.

    Given the decline in the C of E in England, largely due to the same reasons as the decline in the C of S, I suspect that in due time a similar solution will be applied to the C of E in England. The only thriving C of E churches are evangelical.

    1. A word of caution about the Archbishop, described as a ” strong bible believing evangelical”. This is the one who has publicly encouraged praying to Mary, who attends, but does not take part in, celebrations of the Mass at Lambeth Palace and whose senior spiritual adviser is an Orthodox Priest. Draw your own conclusions!

  26. Russel Moffat, you say Mr McKenna is “…….one of the most genuine and I hesitate to use the word, spiritual people I have ever met.”
    On that basis you’re “…really angered and saddened by what is written here about him….”

    I’d love to know what the sense is in that, or what the relevance is of his genuineness and “spiritualness”.
    And what WAS said about him, exactly?
    1) That he’s a nice guy?
    2) That he doesn’t preach the Gospel of substitutionary atonement, as set out in Scripture, and in the historic formularies of the Church that pays his stipend?
    3) That either he, or someone else, reneged on an earlier promise to record and publicise?

    Which of those are you taking issue with?

  27. Someone says above –

    “…. I am a member of a CofS church. I find a place that feels like home there … I’ve been to different churches across liberal/conservative/charismatic spectrum and find out of all this is where I can belong…..”

    Sometimes I almost think the worst thing of all about Liberalism is the muddled thinking that seems to follow it, as night follows the day.
    It might be an instructive exercise to ask which church Richard Dawkins, or a member of the Scottish Secular Society, would probably feel most at home in – and why.

    1. Curlew,

      It was me you were talking about having shared. Let me ask you, what would be preferable, that I continue in with the church and Christian circles I was in previously and experience “distress at sin” to to point of being borderline ill. Or attend a different Church and be part of a Christian meditation community experiencing joy and peace whilst some may perceive me as “liberal” and “muddled “.

      What do you think would be in keeping with Christ being central and the fruits of the Spirit?

  28. What I find astonishing in reading many of these comments is the attacks on David for taking a bold stand for the truth and against Satanic lies. Two things should be born in mind. First, David is not criticising a brother in Christ but someone, who, on his own public and oft repeated admission, denies the very core tenets of the biblical faith and therefore is, based on all the evidence we have, an unbeliever and apostate. Second, if you think David is being harsh, go back and read your New Testament and see how Jesus spoke to and about the religious false teachers of his day who were dragging people down to hell with them. Would you make the same accusations against Christ? One more thing, suppose that as a parent you discovered that your local GP, rather than giving your child medicine, was, in fact, giving them poison, would you say that it doesn’t really matter because for all his murderous intentions s/he’s actually such a nice person? The worst and most dangerous heretics are the ‘nice’ ones, the ones in sheep’s clothing. David deserves the support of the saints; please save the attacks for the real enemies of the Gospel

  29. This is on a par with the “shocking news that Christian organisation wants to employ a Christian manager”. “Church moderator would uphold church discipline in his church”.

    What is their strapline? “It is public scandal which constitutes offence, but to sin nicely is not to sin at all”?

  30. ducatihero,

    it wasn’t you I was responding to, unless you have another, different username!

    It doesn’t matter though. The point I meant to make was that a person’s feeling at home in a church can’t in itself tell us or them whether that church is holding faithfully and truly to the Biblical gospel.
    Joy and peace are desirable for their own sake, but if they proceed from a false gospel, they won’t remain so.

    What do I think is in keeping with Christ being central?
    Only believing and teaching his word as it stands in the Old and New Testaments.

    1. Yeah I’m Adam, sorry for any confusion. For some reason I appear differently depending on whether I use my phone or laptop. Not got round to changing that yet.

      You are right to say what you have about feeling. However joy as a fruit of the Spirit is not about a passing emotion and neither is the peace of the Lord that passes understanding.

      You have chosen to imply me as”liberalised” and “muddled”. That’s fine at various times I have been called insensitive, harsh and conservative, at other times wolly, liberal and muddied.

      Your perception is not my concern.

      Of course you will realise that seeking approval of man is not consistent with being a servant of the Lord and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin.

      1. hi Adam,

        it’s only the thinking I’m calling muddled. The fact that someone feels at home in a church sheds no light on the objective spiritual state of that church.

        No, the fruit of the Spirit isn’t a passing thing, but Satan himself can take on the guise of an angel of light. It wouldn’t be the true light – as this might not be the true fruit – but it would look like it at the time; and the only way we have of testing either is against Scripture.

      2. Curlew,

        Interesting, so you think someone expressing feeling at home in a church is an indication of muddled thinking.

        You wrote ” ONLY believing and teaching his word as it stands in the Old and New Testaments” is what you think is in keeping with Christ being central (emphasis mine). I know that if I speak in tongues of men and angels but have not love then I am as a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.

        What I think is in keeping with Christ being central is connection with perfect love, loving God and loving others as oneself and everything else coming for that.

      3. Adam,
        “….you think someone expressing feeling at home in a church is an indication of muddled thinking….”

        not their expressing the feeling, no – but taking the feeling for proof of the church’s soundness, that’s the muddled thinking. Isn’t it?

        “…What I think is in keeping with Christ being central is connection with perfect love, loving God and loving others as oneself and everything else coming for that….”

        Good on yer 🙂
        But show me a way of testing and discerning those imponderables without holding fast to God’s word written, and I’ll show you a very dangerously subjective course indeed

    2. Curlew,

      You commented, ““….you think someone expressing feeling at home in a church is an indication of muddled thinking….”…not their expressing the feeling, no – but taking the feeling for proof of the church’s soundness”

      When you initially responded it wasn’t and an engagement with a claim about a “church’s soundness” but to a personal sharing of belonging and feeling at home. I make no claim about the CofS being without synchretism, just as David makes no claim about the Free church being without pride. Brother sharpens brother.

      You wrote “show me a way of testing and discerning those imponderables without holding fast to God’s word written, and I’ll show you a very dangerously subjective course indeed”. This can be easily done. Consider the word of God being passed down by oral tradition before being committed to paper. The logical conclusion to what you claim with this in mind leads to an assertion about the synoptic gospels being a “dangerously subjective” recording of the word of God. I don’t think that’s true and I don’t think you do either.

      What follows is somewhat of a lengthy discourse for a comment on a blog. I hope David will allow this past his moderation. Such length is necessary in the interest of being a thorough defense against personal accusation made.

      Curlew, there are two words you used – “liberalised” and “muddled” to imply how I am coming across. Again your perspective about me is not my concern – I don’t need your approval. However describing someone publicly as such is not without consequences. I reject your conclusion. I shall explain why.

      An online dictionary definition of “liberal” is “willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas” if I stand accused of being such then I plead guilty, gladly. I identify with being “liberalised” in the sense of an affinity with the exodus narrative of Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt and with Jesus opening the scriptures in the synagogue at Nazareth coming to “set the oppressed free”. The church would be worse off without “liberal” people.

      I am “muddled” in the sense that I know I can’t trust in my own understanding (limited as it is) and that there is a need to acknowledge God and follow his direction if one is to remain true to following Christ, being willing to surrender one’s life for Christ’s sake so one may have fullness of life. I’ve found the riches of heaven to be infinitely more rewarding that worldly pursuits although there is nothing wrong and everything right with having pride (not arrogance) in one’s achievements.

      Your view is that “teaching his word” is in keeping with Christ being central, but I think that’s not what you doing here. I think you are wrongly implying that a sense of belonging and feeling at home in the CofS, a beloved denomination, is tantamount to personal apostasy. To affirm this, when you quoted me above you omitted the context in which I mentioned belonging and feeling at home, it being “where I can connect with Christ”.

      May I bring to recollection that the instruction God gave to Israel in exile in Babylon was to settle down, make their homes there, serve foreign kings and be a remnant of God’s people? Again in 1966 at the Evangelical Alliance conference John Stott believed Martin Lloyd-Jones to be in error with his appeal to evangelicals to come out of their detonations, showing that even among great men who share an affinity with evangelicalism there can be disunity of thought and friendship remain.

      Whether to remain in the CofS or to “come out” is therefore a moot point. The point is the love of God and humankind being central, and doing as Christ did, discerning where God is at work and what one’s part is to play in that.

      Your “liberalised” and “muddled” rhetoric has echoes of being “radicalised” to describe those disenfranchised who perceive some kind of purpose in joining ISIL and committing terrorist atrocities. You wrote the diatribe “I almost think the worst thing of all about Liberalism is the muddled thinking that seems to follow it, as night follows the day.”

      No real security can be found in liberalism, evangelicalism, or any other human movement but in Christ. You have a political view about liberalism. I support your freedom to align yourself where you choose on the theological spectrum, but if you were continue to allude to my Christian walk in rhetoric that is like that used to describe an ISIL terrorist then there would be difficulty between us.

      Can I suggest an approach that could be useful for you in the future? When “someone” takes the risk of being vulnerable about hardship experienced in their Christian journey, enduring it and finding a place of belonging that feels like home, with peace and joy of the Lord, perhaps you may wish to be glad for them and consider throwing a little honour, compassion and edification their way?

      Please think about it.

      I think David has indulged me enough on this occasion with my comments if he is to allow this past moderation then I would be grateful for that. Therefore in the interest of not outstaying any welcome on this issue here, this will be my last comment engaging with you on this thread Curfew.

      1. Curfew here, Adam 🙂

        I think you must have typed that very fast, and I’m not sure I follow all of it, but agree it’s time to wrap up.
        I’m glad you find solace in the CofS; I just fear that as a church, it has so gravely departed from its scriptural roots that any comfort it seems to supply must be at best temporary, if not entirely illusory.
        Please don’t read that as a Parthian shot, or attempt to “have the last word”. I also would be overjoyed if the historic and beloved churches of this country were to be restored.

  31. What more can one say that David has not said already. Having now listened to the debate here are my thoughts.
    As can be seen, the Bible is no work of mere human origin but the work of God the Holy Spirit. As it states in 2nd Peter ch1v 21 “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” and in 2nd Timothy ch3v16 “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God…”.

  32. I have posted this on the Rev. Campbell’s blog. http://www.neilgcampbell.net/rev-scott-s.-mckenna-and-rev-david-andrew-robertson-a-misjudged-conversation/

    It awaits moderation.

    Dear Rev. Campbell,

    I have been a Christian for more than 50 years and have been “around the block” many times. My faith was consolidated, as a student, sitting under the ministry of great C of E evangelical teachers such as John Stott and Dick Lucas. I love biblical truth and still love studying the gospels and the epistles. But I admit that I have had no formal theological training like yourself. I am not a “religious expert”.

    I have read your post and am trying to imagine what the “commentary” would have been in Antioch, presumably around AD 50, when St Paul and St Peter met. (Galatians 2, 11).

    “When Peter came to Antioch , I opposed him to his face because he was clearly wrong”.

    The background to this is Ch.1, 8 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned”.

    Two things are clear: firstly that St Paul was deeply troubled by the false teachers who were infiltrating the Galatian church. Secondly that even the great St. Peter was in error despite Acts 10 and indeed Mark 7, 24-30. If Paul had not challenged him then there would have, from the earliest days, been a Jewish and a Gentile church.

    I learn from this that it is not wrong to challenge church leaders; indeed it is essential if they are clearly in the wrong. This is not “unloving” . St Paul was quite definitely “confrontational” and probably perceived as “ungracious”. If they had Twitter or YouTube in those days then I am sure there would have been a major campaign against him.

    The Lord Jesus was very gentle when he spoke to the general people; indeed some of the conversations recorded are the most wonderful in scripture (e.g.the woman at the well). But most of his hardest sayings (and there were many) were reserved for the religious leaders who were leading the people astray (e.g. Matt 23).

    The issue here is not whether or not David Robertson was confrontational or ungracious (he admits to being a frail sinner who often gets things wrong) but whether or not the Rev. McKinna is an apostate and false teacher.

    I have watched the recording of his infamous sermon where he denies the basic tenants of the Christian faith and I was deepl y shocked. That the Church of Scotland can tolerate this is the most shocking thing of all!

    Please stop focussing on David Robertson – he is not the issue! The real issue is whether or not the Rev. McKenna, and I must include you in this, believe and preach the biblical gospel. by which men and women are saved from hell.

    You quoted Matthew 25 (out of context I think) but please note V. 12; 30, & 41.

    These are the words of “gentle Jesus”.

    1. Agree with ‘goodfeltg’, the issue is whether is Scott Mckenna is an apostate or false teacher?

      Galations 1v 8-9

      8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

      9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

      To David Robertson

      2 Timothy 4King James Version (KJV)

      4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

      2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

      3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

      4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

      5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

      Keep fighting the good fight brother

  33. Oh how we should long and pray so very boldly and deeply for the Lord our God to bring revival in these end times, I am just reading about “God’s Arrow”.. William Burns, (am quarter way into it) and it brings tears to my eyes to read what great times the churches experienced under such Godly men, Join with me in praying for Almighty God to bring Revival once more, even now, and remember it is no good asking Him to send revival for where revival is.. He is also. He shall bring it yet I feel sure and it must begin with the church that is neither hot nor cold but is on the point of death,
    God bless you, Chris.

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