Investigate Extremist Christians!

jeremiah-1-hp

 I suppose it was to be expected. After the crushing defeat for the Scottish government at the United Kingdom Supreme Court over their Named Person scheme, we not only had the spin which sought to turn it into victory, but then, sadly, the intimidation and mockery which has become so much part of the current Scottish political scene. Whilst there are Christians who support the named person scheme, and others who do not really know, and whilst there were secular organisations and groups opposed to the scheme, it is doubtful whether the court case would never have succeeded without the Christian Institute and CARE. Whatever one’s view about the scheme, I would hope that all democrats and all Christians would accept that those who are opposed to it, have a right to express that opposition and to campaign against what they believe to be wrong. But sadly there is a growing democratic deficit in our country which means that opposition to anything that our governing elites decide is a good thing, will be declared an evil.

Even though I was aware of this, it still came as a surprise to find an article last Sunday in the Sunday Herald that was a blatant piece of propaganda and an attempt at intimidation against the Christian Institute. This is how the article began:

The evangelical Christian charity, which led the legal action against the Scottish government on the controversial Named Person legislation, is to be investigated over whether it misused funds in pursuing the case.

The Christian Institute, a creationist charity which believes that every word in the bible is fact, joined with other conservative and religious charities, and three individuals, in an effort to stop the Scottish government introducing the nation-wide welfare scheme for all children. Their appeal against it was successful in the Supreme Court on Thursday after the Court of Session in Edinburgh had dismissed it last year.

The Charity Commission, which governs charities, will now have to decide whether the Christian Institute’s spending on the case, and that of its three other charity partners, was a justified use of funds. There are strict rules concerning political campaigning and spending, which is only permitted when it is in pursuit of the charity’s aims and objectives. The institute has been criticised in the past by the commission for inappropriate campaigning.

It is very disappointing that the Sunday Herald, which is a quality newspaper, resorts at times to such blatant propaganda and to being used as a tool for intimidating those who do not agree with the agenda of the Scottish government. Their article states correctly that the charities commission were to investigate the Christian Institute. What they don’t say is what that investigation is based upon. It could just be one disgruntled SNP supporter in Edinburgh making a complaint to the charities commission, which they are then obliged to investigate.   The newspaper then reports this as though it were some kind of major event. This is equivalent to you hearing that police are investigating the minister of St Peter’s Free Church. That sends all kinds of alarm bells going. You automatically wonder, ‘what has he been up to now?!’. And yet it may be that someone has just made a complaint about an alleged hate crime because of an article I have written, to which there is no substance and no possibility of prosecution. Yet there is an investigation! “There can be no smoke without fire’. (the way this works is that the person making the complaint, with a desire to stir up trouble, then informs the press that they have done so and it gets reported as ‘Christian Institute being investigated’ – ever wonder how the Herald got this story?)

The issue here is not whether one agrees with the Christian Institute’s stance on the named person, but whether as a charity they have a right to campaign against it. They believe that the Named Person Act As it stands is illegal and an infringement of family and children’s rights, which they want to stand up for. In this case the court found in their favour. But the implication being given in the Sunday Herald article is that they should not have campaigned at all, even though they were correct. It is true that charities are not allowed to engage in party political campaigning, but they are allowed to lobby and to campaign, providing such activity is within their charitable aims.

The Christian Institute exists for “the furtherance and promotion of the Christian religion in the United Kingdom” and “the advancement of education”.

The Christian Institute is a nondenominational Christian charity committed to upholding the truths of the Bible. We are supported by individuals and churches throughout the UK.

We believe that the Bible is the supreme authority for all of life and we hold to the inerrancy of Scripture. We are committed to upholding the sanctity of life from conception.

If however the charities commission were to decide that no charitable organisation could engage in political activities or government lobbying then we would end up with a very interesting situation. For a start it would finish the work of Stonewall and The Equality Network! Both these organisations regularly engage in political campaigns. Indeed it is doubtful whether any politician in a mainstream political party can afford to upset them, such is the power they wield through their’ awards’, campaigns, media influence, and threat of outing anyone who disagrees with them as homophobic. Never mind Junckers little black book, it is far more dangerous for any contemporary politician in the United Kingdom to be on the hit list of the various LGBT activist/political charities.

What is even worse is that a substantial amount of their funding comes from the government. Over £9 million has been spent by the Scottish government since 2002 in supporting LGBT charities. Here for example are the figures from

2011/12 –

1 Stonewall Good Practice Project £100,000.00
2 Equality Network  

Informed and Empowered Communities

£60,000.00
3 Equality Network Policy Project £50,000.00

 

4 Equality Network Community Sector Building £60,000.00

 

5 Equality Network Intersectional Project £60,000.00
6 Equality Network Scottish Transgender Alliance £125,000.00

 

7 LGBT Youth Domestic Abuse £60,000.00

 

8 LGBT Youth Young People’s Policy and Participation £60,000.00
9 LGBT Youth Community Capacity Building £90,000.00

 

10 LGBT Youth LGBT History Month £55,000.00

 

LGBT Total £720,000.00

 

Some More Equal than Others

The Christian Institute, like most Christian charities will not receive a penny from the government. Solas and St Peters and most Christian organisations are funded from the donations of our members, not the taxpayers. The Equality Network on the other hand is in effect funded by the government to tell the government what to do and then to congratulate the government on what it is doing, before asking it to do more of the same thing again! It appears that some are more equal than others!

There is an even deeper irony. Some of the charities which campaigned in favour of the Named Person could find themselves reported to OSCR on the basis that they were spending money campaigning for a law which breached children’s rights and were, therefore, not in line with their aims and objectives. Given that the faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland had warned about the Article 8 issues in evidence to the Scottish parliament’s Education and Culture committee, it is not as if they were unaware of these. These charities were being funded by the Scottish government to support and promote a scheme that has been found to be illegal. Rather than The Sunday Herald carrying articles threatening the Christian Institute, they should be questioning why major children’s charities should have supported an action that was opposed to the European Convention on Human Rights!

Breaking News!

Even as I write the following has just come in: as expected the Christian Institute has been cleared of wrongdoing:

 The controversial Christian charity which led the legal action against the Scottish government on the Named Person legislation did not misuse its funds in pursuing the case.

The Christian Institute, a creationist charity which believes that every word in the bible is true, joined with three other charities and three individuals to stop the Scottish government imposing on all children a legal mentor, usually a teacher, who would have access to a range of private information about them and their families.

The successful legal action in the Supreme Court by the institute and the other partners, so far costing £300,000, means that within six weeks the government will have to come up with proposals that do not infringe the right to privacy enshrined in the European Human Rights Act.

The Charity Commission, which governs charities, has extremely onerous rules about political campaigning which is only legitimate if it furthers the aims of the charity. On Monday the commission investigated whether the Christian Institute had inappropriately used its funds to take legal action against the government and concluded that it had not.

This is not a surprise. No one expected otherwise. However this story is part of a pattern of intimidation and bullying that is sadly becoming all too prevalent in modern Scottish and British society. You dare to go against us and we will threaten you. You will note in both reports from the Herald how they describe the Christian Institute as creationist and as an organisation that believes that every word of the Bible is true. This is not said in order to provide information, but rather to provide a warning and of course to give opportunity for people to mock (red neck idiots, how could anyone believe such a thing?!) – an opportunity which is all too readily taken up in the comments section that follows.   As someone who is a trustee of several Christian charities I am aware of the pressures that come from people who seek to intimidate, threaten and bully in such a manner. Most of us just can’t be bothered with the hassle so we try not to step out of line.

The Enemy Within – 

But the biggest threat that we face in the Christian church today does not come from militant secularists, political establishments or media ignorance. No the biggest threat we face comes from within the ranks of professing Christians. And this case provides a classic example.

On the Facebook page of Secular Scotland, an Anglican Christian, a former Free Church minister, publicly declared:

At the risk of being accused of pettiness by DAR, there might also be a case for investigating Solas for the same reason. He takes the view he alone represents “the Christian position” (mainly on LGBTQ &c) issues. Very many Christians indeed would deny this.

To which their leader Gary Otton responded – I would LOVE to see Solas investigated.

The exchange continued – I’m ex-FC and have a great deal of affection for a good many people in it even if we’re not entirely on the same wavelength. I’m pretty pissed off Robo sets himself up as their spokesman. Come to think of it he sets himself up as God’s spokesman full stop.

But can you imagine this? How dark, twisted and evil is it that someone who professes to be a Christian writes on a militant secular Facebook page, where most of the posts are mocking religion in general and Christianity in particular, and provides them with further ammunition for their hate campaign. The irony is that such people are  usually the ones  who shout the most about Christian unity and love!

I think what I find interesting about this is that the Christian concerned attends the church led by Kelvin Holdsworth, who amongst other things has used the Orlando massacre as an opportunity to call for the Scottish government and others to deal with faith-based organisations who don’t accept SSM and other aspects of the gay rights agenda. Kelvin has suggested that organisations who do not support his particular view of gay rights should have their charitable status withdrawn.

As it happened I have just been reading Jeremiah chapter 29, where God is angry against the false Prophets.  The whole chapter is a solemn warning for the Church in the UK today.   “For they have done outrageous things in Israel; they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and in my name they have uttered lies—which I did not authorize. I know it and am a witness to it, declares the LORD”.

I realise and understand that for secularists, who know nothing beyond their own wisdom and opinions, that someone claiming to speak on behalf of God is an immediate object of mockery and derision. But for a professing Christian to join in and feed that mockery is profoundly sad.

Not Guilty!

As for the charge that ‘I alone’ represent Christians on this issue or indeed on any issue, I plead, not guilty! There are ‘7000’ who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

Guilty!

But on the charge that I claim to be speaking on behalf of God, I plead, guilty! Why else would I be a minister? Who else would I be speaking on behalf of?   My own opinion is irrelevant. Who am I that anyone should listen to me? As a minister of God’s word my only concern has to be that is God’s word that is spoken. I have personal opinions about many things, as readers of this blog will know!   But I dare not give them the authority or the kudos of the Word of God. However when God does give us his word it would be an absolute sin for me to put it forward as just my opinion or as something that can be discounted as merely human. Thus says the Lord, is essential.

There is a real famine of hearing the word of the Lord in our land, and I have no intention of shutting up, or being bullied and mocked into silence, whether by militant secularists or their spiritual allies, militant liberals. In that sense I empathise completely with Jeremiah (although I hasten to add I do not put myself on a par with him at all), that the word of the Lord is like a fire within my bones. I cannot keep it in.

I Confess – 

The basic definition of a Christian, is someone who follows Christ. If we ignore the Spirit inspired word that Christ has given us, if we just adapt things to suit our own personal tastes, lifestyle and the fashions of the culture in which we live, then it is not Christ we are following but ourselves. And we dare not claim to be Christians.

So I admit it. I am an extremist Christian. I extremely love Jesus Christ. I have based my whole life upon him. And yes, I would die for him. I believe everything he says. I believe that he knows best for the whole of his creation. And yes I am a creationist – in that I believe that it was through him, and by him, and for him that all things were created. And yes he is the judge. He is the only saviour. He is the life, the light and the truth. He is the Holy and Beautiful One. The one who was dead, but now lives – forever.

I don’t want anyone to follow me – because I am none of these things. I want everyone to follow Jesus.   If you come to my church, you will very soon discover that it is not my church. It is his church. It is his household. It is his family. I am only a servant within that church. I hope and pray that no one in the congregation believes anything because I say it. But rather that they will believe every word which comes from the mouth of the living God and ignore every word that just comes from the mind of David Robertson.

Begin the Investigation.

So go ahead. Investigate me. Investigate St Peters. Investigate Solas. You won’t find anything criminal, illegal or dishonest.  You are welcome to look at our books and at what we do.  We have nothing to hide.  Although you will certainly find that we are sinful people, and that there are many things wrong with us. And that’s why we hope that any investigation of us will cause you ultimately to investigate our greatest hope, Jesus Christ. Ultimately he is the only one worth investigating, and the only one worth following. I pray that even those who are his enemies just now, will, like Saul, be turned from their mockery, hatred and disbelief into Pauls who can say “for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”!

 

 


28 thoughts on “Investigate Extremist Christians!

  1. Hi David, my brother, this article in the Herald was ‘ dog whistle’ journalism to the Max. Good to have you back in Blighty.

  2. I’ve sat for some time looking at the empty box I should be typing in, at a loss for words – how do you write a prolonged and deafening cheer??!?

    …but, David, what is this “bailing the need” that 7000 have not done -?!

    1. Bowing the knee to Baal….it is a reference to Elijah who thought he was all alone (1 Kings 19:18)…but then the Lord told him that there were 7,000 who had not compromised….

      1. The reference was plain, but you’ve got to admit that was astonishingly creative spelling.
        Go David 🙂

  3. A good article, David.

    Thank you for putting me right though. Having read the intial article in the Herald, and nothing else, I hadn’t realised that it was a quality paper. Had the author read the Supreme Court judgment ? Didn’t seem like it. The old legal maxim “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”, seems appropriate.

  4. An interesting observation is that while the website of NO2NP lists both the Christian Institute and CARE among its supporters there is no mention of either organisation in their report of the decision of the Supreme Court.
    As to the follow-up to the Court’s decision, what exactly is the proedure? According to the article (quoted above) “the government will have to come up with proposals that do not infringe the right to privacy enshrined in the European Human Rights Act.” So how does that work? Do the Scottish Government have to take their proposals to the Supreme Court for approval or do they just make changes and CARE and the CI have to go back to the SC if they think that they do not go far enough?

  5. “My own opinion is irrelevant. Who am I that anyone should listen to me?” and “God does give us his word”

    Yet you have an opinion. There is the Bible, and then on top of it you have a layer upon layer of interpretation and theology of mortal men (all men I think?). You have chosen to believe a certain type of interpretation and theology. You have chosen one interpretation of what the word of God actually is. An interpretation and theology that came some 1500 years after Christ. Now my opinion is that it is it is all as irrelevant as the other layers of interpretation and theology or indeed other faiths. You have opinion is that your version of these things, the one you agree with, is the one that is most what Jesus, the Bible and God want it to be.

    You do not, cannot, know that the interpretation and theology you follow is the correct one but you literally have faith that it is. You write here regularly about various Christians who deviate from your interpretation because you believe is is the Word of God. It is disingenuous to merely relegate yourself to being a servant. You have chosen what to believe. You have chosen how to be the type of Christian you are. You have chosen all the challenges you face. Others, like Kelvin, have different challenges, have different beliefs based on what the think is the Word of God. It is their opinion.

    As a side note, you do know the religious agenda in Scotland (to use your term) gets a lot of money from the Scottish Government. Could start, for example, with the millions that that go into the Catholic schools to maintain that Catholic ethos/agenda (delete as per personal preference). You want a slice of that pie as well. It also gives money to help the religious influence the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government via the SCPO. Just as various LGBT groups get it for the same purpose. I know that *your* organisations don’t get grants but before setting yourself up on a pedestal you should really be arguing that no-one gets these grants, regardless of the agenda. Or a least be equally critical of all those who receive them.

    1. Douglas – Thanks…

      Yes I have an opinion – that is not in doubt! But there is a difference between my opinion and the word of God.

      It is completely wrong to state that I believe in a theology that came 1500 years after Christ.

      You can of course play the game that no one can argue that anything they say is true, but everything is opinion and unprovable. I don’t live in that world. Neither am I convinced that it is all about my choosing – maybe there are other factors? Like circumstances? God choosing?

      My argument is not that no one should receive grants. My argument is against those who want to prevent Christian organisations from spending their own money campaigning for what they believe, whilst they at the same time take money from the government to campaign for their particular faith!

    2. Douglas, you commented, “my opinion is that it is it is all as irrelevant as… theology or indeed other faiths.” So two assumptions there – that all “theology” and “faiths” ire irrelevant and “it” is irrelevant too.

      Haha – sorry. I can’t help laughing. It takes a faith stronger than I have got you to to hold the opinion that you have. Ironic or what?

      Humour me if you will. What “evidence” can you provide to prove “it”, “theology” and “other faiths” are irrelevant?

    3. Your comparison should have more substance than it actually does, Douglas,
      if Kelvin Holdsworth were truly a representative Anglican. The Free Church of Scotland has a good claim to be representative of the going forward, ‘logical consequence’ branch of the Reformation – with the practices of the last 500 years behind them – whereas Anglicans have been much more concerned with a looking back, ‘historical reclamation’ of the first 500 years of the Christian era. Now that’s a simplistic distinction but it explains enough to make the continuing good understanding and fellowship in the Gospel by evangelicals, a rather wonderful thing.

      At the very least, anyone with a regard for the Bible has to leave room in public discourse for the expression of principled non-approval of homosexual activity. (IMHO those gay rights activists who recognise the difference between principled non-approval and homophobia are wise and give credit to their cause.)

      Wrt leadership: we have a concept of ‘servant leadership’ which is rather counter-intuitive even now. Admittedly, the practice of servant leadership has been rejected and perverted many times, both from within by those who like to put themselves first [cf. 3 John 9] and from without. Time and again, the people of God have returned to leaders who have considered ‘that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.’ [Romans 8:18.] Servant leaders have also been those who have preached the message of Salvation in Jesus’ Name, e.g.: ‘… if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!’ [1 Corinthians 9:16.]

      Similarly, the faith of a believer is not only a matter of conviction and confession. Our mere personal opinions may go untested; I mean who knows what would have happened it Scotland had voted ‘Yes’ or the UK, ‘Remain’? Saving Faith is tested: ‘Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.’ [James 1:2f.]

      Yours,
      John/.

  6. In regards to the comments made on the Secular Scotland face book page by, an Anglican Christian, a former Free Church minister.
    It’s no surprise to me that Judas still lurks around.
    In regards to Gary Otton’s comemnt about Solas being investigated – that was simply from straight out of the mouth of the pit of hell itself.
    From the words of the King of Kings, who refused to establish his Kingly rule through political ascendancy or military conquest, who conquered by suffering for His people :
    “If the world hates you David Robertson, keep in mind that it hated me first.
    and never ever ever ever forget David blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you because of Jesus.

  7. The words “evangelical Christian charity”, “a creationist charity” one that “believes that every word in the bible is fact” are interesting. Well, of course “fact” is one interpretation on inerrency but I’ve never known anyone try to move Mt. Everest with faith the size of a mustard sees and I doubt if anyone in the Christian Institute would hold it to be fact that this were possible.

    It’s interesting I think to consider this in the light of the Channel 4 news last night. In this there was a report on a drug which would protect gay men from catching HIV/AIDS and a campaign for the NHS to provide it. There was an article on SSM in Northern Ireland featuring Ruth Davidson and Kevin Roberts, Saatchi chairman being suspended over comments about women. “Their ambition is not a vertical ambition; it’s this intrinsic, circular ambition to be happy…I don’t think [the lack of women in leadership roles] is a problem.” When he was talking about “they” by the way he was including men according to how the Guardian reported on it.

    Women’s rights, gay rights a white male being suspended over a comment about women in leadership, and comments about a Christian charity that makes it out to believe that the earth has existed for a few thousand years and that a mountain can literally be moved with just a little faith.

    Perhaps the article about Kevin Roberts hit the nail on the head – people not being happy, In the case of women for example perceiving that more women in leadership will result in greater happiness for women and the way to achieve happiness being in the pursuit of rights in the interest of perceived equality. Well, with 75% of SNP MSP’s being women, is it now time to start a campaign for equal number of male politicians in the SNP? Imagine how an argument for that would be received.

    Well, what did Christ do when he endured the mocking and violence against him? And what did he have to say to his early followers when encountering similar?

    .

  8. I am very pleased that Mr. McLellan is able to freely post on DAR’s blog, (and presumably without being twitter-hunted by hordes of angry hateful Christians).

    However I am mystified by his allegation that we evangelical Christians base our faith on an interpretation of Christianity which came 1500 years after Christ (I presume he means the Reformation).

    I have been reading and studying the bible for nigh on 60 years. In particular I love the four gospels which are very concise, easy to read and which contain all the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

    Mark’s gospel must be one of the most perfect books written as it carefully catalogues the gradual realisation by the disciples as to who Jesus was, why he came and what would happen to him.

    In John’s gospel the eight great “I am’s…” of Jesus are, at the same time, so simple a child can understand them, yet so utterly profound that one could study for a lifetime and still not fathom their depths.

    For example, “I am the bread of life” (John 6,35). We all need bread (food) to live; without it we die. So, as Jesus teaches, if we want to live we need him; without him we die. It does not require some complex twentieth century construct to understand this – its meaning is plain from the first century. The only question is whether Jesus was speaking the truth about himself!

    Similarly when asked about marriage Jesus simply quoted Genesis chapter 2 and this is plainly what the church has believed and taught from the beginning. There is nothing difficult about this even though some modern churchmen have decided to re-interpret it to suit their own ideas.

    In Marks gospel one of the earliest themes to emerge (Ch. 3, 6) is the great hostility that Jesus teaching and ministry generated – they planned how to murder him. Nothing has changed today.

    Mr. McLellan, I respect your views but you are completely wrong in your assertion that we cannot know whether or not our faith is based on the “correct” interpretation of scripture. If you actually read the gospels it is as plain as a pikestaff for those who want to find the truth.

  9. David, you missed out the “Amen” which I thought would have been appropriate at the end of the third last paragraph. Otherwise spot on.

  10. Douglas McLellan says, “You have chosen one interpretation of what the word of God actually is. An interpretation and theology that came some 1500 years after Christ.” Various commentators have rejected that statement. However, it could be argued that the truth of the statement is ‘as plain as a pikestaff’. The basis of the Protestant faith in Scotland is the Westminster Confession. The Westminster Confession is based on the theology of John Calvin (1509-1564). Anybody who agrees with the contents of the Westminster Confession will, no doubt, say that it simply summarises the teachings of the Bible. But it would be difficult to find any evidence of Calvin’s theology (where it contradicted the pre-Reformation faith) being held by the Christian Church in the 1500 years before Calvin’s birth. Both Luther and Calvin held the ideas of ‘the Bible alone’ and ‘faith alone’. But there is little or no evidence of those ideas being held by Christians during the 1500 years after Christ. But there is plenty of evidence that Christians believed the opposite to those ideas. As John Henry Newman, the famous convert to Catholicism, said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”
    As to the words of the Bible being ‘as plain as a pikestaff’ this may well be true but it is an inescapable fact that there are numerous, contradictory interpretations being expostulated. How else can we explain the existence of a wide variety of different Protestant churches? All of these churches believe that their interpretation is correct and they maintain that belief so strongly that they continue to worship separately on Sundays despite Christ’s prayer that his followers be one.
    So when people like Douglas McLellan say that the interpretations were new to the sixteenth century and that there have been many different interpretations I think that Protestants have to accept what they say and respond differently than just saying that what they say is incorrect.

    1. Mike,

      1) the basis of the Protestant faith in Scotland is not the Westminster confession – which should be fairly obvious, not least because the Scottish Reformation was in 1560 and the confession was written in the 1640s.

      2) There is overwhelming evidence of Calvin’s theology being taught in the early church. this should hardly be surprising given that the vast majority of it is Augustinian, and drawn directly or indirectly from Augustine.

      3) Yes of course there are questions of interpretation – but that remains true within the Catholic Church as well. The notion that the Catholic Church does not have divisions of opinion, or differences of doctrine is fanciful. However, the main teaching of the Bible is clear and in the words of the Westminster confession of faith, perspicuous!

  11. The Westminster Confession

    The Church of Scotland website contains the following statements.

    The Westminster Confession of Faith asserts the real presence in the Sacrament, the supreme authority of God’s Word, and the catholicity of the Church, made distinctive by three characteristics: the true preaching of the Word, the right administration of the Sacraments, and discipline.
    The Westminster Confession of 1647 superseded but did not cancel out the original Scots Confession of 1560, drawn up by six ‘Johns’: Knox, Willock, Winram, Spottiswoode, Row, and Douglas in supposedly six days, which was accepted by Presbyterians and Episcopalians alike.
    The full Confession of Faith was agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster and examined and approved in 1647 by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and ratified by Acts of Parliament in 1649 and 1690.
    Currently, the Church of Scotland understands ‘the Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the supreme rule of faith and life’. In the seventeenth century, this Church, with other branches of the Reformed Church, accepted the following statement as a ‘subordinate standard’, giving assistance in the correct interpretation of the Scriptures.

    So, historically, it is correct to point out that the WC was drawn up some considerable time after the start of the Reformation in Scotland but nevertheless, by the latter part of the seventeenth century it became the most important doctrinal statement of the main Protestant Church in Scotland.

    The Early Church
    You say that there is overwhelming evidence of Calvin’s theology being taught in the early Church and refer specifically to St Augustine.
    It is quite common for Protestants to claim that their distinctive doctrines are found in the writings of St Augustine. It is interesting, however, that it is always St Augustine and that other Early Church Fathers are not referred to. (Remember, I am taking about distinctively Protestant doctrine, not doctrine which is common to all real (for want of a better word) Christians.) But is Protestant doctrine really found in the writings of St Augustine?
    I won’t take up too much of the space on your blog with lots of examples but here’s one example of how St Augustine differed quite strongly with Protestant doctrine:
    “[According to] Apostolic Tradition . . . the Churches of Christ hold inherently that without baptism and participation at the table of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and life eternal. This is the witness of Scripture too” (Forgiveness and the Just Deserts of Sin, and the Baptism of Infants 1:24:34 [A.D. 412]). So St Augustine clearly rejected the doctrine of ‘faith alone’.
    There’s lots more here:
    http://www.willcoxson.net/faith/augprot.htm
    Could you give one example of a specifically Calvinist doctrine being taught in the early Church?
    Incidentally, the Catholic Church follows the dictum attributed to St Vincent of Lerins:
    “Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. (Commonitory ch. II, §6; NPNF Series II Vol. XI p. 132)”
    As this Orthodox website states:
    “Orthodoxy recognizes that church fathers as individuals may err but as a collective witness they bear witness to orthodox truth.”
    https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxbridge/defending-the-vincentian-canon-everywhere-always-and-by-all-a-response-to-outlaw-presbyterianism/
    The point is that no Early Church Father is regarded as being infallible and that it is not correct to state that because one specific Father taught something then it was taught by the Church as a whole.

    Questions of Interpretation
    Yes, unfortunately I have to agree that there are Catholics who hold views which are at divergence from the official teachings of the Church. Far too many of them. But they do not speak authoritatively on behalf of the Church. They do not form a separate Magisterium. Nor do they form separate Churches. So the attempt to compare these differences with the existence of different interpretations and different Churches in the Protestant world does not succeed. The Catholic Church has one set of official doctrines. They are clearly laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And by the way, it is totally permissible within the Catholic Church to have different interpretations on matters which have not been pronounced upon by the Church.

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  13. I am totally confused by all thse comments.
    What was actually wrong or factually incorrect in the original Sunday Herald report?
    Plus i donot understnd why a few christian organistions are so opposed to the scheme anyway.
    noboby seems to report the reasons every one just jumps to their defensive default and never address the actual question raised in the comment.

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