Bible Liberalism Sex and sexuality The Church in Scotland

‘Evangelical’ Moderator honoured for ‘Changing attitudes within the Church to Same Sex Relationships’

As my twice weekly column with Christian Today has come to an end and as the readership of this blog continues to grow, I have been thinking and praying about what to do with it.  I have tended to write quite lengthy posts which people say won’t be read – but many of them are – as in these two this week – Undivided – An Open Letter to Vicky Beeching

However, whilst I will continue to write occasional longer posts, my intention is to continue to provide something every day – but to make most of them shorter snippets, that help keep people informed, promote discussion (and harmony), challenge and call to prayer.   Today I begin with something that is profoundly depressing – the honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow  awarded to Rev Dr Angus Morrison, former FP minister and former moderator of the Church of Scotland.  This was presented at a ceremony on Tuesday 26th June.

18_-_188_Hon_Grad_Reverend_Dr_Angus_Morrison_006Why is this depressing?  I don’t doubt that he deserves it  – he is an intelligent and pleasant man who has done good work – including championing Gaelic and refugees.  The trouble is the third item he was honoured for.

I’ll let you into a wee secret. When the Scott Rennie debacle unfolded in the Church of Scotland I was visited by a couple of evangelicals in the C of S who in no uncertain terms told me that I should keep quiet, because they had a plan to prevent this happening – part of which involved getting two of them on to the committee who were to investigate this.  I was also told that Angus was likely to become moderator and then we would have ‘one of our own’ in the main seat.   I was castigated by many when I expressed publicly my fear that this was a classic case of being invited inside the tent – or to put it another way – getting a seat at the table, but not being allowed any say in the menu. “Do you really think a former  Free Presbyterian minister, member of the Crieff fellowship, strong evangelical Reformed theologian, is not going to use his influence to ensure this doesn’t happen?”

I wrote this analysis of that tactic two years ago….

The Evangelical tactic of infiltration and influence failed – spectacularly. I was blasted and accused of being mean because I said that the purpose of all the discussions and delays, of the mixed economy’ idea was simply to keep the evangelicals on board. That was confirmed in a chilling bout of openness when the incoming moderator, thanked the outgoing moderator, Angus Morrison. He thanked him for the job he had done and stated that given his standing within evangelicalism and the Highlands it was important that he had stood out against schism – “It was for this message, for this year that God prepared you to be our moderator.” As I feared Angus was not there to be the evangelical voice into the establishment – he was there to be the establishment voice to the evangelicals. And it largely worked. The Establishment was exultant. They even had a PowerPoint slide displayed which boasted only 25 ministers had left over this – that 97% had stayed. Angus was thanked for having done his job.    From A Rubicon has been Crossed 

Angus is a lovely and genial man and therefore was the perfect tool for delivering what the liberals in the C of S wanted – the gay agenda to be accepted and most of the evangelicals kept on board.  His influence was not only ineffective in preventing the seemingly inevitable, but in reality it was a negative influence which promoted the anti-biblical stance.  (This was seen not just in the sexuality issue but also with the Scott McKenna debate and the attempt to cover up Scott’s heresies)  I would have loved to have been wrong – and to be writing this as an apology for not seeing the brilliant masterstroke that Rev. John McPake and Angus had pulled off.  It grieves me more than I can say that things were even worse than I suggested.  Angus and the ‘tame evangelicals’ (let us ‘influence from inside) were the Trojan horse that has sealed the C of S’s fate.

For all those who regarded this as nasty and not fair – I just refer you to this – Former Moderator’s Deep Joy at Honorary Doctorate

Glasgow University told us why this was awarded: “”his contribution to championing Gaelic, refugee and asylum seekers and changing attitudes within the Church to same sex relationships.”

There you have it.  The great hope of the evangelicals for upholding the biblical position is ten years later honoured for changing attitudes within the church and championing the gay agenda!

And as I already hear the cries of ‘that’s not nice’ – I think back to the battles within the Assembly, the C of S woman sitting beside me in tears at what her church was doing, the cruel and vindictive pursuit of those who dared to challenge and leave the church (evicting from manses and buildings and seeking to trash their names), the mocking abuse of those who upheld the biblical position (and who Angus was supposed to be representing), the churches destroyed, the ministries broken,  and the acceptance of SSM by the Scottish parliament (partially due to the inability of the C of S, unlike the Catholics, to stand up for the Christian position);  and I ask – was all this worth an honorary doctorate?

“Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me” (2 Timothy 4:10)

Back to the Future – the 2009 General Assembly

Footnote:  Within hours of publishing this I was accused by a C of S evangelical minister of ‘bearing false witness’.  I’m not sure why.  Everything in the above post is true.  It says a great deal a minister can be outraged at someone pointing out the obvious, and stay silent about the fact that the man they put into influence the church to stay on the biblical path- ends up being honoured for doing precisely the opposite!







  1. Thank you David as always for saying it as it is. Well said. I’m so grateful for your courage and perseverance in speaking out.

  2. Reminds me of the response of Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons to Richard Rich’s perjury which sealed More’s fate. “But for Wales.”

  3. Plenty of political machination and self-serving betrayal but little spiritual discernment in the former Moderator’s locker. A genuine true evangelical, would have recognised their deception, repented and refused the honorary doctorate. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36.

  4. As one who cares for Gods people, It’s clearly painful when you see through the fauls assurances and clock the real agenda, especially when you are not in a position to correct it.

    However as we know “Liberal Christianity” is an oxymoron a contradiction in terms. It’s simpley not Christian. As Gresham points out, it’s a parasitic fauls religion. It’s a bit like a cancer that is only able to live off of Christians as long as it is not recognised for what it is. However, as soon as people’s eyes are opened they see the only way to cut it out, is to separate themselves from a system so infected that it is no longer God Centered or God honering but rather, literally Anti Christ.

    I seem to remember there was a fella by the name of Martin something who had a similar problem back in a time history calls The Refomation!!!
    Note to self, Luther ran a mile from the apostate institution 👍

    John 14:15 ‘if you love me you will obey my commands’. The words of Christ himself stand as clear warning to those who love Him, to come out from among those who misslead them in the name of Christ.
    My sheep hear my voice and follow me. They do not follow strangers who teach strange teachings that are not of Christ.

    Consequently the True Church of Jesus Christ has left the building!
    All that is left is an organisation formally know as, the Church of Scotland .

    Those who do other, do not love Christ, because they are actively supporting an organisation that is prolifically Anti Christian in both it’s teachings and practices. By their actions they demonstrate what they love. And it’s not Jesus as John 14:15 reveals.

    The problem is, so many dear Christians are so easily lead astray by those who are wolves in sheeps clothing. The very ones who are meant to be the guardians of the flock are the very ones who abuse the trust of those under their care.

    I would not want to be in their shoes on the rapidly approaching day of Judgement. Hebrews 13:17 is clear that those who lead and teach in the church will give a greater account for their actions. All I can say is Hell will not mend them.

    1. Ray Kelly, do you keep the commandments of Jesus? Or only the ones you like?

      1. Jesus said Give Away EVERYTHING You Own: Luke 14:33
      So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

      2. Jesus said Don’t Plan for The Future: Matthew 6:34
      So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.

      3. Jesus said Don’t Defend Yourself if Attacked: Matthew 5:39
      But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too.

      4. Hate Your Family: Luke 14:26
      If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters… he cannot be My disciple.

      5. Jesus said Don’t Save Your Money: Matthew 6:19
      Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.

      6. Jesus said Give Anything You Have to Anyone Who Asks: Matthew 5:42
      Give to those who ask, and don’t refuse those who wish to borrow from you.

      7. Jesus said Do NOT Pray in Public: Matthew 6:6
      When you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father… in that secret place.

      1. This is obviously the latest atheist meme doing the rounds – as this is the second time I’ve answered it today….It seems as though some think this is a brilliant argument – when it is really superficial and ignorant. It shows a lack of understanding of the Bible and of the context of the ‘quotes’ (in some cases misquotes) which would discredit a toddler. Can I suggest that instead of copying and pasting atheist memes you do some thinking for yourself?

  5. I have just finished reading Lyle Dorsett’s “warts and all” biography of A.W. Tozer, “A Passion for God”. For all his failings, and there were many, he was a very successful preacher, biblical teacher and author, and his utter passion for Christ shone through his ministry. However despite his success he utterly despised worldly praise and recognition. The very idea of him receiving an honorary doctorate would have been complete anathema to him. The only recognition he wanted was “well done good and faithful servant”.

  6. Dear David,
    I think it is always unwise to put your trust in the church as an ‘Institution’. Jesus founded the church, but the Spirit will only go where He can be present. The Spirit cannot be present where there is wilful and persistent sin, or ‘unbelief’ for that matter.
    I feel I have no choice but to be an ‘itinerant congregant’ (different from a church hopper) and as a Christian woman I feel constantly under threat of being put in a ‘cage’. (The world has female cage dancers; the church shouldn’t have cage Christian women; I say that as a woman with a ‘traditional’ view of woman’s role)
    Yet I am full of hope. I posted the entire chapter 18 of Revelation yesterday, on the comments section of your similar article “An open letter to the evangelical church…gay Christianity” because I believe God will judge the apostate church, and SOON. I think the “whore of Babylon” is the apostate church which is usually the ‘institution’. I, of course, am not saying that all denominations are apostate but one by one, good, sound biblical churches and denominations and formerly good, sound, biblical para-church organisations are compromising. The compromise can start small, but once you compromise – you have started the slippery slope or the small leak which will turn into a flood. I know your own denomination has introduced musical instruments and hymns and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with this. But I am watching that space to see what hymns and Christian songs you are willing to sing. Because, hunners (Glasgow word) of the popular Christian songs are not fit to be sung to our Lord Jesus Christ!! We cannot sing untruths; bad or untrue theological groundings; man-centred lyrics; nor rubbish nor gibberish, nor ugly, vulgar lines. We sing them mindlessly without thinking. The Spirit will NOT inhabit such non-praises.
    Even some of the old hymns got it wrong too, and they were passed by quality control. You can’t go wrong with the psalms. I’m not advocating, just saying!
    Sorry, I started to rant there.
    But getting back to chapter 18 of Revelation: Verse 2 says -“Fallen! Fallen! is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons”. Is that not the worldwide apostate church we see now? Chapter 17 calls Babylon the “mother of prostitutes…drunk with the blood of the saints” . (the true church is the “pure and spotless bride”)
    Verse 4ff: Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; 5 for her sins are piled up to heaven,”
    The chapter goes on to talk about ‘merchandise’. Don’t we see that right across the apostate churches?
    Verse 7 states the ‘glory and luxury’ she gave herself, she calls herself a ‘queen and not a widow’.
    Verse 16 describes the glamour of the great city. Aren’t the main mega apostate churches dripping with money and glamour?
    Verse 22 describes the musical instruments. (nothing wrong with music obviously, but look at the Christian music scene! Leading the young astray with rubbish theology, worldly values, and feelings led, me-centred worship and having a turnover of millions, maybe billions of pounds and dollars).
    God will judge and is judging. We are given several reasons to rejoice despite God’s judgement on the church. Does judgement begin with the church? 1 Peter 4:17 “For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
    Rev 18:20 and 24 speak of God judging those who mistreated the ‘saints’ and calls the saints to rejoice. Not sure what the relationship to “schadenfreude” that is! 20 “Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you.”
    Verse 24; “In her was found the blood of the prophets and of the saints and of all who have been killed on the earth”
    But there will be rewards for those who stand fast, especially now in the times we are living in:
    Rev 15:2ff
    “And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:

    “Great and marvellous are your deeds,
    Lord God Almighty.
    Just and true are your ways,
    King of the nations.
    Who will not fear you, Lord,
    and bring glory to your name?
    For you alone are holy.
    All nations will come
    and worship before you,
    for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

    So next time David, you stand overlooking Loch Ness or whichever great Scottish lake is nearest where you live…, (I’ll know that you read to the end of my post of you acknowledge this)… think with hope of the “glassy sea” and that you might sometime even learn to play the harp!
    (thanks, as ever, for allowing me to post as a refugee blogger!)

  7. God’s Word and His requirements for holiness and a relationship with Him have not changed. Man can change his opinion all he wants, but God’s Word will stand forever. If He calls it sin, it is sin and no amount of approval from man, regardless of his title, will change that.

  8. Just depressing.
    You’re right – he was just used! If I remember rightly, he was presented with a number of people telling their stories, for which he was moved to tears. After which, he wrote about the need to ‘grasp the nettle’.

    I see you have shared this privately – would it be okay if I share it with my family?

  9. The thing about the wolves that ravage the flock is that they also ravage those who stand to defend the flock. Well done for being willing to be gnawed . . .

  10. So many men love the praise of men rather than the praise of God. How horrified will they be in their fleeting moment of vain glory when they stand before the Lord.

  11. Excellent!
    Not uncommon in some, so called, evangelical circles in Australia! When a denomination, or, a local church makes its own rules apart from the Lord of the Church it tramples on His sovereignty.

  12. As a sinner with recognition on God’s forgiveness in his Son Jesus Christ , and following the ministerial path taken by the former Moderator , I find this deeply troubling and feel truly sad. I also am aware by the tone of the blog that you too share that bitter sadness, David .
    I just cannot allow this blog to pass without registering comment !

  13. Hi David,

    I attended this graduation and nothing about same-sex marriage was mentioned. You can find a video of the ceremony here (, with the speech in his honor beginning ~12:00 and the relevant portion ~16:35. His work advocating for people with disabilities was mentioned in the ceremony, though not in any articles I’ve seen on this event. I’m not sure why there was such a discrepancy.

      1. Oh, I understood that. I meant that I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy between the official statements and what actually happened and was stated at the conferment of the honor.

  14. The issue here, as it is with Vicky Beeching, is that (former) evangelicals with “cred” are being used by the establishment, supported by the media, to try to influence other evangelicals to desert Biblical truth. There really is a slippery slope, as Steve Chalke has demonstrated, at least in the first of the steps to follow. Revisionist treatment of homosexuality, abandonment of penal atonement, abandonment of original sin – and, as Bart Campolo has honestly indicated, descent into loss of belief in God. Arguably, looking back, the descent started with evangelical acceptance of divorce, and also arguably, the second step was rejection of the complementation position.

    David – why is it always left to you alone to defend the Biblical position? Sadly, it has thus been too easy for Christian Today, for example, to choose to lose your voice, with no obvious person to fill the void.

  15. It would appear so few church leaders have the ability to test the spirit which never contradicts the Bible, where is discernment? Why do so many love the praise of man and institutions, well, they have received their reward. Sadly being a theologian does not guarantee life eternal, sad for they lead their flock astray, what an awful day awaits if they don’t repent.
    Judgement starts first with the Church and I believe that is what we are seeing, apostasy becoming increasingly widespread.

  16. David

    I found this blog page unexpectedly last night and feel compelled to respond. Having read with sadness quite recently your blog page concerning the events leading up to the suicide of Iain D Campbell (, I had noted that you shared your opinion of some folk as being gossips, ungodly and injudicious. It is good to be warned about these God-dishonouring traits, that I suspect we all have the potential for as fallen human beings.
    I understand and respect the point you make elsewhere (, “You could always contact me and ask for any info you want. That would be the Christian thing to do!” , which you then follow up with the comment, “I assume if you want to know something about a Christian brother or sister you ask them first and that you are not just fishing for dirt and gossip…”

    I have been trying to come to terms with what seems to me as conflicting approaches to sharing potentially deeply distressing news on a public forum and feel compelled to ask if you approached Angus to ask for feedback on his perspective on how he interprets the category “changing attitudes within the Church to same sex relationships” within the title of his honorary doctorate. I would be obliged if people didn’t pounce on this query as an overly defensive response to some of the comments on this blog. I am simply seeking a balanced inquiry into Angus’s perspective on same-sex relationships and in particular, into why he was willing to accept the doctorate, noting the picture painted, rightly or wrongly, on this blog that his doctorate condones same-sex relationships within the clergy (and of course, beyond). Of course, it would be excellent if you invited him to provide a response within the blog, himself, if you have not already done so.

    Thank you so much


    1. Hi Margie….thanks for your thoughtful post. Details of my personal contact and private conversations with people I keep personal. But let me assure you that I think it is the right thing to do. It is however not practical in all cases – and also not necessary. If someone makes a public comment which is given to the secular press and is used to undermine or attack the Christian faith – whilst I may have a concern for the person themselves, my greater concern has to be for the wider church, the people of God, and the glory of God. The compromise of evangelicals on this issue has been shameful and done an incredible amount of harm. I made a number of predictions at the beginning of this debacle which were treated with derision – and I was told I was being too harsh. The reality is that everything I predicted happened – except it was worse. I did not anticipate just how much evangelicals would facilitate the move away from Scripture.

  17. Sorry, David, but I struggle to see why it is a problem to provide a straightforward answer to my query as stated.

  18. The query is still there to read, David. I didn’t ask for the content of any private discussion or for advice on the accuracy of your predictions.


  19. Rather than repeat myself, David, I think it would be best use of my time to say nothing further.


    1. I don’t understand what your problem is? I answered your questions – you said there is one I didn’t…so please tell me which one, because I don’t know what you are referring to…

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