Re-branding the Church of Scotland

The Courier and other newspapers have recently run main articles on the continuing decline of the Church of Scotland.   For example this one about the possible closure of Brechin cathedral – where the attendances are dreadful.

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Today’s Courier has another report in the same vein.  With some suggested solutions from Life and Work.

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The media are reporting the situation correctly – the Church of Scotland is in freefall.  After years of pretending otherwise, the leadership of the C of S now admits that is the case and that something needs to be done.   We are told that the life expectancy of the Kirk is 30 years; membership is in freefall, there are not enough ministers and finance is a major problem.  With such a dire situation all agree that something must be done.  Life and Work tells us that this needs to be ‘radical’.

So far that ‘radicalism’ seems to be tied in with the ‘solutions’ offered by the theologian, Doug Gay, whose Chalmers lectures were fascinating – not least because the solutions they offered were at best sticky plaster and cosmetic, rather than radical.    See the analysis here – 

The Courier report today suggests that what is needed is just ‘rebranding’ – as though the problem were only one of image.  Form and not substance.  But surely people must realise that a clever marketing campaign will not save the Church?

The real solution is found within the article from Life and Work.  The editor speaks of those who will object that ‘the timeless message of the church’ should not be subject to crass marketing.  And therein lies the problem.  Not with the marketing – but with what is being marketed.

Brechin cathedral was the church of Rev Scott Rennie  (Rev. Rennie divorced his wife and is now ‘married’ to another man),  before he moved to Queens Cross and precipitated the latest crisis in the Church of Scotland.  You can read about the crisis this provoked here   

The decline in the Church of Scotland has not happened because of the Scott Rennie situation.  That situation is rather indicative of why this decline is happening.  The Church has lost the ‘timeless message’ of the Gospel     Whilst there remain ministers who preach the Gospel and congregations which practice it – overall the C of S has moved away from the Gospel and therefore we should not be surprised if Ichabod (the glory has departed) is written over Brechin Cathedral, and many of the denomination’s buildings and institutions.  Sadly evangelicals have far too often acquiesced in this state of affairs, and have refused to challenge it, thinking that quiet infiltration will work.  It won’t and it hasn’t.

The Gospel brings fruit – when you reject the Gospel you cannot expect fruit.  A few years ago I was sitting in our church hall waiting for a children’s party to end.  The man sitting beside me was waiting for his granddaughter and he initiated the following fascinating conversation:

“I’m an elder in the Kirk….our minister doesn’t believe in teaching the bible”  (there was an amused reaction from some of the people sitting with us as they realised that he clearly hadn’t a clue who I was)…

“Oh, that’s interesting.  Why does he think that?”

“It doesne attract the young people”

“That’s strange.  Because in this church they really believe in teaching the bible.  The minister here preaches for 30-40 minutes….twice on a Sunday!  And we have around 100 young people.  How many does your church have?”

“None”

“Can you see my problem?  You say that your minister doesn’t teach the bible because it doesn’t attract the young people and yet you have no young people….and here they do teach the bible and they have lots of young people”

“Oh – I get your point”.

That was a few years ago.  Yesterday morning we had a problem in St Peters.  Downstairs was full (about 220 seats) and we were having communion.  What would we do with the 45 people who had to go up to the balcony?  We had to take the extra time and serve communion upstairs as well – for the first time ever (and this in the midst of the summer holidays!).  I can remember preaching to single figures in this large, rundown and empty church.  We still have lots of difficulties and problems but we are seeing Gospel prosperity.  Why the difference?  It has very little to do with me – it’s simply the Gospel being proclaimed and lived.  The Lord has blessed.  His word will not return to him empty.  The primary reason that there is a lack of blessing is because that in churches up and down the land there is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.

The Church of Scotland does not need rebranding.  It needs to rediscover the Gospel and to have the courage to proclaim it in a society which desperately needs it.  The brand we need is not that of the marketeers and spin doctors, but rather that of the cross.  Without that we have nothing.   Never mind 30 years – the church is dying now.

Brechin cathedral is a suitable symbol for the C of S today – a large and mostly empty building with little life and nothing to say.  Doug Gay’s tweaks to the system won’t work.  It’s too late for Reformation.  The only hope now is repentance and revival….We pray….

The weather this past weekend reminded me that we need the storm and lightning of the Holy Spirit…

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What’s Gone Wrong? The State of the Church in Scotland today

Ten Reasons Why the Church of Scotland is in Decline

64 thoughts on “Re-branding the Church of Scotland

    1. Hi, Ark,
      knowing very well your penchant for exaggeration — I’ve never once read you talk of the balance of evidence, for example, any evidence is always so overwhelmingly on your side that … — I thought to go all huffy-puffy to your Humpty-Dumpty and point out that much of what you call superstitious is not technically superstition. Nor for that matter is all superstition nonsense, there being, for example, good health and safety reasons for not walking under ladders.

      Then I realised that you couldn’t be talking about us at all, having mixed up the church with Everton football club supporters and National Lottery users who are the real repositories of superstitious nonsense.

      Yours,
      John/.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course you’ve nailed it in one, John.
        Global floods, wooden boats carrying all the species on the planet and corpses coming back to life are such everyday occurrences, just as flying to Jerusalem and Heaven on a winged horse or finding your god’s word engraved on gold tablets.
        Nothing wrong with this of course.
        How do feel about telling kids about Hell, John?
        Is that superstitious nonsense?

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      2. There you go again, Ark,
        when are you going to realise that pushing things to extremities just takes the sting out of any problem? There are four things here that should cause me to be thinking about what I believe and how I ought to behave — and we can add in flat-earthism and Ussher’s chronology that you raised in another reply — but there is no granfalloon of ‘the Religious’ whose members take every article of faith from everywhere and believe all of it, however contradictory. It is impossible even to imagine such an artificial grouping without including such atheistic religions as rationalism, mesmerism, bolshevism and transhumanism, but that by the way except that I don’t expect you to adhere to any of those just because you are an atheist. So what have Mohammed’s alleged flight to Jerusalem and Joseph Smith’s spectacles got to do with decline in the Church of Scotland?

        You raise four valid points:
        • Global catastrophe
        • No. of ‘kinds’ vs. capacity of the Ark
        • Resurrection
        • Teaching about Hell.

        Two competing theories about the formation of the rocks have turned out to be both partially true. It is not that Uniformitarianism has completely obliterated Catastrophism — as was once widely believed to be the case — just that there is much more evidence of global catastrophe written into the rocks than strict Uniformitarianism allowed for.
        Hugh Miller (1802-56) was a self-taught geologist and pillar of the Church of Scotland. His writings were influential both for spreading new geological theories — e.g. The Old Red Sandstone — and for advancing the cause of evangelicalism culminating in the formation of the Free Church of Scotland. Historically, nobody was flat-earther in the CofS and the major strand of teaching accommodated the chronology that geology seemed to need.
        As we have already discussed, the sketchy nature of the evidence for other global catastrophes has to leave open the possibility that no direct evidence for the Flood might be found and the Flood still have taken place. In this case the lack of evidence for ought not be taken as evidence against (but I never was able to pursuade you of that. 😦 .)

        Your point is almost lost because you express surprise that the Ark was a wooden boat for: what other kind of boat was there supposed to have been in antiquity? No boat could have contained all the species that are extant now but the processes of adaptive radiation and evolutionary development show how a small-enough-to fit-in-the-Ark number could have so multiplied and replenished the earth that we reach our present state of seeming fulness without the boundaries of the Biblical ‘kinds’ (sometimes transliterated from the Hebrew as Baramin) having been broken.
        It is a matter of surprise that Richard Dawkins directs attention towards Kurt Wise, describing him as ‘an honest Creationist’, because Kurt Wise is, as I understand it, the chief architect of ‘Baraminology’. I’ve found him to be a very sane handler of Palaeontological evidences and I might never have come across him without Richard Dawkins’s backhanded recommendation. Thanks, Richard.

        Here’s where you dig a pit and fall into it again. You complain that we go on about the Resurrection but you can’t resist coming up with ‘corpses coming back to life are such everyday occurrences as an example of superstitious nonsense. Your attempted exaggeration of the offence the Resurrection causes you only serves to suggest that you don’t know what you’re talking about. The Resurrection was as far from an everyday occurrence as you could possibly get and you have already shown that you will move heaven and earth rather than take the evidence for it seriously.
        You may have a point though. It may be the case that people are leaving the Church of Scotland hand over fist because of ministers who no longer believe in the Resurrection.

        Lastly, your question about teaching kids about hell has the whiff of ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ about it. As it happens, one of the main reasons the Church of Scotland has gone into such precipitous decline is that it now finds no place for the leadership of men like the late William Still. You can find one of his characteristic writings here https://ealinglevy.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/faith-not-fear-final-doc-edited-v-2.pdf
        And although I’m not a paedobaptist: would I have trusted a pastor like Mr. Still to teach children about hell? Absolutely. Would I trust one of the present day Liberals who don’t actually believe in hell to do so? Absolutely not.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      3. I really wish you would make your comments succinct , John.
        It would aid dialogue if you simply answered the questions I posed in a straightforward fashion rather than continually launch into verbosity.
        Save the sermon style for Sunday.

        And for this reason I am simply not prepared to wallow through an entire PDF.
        Paraphrase Still if you like.

        For what its worth, there is no doctrine of hell as the Christians understand it in Judaism.
        The biblical character Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew.
        I don’t need to elaborate further I’m sure.

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      4. It’s quite amusing, Ark,
        you complain about questions not being answered succinctly when part of the trouble is that you don’t tend to pose questions that can be given a succinct answer but I can make amends by answering your second question which I admit I overlooked. Do I think hell is superstitious nonsense? No, I don’t.

        What’s more, faithful ministry that does not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God — including the doctrine of eternal punishment — is not the reason for declining congregations, rather the reverse. I used to sit beside another Scot while training for the ministry: Murdo McLeod who became the Free Church of Scotland minister of Applecross. Murdo’s chief reason for doing the course in London was to see if he would be capable of managing the Biblical languages part of the course in Edinburgh. He had been a drinking man before being converted at the age of forty-seven but beforehand he and his drinking companions would fill a pew in his local Wee Free Kirk on Lewis on a Sunday night. He told us once how he and his friends would particularly enjoy sermons that had the note of solemn warning about judgement to come.

        What we all need and some lack is the Gospel with nowt taken out.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      5. Do I think hell is superstitious nonsense? No, I don’t.

        Then you have chosen to remain ignorant of the historical facts in this regard.

        No problem. But may I ask that you not try to indoctrinate others woth such an erroneous and fallacious belief?

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      6. (To the host. Below is word for word from a post of mine two years ago. I could supply the link, but as you know, this thread has already strayed from your points because of certain stone clad men wearing coffin hats….) Not meant to add to THIS post about the Cof S, but so you know, people lie, willingly, deceitfully, and would cast wedges between believers)

        –Carbon, strata, fossils, history, geography, archaeology, are all called upon as witnesses to support a theory as to the age of existence. Hmmmm. No small feat here to say with dogmatism how old the sun, moon, earth, or stars are.

        To hear some give ‘proof’ of the age of the earth is not laughable but unsettling. God asks a simple question to man: ‘Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.’
        To a soft heart, the answer is ‘Lord, I have no understanding in this matter, for thou alone art God.’

        Is not this the point of who God is and who man is not? Are not His ways higher than the heavens? Are not His thoughts not your thoughts? Indeed, and this same God has a way of silencing the mouth of man, for even Paul argued that before a holy God every mouth is stopped.

        The age of ‘creation?’ In the time it would take you to empty the Atlantic with a tablespoon, you still will have no answer. Some say with a straight face: It’s 40 billion years old, others 10 million, others a hundred thousand, others 6 thousand, me? ‘I have no understanding in this matter.’

        But the greater question on the table: Why does a person base fellowship on the ambiguous and that which cannot be proven this side of eternity? There is a great gulf fixed with the age of the universe, and God is ageless. Why then focus on that which cannot be known, instead of that which we do know?–

        (So as you can see, I have admitted on many occasions, and in many places that I do not know. Sounds like honesty to me, as opposed to the lies of others)

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      7. That you have no understanding is clearly evident. That you would choose willful ignorance as a reason to espouse nonsense that leans toward young earth creationism is inexcusable.
        The most educated theologians all acknowledge the scientific data that has demonstrated the approximate age of the earth.

        That you will side with those who would claim the earth is around ten thousand years old and humans ran around with dinosaurs is not only disseminating outright lies but it is also dangerous.
        You simply cannot deny evolution and then in the same breath say you accept the advancements of medicine for example.

        David may very well reject my views regarding atheism, and consider me all manner of things, but he is not so much of an idiot that he he would side with Young Earth Creationists and their warped ilk, no matter how you wish to insinuate your argument, Colorstorm.

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      8. So, Ark:
        by ‘be succinct’ you mean ‘present a target small enough for me [Arkenaten] to hit with my limited arsenal.’
        That’s not dialogue; it’s a Punch and Judy show. So, you may neither infer from my succinct affirmation of belief in eternal punishment that any teaching on the subject that I might undertake could be justly labelled ‘indoctrination’, nor even that there are ‘historical facts’ of which I am willfully ignorant. From where do you get the barefaced effrontery to sugar-coat your assassination as a polite request?

        But may I ask that you not try … ?

        No, Ark, you may not.

        Anyway the quality of God’s Mercy would be sadly diminished if there were no desperate plight to rescue Mankind from and heaven would be far worse than hell for those who don’t want to go there, or rather, don’t want to have anything to do with God who obviously inhabits heaven. To miss eternal punishment out of Christian teaching is not to teach the whole counsel of God; and that would be wrong.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      9. In what way is it dangerous, Ark,
        to claim that dinosaurs and men were contemporaneous?
        I remember when Sir Peter Scott proposed the name Nessiteras rhombopteryx for the Loch Ness Monster so that it could get endangered species status. There was quite a stir at the time in the press but I don’t recall anyone saying that the idea was dangerous.

        Nessie is dangerous of course and even more so are crocodiles which I’ve always understood were technically dinosaurs. Don’t you think that the existence of dinosaur soft tissue residues reopens the question of man and ‘real’ dinosaur coexistance? Just asking because the more you ridicule something, the more likely it seems to be better founded than I’d previously thought.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      10. Hi, Hue,
        — my apologies for rationalising your pseudonym to the closest thing to a real name I could think of but I feel the need to write to a real person and not to an avatar. —

        Like you, I would like to be judged by what I have actually said and think that sticking to topic in debate — at least to begin with — is good practice as well as profitable. But I have never been accused of being a stone clad man before, nor of wearing a coffin-hat so here is my defence against your self-defence.

        James Ussher’s dating of the Creation to have happened four thousand years before the birth of Christ was a work of tremendous scholarship and not just a counting up of the ‘begats’ as has been caricatured. James Barr’s much-consulted study — https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/api/datastream?publicationPid=uk-ac-man-scw:1m1647&datastreamId=POST-PEER-REVIEW-PUBLISHERS-DOCUMENT.PDF — puts Ussher’s work into some sort of context for us but more insight is needed if we are to overcome Ussher’ shortcomings and make use of his achievements.
        It does not seem to have occurred to Ussher that Moses might not have been at all interested in pinpointing the actual date of the Creation. When Matthew [Matt. 1:1-17] ‘missed out’ four generations of the kings of Judah, he did so in order to achieve his triple fourteen generations structure; but he did not select the missed out generations arbitrarily. 1st Century rabbinical scholars would have agreed that these were the generations to exclude from Matthew’s list. Similarly, in Gen. 11, Moses followed the convention of his time, which was to map a family’s origin by listing ten generations. There is no suggestion that Moses just made up the numbers to fit his scheme but if his aim also was to produce a four-thousand year diagram, it is probably significant that counting up the years that Moses chose to include from the Creation to the Exodus gives us 2666 years or two-thirds of 4000.
        If Moses was not interested in dating the creation, his four-thousand year schema — taken up by subsequent writers — was most probably a way of locating when the Prophet like Moses — aka the Messiah — would come. Such a prediction was accurate enough for wise men in another country to know what was signified by the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem and have been watching for it.

        Yours,
        John/.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. To correct your correction john, the right spelling would then be Hugh, but jack here. (nice one though)

        I have also appreciated the work of Ussher; the linked paper proved this is good ground for thinking so.

        ‘The exact time of creation could be reckoned.’ I too, like the writer said, think this is folly, but all the dating does serve a purpose.

        The atheist should be quite worried that so much scholarship went into the work not to prove the scriptures untue, but because they are true.

        In my remarks to the Egyptian cobra hooded coffin esque customer who has been harassing me for years (lol) I stood, and still stand behind God’s most excellent question:

        Where were you when I laid the foundations of heaven, and stretched the line upon it? and

        Does the lightning come and go at your command?

        God is God, we are not, and time belongs to Him. It would be the height of spiritual and natural stupidity I believe, to assign things to God that we have no way of knowing.

        I simply point to the distorted straw in water a few inches from our face. That said, there is a whole lot of distortion peaking through the vapour of space, so our math as well as understanding is extremely flawed at best, this is why I say ; I do not know, as to the age of creation. I’m in good company to be sure, but tks for the heads up.

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    2. Look who is showing up here to try to put a dent in Christianity? Ha!

      The pretended heroes of godlessness are dead, gone, and forgotten, and God is still God, hasn’t lost a wink of sleep, and His word still is fulfilling its purpose: To bring people from darkness to light, to testify to nature and scripture, to give hope, to shed grace, to reveal love, and to expose religious impostors at every turn.

      Surely you must be happy with ‘our minister doesn’t believe in teaching the bible…………….’ Well one thing we know, he is a fraud, and has fools for an audience. But you can ‘rebrand’ all you want; but honest seekers of truth need no gimmicks.

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      1. @ Colorstorm
        When you consider the numbers that are actually leaving Christianity, one could be forgiven for believing that there is somewhat of a crisis in the ranks, CS.
        David certainly considers the Church of Scotland will soon be in its death throes.

        Of course, those like you who believe in a a 6000 year old Flat Earth obviously fall foul of two of your criteria: Honest(y) and Truth.

        Don’t get too close to the edge Colorstorm.

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      2. Ark – I’ll let you away with this one but I can’t keep posting all your numerous posts – keep them on subject, non-abusive and stick to facts. Here for example you are making things up – I know of no-one who believes in a 6000 year old Flat Earth. Perhaps a little of that honesty and truth would help you?

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      3. Oh, Colorstorm does, you can believe that if you can believe anything! He is a YEC.
        There are quite a number of YECs that I occasionally bump heads with – James and Wally, who also believe that Dinosaurs co- existed with human beings. And Colorstorm most certainly does believe in a flat earth. He has stated as much on his own blog. I kid you not!
        Ask him yourself, David.

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      4. Interesting. Here you are presenting not only irrelevant information on a blog and post in which you bring mud into the home of the host while accusing him of a sloppy house, but you LIE so casually ark, or is it deceive………as you try to pit one believer against another.

        Good people are well aware of your reindeer games but you really should keep the bar room talk for atheist sites only, because thoughtful believers will crush your nonsense and lame bait in 2 seconds flat.

        I have said specifically I do not know the age of the earth, and you know it, yet you persist in your guile; as to the other, a topic well above your pay grade, in addition you attribute words to me I have never used.

        In a court of law where reason is king, you would be tossed out for contempt.

        As to the gist of this post, God’s word is good, very good even. No defects there, at all.

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      5. So correct my misunderstanding and possible misrepresentation.
        Have you not expressed the view that you consider the earth to be flat?

        You are a YEC as is James and Wally, two regulars to your blog.
        Knowing something and believing are two entirely different matters.
        Do you accept the evidence that the earth is billions of years old. Yes or no?
        Oh, and I do not tell lies.
        However,m based on evidence, this seems to be something fundamentalists have a penchant for doing.

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      6. Ark – I have never expressed the view that the earth is flat! Where do you get that nonsense from? And I am not a YEC…..ANd yes the earth is probably billions of years old….what were you saying about lies?

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    3. “Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes” (Proverbs”6:5)

      Lets have some evidence, Ark. Who will be wiped out, die, first. You or Christianity? Who has eternal life. Christ or you? Who has victory over death, Christ or you? No one in their right mind will put any money on you. Down the centuries all mockers have died.
      Can can rest in your restlessness that gets under your skin – you will never be around to see this “article of faith” of yours (so far as you obtusely and yawn inducingly and with the mind dazzling sparkle of mud, and behind death mask grin of rigor mortis) attribute it to Christianity:
      “The day will surely come when humans can finally show the door to superstitious nonsense.”
      Your faith and religious ideas about Christianity will not survive your death – just like Arkenaten really as Akhenaten’s religious ideas did not survive his death as befalls all his disciples.

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      1. I’ll be long dead before Christianity bites the dust, if it ever does in its entirety.
        But the signs suggest it might eventually be regarded as a quaint oddity much as many religions that have come and gone are now regarded as.
        As David notes, the Church of Scotland is in dire straits and very likely going to collapse to be but a shell of its former self.
        The Church of England may well suffer a similar fate in the decades to come.

        One thing we can say without little fear of contradiction is this:Overall, Christianity has not developed in any truly meaningful religious sense at all other than to become more and more liberal, moving away from it’s original supposed irrevocable foundations.

        The likes of Crossan are evidence of this, and where there is one there are others.
        The Clergy Project was set up for a reason , Geoff, and I suspect there are a great many more professionals in the religious sphere who feel much the same way.

        The Church doesn’t burn witches anymore, and much of biblical literalism has gone out of the window,
        Who knows just how liberal Christianity will be in fifty years?

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      2. David R,
        I’d also add this relating to most of Ark’s comments:
        “Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife: quarrels and insults are ended ” Proverbs 22:10
        His cartoon Christianity backfires and reveals his own cartoonishness.
        He needs to change (he’s not really interested in discource, even within the parameters of the comments section) or leave.
        His mockery is of and has fallen on Christ.
        And the first part of the pairing of Proverbs 26:4-5), which forms part of the whole pairing is also apposite:
        “Do not answer a fool according to his folly or you yourself will be like him. ” Prov 26:4

        As Tim Keller says in “The Way of Wisdom”:
        “While seeming to contradict each other, the two sayings are juxtaposed to make a point. Sometimes it is best not to engage a fool in an argument and other times it is…
        If there is no chance of correction and you will end up giving the fooolish person only a greater opportunity to express his folly, then just avoid the engagement. But if there is a chancehe may see where he is wrong, then plunge in …”

        Ark constantly and consistently, notwithstanding any genuine attempt to engage with him, provides evidence that according to any Court would be ruled out, struck out, put out, as “frivolous or vexacious” at evey turn and he would have no “right of audience” right to being heard, having disqualified. himself.
        In the context of the proverbs a fool is an unbeliever.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. The more the church assimilates, the more it struggles to stick out, the less people see any reason for it, the more the church tries to be like everyone else, the more it assimilates… but it doesn’t see the trap.

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  2. My wife and I recently spent a week near Thornhill in Dumfreis and Galloway. I was exploring my family history, and visited the amazing church in the tiny hamlet of Durisdeer where my grandfather was once an elder, and which contains the Queensberry marbles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durisdeer

    In the lounge of the small hotel where we stayed I picked up a “tract” – a small booklet published by The Saltire Society of Scotland which, including other things, aims to be “a champion of free speech on the issues that matter to the cultural life of every Scot”. Its title was, “A plea for a Secular Scotland” and the author was none other than the past Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway.

    I thought the content was confused rubbish, but at its heart was that, despite being “a champion of free speech”, in the name of tolerance the “intolerance” of the church should be suppressed, and indeed removed from public life.

    A ex-bishop! With friends like that, who needs enemies.

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  3. It will be a true miracle of God if the Church of Scotland survives.

    When I left the Church of Scotland almost 2 years ago, it was for 3 reasons: in no particular order, the church I attended was extremely old fashioned, the church I attended had practically nobody aged under 60 (I’m 44) plus I was unhappy with the doctrinal direction of the Church of Scotland.

    When I bumped into the relevant minister a couple of months later, he had no response to his church being predominantly elderly (at one of the last services I attended at that Church he had preached that a church solely consisting of 80 year olds was still a church) or the doctrine of the Church of Scotland. In terms of a modern church service, he confirmed that his Kirk Session had refused to allow any form of contemporary worship.

    Popular churches in Scotland both preach the Bible and attract younger people going by the situation in Dunfermline.

    In it’s current form the Church of Scotland is simply not going to survive.

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  4. That’s because the clergy is full of people who are more interested in gesture politics than anything else. They would rather jump aboard this week’s trendy bandwagon than make sure pensioners in their parish have bread and milk, and have actually seen another living soul this week.
    We had a Reformation, three civil wars and a revolution to separate church and state, yet the clergy still play at politics instead of doing their job.

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  5. Within the perceived demise of the C of S, it should be remembered the great many acts of work it still undertakes amongst our nation and within the parishes it is called to serve. Not all is bad, but people do tend to major on the negative rather than celebrate the many positive works that the people in the C of S undertake each and every day.

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    1. David – there are many good things done by the Church of Scotland – but if it loses the Gospel and continues to lose members and Finance these will all end. The purpose of the Church is to proclaim the Gospel – not to act as the social work wing of the State or the liberals at prayer! I notice very view ‘majoring’ on the negatives….indeed the opposite is true….

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      1. I disagree, there are many who seem to major on the same-sex issue more times than the good things that are being done. The gospel is preached in many places in the C of S, but people quietly get on with it. I know for one that in my work, I am in no way the social work wing of the state or for any liberal.

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      2. David – sorry you are missing the point. I don’t doubt and explicitly state that there are people within the C of S who are getting on with the work of the Gospel – they are ‘fishing within the boat’. But my question was about the boat itself….is it sinking? And the answer is clearly yes. To ignore that does no one any favours – especially those who will be dragged down with it.

        As regards the SSM – it is the society and the hierarchy of the Church which are obsessed with it. I merely mentioned it as a symptom of a deeper malaise – a rejection of the bible as the word of God.

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  6. And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them; Gen 26:18

    There is a great series of sermons on revival on http://www.mljtrust.org.uk, recorded some 60 years ago – well worth listening to and they seem to be in chronological order which is helpful. The same point you make David, MLJ makes also – that slick marketing won’t change anything, an effective call for revival has to come from the pleading of a truly prayerful, repentant people who know their need of Christ. It is so sad to see the Kirk struggling for its very survival but it is being sold out from within – why people would be drawn to the ministry when they don’t believe scripture is beyond me. It would be like a dentist who doesn’t believe in good oral hygiene or a mechanic who disputes the need for petrol in motor cars, yet both are willingly employed as professionals in their field.

    We can be sure that God will use the plight that the Kirk is in, to further His work, even if it is to make us humble and more fearful for our fellow believers, to check our own hearts and to pray for one another in these desperate days, where we have much to be thankful for and where there are wells of that fresh, living water, pouring out of fountainheads across Scotland. Keep up the good work.

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  7. @ John Kilpatrick……I do follow all your comments John….although a lot of it goes over my head and you have me going for the dictionary a lot. I have never studied science although I find it interesting. I can only find facts interesting though…if they seem logical to me….(the likes of ‘irreducible complexity’ really makes perfect sense to me) anything that seems too ‘abstract’ or ‘vacuous’ is a waste of mental energy for me – either because I don’t know enough about the particular branch of science in the first place for me to place such ‘facts’ in any context that makes sense to me – or because I wonder about the integrity of the scientists presenting the so-called ‘fact/s’. I suspect, and this is just my suspicious mind, that if someone has the ‘goal’ of research in mind first before the research is done – and the desired answers in mind – surely any ‘evidence’ can just be manipulated into the desired goal? Evolutionists need an old earth don’t they? Because God is replaced by ‘chance over billions of years’? Do the goalposts keep getting shifted too?
    As someone who came to faith, out of a search for meaning in life, relying on God’s promises in Scripture to lead and guide – and the resultant evidence ‘experienced’ in my life – I don’t ‘need’ any scientific evidence. But I enjoy listening to the discussion. My enjoyment and appreciation of creation is part of my relationship with God as I understand God to be the ultimate artist, creative being, mathematician, physicist; witnessing and enjoying the variety and diversity in nature, and so much more that cannot be put into words although Romans 1:20 helps ” his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made.” The Spirit within witnesses and my heart soars in worship to God and joy that cannot be expressed in words – just inexpressible wonder – deep and wide and at the same time intimately personal – the intricate beauty of a small flower or the majestic beauty of a Scottish mountain – or the vast wonder of a clear night sky when you can see the stars – worshipful awe and continually asking the question – “What is God like? – and a smile comes over my face with the expectation of seeing him and meeting him. I have had this since I was a child and I believed in God since I first heard of him, although I didn’t know him until I put my trust in the saving work of Jesus – who opened the way to the deep love and care of the Father. I have never for a single second considered evolution to be true nor for a single second doubted God’s existence – nor when I came to believe his word was His word – I never doubt that it is. Militant atheists, the likes of Dawkins, would rob me of all this – and say that I am deluded, naive, ignorant, uneducated – a danger to children’s minds.

    But I am happy that simple childlike faith is a gift and I don’t need to apologise for it – but be deeply grateful for it. To be in Dawkin’s camp I would need a degree in science to have meaning in life. Not everybody wants to study science, and why should they? So what does Dawkins and his ilk have to offer to those who don’t want to study science those with learning difficulties, the poor and marginalised, the mentally ill, the young child, the prisoner, the refugee? Yet God can make the life of all meaningful regardless of their age, social standing, intelligence, life experience, disadvantages – all can experience his love and care, and all can worship him in wonder and awe.

    Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

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    1. The putative time needed for evolution is a red herring, Martha,
      since the age of the Universe is calculated by estimating how much time would be needed for the Universe to expand from its beginning to the size it is now. That figure, which is hardly ‘solid’ must at least be much greater than what evolution requires (assuming that both expansion and evolution are realities.)
      Stephen Hawking, writing about the expansion of the universe in A Brief History of Time, said:

      One could … imagine that God created the universe … in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang …

      but this ‘accommodation’ has not proved to be attractive to Creationists and it wasn’t really meant to be. Christians baulk at Hawking’s use of ‘imagine’ when he could have said ‘reason’ but, more importantly, ‘to make it look as though …’ sounds awfully like deception on God’s part.
      However, if Hawking’s thought is transferred into acceptible terms there is something to discuss. Thus: It is reasonable to suppose that God created the expanding universe at a point in the expansion process, of his own choosing.
      I don’t know why creationists should have a difficulty with this for after all, Adam was created as an ~n-years old adult male.

      As for ‘evidence’; the entire Bible directs us to the witnesses that Jesus was raised from the dead so that’s where ‘The Gospel’ is to be found. Many scientists have facts and theories that question the current Cosmological Model or the Neo-Darwinian consensus. It is right that scientific assumptions should be challenged and to this end scientists need scientific evidences. However, no matter how compelling evidences are in their place, anti-evolution, for example, is not the Gospel and putting it beside the Gospel or even before the Gospel is to concoct a different gospel which is not a gospel at all.

      Yours,
      John/.

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      1. No, Ark,
        what I’m saying is that the age of the universe is determined by measuring — to the best of our ability — how long it would take the universe to get from the Big Bang to its current state of expansion. If one could calculate how long ago God created the universe one would be able to say aproximately what age it was when God created it.
        However, since the phytological relationship between all living things indicates an evolutionary development process, it is reasonable to suppose that God created still-evolving life at a point in the evolutionary process, of his own choosing.
        Since virtual time since the beginning of the universe’s expansion is greater than virtual time since the beginning of phytological development, the putative time needed for evolution is a red herring when we are discussing the age of the universe.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      2. Fair enough … then before you push on and expand on these thoughts, which to my non academic mind, somehow come across as somewhat creationist,( you are aware of the most recent cosmological findings regarding light, I presume, yes?) it would help your cause and the dialogue in general, if you were to present the evidence that demonstrates that your god created the universe.

        Regards.
        Ark.

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      3. Of course my thoughts are ‘creationist’, Ark!
        I am a creationist.

        As succinctly as I dare make it:

        The evidence that God created the universe is this: Scripture preserves for us the verifiable-at-the-time (therefore verified) account of the various witnesses to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: among them the Failures; the Family; and the Former Persecuter. Alongside the lists of witnesses, the New Testament Scriptures point out that Old Testament Scriptures predicted this same resurrection hundreds of years before. These Scriptures have so far not been shown to be false therefore it is perfectly reasonable to take what they say about the origins of the universe and of life as admissible evidence.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      4. Thank you, John.
        Excellent and succinct summation.
        Appreciate your brevity.
        If you ever come across evidence for Adam and Eve, Noah, and Moses and the Exodus, please let me know, I would be fascinated to read.

        Regards,
        Ark

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      5. I would take your expression of appreciation much more seriously, Ark,
        if you’d noticed the one-size-fits-all nature of my answer. You ask about Adam and Eve, Noah, and Moses and the Exodus, so, in the interests of brevity, I’d have to say: The Scriptures tell us about Adam and Eve, Noah, and Moses and the Exodus. These Scriptures have so far not been shown to be false therefore it is perfectly reasonable to take what they say about Adam and Eve, Noah, and Moses and the Exodus as admissible evidence.

        It is probably of no interest to you because you’ve just cobbled together this list of evidence requests out of ‘usual suspects’ habit; but others might be fascinated to note that you’ve hit on the three most obvious salvation narratives in the Pentateuch thus supporting the Scripture-evidence contention.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      6. Thanks John K. If Jesus could heal a man’s withered hand immediately – he could bypass the amount of time needed for the hand to heal naturally – maybe months or years, if he just triggered a natural process of healing. It wouldn’t be any problem for the same Creator to create a universe in whatever amount of time he wished. Problem is, man’s head is also expanding. Some people are just too clever for their own good and won’t accept a ‘simple’ answer. But who made the universe – the earth and all who live there and all that is in it? God or nothing? I think God is the more intelligent reasonable answer. But it is the next part that proud people have the problem with – because if God made everything – then He should be honoured and worshipped. We have to get rid of God by any and all means. Truly “professing themselves wise, they became fools”. Pride proves to be the deadliest of snares.
        “As no creature (in respect of eternal abilities) comes under more natural weakness into the world than man, naked and empty, and more shiftless and helpless than any other creature; for it is with his soul, yea, much more than so: all our excellencies are borrowed excellencies, no reason therefore to be proud of any of them: 1 Cor 4:7 “What hast thou, that thou has not received? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?” What intolerable insolence, and vanity, would it be for a man that wears the rich and costly robe of Christ’s righteousness, in which there is not one thread of his own spinning; but all made by free grace, and not by free will; to jett proudly up and down the world in it, as if himself had made it; and he were beholding to none of it? Oh man! Thine excellencies, whatever they are, are borrowed from Christ, they oblige thee to him, but he can be no more obliged to thee, who wearest them, then the Sun is obliged to him that borrows its light, or the fountain to him that draws its water for his use and benefit.”

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  8. I’d rather rely on God to reveal origins to us than atheist scientists like Richard Dawkins and many more whose names I don’t even care to know. I’d rather have fellowship with Christians who love and worship God and Christ than with Dawkin’s fans who perpetuate his poisonous agenda – to deny God and lead others to do the same.

    What do you make of Genesis 1 John? I can accept the first 2 verses may not necessarily be on the same day as the verse following and perhaps there is some genuinely scientific methods to date the earth – I actually don’t even care because I agree it is a red herring for several reasons. Are we first going to determine the earth’s beginnings – and also specify the time of its destruction? If we interpret the first chapter of Genesis as allegory then any subsequent references to creation are also allegory. It doesn’t look like allegorical reading compared with the rest of the Bible. We are told God sustains all things by his powerful world. The earth will be destroyed – at God’s timing and we don’t know when that is.
    “However, since the phytological relationship between all living things indicates an evolutionary development process, it is reasonable to suppose that God created still-evolving life at a point in the evolutionary process, of his own choosing.”
    I had to look up the word phytological, but I suppose that means I’m disqualified from having an opinion about the world in which we live. As far as I can decipher, the above contradicts Genesis 1 John.

    If we had no Bible or creation accounts, then the atheists would have nothing to fight against. It is the creation account in Genesis that is foundational to all belief in God. Take it away and all other doctrines collapse. We cannot see God, so it is up to God to reveal God to us. I believe that God has revealed ‘himself’ to us. He has spoken. If what he has revealed with regard to the origins of all things is a riddle, or an allegory and not apparent as such even – then we have a twisted, deceptive, manipulative God. However, as Jesus revealed who God is and what God is like, we learn that we have a truthful, gentle, protective, self-sacrificial, loving, righteous, perfect, God who demonstrated power over nature, prayed to the Father and who showed us the triune God. This was proven by the resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit, who is still here but more manifest in his presence in places where the church is humble and holy.

    All the old testament pointed to Christ and Christ validated the old testament and promised the Holy Spirit and that he, Christ, would build his church, and he has and is, and return as judge and Saviour. If we throw out Genesis 1, then we need to throw out Genesis 2, then Genesis 3 – then none of the Bible makes any sense including Jesus’s reference to ‘beginnings’. People think it seems unintelligent to believe the creation and fall accounts because we are so utterly intelligent now and we know so much now. “Let God be true and every man a liar”. Science can only reveal so much….perhaps it goes beyond its scope and still calls that science. I have heard evolutionists say things like “we don’t know (with regard to some aspect) ….but we are getting very close to knowing”. Honesty should be the currency of science – but is it always?

    I’m not sure if I picked you up wrong John K and I may have done you no favours with regard to your close friendship with Arkenaten – but I hope to continue to see you both ‘work it out’ between you.

    I think trusting what God says in his word in matters that are ‘clear’ doesn’t detract from having deep and wide awe and wonder regarding all that has been made.

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    1. Let me assure you, Martha,
      that what I am saying does not contradict Genesis 1. If I’m understanding you correctly you can accept that God created an expanding universe very near to the point of expansion that it has now reached but balk at the parallel concept of God creating an evolving biosphere at the point of development where a single creation made in God’s image, could claim dominion over the rest of creation.

      You are not alone in having reservations — to put it mildly — but I suspect that the difference of reception between one theory and the other is that ‘evolution’ is a trigger word in a way that ‘expansion’ isn’t. I’d avoid using it if I could for that very reason but as you say ‘phytological’ is hardly common parlance (and anyway, I meant to say ‘phytogenetic’.)

      Personally, I have absolutely no use for an allegorical interpretation of Genesis 1 but I cannot agree with you that if Genesis 1 were intended to be alegorical then all the subsequent chapters of the Bible would have to be also. Similarly, Gen.1:1-2:3 and Gen. 2:4-25 are parallel passages but just because Gen 2:4ff. uses ‘day’ in figurative ways doesn’t mean that Gen. 1 can’t be using ‘day’ simply to mean either ‘a period of daylight’ or ‘the period of time between one sunset and the next.’

      Nor can I accept that Genesis 1 is foundational. For a while there, back in the 1990s it seemed like a good idea to delay preaching the Cross until people were disbused of the idea of evolution. The concept of Creation Evangelism always had much more traction in the USA than it ever could have in the UK but it was fundamentally flawed because anti-evolution is not the Gospel.

      And, Martha, I would be mortified if a clever argument of mine were to pursuade Ark to renounce his atheism, dress up like a Christian and make all the evangelical noises. Ark has had clever arguments aplenty and some not so clever ones as well. He is dead in trespasses and in sin so no clever argument could savingly convert him; what is required is that God intervenes to save him. He is abundantly able to do so and I look forward to Ark asking him for evidence that he is able to save to the uttermost all who come to him. 🙂

      Yours,
      John/.

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      1. @John
        I wonder what makes you so sure that your arguments for your god and your religion are any more clever than mine are for non belief?
        As always, the onus is on those making the positive claim and I have always been under the impression that your religious foundation/belief in the power of the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth is firmly rooted in faith.
        You have the floor, John, and I feel quite confident David will allow you all the space you need, so anytime you feel inclined to wheel out the verifiable evidence to demonstrate your claims, thus metaphorically wiping the floor with me once and for all then I will most definitely acknowledge I was wrong.
        Of this you have my solemn word.

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      2. Read it again, Ark,
        I’m not saying that my arguments are cleverer than yours. I’m saying that you must be born again.
        Yours,
        John/.

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      3. Thank for your considered reply John. Not being remotely a science student I can only say that ‘apparently the universe is expanding’. I’m Irish, my generation inherently suspect anything that anybody says, anything that ‘everybody’ believes and especially anything the so-called ‘experts’ tell us. So anything that I cannot weigh up myself – I tend to be apprehensive about believing it fully. Thanks for the reminder that ‘anti-evolution is not the gospel’ .
        But I can’t agree that Genesis 1 is not foundational. It may not be foundational to preaching the gospel or to evangelism – for the hearers or listeners – but it should be for the preacher or evangelist. The devil knows what he is doing when he attacks the doctrine of creation – so we must reinforce it. If God is not Creator, then he has no authority over us whatsoever.
        I didn’t mean that the chapters following Genesis 1 must also be allegorical – what I mean is that allegory is relatively easy to spot in Scripture – the parables of Jesus or maybe Song of Solomon and Revelation – but I believe Genesis is written to be understood literally, the most difficult part to accept is the talking serpent. But even that is to be understood literally.
        I had to look up the word phytogenetic. I believe God made everything with seed according to its kind. I am totally happy with my relationship with God as Creator and would not spend much time on science. I believe “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” I see no necessity to study science to inform my theology. I believe there was a time when you had to study theology in Cambridge or Oxford before you studied other subjects because it was believed theology (the queen of sciences) underpinned everything. Now they want to throw out theology altogether.

        Thanks for the reminder John, belief in God as Creator is not a saving faith at all – although for me it is the ultimate foundation. Those scientists who ascent to belief in intelligent design haven’t come to saving faith. I know Christians who believe in evolution – and this I find contradictory to the Bible at points – and I get the same quizzical, bemused looks and comments that I might get from an unbeliever for taking Genesis literally and for not believing the scientific ‘experts’. But if belief in Creation seems daft, it is no surprise because so does the gospel seem foolish- “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cor 1:18

        “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” Col 2:14ff

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      4. My reply to you, Martha,
        was ill-considered enough that I did not realise that your first paragraph —

        I’d rather rely on God to reveal origins to us than atheist scientists like Richard Dawkins and many more whose names I don’t even care to know. I’d rather have fellowship with Christians who love and worship God and Christ than with Dawkin’s fans who perpetuate his poisonous agenda – to deny God and lead others to do the same.

        — referred to something I said.
        When I thanked Richard Dawkins for his backhanded recommendation of Kurt Wise I was being sarcastic. Dawkins would be appalled that his attempt to smear Wise’s reputation — he asks how Wise has the nerve to pick up his paycheck! — could have completely the opposite effect. Wise is not a Dawkins fan by any stretch of the imagination and you should hear him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6Ac0_Jeerw .

        You say: ‘I know Christians who believe in evolution – and this I find contradictory to the Bible at points’ but, before agreeing with you, I’d need to add the caveat that it depends on what they mean by ‘evolution’ and what they imply by it. I take the view that the distinction between a Theistic Evolutionist and a Creationist is whether or not they believe that Adam was made from the dust of the ground (rather than being born) and, Eve from Adam’s rib (rather than being born.) You would be right to say that Intelligent Design Theory fits in well with Theistic Evolutionism but most ID theorists that I have come across have been fully signed-up Creationists. Even if all of them were merely Theistic Evolutionists though, it would still be outragous to say, ‘ Those scientists who as[s]ent to belief in intelligent design haven’t come to saving faith.’ So it seems pretty clear to me that you have misspoken, here; I think you meant that such scientists haven’t necessarily each come to saving faith, which is of course true.

        If there are things that you think I have said that contradict any Scripture at all, please ask. As I have said, ‘evolution’ is a trigger word and it seems almost impossible to use it without many people assuming the opposite of what one means. I’m grateful for the opportunity to explain myself.

        Yours,
        John/.

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  9. Hi John, I wasn’t referring to Dawkins in response to your reference to him. In the space of the comments section, it is easy to create misunderstandings and difficult to clear them up. My reference to evolution, is in the broad sense that everything came from one simple life form and divided and multiplied…….until eventually man came from apes. I simply don’t believe it at all. Micro evolution or adaptation, I understand.
    I listened to Dr Kurt Wise and I found it very touching. He is very emotional….for a man! (I jest…sort of!). He was coming from exactly the opposite position to me….where science was the thing that he loved most and cried for 3 days when he felt he had to give it up. Then God gave it back to him. My belief in God as Creator is something I cherish greatly and think of Him when I see a beautiful sky, or cut into a water melon, or see the waves crashing on the sea shore, or killer whales leaping in the sea. My favourite hymn is How Great Thou Art – because of the beautiful references to nature, as well as the gospel and future glory. I couldn’t conceive of swapping my faith for science – not for one second – it would be taking the greatest source of my joy and wonder away – if not my very life.
    John are you a scientist – or a musician – ?

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    1. Martha,
      I’m suspecting that you have misunderstood what Dr. Wise means when he says that God gave ‘Science’ back to him. You say that you understand micro evolution or adaptation and it was probably Dr. Wise who persuaded the Evangelical Creationist community to accept that that level of evolutionary development is a real thing. Do not think that God giving science back to Kurt Wise somehow puts Kurt Wise into the enemy’s camp.

      That by the way. You ask me if I’m a scientist: I have a 3rd Class Hons. BSc. in Botany and Zoology (awarded by the University of Dundee in the mid 70s) and though that doesn’t make me a scientist, I have kept a watching brief on developments.

      I think you’re admitting that your personal definition of evolution is simplistic:

      My reference to evolution, is in the broad sense that everything came from one simple life form and divided and multiplied…….until eventually man came from apes.

      So if God created all living things — not at the beginning of that process — but pretty close to where everything is in the process now, according to ‘kind’ would that remove most of your objections?

      Yours,
      John/.

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  10. Hi John, It is very gracious of you to continue the discussion with me as I am in no position to debate anything on a scientific level. I didn’t think Dr Wise was in the enemy camp – I understood the story. God gave science back to him, when he thought he had to give it up – but I understood that he had a different understanding of evolution after that and managed to harmonise his science and his faith. I loved the story and his very heartfelt telling of it.
    I believe the Genesis account of creation – God created everything after its kind (species). I always understood science to be the study or discovery of what can actually be observed – but not having studied science, I am in no position to debate. If God is put out of the picture, then I wonder if science seeks to understand and explain things beyond the scope of science.
    I object to replacing theology with science. When someone like Dawkins who is an evolutionary biologist, speaks as a theologian – when he is clearly not a theologian and therefore is not qualified to speak on theology – I say, let the theologians speak about theology! That is their field of expertise. Someone like Dawkins wants to shut the theologians up or prevent them from influencing people and claims they are speaking nonsense. Not surprising really – because we know who is really behind the attacks on Christians. But theology is an intellectually satisfying and robust subject.
    I thought at one time that I would learn something about the discourse between scientists and theologians if I read the book The God Delusion. I bought the book for my husband for Christmas and excitedly had a look at it myself first, thinking I would discover the exciting overlap between science and theology and exactly where the battle lines lay. I was shocked when I saw what Dawkins had to offer – an esteemed scientist – offering bitter, petulant, deeply flawed childish logic! I couldn’t put wrapping paper on the book and offer poison as a Christmas present. It was not an honest book – it was an angry bitter attempt to dissuade people away from God and it worked. Ugly, devilish rhetoric.
    So I lost faith in the honesty of the ‘argument’ from the science side of things. I was honestly eager to learn but if some atheists have lost or abandoned their ability to be rational and reasonable, then I find that dishonest.
    Thanks for engaging John – especially as I am so ignorant of scientific facts. I thought you also mentioned in one post that you were a composer also?

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    1. I’m not trying to debate with you, Martha
      if anything I’m trying awfully hard to agree with you. You say: ‘I believe the Genesis account of creation.’ Okay, so do I. Then you say: ‘God created everything after its kind (species).’ And I’m at a loss: how am I supposed to agree with you when you say you have no knowledge of Science and then equate the commonplace term ‘kind’ with the scientific term ‘species’? If I explain how ‘species’ was once thought to correspond to the Biblical ‘kind’ but no longer, you will revert back to wanting to know nothing about Science and I’ve lost the point of theological contact. I want to use my ‘teaching’ voice to say that God created everything after its kind is exactly what I have been saying but — apart from the fact that you’d think I was shouting — you’d just say, perhaps, that you’re Irish!

      (The frustration is not with you personally, indeed, I’m grateful to you because I had not realised just how complex and how vulnerable the Conservative Creationist position is. 😦 )

      The truth is that neither of us is ready to debate these things in the public square but we must because others don’t. It behoves us to what we can do to the best of our ability, doing what we can to speak clearly and understand where others are coming from.

      (I live in Liverpool; the derision if I claimed to be a musician would be unbearable.)

      Yours,
      John/.

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  11. Hi John
    Ok, maybe I was hasty in adding the word ‘species’ instead of kind. I don’t believe creatures can reproduce with creatures from a different species. In plant life, you being far more knowledgeable than I, there is more scope for genetic modification although you mentioned the word ‘phytogenetic’ – which raises the idea for me of the natural evolution of plants – but even then I don’t know the scope of natural evolution of plants.
    The bible says God created people, animals and plants to reproduce after their ‘kind’. I said I am very happy with my simplistic view of God as Creator as is written in Genesis. I believe it is a rational and reasonable opinion. But, my view is ridiculed by those, Christian and non-Christian who claim to ‘know’ the scientific ‘facts’….obviously implying that I am uneducated, uninformed, naive.

    In any case, the knowledge of God as Creator, isn’t a saving faith – but I believe it is a great start if not the best foundation for a saving faith!

    A saving faith then enables a person to enjoy the created order even more!

    ‘Faith’ is something that is not possible to examine under a microscope – and is the key to belief!

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  12. Glad to hear God is still at work in St Peter’s. We visited you (John & Linda Kennett) 12 years ago! How time flies. Doesn’t seem possible it is that long ago. I’m blessed to have found you.

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