Dundee Newspaper/Magazine Articles Personal

‘We Will Rue the Day the Wee Flea Buzzed Off – Article in the Evening Telegraph

This article appeared in The Evening Telegraph last week – you can get the original here.

The reactions to it have been ‘interesting’.  More of which below….

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EWAN GURR: After 30 years of ministry in Dundee, ‘the wee Flea’ will be a huge loss to the city

A Pagan, a Catholic and an atheist walk into a Free Church.

It sounds like the perfect opener for a punchline but this is no joke.

It is just a normal Sunday at St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee’s West End.

But after 30 years of local ministry in the city, Reverend David Robertson recently announced to the 300-plus weekly attendees who amass his thriving congregation that he plans to take up a new role in Australia.

Robertson has been chaplain to Dundee FC, Dundee University and a moderator of the Free Church but his core passion has been a culturally and economically diverse church of 27 nationalities.

He says: “One Sunday I looked out and, on one row, I saw a 16- year-old illiterate single mum, a Greek New Testament-reading PhD student, a 70-year-old Hilltown pensioner and a visiting millionaire Wall Street banker.”

Until a meeting over breakfast last week, I must confess I knew little of the person behind the persona.

Robertson shared that he initially declined the Free Church request to relocate to Dundee.

He later did, however, uproot his young family from a thriving congregation in a small Highland mining village to take on the church, which was in single figures, and initially got even smaller following his arrival.

Keen to support a local team, he went to Dens and saw the hosts up four goals against Hibs.

A wee old man sitting next to Robertson got up and said: “Auch, ah’m awa’ hame!” “But we’re up 4-0,” he replied. “Aye, but it’ll finish four-all” said the old man as he turned and walked out. And, right enough, the game finished 4-4.

“I just loved the people and their reality” says Robertson.

He shares one story of a boy who came to the youth club causing so much trouble that he was barred. The boy’s mother pleaded with Robertson to let him stay.

He reluctantly complied and gave the boy a firm talking to which led to an improvement in behaviour. Ten years later, at a job fair, that same boy approached Robertson and thanked him for his input which transformed his life.

“The Wee Flea”, as he has become known, is outspoken on religious matters, as well as issues of wider political and social significance.

He has been open about his support for Scottish independence and Brexit and has written openly on same sex marriage and gender identity.

He often divides opinion but his blog has grown from 55,000 visitors in 2013 to 1.3 million globally in the last year.

Despite the division of opinion, there will be a constituent group by whom Robertson will be sorely missed, but some creatures were simply not meant to be caged.

Its always fascinating and sometimes disconcerting to see ‘ourselves as others see us’!

The article was generally well received but not by everyone.  Whilst one councillor contacted me to say how sorry he is to see me go – another tweeted the following:

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Remember this was the man who I’ve had a few run ins with before and who eventually got fired for taking on the feminists – He was also the man responsible for Dundee’s education system.  Little wonder it is in such a mess!

The SNP Councillor and the Free Church Bully

The Most Hateful Man I’ve Ever Come Across!

Whenever I am accused of being ‘homophobic’ or transphobic I just simply ask the accuser to give one example.  So far none have been able to.  The trouble is that they think that if you disagree with a policy like SSM (or indeed on any issue) then you must be doing so because you are ‘phobic’.




  1. No matter where you go , and you go with our prayers. You are not your
    own , you have been bought with a price beyond human value . It will always be interesting to read the “Wee Flea” as he goes walkabout !

  2. You have long been viewed by me as a mentor on what it truly means to serve the Lord our God. May the Lord’s blessings continue to follow wherever He leads you.

  3. There was a lot of hysteria from fundamentalists about same-sex marriage, that ministers would be forced to marry gay people; ministers would be thrown in jail; Scotland would be taken back to the Dark Ages or Greco-Roman paganism; charities would be forced to close down. None of this happened, fundamentalists can only cry wolf so many times.
    The Bible doesn’t support freedom of religion, abolition of slavery, rights of women, democracy but the majority of Christians support freedom of religion, reject slavery, support democracy today. So the Bible has been reinterpreted many times, if it wasn’t we would still be in the Dark Ages.

    1. Alex – I’m afraid you are exulting too quickly. Moves are already afoot to compel churches to agree with SSM…and yes we are heading back to Greco-Roman paganism and charities have been forced to close down – and will if they don’t toe the line. Just as your ‘facts’ about modern life are wrong – so are your ‘facts’ about the Bible. It is because of the Bible that we have freedom of religion, the abolition of slavery, rights of women and democracy (read Larry Siedentop’s The Making of the Western Individual. It’s rare to see a post that is so confident in what it asserts and so wrong in everything!

      1. Funny. I hear Muslim apologists make similar absurd claims for Islam — tolerance for ethnic/religious minorities throughout its history; Islam respects women’s rights, etc. There’s not much difference between evangelical Christians and their Islamic counterparts when it comes to putting a glowing spin on their respective holy books.

        And Alex is correct in pointing to the Bible’s support of slavery. Historically, both slave-holders and abolitionists could quote scripture to support their positions. So Christians claim the credit for abolishing slavery in the West, supposedly based on the Bible? Who do you think established it in the first place?

      2. A little knowledge is always a dangerous thing – even more so when combined with prejudice. Your first paragraph is just deflection and ad hom. I would suggest you read some history.

        AS for establishing history – are you seriously arguing that Christianity introduced it? Can I suggest again that you read some history – it would help you make your points without making this kind of embarrassing comment! Meanwhile I leave you with a simple thought. As Christianity has declined in the UK – slavery has returned with some 20,000 slaves now in the country. Co-incidence?

  4. I am in hope that The Wee Flea is not going to disappear, even though it is relocating! I have not been reading your articles for long David, but I love the content – straight talking common scense and wisdom. Thank you for expressing so well what so many of us believe in yet are less able to communicate! May you continue to hear the gentle whisper of God and respond with obedience to His directions.

  5. David,

    It’s relatively straightforward: if Jesus or Paul had explicitly condemned the barbarism of slavery outright, in no uncertain terms, do you really think it would have been adopted in Christian Europe and North America to such a large degree? If Jews hadn’t been so vilified in parts of the NT — John’s Gospel, especially, and Paul’s first (or second, I can’t recall exactly) Thessalonians — would the history of Christian antisemitism have been so pronounced?

    If your god had got his moral proclamations straight — instead of trivialities about not worshiping other gods — and simply said: “Thou shalt not rape the kids”, do you think we would have seen widespread, systemic clerical sexual abuse? Or are some Christians so morally degenerate, it wouldn’t have made the slightest difference?

    If you want to make sweeping claims for the Bible’s impact on Western civilization, then you must take the good with the bad. Otherwise, you’re guilty of whitewashing.

    1. Chris – they did condemn slavery – but that was not your point. You argued that Christianity introduced slavery – feel free to provide the evidence for that rather extraordinary claim. You do realise that both John and Paul were Jews? As was Jesus! And God did say that we should not rape – indeed it was punishable by death. Get your facts right – or it just reads like a silly rant…

  6. That was a wonderful tribute to David Robertson from Euan Gurr, a journalist with the Evening Telegraph in Dundee.
    In a sense it’s a tribute to God, who has undoubtedly called and inspired David to present the Christian Gospel through his unique ministry of thirty years in Dundee, In a way that could only be, ‘God Inspired.’ At the start of his ministry 30 years ago he took on a congregation of eight, and now a thriving attendance and membership of well over 300. That’s called ‘bucking the trend.’ BUT God honours Scriptural faithfulness! Wake-up Church IN Scotland.
    His daily blog has grown from 55,000 visitors in 2013 to 1.3 million globally in the last year.
    Although not admired by one and all, just as his Lord was, yet he stood by the truths of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16 – 17) and was spiritually rewarded.
    Australia’s gain is Scotland’s loss. I wish you and your family God’s speed in your new ‘calling.’
    John Young – Aberdeen

  7. David

    While we may disagree on many things (fewer than you imagine) I can only congratulate you on the success of your blog. Say what they will, the number of people following the meandering ramblings of a Wee Free minister in Dundee is astounding. Of course you and I know perfectly well that Dundee is fast becoming one of the coolest places on the planet so perhaps it’s not so surprising all eyes are on the City of Discovery. The partner and I take every opportunity to visit.

    I guess my only comment, and this echoes Alex, is that it’s very easy to place people in a box rather than interact with what they say they believe rather than what you imagine they believe because you’ve assumed they belong to some group or other. You sometimes get people wrong.

    If I may say so, the thing I’ve particularly appreciated has been your commentary on the increasingly illiberal attitudes of self-appointed liberals. It’s turned vicious, even to the point I’ve been told to kill myself (by self-professed liberal Christians) for stating the blindingly obvious. Liberal shibboleths are endless and free speech is threatened. I frequently find myself agreeing with people like Jordan Peterson and wonder why more people aren’t saying what he’s saying…except you. He has of course tapped into a very large silent majority that finds itself at odds with the small but noisy liberal minority that appears to call the shots. But Peterson is not the Messiah. What’s most galling is that by disposition I’m a social democrat. One increasingly finds oneself without a political home. Incidentally, I don’t agree with you on Brexit but have been interested reading your posts on ‘The Great Deception’. Actually I voted remain slightly grudgingly but either way I’m sickened by the sanctimonious attitude of far too many fellow remainers. At many levels, it’s the sanctimoniousness and arrogance of our political elite that brought us to this position in the first place.

    I’m not going to rehearse the things we disagree about. I wish you an Annabel well in Australia. No doubt you’ll continue to blog. My only plea is you try not to respond to people with often quite nuanced views as though they clearly speak for one camp or another. Life just isn’t that black and white.


  8. Ok…wrong place to post this but I don’t see your email.
    Have you had the time to listen to the last two Still Unbelievable podcasts or any of the others? It’s gaining a broad audience?
    Bart Campolo who I think is such a kind soul was amazing as a guest. I’d love you to come on and do an episode. Put aside you and I ‘tussling’ in the past, and please consider it. JB is cool with all this, ask him if you like.https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/still-unbelievable/id1448210557?mt=2

    Email me here… tarasnyder@shaw.ca
    Thanks for you time,

  9. David Robertson, thank you so much for your firm stand and unabashedly commitment to Biblical truth in a pagan world. I am on the other side of the pond, However, as you know, God’s family, is not restricted by geographical boundaries. This is truly not our home, it is our temporary residence.

    Here on this side of the pond we have had the wonderful privilege of hearing the Gospel preached faithfully by another ‘Scot’, Sinclair Ferguson. He always points us to Christ. He does not let a ‘pond’ separate us from God’s truth, and we are thankful that he visits on a regular basis.

    So, I write to thank you and wish you God’s richest blessings in your new temporary home. May you and your family have good health and a rich ministry pointing more souls to our Christ. Keep on blogging.

    With gratitude,
    Cheryl Wohlers

  10. Rev. Robertson,
    I will truely miss the Scots version of the WeeFlea, but I’m hoping you will continue it with a new name when you get settled. Maybe something like “The Aussie WeeFlea”, or “FleaBitsDownunder.com”.
    Anyway, I was grieved to learn you were leaving. I discovered your blog quite by accident only about 6 months ago while on vacation with friends at their lakeside cabin in New Hampshire. I was up early before anyone else and was playing with a new tablet my husband bought me for our anniversary. I ran into a post by Janet Parshall, followed it along and, there you were! I fell in love, lol.
    I have learned so much from you about Scottish politics, the politics of Brexit (I never thought the people had the guts to vote for it! A wonderful surprise! The politicians are another matter!), your book recommendations, and so much else; especially how to answer vile hate with godly words. I hope you will b able to continue your monthly visits with Janet Parshall, always wonderful listening. I will pray for a smooth transition down under.

  11. Hi David,

    I have really appreciated your leadership of the church in Scotland in being one of the few willing to stand and argue against the cultural Marxism which is taking over both the country and the church. However I am dismayed that you are leaving Scotland for Australia. Have you given up on us? Have you got fed up with the lack of support from others? Why is it that all the best Scottish pastors leave e.g. Bruce Milne, Alastair Begg, and Liam Gollighar who all ended up in North America. It’s very discouraging for us ordinary people to be regularly abandoned in this way. Please change your mind and stay and continue to serve Scotland!

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