Presbytery Debates on the Ministers and Deacons in Civil Partnerships Overture

FT web header small with textAs Presbyteries across the Church of Scotland debate and vote on the Overture under the terms of the Barrier Act, Forward Together would urge all evangelicals within the Church to continue to pray and to speak out against this draft legislation which, if enacted, would permit the ordination and induction of those in civil partnerships within the Church of Scotland.

Forward Together understands that among the small number of Presbyteries that have already voted, at least three have voted Against the Overture. This should be a great encouragement to us to continue to pray and to seek to persuade others in our Presbyteries not to support the Overture.

Please pray for all of the Presbytery debates over the next few weeks, bearing in mind that we do not have the date for every Presbytery:

4 November: Angus, Ayr, Buchan, Caithness, Duns, Edinburgh, Gordon, Hamilton, Kirkcaldy, Lanark, Lochcarron-Skye, Melrose & Peebles, Sutherland, Uist

5 November: Jedburgh

6 November: Dunfermline

13 November: Stirling

25 November: Glasgow

26 November: Dumfries and Kirkcudbright

27 November: Lothian

2 December: Annandale & Eskdale, Ardrossan, Dumbarton, Inverness, Ross, Wigtown

3 December: Moray

9 December: Greenock & Paisley

10 December: Dundee

13 December: Perth

There are many good reasons for opposing the Overture. Some of these are set out in two documents that can be accessed from the ‘Overture GA2014’ tab on our website: www.ftscotland.wordpress.com. We hope that these may be helpful to those preparing to speak in their Presbytery debate.

The Overture has been presented as a compromise, nominally affirming the Church’s traditional position while at the same time permitting those in civil partnerships to train for parish ministry or the diaconate or to transfer into the Church of Scotland from other denominations; and permitting any congregation where a majority of its elders are so minded to call a minister who is in a civil partnership.

We must be in no doubt that if this Overture is passed, this so-called ‘compromise’ will not be the permanent, fixed position of the Church. The Theological Forum, in its report to the General Assembly of 2014 made this very point:

The mixed economy in this form is admittedly an unstable position. We should recognise it as a temporary holding measure, although it is none the worse for that. In the light of experience and further discussion, the Church may wish to maintain a more unequivocal affirmation of its traditional position, seeing the proposed concession as an unwise yielding to secularist forces, as ethically unfruitful, and as lacking a mandate in the clear teaching of Scripture. Alternatively, the Church may be led to modify further its historic teaching on marriage and sexuality to recognise the validity of committed gay relationships, the contribution of gay couples to the life of our congregations and the calling of women and men to the ordained ministry irrespective of their sexual orientation and commitments. In the meantime, the provisions of the Overture will facilitate differing convictions, while constraining the departure from traditional teaching and practice, during an extended period of reflection and deliberation which can allow the wisdom and insight of a younger generation to emerge. (Theological Forum Report, Blue Book 2014 p.20/12)

It is already clear that those who hold a Revisionist position will not be content until the Church abandons its traditional position. On 23rd October, it was reported on the official Church of Scotland Facebook page and Twitter feed, that:

Greyfriars Kirk, situated in Edinburgh’s Old Town, has confirmed it wishes to become an “affirming congregation” within the Church of Scotland. Affirmation Scotland, an organisation within the Church aiming to “affirm the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians in The Church of Scotland and the Churches in Scotland”, is supported by a network of sympathetic local churches known as “affirming congregations” who have made public declarations promoting LGBTI equality and inclusion. Greyfriars is the latest addition to this network.

Affirmation Scotland makes clear on the homepage of its website that it sees the Overture as a stepping-stone towards a fully Revisionist Church:

In the opinion of Affirmation Scotland the draft legislation is not perfect as it still enshrines inequality and discriminatory treatment for lesbian and gay people in the church. Nevertheless we feel it is important that it is supported as it will allow the Church to take a significant step forward… Affirmation Scotland prays for a time – and it could be close – when not just The Church of Scotland but all faith communities, affirm people in same-sex relationships, celebrate love between two people as a gift of God, and enact the justice and grace of the God we worship.

Forward Together believes that now is the time for the Church to make (in the words of the Theological Forum) “a more unequivocal affirmation of its traditional position, seeing the proposed concession as an unwise yielding to secularist forces, as ethically unfruitful, and as lacking a mandate in the clear teaching of Scripture.”

Information

Douglas Cranston is the Forward Together contact point for anyone seeking advice and support in preparing for their Presbytery debate. Please feel free to contact Douglas at cranston140@btinternet.com or by calling 01505 873271

IN SUPPORT OF UNITY WITHIN THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND – A Personal Statement from the Reverend Murdo Smith, retd., Presbytery of Uist

CofSBurningBushLogoIntroduction

The Church of Christ today is a fragmented and divided body. While there is a unity between all true believers in Christ Jesus at a very deep level, it is not a visible unity. The world looks at the Church and is bewildered by its fragmented nature. Scotland is awash with so many different denominations. Yet, denominationalism is a concept that is not to be found in the New Testament. These have come to be formed by men who sincerely believed that they could no longer be part of the visible Church to which they belonged. It is deeply distressing to see so many different denominations leading to believers separating from one another to worship the same God and Saviour each Sunday in different buildings. However worthy the causes were, which separatists espoused when they established new denominations, they did not foresee the consequences of their actions for subsequent generations.

Is it the will of God that we should separate ourselves from those who are trampling his Word underfoot? Is it the will of God that we should separate ourselves from fellow believers who do not believe that separation is the only answer? Withholding money from the central funds of the Church is withholding money from aid-receiving charges, from mission and from all the good work done by Church of Scotland through caring for the vulnerable in our society – e.g. through care homes.

If we are going to disagree with the Assembly’s decision because it contravenes the teaching of scripture then our responses should also be based on the principles and truths clearly set before us in the New Testament. The evidence of the New Testament is clear – the Church is one body whose individual members need one another and that we should remain united.

The Biblical position on unity and separation.

In the New Testament secession was not commanded even from churches infiltrated by immorality (as at Corinth) or heresy (as at Pergamum and Thyatira).

In the Gospels, the example and teaching of Jesus on the importance of the unity of believers is quite clear. He came into this world into the Jewish Church. True believers were in a minority. Judaism was ruled by scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers etc. Jesus referred to them as ‘hypocrites’, ‘brood of vipers’, ‘whited tombs’ and with many other scathing terms. Yet he continued to worship with them in the synagogues each Sabbath and attended the great feasts of the faith in the temple in Jerusalem.

He also taught about the importance of unity. He described the kingdom of heaven (the visible church – Matt 13:24-30) as being made up of wheat and tares. The wheat represents true believers, the tares are the ungodly – they will be found together in the visible church on earth. Jesus teaches that they are to be allowed to co-exist in the church until the day of judgement. Those who attempt to separate the wheat from the tares – the true believer from the ungodly – will end up damaging the life and faith of the true believer. This begs the question – how much damage has been done to true believers and the cause of Christ by all the schisms and divisions that have plagued the cause of Christ during recent history?

In his great high priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus prayed for unity amongst believers as recorded in verses 20-21. I do not pray for these alone (the disciples) but also for those who will believe in me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that the world may believe that You sent me. Note the stress he places on the reason for unity. Is it any wonder that the cause of Christ is having such little impact on Scottish society in our day? Creating separation within congregations over this issue, is in effect working against this powerful prayer of Jesus.

In the early church, the apostles went on to be faithful preachers of the Gospel, while still subject to the authority of the Jewish courts. Despite being imprisoned and ordered not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18), Peter and John continued to preach Christ and him crucified. Despite the decision of this Jewish court, they continued to preach Christ without separating themselves from the Jewish church. As things are at the moment our freedom to preach the Gospel and faithfully expound the word of God is not in any way under threat as a result of the General Assembly’s decision. We may be in a minority, we may be maligned by Christians in other denominations – but we are not under any threat of persecution for preaching Christ and being true to his word. Even if we were, our response, like Peter and John’s, should be to do what is right in the sight of God, irrespective of the consequences from the courts of the church. It may soothe our consciences and ease our pain to leave the Church of Scotland, and move to a more comfortable denomination. It may avoid the cross-bearing that goes with remaining faithful to Christ and his word within the Church of Scotland. But does that justify separation from it?

The Corinthian Church was a mixed bag of believers. There were divisions amongst them, some were puffed up, some were sexually immoral, and some were partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. Paul urges the Church to discipline – to put out of the fellowship – those who are gross sinners. But he also urges unity in the fellowship. He describes the church in Corinth – despite all its imperfections – as a body whose differing parts need each other. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’. No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary…God composed the body… that there should be no schism in the body, but that that the members have the same care for one another. (1 Cor 12:21-25).

In 2nd Corinthians 6, there is a verse that is frequently used to justify schism and separation. In v 17 Paul urges the Corinthians – Therefore, Come you out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.   It is so easy to latch on to the first sentence of this verse and use it in a way in which it was not meant to be used. Paul was addressing a particular problem in Corinth with this plea. Some believers there were in the habit of worshipping with pagans in their idolatry and sharing in their festivities. And he is urging them to cease those practices – Do not touch what is unclean. Since the Reformation, idolatry and pagan worship has not been a problem in the Reformed Church. And it is certainly not a reason for coming out of the Church of Scotland or for causing separation between true believers.

In his letters to the seven churches of Asia (Revelation 2 & 3), Jesus highlighted sins and faults and failings in some of these Churches. In his letter to the Church in Thyatira he faults the believers in that Church for allowing Jezebel to teach and seduce my servants to commit sexual immorality … which is what the General Assembly decision allows to happen. Jesus is giving her and her followers time to repent, and if they don’t they will be judged and punished by our Lord. His exhortation to true believers is ‘hold fast what you have till I come’. Jesus concludes each of the seven letters with an exhortation to believers to overcome the opposition that is against them. Not once does he encourage them to separate from their respective Churches or avoid the conflict that staying would involve.

It is worth noting that the epistles to the various Churches in the New Testament and the seven letters in Revelation are written to Churches that consisted of the whole body of believers in each city or community. In the New Testament there were no different congregations in towns and communities, organised and worshipping apart from each other. They not only believed in, but lived out the truth, that there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28). Again in this verse Paul is stressing the importance of unity.

Possible effects of evangelical believers leaving the Church of Scotland

We have to acknowledge that no single person or organisation has perfect knowledge of God’s will and purpose. The most eloquent preachers, the most powerful churches, the most saintly believers – are tainted by sin and prone to error. There is none righteous. That is why God’s word appeals to us – lean not on your own understanding. Human understanding, even in the most spiritual or orthodox of believer, is imperfect. He continues to bless and guide his own faithful people even if they are in a denomination which is losing its way. He does not withhold his blessing even when we err on matters like this. He has not abandoned his people in the Church of Scotland.

However, as we saw from the prayer of Jesus in John 17, unity of believers is one of the means God uses to help the world believe in Christ. As David says in Psalm 133 – it is when brethren dwell together in unity that God commanded the blessing – life forevermore. In the last 200 years, the Presbyterian Church in Scotland has become increasingly fragmented, to the extent that in the Highlands and Islands there may be as many as 5 or 6 Presbyterian denominations in some parishes. What a difference it would make if we could all gather together as one body. The great truths that unite us would become more important than matters which are not of the substance of the faith over which we currently disagree.

We become less and less influential as witnesses for Christ. In these past two hundred years, the cause of Christ has gone from being a powerful force for good in the land to being so irrelevant to the vast majority in our society. There are of course many causes for this decline – but it must be acknowledged that the divided nature of the evangelical cause has contributed to this decline. Liberals have stuck together and have remained a majority in the Church of Scotland because evangelicals have found it more acceptable to establish one new denomination after another. What a difference it would make in Scotland if evangelicals were united and had remained in the national Church.

The present conflict has created a huge distraction from the Christian’s true calling of being salt and light in the world. All that the world is seeing and hearing is much infighting and disagreement rather than hearing of the great commission we have been given to go out into the world with the Good News of the Gospel. The enemies of Christ are glad when Christians split and separate. While true believers, on both sides of a dispute, grieve over divisions in the visible Church, the enemy of our souls rejoices.

It will further weaken the evangelical wing of the Church. Some ministers and elders have already left the Church. Those who will continue to stand up for the Bible as the supreme rule of faith and life in the courts of the Church will have a much more difficult task to overcome the erosion of standards and values enshrined in scripture. This haemorrhaging of evangelicals down through the years has left the Church in the state that it is in now.

John Calvin

In his Institutes (Book 4; Sect 1: paras 13-29) argues very powerfully against schism and division within the visible church. It is a lengthy exposition of the biblical case for Church unity even when there is much to be faulted within its bounds. If we claim to be Reformed and Calvinist in our theology, then all who are thinking of separation should study and reflect on what he writes in the above-mentioned passage.

In a letter Calvin wrote to Archbishop Cranmer in April 1552 we learn of his vision of church unity. “Amongst the greatest evils of our century must be counted the fact that the churches are so divided one from another that there is scarcely even a human relationship between us; at all events there is not the shining light of that holy fellowship of the members of Christ, of which many boast in word, but which few seek sincerely indeed. In consequence, because the members are torn apart, the body of the church lies wounded and bleeding. So far as I have it in my power, if I am thought to be of any service, I shall not be afraid to cross ten seas for this purpose, if that should be necessary.” Accusations of lack of purity in doctrine and worship have often been cited as a reason for separating from a branch of the visible Church.

Conclusion

God is not abandoning the Church of Scotland because of recent Assembly decisions. We may be ashamed by the way our denomination is losing its way – but we are in good company. Remember what Jesus went through – for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the throne of God (Heb 12.2).

Rev William Still of Gilcomston South in Aberdeen, responded to a criticism in the press of evangelicals in the Church of Scotland because they chose to remain in the Church over the issue of women ministers and elders. Referring to the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-collector, Mr Still wrote a brief response to a paper in which he said– I would rather be down looking up than up looking down. In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul exhorts all believers to have the mind of Christ – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Being faithful to Christ, his Gospel and his Word in the Church of Scotland involves a degree of cross- bearing that may be avoided in some denominations. It involves suffering for the greater good rather than doing what is right to soothe our own consciences. But God’s Word calls us to endure these trials and despise the shame we feel. The hymn-writer Frederick Faber put it like this in the hymn ‘Workman of God’ – Then learn to scorn the praise of men, and learn to lose with God; For Jesus won the world through shame, and beckons thee his road.

Divisions based on how men understand purity of worship and doctrine is leading the Church into a state where everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes.

Finally in the words of Paul to the Church in Ephesus (Eph 4:1-6) – I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Returning Church of Scotland Moderator issues warning – Herald Scotland

church-of-scotland-emblemTHE next Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has warned the Kirk is facing “difficult days” as he prepares to take on the key role for a second time after standing down last year due to ill-health.

The Kirk said Reverend Dr Angus Morrison has recovered from surgery to correct an illness, the nature of which has not been revealed, and will take up the role in May.

Mr Morrison, 61, minister of Orwell and Portmoak Church in the Presbytery of Perth, was forced to withdraw from the post last March and was replaced by Right Reverend John Chalmers, who will return to his role as Principal Clerk of the Kirk.

He is the first former Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland minister to take on the position of moderator in the Kirk.

Mr Morrison will steer the next stage of the Church’s debate on further acceptance of gay ordination sparked by the appointment of openly gay Rev Scott Rennie to an Aberdeen church in 2009.

The one-year post also includes an ambassadorial role with engagements and visits around Scotland and abroad.

Mr Morrison said it is a “great honour”. He said: “I am thankful that a very good recovery, following surgery, has made it possible for me to accept the nomination.

“My wife and I are deeply appreciative of the support and prayers of so many across the Church during this recent difficult period.”

He added: “On various fronts these are difficult days for our Church, as they are for many other denominations.

“The Church exists, not for itself, but as God’s agent for the extending of His kingdom’s just and gracious rule in the world.

“Despite all the problems we face, God’s Spirit is evidently at work among us. The challenge before us is to resist distraction.”

He added his “main hope and prayer for the year ahead is that it may be possible to encourage a fresh focus on the centralities of our faith and calling”.

 

Kinross-shire minister returns as Moderator Designate – Church of Scotland

church-of-scotland-emblemRev Dr Angus Morrison has recovered from ill health to return as Moderator Designate of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Rev Dr Morrison, minister of Orwell and Portmoak Church in the Presbytery of Perth, was forced to withdraw from the role last March and was replaced by Rt Rev John Chalmers, who was then Principal Clerk of Scotland’s national church.

Rev Dr Morrison said: “It is a great honour to have been nominated as Moderator Designate for 2015.

“I am thankful that a very good recovery, following surgery, has made it possible for me to accept the nomination.

“My wife and I are deeply appreciative of the support and prayers of so many across the Church during this recent difficult period. In dependence on God’s grace, I look forward to the opportunities and challenges of the year ahead.

“On various fronts these are difficult days for our Church, as they are for many other denominations.

“We may at times find ourselves perplexed and saddened, but as people of Christian faith there is no real place for discouragement.

“The Church exists, not for itself, but as God’s agent for the extending of His kingdom’s just and gracious rule in the world.

“The mission of our Lord continues, and it is our privilege and responsibility to join him in this. In that connection, good news stories are plentiful of faithful and imaginative work going on in congregations and parishes throughout Scotland.

“Despite all the problems we face, God’s Spirit is evidently at work among us. The challenge before us is to resist distraction, allowing the commission given to us by Jesus himself, to ‘go and make disciples’, to remain firmly at the top of our agenda.

“My main hope and prayer for the year ahead is that it may be possible to encourage a fresh focus on the centralities of our faith and calling, and that we may find new ways to bring encouragement and support to one another, so that in the power of the Holy Spirit, the vital ministries with which we have been entrusted, in fellowship with all God’s people, may truly flourish, for the enrichment of the people of Scotland and beyond.”

Biography

Rev Dr Morrison was born in Glencoe in 1953. As his father worked for the Northern Lighthouse Service, the young Angus went to school in Oban, Stromness and Edinburgh before progressing to higher education at the University of Glasgow. He undertook further studies at Pisa University and London University before a PhD at Edinburgh University (New College).

Rev Dr Morrison’s church career began when he was ordained in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1979. After ministries in Oban and Edinburgh he transferred into the Church of Scotland, became the minister of St Columba’s Old Parish Church in Stornoway and is now Minister at Orwell and Portmoak Parish Church.

Rev Dr Morrison, who has a degree in Classics and speaks Italian and Gaelic, is married to Marion who is a primary school teacher in Fife. The couple have four children between the ages of 16 and 29.

During his time in the Church of Scotland he has made a significant mark, serving as a:
* Member of the Church and Nation Committee, latterly on the Europe Group
* Member and then Vice Convener of Panel on Doctrine
* Moderator of the Presbytery of Lewis
* Convener of Working Group on Human Sexuality
* Convener of the Mission and Discipleship Council
* Member of the Special Commission on Same-sex relationships and the Ministry
* Chaplain in 2005 and 2006 to the Lord Mackay of Clashfern when he served as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly
* Chaplain to the Queen

 

Outspoken Dundee minister named Free Church Moderator – The Herald

ONE of Scotland’s most ­outspoken ministers and Christian commentators, who almost died in hospital three years ago, has been named the next Moderator of the Free Church.

Rev David Robertson, minister of Dundee St Peter’s Free Church and director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, will take up the role at next May’s General Assembly.

He has a reputation for not being afraid of controversy, repeatedly trying to engage the likes of “celebrity atheist” Richard Dawkins in debate. At the Faclan Book Festival on Lewis in 2012, he claimed Dawkins had done Christians a favour by writing The God Delusion as he knew people who were converted to the Christian cause by reading it.

Mr Robertson, 52, takes over as moderator at a time when his church is bucking the national trend with increasing support, some of it in the form of those leaving the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay ministers.

There are now 107 congregations, while attendance at Sunday services stands at 12,812, up marginally on 2012/13 from 12,639.

But the new figures do not include recently affiliated Church of Scotland’s groups such as Stornoway High, Kirkmuirhill, New Restalrig and Tarbert.

Mr Robertson said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be able to serve in this way, especially at such an exciting time for both the Free Church and Scotland. We are a growing and developing church, reversing the trend in a society which is becoming increasingly secularised and in a nation which is seeing significant changes.

 

More here

Rev David Robertson named as next Free Church Moderator – Free Church of Scotland

Free_Church_of_Scotland_LogoOne of Scotland’s leading Christian media commentators, who almost died in hospital back in 2011, has been named as the next Moderator of the Free Church.

Rev David Robertson, minister of Dundee St Peter’s Free Church and director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, will take up at the role at next year’s General Assembly in May.

David is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s boldest Christian broadcasters, regularly taking on atheists at media and student union events, as well as an increasingly popular author on persuasive evangelism for Christians.

Speaking after his nomination for Moderator Designate, the 52-year-old said: “I did not really think when I became a Free Church minister in 1986 at the tender age of 24 that I would ever reach this stage.

“It is an honour and a privilege to be able to serve in this way, especially at such an exciting time for both the Free Church and Scotland.

“We are a growing and developing church, reversing the trend in a society which is becoming increasingly secularised and in a nation which is seeing significant changes.

“My hope is that the Free Church will continue to bring the Good News to all the people of Scotland and beyond and that the Lord will use us as salt and light to help his people, of whatever denomination, and to see Scotland return to its Christian foundations.

“There is an old Chinese curse; ‘may you live in interesting times’. We do live in interesting times but as an optimistic Calvinist I regard that as a blessing, nor a curse.  I am looking forward, God willing, to an interesting year!”

At one point such an appointment would have been unthinkable, because Rev David Robertson was given a 50-50 chance of survival by doctors and surgeons in Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital back in 2011.

After collapsing in a pool of blood outside his church following a wedding, the St Peter’s minister spent nine weeks in hospital – five of which were in intensive care – as the nursing team performed surgery firstly on his stomach and then his lungs.

Thousands of Christians across the world prayed that his life would be spared, and David made a near miraculous recovery in the early part of 2012 and is now restored to full health.

David became a believer in his teens, and after graduating with a Masters in History from the University of Edinburgh, went onto study at what is now the Edinburgh Theological Seminary.

As a 24-year-old his first charge was Brora Free Church, Sutherland, in 1986, where David saw considerable fruit, before he accepted a call to Dundee in 1992.

Come the end of October he will have been minister in Dundee St Peter’s for 22 years. When David arrived, the church had eight people. It now attracts over 200 worshippers every Sunday. It also has a thriving sister church plant in St Andrews, and St Peter’s hopes to plant another church in the City of Discovery soon.

Smithton minister and former Moderator Rev David Meredith said: “Warmest congratulations to my friend and colleague David Robertson on his appointment as Moderator Designate to the 2015 General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland. I am delighted that the Church has decided to honour him in this way.

“David represents so many of the qualities which are central to the DNA of the Free Church: commitment to Bible-centred Christianity, obsessively Christ focused, politically radical and outward looking.

“He has been one of the chief architects and visionaries behind the energy and growth which seems to have characterised the Free Church in the last few years.

“David has often been viewed as controversial but his various battles have rarely been over side issues. He has the uncanny knack of speaking about the ‘elephant in the room’ and his recent illness, which brought him to the very gates of death, have made him impatient with cant and bluster. He is a man who realises that life is brief and eternity in endless.

“I have no hesitation in saying that he is one of the most godly people I know.”

Rev David Robertson has always had a desire to resist the intolerance of secularists and atheists and this led to his writing The Dawkins Letters a response to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. He also wrote a response to Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great entitled Magnificent Obsession.

Prior to that, he authored Awakening – The Life and Ministry of Robert Murray McCheyne as the church building of St Peter’s was the place where McCheyne preached.

David continues to serve as chaplain of the University of Dundee, and his online blog has been nominated for an award by the UK Christian Media.

As well as giving evidence on behalf of the Free Church at the Scottish Parliament on the redefinition of marriage, Rev David Robertson debated Peter Tatchell on the issue live on Revelation TV – and also contributed to programmes on the BBC, STV and Channel 4.

Although he has debated many high profile figures, including MSPs Patrick Harvie and Willie Rennie, one person who has escaped his debating clutches is Richard Dawkins – who declined an invitation for a debate in Stornoway back in 2012 whilst speaking at a local book festival.

David’s efforts to advance the cause of the Gospel in the public square have not gone unnoticed – previously Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said that the Church of Scotland “desperately needed” a public spokesman like him if the Kirk was to re-engage the nation with Christianity.

David is married to Annabel, a mental health social worker, and they have three grown-up children: Andrew, 27, who works with Chalmers Church in Edinburgh, Becky, 25, who is married to Pete an Anglican Youth Worker in Australia, and Emma-Jane, 16, who is a student.

Cameron wrong to redefine marriage, say councillors – The Christian Institute

the-christian-instituteThe majority of Conservative councillors believe David Cameron was wrong to pursue legalising same-sex marriage, a poll for the BBC has revealed.

Responding to a survey conducted by ComRes, 60 percent of councillors said they disagreed with the Prime Minister’s push for gay marriage.

Nearly two-thirds of councillors said that legalising gay marriage made the Conservative party less electable.

Vote loser

The survey also found that 58 per cent of councillors think redefining marriage will cost the party more votes than it gains at the next election.

The survey was commissioned for BBC Sunday Politics and over 1,000 Conservative councillors were polled.

The results are broadly unchanged from those of a similar survey conducted last year.

Decline

Writing for the Daily Mail Online this week, former Tory frontbencher David Davis picked up on why he thinks the party are likely to lose votes.

He said the party has “abandoned traditional Conservative principles and made ourselves less appealing to those who supported us”.

Davis argued that the party should not have focused on “fringe issues” such as gay marriage because it is rarely in voter’s “top five concerns”.

Read more here