Tuesday, 5 May 2009

I Signed the Petition...

The Fellowship of Confessing Churches petition has hit the headlines and got people talking recently. It urges the C of S Assembly not to support the decision of the Presbytery of Aberdeen to induct a minister living in a homosexual relationship.

I wasn’t surprised at the hostile response received in many circles, but I was surprised to see one evangelical describe the petition as arbitrary and potentially homophobic, so here’s four reasons why I signed the survey:


It’s going to be hard, really hard, for those who will stand up for truth in the Assembly later this month. I know how lonely the C of S can be for evangelicals, particularly those in leadership. Maybe the thousands of names on the petition will prove an encouragement and a reminder to them that they are far from alone.


This is an issue where the world and the Bible are poles apart. The Bible proclaims its message very clearly (Lev 18, Romans 1…) The world proclaims its message very clearly- just watch Home and Away (or any soap) and observe how the issue of homosexuality is presented. The families are shocked when they find out, but they love their brother\sister\child and so offer their full support, the reasonable normal people of Summer Bay (that is the people like you and me) love and support the gay couple, but there are one or two nasty, one dimensional, small-minded, unthinking bigots who attack the couple.

We are watching the world’s sermon on sexuality.

(Even the word ‘homophobia’ implies that it is impossible to hold to a reasoned and reasonable position against homosexuality. It suggests that those who believe homosexual practice to be wrong are acting out of irrational fear rather than reasoned thought.)

The issue is so clear cut- God’s wisdom or the World’s wisdom. If the C of S does not take a stand on this, then I’m not at all sure it will take a stand on anything. It also sends out the message to the world that the Church's role is essentially to affirm the wisdom of the world rather than to tell the world what God has to say.


This, for me, is a Gospel issue. W. Philip, says

"this is an issue of enormous magnitude: not just about sexuality, nor even only about the authority of Scripture, but about the nature of humanity, and indeed the nature of the gospel itself, a gospel not of affirmation of sin, but which demands repentance from sin, and brings liberation and transformation from sin."


The statement itself is well worded. That is to say, it clearly articulates its arguments, what is and is not being said about homosexuality and homosexual people, and is careful to avoid the risk of being caricatured by those who hold to other views.

~ ~ ~

One final word, I do agree that to be in a homosexual relationship is no worse a sin, or any more of a disqualification for leadership than preaching certain false doctrines – for example denying the uniqueness of Christ and His saving work, but as DA Carson says:

“…at some juncture churches have to decide whether they will, by God’s grace, try to live in submission to Scripture, or try to domesticate Scripture. I suspect that in our generation , for better and for worse, the homosexuality issue is becoming one of those triggering issues (like indulgences at the time of the Reformation) that is forcing upon us some profound reflections on whether we will submit to Scripture or not.”

(Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, 172)

You can read the statement and sign up if you want here.

The debate will probably be hosted on Sat evening 23 May, please pray- petitions are well and good, but your prayers are more potent than your pen!

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