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Thread: A very sensitive topic...

  1. #1

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    A very sensitive topic...

    Back in May, I had the honour of attending Church Service while at Dunfermline Abbey. The head minister explained it was General Assembly and what they were voting on. The old gentleman was clearly upset. He held the sermon with great emotion. It was his last sermon because he was retiring.

    It has been a very long time since I have seen a truly emotional sermon. When we walked out to shake his hand. The kindly old gentleman was in such a tither. We waited in line to speak with him and shake his hand. His emotions overwhelmed him and said, all they can do is vote yes or no, just vote and get it over with.

    The kindly old gentleman is a strict Presbyterian Minister. The vote was about Gay Ministers. My heart went out to this gentleman. He was torn between his belief and the belief of our modern world for diversity.

    The church is here to give guidance and instruction from the Bible. Most of us know what the Bible says but what we forget, the Bible also says, Only God allows us to be in the Book of Life, not man. 'Judge not lest ye be judged.'

    I still feel the pain the old minister was in. God Bless him!
    kellyd

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  3. #2

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    Re: A very sensitive topic...

    Kelly d,

    Religion is a very ‘sensitive topic’ as you rightly say. It is contentious and invariably provokes very heated debate. If there was any topical subject of current interest that could be selected to compound this sensitivity and guarantee adding fuel to the fire you would be hard put to find another subject as explosive as that of admitting gay clergy into the Church of Scotland.

    Since you raise the topic I hope you will not take it ill if I respond. What I have to say is not a personal attack on your own beliefs. I have no objection to you holding them, whatever they may be; rather take it as a critique of the Church of Scotland.

    The service you attended could not have been the General Assembly. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meets every May for a week, usually in the Assembly Hall on the Mound in Edinburgh. It is not a Church service as such; it’s more like a Parliament of delegates from the various congregations who discuss and decide matters of church policy and rules. It would appear that the majority of the delegates to this year’s Assembly voted to admit gay clergy and relax its rules on civil partnerships.

    I am not sure if you are a communicant in the Church of Scotland, attend regular services, or if they have a congregation in Hartlepool. I am not sure whether or not you are an advocate of ‘the belief of our modern world for diversity’. The Word of God does not make allowances for diversity. One either accepts it as it stands or rejects it. Tweaking it to suit one’s own feelings or ideals may be convenient but it is being untrue to God, to the Church, and to one’s-self.

    Nearly five hundred years ago the Reformation in Scotland resulted in the Protestant faith becoming the predominant faith in Scotland. John Knox, a leading figure of the Reformation, produced a confession of faith which became the credo, the articles of faith, of the newly founded church, the Church of Scotland.

    Through thick and thin, and through many turbulent times the Church of Scotland persevered, grew in strength and became the national Church of Scotland, defending itself and the nation along the way against Catholicism and Anglicanism. The abdication of a Queen, the Union, the National Covenant, the Solemn League and Covenant, the execution of a King, a civil war, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the overthrow of another King, the struggle to reinstate another King, to mention just a few of the events through which it managed to prevail and survive intact.

    Then in 1843, with the Disruption, came the first chink in its armour, the relaxing of the Articles of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the rejection of some of its teachings and the desire to apply several wishy washy interpretations to the Bible itself. This resulted in the split and formation of the Free Church of Scotland.

    Then in 1892 the Free Church passed a Declaratory Act subordinating the Westminster Confession of Faith as its chief standard. This resulted in that church splitting. From this split arose the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

    The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, therefore, is now the only Church in Scotland which remains true to the Reformation, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the articles of faith of the original Church of Scotland that many thousands over several centuries fought and died for.

    There is no such thing in the Church of Scotland as a strict Presbyterian Minister. Ever since the Disruption it has wandered farther and farther from its original articles and confessions. If any Church of Scotland Minister, or members of its congregations, feels that they cannot sign up to new, modern, diversified interpretations of their faith, they have the option of joining congregations more akin to their beliefs, although it seems unfair that they should have to leave their Church of choice to satisfy the personal, selfish predilections of minorities.

    I do not have any problem with anyone taking communion in the Church of their choice. What I find difficult to comprehend is that having taken communion, which means accepting the articles of faith of that Church, they should renege on their vows and seek to force other communicants into the sort of conflict of conscience and pain in which the good minister with whom you sympathise now finds himself.

    It should come as no surprise to any Church of Scotland Minister that the Church of which he is a member has chosen to journey on a road that is going to take him farther and farther from the Word of God. Note the comment in the preface to the Revised Edition of the New English Bible, to which the Church of Scotland subscribes:

    “The Joint Committee commends the Revised English Bible to the Churches and to the English-speaking world with due humility, but with confidence that God has yet new light and truth to break forth from his word. The Committee prays that the new version will prove to be a means to that end.”

    They are basically saying that there are more, ‘new lights and truths’ to ‘break forth’ from the Word of God, that there will be more interpretations to come and that the present version of the Bible will prove to be a means of making it easier to introduce such interpretations, or, more likely, distortions. What ‘end’ is this ‘Joint Committee’ praying for, do you suppose? Nothing less than bringing all the Churches back under the influence of the Church of Rome.

    Any Christian whose faith is based on the Word of God should have no problem resolving competing emotions, choosing right from wrong. If a Minister can’t do that, what chance do the rest of us have?

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    Re: A very sensitive topic...

    Thank you for wonderful opinion! I was quite certain the Minister said it was the weekend everyone was in Edinburgh for the General Assembly.

    This was my first time in a proper Presbyterian Church for church service. There is going to be a nice lecture in 2014 about John Knox. I plan on attending it because I want to learn all I can about the man who shaped Scotland. He also married one my ancestor's daughter.

    My heart really did go out to the Minister. I know how it is to live in a modern society and have the beliefs of 200 years ago or before, just ask anyone who knows me. There are some freaks like myself out here.

    Saying that, you gave an excellent explanation above. Are you a minister?
    Last edited by Kelly d; 20th July 2011 at 15:30. Reason: to add to
    kellyd

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    Re: A very sensitive topic...

    I am sure it should not be necessary to wait until 2014 to learn more about John Knox, or the history of Presbyterianism in Scotland. This very site carries a wealth of information on those subjects.

    Knox was married twice. His first wife was Marjorie Bowes, daughter of Richard Bowes, the son of an influential Durham family, and Elizabeth, the daughter of an influential Yorkshire family, the Askes of Richmondshire. His second wife was Margaret Stewart, a daughter of Andrew Stewart, Lord Ochiltree, who was related to the Queen of Scotland at the time, Mary Queen of Scots.

    I am intrigued if you are claiming to be descended from the Royal House of Stewart, like Knox’s second wife, and would be obliged if you could tell me how you come to this conclusion.

    For better or worse I do not think I know anyone who knows you that I could ask about you. Your description of yourself as a freak makes me hesitate to get involved in any sort of discourse, and I am anxious that I do come to regret it.

    I am not a minister. I am not even a committed, confessing communicant. My remarks above were hardly that impressive, merely repeating some basic facts and my own opinions based on some of those facts. All I can say is that I am familiar with the history of religion and the Church in Scotland. In our part of the country it is obligatory.

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    Re: A very sensitive topic...

    Caledonian, with all due respect to your modesty, I also thank you for your concise recitation of church history. It is unfortunately not something that is obligatory in the part of rural Saskatchewan, Canada where I grew up so I've been struggling from time to time in my later years to make some sense of it all and you have been very helpful. In Canada, factions of the Presbyterian Church joined with others to form the United Church of Canada, a thorougly wishy-washy and baseless church of convenience; however there is still a Presbyterian Church that seems to hold to firmer truths and even uses the King James Bible as opposed to those ghastly modern interpretations. My great-grandfather (from Forfarshire) donated a portion of his farm land in southern Saskatchewan to site the local Presbyterian church, and 'tho both are long gone, the importance to those nineteenth century immigrants is clear. Thanks again.

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    Re: A very sensitive topic...

    Rick, thanks for your kind remarks.

    Forfarshire, known since 1929 as the County of Angus.

    Forfar, the county town of Angus is in Strathmore where also sits Glamis Castle, the ancestral home of the Bowes - Lyon family and the birthplace of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, better known until her death in 2002 as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

    The Bowes name in the title comes from the same Bowes family of County Durham, one of whose daughters married John Knox.

    The Stewart name was also quite thick on the ground in and around Angus. Would your ancestors have any of the above surnames? Perhaps you could even be related to Kelly d.

    As they say ‘It’s a small world’

    I don’t claim to be able to answer all questions but if there is anything on the subject you think I might be able to clarify I would be only too glad to do so, if I can.

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  11. #7

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    Re: A very sensitive topic...

    Caledonia,

    You are indeed a breath of fresh air. Thank you for your 'insight' on the Church of Scotland. I should not have referred to myself as a freak. I have a very strong faith, a strict Christian upbringing, which is very hard in a modern diversified world.

    I would not dream of offending anyone therefore if you would like more information please feel free to send an email.
    Last edited by Kelly d; 21st July 2011 at 08:47.
    kellyd

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    Re: A very sensitive topic...

    Caledonian, sorry for not being precise on the Forfarshire/Angus distinction. It was always "Forfarshire" when my grandfather's generation talked of it, so I normally use some sort of "Forfarshire (now Angus county)" text when I babble on about the geneology. I actually visited his home village of Letham in Angus in March, but the closest I got to Forfar was a nice "Bridie" for lunch. I didn't make it to Glamis either as I believe it was not yet open for the season and I was a bit pressed for time. Family lore has it that my grandfather played with the other servant's children there as a child, his mother being a domestic servant who supposedly worked there, tho' I do have my doubts. On the other hand, we are sure that his great grandmother was one Isobel (a.k.a. Isabel and Isabella) Stewart of Woodside, in Alyth parish. She was the only known Stewart in our line, (no likely relation to Kelly d) and from there on it's pretty much Andersons and Bruces from that part of the country. Thanks again!

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  14. #9

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    Re: A very sensitive topic...

    No Rick, I am pretty sure we aren't related. There were Stewart's all over Scotland. I have been trying to explain to my mother the different branches, even though I am sure we all have the same common ancestor.

    Everyone for some reason keeps trying to put us with the Irish branch of the family when in fact we come from the 4th, Sir James of Previck and Killieth...it is confusing at times.
    kellyd

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