In the crazy, unpredictable and topsy-turvy world in which we live at the moment, this is one of the phrases I often hear others use, and indeed use myself, when some news story emerges. Something happens that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, or that in some way defies logic. Sadly, it is as true of the Church as it is of the world.
This past week, a Church of Scotland Minister in Glasgow, Rev Richard Cameron, has been disciplined by the ecclesiastical powers that be because of statements he has made on his social media accounts that are allegedly Isalmaphobic and homophobic.
“The Prophet Mohammed was a violent man”
“The best way to defeat Islam is to preach Christ”.
“Incest and homosexuality are both unnatural. Both cause harm by breaking sensibly held taboos.”
In the first he is simply stating a historical fact that no serious historian would deny. In the other two he is accurately reflecting the clear teaching and sentiment of God’s word, Scripture.
I can understand the secular world and the militant LGBT community gunning for him – that’s what they do to people who speak biblical truth. What is so sad, though not so surprising, is that the Church of Scotland has deemed them unacceptable and subjected him to church discipline.
I don’t know this man, and before this weekend I had never heard of him, but he appears to be a true brother in Christ and I want to stand with him and commend him to the prayers of God’s people.
I have today written to Rev Colin Sinclair, the current Moderator of the C of S and an avowed evangelical – whatever that means these days – asking him to publicly defend this fellow minister for his stand on Scripture and denounce the attacks on him by his own denomination; but I have to say I am not holding my breath.
What a sad and deplorable state the once great national Church of Scotland has come to. I was thinking of this last night as I read Dale Ralph Davis’ really helpful commentary on Judges, where he says of God’s dealings with his people of old:
God, in his settled anger at idolatry, “sold them into the hands of” their enemies (10:7). This is a strong phrase. It has been used of what God did in Judges 2:14, 3:8, and 4:2, as well as here [10:7]. When you sell a car to another person, it means the new owner can do with it as he pleases….
Romans 1:23-25 is a fascinating parallel passage. There Paul talks about idolatry. He speaks of people who “exchanged the glory of … God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (v 23). What was the result? “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts” (v 24, ESV). The word “lusts” in Greek is epithumia, a word that means an overwhelming drive, an enslaving, uncontrollable desire.
It seems to me that at this time, because the C of S, like the people of the days of the Judges, do what is right in their own eyes as opposed to what is right in the eyes of God, God has given them up to their idols of political correctness, condoning of immorality and rejection of his word.
We need to pray that God would yet in his mercy revive the Church in Scotland, perhaps raising up a new John Knox or one of his fearless character, who will call his people back to repentance and to God.
(David Robertson, aka The Wee Flea, has a good and fuller piece on this issue here.)