General Assembly on sex and singleness

The General Assembly has just accepted a report which says, “There has been in the church also the partial acceptance of homosexuality as an acceptable Christian lifestyle.

People have spoken of a rubicon being crossed by the support that Scott Rennie received last Saturday evening in the General Assembly. However, that is not really so. All the Assembly did then was to refuse to uphold a complaint that Aberdeen Presbytery had acted against Church law in respect of his new post.

The rubicon has been crossed at this assembly however, and it lies in the publication of that sentence. Also, in the acceptance in this report that there are within the Church of Scotland, those who accept that people sometimes have sex outside marriage and that far from being an abomination, this might just be the starting point for a growing, committed, loving relationship blessed by God with joy and delight.

An attempt was made by certain of the Usual Suspects to suppress the report and to see that it was not distributed, but that did not succeed.

The thing that we are seeing happen at he moment is a fundamental challenge to the position that there can only be one definitive attitude to both gay relationships in particular and sex outside marriage in general and that is to forbid and to condemn any physical sexual expression at all. Churches, including the C of S are not making up their minds to change 2000 years of morality at one stroke of the pen though there will be those who say they are. What we see happening is far more interesting. It is that churches are having to accept that within their boundaries there are people who have different views from one another.

Now, that is anathema to the Usual Suspects. Their position is entirely based on the stated claim that there can be only one view.

The church is dividing, not into two camps, one of which accepts gay people and one of which does not; but rather into two broad camps, one of which accepts that different views on these issues are possible within one church and one which cannot accept that at all.

The key quote highlighted above comes from an excellent General Assembly report on Singleness which was buried deep in the Mission and Discipleship council’s business. It is the kind of thing that the C of S does extremely well and by making it available, offers a valuable gift to all the churches.

The report is available in pdf format here and begins on page 4/48.

Well worthwhile.

Late News – Complaint against Scott Rennie not upheld

Good news from the Church of Scotland – the case against The Rev Scott Rennie’s appointment has not been upheld by the General Assembly. He should be free to take up his post.

It is very good news. However, the Assembly is still to debate (on Monday at 4 pm) an Overture from Skye and Lochcarron Presbytery which states: “That this Church shall not accept for training, ordain, admit, readmit, induct or introduce to any ministry of the Church anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage between a man and a woman”

The struggle for justice is far from over. But tonight we must take heart from the Church of Scotland. This is a very significant moment in the struggle.