The Aberdeen Appeal

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I too have joined the list of Carl Trueman's colleagues who have signed the "Statement to Commissioners at the forthcoming General Assembly of the Church of Scotland."  Further, I believe that Dr. Trueman's response in "It must be spring. . . . ." is ill-timed and unhelpful.

To begin with, I support my brothers and sisters in the Church of Scotland who believe that practicing homosexuality is unacceptable and dishonorable for a leader in the church of Jesus Christ, that allowing this would mark a radical deviation from Scripture, and that such a decision would damage the cause of Christ in Scotland and injure the church worldwide.

Further, I am encouraged to see the statement affirm "love, honor, and deep respect for all our Christian brothers and sisters who wrestle painfully with homosexual temptation but fight faithfully to live lives of purity, following Christ Jesus as his true disciples."

As a pastor, I believe I owe it to my own friends and church members who are fighting this fight to support them in this struggle by openly opposing gay marriage and anything else that seeks to promote homosexual practice. 

It may well be that there are other important ways for evangelicals in the Church of Scotland to defend the gospel in their ecclesiastical communion.  My own personal observation has been that evangelicals in the Church of Scotland often do honor God in their desire to be faithful to God in the midst of unfaithfulness -- a hard calling.  

But rather than finding fault with any shortcomings, I praise God that confessing evangelicals are making a public and courageous stand on the issue of homosexuality.  Far from thinking that this is an arbitrary issue (see Carl's post "A Petition"), the Bible teaches us to view homosexual sin as a cultural watershed (see Romans 1:26-28) that is contrary to the very nature of things and that debases human personhood. 

I also believe that a defeat on this issue in the Church of Scotland inevitably weakens the hand of other churches in other countries that will seek in coming years to defend biblical standards of sexuality from a secular political onslaught.  Only today the Associated Press is reporting that growing support for gay unions is changing the political landscape in America.  I expect that in time this change will lead to hardship and persecution for Christian churches and schools across America.  Thus it is important for evangelicals to stand together on homosexuality and everything else associated with a consistently biblical ethic for human sexuality.

The situation in Scotland seems closely analogous to similar struggles in the Presbyterian Church USA.  My own congregation (Philadelphia's Tenth Presbyterian Church) left that Presbyterian Church around 1980 for reasons of moral, biblical, and theological conviction.  Some evangelicals believed that we should have left sooner; others have remained in the PCUSA and perhaps wish that we had never left at all.  For my own part, I do not believe that I could happily or conscientiously serve in the PCUSA as it is presently constituted.

Still, I pray for brothers and sisters who seek to honor God and follow the Scriptures within the PCUSA.  More pointedly, I pray for them as they seek to hold a biblical position on homosexuality -- a very similar fight to the one that confessing evangelicals in the Church of Scotland now fight.  I would encourage others to pray for the Church of Scotland in the same way, and to lend their aid by signing the petition mentioned at the beginning of this post.     

Posted May 3, 2009 @ 7:17 AM by Phil Ryken
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