Yesterday, after almost 25 years a Church of Scotland minister, I stepped down, having resigned as minister of the parish of Durness and Kinlochbervie in order to leave the Church of Scotland.
Some people may wonder why I decided to leave. They basically have two questions.
The first is “What is it about the Church of Scotland that you don’t like?”
The second is, perhaps, the deeper question: “OK – so you think that the Church of Scotland has problems. Why does that mean that you think you should leave it?”
My explanation is as follows.
Jesus, the Christian, the Church, and the Bible
1. I believe that being a Christian involves faithfully and obediently following Jesus.
2. I believe that the church is an important part of God’s plan, and that one of its most basic functions is to try to ensure that Christians are faithfully following Jesus.
3. I believe that because the church is a basic part of God’s plan, it is the duty of Christians to be members of a church, and to be accountable to their churches.
4. I believe that the teaching of the Bible is the way that Christians can know how to follow Jesus faithfully.
5. I believe that it is necessary for Christian churches to hold to the teaching of the Bible.
6. I believe that for a Christian church to hold to the teaching of the Bible, it is necessary that it requires those in leadership positions in the church to hold to the teaching of the Bible.
7. I believe that the Church of Scotland has demonstrated that it does not hold seriously to the teaching of the Bible, because it has demonstrated that it does not expect those in leadership positions to hold to the teaching of the Bible.
8. I believe that Christians, since they are obliged to be part of a church (and to be accountable to their church), should seek to be part of a church which will guide them in faithfully following Jesus.
It therefore seems to me that a Christian who is seriously committed to following Jesus faithfully, would be better off not being a member of the Church of Scotland, but should, rather, seek to be part of, and accountable to, a church that holds to the teaching of the Bible.
[I have published an expanded (and longer) version of this explanation here.]