Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The minute you take away from His Word, you take away from Christ.

From the outset the Free Church Moderator (pictured above) explained he was coming from an orthodox Church of Scotland belief, that Christ died on the cross to redeem sinners.

Mr Robertson drew on his childhood shortly after his own conversion in Easter Ross, where he encouraged his school friends to go to church. Those who went with their parents to a liberal church, or a church that denied parts of the Bible, are not Christians. But almost all of those who went to churches that taught the truth, across a range of denominations, were now professing faith.


In his opening address Rev Scott McKenna said the Bible was “a product of communities” and that it was “almost impossible” to get back to a historical Jesus. He added that there were many interpretations and misinterpretations of Scripture.

Mr Robertson responded by saying this was a confusing statement, because God spoke to us through His Son Jesus, which is why the Bible was given.
The Dundee minister added that the minute you take away from His Word, you take away from Christ.

The Free Church Moderator said the best way to interpret scripture is through scripture, and whilst there will be disagreements on secondary issues, there was unanimous agreement from the early Church fathers on the inspiration of the Old and New Testaments and also the full authority of God’s Word.

Topic number two was the atonement, and Mr Robertson began by saying his heart sank for Rev Scott McKenna after he denied from the pulpit that Christ died for sinners. The Free Church Moderator said the Mayfield Salisbury minister had a duty to proclaim Jesus, instead of creating a Christ without a cross.

The Dundee minister said that whilst many people nowadays would not accept this teaching, he knows many people “for whom knowing Jesus died for their sins is the greatest comfort and only assurance we have”, adding that his sole desire for the evening was for Mr McKenna to change his mind on the cross and come to see “that it can be our only hope”.

The Church of Scotland minister (pictured below) came back by saying that it was “barbaric” to present God “as a vengeful God who needs a sacrifice” before going on to present a variety of views on atonement. Mr Robertson later countered by saying it was so stupid for Jesus to go to the cross if He thought God was going to forgive everyone anyway. He added that the real Gospel was “unless you repent, you will perish” but if people trusted in Jesus for their salvation they would be saved.

Mr McKenna also said it was "scandalous" that God forgives everyone, to which Mr Robertson responded that telling the man on the street that he was just forgiven by God was not a scandal. He continued that the scandal in the eyes of the world is to say that you can’t be forgiven without the cross, so the atonement is scandalous. The Dundee minister also said that on the issue of "at-one-ment- the Bible was not originally written in English, and cited 1 John 2:2 which points out that sin prevents us being at one with God, and that the only way to get rid of sin is through the cross.

In the final section of the night, the two men discussed the future of the Church in Scotland. Mr McKenna opened by saying that though the Church lived in difficult times, it could be turned around with the right kind of leadership, citing the examples of religious leaders like the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis.

He continued that there had to be “intellectual integrity”, adding that science was not to be feared and that the doctrine of the Fall had to be denied to account for "living in a universe that has evolved”.  

The Mayfield Salisbury minister also said he wished to see an ethically more inclusive church, with people learning to live with their differences, as well as developing prayerfulness through meditation, contemplation and silence. He concluded by saying Christians should be secure in their own faith, but that the love of Jesus compels them to walk “side by side with people of other faiths”.

As a Scottish Calvinist, Mr Robertson gave a differing view, and that there must be a turning back to God’s word or the Church in Scotland will continue to die. He said it “broke his heart” that the vast majority of people in the country had actually never heard the Gospel before, and that churches must ensure their main priority was to tell people about Christ.

In closing, with sadness the Free Church Moderator said that, though they agree on so much, he would excommunicate Mr McKenna because only those who recognise the body and blood of the Lord are welcome to sit at the Lord’s table – and the Mayfield Salisbury minister’s denial of the cross was an obvious barrier. Mr Robertson gave an example that similarly he himself would not be allowed to take mass in the Roman Catholic Church because of his theological views.

He concluded by saying that the two men believed in two different Christs, but that he would continue to pray to the One who died for his sins on the cross at Calvary, and that he would be praying daily for Mr McKenna.

The Church of Scotland’s Principal Clerk Rev John Chalmers (pictured above), himself a former Kirk Moderator, stepped in to chair the event at the last moment. Mr Chalmers told the audience that Rev Angus Morrison, the present Church of Scotland Moderator, was unable to be present due to illness.


It is hoped a recording from the evening will be available online soon.

To teach; Jesus died for sins is "ghastly theology"

Church of Scotland minister says to teach Jesus died for sins is "ghastly theology"
Tue 29 Sep 2015
By Hannah Tooley


The Free Church Moderator of Scotland is preparing to debate the foundations of Christianity with a Scottish minister who does not agree that Jesus died for sinners.

Revd Scott McKenna, minister of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church in Edinburgh, openly denies one of the most accepted teachings of mainstream Christianity and told his congregation that it was "ghastly theology" to believe that Jesus Christ died for sinners.

Following the comments, the footage was uploaded online and the current Free Church Moderator Revd David Robertson responded by writing a blog post on the subject, saying such preaching was profoundly anti-Christian.
Mr McKenna, who has the potential to be a Church of Scotland Moderator, then contacted Robertson and the men met to discuss theology.

A debate has been set for Wednesday at Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church to talk about the death of Jesus, as well as faith schools and other issues brought up in the Bible.

Revd Angus Morrison, present Church of Scotland Moderator, will chair the debate.

Revd David Robertson said: "After writing the article Scott got in touch with me and we had a coffee.

"I felt we got on well and as a result we agreed to have an open discussion in his church on this subject and others to do with the Christian gospel.

"At a personal level I confess that I liked Scott - I prefer an honest liberal to a dishonest evangelical! However this does not mean that I agree with him at all.

"To me this denial of the Gospel is not a form or variant of Christianity, it is not Christianity at all, because it strikes at the very heart of the Christian faith.

"Therefore it is a vital subject for us to be discussing."

Revd Scott McKenna, who denies that Christ died for sins, has written for the Church of Scotland's monthly magazine.

More recently he was part of the campaign to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland.

The bill was rejected for a second time at Holyrood by 82 to 36.
Former Free Church Moderator Revd David Meredith was also unhappy with the comments: "This is not just an academic discussion but goes to the heart of the gospel.

"Atonement is not simply a doctrine which 'does not enter into the substance of the faith.'

"In any confessional denomination the material of this sermon would be part of the evidence for a heresy trial.

"I suspect in Revd McKenna we are looking at a future Moderator of the General Assembly."


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A few have my name written all over them

COULD THE LIST OF REASONS BELOW, FOR ADMISSION TO AN INSANE ASYLUM FROM THE LATE 1800S, BEEN A MESSAGE MEANT FOR ME AND HALF OF MY SESSION MATES, THOSE WHO’VE “ESCAPED”?

I’ve swiftly concluded that the criteria was rather all-encompassing, however, a few have my name written all over them! (check old sweats and PJs for tags or initials: WVHI?)

REASONS FOR ADMISSION TO AN INSANE ASYLUM

SALVATION ARMY
OVERSTUDY OF RELIGION
RELIGIOUS ENTHUSIASM




Who among us is a stranger to what’s on this list?


West Virginia’s Hospital for the Insane (Weston) aka Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Sunday, September 27, 2015

His faith became known only after his death



Dag Hammarskjold, while serving as the UN Secretary General, was at his political peak, and the subject of countless media reports and his every move analyzed by nations large and small. Yet, through all of it, at the same time his attention was focused in his deeply rooted in Christian spirituality and mysticism, an ethos that became known only after his death.

His diary, published posthumously, with the title Markings, revealed his profound dialogue with God. It was a great surprise that the world learned that Hammarskjöld had been a silent professing Christian.

Sven Ljungholm
**************

Mats Svegfors shares his study of Dag Hammarskjold, who died more than 50 years ago, in his book.

The book’s focus is on Hammarskjöld faith, nuanced and balanced, and places it in the context of his lifework.

The publisher's cover notes read: Dag Hammarskjold’s intellectual capacity and versatility made him admired in our time, as a leader and role model. Through his diary, we learn that he merged the external strengths with an inner insecurity and weakness - in terms of an existential reflection that gradually developed into a personal, albeit very complicated faith in God.
The commenter appears to reflect a, in our secularized society,  common view: belief in God as a security blanket. Being a Christian means in this scenario to allow an internal insecurity to be calmed by a belief in an imaginary god. Ideally is instead a rational man with a grip on his life and lord of all decisions. The dust cover text reflects the religious phobia that characterizes our nation, where the publisher wants to reserve its position on its own releases.

Hammarskjöld was in this sense not a man who knew how to unite a brotherly love grounded in Christian faith with intellectual breadth and depth, but perceived as a weakling with an unclear perception of reality. He is not seen as a rational person who allows himself be guided by the love for his neighbor. But is reduced to a weak individual with existential doubts channeled into a god, his secret blanket and comfort in a heavy, difficult and complex reality that he did not come to terms with himself and where he was not able to provide for himself the framework and measurement.

As things stand, the dust cover comments are inconsistent with the picture one gets when reading Hammarskjold's "Markings" and Svegfors’s book. Here emerges the image of a righteous man, but also a unique statesman who saw their existence as ordained by God.

Svegfors writes Dag Hammarskjöld's mission is the selfless service of love grounded in following Christ. And this mission is given by God. Here emerges the image of a righteous man, but also a unique statesman who saw his existence as ordained by God.

Svegfors writes Dag Hammarskjöld's mission is the selfless service of love bound in following Christ. And this mission is given by God.

Righteousness means for us Christians the ability in all circumstances to demonstrate our love for God and neighbor by doing right. To act justly means to give God and neighbor what is right and good in all situations, without ever putting personal or national interests of power, money or glory first.

Jesus Christ taught us what constitutes the guideline for what is true, righteous and good; an impartial objectivity and the ability to put the good first, in all circumstances. Such conduct is Christian love in its purest form and Hammarskjold’s example proved that, maintains Svegfors. When we hold Hammarskjold and his life in this light, we see a person who reflected the meaning of being a Christian. Dag Hammarskjöld was thus a strong, righteous man of courage and strong integrity who loved God and people, and dared to pray to God: "Give me a pure heart - that I may see you, a humble mind - that I may hear you, a loving mind - that I may serve Thee, A heart of faith - that I may remain in you. "
Mats Svegfors
(tranlated by :Sven Ljungholm)