The Church of Scotland is experiencing a rift for the same
reason churches in the U.S. are breaking away from their
Members of an old Church of Scotland in Glasgow celebrated
Christmas in new facilities this year after closing St.
George's Tron over the issue of the ordination of homosexuals.
Before closing its doors, the church's last service was held
December 9. More than 500 worshippers came to hear Rev. Dr. Willie
Philip deliver the final sermon.
That is a reflection of
what is happening in reform churches worldwide, particularly in the
Presbyterian Church USA, says Carmen Fowler LaBerge of the Presbyterian Lay Committee. LaBerge says
it is not the church that is leaving the denomination; the
denomination is leaving its members behind over theological
"We have Presbyterians who have been raised believing that the
Bible is the Word of God, Jesus is the only way to salvation, that
we are called to, by the power of the Holy Spirit, conform to the
revealed will of God in the scriptures of the Old and New
Testaments," LaBerge accounts.
But, she continues, there is also the emerging liberal group
"believing that the Bible is a reference point to the Word of God,
believing that Jesus is one way to salvation, believing that we are
supposed to be adapting what our view of God is to the world in
which we live," the Committee president notes.
She refers to it "as a self-inflicted mortal wound" and an
expression of a "global realignment of Christianity." In response,
biblically based churches are leaving for conservative
denominations or new denominations.
Laberge asserts that many PC(USA), Lutheran, Episcopalian and
United Methodist churches will close within the next decade.