By Julian Mann, Virtueonline

St George’s Tron in Glasgow is a thriving Church of Scotland congregation. It is financially viable, it has young people and it is serving its local community. It is also a church where anyone struggling with homosexual issues would find love, understanding and biblical clarity.

Like the Church of England, its sister church by law established, the Church of Scotland is an ageing denomination facing financial and numerical meltdown. In a recent article in the Church of England Newspaper, church statistician Dr Peter Brierley predicted that the Church of Scotland will have halved in numbers by 2015 to 280,000 members, down from 560,000 in 2005.

St George’s Tron is bucking the trend. But the decision by the Church of Scotland General Assembly to endorse same-sex relationships, contrary to what St George’s believes is the clear teaching of the Holy Scripture, has severely alienated this vibrant church.

The issue for St George’s is the authority of the Word of God.

Writing to his congregation in the wake of the decisive General Assembly vote to legitimise same-sex relationships, minister Dr William Philip declared: “Dear friends, as has become increasingly clear over recent months in the hostility we have already experienced from our presbytery, we are entering days of uncertainty and difficulty as a fellowship when our faith is going to be tested in many ways, some of which we cannot easily anticipate. This should not surprise us. Jesus said “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” [Mark 8:34]. He warned that to be faithful would mean being at odds with many in the world and in the religious establishment, and indeed this has been the history of the church throughout the ages, and in our own land also.

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