Every May since 1983 I have felt like leaving the Church of Scotland due to anticipated decisions of the General Assembly. That memory and awareness came to mind in a wonderful private Zoom meeting with a younger than myself, devoted parish minister earlier today. His ministry is being blessed, but he is feeling “the May effect.” I have several such ongoing conversations. Does the General Assembly have any idea how much increasing grief, tears and sorrow it causes to the Church of Christ? Praying for you, my born from above brothers and sisters in ordained ministry in the C of S who seek to honour the plain meaning of God’s Word, who will feel you should leave this May! I am not being patronising, but I want you to know I felt, at times, intensely alone over the last 40 years in ministry. You are not and I was not. Keep your eye on your calling that people would come to the cross and be saved. Remember Elijah. He was wrong.
Again, I f don’t mean to pull out the almost 40 years ordained card, but I will! Be upset – how can you not be? – but not unsettled! If you love the Word of God you are more needed than ever, right now! I have no confidence that God may not bring the C of S to an end. Indeed He made it clear to me He will not tell me. But I know this: anything He may do is just. He does all things well. But if that day comes know this: He has recorded the names of those who fear Him and in that fear may be talking with one another in grief this very month. You will be His, still, on the day He acts! Be humbly assured of that!
To be completely honest, I am not sure I still have faith enough to pray with conviction that the Church of Scotland will be spared a decisive judgement from God that will bring it into a worse state than the present decline. I am not sure if I need God’s forgiveness and help with that lack of conviction, or if a line which mercifully I cannot see, has already been crossed from which there is no possibility of repentance thought it may be sought with tears. It may already have been decreed: “I will remove your lamp stand!” I don’t know. I do meet some who declare that they do know the future of the C of S for sure. Some are sure renewal is coming. Some are sure judgement is coming. Some are sure that both are coming and indeed are ongoing. All claim Scriptural warrant for their confident predictions. All may prove to be both right and wrong, at least in part.
Those who have zealously proclaimed there can be no blessed future for the C of S as the Word of the Lord, seem to discount the fact that God in mercy is still calling people who fear Him who are saved, washed in the blood and born from above, into the ministry of the C of S and people are still being saved, though we are very far from spiritual health in that we cannot say the Lord is adding to our number daily those who are being saved. However, those who claim our day is finished may prove to be future seeing prophets. The only thing I would ask is if such a prediction is one that makes you mourn and causes you to pray that it will not be so? Does it make you and cry out, “ Lord, may it not be so as I have declared!” or do you secretly hope you will be proved right? Be truthful about your heart and tremble before its immeasurable deceitfulness. God reads it with accuracy.