as moses said to hobab

Two Free Church ministers are already calling for Church of Scotland evangelicals to separate, after the General Assembly’s decision last Saturday. (Blogposts here and here.)

What Free Presbyterian ministers are saying on their blogs is unknown, as they don’t seem to have any, but in real life there has been about the same level of concern and prayer as is expressed by these FC bloggers, and there also seems to be a large measure of agreement that CoS evangelicals need to do something to overtly align themselves more closely with the orthodox confessional position which they would surely be much more at home in.

I’d doubt very much that a split in the CoS would be either practical or beneficial. I’d also take some convincing that a new denomination would be a good idea. Given current tastes and practices maybe the FC is the obvious place for a confessional CoS evangelical to turn, and it sounds like they’d get a welcome there. I suppose there’s only thing that holds me back from wholeheartedly hoping that that’s what would happen. That’s a small wishful thought that a welcome would be extended from the FPs to brothers and sisters in the CoS – issued in seriousness and charity and heard as real and well-meant. The FPism of popular caricature is surprisingly different from the actual reality, and surely we can at least invite people to come and find that out for themselves.

Meantime, Mr Meredith’s proposal, with the three caveats he carefully attaches, deserves some thoughtful consideration.

Numbers 10:29

11 thoughts on “as moses said to hobab

  1. A wonderful chap taught me scripture in my brief theology student days. He was a bit dyslexic or disvocal or some such (the rumour was that his “thing” was textual variants in the LXX:-)) “God chose Mary because He knew that she would say no. I mean yes.” and other classics that escape me a the moment. One such moment led to me producing a beautiful exegesis of Ex 18,1-15. I was rather puzzled by the choice of text, and by the cut-off point, but got stuck in.

    Fr Lecturer was also somewhat puzzled to receive a stack of essays on Moses’s father-in-law, instead of on the meeting at Mamre.

    I was the more reminded of this because I first read the title as “As Moses said to Kebab” …


  2. Yes, strictly those CoS evangelicals who got the obscure OT reference need apply.

    Bonus points if they can spiritualise the incident in a manner becoming an old North Country Separatist.

    Oh wait – not a separatist!

    Or … yeah never mind :)

    Other comments & reactions –
    Carl Trueman – a slowish start but some v interesting (& thankfully Scottish-dominated) discussion


  3. Further links:

    Iain D Campbell calls for unity in a return to a Chalmersesque pure establishment (can’t be sure whether he means under the FC or by another new denom)

    John MacLeod’s Daily Mail column

    Gordon Matheson draws on James Durham on Scandal


  4. Discussion is continuing on some of these links, so if you haven’t looked for a while, it might be worth clicking again.

    (Some scrappy thoughts follow. Was going to write a new post, but the whole thing is too depressing.)

    Blah blah blah. The visible witness of the church right now is splintered and fragmented; this is far from the only reason why people are turning away from it, but, quite apart from its incongruity with the New Testament model and the convictions of the Reformers, it’s an easy excuse, for those looking for excuses, for persisting in treating it with disinterest. Yet since 1843 the Reformation Church of Scotland has been better represented by bodies other than the one which retained the name the Church of Scotland. However true it may be to say, ‘there is no scriptural warrant for our current divisions,’ the current divisions do (to varying degrees) represent commitment to scriptural principles. And practice, within the current denominations, varies in its consistency with scriptural principles.

    Eliminating our current divisions is an imperative: no one can argue with that. Yet if the process of achieving greater visible unity, undertaken as an outworking of a scriptural principle, is done in a way that undermines other scriptural principles, only more mess can result. If CoS evangelicals can’t find themselves at home in the FPs, by all means they should go and dwell in unity with the FC. But if this means the FC wobbling on the key issues which ostensibly make them unattractive to the CoS – worship, women, and Westminster – then the overall witness of the church in Scotland will be be weakened again, just in a different way.

    The FP role looks like it’s going to be watching from the sidelines. There’s really no question of FP wobble on any of these points – none of them count as secondary in that way – and refusing to budge here goes hand in hand with various cultural issues, both real and perceived, which likely rule the FPs out. The only contribution will then be that the watching from the sidelines will be prayerful. The Christian good of this country is now very closely connected with the good of the Free Church, and wisdom and discernment is needed on all sides. ‘Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.’


    • Not sure whether my perception of weirdness in all of this is comparable to yours. I have, however, said more than once in these last few days that, in the face of it all, I’m longing for the order of canon law. The legal procedure (if it can be called such) was so amateurish. Bad government structure unfortunately, especially in times of crisis, facilitates bad government decisions (and I’m certainly not refering to political government here).


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