Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Review: "A Sad Departure"
A Sad Departure: Why we could not stay in the Church of Scotland by David J. Randall is an explanation of why a number of churches had to lead the Church of Scotland.
Despite the surety of the need to leave, the departure was sad – it was not what they wanted – but they could not stay.
The basic problem was the moving away from the belief that Scripture is the foundation for all belief and decision in the Church (1). “It is this question of the position and authority of the Bible in the Church that is the heart of the present controversy” (2). The specific question on the table being whether of not homosexual acts are sinful or not and what the answer to this question means for the Church.
In the second chapter, Randall relates the historical context and what has been said, believed and approved at recent General Assemblies. That being the answer that homosexual acts are not sin, and the Church is free to ordain practicing homosexuals.
In the third chapter, the author considers whether it is biblical to leave a denomination and concludes that there is a difference between there being weeds among the wheat and a rejection of the Gospel – since the Bible clearly states that homosexual acts are sin and that those who unrepentantly continue in these sins cannot enter the Kingdom of God, it is a Gospel issue, and the Church of Scotland has rejected the Scripture (46-47).
In chapters four and five, the author shows from the Scripture (grammatical-historically) that the Scripture cannot mean other than homosexual acts are sin.
Then he takes a quick look at other controversies and how the Church responded.
In the seventh chapter, he applies Scripture to the controversy over homosexuality and concludes that they were forced in obedience to God and love of Christ and neighbor to leave the denomination.
Finally, he includes a lengthy section of accounts of the churches who left, what they went through and why obedience to Christ was of paramount value.
The Appendix includes a list of every minister who departed at the time of the writing of this book.
He includes a bibliography, index of Scripture, and a general index.
Randall has written a book which is upsetting – the pain and the sweat are visible on the pages, and so is his devotion to God and His Word.
Numerous denominations are “studying” the question of homosexuality – the denomination I am in has been for years.
May this book be an encouragement to stand for the truth of the Gospel, the clarity of the Word of God, and to stand in love against those who deny the authority of the Word of God out of love for the Gospel and all those who need to hear it. Let us be prepared for tears and anger – whatever suffering might come for the moment – but look forward to the glory we will be brought into as we submit ourselves to the Word of God.
[This review appears on my blog and on Amazon.com.]