On 14th June it was announced that the Tron church in Glasgow was leaving the Church of Scotland over the issue of homosexual ministers. When I first heard the news I’m not ashamed to admit that I almost danced for joy. Usually church splits sadden me because they’re normally for reasons which are secondary in nature and as Christians the call for unity is a strong one. There was once a church that spilt over the issue of having a service on Christmas day, splitting over such trifles does not magnify Christ as Head of the church. But while the call to unity is strong the call to faithfulness is stronger.
Two verses spring to mind: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5v11) and “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1v8). The issue of homosexual ministers can appear to be a minor one but at its heart is a refusal to bow to the clear command of Scripture. Homosexually is declared by God as being morally wrong so to allow homosexual ministers is to go against God’s law.
So for the Tron to stand up, draw their line in the sand and face an uncertain future because it is the right thing to do is exactly the example the church as a whole needs to take note of. We live in an age where cowardly Christianity is both easy and the norm, the pressures of the world make it hard to speak out and many would rather not upset the apple cart and let difficult issues lie. But as the congregation at the Tron must have grasped, this is not what we were saved to be.
I challenge you, read the statement of the minister and try to resist the great call it makes to your heart to stand up and be counted as Christ’s: “We believe the Bible is the supreme rule for what God wants us to believe and how God wants us to live. We are unashamed to retain a clear conviction about what the Bible teaches.”
This is exactly the type of stand the church as a whole needs to be taking, as society more and more departs from the standards set by God then the response of the church should be to be all the more clear on what is right and what is wrong. What all too often is the response of the church is a feet dragging, shilly shallying, mumbling mumbling, gently gently, weak protest or cowardly silence with no action. Modern day Christianity is often a convictionless affair where unity is used as an excuse for avoiding the courage it takes to be faithful.
The great thing about the Tron coming out is not only that other Church of Scotlands might finally find a backbone and step out in faith but also it acts as a very personal challenge to all of us. Who can read of this and not feel guilt over opportunities missed to stand up for the cause of Christ because of fear and the fact that we are secretly ashamed? But in turn, who doesn’t then feel to call to copy the act of the Tron church and stand up for what is right no matter how hard it will be because it is right and because our God is with us?
My challenge then to both myself and you is that this week you would do a Tron and stand up for righteousness, stand up for Christ, step out, hold high the banner of our Lord, face the scorn, embrace the insult, ready yourself for hardship and trust in the Lord our God who has promised never to leave or forsake us. Remember the words of Joshua 1 v 9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”