Archive: May, 2011

Free Church Ministers & their Consciences

Ever since the Plenary Assembly the Free Church seems to have sprouted a remarkable number of consciences, and each one, sadly, seems to think itself more important than either the collective wisdom of the Church or the unity of the denomination.

The latest claim is that as a result of the Act passed by the Plenary Assembly many can no longer in good conscience assert, maintain and defend the form of worship authorised by the General Assembly.  This set me thinking: to what, exactly, are the consciences of Free Church ministers bound?

We are bound, first of all, to the supreme and final authority of Holy Scripture as the only rule to direct us.  Oddly enough, the question, ‘What saith the scripture?’ has scarcely figured in this sad debate.  ‘Ordination vows’ have been invoked to proscribe all appeal to the Bible.

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The Christian Experience of Suffering (3)

Some of the lessons are brought out even more clearly in the twelfth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews.  The passage is too long to quote in full, and we shall confine ourselves to the leading feature of its teaching.

We learn in the first place that we must not expect to derive blessing automatically from suffering.  Affliction by itself, no matter how great its intensity, does not sanctify.  

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The Christian Experience of Suffering (2)

A second passage that deals with this subject is Romans 8:28: ‘We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.’

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