Archive: May, 2013

Dismantling the Free Church College

Modern Scotland usually has little interest in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.  This year promises to be different.  The Report on the ordination of homosexuals promises the media a heady mix of sex and splits, while evangelicals wait anxiously, wondering what kind of church will be left by the time the Assembly has done its business.

Meanwhile a mere hundred yards away the Free Church holds its own Assembly, and we have problems enough of our own.  The most obvious is the recurring financial deficit.  The Board of Trustees are quite rightly insisting that this cannot go on.  The Church must match its expenditure to its income.

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The Cambridge Companion to the Trinity

The Cambridge Companion to the Trinity, ed. Peter C. Phan(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. xiv + 417pp. hb. £55).

This volume brought out the hidden statistician in me, and I found myself counting the proportions.  Of the twenty-one contributors only one, Karen Kilby from the University of Nottingham, was working, at the time of writing, in the UK: a sombre reflection, surely, on the state of Systematic Theology in Britain.  The provenance of the writers is not always clear, but at least fourteen are from the US.  Three are from Korea; and the editor, Peter Phan, is originally from Vietnam, though now living in America.

Equally interesting is the denominational distribution.  Nine appear to be Roman Catholic, with one each from the Lutheran, Greek Orthodox and Romanian Orthodox traditions, and another from the ‘Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)’.  The stimulus given to Roman Catholic trinitarianism by the work of Karl Rahner has clearly not been matched by a corresponding stimulus to Protestant theology from the work of Barth and Moltmann.  But then, the volume ignores both the late T. F. Torrance and the late Colin Gunton.

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Kirk Fudge on Gay Ordination

The Theological Commission appointed by the Church of Scotland in 2011to examine issues relating to the ordination of those living in openly homosexual relationships has now prepared its report, and one thing is sure: very few of those attending the forthcoming General Assembly are going to have the stamina to read it.  Ninety-four pages long, in double column, it takes almost as long to get to get to the point as it took the children of Israel to get to the Promised Land; and if it can’t quite be said that the commissioners spent all their time in the wilderness it can certainly be said that they spent most of it in unnecessary preliminaries and in irrelevant discussions of such matters as the Kirk’s place in the ‘holy, catholic church’.

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