Five years after calling for the Christian map of Scotland to be reworked in his Moderatorial address at the 2007 Free Church General Assembly, Rev Dr John Ross has again urged like-minded Presbyterians to explore a united witness.
Dr Ross said “confessional Scottish Presbyterians need to meet face-to-face to talk and pray together” before “irrevocable decisions are taken to entrench denominational diversity”.
The former Free Church missionary said: “What answer have we got to the man in the street who asks what good is it preaching about a gospel of grace and love if we cannot demonstrate graciousness and love by worshiping and working together?
“I fear that our current state of fragmentation is a sign of judgement, not blessing.”
There are currently eleven Scottish Presbyterian denominations.
Dr Ross continued: “The Free Church of today is at least a sizeable and functioning church, which could be the core around which confessional Scottish Presbyterians could coalesce, whilst working for further change and moving forward together in mission.
“In recent years the Free Church has undergone deep and important adjustments, not least in the area of what is permissible in worship.
“These adjustments were partly driven by a desire to remove impediments to united witness.
“Moreover, there is an acknowledged need for further reformation, not least in the area of training and equipping ordinary Christians to take on spontaneous witness, articulating the faith in ordinary language, giving convincing reason for the hope they have, and, by the winsomeness of their lives, attracting their neighbours to Christ.”
He concluded: “Thomas Chalmers once famously asked, ‘Who cares for the Free Church compared with the Christian good of Scotland?”
• Full story at the Free Church of Scotland.