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Posted by Eric Smith, Director, on 13th June 2016

The Trustees of Covenant Fellowship Scotland have met to reflect on the recent General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, held at the end of May.

We remain deeply saddened by the Church’s continued travel down the road of allowing Ministers and Deacons to live in same-sex relationships, having now extended this from civil partnerships to include same-sex marriage. Attempting to portray this as merely a “tidying up” exercise to reflect civil law cannot be justified. Many in Assembly expressed great sadness that the Scriptural model of marriage as between one man and one woman has been abandoned in this way, several spoke with great feeling during the debate, and a significant number (215) voted against the Overture with 84 Commissioners registering formal dissent.


We continue to struggle with the contradiction between the licence given to Ministers, Deacons and congregations to pursue this path, while the Church’s official position on marriage remains the position agreed most recently in 2012 with the unanimous acceptance of the report from the Commission on Human Sexuality, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. We are very clear that, with the expectation of a report on same-sex marriage from the Theological Forum at the 2017 General Assembly, the voices of the significant proportion of members of the Church who are opposed to the current direction of travel have to be heard and acknowledged during the consideration by the Forum of this topic and this was formally raised in Assembly. Assurances were given that this would be the case and we wait to see these assurances turned into concrete action, while preparing to present the Biblical case as strongly as we can.

Covenant Fellowship Scotland is not a single-issue organisation (see the Assembly notes from Mike Goss and the personal reflection from Eric Smith) and we recognise the breadth of topics being addressed in the Church, including the recruitment of, and support for, Ministers while developing effective models to minister across the country. In an increasingly secular world, it is still the case that the Church of Scotland is regarded as the national church by individuals and media alike and that, when moral or spiritual questions are asked, the Church is expected to provide opinions and answers. We believe that those answers should be grounded in Biblical truth and that working within the Church’s Councils and Committees is an essential part of Covenant Fellowship Scotland’s work. Two of our Trustees now hold positions in the Ministries Council and Council of Assembly.

We believe that Ministers, Elders, Members and Adherents across Scotland have an important part to play in working where they are, in expressing support for, and concern with, developments in the Church. As part of the Strategy developed last year, we remain committed to supporting congregations and individuals and have already responded to requests to come and speak in churches. Our strategy will continue to be worked out in the coming months and further details of this will be announced shortly.

In 2 Chronicles 20, we read of the people of Judah, under siege, in a difficult situation with no obvious way forward. Their actions? They came together from every town to seek the help of the Lord, they fell down in worship before God, they then went out worshipping and proclaiming the greatness of God. We read that God honoured that worship.

Our task, throughout the Church, is to focus on worshipping God and honouring Him where we are, reaching out in mission and love to the communities around us. The phrase “being salt and light” is often used, perhaps over-used, and, as a result, has lost a little impact. It is absolutely true, however, that a little salt or a little light can profoundly affect the situation they exist in. In the same way, remaining in the Church and prayerfully working inside its structures will help ensure that God’s truth remains always in sight.

Pray that in the coming weeks the prayers and efforts of many would impact on communities across the land as they see and hear the faithful worship of God and witness to His glory and see practical love shown through mission.