Church of Scotland’s pro-gay stance is ‘stupid and suicidal’, rival church leader claims

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The head of the Free Church of Scotland has slammed the official Church of Scotland – for taking a “stupid” and “suicidal” stance on gay clergy.

A number of congregations have publicly walked away from the Church of Scotland amid proposals to allow gay clergy – which passed a vote of presbyteries earlier this year.

Reverend David Robertson, who is set to take up the top role leading the Free Church next month, laid into Scotland’s national church for its “moral decline”.

He told the Aberdeen Press and Journal: “The truth is simply this – not one presbytery in the Church of Scotland saw growth last year.

“The Church of Scotland is literally dying.

“I pray that the Church of Scotland will be renewed and revitalised and that these figures will be reversed. But I also believe that the Church of Scotland is declining numerically because it is also in a theological and moral decline.”

He claimed that the church’s stance on gay clergy is “stupid as it is suicidal”.

Revrend David Arnott of the Church of Scotland retorted: “The gloomy picture painted by the Free Church bears little relation to reality.

“The official membership of the Church of Scotland has gently declined by 16,000 in the course of a year.

“It is a similar picture in many other mainstream churches. However with approaching 400,000 members the Church of Scotland remains one of Scotland’s largest and most robust organisations.

“Moreover without ever registering as members, countless thousands of Scots attend church services and are committed participants in church initiatives such as food banks.

“As regards ministers, 20 out of 800 have left because the church is considering allowing congregations the option of selecting a minister who is in a same-sex relationship.

“It is a cause of sadness when a minister leaves but the church continues in its work and service.”

Reverend David Robertson, who has previously warned that same-sex marriage will lead to “sexual confusion”, previously denied that he is homophobic.