Rev David McCarthy explains the history of St Thomas’ Edinburgh and its congregation’s decision to leave the Scottish Episcopal Church, and spells out ten lessons learned in the process:
1. We can’t assume that everyone in an evangelical church is on the same page – some are changing their view on this issue, often because they find it difficult because they have same-sex attracted family members or friends.
2. We had to be prepared to lose people we love – the culture is strong and ‘love is love’ can all too easily override Bible truth.
3. We learnt to rely on lay leadership to deal with denominational matters – this took some of the pressure off clergy.
4. The denomination tried to win us over – responsibilities and honours were given. Cultivating institution loyalty was expected to blunt opposition to doctrinal change.
5. We needed to pray continually.
6. Leaders needed to have people outside the situation who are praying for them.
7. We needed to take wise counsel from others.
8. We needed to be ready for pain and many sleepless nights – there is a personal cost to standing up on this issue.
9. We needed to guard our hearts and lives: health, finances, marriages and relationships will all come under immense pressure. This is a spiritual battle.
10. International links were most important – we are grateful for the support of GAFCON, and many other links with orthodox people around the world.