There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’ C. S. Lewis
Update: Amy Smith and I have been asked by law enforcement to delay our post tomorrow so they can complete their investigation. We have agreed to comply. I plan to write more about Donald Macleod tomorrow.
Last year, I decided to investigate the suicide and hidden life of Iain D Campbell when I read a newspaper article in which it appeared that locals were blaming his wife for his decades of serial adultery. I know some people were surprised that a woman in Raleigh, North Carolina, would be interested in this story. However, my interest in the situation brought some people into my life who shared more deeply about the actual events. I wrote about it here. Blindsided: The True Story of the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Iain Campbell
As time went on, my suspicions and information proved to be accurate which resulted in further posts. There was an attempt by unknown parties to hurt Dee’s reputation and the reputation of her husband with an ill advised letter which backfired on those involved. If anyone is thinking about trying that again, please be sensible. My church, the synod, Duke University, etc. were not amused.
Why I am interested in Donald Macleod
In the midst of gathering information on Iain D Campbell (hereafter referred to as IDC), I became aware of several matters.
- An obituary for IDC, written by Donald Macleod, appeared to be vaguely threatening towards IDC’s family, who had endured so much. His gushing account of IDC’s life did not track with reality. Here is a link to the wayback version because the obituary was quietly removed from the Internet. Why? I have no idea, and Donald Macleod isn’t talking. Here is the parting shot from Rev. Macleod. Do him proud? Seriously? You mean the guy with multiple affairs who hurt his marriage and refused to reconcile? Who disregarded his family by spending untold amounts of time with his various mistresses? Who abused his clergy privilege in something we, in the States, refer to as clergy sex abuse. And it is up to his family to *do him proud?* “In the meantime, we have a duty of care to Iain’s wife, Anne; to his mother, Lily; to his sons, Iain and Stephen; to his daughter Emily; and to his sisters, Margaret and Alma. He was their hero. May they do him proud.”
- Various individuals have been after me to reveal the name(s) of my source. That will NEVER happen. One of my sources for the original story suggested that I look into Donald Macleod. I was told that IDC initially supported the proceedings against Macleod. But, suddenly, with no reason given to others, IDC decided to support Macleod!
- One commenter in my original post claims there was no way that IDC could carry out his extensive and decades long extracurricular activities on the small Isle of Lewis without someone finding out about it. Could it be that some fellow pastors in the Free Church of Scotland knew about IDC and kept it secret since IDC was internationally renowned and important to the status of the Free Church? IDC could have gone anywhere but chose to remain in the Isle of Lewis. Why? Did Donald Macleod have knowledge of IDC’s activities? Was there a quid pro quo? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I think about them.
Main reason for this post: Long overdue support for the victims of Donald Macleod
My main reason for writing this post and subsequent posts is for the women who reported abuse by Donald Macleod and were branded as liars. I believe they were telling the truth, and I want to be an advocate for a group of women with whom I have never met nor spoken with.
There were multiple women who claimed that Donald Macleod behaved inappropriately with them. They were all branded as liars during a 1996 trial by the Sheriff Court. Another possible victim in Australia was also blown off as a liar! I was shocked to read the statements by the Sheriff and to realize that such statements would not be tolerated today.
So, for over 20 years, those brave women who came forward and told their stories have had to live with being called liars. These women have lived with both the pain of the abuse they endured and then the pain of being re-abused, in my opinion, by a callous Free Church and a cold-hearted Sheriff Court.
Ladies, if you are reading this, please know that I believe your stories, and I am sorry for the pain that you have endured these long years. As you will see, I have reason why I believe you, and I will document these reasons for as many posts as it takes.
Who is Donald Macleod and why he is important to those of us in the United States.
Donald Macleod is well-regarded in the United States by those within the Neo-Reformed set.
At this point I need to explain something. I understand that many Reformed theologians do not believe or accept those who claim they are Reformed and Baptist. This would include many members of The Gospel Colaition and men like Mark Dever, Al Mohler, CJ Mahaney and John Piper. This post will involve the theological differences that led to the Free Church of Scotland Continuing. It is essential to understand the difficulties surrounding Macleod. I am going to use the terms Calvinist and Reformed in an inclusive fashion, even though I know there are profound disagreements in this area. That disagreement is not why I am writing this post.
Here are some facts.
- John Piper and Desiring God admire his writings and have featured them on the website.
- Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia awarded Macleod an honorary degree, DD, in 2008. Some people refer to him as Dr. Macleod, which is incorrect. Unlike his BFF, IDC, Macleod does not have an earned PhD.
- Carl Trueman endorsed his book, Christ Crucified: Understanding the Atonement. Challenge question for TWW readers. Who else has Carl Trueman endorsed that was involved in a ministry with serious questions about child sex abuse coverup?. ……...CJ Mahaney! “Those who have heard Donald Macleod preach or who have read his writings will know that the crucified Christ is, of all theological topics, his forte. He has dazzling insight matched by a way with words which together serve to bring out aspects of the person and work of Christ with memorable beauty. Thus it is a pleasure to be able to commend this book. If you are familiar with Donalds work, you know what to expect and know that you will be challenged and edified. If you have never read him before, you are in for a treat.” (Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia)
- Saunter on over to The Gospel Coalition website and enter his name. You will see he is mentioned not infrequently.
Tim Keller considers Donald Macleod’s biography on C Stacey Woods as having influenced him.Different Donald Macleod.04/20/18
- Southern Baptist Theological Seminary also recommended his books. Here is one such endorsement.
- Ligon Duncan recommends his books for his courses.
RC Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries also recommends one of his books.Different Donald Macleod 4/20/18 However, Sproul recommended this one.
- None other than CJ Mahaney himself recommends Donald Macleod.
Do you catch my drift? Donald Macleod is important in the Neo-Calvinist movement in the United States. So, it is important that we understand him. Just like Mahaney, his past is no problem for these leaders since his theology is correct. However, I wonder how well they really know him?
Donald Macleod’s biography
This is from Donald Macleod’s website.
As an interesting aside, his first pastorate was in a bi-lingual church in Glasgow. That language was Gaelic, and Macleod often preached his sermons in Gaelic.
Donald Macleod retired as professor of systematic theology at the Free Church of Scotland College in Edinburgh in 2011. He was born on the Isle of Lewis, off the north-west coast of Scotland, in November 1940. Macleod was educated at the University of Glasgow (Master of Arts, 1961) and the Free Church College, Edinburgh (1961-1964). He was ordained on 5 November 1964 to his first charge, Kilmallie Free Church, where he served for six years.
In 1970, Donald Macleod was called to Partick Highland Free Church, a bi-lingual congregation in Glasgow, Scotland, where he preached five times a week, including two services conducted in Scottish Gaelic.
The Free Church General Assembly appointed him to the chair of Systematic Theology at the Free Church College in 1978. In 1999 he was chosen as principal of the College by the General Assembly, and in that role he spearheaded the College”s relationship with the University of Glasgow (where he is a visiting Professor) leading to the validation of the College”s degree of Bachelor of Theology.
In 2008, Donald Macleod was honoured with a Doctorate of Divinity by Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. He retired from the post of principal of the Free Church College in May 2010.
Donald Macleod is well known as a previous editor of The Monthly Record of the Free Church and as a former columnist in the West Highland Free Press and The Observer newspaper.
Professor Macleod’s main theological interest centres on the link between theology and preaching. Over five decades he has sought to emphasise the primacy of the intellect in religious experience and the primacy of doctrine in preaching. In recent years Donald Macleod has focused on the theme of objective piacular atonement through the cross; and he continues to explore such topics as divine impassibility and Calvinistic libertarianism.
I am hoping our many readers from Scotland can help us out. It appears that Donald Macleod does not hold an academic Masters degree like we have in the US. Macleod received his MA at University of Glasgow in one year before completing his undergraduate work. According to the University:
At Glasgow (and the other three ancient universities in Scotland), an Honours level degree in the Arts is called a Master of Arts (MA) and an Honours level degree in the Social Sciences a Master of Arts (Social Sciences). These should not be confused with the Master of Arts offered by some universities in England, which refers to a postgraduate qualification.
He then attended Free Church College run by the Free Church of Scotland. It is now known as Edinburgh Theological Seminary.
Edinburgh Theological Seminary has a long history.
One of the first things the Free Church of Scotland did after it came into existence in 1843 was to set up a theological college because it saw the value of reformed theological education.
We have been here on The Mound ever since.
In fact, we are now one of the oldest theological colleges in Scotland.
Though we are an old institution, we are very much about training in theology for mission in the contemporary world.
Our well-designed curriculum is designed for training ministers and pastors, and much more.
Since Macleod was ordained the year he graduated, it appears that 4 years of education is all that is needed to be ordained in the Free Church of Scotland. This appears to differ from the US in which it is traditional to complete a 4 year undergraduate curriculum and then a 3 year Masters of Divinity.
Macleod became a Professor of Systematic Theology at Free Church College about 14 years after his graduation. He was instrumental in helping the college obtain validation for its Bachelor of Theology degree. My guess is that means that degree finally became accredited. He later became a principal at that college. According to this site, a principal is:
The Principal is responsible for the overall operation of the University. As Vice-Chancellor he confers degrees on behalf of the Chancellor.
The Principal is President of the Senatus Academicus and ex-officio, a member of the University Court. He is nominated by the Curators of Patronage and appointed by the University Court.
Now, to the reason why I am writing this blog post.
Understanding US law
In the United States, we are allowed to say/write things that we believe to be true. In other words, we must not knowingly lie. However we are not mandated to conclusively prove that what we are saying or writing is correct. We must also never knowingly lie in order to bring harm to another person. We write this post to tell what we believe is the truth of the women who accused Macleod of sexual harassment. We do this to support them.
We are not required to believe that exoneration of an individual by a court means that a person is truly innocent. For example, ask the average US citizen if they believe OJ Simpson was innocent of the murder of his wife, even though he was declared *not guilty.* Most of the people I know believe he is guilty. We are free to say that in the US.
I say this for one reason. I believe the women who accused Donald Macleod of sexual harassment/abuse were telling the truth, and I am upset for the way they were treated by the church and by the Sheriff’s Court.
A brief overview of this complicated mess.
I am going to present documentation on this overview in my next post. Apparently, Donald Macleod was/is looked at as a liberal by some former and present leaders of the Free Church of Scotland. Macleod apparently believed that these individuals were jealous of his success. This sounds like typical infighting that goes on in any church group in the world and should not be considered rare or unusual.
Enter the women. Macleod was accused of an affair with a woman in Australia and was acquitted of that charge. Then other women came forward in Scotland with similar accusations. Sadly, these brave women were accused of being involved in a conspiracy to bring down Macleod. Make sure you understand this. Women decided to subject themselves to embarrassing questions and outright indignities because they were part of some ill-defined conspiracy. I don’t believe it.
Tomorrow, I plan to write more about what happened. In the meantime, I want our reader to know that much of my information comes from When Justice Failed in Church and State by Murdoch Murchison & Iain H Murray.
I wish I could reach out and hug all of the women who came forward. I also know that many pastors were mistreated and needed to leave the Free Church of Scotland to form a new group. More on that tomorrow. I am so, so sorry. Let me leave you with one of my favorite songs. Please know that my prayers are with you.
#metoo #churchtoo #FreeChurchtoo