When I walk in the spot (yeah) this is what I see (okay)
Everybody stops and they staring at me
…I’m sexy and I know it. -Lyrics from I’m Sexy and I Know It.
I have spent much of this day reading the information surrounding the Donald Macleod trial. I have found myself becoming overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available. Let me outline a few of the issues as I see them. Then, I have a proposal for those who have a firm grasp on the important details of this story. I think we can help one another.
All of my information comes from comments at TWW as well from the document When Justice Failed in Church and State.
The Free Church of Scotland never adequately, if at all, addressed the multiple complaints of sexual abuse and harassment by Donald Macleod.
The church turned a blind eye to credible reports of one long term relationship with a women in Australia. A number of women in Scotland also complained of his behavior. The Free Church, in my opinion, demonstrated that church leaders are willing to overlook vulnerable women in order to cover for a celebrity theologian.
Whenever the *it’s a conspiracy* card is played, victims’ advocates like myself know that there is no credible evidence of the innocence of the accused party.
The Sheriff Court exhibited profound ignorance in dealing with women who had been abused. The actions of the court likely caused further pain to the already traumatized women.
Five women would eventually go to court. However, there were other women who apparently decided not to subject themselves to a court trial. Given the disturbing treatment of these women by the court system, I have serious concerns that women who have been assaulted by *well known* men can get a fair hearing in the Sheriff Court.
I was distressed to learn that an officer of the court in Scotland would declare these women to be liars as well as dupes for an unproven conspiracy to take down Donald Macleod. Where is the proof? Or was proof really needed since Macleod had influence and the women didn’t really matter in the scheme of things?
The Sheriff appeared to demonstrated a lack of insight into the difficulties that abused women (and men) experience when forced to discuss details of their abuse in stressful situation such a court trials.
The sheriff in the case at Edinburgh Sheriff Court said that alleged conspirators had opposed the professor’s reformist views and plotted his downfall without any proof but his own feelings. Sheriff John Horsburgh said the complainants had allowed themselves to be associated with people involved in a campaign against the professor to the extent that they had perjured themselves in court.
The outcome of this trial was not universally applauded by church members which caused Iain D Campbell (yes, that Iain Campbell) to accuse those who expressed concern of being wicked. ( I guess he gave himself a pass in the wickedness department..)
After the Civil Trial of Prof McLead the then Minister of the FCoS in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis (Rev K Stewart) invited Professor McLeod to preach in his Congregation after being cleared of assault made by a number of women. Members of this Congregation petitioned the Session to withdraw this Invitation. In spite of this Petition the Session did not withdraw the Invitation to preach. There was clearly concerns amongst the Congregation as to the presence of the Professor in their pulpit.
At the 1999 General Assembly of the FCoS these protesters on the Isle of Lewis were defined as separatists and described by Rev I D Campbell as a people “who had separated from the means of Grace which was a Gross scandal akin to incest, adultery, trilapses into formication, murder, atheism, idolatry and witchcraft.” In recent years, after the suicide of I D Campbell, it could be said that his words were a self description of his own decadent sinful life. How could others in Ministry within the FCoS fail to see the Devil in their midst?
I suggest that having witnessed and heard Rev I D Campbell’s vicious attack on those not wanting Prof McLeod preaching in the Stornoway Congregation that Rev M Roberts was understandably concerned about the situation of gross and irremediable wickednesss which he had observed in the Assembly that day. This was a speech drawn up by the Devil………..it was clearly not of Christ
Donald Macleod appears to have a rather high opinion of his sex appeal as well as his popularity and giftedness.
This rather embarrassing self assessment by Macleod leads me to wonder if he was creating a plausible alibi for himself in case he was ever found with a woman. I can see it now. “I tried to beat her off but she kept throwing herself at me. She just couldn’t help herself.” (Cue”I’m sexy and I know it.”)
Donald Macleod also said in court that it was not uncommon for him to have women being clingy: “It was a problem I have always had to cope with.” In an interview before the Training Committee three years earlier, on 13th April 1993, Donald Macleod made a similar statement:“The reason I wear a wedding ring is that I have enormous difficulty with women…I was in a church not so long ago when a woman came up to me and said ‘You’ve got a very sexy voice’”. However, in an interview only ten days later, and before the same Committee, one question referred to the fact that “…some woman said you’d a sexy voice – being aware of that, was there not a very special obligation on you to be careful?…”, he responded, “I wasn’t aware of that then”. In one statement he claimed that clingy women had always been a problem, whereas in the next he was apparently unaware that it was a problem for him to have been alone with Complainant A for ‘some hours’ in 1986.
Apparently, the beginning of the conspiracy against him occurred, when he critiqued a review of a biography of Martin Lloyd Jones by Dr Iain Murray. Macleod claimed that other theologians were against him because of his standing, his gifts and his popularity. (Seriously? The Sheriff Court bought this? Yikes!)
A proposal for TWW commenters who understand the details surrounding Donald Macleod’s trial.
I have been so frustrated in my attempts to help others understand the complicating factors in this travesty of justice. Not only were the women hurt, a number of pastors were forced to leave the Free Church of Scotland.
Today, I realized what my problem was. The good people who have been writing in with details about the situation are theologians and pastors. As such, the details matter to them. However, sometimes too many details can obscure the story. It is hard for someone like myself to put together a coherent narrative that is compelling. Yet, the story is so important.
What I would like to do is work on a document which more clearly tells the tale for average readers like myself. I would make the working document available to those who are willing to help me. I will use my story telling abilities to outline the information needed and the order in which I need it. Once I have all that I need, I will write the story-start to finish. I will post it as a stand alone article. Then, I will place the post into a permanent page on TWW which can been accessed easily by those who are interested.
If you agree to help, you may do so under a pseudonym if you wish. Your identity will be held in strict confidence. Here are some things that I would like to learn about.
- How many women? Not only in the trial but who came forward originally and were ignored.
- The details of the abuse and for how long his attentions lasted with each woman.
- Macleod’s religious and political distinctives
- The distinct differences between the FCoS and the FCoS Continuing- then and now.
- How do the churches, pastors and theologians deal with social issues that intersect with Biblical teachings: abortion, gay marriage, ordination fo women, extramarital affairs, etc.
- The unofficial relationship between the Sheriff Court and the FCoS.
- The influence of the theologian/pastor then and now in local culture
- Would any of the women be willing to tell me their stories? I would promise complete confidentiality.
- The same goes for any of the pastors or theologians who were negatively affected by this situation.
- Anything that I forgot or didn’t think about?
I apologize for not being able to sift through the details in an efficient manner. However, if emails are any indication, some folks in Scotland were rather surprised by some of the details that I did discuss. I would love to explore this further with your help.
This series has made me realize that I want to add a psalm singing competition to my bucket list. For those of you who are not familiar with customs of the Free Church of Scotland (more so now in the Free Church of Scotland Continuing) churches sing only the Psalms without instruments during their services. if you have never heard of this, let me offer this video recorded on the Isle of Lewis. It is hauntingly beautiful.
Thanks for the “video recorded on the Isle of Lewis. It is hauntingly beautiful.”
Fascinating to learn about the culture and lovely geography of these islands, apart from this rather disturbing story.
In putting together the narrative, it would be interesting to note the travel/distance involved. These island communities are small so this could be an important element of the disguise of morality while living the opposite. Hybels seemed to do things on travel ministry trips, or at home when his wife was out of town, traveling.
Travel can be a liability, as folks in the travel industries know.
I’m no expert on “sexiness” but he looks quite resistible from the photo. What is creeping me out is how his eyes and expression remind me so much of my abusive ex-who also was plagued by interested women. At least in his own mind. Cue Mac Davis and ‘Hard To Be Humble.”
From the OP
Just one of the few reasons I do not endorse or like the Billy Graham (Mike Pence) rule at all:
Those who adhere to it egotistically assume that all single women find any and all Christian men (especially married ones, and even ones who are over 25 pounds over weight, toothless, and bald) to be irresistible hotties.
Believe you me, Christian ladies, your aging, balding, toothless, hairless tubby husband is not ‘cat nip’ to me, and he can be resisted with no effort on my part. (Your man’s attractiveness is all in your head and possibly his.)
This will be an interesting project. I wish you all the best. There was a case in 2009 when a young college woman by the name of Meredith Kercher was brutally assaulted (sexually) and murdered. It was an exceptionally brutal case whereby she basically drowned in her own blood due to a knife wound to her throat. The perps (supposedly her friends) were originally charged and jailed in Italy but through some very bizarre events went free. There was a PR machine assembled that basically put the whole Italian justice system on trial and further traumatized poor Meredith’s family (the parents literally lost their health). I realize that this forum is specifically for church or clergy abuse but I wanted to bring home the fact that there are forces that do not want the truth to be told and they are willing to retraumatize families and destroy reputations. Just because OJ Simpson was exonerated does not mean he is not guilty and the same with poor Meredith. Unfortunately, there are 3 murderers and rapists who are walking free now-one in the US and the other two in Italy. Fighting for Justice can be daunting and exposes one to the depravity of mankind. What does the Lord require but to love justice and show mercy..
I just said much the same thing in another post (although my comment is still sitting in the queue awaiting approval).
Careful; I posted a song title in a thread here a few days back, only to have it pop up in an Amazon recommendation. You may have a Will Rogers Follies offer in the offing.
Dee, just for information, the Free Church of Scotland voted (narrowly – 98 commissioners to 84) in 2010 to allow hymns and instruments in worship.
“The distinct differences between the FCoS and the FCoS Continuing- then and now.”
The FCoS Continuing are more traditional and can be described as Calvinist. The FCoS are more Reformed/New Calvinist – which is in keeping with MacLeod being “well-regarded by the Neo-Reformed set” as indicated in a previous TWW article. The MacLeod incident was part of what brought about the split in the FCoS. It was extremely messy with legal wrangling over ownership of individual church buildings. They chose to add the word ‘Continuing’ to their name to emphasise that they saw themselves as holding fast to their roots.
So, I read the tagline for this post and thought: Deebs have captured my problem in a nutshell.
As Wartburgers will have observed from my gravatar fotie, I go for the Patrick Stewart look. Sir Patrick, like me, has very good hair.
Incidentally, Wartburgers who have seen the The Emoji Movie trailer will be aware that Patrick Stewart is capable of lending gravitas even to a talking pile of poo.
With regard to the Australian allegation letters from other ministers encouraged the denomination to fulfil its Constitutional obligations. For example, in his letter to Rev. Douglas MacMillanRev. Allan Harman pointed out that the honour of Christ‘s name had to be paramount, however distasteful it may have seemed to take formal action against Donald Macleod. He said that the thought of the consequences for Donald Macleod and his family or for the Free Church, and the reaction from the world outside, should not be the dominant consideration. Rev. Iain Murray also wrote “Whatever is right needs to be done, and in that course we can trust in God.” Rev. Douglas MacMillan wrote, “…I wanted to avoid precipitate action. The reasons for this are obvious.(1) D [Donald MacLeod] is so well known that it would be very destructive (from a human point of view) for the cause on a very wide scale…”.
This from the post:
I’ve only been to one FCoS service, in Roskeen up in the north-east. But after years of never-ending singathons in which the worship leaders professed their overwhelming love of worship and their wish that they could go on leading worship all night, I absolutely loved the less-is-more simplicity of singing unaccompanied psalms. It was just about the only service I’ve been in in 20 years in which I myself would happily have carried on all night.
The Rosskeen Free Church Congregation now has two forms of worship. The worship in the Church is still traditional whereas the services held in Alness have introduced hymns and instrumental music . A number of members left the Rosskeen congregation over this issue.
You are not strictly accurate in your depiction of the situation. My husband was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland (now retired). We were in Canada not Scotland when this tragedy took place in a church we had respected and served. I was baptised, nurtured and converted in the Free Church of Scotland and my husband a Canadian from a different background,came to conviction of their Theology, Worship & Ethos. Be both came to a very settled decision to affiliate with the Free Church of Scotland( Continuing) not just because of what we read or because they were more conservative, but because of our own knowledge of the caliber of the men who were forced out of the church. These were ethical and godly men who would never have lied and conspired as they were accused of doing.
David & Flora Compton
I am very interested in your proposal in putting together a “working document” and am happy to try and contribute. I would hope that using your story telling abilities and the material all ready posted you will have a story or article or indeed a book (!) which is able to stand alone open a permanent page on TWW. I would hope that this “article/book” would also be available for publication in some form or another
I am not a Minister or Theologian nor am I from the Isle of Lewis and I feel that the questions you pose should be answered by those who have more knowledge.
The only Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Minister who has identified himself on the Blog is Rev Willie McLeod. I hope and pray that he can encourage his Colleagues to deal with the questions which you pose. Perhaps he is able to contact Colleagues and encourage them to address the questions which you have posed. This is a unique opportunity for them to provide their insights and observations whilst giving you the insights which you are asking for. THIS STORY NEEDS TO BE TOLD! I would suggest that this opportunity is providential and all should sharpen their electronic quills and get busy
This book has just been published and is available from Amazon in North America.
A Divided Church
Date: Tuesday, 20 March 2018
Author: Rev John W Keddie
A DIVIDED CHURCH is an account of the division that took place in the Free Church of Scotland, a conservative evangelical and reformed church, in the year 2000. The story is told of events that led to the division and the perceived inadequacies of procedures in church and state which impacted upon events leading up to the division.
The book is written from the perspective of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), the smaller part of the divided Church. It is a story that requires to be told and it is written with care and conciseness by the lecturer in Church History and Church Principles at the Seminary of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).
The book is a sequel to the same author’s story, a major work, on aspects of the history of the Free Church of Scotland in the 20th Century, Preserving a Reformed Heritage (ISBN: 978-1-326-86529-0).
Printed by Lulu, A Divided Church is available from Lulu, and from other internet sites such as Amazon (ISBN: 978-1-326-79213-8). A paperback of 104 pages, the book will cost £5.00 (plus postage) from internet websites, or £6.00 including postage in the UK from the author at:
Scottish Reformed Heritage Publications,
19 Newton Park,
Inverness-shire, IV5 7QB
Actually, the song that started going through my mind upon reading the title, was I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. Now to actually read the post.
@ Flora Compton:
I wanted to add that I have marveled at the courage of the women who spoke up about their experiences in a church where women are ‘seen and not heard’.
I am more outspoken than most and experienced devastating ‘put-downs’ before any of this took place. My husband has been told that he is not keeping me ‘ in my place’. He was warned ,” WE do not allow our wives to express opinions’. These and many other comments were from men who stayed with the Residual Free Church. I am not surprised that they did not respect the testimony of women.
I know many of the ministers in the Free Church Continuing and they are gracious men who treat women with respect. Far from being ultra-conservative, conniving men I know that they would have listened compassionately to what these women were saying.
I think this is an important perspective that has been ignored.
A pastor wearing a kilt subliminally communicates “what up girlfriend?” and it goes down hill from there.
Good Lord! The rapidity of reports on ministers and ministries which are failing around the world makes me want to throw up my hands and shout with Paul:
“There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12)
And then I am reminded that there is indeed a faithful remnant of believers and servants of God who truly walk the talk. You may not find many among Christian celebrities. The real deals are keeping their hands on the plow and not looking back, often found serving in obscure places, they know God and are known by God. Believer, pray for wisdom to know the difference between those who lead you, because it may mean the difference in what kind of disciple you become.
I am anxious to read a succinct, understandable accounting of what happened. The first abusive church I was pulled into was always referencing the Free Church Continuing. I believe there is a official relationship of some kind, but I’m not sure. Because of the arrogance and insistence that unaccompanied psalms were The Only acceptable way to worship the God of the Bible (Regulative Principle, anyone?), along with all the other abuses in the church and family, I’m unable to enjoy them. Maybe someday.
Flora Compton wrote:
It seems to me that it would be quite difficult to get a fair trial in a situation such as this. If 80-85 percent of the population was/is part of this church system, then aren’t most of the employees of the government and court system part of the same church? I’m wondering about bias in favor of these popular church leaders. The whole thing sounds scary and slanted to me. I really feel for the victims, their families, and those in the church who separated over this.
Looking for “Like” button.
Fighting for Justice, which God loves, also exposes us to:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph. 6.12
(Interesting, I was praying about this, this morning, and then saw your comment. Thanks.)
The split was ALL about Prof Donald McLeod’s supporters in the Free Church protecting him from the Courts of the Church and nothing else whatsoever.
They connived to have these men ejected without Charges and Trial. They were not interested in Justice for those wanting Trial. They shielded their idol Professor at any cost to this part of the Body of Christ
They persuaded like minded Preachers of the Gospel in the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia (a sister Church of the Free Church of Scotland) to clear all mention of Donald McLeod and his alleged adultery from their Records and then lied when challenged by the likes of Rev GI Williamson some years later
Hey, this dude is still alive?! If so, is he married and what is he doing? I mean is he still “pastoring” a church? Somehow I thought he was dead like Campbell.
Flora Compton wrote:
That’s all very interesting but it would be helpful if you could also explain exactly what wasn’t accurate. You didn’t say in your reply.
I know! Right! My thought exactly.
Ready through this begs the question, “Where is Jesus in all of this?”
Fascinating and quite a jolt. From an American perspective, Scotland & the Isles seem so idyllic, romantic, pure… yet these places are populated by fallen humans and may benefit (or suffer) from relative obscurity and isolated locales. We may be five minutes ahead of Edinburgh, culturally speaking, with the MeToo & ChurchToo blitz… but we’re all in the same sinful mess of vanity & self made scandal. I pray the efforts of TWW & the amazing contributors here will provide comfort and open eyes around the world. This is one of the few areas where I thank God for the Internet and all the technology which makes a collaboration such as Dee proposes, possible.
I do not have any knowledge to offer but I volunteer to be a galley reader. I’m a good proof reader and may be a decent judge of clarity, consistency and general efficacy of the writing. Either way, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next chapters.
Loved the chanting of Psalms and slide show.
I hope I will not be viewed as too provocative if I paraphrase this to say: “You may not find many among so-called Christians.” The real deal are not only keeping their hands on the plow, but many of them have realized that there are no plows to be found in the Institutional Church, which has long been falsely conflated with the true Body of Christ. Don’t get me wrong – many of the Body are in the walls of the Institutional Church, because they have been misled to make this conflation. I believe we are seeing God’s hand in revealing the truth.
Not uncommon now in Free Church services. Here is an article from the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland March 2018 Magazine:
Further Change in the Free Church
A few months ago, the Kirk Session of the Bon Accord Free Church in Aberdeen issued a “strategy document”, giving as a reason that “every organisation – including a local congregation like Bon Accord – needs a strategy that outlines its objectives and provides direction as to how those objectives are to be met”. The document is partly in response to a Presbytery visitation in 2015 which detected “a feeling among many that [Bon Accord] was going through the motions” and that “there was little evidence of meaningful interaction (on the part of the leadership) with the congregation on matters of vision and strategy”; and partly because the congregation has recently completed an expensive refurbishment of its building. Among the “objectives” of the congregation, the strategy document lists preaching and teaching, proclaiming the good news of the gospel, and being a prophetic voice in society.
For corporate worship, the primary purpose is “to gather believers for the worship of God allowing us to praise, pray, and be instructed, equipped, and enthused for service,” with an important secondary purpose being “to provide opportunity for unbelievers to participate in our worship services and so hear the gospel message and witness gospel life”.
The document identifies one needed change, which is “to make our worship services more accessible while maintaining our commitment to Biblical worship”. The people who may find the present corporate worship unduly inaccessible are “outsiders (visitors from other church traditions and those who make no Christian profession)”.
Let us consider then an “outsider” from a conservative Presbyterian “church tradition” (which until recently would have described the Free Church) who happens to enter Bon Accord on the Sabbath. He wears the ordinary formal dress of his day – a suit and tie – but he notices that hardly anyone else re- gards the occasion as formal enough for such clothing. His wife and daughters are in hats, in obedience to the timeless injunction of 1 Corinthians 11, but they are virtually the only women so dressed.
He hears musical instruments playing, which makes him uncomfortable when he remembers the opposition to such things in the Scottish Church from the Reformation onwards, the silence of the New Testament, and the ordination vows taken by most Free Church office-bearers. Though familiar with the 1650 Psalter (authorised by the General Assembly, which discharged the use of any other Psalter), he does not recognise the version of the few psalms that are sung, and he does not feel able to join in with the numerous hymns. Following the biblical practice, he stands for prayer (which is in the
unfamiliar “you” form, popularised in the later twentieth century) but finds that he alone is on his feet. The version of the Bible jars on him, as the work of someone with no ear for the English language, and betraying signs of a faulty textual base.
The visiting preacher refers, perhaps, to the Pope as “a Christian brother”,(a reference to one of Rev David Robertson’s Fleabytes) or speaks of the suffering of the Father in the death of His Son. At this point, it may be, our visitor, shocked by the false doctrine, the blasphemy, and the unfaithfulness to ordination vows, walks out; wondering to what extent he and some of these people are of the same religion. There was perhaps not one thing in the service that was unchanged from 30 years ago.
Many aspects of the “strategy document” are commendable – whatever the wisdom of producing such a document may be – but the Aberdeen Free Church Kirk Session should consider the offence that they are giving to conservative Christians, even of their own denomination, by their modernising and schismatic practices. The biblical strategy would be for them to put the helm hard over and return to “the old paths and the good way” (Jer 6:16).
This may have absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand, but am I wrong in believing there are not only longstanding rumors, but official charges of pedophile rings and satanic ritual abuse on this island? As is often the case, the particular case I read about was dismissed as a ‘hoax’, and yet the social workers involved with the alleged victims insist that there was physiological evidence of verifiable abuse, whatever the actual circumstances. The funny thing is, and I guess it is a common name, one of the accused was a ‘pagan’ named Ian Campbell. Again, strike the comment if it is out of line, but pedophile and satanic ritual abuse charges tend to get the same response that abuse charges in the church too often receive: ‘Ridiculous! Absurd! Crazy, hysterical accusations!’
Too few take the time to question why in the world young children would make up wild, unthinkable charges that are identical to charges made by other victims independently, as well as victims having verifiable signs of sexual abuse. These children, with physical scars from abuse, spoke of things that most adults would not be able to conjure up. One might also be interested to note that two of the people responsible for the move to literally dismiss satanic ritual abuse as mass ‘hysteria’ were Paul and Shirley Eberle. The Eberles ‘wrote the book’ one might literally say, on ‘The Politics of Child Abuse’. Their book attempts to blame the multiple child abuse accusations and prosecutions of the 1980’s on overzealous prosecutors, therapists and parents. The Eberles just so happen to be well known to Los Angeles police as distributors of child pornography, publishing a vile publication by the name of ‘Finger’.
I realize this may have nothing to do with the subject at hand, but then again, it is an interesting coincidence.
If Jesus is in the Take-down (to reality), He is certainly not in the Bounce Back, as if nothing ever happened:
“You could read their envisioned future comebacks between the lines of their public apologies. Like their heads were still attached [butchered chicken running wild though head’s chopped off]. Back then, I’d see a flailing apology and think, you don’t even know you’re dead.”
I doubt if many in Scotland understand the difference between Calvinism and Reformed/ New Calvinism and would so identify themselves and choose their affiliation on this basis. I don’t think the church split over these differences.
Mac Davis and not Right Said Fred?
Remember how over here a couple abusive pastor/dictators groomed the cops and authorities to make sure in case of “any unfortunate incident” they would be on the “cop” side of the Code of Blue?
at least I’m sort of out wrote:
Wee-Wee Frees to the Wee Free?
Or as a long-ago small-press comic on gamers put it:
“THE LAW OF PROPORTION: The more Perfect and Awesome the character is, the more out-of-shape loser the player is.”
Wow. Just wow.
I believe the women.
Flora Compton wrote:
Just for the record, I live in Scotland.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
From the wikipedia article: “… people of low ability have illusory superiority…” – which, IMHO, feeds Patriarchy. Insecure or ill-equipped to collaborate? Leverage the “authority” con. Evidence – the leaders: pint-sized or big luggs and a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
The gig is up but still running around like a chicken with its head chopped off.
In any case, the wheels have left the Temple and the Spirit of God is not in it. Fake.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
I remember! Still wondering what has happened to the ex-wife of Tony Jones.
Indeed, there has always been the Church within the church. Jesus came to redeem and work through individuals, not institutions. The institution we call church is OK if it is reaching lost folks for Christ, discipling them in the Word, equipping them to do the work of the ministry with their unique giftings, and then mobilizing the Body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission together. Anything less that that is doing church without God … we see a lot of that on planet earth these days.
Dee seeks: The distinct differences between the FCoS and the FCoS Continuing- then and now.
THEN – they were both one Church, the Free Church of Scotland, until the 2000 split believing that the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were the inspired word of God and the only rule to direct them as to how to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Their subordinate Standard was the Westminster Confession of Faith to which all Office Bearers formally and FULLY subscribed to.
At that time you could have gone into any congregation of the Free Church of Scotland knowing exactly what that congregation and Minister believed and how their worship was conducted at Sunday Services – generally speaking, their distinctive form of worship at that time would have been Freewill Offering (at door before service started), a Psalm from the Scottish Psalter, Minister leads congregation in Prayer, 2nd Psalm from the Scottish Psalter, Bible Reading(s) by the Minister, 3rd Psalm from the Scottish Psalter, SERMON by Minister based on the previous Bible Reading(s), Prayer again led by the Minister, followed by the 4th and final Psalm from the Scottish Psalter and concluding with the Benediction. Ministers and most of the congregation were formally dressed for the public worship of God at Sunday Services.
NOW: Free Church Continuing – similar to above. Free Church of Scotland Residual – a much different story. In the Western Isles and in a very few mainland congregations, little real change in the form of worship but in the majority of Free Church congregations on the mainland, there has been a big change following the Plenary Assembly of 2010 when musical accompaniment and non-inspired hymns were voted in by a small majority vote. A considerably large percentage of Kirk Sessions apparently voted for no-change and if the Free Church leaders had followed established procedures there is little doubt that while an ordinary Annual Assembly might have voted for change, that issue was obliged to be passed down to local Presbyteries for discussion and voting and it was generally acknowledged that the majority would most likely have voted for no change. Hence the reason for a Plenary Assembly of all Ministers and more chosen elders. Just to show the illogical nature of some of their decisions, I have discovered that all congregations must have at least 1 Psalm during public worship services and also at Church Courts it must only be Psalms.
Whatever your views on Psalms versus Hymns are, the reality in the Free Church Residual is that this Church which boasted full Biblical emphasis and adherence, did exchange part of the Bible (the Psalms) for human compositions. The result of course is that when you venture into a Free Church on a Sunday now, there can be anything from no change from the past to 3 Hymns and a Psalm, and one piano or a whole Band accompaniment.
With regard to the Westminster Confession of Faith, it is apparently still claimed as the subordinate standard but some Ministers now do not FULLY SUBSCRIBE to the whole of it.
Re the dress of Ministers and congregations in the Residual Free Church: Ministers in the Western Isles still formally attire but on the Mainland, those few men who have fully maintained their ordination vows also seem to be the ones who dress more formally for the Sunday Services. There seems to be a concerted move away from suit, collar and tie to open neck shirts and slack-0style trousers or even jeans. A rare sight seeing a 60+ year old FC Minister squeeze into jeans – I’m sure the targeted young folks are really impressed!!
Hope these findings have been a little help and I trust that I have accurately described what I have discovered and been told.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
Uh, I was the Mac Davis one. No one in the other reminded me of my ex or me…except the shaved head part. His, not mine! What little I saw. Too high octane for this single woman to watch. Trying to be all crazy and keep my private actions consistent with my public self.
The ecclesiastical and political shenanigans involved in the Donald Macleod case have been well documented and referred to upstream. The real focus should be, in my opinion, the maltreatment of the women involved in not only that case but also that of Rev Iain D Campbell. TWW is for the victims.
History will be the judge of the deliberate downgrade of the theology and practice in the Free Church and God Himself will be the judge of history.
There’s just no accountin’ for taste Daisy. Nor can gravitational attractiveness be encapsulated in just two or three superficial pejoratives. Pheromones play a much larger role (my opinion).
I know a Lutheran guy (handsome by any standards) who left his California-blonde-hottie-trophy-wife (no kids luckily) for a lady (14 years his senior) he met in choir.
Agreed, we’ve had 18 years of this bickering and never ending legal battles. Even the FCC & FC are getting fed up of talking about all the wrangelings of the split. Thankfully most of the property disputes were resolved in the last few years and folks are moving on.
What this blog could add is a focus on the victims (rather than procedures, ministers, elders, manses, broken locks and barrier acts)
I’m sure Dee and Deb would be more than happy to do that. It is pretty near impossible to do that, though, without victims coming forward to tell their story. And most everyone understands that coming forward, or not, is a very personal and individual decision. There is no condemnation or blame for deciding not to tell your story publicly.
Crown Office Statement Regarding Perjury and Conspiracy
Following Sheriff Horsburgh’s judgement, one would surely have expected that charges of perjury and conspiracy would soon follow. This did not happen.
A full and detailed report on the entire court proceedings was submitted to the Crown Office. The trial ended on 26th June 1996. In response to a written demand by Brian Wilson MP the Lord Advocate called for such a report, and on 7th July the Daily Mail announced, “A spokesman for the Lord Advocate’s office said the fiscal who prosecuted Professor Macleod had submitted a report to Lord Mackay.” Thus, it did not take the Crown Office long to conclude that there were no grounds for instituting proceedings for perjury and conspiracy in connection with the trial of Donald Macleod. The Crown Office issued the following statement:
“…Crown Counsel have concluded that no further investigations are warranted and that criminal proceedings against the witnesses would not be justified. The Report was requested by the Lord Advocate to establish whether there were grounds for instituting proceedings for perjury against any of the witnesses who gave evidence at the trial or for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice…”
The Crown Office dated 7 August 1996
In a letter to Rev. John Macleod Portmahomack the Law Officers’ Secretariat confirmed that the decision of the Crown Counsel to take no further proceedings applied not only to the alleged perjury but also to the suggestion that there may have been a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Despite the statement by the Crown Office the allegations of perjury continued to be made. The very next day the headline for the ‘Comment’ column of the Press and Journal read, ‘No action against liars’.
When Professor Macleod had been acquitted, the Finance Law and Advisory Committee recorded their thanks to Almighty God. One would have surely expected a similar response when the Crown Office published its statement in which it found no grounds for perjury and conspiracy on the part of members and office bearers of the Free Church of Scotland. However, there was no such expression of gratitude forthcoming on this occasion. Instead, when Rev. Iain D. Campbell, the then Editor of ‘The Monthly Record’ was specifically asked to publish the Crown Office statement in the magazine, he informed the late Rev. R. Mackenzie, Glenelg that he would consider the matter, Mr Campbell never did publish the statement.
As I reflect on these blogs made available on TWW over recent weeks I have been reflecting on the Providence of God. His hand has been in it all.
Around the time these blogs began I found myself sitting in a Church in Scotland when to my surprise a lovely lively Christian woman sat herself down next to me and my wife and we began to catch up. She was one of those who had gone to the FCoS and then to the Police about 25 years or so complaining of the behaviour of Prof McLeod. I had seen little of her since those days.
Clearly the Lord has blessed this woman and we rejoice at His faithfulness and goodness.
The women in the Civil Court had been abandoned by those in the FCoS who exalted and idolised a mere man who had to be protected at any cost. They stooped to nothing to shoot the messengers seeking to glorify God. They clinically assassinated and “ethnically cleansed” men and women of God out of the Free Church of Scotland
ID Campbell was one of a cartel of such marksmen. Fortunately he was removed by God in circumstances that revealed his desperate condition before God. Surviving members of this cartel have seemingly been prevented in providence from interfering in these recent blogs on TWW. Their “electronic quills” have been clearly curtailed. We thank God that much has come to light over these weeks without these men using their electronic machine guns blasting the messengers and those providing these posting boards
It is my prayer that we see such men repent publicly for sin and wickedness carried out in the name of Christ. It is a fearful reality that one day soon they (and me) will be judged by Christ for all that they did in his holy name
Daisy, some who practice the BGR (required by some employers in our area) really don’t believe all single women are after the men, married or not. Or that the men can’t keep their hands off women generally. And it has now morphed to eliminate non viewable one on one time with another person, gender disregarded.
Rather, it simply protects against FALSE accusations for both parties.
Had Hybels practiced it he would not have crossed boundaries he had no business crossing. (I believe him guilty.) But if hypothetically he was falsely charged, there would be no history of inviting women to his room to rub their feet. (Ick!)
Personally, most guys I know have treated me with respect and most women have treated my husband with respect. Only once was there one, widow of dh’s friend, who wanted alone time with dh to talk about the stuff she “really needed a guy’s opinion on” and did not want me to accompany them to dinner, or to go with dh when she asked him to come over, etc. He refused to meet her alone and referred her questions to her own brother and father, also dear friends of ours. Only a couple of months after her husband died she remarried, and the talk of the town was that it was a “stolen husband.”
Family who work currently in the medical field and in the education field are being trained by their employers to have other people in the room with them, not be alone with patients or children. It is a truly sad commentary on our times, but with both real abusers out there and those that make a living suing those that don’t misbehave, it is a reasonable and often necessary precaution.
I am one of the persons named as a conspirator in Court during Donald Macleod’s trial. I knew of the statement that there were no grounds to prosecute for perjury or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, but this is the first that I have heard of the correspondence referred to by Malcolm.
1. Were the Women put in possession of the correspondence referred to by Malcolm?
2. If not why not?
3. Why wasn’t I told about this correspondence, nor put in possession of it? – The FCC know who I am, and could easily have put it in my possession.
4. Has the FCC ever published this correspondence? If not why not – IDC was asked to publish it in the FC magazine but did not, surely the FCC would have made it a priority to publish it once it came into being because the correspondence would have a material effect on the outlook of at least some of the complainants.
After reading all on this blog wherein there is clearly overwhelming evidence of wanton sinfulness and wickedness in the Courts of the FCoS and in the PCEA. There is no doubt that the FCoS have failed to glorify Christ in dealing with these matters. There is little of Christ in their actions and words.
In simple form I summarise these events over the last 20/30 years:
1)Allegations of Adultery with a woman in Sydney were never investigated because the PCEA (a sister Church in Australia) was clearly persuaded not to question the woman so implicated for and on behalf of the FCoS. They also destroyed any records pertaining to such matters within the PCEA.
2)In Scotland in the Civil Courts the Sheriff (Judge) concluded that the women accusers and others had committed perjury and conspired to destroy the Professor
3)Some weeks after the Trial the Crown Office (after investigation) declared that there would be no charges of perjury against witnesses and that neither was there any conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
4)Some three years later the FCoS declared that “if any office-bearer or member of the Free Church was to say that the 1995 Assembly (terminating investigations of Prof McLeod) was unsafe then they were to be disciplined.”
It seems to me that the question needs to be asked- Are there those in the FCoS who profess to love Christ and who recognise that repentance is needed?
I wonder if there is any sense of repentance of this sin and wickedness from within the FCoS, and if so, how do such men proceed to put matters right before God? It seems any raising these matters or concerns in the Courts of the Church will be disciplined and dealt with. I remind such men that nothing is impossible through prayer
Is there ANYONE in the FCoS today bold enough and faithful enough to face such discipline and possible shame because he wishes and moves to see, repentance and Christ glorified within this section of the Body of Christ? We await with interest as to whether there is any such desire
My prayer is that God will so find and use such men
In a letter to the Stornoway Gazette 21/10/96 Rev Angus Smith wrote:
‘On 9 August 1996 the Law Officers’ Secretariat issued the following: “You will see from this that Crown Counsel’s decision to take no further proceedings applies not only to the alleged perjury ( by the women witnesses) but also to the suggestion that there may have been a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice”.That seems pretty comprehensive.’
The Dorcas Fund:
The Dorcas Fund was set up in February 1996 to pay Complainant C’s travel expenses from Australia and her subsistence in the U K.. In Sheriff Horsburgh’s view the Dorcas Fund amounted to an ‘interference with the course of justice’.
In his ‘Review’ David Robertson wrote: “…(e) The Dorcas fund – A great deal is made of the Sheriff’s criticism of the Dorcas fund. Murray and Murchison contrast the Dorcas Fund with the fund that was set up for Prof. Macleod’s defence team. But they conveniently forget to mention one very important fact – in Scotland the state is responsible for funding the prosecution. The defendant has to fund his own defence. This meant that if the Prosecution deemed it necessary to have a witness fly from Australia they have the resources to pay for that. For the campaigners against Donald Macleod to set up a fund was an interference with the course of justice and could very easily be misconstrued as an attempt at bribery. For Donald Macleod to have a fund for his own defence was simply a matter of justice.”
Mr. Robertson has failed to tell us how this could be misconstrued as an attempt at bribery. Complainant C did not need to be bribed to testify in Court against Donald Macleod. Her complaint had been sent to Lothian and Borders Police in November 1994. Donald Macleod appeared in court in 1996. Complainant C could have withdrawn her allegations at any time during this period. She did not do so. She was cited by the Crown to appear as a witness against Donald Macleod, and it should also be noted that the Crown subsequently reimbursed the Dorcas Fund in full.
In an emailRoland Ward wrote, “As I understand the prosecution did not intend to call her [Complainant C], and it is for the Prosecution to determine witnesses.” However Complainant C had obtained her court citation at the same time as the other women involved.
In his summing up Sheriff Horsburgh stated that Complainant C was cagey about the fare and the Dorcas Fund.W J C S p. 8 74
However ,Complainant C stated in court that she was told that the Crown Office would not pay her expenses. By the time she was told by Detective Sergeant Robb that they would probably pay, friends had already been paying for her ticket. Detective Sergeant Robb corroborated this in court but in his summing up Sheriff Horsburgh appeared to have either forgotten or ignored this.
Andrew Hardie was determined to ‘prove’ the conspiracy theory. To this end, he sought to link ‘conspirator-in-chief’, Rev John J. Murray, to the setting up of the Dorcas Fund; he said that it ‘beggared belief’ that John Murray was not behind the Dorcas Fund. However, after questioning Mr.John Heenan over two days, all that Andrew Hardie could establish in court was that John Murray had supplied about a third of the names of those who contributed to the Dorcas Fund to John Heenan. The setting up of the Dorcas Fund was solely the work of Mr. Heenan.
Mr. John Heenan told the court that after Complainant C had been cited to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court as a witness at the trial, he acted alone in setting up the Dorcas fund in February 1996 after a member of the fiscal’s office told him the Crown would not pay for her to travel from Tasmania. At no time did Mr. Heenan make any attempt to conceal his setting up of the Fund from either the legal authorities or from the general public. On the contrary, on the 14th December 1995 the Stornoway Gazette published a letter from Mr. Heenan which contained the following: “I can understand that there are the Lord’s people on Lewis that would wish to help Professor Macleod’s expenses…Perhaps caring Christians on Lewis would wish to show their evenhandedness in this matter. Would they help to defray the women’s costs of travel, or loss of wages during the trial? If there are those who would wish to do so, I would be interested to hear from them.”
In another letter to the Stornoway Gazette dated 1st August 1996 Mr. John Heenan wrote: “I was not named a conspirator by the Sheriff. Yet, if I had not been called to the witness box I have no doubt that I would have been condemned as such by the Sheriff for my role in setting up the Dorcas Fund. Throughout the trial much had been made by the Defence about the Fund and its central part in an alleged conspiracy against Professor Macleod. I was in the witness box for some 3½ hours and the only time the Senior Defence Counsel was lost for words was when I told him that I had ascertained (before setting up the Fund) that the Procurator’s Office had told me ‘that it was highly unlikely that they would pay for a witness to come from Tasmania, and that ‘any application made would have to go to the highest level’ but ‘would probably not succeed’.”
The comment by Sheriff Horsburgh that the setting up of the Dorcas Fund amounted to an ‘interference with the course of justice’ surely poses as many problems for the criminal justice system as it does for the contributors to the Dorcas Fund. Not only were the Police aware of the existence of this fund, so was the Crown Office. Yet neither considered it at the time a potential act of criminality. Indeed, the Crown Office after the trial repaid to the Dorcas Fund Complainant C’s expenses in full. Would this not leave the Crown Office open to the allegation of being an accessory to this very serious crime?
It should be noted that the money refunded by the Crown to the Dorcas Fund was eventually given to Concern For Justice, an organisation formed in 1996 to seek to clear the names and reputations of those named by the Sheriff and subsequently broadcast by the media but who were not even present in court and were unable to defend their names and reputations from the slur cast upon them.
The above posting quoting David Robertson’s comments re Dorcas Fund is typical of his machine gun approach to blogging. The truth of the matter does not come near his machine gun quill. Mr Heenan told the open Court about the reasons for the Dorcas Fund.
Christ never lies. Where is the scriptural warrant for David Robertson’s lies?
I would emphasise my earlier blog thanking God that such men as he have had their quills quietened allowing a comprehensive amount of material to read without the distraction of a marksman shooting the messengers
In his review of ‘When Justice Failed in Church and State’ Rev. David Robertson wrote:
‘I also find it unbelievable that they [ Dr. Murdoch Murchison and Rev. Iain Murray] attach so much importance to this case [ the 1996 Sheriff Court case involving Donald Macleod ]. Was it really that important?
In a letter to David Robertson dated 19/6/01 Mrs. Agnes Mackenzie wrote;
` If the fact that young women were complaining to the church about the behaviour of one of their ministers was not considered important enough to merit a full investigation, and if the fact that the prosecuting authorities saw fit to take action on the matter is not considered ,to be important, one has to wonder about and question the attitude of the church to the women of the church. Was it really that important ? Of course it was important, and the tragedy of this is that so many men in the Free Church failed to see the importance of it. How many of the Assembly Commissioners , having a daughter who complained of about being sexually
assaulted, would say to her ` It`s not important. Just forget it “?
Of course it was important that any women assaulted by any Minister in any Church should be dealt with in a process which is honouring to Christ. Where evidence is considered, complainers interviewed, evidence sifted, the party accused interviewed all in a spirit that Christ should be exalted.
Mrs Agnes McKenzie poses the question “how many of the Assembly Commissioners, having a daughter complaining of being sexually assaulted would say let’s just forget such a thing.”
It reminds me of an Elder of the Free Church of Scotland arguing regularly in the Stornoway Gazette that Professor McLeod had suffered much. He clearly did not know that his daughter had shared the substance of an alleged attack on her by Prof McLeod with a Minister of the FCoS. As far as I know she never made formal complaints to the Church, but at some later time her father suddenly stopped writing to the Stornoway Gazette on this matter. I assume someone had told him of his daughters allegations.
It is troubling that Rev D Robertson can not see why the Sheriff Court trial was so important. But then the idol Professor was clearly being worshipped and protected by men such as David Robertson
2018 General Assembly Reports of the Free Church of Scotland
REPORT OF THE BOARD OF MINISTRY
In recent years the Free Church has lost the service of a number of candidates, probationers or serving ministers. The Board has withdrawn recognition from candidates in certain circumstances. There have been various reasons for this attrition including the unsubtle attacks of Satan on useful and gifted personnel. It is concerning that several ministries have failed or come under a cloud due to moral failures, accusations of improper conduct, unwise decisions or family and relationship problems. Some Presbyteries have been faced with several resignations, others with matters involving disciplinary processes. P. 87
However the Free Church has still not engaged with the Wartburg Watch site.
A number of good ones have come to America to get away from the stuff going on in Scotland. Can you blame them?
It is so encouraging to hear that the sort of problems described on this blog relating to the state of a corner of the body of Christ here in Scotland are unknown to those blessed to worship in another corner of that same body in America
The ones who come here do nor typically stay in the same Scottish denomination in the US.
Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy (Original Mix – 2006 Version)
The Free Church Assembly met last week. No reference was made to the Wartburg Watch website.
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Free Church either a) doesn’t regard what has been posted on the site as important, or b) are unable to rebut what has been stated on the site
ASSEMBLY CLERKS’ OFFICE
Scottish Charity Number: SC012925
Principal Clerk Assistant Clerk Free Church Offices
Rev. Malcolm Macleod Rev. David D. Miller Free Church of Scotland
Free Church Manse Free Church Manse 15 North Bank Street
North Shawbost 6 Balgown, Struan The Mound
Isle of Lewis Isle of Skye Edinburgh
HS2 9BD IV56 8FA EH1 2LS
Tel: 01851710216 Tel: 01470 572337 Tel: 0131022605286
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
31st May 2018
To all Ministers, Presbytery Clerks & Kirk Session Clerks
2018 General Assembly – Rev. Christopher MacRae
It is with a deep sense of sadness and regret that I write to you at the instruction of the 2018 General Assembly regardingRev. Christopher MacRae, former minister of Kilmallie and Ardnamurchan.The General Assembly took up consideration of a letter from the Presbytery of Inverness, Lochaber and Ross regardinga process of discipline undertaken by them against Mr MacRae. The Assembly concluded its deliberations by suspendingMr MacRae from the duties of the office of the ministry and from all sealing ordinances, sine die.
Please find the relevant extract of the proceedings of the 2018 General Assembly in Appendix One below.
Rev Malcolm Macleod
Extract of General Assembly Proceedings
At Edinburgh on 22nd May 2018 at 6.30pm, and within Free Assembly Hall, the
General Assembly convened again and was constituted with devotional exercises.
4.1 Letter from Presbytery of Inverness, Lochaber & Ross – Rev. Christopher MacRae
ASSEMBLY CLERKS’ OFFICE
Scottish Charity Number: SC012925
The General Assembly took up consideration of a letter received from the Presbytery of Inverness Lochaber & Rossrequesting that Rev. Christopher MacRae be removed from the Roll of Resigned Ministers for disciplinary reasons.
The General Assembly receive the correspondence of the Presbytery of Inverness, Lochaber and Ross regarding the caseof Rev. Christopher MacRae. They record with regret Mr MacRae’s misconduct in his wilful separation from his wife,an action that is censurable by the Word of God and, by its public nature, detrimental and injurious to the good name and
honour of Jesus Christ. They note that Mr MacRae’s confession to his separation from his wife was given without anyrecognition of fault on his part, or any statement of repentance or remorse. They further note his stated and determinedcontumacious attitude with regard to any citation to appear before any Court of the Church to answer the charge of
The General Assembly endorse the disciplinary process followed by the Presbytery in response to the fama and the confession communicated to the Presbytery by Mr MacRae.
They note the terms of Act 1, Class 1, 2010, Paragraph 3.14 that ‘if an accused Minister, when duly cited, does not appear,and either leaves the locality, or shows himself otherwise contumacious, without any relevant excuse, his non-appearance shall be deemed to be a confession of guilt, and the judicatory which cited him shall either suspend him sine die (“withoutassigning a day for a further meeting or hearing”) from the duties of office and from sealing ordinances, or else recommend that the General Assembly depose him from office, as suits the gravity of the case. The General Assembly alone shall have authority to depose a Minister in his absence.’
The General Assembly, giving due consideration to the gravity of the case, suspend Rev. Christopher MacRae sine die from the duties of office and from sealing ordinances. They instruct that his name be removed from the Roll of Resigned Ministers. They instruct the Assembly Clerk to inform Mr MacRae, the Presbytery of Inverness, Lochaber and Ross, and
Niddrie Community Church, of the General Assembly finding. They commend Mr MacRae to the grace of God and to the prayers of the Church. They instruct Rev. Derek Lamont to communicate the Assembly’s finding to Mrs Anna MacRae assuring her and her family of the prayerful and pastoral concern of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly instruct the Moderator and the Assembly Clerks to consult with the Media Office as to how to communicate the news of the Assembly’s finding to the wider Church.
Extracted from the proceedings of the 2018 General Assembly on Thursday 31st May 2018 by the Principal Clerk of
Rev Malcolm Macleod