What We Believe
Torrance Parish Church of Scotland is a Bible based, prayer founded gathering of the Lord’s people in the village of Torrance.
It is our mission to make Him not just known about, but known altogether through a personal and living relationship with Jesus Christ as revealed by God’s Holy Spirit.
To that end we unite regularly in worship to learn of Him and to share what great things the Lord has done for us, both as an encouragement to each other and as evidence that the Living God is at work amongst us today.
We also maintain prayer support for many missionaries who have gone all over the earth to tell about the love of God so that many may come to a living relationship with Him.
Our tenets of belief comply with those of the Evangelical Alliance, in summary:-
- The sovereignty and grace of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in creation, providence, revelation, redemption and final judgement.
- The divine inspiration of the Holy Scripture and its consequent entire trustworthiness and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
- The universal sinfulness and guilt of fallen man, making him subject to God’s wrath and condemnation.
- The substitutionary sacrifice of the incarnate Son of God as the sole and all-sufficient ground of redemption from the guilt and power of sin, and from its eternal consequences.
- The justification of the sinner solely by the grace of God through faith in Christ crucified and risen from the dead.
- The illuminating, regenerating and sanctifying work of God the Holy Spirit.
- The priesthood of all believers, who form the universal Church, the Body of which Christ is the Head and which is committed by His command to the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the world.
- The expectation of the personal, visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory.
Information from Kirk Session June 2015
Following the recent General Assembly, the Kirk Session has met to consider what was decided. We felt it important to inform the congregation of what was decided at the General Assembly, and of Session’s response.
The Kirk Session has agreed to the following
1) To note the position of the General Assembly r/e civil partnerships
(A factual summary of the debates/decisions surrounding ministers and deacons in civil partnerships is set out below)
2) To write a letter expressing our non compliance (see below)
3) To sign the Covenant Fellowship Declaration (see declaration below)
While the Kirk Session deplores the action of the General Assembly in this regard, we reaffirm that the church in Torrance welcomes and seeks to serve in Jesus’ name all who would come to Him in repentance and faith, regardless of background, sexual orientation, or status. We recognise God’s love for all, and all of our need for His forgiveness and His grace.
If you have any questions, please speak to Nigel or any of the elders.
General Assembly 2015 – Civil Partnerships Debates
Given the complexity of this issue and the challenge of gleaning accurate information from the media coverage, here are the facts of what was decided at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Ministers and Deacons in Civil Partnerships
On Saturday 16th May, the General Assembly voted in favour of permitting people in Civil Partnerships to serve as ministers and deacons within the Church of Scotland, by 309 votes to 182. This decision follows the decision of the General Assembly of 2014, which was approved by a majority of Presbyteries (31 for, 14 against) under the terms of the Barrier Act.
The Church has adopted a position which maintains a traditional view of marriage between a man and a woman, but allows individual Kirk Sessions to decide if they wish to ‘opt out’ of that traditional position and to call a minister or a deacon who is in a same sex civil partnership.
Same sex Marriage
The wider issue of what Same Sex Marriage means in the church was also mentioned in the reports on Saturday. However, there were no moves to allow Ministers and Deacons to solemnise Marriages of Same Sex couples. Further exploration of this particular issue will be reported on in two or three years’ time.
Ministers and Deacons in Same sex Marriage
On Thursday 21st May, the General Assembly debated whether to extend the provision covering minister and deacons in civil partnerships to those who are in a same sex marriage.
After a long debate, Commissioners voted by 213 votes to 205 against deferring a decision on this until the Church’s Theological Forum had presented a report on the subject of same sex marriage.
However, Commissioners then voted, by 215 votes to 195, to defer the final decision until Presbyteries have been consulted under the terms of the Barrier Act. Presbyteries will now debate this question and return their votes by the end of this year.
Special provisions were agreed which protect any minister or deacon ordained before 31st May 2009 who is now in a same sex marriage, as is the case for at least one serving Church of Scotland minister.
As a result of the decisions taken at this year’s General Assembly, the Church of Scotland continues to affirm that it stands by its historic and current doctrine and practice in relation to marriage and human sexuality; while at the same time permitting individual congregations, by decision of the Kirk Session, to depart from this position and therefore be able to call a minister or deacon in a Civil Partnership.
This permission does not extend to ministers and deacons who have entered into a same sex marriage (other than the special provisions mentioned above), until Presbyteries have voted prior to the end of this year and the 2016 General Assembly has given final approval.
Covenant Fellowship Declaration
I believe that the Church of Scotland is moving away from its roots in Scripture and the Westminster Confession of Faith. I believe that the time has come for the creation of a ‘Covenant Fellowship’ within the Church. This Covenant Fellowship will draw together those who believe that the Scriptures, in their entirety, are the Word of God and must provide the basis for everything we believe and do. This vision is nothing less than the reformation and renewal of the Church of Scotland, in accordance with the Word of God and by the empowering of his life-giving Spirit.
(For more information, see www.covenantfellowshipscotland.com )
Very Rev John Chalmers
121 George St.
Edinburgh 8th June 2015
Dear Principal Clerk,
We are writing this letter in response to the decisions of the General Assembly in Edinburgh at the end of May.
We are glad of the reaffirmation of the church’s position on its historic and current doctrine and practice in relation to marriage and human sexuality. However, we greatly regret that at the same time, permission is given to individual congregations, by decision of the Kirk Session, to depart from this position, and therefore be able to call a minister or deacon in a Civil Partnership.
We believe that this contradiction in the church’s position and both confuses our members, and more importantly, it rejects the Word of God.
Whereas we remain committed to our call within the Church of Scotland, we regret that we will be unable to recognise and submit to this decision of the General Assembly.
We are sad to see the church in the west drift to the margins of society. Our concessions to it in the area of sexuality are a symptom of this drift.
The world around us takes less and less notice of the church. It is written “If the trumpet does not sound a clear call who will get ready for battle?” (1 Cor 14:8)
(Session Clerk on behalf of Torrance Parish Church Kirk Session) cc Glasgow Presbytery Clerk