It doesn’t surprise me to see a sign like this outside the welcoming red door of a church in Edinburgh. Church attendance in Scotland is dwindling. It has been for a while. In fact there was a very interesting article in The Herald on the repurposing of hundreds of churches in Scotland because they are no longer viable churches. I wonder how John Knox would pray about the faith of his beloved Scotland today. (Mary Queen of Scots is reputed to have said: “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”)
As in so many European countries there does seem to be at least a remnant of former reformation faith. I know of one church in Glasgow (where my daughter attends) that is faithful to the gospel. A former student in our youth ministry is also a minister in Scotland – I have no doubts that he is affirming and preaching the truth (currently in Pitlochry Church, but soon to be pastor of Methlick Parish Church). New models of church, like Re: Hope, are trying to break evangelical ground as well.
As I reflect on the state of affairs in Scotland, I wonder about the state of the church here in the U.S.A. Could we come to the same place 20 years from now? I’m not a prophet so I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that the true Saints of Scotland would be surprised by the lack of faith today so I have to believe that it could happen here too. What I can do is pray that the church where I serve today would remain faithful to Jesus and the Word of God well after I am gone. I can also seek to do what I can do to encourage the young leaders to “guard the good deposit entrusted” to them (2 Timothy 1:14).