The Free Presbyterian Outer Isles Presbytery is urging parents not to send their children to evening sessions organised by the Challenger Bus which visits the islands every year bringing the Christian message to local children through an interactive exhibition.
The Presbytery’s statement condemns what they call ‘false evangelism’ and also highlights their strong concerns about issues within local Presbyterian churches.
A statement by Rev Allan MacColl and Rev David Campbell is to be read to all Free Presbyterian congregations in the Western Isles in the coming weeks highlighting the concerns about the Challenger Bus and stating the teachings are ‘highly dangerous to the souls of the young’ due to some of teaching resources used.
This follows a report on the subject to their Presbytery meeting on March 5th.
The Free Presbyterian Presbytery also express ‘grief over the lack of spiritual revival in the congregations’ and states their concern over ‘the increasingly lax manner in which the communicant membership is extended in Presbyterian churches within these islands’.
They state ‘the use of public transport on the Sabbath Day by professing Christians ought to be a matter for Church discipline, as should their participation in the activities of dance-halls and public houses and attending professional sporting events’.
The pastoral statement to Free Presbyterians concludes ‘the Presbytery, painfully conscious of the lowness of vital religion within our own congregations, seeks in the spirit of brotherly charity and humility to exhort all sincere believers in Jesus Christ throughout these islands to steadfast adherence to the Gospel of His grace and to the old paths of Biblical holiness in heart and life.’
Responding to the issues raised by the Free Presbyterian Outer Isles Presbytery, a spokesperson for the Free Church of Scotland said it was an ‘astonishing and deeply unhelpful report’ and called for greater unity not more divisions between local churches.
“It is to our shame that there are so many Presbyterian denominations on this island, and we long to see greater unity rather than deepening divisions. Many of our congregations have previously hosted the Challenger Bus and their excellent team. The Bus offers many engaging activities and has been enjoyed by hundreds of youngsters across the island.
“Whilst we might sometimes differ on minor issues, we are happy to put these to one side and have every confidence that those who operate the bus have a burden to share the gospel of Jesus with our young people. We are delighted to have them working with us and look forward to the team returning soon.”
Pictured is Tolsta Free Presbyterian Church.