The Church of Scotland has voted to allow practising homosexual men and women to become ministers.
The Kirk’s ruling assembly voted on Monday in favour of a proposal to allow liberal congregations to opt out of the church’s traditionalist stance on homosexuality.
It followed a report by the church’s theological commission which set out traditional and liberal arguments.
The move has been criticised by Revd David Randall, who warned that it could cost the Church of Scotland members and money.
He said the issue of gay clergy, “has been forced upon us by the revisionists who want us to turn our backs on what common sense tells us”.
He added that if the church tried to “sit on the fence then we will lose members, ministers, congregations and money. Are we to stand by Scripture or are we to go with the flow of social trends?”
A spokesman for the Free Church of Scotland said: “We don’t understand what’s going on in the Church of Scotland, and suspect the vast majority of the Scottish public don’t have a Scooby either.”
“We believe that Scotland needs the guidance of the national church rooted in the teachings of the Bible, irrespective of public opinion and pressure to conform.”
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Revd Lorna Hood said they are conscious that some will be hurt by the decision.
She said: “This was a major breakthrough for the Church but we are conscious that some people remain pained, anxious, worried and hurt. We continue to pray for the peace and unity of the Church.”
The theological commission was set up two years ago to look into the ordination of homosexual ministers, and the General Assembly voted in response to its report.
The issue of appointing openly gay ministers arose in 2009 when Scott Rennie was appointed to Queen’s Cross parish in Aberdeen.
Two congregations, St George’s Tron in Glasgow and Gilcomston South in Aberdeen have already left the Kirk over its decision to ordain Mr Rennie.