Christians are wrong to take the biblical line on homosexuality, according to the Church of Scotland’s Life and Work magazine.
The magazine’s editor, Muriel Armstrong, attacked evangelicals in the Church for being “selective literalists” on the issue of homosexuality.
The editor, who is soon to retire, added that “not everything Biblical is Christ-like”.
She wrote: “Those who swear by the anti-homosexual laws in the Book of Leviticus wouldn’t publicly advocate slavery or stoning women taken in adultery. They presumably no longer accept Biblical teaching on sexual matters such as polygamy and sex with slaves.
“And yet there are many who continue to be bound by a few Biblical verses — none of them in the Gospels — about homosexuality, nowadays understood as a matter of genetics rather than lifestyle.”
The editorial has sparked talk of a rift within the Church of Scotland, which recently appointed the openly gay Revd Scott Rennie to a church in Aberdeen.
A number of evangelicals in Aberdeen challenged the appointment of Revd Rennie, a divorced father-of-one who lives with his male partner.
With senior Church figures due to debate the issue next month, the magazine has been accused of interfering in the “due process” of Church administration.
The Church of Scotland has insisted that Life and Work is editorially independent, and “not the voice of the Church of Scotland, which is not trying to steer debate on this important issue”.
The Revd Ian Watson, of the Forward Together group, said the editorial had “mocked the evangelical position”.
“We respect the whole of scripture, there are Old Testament and New Testament texts which are hostile to homosexual practice,” he said.
Revd Watson continued: “I am confident that if Presbyterians are allowed to debate the issue they will endorse the traditional Christian values of sexual faithfulness within marriage and abstinence outside marriage.
“I believe homosexual practice is a sin and will keep you out of heaven, just as adultery is a sin. For me it is a Gospel issue. It’s like playing football and picking up the ball and running. It’s not the same game. That’s how I see it and that’s how the vast majority of Christians see it.”