The appointment of openly gay ministers would rip the Church of Scotland apart, its next moderator has warned.
Reverend David W Lacy will become moderator next year
The Reverend David W Lacy of Kilmarnock Henderson Parish Church told the Sunday Times newspaper that the Kirk was evenly divided on the issue.
"I find myself truly representative of the church," said the 52-year-old moderator designate.
"Sometimes I believe we should not appoint gay ministers and at other times I really believe we should."
Rev Lacy, 52, said he knew some gay people who would make fantastic ministers.
Shift in stance
"But the other side of me says we have severe problems because the Bible in many places is overtly against this," he said.
"There is something in the back of me saying if God at one time said no to homosexuals then the church at the moment, despite much prayerfulness, cannot be
definitive about what He thinks now."
His comments mark a shift from the stance of the current the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Dr Alison Elliot.
She has supported the ordination of openly gay ministers so long as they are not sexually active.
Her predecessor, Professor Ian Torrance, said last year that he would be "utterly untroubled" by the election of gay ministers as long as they were "disciplined and effective".