Anti-gay Scottish minister Rev Ian Watson has compared the supporters of an openly gay minister to the Nazis.

In a sermon on Sunday, he compared the failure of the French Army to stand up to the Nazi annexation of the Rhineland in 1938 to the current battle in the Scottish Church between supporters and opponents of Rev Scott Rennie.

Rev Rennie was chosen by his congregation to serve at Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen but 12 members of the Presbytery complained over his lifestyle. He lives openly with his partner, known only as David.

“[Hitler] guessed correctly that the French had no stomach for a fight. If only they had, then the tragedy of a Second World War might have been avoided,” Mr Watson said in the sermon he delivered at Kirkmuirhill Church in Lanark.

“To claim that the homosexual lifestyle is worthy of a child of God; to demand that a same-sex partnership be recognised as on a footing with marriage; to commend such a lifestyle to others is to deny that Jesus Christ is our only Sovereign and Lord. It is to turn the grace of God into a licence for immorality,” he said.

“Such people will not inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor.6:10). And therefore they must be resisted . . . Let me assure you, neither I nor like-minded minsters enjoy conflict . . . But have we learned nothing from history?

“Remember Hitler and the retaking of the Rhineland. He got away with it. No one stopped him. So next it was Austria, then Czechoslovakia, and then Poland and only then world war.”

Speaking last night, Mr Watson said: “There is no doubt that there is a conflict. I was trying to explain why I am engaged in this. People say to me, ‘This is not a hill to die on’, but I think it is a fight worth fighting.

“Evangelicals seek to defend the historic and orthodox Christian faith. If we don’t what are we? I am a man of convictions.”

The Church’s General Assembly will debate Rev Rennie’s appointment on May 23rd.

The dispute over his ordination is threatening to create a schism in the Church of Scotland and has been compared to the case of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the US.

Robinson gained international recognition after New Hampshire Episcopalians made him their bishop and, as a result, the worldwide church’s first openly gay bishop.