A Wisconsin man is slated (on October 8th) to become the first openly gay candidate for minister to be ordained since the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) modified its constitution in May to allow such ordinations.
FROM THE PRESBYTERIAN NEWS SERVICE, LOUISVILLE:
As reported yesterday, the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (INPM) has voted to end its 139-year-old relationship with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) because of the PC(USA)’s ordination standards, which were amended this year to allow the ordination of sexually active gays and lesbians.
Some of the best theological analysis of what’s happening in the world and the Presbyterian Church (USA) is found in the publication “Theology Matters.” Not always easy reading, but always enlightening, I highly recommend it to all members of our church.
The most recent issue opens with this letter from the editors:
|“The Book of Order was officially changed on July 10 to eliminate the sexual standard of “fidelity and chastity” for church officers. We, the Board of Directors of Presbyterians for Faith, Family and Ministry, are deeply grieved by this action of the presbyteries. This act is a rejection of the clear meaning and authority of Scripture. It contradicts the confessions and repudiates 4000 years of sacred history. It severs us from most of the worldwide communion of Christian churches. Theology does matter!
“Some of the voting commissioners that supported the change claimed it would bring peace to our denomination. We believe there will be greater divisiveness. We expect that what is permissible will soon become mandatory in order to foster “full equality.” We expect the 2012 General Assembly to attempt to change the Book of Order on marriage from “a man and a woman” to “2 persons.”…
“All of these structural or polity concerns are serious. They are, however the result of a graver issue: the theological collapse of the PC(USA). This vote is another sign of a growing counterfeit Christian doctrine…”
Read more at www.theologymatters.com
This week, the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (essentially the Supreme Court of the Presbyterian Church USA) approved the ordination of Scott Anderson, a man living in a long-term homosexual relationship that he described as “in every respect” exactly like a marriage except for procreation. The court also referred the case of Lisa Larges, an openly practicing lesbian, back to lower courts for further review. Read the whole story in the Presbyterian Outllook.
This article, by John McWilliams, explores in graphic detail whether the claim that same-sex sexual relationships can actually be a blessing from God. WARNING: Much of the information contained in this article is highly inappropriate for children and should not fall into their hands. This article is intended to be read only by adults.
This article, written before the PC(USA) removed the requirement that those seeking ordination must live in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness, gives a great (and detailed) account of why this is such an important issue.
If you’re looking for a scholarly theological discussion on the nature of homosexual practice and God’s created order, you’ll find this a great starting point. It provides a strong biblical foundation for what used to be the Presbyterian Church’s position on this subject:
We conclude that homosexuality is not God’s wish for humanity. This we affirm, despite the fact that some of its forms may be deeply rooted in an individual’s personality structure. Some persons are exclusively homosexual in orientation. In many cases homosexuality is more a sign of the brokenness of God’s world than of willful rebellion. In other cases homosexual behavior is freely chosen or learned in environments where normal development is thwarted. Even where the homosexual orientation has not been consciously sought or chosen, it is neither a gift from God nor a state nor a condition like race; it is a result of our living in a fallen world.
(Policy Statement and Recommendations (Minutes, General Assembly of the UPCUSA, 1978), 1:57. This AI was set aside by the 219th General Assembly in 2010.)