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“Covenant Network” Comes Out of the Closet | Denominational Updates from First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen

“Covenant Network” Comes Out of the Closet

The “Covenant Network” is an advocacy group within the Presbyterian Church (USA) that has worked long and tirelessly to normalize homosexual relationships, and promote the ordination of self-avowed, practicing homosexuals.

Amendment 10-A, which removed the requirement that ordained church leaders must practice fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness (replacing it with a call to “submit joyfully to the Lord Jesus Christ in all aspects of life”), was universally promoted as being a “local option.” In other words, we were told that if the PC(USA) deleted the ordination standard of fidelity/chastity, it would allow churches and presbyteries that believe homosexual relationships are ok to ordain unrepentant homosexuals, but that this change would have no impact on churches (such as ours) or pastors that disagree.

Now that Amendment 10-A is part of the Book of Order, the Covenant Network has come out of the closet, so to speak, and revealed the lie behind the concept of a “local option.”

Toward the end of their “Guidelines for Examination of Church Officers,” they say:

“ … a person who wishes to engage in ordered ministry must be prepared to carry out the functions of office. General Assembly has affirmed that an examining body “cannot excuse a candidate’s inability to perform the constitutional functions unique to his or her office (such as administration of the sacraments).”28 Consistent with this, a series of judicial cases has made clear that a presbytery may not ordain or install someone who declares that he will not participate in the ordination of women.29 Indeed, it is fundamental to our polity that the responsibility for assessing the fitness of officers-elect is vested in councils (sessions and presbyteries), not in individuals. Accordingly, the pastor who officiates at an ordination thereby performs a ministerial act that is required by the Constitution (not a discretionary one), and the act of officiating indicates neither approval nor disapproval of the congregation’s choice of leaders and council’s approval of them.30 This point pertains primarily to pastors, who must officiate at child baptisms, ordination and installation of church leaders, and the like. While candidates who cannot agree to perform such functions in conformity with Presbyterian polity may be fine Christians, they may not be ordained or installed in the PC(USA).”

What this means, in short, is that according to the Covenant Network, pastors must agree to officiating in the ordination of those engaged in ongoing sexual relationships outside of marriage (whether heterosexual or homosexual) REGARDLESS OF THEIR OWN PERSONAL BELIEF AND CONVICTION THAT THIS IS SINFUL. Indeed, they argue that if someone will not participate in the ordination of someone they believe to be an unrepentant sinner, that is in and of  itself a disqualification from being ordained!

Furthermore, the Covenant Network tells its members that it is unconstitutional for any church or presbytery to predetermine that “joyful obedience to Jesus Christ” indeed requires fidelity within heterosexual marriage or chastity in singleness.

It’ s important to note that the Covenant Network does not speak for the Presbyterian Church (USA). These issues have not been tried in the church courts. But it is instructive that the most vocal and proactive advocates of the change that was made to the constitution of the PC(USA) are now advancing such a radical and exclusionary interpretation of the constitutional standards that they crafted in the guise of peace and inclusiveness. Apparently their idea of inclusiveness doesn’t extend to those who uphold biblical orthodox Christianity.

The complete guidelines published by the Covenant Network are attached. Read ‘m and weep.

Covenant Network Ordination Guidelines

 

One Response to ““Covenant Network” Comes Out of the Closet”

  1. editor November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Viola Larson, a regular blogger with tremendous theological insight, wrote an insightful critique of the Covenant Network’s guidelines. Check it out here:
    http://naminghisgrace.blogspot.com/2011/11/contradictions-aplenty-analysis-of.html