While the Presbyterian Church in the United States or PCUSA may have rejected an attempt to support same-sex marriage, they also rejected an attempt to ban lesbian and gay clergy who are in committed relationships. The proposed measure that was rejected would have stated that the clergy “a chaste and disciplined life, whether in holy marriage between a man and a woman or in single life.”
The move comes a year after the PCUSA lifted the ban on openly lesbian and gay clergy who live in committed relationships. Since then, dozens of congregations have left the denomination out of anger over the denomination’s more socially liberal direction. According to Bill Budrick from John Calvin Presbytery, who supported the proposal, “It would repair the biblical breach that has formed in our denomination.” Actually, what it could have done was caused a greater split as more liberal churches broke away while not necessarily bringing back in the ones that have already left.
The General Assembly of the PCUSA did approve a statement that says that Presbyterians “hold different views about what the Scriptures teach concerning the morality of committed, same-gender relationships.” It went on to say “We commit ourselves to continue respectful dialogue with those who hold differing convictions, to welcome one another for God’s glory, and not to vilify those whose convictions we believe to be in error. We call on all Presbyterians to join us in this commitment.”
The General Assembly did add a few things to the Book of Order. The amended paragraph for the Book of Order reads:
“To those called to exercise special functions in the church-deacons, ruling elders, and teaching elders-God gives suitable gifts for their various duties. In addition to possessing the necessary gifts and abilities, those who undertake particular ministries should be persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Their manner of life should be a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and in the world. This includes repentance of sin and diligent use of the means of grace. They must have the approval of God’s people and the concurring judgment of a council of the church.”
That must now be ratified by 173 presbyteries within the denomination.
Most of the anti-LGBT arguments used by Christians come not from the words of Jesus Christ, but from a combination of the Old Testament and the Epistles of Paul. In the case of the former, the word of Christ is supposed to override everything therein, including the laws of Leviticus. Christ made it clear that secular laws were fine. In terms of the latter, Saul of Tarses not only did not learn anything directly from Christ, but did not meet any of the Apostles until late in his life. Saul, later Paul, learned his Christianity from his illiterate slave. What is more, he tailored his message to the individual congregations that he wrote to. This is why in one letter he seems to say that women should be subservient to men and in another he says that women should be equal to men. His letters were included in the Bible in order to bolster the authority of the central Church. Nowhere in the four ‘official’ Gospels or any of the thirteen or so rejected Gospels does Christ say anything about homosexuality.