Same-Sex Unions

As you may have heard, at its 221st General Assembly last week, the PC(USA) approved same-sex marriage both by authoritative interpretation and by a proposed change to the constitution. Here’s an article from the Religion News Service, and a blog entry from More Light Presbyterians (pro) and a pastoral letter from Presbyterians for Renewal (con).*

I — Pastor Luke — am studying these measures to understand the logic behind them, but my initial impression is that the authoritative interpretation is gimmickry designed to work around the clear words of the constitution, as evidenced by the proposed changes to the constitution which accompany it.

Sadly, the PC(USA) is not alone in misusing church processes to achieve extra-constitutional ends. The UMC has reinstated Frank Schaefer after previously defrocking him for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding. I previously posted about the UMC situation here.

As a citizen of the U.S., I believe that civil rights should be recognized equally for both straights and LGBTs. Indeed, that is (for me) a bare minimum, and I go well beyond it, as I have posted before.

The case for calling same-sex unions marriage in the theological sense is weak, however, and the Church, however, is not free to make things up.

* I won’t sport with you by pointing you to the PC(USA) website for information. There’s an article there, but it can’t be linked, only downloaded. (Seriously! in 2014!)

Calvin vs. Wesley

William Willimon reviewed Calvin vs. Wesley, a new book that might be especially interesting to people who attend a Presbyterian/Methodist Union church.

The book sounds like something a Calvinist like myself would enjoy reading, despite this bit (from the review, not the book):

I do wonder if his critique of Calvin — arguing that Calvin’s theory of the faith is bested by Wesleyan’s practice of the faith — is critical enough. What if Calvin’s pompous, overwrought systematic theology was not only too narrow, too systematized, and too static to do justice to biblical faith, but also wrong about God?

Something I was interested to see (in the review but apparently based on the chapters of the book) was a set of antitheses between Calvinism and Wesleyanism:

  • Love vs. sovereignty
  • Bible as Primary vs. Sole Authority
  • Grace as Prevenient vs. Irresistible
  • Salvation as Unlimited vs. Limited
  • Ministry as Empowering vs. Triumphal

I wonder how many of them I could explain briefly, much less describe how they relate to Wesleyanism.