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!)

Lesbian Clergywoman Cleared of Charges by Highest PCUSA Commission

From the Christian Post:

The highest commission of Presbyterian Church (USA) has cleared a clergywoman of charges that she violated church law when she opted to marry her partner in 2009.

Well. I guess that settles it then. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

Sigh. (Note the date of the marriage: at that time the “Fidelity and Chastity” clause was still church law.)

Calvin began with just two notes of the church: the proclamation of the Word and celebration of the Sacraments. Later, he sort of reconsidered and sort of added discipline. This is why.

Accordingly, as the saving doctrine of Christ is the soul of the church, so does discipline serve as its sinews, through which the members of the body hold together, each in its own place. Therefore, all who desire to remove discipline or to hinder its restoration–whether they do this deliberately or out of ignorance–are surely contributing to the ultimate dissolution of the church. (Institutes IV.12.1)

10A Repercussions in Colorado

CNS reports that Colorado’s largest PC(USA) congregation is leaving the denomination:

Of the 1,769 congregants of the 4,000-strong church present for the vote, 1,689 members voted in favor of dismissal from PC(USA) to join the recently created Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians.

I don’t know the Colorado Springs congregation (my Presbytery of care was Plains and Peaks) but it wouldn’t surprise me if several more Colorado churches were going through a discernment process about leaving the denomination.