Traditional Marriage: Divisive and Inflammatory
Liberals pushing the envelope ever further in the Presbyterian Church (USA) have appealed a judicial decision that gave a presbytery the right to set ordination standards that include reference to traditional marriage. According to the Layman Online:
A group of 21 Presbyterians in Southern California filed an appeal to the PCUSA’s General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC) on Wednesday, three weeks after the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii Permanent Judicial Commission (SPJC) ruled that a resolution approved by the Presbytery of Los Ranchos in 2011 was constitutional.
At issue is a resolution passed in September by a 125-51 vote, which states that “the Bible, the Book of Confessions and the Book of Order set forth the Scriptural and constitutional standards for ordination and installation.”
The measure also states that ordained ministers should live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness and will so notify candidates for ordination/installation and/or membership in the presbytery.”
In a denomination that still held to the biblical and confessional standards it has on the books, that resolution by the Los Ranchos Presbytery would not be controversial. This, however, is the new PCUSA, one in which the setting of standards of sexual conduct for ordination is akin to lighting the “Mona Lisa” on fire. The SJPC did, incredibly, uphold the presbytery’s right to set such standards, but also made clear that it was not amused:
In its May 4 decision, the SPJC rejected the complaints of error by a 6-2 vote but also admonished Los Ranchos, claiming that the resolution caused potential harm to the peace and unity of the denomination.
The synod decision stated that the complaint rested on the question of “whether a presbytery has the right to pass a resolution concerning the manner of life for its teaching elders as part of the proper exercise of the presbytery’s authority within the powers reserved to presbyteries.”
The SPJC said the presbytery did have that right but that “while this PJC considers the resolution constitutional, the use of specific language known to be divisive and inflammatory flies in the face of the responsibility to seek the peace, unity and purity of the church.”
The language that the SJPC labels “divisive and inflammatory” was in the PCUSA Book of Order until last June.
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