“The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), bitterly divided over sexuality and the Bible, set up another confrontation Friday over its ban on ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians.” So reads the opening statement of a recent AP article about the outcome of last weeks Presbyterian General Assembly meeting.
“… bitterly divided over sexuality and the Bible…” I believe that about sums up the issue that plagues not only the Presbyterian Church, but many others. I realize this quote is from the author of the article and not a church leader, yet perhaps it accurately reflects reality within the church. And what a harsh reality it is; our church leaders are divided over following the Bible or opinions about sexuality.
I must say, I’m feeling rather frustrated about his whole issue. Maybe it’s just my mood today. The more I look at examples of how various churches are not following the truth of Jesus Christ, the more depressed I feel about humanity. Our arrogance is overwhelming; constantly putting our own personal opinions above the commands of God. Sorry, just feeling the need to vent a bit.
Normally at this point, I would ask what Jesus might have to say. Yet I believe I’ve already captured His opinion in other posts, about another sexually charged issue within the Presbyterian Church (see “Getting Back to Jesus“). However, please forgive me; I’m going to continue to vent as I draw from more pieces of the AP article…
“My biggest concern is, ‘How does the church move forward?'” said the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the General Assembly. “There’s great disappointment in some folks and great joy in others, but it really does go back to how do we as a church model for the world a way to live together amid great diversity of opinion?”
Jesus gave the answer to Mr. Reyes-Chow’s question, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.“ (John 13:34-35) This is how you model the way to live together. Minimize personal opinions and maximize love.
“‘This week the General Assembly voted from faith rather than fear,’ Lisa Larges, minister coordinator of the advocacy group That All May Freely Serve, said in a statement. ‘They voted for a vibrant future of our church …'”
How about casting a vote for obedience to God? True faith expresses itself in obedience, not in letting go of God’s word and following personal opinion.
“Paul Detterman, executive director of Louisville, Ky.-based Presbyterians for Renewal, which opposes changing the ordination standards, said the debate is not about homosexuality but following the Bible.”
AMEN!!!! Thank you Paul.
One final vote for God’s side, from a letter on the pcusa website:
“The assembly left unchanged the definition of marriage found in the Directory for Worship (W-4.9000) – ‘a civil contract between a woman and a man.'” Wow, a small victory for God. The Presbyterian Church has decided to not (yet) change His definition of marriage.