True to form, Presbyterians find a moderate way

Yesterday, the 219th General Assembly of the PC(USA) pass on 2 bits of legislation for approval by local bodies.

First, ordination standards. Fidelity in marriage or celibacy has been removed. Homosexuals in committed relationships are now allowed to become ordained elders, deacons, and ministers. Passed by a fairly large margin.

Almost as a footnote to the above, however, is another vote to maintain the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. This also must be sent to the local presbyteries for a final vote.

Well, I honestly think I am done thinking about these issues. I know for some, these are the ONLY issues that matter, but for my part, I will stand in unity with the PC(USA). Whereas I disagree with some decisions and agree with others, it really doesn’t matter. I could leave the church, but what would be the point? Division? Meh. Faithful christians could stay a part of the church when Augustine came up with his just war theory, there wasn’t a mass exodus from the church. And as a result, many years later, there is now a burgeoning awareness that the church and war shouldn’t mix. If all the faithful split off in the 4th century, things would be different. I will remain in unity. Messy unity to be sure. Gay or straight, married or civilly united, lets fight injustice without violence. Lets bring sight to the blind, food to the hungry, gospel to the despairing.

0 thoughts on “True to form, Presbyterians find a moderate way

  1. Wade

    The logic of this piece cannot go unchallenged. It is true that pacifism has plagued the church throughout its history; people did not leave simply because they disagreed with Augustine. On the other hand, your own denomination would not exist without schism — that little thing we call the Protestant Reformation, for starters. If the Southern Baptist Convention is too exclusive (and it is), then the PC(USA) is too inclusive.

    Despite how I feel about the inadequacy of this piece’s logic, it raises a really important point. It seems that ALL of us pick and choose what values we are willing to fight for and what values we are willing to sacrifice. How do we make these decisions? What principles, methods, and relationships form the context and basis for our understanding of the importance of a particular value or belief. Chad and Rod have thought about these issues, but have you? Have I? Have the people waving protest signs in the street or walking out of church conferences in disgust? And, if we did, how would it change the way we thought and the way we acted?

    Reply
  2. Optimistic Chad

    Wade, thank you for taking the time to discuss your thoughts about this. While it is true that my current denomination is the result of schism, I would not say that fact negates the example I drew from regarding Augustine. As someone who started out his Christian voyage without a church, then moving to a completely non-affiliated church, then to Presbyterian, I would like to think I am becoming both more united with the Church and more ecumenical. But the reality is, we all have to be somewhere, and I can’t undo the schisms any more than anyone else. But I see what you mean, and I will try to preface my comments in the future with my potential biases.
    What I had hoped to show was that there is profit in the church remaining unified even if we have vast theological differences. I apply this to the reformers, the restorationists, even to the Catholics and Orthodox so long ago. Division is death. A minority report should always be a valued dissent to the majority.

    Reply
    1. Rod of Alexandria

      Chad,

      I feel I must agree with Wade somewhat. I get a sneaking suspicion about finding the moderate way, because eventually, people with opinions do take power. As Baptists, Wade and I know this all too well.

      I think I am going to have to post on the PCUSA and LeBron James to get my point across. 😉

      Reply
        1. Rod of Alexandria

          You know chad, I had the opportunity to trade you from my blogging team to Joel’s blog for a fundamentalist who believes science is just straight evil. Let me weigh my options! hahhahahaha!

          Reply
    1. Optimistic Chad

      I respect the PCA. I surely do not agree with a lot of their stances, but to return to the theme of this post, I am able to celebrate the diversity within our wider church. Their stance on the Bible is really what sets them apart from the PCUSA, not more visible issues such as women in ministry. Presbyterians, more than any other denomination have a habit of reuniting with each other. I could see the PCA and the PCUSA reuniting once either A) the PCA’s leadership turns younger and softens to diversity or B) they get so small that reunification is preferable to shutting doors.

      Reply
      1. Jennifer

        Hi Chad, you bring up interesting points. I believe the PCA’s stance on women will eventually change, and the congregation of which I am apart is quite diverse…ethnically/socio-economically speaking, even theologically speaking-> but what is it about its *official* stances on theology and the Bible that you disagree with?

        Reply
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