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Conservatives react to GA marriage decision

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2014 GA-DetroitDETROIT, Mich. — Reactions to the decisions by the 221st General Assembly to allow pastors to conduct same-sex ceremonies in the Presbyterian Church (USA) are pouring in from denominations, and renewal organizations. Excerpts from the various statements include:

The Presbyterian Lay Committee: “The 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved both an Authoritative Interpretation of the Constitution and an amendment to redefine marriage. In the name of 1.8 million Presbyterians nationwide, the General Assembly has committed an express repudiation of the Bible, the mutually agreed upon Confessions of the PCUSA, thousands of years of faithfulness to God’s clear commands and the denominational ordination vows of each concurring commissioner. This is an abomination.”

The Presbyterian Coalition: “Today the Presbyterian Church (USA) took two illegitimate actions that may prove in future years to be the death knell to the church as we have known it. … As a result of these actions, the Presbyterian Church now abandons its Reformed heritage as to its organization, its belief, and its unity. To conservatives like us, the PCUSA is no longer the denomination in which we took our ordination vows or were baptized. …  We grieve for the church called the PCUSA. We call upon the orthodox/evangelical wing of the church to have courage to protest this action by living freely and radically within the biblical framework for marriage and sexuality, by refusing to conduct same-sex marriages, by remaining faithful teachers of the Word of God, and by defeating the constitutional amendment in your presbytery.”

Institute on Religion and Democracy President Mark Tooley: By overturning natural marriage the PCUSA is only accelerating its already fast-paced demise. It will become even smaller, whiter and older.Only declining denominations reject historic Christian standards and in nearly every case that rejection reinforces the decline. Who respects a church that only echoes the secular world?”

Theology Matters, Alan Wisdom, Fellow for Marriage Issues, Theology Matters: “It is astonishing that proponents of redefining marriage hardly bothered to justify their innovation from the Scriptures or the confessions. How far we have come from a denomination that affirmed that “all [its] decisions should be founded upon the revealed will of God” in Scripture! That affirmation still appears in the PCUSA Book of Order, but it seems widely to be forgotten. Amidst the sexual confusion and brokenness of our society, we Presbyterians desperately need to recover the Biblical vision of marriage. Even more, we need to recover the deep-seated Reformed conviction that it is to the Scriptures we must go to discover that vision—and all else that is necessary for Christian faith and practice. Otherwise, we are lost at sea.”

Presbyterians for Renewal and the Fellowship of Presbyterians: “We grieve these actions by the General Assembly. We believe we will look back on this day and see the error of these decisions. But an Assembly of our denomination has spoken, and now we must move ahead without compromising compassion or conviction. … Proponents of these two actions have made great effort to invite and welcome those who hold unwaveringly to a traditional interpretation of marriage to remain engaged in the mission and ministry of the PCUSA with full integrity. Some will resolve to do this-others may not. Those of us who do remain in the PCUSA will, no doubt, encounter other decisions and actions with which we will disagree. We are not here to fight and divide, but to continue to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to testify to the transforming power of his love that is available to everyone. We urge you in the strongest possible way to refrain from actions, attitudes, and language that would mar the image of Christ in your response to the Assembly’s actions.”

Viola Larson, Naming His Grace blog: “The Scripture is filled with admonitions against sexual immorality which afflicted the Biblical church. The book of Jude gives warning, using Sodom and Gomorrah as examples stating that those who were pushing licentiousness so hard in the church ‘indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh.’ In the book of Revelation, in the letter to the church of Thyatira, the church is warned about Jezebel, she calls herself a prophetess, and she leads Christians astray, causing them to commit sexual sin and idolatry…. And then there is God’s promise. He keeps us from stumbling, He doesn’t just allow us, He ‘makes’ us stand in the presence of His glory. We are there blameless and have great joy. Through all of this tragedy we will stand in the presence of Jesus and the fellowship of each other. And may we bring the broken hurting members of our denomination with us, out of their bondage to stand before His glory. To dwell in love in God’s kingdom.”

The Presbyterian Church in America: There are several Presbyterian denominations in America. Sometimes people mistakenly attribute the views or actions of one Presbyterian denomination to another. The “Presbyterian Church in America”  (PCA) is an evangelical denomination in the Reformed  theological tradition. The PCA, like other Evangelical, Conservative, Orthodox, and Traditional Christians from many denominations, believes that, from creation, God ordained the marriage covenant to be a bond between one man and one woman, and that understanding is what the Church  has always believed, taught, and confessed. Therefore, we believe that the divinely sanctioned standard for sexual activity is fidelity within a marriage between one man and one woman or chastity outside of such a marriage. Throughout history, there has often been a conflict between the unchanging standards of biblical ethics that the Church seeks to maintain and the changing social practices of the culture. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has not redefined marriage nor does it intend to do so. – L.  Roy Taylor, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America.

A response from a pastor of a PCUSA congregation:  “Our elders remain steadfast in declaring, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’  While our denomination increasingly drifts from Jesus by the book, we will, depending upon God’s grace, order our life and ministry with prayer, proclamation, and passion for Jesus — by the book.  While confessing our sins against our Lord and each other, we will not affirm, condone, or cooperate with any actions of our denomination that insult God’s holiness as personified in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture.  When we are wrong about Jesus — by the book, we will confess and repent.  When we are right about Jesus — by the book, we will remain steadfast.  Please join us in praying for the knowledge, wisdom, strength, and courage to look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus alone as above all others.”

 

 

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