Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fidelity-Chastity Vote

The results are finally in. A majority of PC USA presbyteries have voted to retain the current language in the Book of Order regarding fidelity and chastity for leaders and officers in the church. This is an important accomplishment but will certainly not resolve the vexing problems of the denomination. Those seeking full inclusion/ordination of self-affirming, practicing homosexuals into ordained ministry remain undeterred despite the defeat of amendment B 08.

Those who are not sure of what I am referring to, the current language in our Book of Order or church constitution reads: Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of
marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.

At last year's General Assembly meeting in San Jose, CA, the assembly voted to send a proposed amendment to the denomination’s 173 presbyteries that would delete the current paragraph G-6.0106b (see above)—and replace it with a new G-6.0106b, which states, Those who are called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003), pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church. Each governing body charged with examination for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes the candidate’s sincere efforts to adhere to these standards.”

There are similarities and major differences between these two statements and I think the presbyteries wisely voted to retain the current language. Please pray for the PC U.S.A. Thankfully, the future of this church does not rest with us; God is sovereign over all!