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As I’m sure most readers know, on May 10, 2011, the PCUSA presbytery of the Twin Cities in Minnesota voted to allow the their 173 presbyteries to ordain clergy without regard to sexual orientation. (Albert Mohler has a helpful summary, as usual.)

I missed this when it happened last year at the 2010 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), where gay marriage and gay-clergy ordination were being discussed. Terry Mattingly sets the stage:

Without a doubt, the most boring parts of these events -- yes, even more boring than the business sessions -- are the ultra-polite addresses delivered by special guests from the outside. These are often called "greetings" and they may be delivered by local civic leaders ("Thank you for eating lots of meals in our downtown restaurants") or by local, national or international religious dignitaries. . . . Normally, when journalists see the word "greetings" in a convention schedule, they know that it's safe to step out and get a cup of coffee or some other legal stimulant (the nature of which depends on the denomination one is covering).

But after delivering some pleasantries, the Reverend Siarhei Hardun, an Orthodox arch-priest from Belarus, used his short time as an ecumenical greeter to express his dismay at the way the PCUSA was seeking to reinvent morality. It is surely regrettable that they did not heed this prophetic analysis and warning:

Worth reading in this connection is S. Donald Fortson III’s “The Road to Gay Ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” by Professor S. Donald Fortson III, a church historian at RTS--Charlotte. An excerpt on the unanimity of the church’s tradition on sexual ethics:

Church history is crystal clear: Homosexual practice has been affirmed nowhere, never, by no one in the history of Christianity. . . .

Christianity is a tradition; it is a faith with a particular ethos, set of beliefs and practices handed on from generation to generation. The Christian tradition may be understood as the history of what God’s people have believed and how they have lived based upon the Word of God. This tradition is not only a collection of accepted doctrines but also a set of lifestyle expectations for a follower of Christ. One of the primary things handed down in the Christian church over the centuries is a consistent set of lifestyle ethics including specific directives about sexual behavior. The church of every generation from the time of the apostles has condemned sexual sin as unbecoming a disciple of Christ. At no point have any orthodox Christian teachers ever suggested that one’s sexual practices may deviate from biblical standards.

Concerning homosexuality there has been absolute unanimity in church history; sexual intimacy between persons of the same gender has never been recognized as legitimate behavior for a Christian. One finds no examples of orthodox teachers who suggested that homosexual activity could be acceptable in God’s sight under any circumstances. Revisionist biblical interpretations that purport to support homosexual practice are typically rooted in novel hermeneutical principles applied to Scripture, which produce bizarre interpretations of the Bible held nowhere, never, by no one.

HT: Jordan Ballor

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13 thoughts on “A Prophetic Message to the PCUSA”

  1. Justin thank you for posting this. It saddens my husband and I that the PCUSA has taken this step. In their effort to be politically correct, they have compromised the Gospel. Both my husband and I grew up in the PC USA when it was sound in doctrine. However, we are both in a conservative and older branch of Presbyterianism thankfully. Christians need to take a stand against this type of bargaining with the devil. How much it must grieve the Father in heaven.

  2. John says:

    Real ecumenism has always been about gathering around the Truth even when the Truth hurts. My guess is this guy doesn’t get invited back next year. His brand of ecumenism doesn’t evoke the warm fuzzies.

  3. donsands says:

    Good video. The spirits are many within the Church for sure. Paul tells the Corinthians: “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”
    In fact, these PCUSA do preach a different jesus. Not the Lord of all, who will judge, and removes lamp-stands. Not to mention He will vomit these out of His mouth.

    “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent”

    We need to stand for sure. The ungodly flow of lawlessness is quite strong.

    “‘If there were an invisible cat in that chair, the chair would look empty; but the chair does look empty; therefore there is an invisible cat in it.'”

  4. Emma says:

    Thank you, justin.

  5. This is in the PCUSA today but it may be in your church tomorrow. The degree and level of influence will largely depend on people in our churches willing to take a stand against the normalization of homosexuality. The prophets of Baal are making a comeback and are calling for a gay awakening.

    Christians are horribly compromised on this issue, especially when they support those who are seeking to make homosexuality an unquestionable public right. We will need to start confronting those in our churches who are helping to normalize homosexuality by supporting politicians, usually all Democrats. Why would anyone claiming to be a Christian actively help others to bring about a cultural bias against Christianity that could lead to the persecution of Christians?

    1. AStev says:

      I was with you up until you said, “We will need to start confronting those in our churches who are helping to normalize homosexuality by supporting politicians, usually all Democrats.”

      I’m a conservative, and believe me, there are PLENTY of Republicans who are trying just as hard to normalize homosexuality, just as there are PLENTY of Democrats (especially African Americans) who correctly oppose the normalization of homosexuality.

      In addition, we need to take a hard look at things like the normalization of, say, divorce.

      1. I am concerned about the way the GOP is trending on this. Many so-called Conservatives seem willing to support gay marriage. The tolerance and promotion of a sin like homosexuality will mean the intolerance of those who oppose it, namely, Christians.

  6. I appreciated this guy’s words very much. So concise, so pointed and so clear.

    Sometimes someone from somewhere else with an accent can be heard by those who have their ears closed to the truth. I believe that in the coming years that some of the most important prophetic voices to North American Christians will come from other cultures. I think of the absolute clarity that some African and Asian brothers have brought within my circles.

  7. NTB says:

    When we separate love and life, all hell can break loose in any of our denominations as we’re seeing in the PCUSA, ECUSA, CoC and ELCA:

    “[T]he separation of sex and reproduction [by The Pill] is not just a technological reality but it’s a fundamental reordering of how human beings relate to one another.”

    -Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, “The Moral Crisis of Secular Culture: A Conversation With Mary Eberstadt,” 16 May 2011.

    “The Pill and all of the accompanying modern contraceptives that have made it possible, using shorthand, for women to behave like men, that is, made it possible for women to behave the way as predatory men always did, which is to act as if their sexual acts didn’t have consequences. And The Pill as the fundamental fact of our time, has erased the differences between men and women as no other technological innovation ever has or could … It’s made a great many men and women think that they are interchangeable sexual beings and I think this kind of androgyny has had many bad consequences for many millions of people, including consequences that we’re just beginning to recon with.”

    -Dr. Mary Eberstadt, American author and research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, “The Moral Crisis of Secular Culture: A Conversation With Mary Eberstadt,” 16 May 2011.

    With the advent of contraception and antibiotics, few consequences remain with a sex act. And if men and women are increasingly “interchangeable,” doesn’t homosexuality — even homosexual-friendly denominations — readily emerge from this wicked brew?

    Who’s blowing the whistle to stop this?

    1. Philip says:

      Thank you for sharing, NTB. You are right on.

      You asked, “Who is blowing the whistle to stop this?”

      One answer: the Catholic Church.



  8. Robert ian Williams says:

    Until the lambeth Conference of 1930 every mainline Chriustian denomination condemned contraception.

    Even the Orthodox have changed on that…so the Archpriest is wrong to say his Church has nver changed on that. That is why there is now negative population growth in Belarus and Russia.

    Furthermore the Orthodox churches have departed from the early Church’s prohibition on divorce and re-marriage.

    Note how he couldn’t resist a rub against Rome..yet Rome ( despite internal dissent) has remained faithful.

  9. Stephen Hess says:

    Hi Justin,

    Thank you for this post. I am a pastor in the PC(USA) who is greatly saddened by this heresy that has entered the church. My congregation and I stand strongly for Biblical morality and we are disgusted that the PC(USA) has caved into cultural pressures rather than following God’s Word.

    One thing I would ask is that you and others who read this blog would pray for us. Sometimes people outside the PC(USA) view our denomination as completely absent of any Biblical witnesses. But the truth is that there are many churches and leaders (like myself) who are committed to the authority and infallibility of Scripture, who are grieved at this decision, and who are struggling to know what to do next (around 50% of the church voted against this decision).

    Please pray for us to know how to respond and separate ourselves from this heresy. Please know that simply because we serve in this denomination, that does not mean we agree with this horrific decision.

    Stephen Hess

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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