My last post (which you can read below) was written on June 26. In that article, I discussed the failure of several Christian denominations to deal Biblically with the issue of sexual immorality within its membership and clergy. One day later, on June 27, the Presbyterian Church (USA) finally sealed its fate as an apostate church. While they have been on the brink of this for many years, their General Assembly, meeting in California, voted to abolish what had been known as the “fidelity and chastity” language regarding standards of conduct for those seeking ordination as teaching elders, as related to matters of human sexuality.
The church’s former standards included language that made it absolutely clear that all ministers must live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.” This language has been a festering sore within the liberal wing of the PCUSA, who, operating under the benevolent sounding banner of “justice” have sought to undo historic Christian and Biblical understandings of sexual immorality. Homosexuality has always been their cause celebre, but I think a case could be made that under the liberals’ idea of “justice”, no boundaries can be drawn with respect to human sexuality. Essentially, nothing can or should be considered immoral. After all, if those things that are specifically labeled as immoral in scripture cannot be regarded as such, are there any limits that can be placed on human sexual behavior? I am guessing that the liberals would argue “NO”.
The PCUSA has been dissolving gradually over the last several years. The beneficiary of this has been the Evangelical Presbyterian Church which has not only gained individual members, but indeed entire congregations have defected from the impending, now present apostasy of the PCUSA, to join a denomination that still regards scripture as authoritative and reliable. I suspect that this trend of defection will accelerate in the weeks and months ahead.
This development is a sad one. My ordination as an elder in this church would have reached the 15 year milestone this December and a part of me still loves what that church once stood for. However, what occurred last week was not completely unexpected. Is spite of the lifetime duration of my ordination, I have not been a member of, or worshiped in a PCUSA church in probably 10 years. As much as we would like to have seen a different outcome, the apostle Paul’s admonition has indeed come true. What started out as a little leaven, has now leavened the whole lump.
The irony of the location of the meeting of the General Assembly and the recent ruling by the California Supreme Court knocking down prohibitions against homosexual marriage is not lost on me. I cannot think of a more fitting location for this former great church to effectively end its raison d’etre.