The Presbyterian Church and Gay Ordination: The Importance of Sound Doctrine

Jun 4th, 2011 | By | Category: Culture & Wordview, Featured Issues

On 10 May 2011, the Presbyterian Church (USA) joined other mainline churches in opening the door to gay ordination.  The constitutional change, which has received the necessary votes in the denomination, removes language that had required clergy to live in ?fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.?  This decision and change reverses actions taken in 1997, 2001 and 2008.  Gone from the Presbyterian constitution are all references to marriage, chastity and a refusal to repent of sin.  The new language in the constitution speaks instead of ?submission to the Lordship of Christ and being guided by Scripture and confessions.?  But in changing their constitution in this manner, Presbyterians demonstrate that they believe they can ?submit to the Lordship of Christ without submitting to the clear teachings of Scripture.?  Albert Mohler writes that ?[this] is a fundamental error that leaves this denomination now in the implausible position of claiming to affirm the Lordship of Christ while subverting the authority of Scripture.  The removal of the constitutional language about marriage and chastity, coupled with the removal of the language about repentance from what Scripture identifies as sin, effectively means that candidates and presbyteries may defy Scripture while claiming to follow Christ.?  Indeed, Dr. Donald Fortson III, professor of Church History and Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, writes that ?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.?  There is really little else that needs to be said about the matter.  The PC(USA) has left the fold of genuine biblical Christianity.  As J. Gresham Machen concluded in 1923, when a denomination does so, it no longer deserves to be called ?Christian.?

See (11 May 2011); Fortson?s article in, (12 May 2011); and J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and LiberalismPRINT PDF

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