The Presbyterian Church USA is taking a page out of the Supreme Court’s understanding of the Constitution as they recently added a very controversial (and surprising) amendment to their church doctrine; the legalization of gay marriage as a Christian union. According to Newsmax, the Presbyterian Church USA changed the language stating marriage is a union of “a man and a woman” to “the union of two people.”
This constitutional change was approved on Thursday by the Presbyterian General Assembly which required a majority vote of the 172 regional presbyteries. The delegates voted that ministers are allowed to minister and preside in gay marriages if they reside in states were gay marriage is legal and local congregational leaders approve.
Right now, nineteen states and the capitol, Washington D.C., recognize gay marriage. Taking note of the denomination the Presbyterian Church USA represents, just the fact that gay marriage is now allowed is amazing. First, Presbyterianism is actually based on one of the most devout and strict versions of Christianity, Calvinism. To understand how a Calvinist may think, here are some questions they will usually ask.
- If people are responsible for coming to the Lord and being saved, why should anyone pray for the salvation of others in the first place?
- If a man can make choices, how can God have exhaustive knowledge of the future?
- Does prayer change God’s mind?
- Has God predestined people I love to hell?
Intense right? Actually, many people are not attracted to Calvinism because they do ask some unusual questions, making it sound as if the walk with God is a suffering struggle more so than a journey of freedom. Therefore, Calvinists also hold tightly to the doctrine of the Holy Bible, including all the Old Testament views about homosexuality.
Taking this into account, one might imagine the vote was quite close. After all, the Presbyterian Church USA does come from a Calvinist background. Actually, the vote was a landslide in favor of same-sex marriage!
In another report by New York Daily News, the acceptance of gay marriage was a full victory for Presbyterian gay-rights advocates.
Alex McNeill, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, a gay advocacy group, said the decision was an “answer to his prayers” for him and same-sex couples:
“We will keep praying that the majority of our 172 presbyteries will confirm that all loving couples can turn to their churches when they are ready to be married.”
Yet, some members of the church consider acceptance of same-sex marriage to be a serious theological error. The Presbyterian Lay Committee decried the vote to be an an “abomination” as they made the following statement:
“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.”
For gay marriage advocates, especially people who are in same-sex relationships, this is a victory. But there is still work to be done. Nineteen states have made same sex marriage legal. However, there are still 31 states, including Michigan, who have not.
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