Presbyterians in Africa have made some public statements that highlight significant differences of belief and practice between the Presbyterian Church (USA) and its global partners on basic issues of the Christian life, human sexuality and abortion.
As a denomination, the PC (USA) has become increasingly open to and affirming of homosexual practice. The most recent manifestation of this came in the removal of the prohibition of practicing homosexuals from holding church office as teacher or ruling elder and deacons.
The 220th General Assembly (2012) avoided the seemingly inevitable step in this progression by voting to postpone considering overtures to redefine marriage as between two persons rather than a man and a woman. Looking ahead to 2014, there is reason to believe that progressives in the church will apply significant pressure to provide for “pastoral discretion” in this area. This is essentially the privatization of the church’s doctrine and practice so that clergy and parishioners may follow their own convictions regardless of traditional belief and practice.
In stark contrast to this impulse, the East Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria has praised the National Assembly of Nigeria for enacting a law that prohibits the performance of same-sex marriage ceremonies in any church or mosque in Nigeria. In its statement the Synod affirmed the act as being consistent with Nigeria’s religious, cultural, and traditional ethos.