By Joe Marusak, The Charlotte Observer (N.C.)
Same-sex marriage ceremonies will be allowed at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, a majority of the church session voted Monday night.
“We know that the approved change will be a cause of celebration for some and a matter of concern for others,” Interim Pastor Pete Peery and Clerk of Session Vicki Garrett said in an email to members of the congregation Monday night.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) passed an amendment to the church’s constitution this year with language that’s “permissive rather than mandatory,” meaning a pastor may marry a couple according to his or her judgment, but isn’t required to.
“For some time, our constitution has already included a provision for pastoral discretion so that pastors may elect not to conduct any wedding ceremony, same gender or different gender, if there is concern about the couple’s commitment, understanding and maturity,” Peery and Garrett wrote.
Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C. has 4,554 members, according to the PCUSA.
In the ideal context of religious liberty, freedom and autonomy in matters of worship and faith, yes each church should be free to determine its own policies and standards as to matters of practice and mission. If Myers Park want to ordain a talking parrot, or a barking dog, to be an elder or deacon, for example, they should be afforded such “forbearance”.
But to assume that Myers Park’s policy, methodology, practice, procedures, theology or ideology somehow binds or restricts other churches or clergy in their practices is utter nonsense. Or that we need to exist in the same polity, constitution or denominational structure. Or co-mingle mission finding, is again folly. Its a constitution, not a marriage, or a suicide pact.
The sham and folly of “mutual forbearance” is just that. One either enables or facilitates LGBT related events, or they do not. To assume church X and Y getting along in the denominational structure with per capita and a property clause is again, a fools assumption. I make no claim on the property, assets of Myers Park, nor assume they need to conform to my understanding of faith and practice. I expect the same in return. But in the contemporary PCUSA the deck is stacked against one understanding of faith and practice, while a Myers Park gets celebrated and rewarded by the system. What is “mutual” about that?
It’s a sad day and time for Christians.
Homosexuality should be criminalized. Homosexuality is a crime against God and against the Holy Bible. After reading this story I know why God wrote:
Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: :26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: :27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Mr. Spitz, If you are going to quote Romans 1:24-27, then I suggest you also read verses 28-32, then on through chapter 2:1-5. You may find yourself kneeling before God instead of standing in judgement.
Gregory and Spitz, fellow travelers?
Well let’s see. A person who is gay can be baptized in the church (adult), can have membership in full standing, can be ordained as an elder or deacon (or for that matter a Teaching Elder if passing the requirements) can partake of communion. can have a funeral held at the church. So why is it they cannot get married if the pastor and Session agree? So if you don’t want to do the last of the list in your church, that is your choice.
Amen pres-child – I am 100% behind and supporting Rev. Spitz and his Army of God!
We have not heard the end of this story and the real consequences of the sessions majority. There were some on this session that disagreed with the decision. Likewise, there are people in the congregation that will now be faced with taking a stand, focusing on their interpretation of Scripture, and choosing this day what God is calling them to. There is also no indication of where other pastors and leaders on this staff stand on the reality of being a part of this decision and giving assent to marriages of Same Sex marriages because of their association with this church (and with this Denomination.)
There is no escape from seeking to understand Scripture and standing in obedience before God in making decisions accordingly…….now each individual will be forced to decide.
The consequence is more division, less peace, less purity of mission Will be seen in the months ahead! The majority on this Session does not care how their decision affects their congregation, that is the telling part in this story.
There are other “big steeple” churches that are also shirking their
Faith in being nominal when taking a stand saying “This issue is not worth dividing over”. They do not acknowledge the depth of issues that
allow disobedience to Scripture.
The continuing story will reveal the deep division that the actions of the
GA and Stated Clerk and Moderator have caused. It is filtering down to Sessions and congregations.
We have only begun to see the result of this decision in this church!
They will not like it at all but the PCUSA will reap what it has sown – division, discourse, as well as no real contribution to the faith as defined in scripture. Will they ever learn? probably not as they will do down to the pits preaching against what the church and it roots have taught regarding these issues for numerous centuries. Their destruction is assured.
Lion – They will never learn – leftist bigots and usurpers of the real faith, destruction, destruction, you are right on track.
How better to drive people away from Christianity then to invoke the latest left wing political agenda into a church? Sympathy for the devil will not keep Christians coming and rightly so.
Yes – this agenda will see the tall steeples start to empty out like never before. The writing is on the wall now, sympathy for the demon devil, exactly.
This is really sad. What is becoming of our Christian community?
Did you really just engage in an ad hominem attack (calling someone an idiot) and then state they will be damned to hell? Go back and read their statement. There is no “attack on your good character.”
The writer is questioning your ideas, but not your character. You, in turn, choose to attack the writer personally and then make a statement about the state of their soul in eternity? Where is the Christian love and grace that we are called to as brothers and sisters in Christ?
If you can’t have a civil conversation with another person, Christian or not, perhaps it is time to step away from the computer. Our call as Christians is to civility, and even if we are not afforded that same civility, we are to “turn the other cheek,” “love our enemy,” and “pray for those who persecute us.” Calling someone an idiot and saying they are damned to hell does not reflect these words of Jesus.
gregory – I agree 100% – it’s time for peter gregory to step away from the computer since he struggles mightly to not lash out aganist his beloved “Louisville Sluggers” at every turn. He has no consideration of those he smears and rails aganist on this website on a daily or even hourly basis.
All should be aware that I contacted the Lay committee and reported this hacking of my name and account. It was generated from a false e mail IP address. If this reflective of the evil and desperation of Pres-troll, no further commentary need on the level of depravity.
I happened to both of us, Peter. It was obvious that some of the comments that were posted under your name were certainly not from you. I’m afraid that for some PCUSAers fighting dirty is the norm. Sad, but not surprising.
If there was ever a time America needed the support and guidance of the clergy, it is now. It is all right that the PCUSA has chosen to sit this one out, as its fractured leadership really hasn’t a lot to offer the nation, as a whole. Still, the call is out. The strength of the main line was based in its saturation, its presence everywhere. There were and are little mainline churches everywhere.
Will admit that seeing an endorsement of Spitz under your name, I typed a one line rhetorical question. Scrolling down, it was a little more clear what was going on, but not possible to go back and delete my question (appears it is still there, out of context).
I haven’t been back to the Presbyterian church since the vote was finalized. I have been floating, thinking hard about becoming a Catholic, but have not made the jump. I wish this issue had been voted down in flames because I continue to believe it defies Holy Scripture.
I feel your pain, Andrew, but would encourage you not to equate “Presbyterian” with the PCUSA. There are actually churches out there that are Presbyterian and not at all associated with the PCUSA. Some of them are not just a whole lot better, I’m sorry to say, but some of them are really quite a bit better. Before you jump from the Reformed tradition to another church tradition, you might want to try out some non-PCUSA Presbyterian churches, if there are any of them where you live. I pray God’s richest blessings on you as you seek to be faithful to him.
You don’t have to become a Catholic, join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.