The Layman, August 23, 2011
The National Presbyterian Church of Mexico has broken ties with the Presbyterian Church (USA) over its decision to allow the ordination of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons to the offices of pastor, elder and deacon.
In a letter sent to Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the PCUSA, Pbro. Amador López Hernández said that after the General Assembly analyzed the PCUSA’s recent actions, it voted to “break off relations immediately, denouncing the sin and disobedience explicit to the Word of God that tells us that we must not be partakers of the same. ‘And I heard a voice from heaven saying: Go ye forth from her, my people, for you aren’t involved in his sins …’ (Revelation 18:4).”
On July 10 Amendment 10A went into effect after being approved by a majority of PCUSA presbyteries in May. The new ordination “standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life … Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.”
There is no longer a “requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” Neither is there a call for repentance “of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin.”
At a recent special called General Assembly meeting of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico, commissioners voted 116-22 to end its 139-year relationship with the PCUSA, and to not re-enter a relationship with the denomination until Amendment 10A is rescinded.
At the August meeting, Hernández said that the assembly repealed the section in its procedures manual that “empowers us to have official working agreement and cooperation with the PCUSA and to break the formal relationship with the church from this date (August 18 of 2011).”
If in the future the PCUSA reverses its decision on Amendment 10A Hernández wrote that the assembly would be open to “restore the fraternal relations and work together.”
Hernández cited a video sent out to Hispanic churches that features Loyda Aja, director in the Office of the Stated Clerk of the PCUSA saying, “Now, there is no prohibition specifically against a consistory or presbytery, to ordain and install people involved in the relationship between two persons of the same sex (i.e. homosexuals and lesbians).”
In his letter to Parsons, Hernández spoke of the Mexican denomination’s gratitude to God and to the PCUSA for all of the support it has received and the joint work the sister churches were able to accomplish “under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit of God, during more than a century of fraternal relations work and companionship.”
Hernández ended his letter by saying that his denomination will stay “attentive” to the PCUSA in its future actions regarding Amendment 10A, “to see if God’s grace enables us to someday return to restore this relationship for glory and blessing of both churches.”
“I deeply regret their decision to end a relationship that has brought blessings to both churches,” said Parsons in a statement released to the press.
“Presbyterians do mission in partnership here and around the world, so we take the voice of the Mexican church very seriously,” said Hunter Farrell, Director of Presbyterian World Mission, in the same press release. “We are grieved by their decision, but we want to emphasize that we are grateful for their witness and our history together, and will listen carefully as we engage in dialogue about where God is leading us in mission.”
The press release said that World Mission will consult with National Presbyterian Church of Mexico leadership, PCUSA mission co-workers, Presbyterian Border Ministry leaders and presbytery and synod partnership leaders to discuss what happens next. Many PCUSA Synods and presbyteries have partnerships with presbyteries in Mexico that will be affected by the unilateral severance of relations.
The PCUSA’s mission connections website lists four couples and three others as mission workers in Mexico.
Under the “Our Faith” section of its website, the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico states, “The Living Church has always been a confessing Church, so the confession is essential for the Church, as evidenced by Peter’s response to Christ. For, when Christ asked the question to His disciples “Who do you say I am?” Peter responds on behalf of all the disciples, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-16). … The Church must confess what God demands of him to confess in His Word, which is sufficient and infallible. This word is the only basis for faith and for the Christian way of life.”