The More Light Presbyterians met on Tuesday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a document titled “Keeping Body and Soul Together: Sexuality, Spirituality, and Social Justice,” a document that was rejected by a margin of 534-37 at the 1991 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
In his opening remarks, Alex McNeill, executive director of MLP, said that since that day, the organization has had brief glimpses of the kingdom as the doors opened and closed on their dream for what is known as the LGBTQQ quest for acceptance within the PCUSA — acceptance that would include the right to ordination and same-sex marriage.
Two writers of the original 1991 document were present and gave their perspective on a document that they see as prophetic witness to the church. Martin Ellison and Sylvia Thorson-Smith clearly see the current climate within the PCUSA as an affirmation of their work for acceptance, but they still see a need for additional work and hope to resurrect the original 1991 document for distribution.
“The church needs to get past their fear, shame, and the need for control,” stressed Ellison. “It is time that we recognize that the church has been rigid, fearful, judgmental, and even punitive. They have been fixated on these matters and need to recognize that their stance is outdated and unworkable. It is time to offer bread and not stone and renounce their patriarchal pattern of sexuality.”
In a direct jab, Ellison noted that there has been a big change since The Layman labeled their understanding of human sexuality as “barnyard theology.” “What they need to realize is that we have raised the ethical bar, not lowered it as the demands for justice fall so close to home with the desire to be treated fairly and with deep respect,” said Ellison.
This perceived place of injustice gave birth to what is known as the apology overture before the 222nd General Assembly’s Social Justice Issues committee.
In the latter part of the meeting, the group began to process what they see for the future. That future will include a time when the church will no longer seek to control who is worthy as they understand that the spirit doesn’t follow the Book of Order or even the Book of Confessions.
Leaders of the organization see a future that includes sex education for both adults and youth in an environment where people can tell the truth about their lives. In that context, they hope to resurrect the 1991 document and to see it used widely as a resource in theological education and within the church so that people do not need to choose between their spirituality and their sexuality. Instead, the hope is that they will become mature adults instead of holding on to an ethical morality that seeks to control them and infantilizes them rather than enabling them to become adults.
Based on today’s conversation, the More Light Presbyterians believe they have been successful in their quest because, as the group was informed, they have “stormed the ramparts and crumbled the foundation” of the historical and scriptural understanding of sexuality and marriage.
What are the righteous to do once the foundations are destroyed ?
Amazing, a Muslim opens this GA with prayer, and the Orlando shooter, a radical Muslim kills LGBT/Q people minding their own business, and yet Presbyterian Christians are to blame….can’t wait to see what’s next.
I have good news: The Foundation of the Church is not destroyed, nor can it be destroyed by the likes of these.
“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 3.11)
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Eph. 2.19-21)
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” (Ps. 118.22)
That these poor, deluded souls should seek to build with their wood, straw, and stubble (I Cor. 3.12-13) upon the foundation of shifting sand of the foolish and vain opinions of this present, evil age, rather than upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ and His self-revelation in the whole of Scripture (Mt. 7.24-27), does not mean that the Foundation that is the teaching of the Prophets and Apostles, with Christ Himself as the Cornerstone, has somehow been destroyed.
So….now even the Church can not be “judgmental”….I suppose God can not be either? And by the way…it is still “barnyard theology”…..nothing has changed in that respect.
I notice MLP did not say the foundation “scriptural understanding of sexuality and marriage” as you claim. Since even you cannot claim that this is true.
They destroyed foundation of your prejudiced and superficial view of scripture.
Some of us have been around long enough to recall the denominational and secular press reports of nearly two decades ago when Janie Spahr was quoted as saying the LBGT lobbying groups would “collapse the church into the gospel.” None of us was quite sure what that meant – the “into the gospel” part, but it does seem that they have succeeded in their goal of “collapsing the church.” While Loren is correct that our foundation is in Christ Jesus, and nothing will prevail against His church, we need to remember that the PC(USA) is not coextensive with the Church of Jesus Christ. That body might just collapse of its own weight. We can recall also with confidence that the Apostle Paul had a strong condemnation of those who preached a false gospel (Galatians 1:8-9).
I’m having a hard time following your reporting with what I heard, as I was in attendance that day. I heard a historical critical exposition of the the 1991 document and then a present day critique more based on race and gender. I thought you were in the same room?