By Jeff Gissing
Marriage redefinition continues to be a critical issue before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), which will vote on it later this week. Ironically, no one has framed the issue quite as poignantly as same-sex marriage supporter Mark Achtemeier: “This is an unprecedented spiritual disaster that is taking place beneath our noses.”
He’s right–however, not in the way he intended. Speaking to the Covenant Network–a GLBT lobby organization in the PC(USA)–Achtemeier claimed that nothing less than the gospel is at stake in denominational deliberations on marriage. Continuing to affirm the traditional Christian teaching on marriage–that it is a covenant between a man and a woman–would “undermine the credibility of Christian witness for a generation.” I disagree.
Achtemeier employs what J. Todd Billings has referred to as a “correlationist” approach in his understanding of human sexuality. This sort of approach–common, in different ways, to both liberals and evangelicals–attempts to “correlate” the Christian message with the pulse of the culture..
Editor’s Note: The PCUSA General Assembly passed an Authoritative Interpretation (AI) to allow pastors discretion to conduct same-sex ceremonies in states that allow such unions, voting 371-238 in favor of the motion, and also voted to approve an amendment to the denomination’s Book of Order to change the definition of marriage from “a woman and a man” to “two people” by a margin of 429-175 on June 19.