LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Regional presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are voting on whether to ratify a vote taken by the General Assembly and regional delegates last year to change the definition of marriage in its law book and to allow ministers to perform same-sex “marriages” in states where the practice is legal.
As previously reported, last June, the General Assembly of PCUSA, headquarted in Louisville, Kentucky, voted 76-24 to allow licensed ministered to officiate such ceremonies. Delegates within the denomination also approved a proposal to change language in the PCUSA Book of Order to redefine marriage from being a union between “a man and woman” to rather only “two persons.”
But the change was not to become official until its 172 regional presbyteries across the country voted on the matter, 40 percent of which have done so thus far. According to reports, of those that have voted thus far, 60 have been in favor, with 23 against.
Although voting will continue into the spring, and nearly half of the regional presbyteries have yet to cast their vote, some believe that PCUSA will likely approve the measures. A majority vote is needed for ratification. The latest regional votes—all in favor—include Charlotte, N.C. 146-107, Chicago, Ill. 179-60, North Alabama 28-24 and Santa Fe, N.M. 99-21.
“I was certain this day would come sooner or later,” Janet Edwards, an ordained minister who serves on the board of the homosexual advocacy group More Light Presbyterians, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think the reason it has come sooner is because of the fantastic love of lesbian and gay couples. We see in these couples such a commitment to each other, which we all recognize as marriage.”
But others have expressed disappointment in the direction that PCUSA is headed.
“This is a clear departure from the plain meaning of the Scriptures on the subject,” the Presbyterian Lay Committee, which opposes homosexual behavior, said in a statement. “This is also a clear indication that the denomination has made up her mind to go her own way—in direct contradiction to the way set forth by God.”
Last June, the Committee urged congregations to financially boycott PCUSA over its rebellion against God.
“You should refuse to fund the General Assembly, your synod, your presbytery and even your local church if those bodies have not explicitly and publicly repudiated these unbiblical actions,” it said. “God will not be mocked, and those who substitute their own felt desires for God’s unchangeable truth will not be found guiltless before a holy God.”
One anonymous individual whose op-ed was published in AL.com also called upon PCUSA to place God’s word above the feelings of men.
“What do men of God find hard to understand in Romans 1?” they wrote. “Keep in mind the truth of God’s word. If you have a Scripture verse, you have an answer; everything else is an opinion.”
“Paul tells us, ‘Purify yourself from everything that contaminates the body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God,'” the open letter stated. “Today I urge you to be a Paul. You do not face chains, imprisonment or death for speaking God’s word, but you will be called before God on Judgment Day.”
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