Monday, September 17, 2012
The short statement copied here was approved by the General Assembly of our Church this year. This Action Item has not received a lot of publicity or attention. I believe this Action Item, if we can take it to heart, may be essential to the health, vitality and faithfulness of our Church today.
General Assembly (2012) Action Item: 07-17 From the Church Orders and Ministry Committee; On Honoring Christ in Our Relationships with One Another
This item was approved by the Assembly with a vote of 405 YES to 230 NO.
“The 220th General Assembly (2012) acknowledges that faithful Presbyterians earnestly seeking to follow Jesus Christ hold different views about what the Scriptures teach concerning the morality of committed, same-gender relationships. Therefore, while holding persons in ordered ministry to high standards of covenant fidelity in the exercise of their sexuality, as in all aspects of life, we acknowledge that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) does not have one interpretation of Scripture in this matter. We commit ourselves to continue respectful dialogue with those who hold differing convictions, to welcome one another for God’s glory, and not to vilify those whose convictions we believe to be in error. We call on all Presbyterians to join us in this commitment.”
We are typically polite, courteous and respectful of people in the church with whom we disagree. But when those disagreements rise to questions of biblical authority and interpretation we are seldom, I believe, truly able to engage the depth of our differences. We talk past one another. We retreat into like-minded groups. We fall silent in the face of massive disagreement. We close our hearts to the other. I suspect many of us are convinced, in our heart of hearts, that there is only one way, one correct answer and one true interpretation.
Are we in the spiritual, emotional and intellectual place within our own selves to truly believe “that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) does not have one interpretation of Scripture”? Is this not good news for us? This is an Action Item that may become a prayer concern. May we each “commit ourselves to continue respectful dialogue with those who hold differing convictions, to welcome one another for God’s glory, and not to vilify those whose convictions we believe to be in error.”