Friday evening, the PCUSA rejected, albeit narrowly, a redefinition of marriage that would have provided acceptance of same sex “marriages” or unions per denomination bylaws. The vote, which was 338-308 in favor of keeping the definition of marriage between one man and one woman, was a just another episode in the decay of the PCUSA. The fact that this would even be considered by the PCUSA General Assembly should prove distressing enough, regardless of the vote total. In an article on this subject from the Christian Post, Heidi Paterson, pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, MO. stated the following;
As a Presbyterian minister, my job is to provide pastoral care to the real people I serve in my congregation and in my community. Today, our church missed an opportunity to not only take a bold step towards love, but to also clarify confusion that ministers across the country are facing as more and more states expand their recognition of marriage to include same-sex couples. While we didn’t take this step forward today, I have faith that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will one day soon stand on the side of love.
In evaluating this statement, a number of “redefinitions” are present, past the redefinition of marriage that has already been mentioned. First, “As a Presbyterian minister…” is really a contradiction in terms, because no where does the Bible permit women to be in the position of pastoral ministry with authority over men (1 Tim 2:12). This is redefinition number one. Redefinition number two comes by way of the meaning of Presbyterian itself. As a Presbyterian, Ms. Paterson should recognize that Presbyterianism is founded on God’s holy writ and is ultimately dependent on the principle of Sola Scriptura. It is God’s “breathed out” infallible word that is the guiding principle in Presbyterianism and not society, state/federal laws or public opinion. If Ms. Paterson wants to “provide pastoral care to the real people I serve in my congregation and in my community,” and she wants to do it effectively with the power of God, then she should turn not to her own personal feelings on the subject, or public opinion, but rather, to the God who established marriage between one man and one woman, a definition that was confirmed in the pages of the New Testament by the God-man Jesus Christ when He proclaimed;
Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. (Matt 19:4-6, ESV).
Finally, Ms. Paterson believes that by the PCUSA voting to allow same-sex marriage inclusion, that she and her denomination will be standing on the side of “love.” The question that must be raised to this is, by what standard? Is mankind the final standard as to what is loving, or, is the standard the very God of the universe who exists in Triune form? The very God who created the institution of marriage and has revealed His will on the subject in both His special revelation and in nature itself? Hence, the meaning of “love” is redefinition number three. Martial love cannot be found in a mirror image and to call such a thing love, despite the clear teachings of Scripture on the subject, is not just a redefinition of marriage, but also, a redefinition of the meaning of love itself. This redefinition is simply not within the authority of Ms. Paterson or the PCUSA, regardless of any future votes that come up on the floor of the General Assembly.
Lost in all this are the homosexuals themselves. How do we, the church love those in the homosexual community? As a Presbyterian, committed to the Bible as my final standard of faith and practice, this is not a hard question to answer. We in the church need to love the homosexual as the Bible defines love (and not treat them like they are the only sinners in the world…adultery is the pinnacle of sexual sin, which is why it is the sexual sin mentioned in the Decalogue…adultery attacks the covenant family which is the primary means of expanding the covenant…while it is noted that homosexuality falls under the rubric of adultery in the Decalogue, there is still a distinction made…besides, the only reason that you and I are in covenant with God is because of God’s grace and mercy and not because we are more pure, wise or spiritual; “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? 1 Cor 4:7, ESV), which foremost includes the sharing of the Gospel with them. Christ’s words are the words of eternal life and real love looks past the subjective, emotional aspect of personal opinion and into the eternal state or condition of the individual. If you truly love the homosexual, or anyone outside of the Kingdom, share the entire council of God with them, as the Bible presents it and not a redefined version that pleases the conscience of the individual. Anything short of this falls far short of the Bible’s definition of love, as defined not by man, but rather, by God. If the Bible truly is the word of God, and, if words have meaning, tell me who is being more loving?