Thursday, 12 May 2016

Homosexual Marriage – A Look Elsewhere

With the recommendation going to the forthcoming General Assembly of the Church of Scotland that those in homosexual marriages be permitted to hold office in the denomination (approved by a majority of presbyteries) the decline in apostasy continues.

It is worth having a look elsewhere to see what other liberal or mixed denominations are suggesting.  

The Reformed Church in America will be facing this issue at their forthcoming G.A. or General Synod as they call it.  A special commission has recommended two options that are in direct opposition to each other, that they either define once and for all marriage as between a man and a woman or, alternatively, as between “two persons”.  No shades of gray here – the suggestion is that it is time to make a decision and cease sitting on the fence.  Of course, the majority liberal consensus is that the latter alternative be chosen.

What then of talk of restrained or reconciled diversity on this issues?  A gritty realism prevails.  It is suggested that if a decisive and clear decision is made that some, most probably the few remaining Reformed evangelicals, could not in good conscience acquiesce with this decision.  If that is the case there would be a need for separation:

RECOMMENDED ACTION OF GENERAL SYNOD: That Synod instruct the General Synod Council to appoint a task force to explore and articulate the options and consequences within the RCA for grace-filled and orderly separation over time, should the different perspectives regarding human sexuality keep us from remaining as one, for report back to the 2017 General Synod.

I respect their realism, and their recognition that if both sides cannot live together then at least the divorce should not be acrimonious.  However, if the PCUSA sets a precedent, then separation will not necessarily be “grace-filled and orderly”, for that denomination has demanded huge leaving payments from congregations who wished to depart, and in some cases have refused them their property.  

Going by past action, the Church of Scotland will not facilitate congregations leaving and any that do will find that they have to fight hard for their properties and funds – no “grace-filled” separations are in prospect!

Of course it is possible that the evangelicals in the Church of Scotland will  again reluctantly accept the reality of the denominational decisions and claim that “restrained diversity” allows them to mentally and spiritually separate themselves from the approval of what Scripture clearly forbids, while remaining in full denominational fellowship with those who embrace or practise these sins.

The RCA report can be found at:

“We may add this consideration, that hitherto toleration of errors and diversity of corrupt opinions have ever been looked upon, and made use of, as a most subtle means for undermining and destroying of the Church.”
James Durham, “A Dying Man’s Testimony to the Church of Scotland” 1659

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