Comment from an evangelical presbyterian perspective and an orthodox confessionally reformed outlook.
Thursday, 12 May 2016
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.
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