On Thursday, June 19, 2014 (Yesterday), the Presbyterian Church USA voted in favor of gay marriages and to allow the clergy to preside over gay weddings. Reportedly, "the authoritative interpretation passed 371-238 (61 percent in favor), and the constitutional amendment passed 429-175 (71 percent in favor)." (Pres-Outlook). According to Jeff Karoub and Rachel Zoll,
The top legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted by large margins Thursday to recognize same-sex marriage as Christian in the church constitution, adding language that marriage can be the union of "two people," not just "a man and a woman."On its Facebook page, PCUSA announced:"BREAKING NEWS: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastors can now marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal."
The amendment approved by the Presbyterian General Assembly requires approval from a majority of the 172 regional presbyteries, which will vote on the change over the next year. But in a separate policy change that takes effect at the end of this week's meeting, delegates voted to allow ministers to preside at gay weddings in states where the unions are legal and local congregational leaders approve. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage.
The votes, during a national meeting in Detroit, were a sweeping victory for Presbyterian gay-rights advocates. The denomination in 2011 eliminated barriers to ordaining clergy with same-sex partners, but ministers were still barred from celebrating gay marriages and risked church penalties for doing so. Alex McNeill, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, a gay advocacy group, said the decisions Thursday were "an answer to many prayers."(Associated Press)
This democratic step doesn't lack a religious spirit. On its website, PCUSA wrote: "Both decisions came with much thought, discussion and prayer, and clearly the entire body that is the PC(USA) will be interpreting these actions for some time." (PCUSA.ORG). Others have applauded the decision as "answer to many prayers". Niraj Warikoo reports:
Alex McNeill, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, a gay advocacy group, said the decisions Thursday were "an answer to many prayers" of same-sex couples.However, we must note that NOT every religious looking spirit is approved by God. The Bible talks about Israelites turning to pagan worship and accepting the ways of the world, and bringing into God's Temple in Jerusalem the abominations of the world. Yet, they were very assured of God's protection because they argued that they hadn't forsaken Jehovah after all. But, God responded:
"We will keep praying that the majority of our 172 presbyteries will confirm that all loving couples can turn to their churches when they are ready to be married," McNeill said.
The conservative Presbyterian Lay Committee decried the votes in Detroit as an "abomination."(USA Today)
"Do not trust in these lying words, saying,`The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.'I hope that the case of the Presbyterian Church in the USA is still open to redemption. In the case of the Israelites, God had strictly commanded:
"Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say,`We are delivered to do all these abominations'? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it," says the LORD. But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. And now, because you have done all these works," says the LORD, "and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. (Jer 7:4,9-14 NKJ)
"Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. (Jer 7:16 NKJ)Going astray after the world is not something that happens suddenly. It begins by standing in the way of sinners (Psalm 1:1), loving the things of the world (1John 2:15), seeking friendship with the world (James 4:4), and drifting away gradually by allowing foundational truths to slip away (Heb.2:1). It is like putting a frog in cold water vessel upon a stove that is gradually heating up. The frog will never jump out, because it is gradually getting used to to the changing temperature, so much that it doesn't know when the heat has become fatal. It is what Jesus called as lukewarmness - maintaining one's temperature in conformity to the surrounding (neither hotter nor colder), being world-like.
This is, certainly, one aspect of the Jezebel spirit in the Church that Jesus sternly warned against.
"Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works." (Rev 2:20-23 NKJ)Of course, those who "do not have this doctrine" of the majority have decided to leave the contaminated label.
Hunter Farrell, the PC(USA)’s director of World Mission, told the assembly that 17 of the denomination’s global partners have indicated they might break relations with the PC(USA) if the denomination allows its ministers to perform same-sex marriages. Those 17 international partners are in 14 countries, Farrell said, primarily in Africa and South America, and involve some of the denomination’s most active partnerships. (Pres-Outlook)It must be noteworthy that when Scotland became the 17th country to allow same-sex marriages in February 2014, the move was opposed by both the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. (Reuters). It is tragic then that a few months later the Presbyterian Church of USA should ecclesiastically vote in favor of something that was opposed by the Church in another country. The frog in the heating pot, the lukewarm spit-worthy water, and Jezebel might be the right pictures if pictures speak clearer than words.
What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?