Response to PCUSA Announcement on Gay Clergy

By: Diane Chandler
Thursday, May 12th, 2011

A few months ago, I came across a vignette in a book that noted a discussion between an African and American clergyman.  The American clergyman was sharing how the American church has become more lenient toward homosexuality and that it was counter-cultural to voice any disapproval on the issue.  The African clergyman was perplexed, believing that what the Bible said about homosexuality is true and that the growing laissez-faire stance of the American church on this issue was cause for great concern.  The African clergyman responded, “If you do not believe the Bible, then why did you bring it to us in the first place?”

As reported by the New York Times, the national assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) of 2.1 million members voted 205 to 56, with 3 abstentions, to eliminate the celibacy requirement for unmarried clergy in its constitution on Tuesday, May 10, 2011, opening the door for the gays to openly serve as ordained clergy. This vote reverses a decision made two years ago where the majority of presbyteries voted against the measure. The change takes effect on July 10, 2011.  The PCUSA follows in the footsteps of the Episcopal Church in 2003, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2009, and other denominations caving into continual gay and lesbian advocacy and the tide of cultural acceptability.

On their website, the PCUSA, headquartered in Louisville, offered both before and after wording comparisons: 

BEFORE.  The wording of the former provision (6.0106b) stated: “Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness [this clause removed in approved provision below]. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.”

AFTER.  The wording of the approved provision (G-6.0106b) states: “Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life. The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all the requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation. Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.”

Commenting in surprise to have the needed votes (as quoted in the NY Times piece), Rev. Gradye Parsons, the stated clerk for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), “attributed the turnabout in the votes to both the growing acceptance of homosexuality in the larger culture, and to church members simply wearying of the conflict.”

Once again, I’m incredulous.  Let me be clear.  I am not supporting gay bashing, bullying, or denigration of any one on the basis of sexual preference.  At the same time, I am taking a stand against the tsunami of public opinion that clearly supports the notion that it is okay to have sex outside of a committed relationship between a man and a woman.  There will be those who appeal to the Christian message of loving everyone as a reason to accept gays and lesbians as ordained clergy.  But the truth is that American is continuing in a downward ethical spiral that compromises our moral integrity and compass.

  • How do followers of Jesus respond in a culture that has lost any spiritual mooring regarding the holiness of God?  Put another way, how do we explain to our children that some churches (like the PCUSA) approve of sex outside of a committed marital relationship between a man and a woman?
  • How do we respond to these cultural trends without seeming to operate in what some may view as both being narrow and judgmental, yet at the same time dialoging about these important issues in a spirit of love, grace, and truth?

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Diane Chandler
This entry was posted by on Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 2:54 pm and is filed under Faith & Culture, Uncategorized, Worldview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

29 Responses to “Response to PCUSA Announcement on Gay Clergy”

  1. Debra Bennett says:

    I once heard someone say that the church should not discriminate because Jesus didn’t discriminate. It should be welcoming of all people regardless of their differences because Jesus was all about love (not verbatim, but something to that effect). My response to this was, “you are absolutely correct!” The church should never stop showing the love of God, and everyone should be be welcomed to come. But in my opinion, welcoming doesn’t mean compromising. Jesus’ purpose was to fulfill the law, not to break it…and he did just that. In the gospels we see him using the very people society deemed unfit, unclean and unworthy. But in his accepting them, not once do we see him condoning their wrongs or encouraging them not to change their lifestyles.

    I would say that the church is venturing into unchartered territory, but Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. If we look through the epistles, we’ll see that the societies in which the early Christians dealt with are no different from today’s society. I’m currently reading through some letters written by various emperors and historians regarding the Jews. During ancient times, people in other cultures found them to be an egnima. One of the writers commented on how different the Jews were from the other cultures. They didn’t eat the same things nor did they conduct themselves in the same manner. Seeing as to how Christianity is a subset of Judaism, maybe that’s telling us that we should be different.

    So to answer your question, how should we respond? Well, the only thing I can say is by proclaiming the truth. Telling the world about what Jesus did and what He came to offer us. I know people are watering down the gospel in order to add people to the body, but I think sinners are looking for something different. They are tired being in the dark. They want the peace and happiness of the light.

    • Debra, thank you for your response. The point you make that the church should be welcoming but that this doesn’t mean compromising aligns with Scripture. And as you suggest, this issue is not a new one under the sun and that proclaiming the truth of what God’s holy Word clearly says is vital. But more important is the heart-place that we have in proclaiming this Truth.

      Too often, the church makes a bifurcation between saints and sinners (i.e., noun form), without acknowledging that all have sinnned and have come short of the glory of God and that followers of Jesus still sin. But the true good news is that we have a Savior who will forgive our sin and cleanse us from all of our uncleanness. Those who are believers in Jesus still sin.

      One of my main points in my response posts is that Jesus saw beneath the “sin” to the sinner’s heart, his/her brokenness, and knew that He was the One who could bring salvation, redemption, and restoration to the one who seemed farthest away from Him, in order to heal the deepest possible wounds. The promise of forgiveness of our past and the promise of eternal life in our future coallesce in Jesus and Jesus alone.

      No other religion other than Christianity offers a Savior who, although sinless, willingly died for our sins. He has died for every ungodly act, attitude, and thought. And there is no depth of sin that Jesus will not forgive, if we confess our sins and receive His forgiveness. This goes for all sexual sin as well.

      I appreciate your closing comment that what people ultimately want is peace and happiness. I believe this is a common thread throughout all humanity and culture. And the irony is that the only one who can provide this abiding peace is a relationship with Jesus, the ultimate lover of our souls.

      Diane

  2. Gene O'Dell says:

    Dear Ms. Chandler. As a Presbyterian, and one who has had conversations with Africans about this issue, I can say that the correct response is to point out that we do not follow the dietary laws of the Bible, persecute those who call themselves witches (or those whose neighbors call them witches, as happens in many African nations) or prevent women from preaching in church and being ministers. An understanding of love and Gods grace are paramount, and the gifts of gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered people who are called to ministry is honored and accepted. The theological arguements for GLBT ordination have been made, and made well, by many Presbyterian (and other) Christian scholars and professors of theology. Love and acceptance play a part, but sound theological reasoning is the underpinning of the increasing welcome of All of Gods children into the life of the church.

    The term “sexual preference” is no more appropriate than “fundy” or other such derogotory terms for conservatives by the way. It inplies thats one sexuality is a choice, which no educated person now holds as truth. While I am sure you did not mean it in this manner, it is often used to discredit the sexual identity of whole groups of people, and as such, is insulting and inappropriate. It looks very, very narrow and judgmental indeed.

    Thank you for the opportunity to post.

    Sincerely,

    Gene O’Dell

    • Gene,

      Thank you for your thoughts. I believe your added discussion aligns with the perspectives of the various denominations that are ordaining those who are gay. And although you refer to “an understanding of love and God’s grace” as being paramount, I would also suggest that God’s Word as reflected in the Bible provides our life book for our attitudes, heart, and conduct. And God has mentioned some clear guidelines related to sexuality, as being in a committed relationship between a husband and wife.

      Further, although I am not a psychologist nor have done extensive research into GLBT identity, I do believe that “sexual preference” is very much a part of a smorgasbord of sexuality activity and choices that are rampant in our culture today. This is not intended to demean but rather simply my own personal observation.

      Thank you for your perspectives, Gene,

      Diane

  3. Jay Weemhoff says:

    I tell the youth that we are not the judges but the word of God is and we can hold ourselves and others up to that judgement as a way of guiding and living our lives. The problem with the PCUSA and others is that scripture has become secondary to political and cultural correctness.

    • Jay,

      I appreciate your comment and agree with it, knowing that the tides of culture have become waves into the church related to social issues.

  4. Gene O'Dell says:

    Dear Dr. Chandler. I did not read your profile, nor was I aware of your title. Accordingly, I referred to you in my earlier post as Ms. I apologize for the oversight on my part.

    Sincerely,

    Gene O’Dell

  5. Fred Edwards says:

    If the church cannot stand as the rock of truth then it is nothing more than a social club. The PCUSA is a left wing social club which changes any Biblical rules that conflict with today’s culture. Our children have lost God in school and the church is now deserting them. Though it’s harder and harder HOME must be the bastion of belief in right and wrong.

    • Fred,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The PCUSA joins other denominations in trying to be politically correct and seen as non-judgmental and receiving. This issue of identifying disobedience to God’s scriptural commands and values, while at the same time not being judgmental, is a delicate straddle that the church generally has not handled well. At times, the church has sadly been at the forefront of gay-bashed and ridiculing those who are gay and transgendered. And I unequivocably oppose this position.

      The question becomes: “How can the church speak truth into this matter and yet provide an unjudgmental approach that extends the love of God to those who, like you and me, need to be transformed through His grace?”

      Diane

  6. Steve King says:

    Diane, it is not possible to appear loving and open minded to folks on the otherside of this issue and still take a clear stand. Just be aware you will be branded as a hatefilled homophobe and a bigot. That doesn’t mean you are those things. Just be aware nothing you say will matter to the other side once you stand on scripture.

    • Steve,

      Thank you for your perspective. Although I can appreciate what you share, I do take another view.

      On one hand, we must acknowledge that God’s precepts and commands are non-negotiable and are provided for humanity’s well-being. God has set these precepts, laws, and commands in place to protect and further our flourishing, not to thwart it. On the other, the hateful attitudes that some “in the church” have displayed toward those who are gay are far from godly.

      And Scripture reveals Jesus compassion to the sexually broken, most notably the woman at the well (John 4) and the woman caught in adultery (John 8). The sexual brokenness of our age is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the deep spirit/soul brokenness of our time. At the root of this brokenness is the fact that we, as a culture, have lost any sense of the notion of God as Creator and Sustainer. Therefore, without God, we become gods unto ourselves and affirm our own destiny as solely self-directed.

      I think that you and me, as well as the church, need to find a way to speak the truth in love on this issue like never before because underneath behavior (any kind of rebellious behavior for that matter) is a deep sense of brokenness that only the love of God can met. Toward that end, I pray that my attitude will be consistent with the compassionate attitude of Jesus on this matter, while at the same time being uncompromising in affirming biblical truth.

      Thank you again for your input~

      Diane

      • Monica Masiko says:

        I read an excellent book by Stanley Grenz, titled “Welcoming but not Affirming.” I highly recommend it. It is not bashing gays, it covers the issues well, and establishes a biblically sound approach to be welcoming but not affirming. In observing the dialogue between Dr. Chandler and Steve King, I would like to state that I share the view that it is a more Christ-like response to homosexuality to be welcoming but not affirming of the sexual behavior. I find it interesting that this position is misuderstood and disliked by persons on both sides of the argument. To the christians who are staunchly anti-homosexual, I am mistrusted for being open and loving to men and women who live a gay lifestyle. To those who consider themselves gay, I could never successfully argue a biblical case against the sexual behavior to their satisfaction. Well, what am I going to do? Love them anyway.

        (From Dr. Chandler: Thank you, Monica, or your comment and for providing the resource by Stanley Grenz.)

  7. Hello Dr. C

    My frustrations are very similar to yours. I too refuse the bashing of anyone. However, our testimony to the goodness of God, the freedom of being in Christ, and the life changing presence of the Holy Spirit is marginalized in relational behaviors outside the standards of the scripture. I find it strange that we would allow new freedoms based on old idolatries.

    I wonder if the problem is a misunderstanding of law and grace? If the concept of law is removed from a covenant understanding and placed in some type of universal, forensic paradigm, then I can see how the death and resurrection of Christ could be misunderstood to remove ethical boundaries. The proclamation of freedom in John 8.36 is recognized only as license to follow any passion that would creep into our lives. The law is ended, so we are now free to love.

    When in actuality we are freed from weakness of flesh found in the earlier covenant. (Rom 8) The coming of the Son of David to the right hand of the Father allows us to enter into a deep intimacy unfamiliar to those before the ascension. Now the Imago Dei can be manifest as we are conformed to the image of Christ through the Spirit. Of coarse we must discover the realities of this new creation, but we are constrained by the example of Christ ( Eph 5).

    blessings
    gary

    • Gary,

      Thank you for your thoughtful post. You raise a wonderful consideration that there is a misunderstanding of law and grace that then leads to the removal of ethical boundaries.

      It would seems that the reaction against God’s universal laws for all humankind, as set forth in the Bible, are seen as restrictive and butts an internal sense of freedom. Yet we know that through grace just the opposite is true.

      I suggest that the reason that there is a misunderstanding of law and grace relates to the dismantling of any notion of God as Creator, who created humanity in His image to be His representatives upon the earth to steward it and to reflect His glory.

      The question becomes how we can remain resolute in standing for God’s precepts and commands (oh, how we hate that word “commands”) while being loving. I think many of us, as believers, have a difficult time being opposed to something without rejecting the person. And unfortunately, this is what those who are gay often see.

      Perhaps it is time for the church to seriously think through this issue and offer their congregations a well-thought through biblical response (okay, an apologetic) for how to respond to this issue in love and grace without feeling like they are dragged into the funnel of political correctness.

      Often believers in Jesus are tentative to weigh in on this issue because they don’t know what to say, how to communicate without sounding judgmental, and don’t want to be viewed as fundamentalist and out of touch.

      I think this discussion thread is offering a place to examine our own views and how we can truly be salt and light on a critical national and global issue. I appreciate your adding your valuable perspective.

      Diane

  8. Steve King says:

    Diane, I agree with you that the Church (or members thereof) have been needlessly derogatory to those struggling with sexuality. It has not been a safe place to voice that they have same sex attraction and do not want it. However, I still stand by my statement that no matter how kind you are, the GLBT movement will only see that deep down you view their behavior as sinful. Now, I am not saying that faithful Christians cannot have a positive impact on individuals in the GLBT movement. It is possible and important. What I am saying is not to allow someone else’s fear and hatred to define you. Let their invectives return to them with love. while you stand on truth.

    One of my largest concerns is the inroad being made in so many Christian Colleges by people who define themselves as GLBT. I sense a sea change is underway and I’m quite concerned about it. These inroads are not for the purpose of sharing their struggles and how to move beyond them. These inroads are for the purpose of forcing Christian Colleges to change their policies by first recognizing their group officially. That step must never happen or lawsuits will abound until the ruling board of the college is forced to change everything. What I see in the Christian colleges reminds me of the mainline denominations a generation ago.

    I know this sounds negative. It is not meant to be. It is realistic!

    What are your thoughts?

    • Steve,

      Thanks for clarifying. I believe I understand what you initially were trying to say. If I’m correct, what you are saying is that no matter how loving a believer in Jesus is that those of GLBT dispostion will take issue with their sense of feeling judged and seen as sinful.

      Might this also come from a conviction deep within the human heart that alerts anyone engaging in behavior contradictory to the Word of God that something is misaligned and that one is going astray?

      Such conviction can easily be off-loaded on others.

      I’m more interested in having the right heart in alignment with compassion than I am about being misunderstood.

      Diane

  9. Gene O'Dell says:

    Dear Dr. Chandler

    After reading the postings here, I have to say that the post by Steve King is right.

    Those congregations and denominations that still treat GLBT people as sinners simply for being who God made them to be (GLBT) will indeed be treated as what they are; wrongheaded and yes, bigoted. No doubt you do not see yourself that way, but, that is the manner in which the society, and yes, more and more of the Church, will be reacting to such attempts at discussing what we consider a settled, religiously and culturally, issue. The “love the sinner hate the sin” approach is, if anything, more insulting to most GLBT people I know, their families, and their allies, than the honest and forthright hatred of the Fred Phelps type persons.

    The idea that one can call whole groups of believers sinners based on literalist fundamentalist theology, and work to keep their gifts from being expressed in the pulpit and life of the church and NOT be marked as hateful for such behavior (the decision on what is hateful is not up for debate, as much as conservatives dearly want it to be) is, in fact, hard for us to even fathom.

    There is no middle ground, and if a person or entity objects to full rights, due dignity and respect for Gay people and their rights to ordination, marriage and due recognition for their families, yes, the person or entity will be seen as hateful. Becasue, well…the person or entity will be acting as such.

    And, while this saddens me, for my impression of you is that you do not intend this to be, or even want it, you will have earned the title. From the view of those of us on this side, the moral debate is over, and it’s a black and white issue, and as settled as the issues of racism or the role of women in the church. Those who take opposing issues on these issues selfom see themselves as hateful either, and often quote scripture to back themselves up. The implication that my GLBT familiy members, my former pastor, and Gay friends would be interested in even listening to anyone who would imply that they were in some manner morally deficient because of who they are (they, and God, and their church help them define this. No one else) would be grossly insulting to them, and you would not even be allowed to finish the third sentence of a “I love you but not your….” conversation without being branded as hateful, and the attempt at conversation promptly ended. Indeed, in recent discussions among Presbyterian and even Baptist groups, I have seen this occur several times.

    To think otherwise is to be nothing less than naive. To offer the conservative opinion makes one, by GLBT people and their families and their loved ones very understanding, which will not change, look hateful and bigoted, even if kind and loving sounding words are used.

    Thank you for the opportunity to post. I am glad you were not upset by my earlier misuse of your title. I did not think you would be, but a visitor to a posting area, especially one with ideas not shared by most who will post here, or the owner of the blog, must be very careful about manners.

    Sincerely,

    Gene O’Dell

    • Gene,

      I just responded to your other post. And I know that by speaking on this issue how I proffer being misunderstood and likewise judged. To me the issue is far more than, as you put it, “black or white” or “either/or.”

      It seems to me that every person on the planet shares, as my friend John Rankin identifies, these four qualities…a desire for (1) peace, (2) order, (3) stability, and (4) hope in order to live, love, laugh, and learn. I believe that you might agree.

      What I am advocating is that this overarching need for peace, order, stability, and hope are posited in a relationship with Jesus Christ and in following His precepts. This goes for every person on the planet, from young and old, to various ethnicities, to gender, to culture. And when we abide by His design and precepts, we will find the true peace that passes understanding.

      Gene, I appreciate your reply and offering your perspective and input.

      Diane

  10. Randy Heinzeroth says:

    Hey Dr. Chandler,
    I have struggled withthis issue for many years now and have always had the notion that we should “hate the sin and love the sinner” but I don’t believe there are any scriptures that teach us to ordain the sinner to teacht he righteous. Our capacities to speak out against this behavior leaves us in automatic persecution from those who advocate showing love to those who are homosexual.
    In my Pastoral Theology class, we broached this topic and it is better to NOT preach about this from the pulpit for the simple fact that there are many in the pews who will feel alienated for their “closet behaviors” outside of the church. Many people live in denial or feel it is okay to live on the “down low” as it has been labeled. “Down low” meaning that many men are bi-sexual and hiding their homosexual encounters.
    I feel that our society has so many of the same issues that were prevalent in the Intertestamental Period that helped usher in our Savior so I also believe that we are nearing the Second Coming as a result of these same signs that God has clearly defined as an abomination. The question for us all at this point should be, “How do we love the sinner without everyone automatically assuming that we advocate the sin?”
    I feel your pain!
    Rev. Randy Heinzeroth

    • Randy, thank you for your input here. William P. Campell wrote the book, Turning Controversy into Chruch Ministry: A Christlike REsponse to Homosexuality (Zondervan, 2010).

      Related to distilling this issue, he astutely observes, “Without God’s help, it is a daunting task. Grace without truth pampers, confuses, and even deceives. Truth without grace cuts, wounds, and destroys. Those who approach thorny matters such as sexual addiction, homosexuality, and adultery with only truth become experts in alientation. Those who bring love into discussions but avoid the truth are unable to confront patters of behavior that hurt self and society” (p. 13).

      Pastors such as Brian McLaren, pastor and leader in the emergent church movement, register tentativeness regarding the issue. See his 2006 online article: (http://www.outofur.com/archives/2006/01/brian_mclaren_o.html) where he submits to agony over the issue.

      And increasingly each of us, including pastors, cannot not think critically about this issue.

      William Campbell makes the point that if local congregations had not neglected ministry to those struggling with homosexual attraction 20 years ago that this issue would not be rising up with such force against church values today.

      Perhaps like me, you might find this an nteresting perspective worth considering. However, we cannot go back 20 years. How will we respond today?

      Dr. Chandler

  11. Peter Brown says:

    Dr. Chandler, thank you for this post. I happened to see it when I saw you mention it on facebook. Your approach is sensitive, thought-provoking and intellectually responsible.

    I have to admit, when I heard the news about PCUSA’s changed stance my heart sunk. I am prepared for, although saddened by, additional denominations inevitably taking this stance in the future.

    I also must say I admire your courage to note and stimulate discussion on the controversial topic! Thank you for opening this dialogue.

    • Peter,

      I appreciate your taking a few moments to comment. I recall J. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General who commented that it would take a generation to change cultural attitudes about smoking cigarettes. With lobbying, marketing restrictions, and laws prohibiting smoking, within one generation the prevalence of smoking has steadily diminished.

      Those in the GLBT lobby also know the truth of Everett’s observation and have slowly and steadily advocated in the courts, traditional/social media, educational initiatives, and other venues to change the mindset and morals of a generation and culture. Issues of same-sex marriage now increasingly are on the table in each U.S. state. We think back to 2008 when Proposition 8 in California was passed that adds the provision that only marriage between a man and a woman is recognized in California. Very recently, Maryland passed legislation that gives same-sex couples full marriage rights as heterosexual couples. These legislative efforts are being steadily pushed through legislative processes.

      The issue relates to the conscience of a nation. And sadly in regards to any kind of moral values, we are losing our conscience.

  12. mwaddell says:

    I have to say that I agree with Dr. Chandler. You have to be firm in your beliefs or else you can’t stand strong in times of trouble and persecution. It would be like having no spine, and flopping every which way the wind blows.

    There have been some comments that have said roughly that in order to show the full measure of love, we have to be fully accepting and open to whatever direction they are already heading. If it is theologically acceptable to allow people who are actively living in a way the Bible has said is sexually wrong(i.e. sex outside of marriage, other various sexual sins), then wouldn’t it also be theologically acceptable to allow pedophiles to work in a church’s children group, or a serial killer be the youth pastor. The Bible states that to kill someone is wrong in many places, and it says that sexual immorality is wrong. If you are going to say one sin is not really a sin, then you must say that all sins are not really sins. When that happens than you lose the need for salvation and Christ’s death on the Cross means nothing. These are the thoughts a college student who sees these questions everyday of the semester.

    • Appreciate your observations and comments.

      I think this issue is easy to become so polarized, such that we take one side (vehemently oppose: focusing on Scripture and truth) or the other side (loving that does not take any position whatsoever but accepts any and all things).

      The issue you raise relates to sin. And the cultural war is emerges when one conveniently does not believe that their behavior is sinful. And human nature has a very elaborate means to camouflage, minimize, and deny sin. By its very nature, sin is deceptive, and that is sin of any kind (sexual or otherwise).

      I’m grateful for the work of those who are attempting to understand, counsel, and walk alongside those who are gay and who are struggling with same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior. One is Dr. Mark Yarhouse, who directs the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity (http://www.sexualidentityinstitute.org/). His books include: (1) Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate (2000), (2) Sexual Identity: A Guide to Living in the Times Between the Times (2003), and (3) Ex-Gays: A Longitudal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation (2007).

      These resources may help us gain a greater sensitivity to the issues and struggles that gays experience and how the church might respond.

      I appreciate your comments on this issue, as we all think through it sensitively.

  13. Dave Belles says:

    Dr Chandler,
    As I have read the exchange between yourself and Gene O’Dell, I find it curious that the contention that “God made me this way” has not been scrutinized more. I believe both sides of the debate would admit that creation is not in its original “unspoiled” state as a result of sin. If we take the effects of sin seriously, how much of anyone’s current condition is as God would truly have intended it to be? Perhaps a better contention than “this is how God made me” is “this is how I am given the current state of creation.” The differences between the two sides would then be placed on a theological footing (a disagreement of the extent of the Fall’s effects) and then whether the prohibitions against homosexual behavior found in the Old Testament should apply. It seems to me that the failure to address the question of the extent of the Fall first has made the entire argument about whether an Old Testament prohibition (which is assumed to represent a primitive culture) applies to apparently “health” people today, rather than the more accurate and legitimate question of the theological implications of the Fall upon our physical makeup and its proper functioning.
    Thanks, Dave

    • Thank you, Dave, for commenting.

      Underlying the question you raise about “God made me this way” presumes a belief in God and in creation. I’m don’t believe that this is the starting point for most conversations related to homosexuality. This may be true for those who claim a biblical faith in God who at the same time consider themselves gay. But this would not hold true for others who do not consider themselves believers in Jesus.

      The notion that “God created me this way” has received some consideration from Christian social scientists (i.e., sociologist Jack Balswick and family counselor Judy Balswick, who see homosexuality as a confluence of the social environment, social learning, and a possible predisposition for homosexuality. However, causes of homosexuality are complex and beyond a blog discussion.

      However regardless of one’s orientation, each person must decide before God how he/she will live out his/her life. And when it boils down to it, each of us must address how we will behave in light of God’s Word. We need to keep in mind that the Genesis account of creating male and female was designed to reflect God’s image in relationship.

      So how one juxtaposes God’s design with current attitudes, values, and behavior becomes the question. And how one takes responsiblity for their sexuality, whether homosexual or heterosexual, becomes the focal issue in light of God’s truth.

      Appreciate your thoughts, Dave.

  14. stephanie says:

    This topic hits home for our family because we attend a Presbyterian church which is a member of the PCUSA. We were not drawn to this body of believers because of this affiliation but because of the strong Bible teaching and a welcoming community. We were not previously members of a presbyterian church but this became our church home. Our children are content and growing in the childrens’ ministry and I am growing in the women’s ministries and play guitar and sing on the worship team.

    The news and discussion in a church “coffee talk” meeting is forcing us to make a choice between the mostly conservative people that have become our church family and a stand by a denomination that forces this social agenda on us. It comes down to a very difficult choice because we do not want to be wishy washy with the truth while raising our family. If the discussion of sexual orientation comes up, it undermines our foundation as parents to point to God’s best way for us to live and more importantly, the power of the Gospel to transform us and empower us to live our lives to please God and even to die to our own desires.

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