Saturday, September 30, 2006

Presbyterians Straight Down the Line

The Presbyterian Assembly confirmed its 2004 decision not to train or ordain anyone involved in a sexual relationmship outside marriage. This is a significant decision for the church and will create ripples around the body of Christ and (already) in the liberal media.

What I applaud about the decision is that it is a decision rooted in sexual ethics and leadership rather than the sexuality of leadership. There is no double standard hiding in the closet. Of course the critics will say it hides behind a conservative definition of marriage and thats true. But even our government with its radical liberal social agenda has not tried to change the rules on marriage (even if they did create a backdoor route).

Watch for the media to beat it up and misreport things like the Human Rights Act. This decision only confirms that the Presbyterians are lining up their doctrine with virtually every other church in New Zealand, with the exception of the Methodists, Quakers and some Anglican primates.

Anyway, here's the scoop off the Prebyterian website:

GA06 confirms rule on sexuality and leadership

General Assembly today confirmed its 2004 rule that those involved in a sexual relationship outside of faithful marriage (whether gay, lesbian or heterosexual) can not be trained, licensed, ordained or inducted for leadership within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. This ruling does not apply to homosexual people licensed, ordained or inducted prior to the 2004 Assembly.
Commissioners from presbyteries around the country, together with a considerable number of parishioners, gathered at St Kentigern College as the Rev Dr Kerry Enright, Assembly Executive Secretary, presented the motion to the Assembly. As is the tradition of the Presbyterian Church, open and robust debate followed the motion, which reflects an issue that has been before the Church for many years. Strong feelings were expressed on either side by commissioners from a variety of presbyteries and synods, some of whom had attended many Assemblies and others who were attending for the first time. After voting by ballot, it was announced that the motion had been carried by 230 votes to 124 (65 percent in favour).
At the request of the Moderator, the Right Rev Pamela Tankersley, news of the decision was met with silence, as commissioners were encouraged to hold it in God’s hands. In her closing prayer, Pamela asked that the church keeps in mind that this issue is not a question of winning or losing, but rather about finding God’s way. She remembered those whose lives will be deeply affected by this decision and prayed that “we will be able to deal with each other in love, even when we disagree”.
This rule is not retrospective and only applies to people being assessed for future training or leadership positions. It is not a disciplinary standard and cannot be used to remove a person who is already holding an office.


Queerbear said...

isn't this just more Christian homophobia? Destiny revisited?

BJ said...

Hey Queerbear,

Glad you could drop in.

Homophobia is such a loaded term. When its used to describe a religious worldview it is often intended to discredit or silence opposition to moral issues connected with homosexuality. Some would say that it creates a climate of intimidation by demonising one side of the debate.

I do agree that some sectors of the Christian church are homophobic and indeed the whole car bumper sticker thing was an example of that. But short of that, it is one of those valid religious points of view that not all will agree with - for example the Roman Catholic discrimination against women as priests - see that statement will probably offend some Catholics cause no one wants to be discriminatory.

Oh and the Presbyterian church and Destiny are about as similar as the Exclusive Brethren and a Helen Clark dinner party...