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June 19, 2014
Column #1,713
Presbyterian Church USA To Marry Any “Two People”
By Mike McManus

By a vote of 420 to 175, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) changed the definition of marriage to be between “two people” rather than being the union of a man and a woman. That change must be ratified by the church’s 172 regional bodies known as Presbyteries.

However, the church’s General Assembly also voted 371 to 238 to allow pastors to marry same-sex couples immediately in the 19 states where gay marriage is legal.

“What concerns me most is that the debate took place without an appeal to, or seeking the counsel of Scripture,” remarked Carmen Fowler LaBerge, President of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, a conservative watchdog group.

“The entire debate was couched in terms of feelings or desires. Feelings are a terrible barometer. This was a General Assembly which said, `We love everyone.’ Unfortunately, when you are making a hard decision, there is a need to reflect the will and wisdom of God. What God has said is not an affirmation of everyone, but an affirmation of holiness and righteousness.”

If the Presbyterian Church can marry any “two people,” will it marry a brother and sister, or a mother and son, or a father and daughter? That’s unclear.

Genesis 2 is clear in defining marriage: “The Lord God said, `It is not good that man should be alone…I will make a helper comparable to him.’…

”Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

A Christian denomination which does not consult Scripture before making such a major decision, can no longer call itself Christian.

The Presbyterian Lay Committee put it more starkly, charging that “the General Assembly has committed an express repudiation of the Bible, mutually agreed upon Confessions of the PCUSA, thousands of years of faithfulness to God’s clear commands…This is an abomination.”

The Presbyterian Church once had 4.5 million members. It began debating the gay issue in 1978. By 2010 it had shrunk to 2.1 million, as hundreds of congregations left to form the Presbyterian Church in America in 1973 and an Evangelical Presbyterian Church was created in 1981. Today those denominations have a total of a half million members.

In 2010 PCUSA voted to ordain openly gay men and women as clergy, sparking the creation of ECO – Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, which is moving toward 100,000 members. Unlike the PCA and most EPC churches, it believes in female ordination.

“We want to hold onto the core theology, the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ while making progress on how we respond to the world. We are not changing Scripture, but changing our strategy, said Rev. Dr. Dana Allin, the church’s top executive.

By contrast, PCUSA is changing Scripture, but not its strategy.

Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, issued a statement: “By overturning natural marriage the PCUSA is only accelerating its already fast-paced demise. It will become even smaller, whiter and older.

“Only declining denominations reject historic Christian standards, and in every case that rejection reinforces the decline. Who respects a church that only echoes the secular world?”

In an interview, Tooley added, “They are not redefining marriage, but are on the path to dissolving marriage. If marriage is everything, it is nothing. Once you separate male and female, it has no objective purpose left remaining.”

In declining denominations, this decision accelerates the decline. That’s bad for the church. This choice for sexual inclusion takes priority over the health of the church and the imperative of the Gospel.

Indeed, for the past two years, PCUSA has lost 200 churches annually and 100,000 members a year, dropping to 1.76 million in 2013. At that pace the denomination will not exist in 20 years.

The same pattern of decline can be seen in The Episcopal Church which has plunged from 3.4 million in 1965 to 1.8 million in 2013. The election of Gene Robinson, an active homosexual, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 prompted hundreds of churches to leave. About 800 of them have formed a new denomination, the Anglican Church of North America, with 100,000 people.

Ironically, Robinson divorced his wife to marry his male lover, and recently they divorced. So he’s divorced both a woman and a man!

The Biblical call is for a man and woman to marry for life.

Studies prove that those who do so are happier, healthier, wealthier and have more sex and better sex. Married women live four years longer and men, ten years longer than the divorced or never-married.

God honors those who honor Him.

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