Yesterday, the PCA general assembly passed the following resolution:
Overture 15: “Men who describe themselves as homosexual, even those who describe themselves as homosexual and claim to practice celibacy by refraining from homosexual conduct, are disqualified from holding office in the Presbyterian Church in America.”
I know that this is a risky blog, but it had been mulling in my mind for many weeks. I waited to see what the PCA would do with it
Of course, we know that it is directed towards Greg Johnson. And I have read his book “Still Time to Care.” There was nothing in that book at all that was outside of the traditions and teachings of Christianity. I don’t know anything about REVOICE. All I know is how things are worded. I’ve read the book. I’ve read the overture. And it is deadly to the faith. I beg the PCA to reconsider while the candlestick is still there.
Notice the overture. It does not say, “Those who practice homosexuality.” Nor does it say, “Those who claim that homosexuality is not sinful.” In both cases, I would have agreed. Those who live unrepentantly in any sin should not serve in the ministry.
But it doesn’t say that.
I do not pretend to know the discussions going on in the PCA. All I know about the debate is that I read Pastor Johnson’s book. He is exclusively same sex attracted. He confesses that it is part of his “sinful nature with which he has to struggle his whole life long.” He has never acted on his desires.
He has also never been attracted to a woman.
If it is a question of terminology – that instead of just confession a lifelong spiritual struggle, he used the term “homosexuality”, then they got the terminology wrong. Most that I know of use the term “gay”. But it is just a word. It seems like disqualifying a man from ministry over a word is a little harsh.
The problem seems to be that the man confessed his struggle with sin.
So here is why I am sad. The PCA has just declared that THIS particular struggle with sin, even though it is never acted on, disqualifies a man from the ministry.
And at the same time, every Sunday, many of these same churches recite the creed together. “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.”
Perhaps at this point, they should, for the sake of consistency, add an addendum. “I believe in the forgiveness of sins except for same sex attraction.”
Which other sins will be excluded from the creed?
In Augustine’s day, there was a debate with a certain sect in the church who taught that those who denied Christ to escape persecution could never be forgiven and restored to fellowship.
The church strongly disagreed. This is why “I believe in the forgiveness of sins” was added to the creed.
The reason that this is a sad day is that a cardinal, basic tenet of Christianity was denied – hopefully unwittingly – in the relentless pursuit of “culture war” victory.
They won the battle in the culture war, but lost the battle for the faith doing so.
The only thing left for Christians is to continue to keep silent about their struggles, never ask for help, never confess sin or our struggle with our sinful nature, and remain alone and isolated in the kingdom of God.
But the result will be that everyone will remain silent, especially if they wish to pastor the church. Perhaps THEIR sinful nature will be next on the chopping block.
It makes me sad that this is where the PCA chose to go.
The Heidelberg Catechism states:
That God, for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction, will no more remember my sins, nor the sinful nature with which I have to struggle all my life long; but graciously imputes to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may nevermore come into condemnation.
The church is to be known as a place for sinners. Jesus was called a “friend of sinners”.
We cannot be a “hospital for sinners” if we say, “Except for you.”
Either the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin or it does not. To deny the blood of Christ to one particular kind of sin is deadly to the church.
I pray that the PCA will reconsider their stance on this.