Presbyterians Again Uphold Sexuality Standard

April 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Christian News

An attempt to delete the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s constitutional requirement that its officers practice “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness” has been defeated. As of April 27, 89 of the denomination’s 173 local presbyteries had voted against the deletion, while only 69 had voted in favor.

The 2008 PCUSA General Assembly had proposed replacing the “fidelity and chastity” requirement with vaguer language lacking any standard for sexual behavior. It would have opened the door for ordination of persons in homosexual and other non-marital relationships. The amendment would have gone into effect only if ratified by a majority vote of the presbyteries, which it failed to receive.

Alan Wisdom, IRD’s Vice President for Research and Programs and Director of its Presbyterian Action committee, commented:

“All traditional Christians can take encouragement that the Presbyterians have held the line on sexual morality. They have stood against the cultural pressure to legitimize any relationship between ‘people who love one another.’ They have maintained the Church’s historic teaching: that God’s provision for human sexuality is found in marriage– the ‘one flesh,’ lifelong, life-giving union of the two created sexes.

“The ‘fidelity and chastity’ standard represents the teaching of every major branch of the Christian faith around the world. It goes back to Jesus warning his disciples against ‘adultery [and] fornication’ among the ‘evil intentions’ that ‘defile a person’ (Matthew 15:19-20). By reaffirming this standard, the PCUSA signals its intention to remain in the mainstream of global Christianity.

“Christians understand how often, amidst today’s moral confusion, people fall short of the biblical standard. That is why the PCUSA constitution, as now reaffirmed, calls all people to repentance and new life in Jesus Christ.

“This is fourth time in 12 years that PCUSA presbyteries have voted on sexuality standards. Each time they have upheld ‘fidelity and chastity.’ If ever there were a case when the church had made up its mind on an issue, this is it. Faithful Presbyterians ask the proponents of non-marital relationships to stop forcing this divisive issue and instead endeavor to live within the church’s constitution.”

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