What greater evidence does one need of the utter lunacy that has led this once great denomination down the slippery road to heresy and apostacy. The GAPJC decision on the Jane Spahr case resembles a scene out of the twilight zone. Here we have a clear cut case, where an “ordained” pastor of the PCUSA acting well outside the bounds of her call, marries gay/lesbian couples on a regular basis. She admits to as much, using the term marriage. After her Presbytery excuses her case, the Synod gives her the mildest form of rebuke, and now she is completely exonerated by the highest court of the PCUSA General Assembly PJC. You can find a summary of the case here http://layman.org/.
Let me see if I understand their decision? Since marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman, any homosexual marriage ceremony (which Spahr fully admits to performing) is not really a marriage by definition, so there is no infraction. Wow! This is clearly either the worst case of category mix-up or a clear and continued sign that this denomination will swallow both gnat and camel happily and with great enthusiasm.
The categorical slight of hand magic trick is astounding. Now you see it, now you don’t. What was once included in the category of morality has now become simply a legal definition. Are we attempting to give scientific/mathematical definitions or are we speaking about what is morally permissible? What was intended as a moral category of action, has now been transformed into merely a definition. The hand is quicker than the eye.
As I wrote in my previous post, there no longer is any such thing as orthodoxy (right belief) in the PCUSA, only orthopraxy according to another recent ruling of the GAPJC. Yet, now it seems that orthopraxy has taken another hit as well. I guess the only two essentials that remain are that women must be allowed leadership in all ministerial leadership roles in the church, and property belongs to the Presbyteries not the congregations. The second is being contested by multiple congregations. One pillar (inclusion) remains.
In a decision that is being touted by so-called conservatives within the denomination and at first glance seems to affirm biblical ethics, in fact undermines the Christian faith almost in its entirety. What began in the 1926 General Assembly, comes to full flower in 2008. In 1926, the General Assembly abandoned the requirement that ordained ministers affirm essentials of belief, but are only asked to receive and adopt some vague idea of essentials of the reformed faith that are embodied in our confessions, yet no one could define those essentials, and purposely would no longer do so.
A cursory reading of the Book of Order and subsequent rulings of church courts would indicate that one can believe and affirm literally anything and still hold ordained office within the PCUSA (as the most recent ruling clearly indicates). Rulings and declarations from “on high” clearly indicate that the only essentials are ones of action – as long as ordained persons promise to abide in life practice by three major (practice not belief) essentials: those being faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness, inclusion of women in all levels of leadership within the church and property held in trust for the Presbyteries. The first of these orthopraxy essentials is what is debated ad nauseam.
What is lost in all these debates to most bible-believing Christians is that the battle was lost 80 years ago, when orthodoxy was abandoned. Receiving and adopting unspecified essentials, is not the same as believing as essential clear and unadulterated historic Christian doctrines. What the GAPJC affirms now is exactly this. Freedom of conscience allows ordaining bodies to overlook anything a person believes, while still making them affirm the above orthopraxy (right action). Right belief (orthodoxy) no longer exists within the PCUSA as is evidenced by repeated and incontrovertible heresies that are over and over again affirmed as being acceptable within a broadly inclusive denomination.
While conservatives PCUSA loyalists highlight a small, temporary GAPJC victory, the drum continues to beat on as overtures move toward this year’s General Assembly that would either enforce PUP recommendation 5 over the GAPJC ruling, remove G.60106b (the fidelity chastity requirement), or reword the fidelity chastity requirement so that it no longer excludes homosexuals from leadership. When orthodoxy is lost, what is left to fight over is orthopraxy. Yet, the heart of the Christian faith, is just that…faith. Faith begins with believing certain objective truths, which we consider orthodoxy (right belief). Faith is worked out in orthopraxy (right conduct) under the strength and power of the Holy Spirit working in us. When orthodoxy is abandoned, orthopraxy soon will be abandoned as well. While some small victories might delay the loss of orthopraxy, there will be no lasting victory without orthodoxy.