What do the Confessions teach about sexuality? And how do they inform the ethical commitments of Presbyterian Christians?

– Christopher Elwood

In Presbyterian debates over the inclusion of non-heterosexual persons it is often assumed that the unequivocal support to traditionalists and thus is entirely bad news for those who want to see a more welcoming church. Many believe that the practices “which the confessions call sin” (G-6.0106b) effectively excludes “self-affirming, practicing homosexuals” from the church’s ministry. But in fact same-sex relations are by no means at the center of the practices “which the confessions call sin.” By some counts there are more than 600 such practices, including forming a visual or mental image of God or Jesus (4.097, 7.219), opposing government policy on taxation or war (5.258), and working or playing on Sunday – or causing others to do so (7.229). Amid the many words of the eleven documents of the Book of Confessions, there are very few references that can be construed as pertaining directly to same-sex relations…

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