10-A: What it does and doesn’t do

Amendment 10-A does

• Lift up Jesus Christ as the source of ordination standards – in contrast to the current G-6.0106b, which fails even to mention Christ;
• Affirm the high call of all ordained persons to live out the fundamental Christian affirmation, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” in all aspects of life;
• Require thorough and rigorous examinations;

• Return the Church to the historic Presbyterian principles operative since the Adopting Act of 1729;

• Highlight the importance of Scripture and the confessions as authorities.

Amendment 10-A does not

• Commit the theological error of singling out sexuality as the only aspect of a faithful life worth mentioning;
• Require any ordaining/installing body to approve any individual candidate;
• Violate the freedom of conscience that has long been a hallmark of Presbyterian polity;

• Maintain the hypocrisy of naming “any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin” while enforcing the provision only to prohibit service by persons in same-gender relationships;

• Take a stand one way or the other on interpretation of Scripture when it comes to same-gender relationships.

Approving Amendment 10-A will not remove the differences in the ways Presbyterians interpret Scripture, but it will allow the PCUSA to begin moving beyond the perpetual conflict that has resulted from the imposition of one interpretation on everyone. Those who are “tired of talking about the issue of gay ordination” will have to deal with it in Session or presbytery only if presented with a particular candidate – by definition, a person in whom some have recognized gifts for ministry, but who will be subject to the same requirements as all others.

This could be the last time we ever have to vote on G-6.0106b – wouldn’t that be great?

For more resources, and to volunteer to help make it happen, contact National Organizer Tricia Dykers Koenig, [email protected] or 216-658-1770.

Comments

  1. Charles Hedrick says:

    Now that it seems likely that 10-A will pass, have supporters considered the likely consequences for conservative churches? While I support 10-A, and the congregation in which I am a member has a history of accepting gay participation, I also value the presence of more conservative ministers and congregations in our presbytery. Does the next GA need to make arrangements to allow them to continue to work effectively in the PCUSA? Have we thought about what those might be?

    I’m concerned about two issues, although there are probably more:

    1) What can a congregation or presbytery that wants to maintain the traditional standards do? In many churches members don’t know the sexual orientation of all of their members. In the past, one could point to denominational statements and expect prospective officers to refuse nomination if they could not in good conscience accept them. That will no longer work. But PJC decisions suggest that it may not be permissible for congregations (or even a new synod) to set up their own standards, and I doubt that even conservative congregations will want to make inquiries into the sexual activities of their members. Perhaps an AI saying that although it’s not permissible for a congregation to change ordination standards, it is permissible for them to state their views on this topic?

    2) How can we avoid a replay of Kenyon? In most cases it will be moot. Conservative pastors will be called by conservative churches, and will not be placed in the position of being asked to ordain gay candidates. But the situation could still arise, and it would be troubling for a minister to refuse to ordain a candidate that their own congregation elected. Is there a way to deal with this issue without making it impossible for conservatives to continue in the denomination? Perhaps an AI suggesting that it is a violation of the peace of the church to ask a candidate this question?

    It would be really classy if the liberal side would do something concrete to deal with potential fallout from passing 10-A.

  2. Dan Martian says:

    Wouldn’t it have been great for the liberal side of the church to have done something to help conservatives in the church deal with women ordination, the Angelia Davis issue, and the reimagine conference. All three events had tremendous fall out. History serves well — the church didn’t do anything. Unfortunately, the church has done nothing to reach out to those who have been excluded from church leadership and treated others as second class citizens. I believe that the church will stand in unity like we did with women’s ordination, and, when dealing with Angelia Davis. The way for this now is to have leadership discuss what this means for the local church. Education . . . Education . . . mixed with lots of love. Ummmm, those are the cookies that I can eat.

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