How I Changed My Mind on Homosexuality


Address to Covenant Network Northwest Regional Conference

Jack B. Rogers
October 11, 2003

 

I appreciate the opportunity to address you this morning. I am going to speak about my change of mind on the question of homosexuality, what I have learned theologically in that process, and some implications for us as a church. I hope that you will find dealing with these issues helpful. My deepest desire is that our discussion of these issues might in some way contribute to moving us beyond our present theological polarization. I look forward to the question period when I can hear from you.My education about homosexuality in the church probably began with the General Assembly in 1976. I had a unique perspective on that Assembly. I had been chosen as one of two Theologians-in-Residence to work with committees of the Assembly to help them think theologically about the business that they were assigned.That 188th Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church (the Northern stream) in 1976 had received overtures from two presbyteries, New York City and Palisades, asking for “definitive guidance” on whether it was appropriate to ordain a person who was well qualified in every part of the trials for ordination but was, in the language of 1976, a “self-affirming, practicing homosexual.” As part of my theologian-in-residence duties, I was assigned to meet with a group of gay men, to help them develop their response to the overtures. Prior to that I’m not aware of knowing any openly gay Presbyterians.

In that context, I met the person who was the test case to whom the overtures referred. His name was Bill Silver. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of a Christian college and of Union Seminary in New York. He had been working for two years in a ministry of the arts and had been extended a call by the congregation with which he worked.

At one point, Bill turned to me and said, angrily: “I can tell you a sin that you have committed that I never have.” He said: “I have never looked on a woman to lust after her.” I said: “You’ve got me there.” I had no reason to doubt Bill’s assertion of his same-sex orientation. While that experience was not enough to overcome my general cultural bias against homosexuality, it got me thinking.

Over the next twenty-five years I have become acquainted with a significant number of gay and lesbian people. One I especially remember was a Missouri Synod Lutheran student I counseled at Fuller Seminary. He was in an agonizing dilemma between his very conservative theology and the impulses of his sexuality. Another was my friend, and former colleague at Fuller Seminary, Mel White, whose poignant story of trying to escape the fact that he was gay has been published in his book, Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994). I have since known many homosexual people as colleagues and friends. In every instance these were people who did not fit any of the stereotypes of gays as lustful, idolatrous trouble makers. They were uniformly normal, deeply Christian, and desirous of helping the church to be its best self.

There is at present no scientific consensus on the causes of homosexuality. My experiences have convinced me that there are some people who, through whatever complex set of relationships in their biological makeup, are sexually attracted to persons of their own sex. I am convinced that those I know did not choose their sexual orientation any more than I chose mine. They cannot change it any more than I can. When they have accepted it, they have become more whole as persons.

That is something that a great many Presbyterians do not want to hear. While I was Moderator of the 213th General Assembly in 2001-2002, I attended a meeting of the Coalition, an umbrella organization of groups that consider homosexuality a sin. I was seated in the balcony. During an “open mike” period, a young Hispanic woman a few rows from me stood and said: “I used to be a lesbian, but I have been redeemed by Jesus.” Before she could say the next sentence people were on their feet, clapping and cheering. Many Presbyterians believe that people who are homosexual choose to be such and that if they just loved Jesus enough, they would quit it.

There may well be some people for whom that is true; but to claim that all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons have chosen their orientation flies in the face of a mountain of evidence of real people who tried desperately not to be homosexual and found that they could not change. I didn’t chose my heterosexual orientation. That is just the way that God created me. I see no reason to doubt the stories of Bill Silver and so many others that they are simply created differently in this aspect of their being. The problem with assuming that all homosexuality is a willed condition is that it lets those of us who are heterosexual not have to wrestle with the reality of this complex phenomenon. It also allows us to feel quietly superior to those who we believe are sinning when they could and should know better.

I will not rehearse the history of our struggles as a denomination over the matter of homosexual ordination. Most of you know that all too well. Let us fast-forward to the year 1993. At the General Assembly in 1993 in Orlando, Florida, gay and lesbian Presbyterians made a concerted push for legitimation. Traditionalists pushed back. The 1993 Assembly asked the church to study the matter for three years.

That year, 1993, was the turning point for me. The events that led to my change of mind did not take place at a General Assembly, or in a theological seminary, but in the local congregation where my wife Sharon and I worship, the Pasadena Presbyterian Church. In the spring of 1993, a gay man, who had earlier been elected a deacon, wrote to the session of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church and expressed his dismay that the church was not studying the issue of homosexuality. He asked that the Session initiate a program of study and, at the end of a year, formally consider designating Pasadena Presbyterian Church a “More Light Church,” one pledged to elect officers without regard to their sexuality. His action was supported by the Deacons and a number of elders. Subsequently, the Session asked the three pastors on the staff to establish a task force to create an educational program to sensitize the whole congregation to gay and lesbian issues.

The senior pastor asked me to be a member of the task force. I said, no. I thought I had a perfect excuse. As an ordained minister, I was not a member of the congregation, but of the presbytery. I was also not a member of the pastoral staff of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church. Then the minister put his request on a very personal level: “If you are my friend, you will do this.” He perceived that I, like him, was conservative on the issue, and he wanted my support. I had many reasons for reluctance, but they all came down to my not wanting to deal with this issue. Eventually, I agreed to serve.

The task force of 15 members covered the whole range of opinions. It included the gay man and the mother of a lesbian. Two of the task force members left the church when we began to look at more than what they considered the biblical perspective. A retired missionary member said he would stand in the church door to bar lesbian evangelist, Janie Spahr, from entering the building.

After nearly a year of study, the Task Force presented a 10-week adult education course at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. More than 100 people showed up for each class. We tried very, very hard to be balanced and fair to every viewpoint. We gave three sessions to biblical interpretation and three to psychological and sociological perspectives. We heard from gay and lesbian members of the West Hollywood Presbyterian Church, looked at videos on different responses by family members, and gave a session to protecting children from sexual predators. We listened to persons who said that sexual orientation or behavior can be changed. We studied the denomination’s polity, and we designed the final session with two opposing speakers again to balance the viewpoints.
The session did not vote to become a More Light Church. The congregation as a whole did seem more comfortable with the issue. The gay man, who had initiated the process, was disappointed and left the church. I had, over the period of almost a year, engaged in an intensive study of the various issues related to homosexuality.

During this period I did not change my Reformed theological stance. I did not change my evangelical method of biblical interpretation. For the first time, however, I applied them to the issue of homosexuality.

In this context of study I recalled a profound experience from the previous summer, 1992. My wife Sharon and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary with a trip to Greece and Turkey given us by our eldest son and his wife. I had taught philosophy most of my adult life and I was excited to see the places where Plato and Aristotle walked and taught.

My surprise was that almost everywhere we went, the Apostle Paul kept popping up. One example was Corinth. Corinth was a seaport town that, in its heyday, boasted every kind of bizarre and corrupt sexuality. When you stand at the place where Paul was tried by the civil court, you look upward toward the AcroCorinth, a mountain on which was a temple to Aphrodite, a bisexual god/goddess. In ancient time, it was staffed by seven thousand prostitutes, male and female. You paid your money, had sex, and you had been to church. Here were sex and spirituality combined for profit.

I didn’t think much about homosexuality that summer. It didn’t hit me until we began to study Scripture in the Task Force. That experience in Corinth became a significant occasion for reflection on the meaning of the Bible. I began to study Romans 1 and 2 afresh. This Romans passage is considered by almost everyone to be the central biblical text regarding homosexuality.

I have become convinced that to pull the few statements about homosexuality out of Romans 1 and make them a universal law exactly denies the point that Paul is making. He wrote Romans from Corinth. I think he was remembering the AcroCorinth and saying: “That is the worst example of idolatry I have ever seen.” I would agree. Paul’s point is not about homosexuality, but idolatry, worshipping false gods.

Paul is talking about idolatrous people engaged in prostitution. It is hardly fair to apply his judgment on them to Christian gayand lesbian people who are not idolaters and no more lustful than anyone else. It would be like using Howard Stern and Hugh Hefner as the norm for heterosexual males and saying that all of us are just like them. Sex can be used sinfully or redemptively, whether you are gay or straight.

Paul goes on in Romans 1 to say that we are all guilty of sins just as bad as the idolatry on the AcroCorinth. We have all committed sins that in God’s eyes are worthy of death. In verses 29-31, Paul lists 15 sins that cover all of us, including envy, gossip, and foolishness. Then, in chapter 2, he confronts us: “Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things” (Romans 2:1). I think that should apply to our relationship with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people (LGBTs).

In chapter 3 Paul gives the solution to the problem he has posed: “Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3: 23-24). Justification comes by grace received through faith. That is the central insight of the Protestant Reformation. To turn Romans 1 into a law, condemning, not the pervasive idolatry to which every one of us is susceptible, but only the sexual expression of one group of people, is to misrepresent Paul’s point. It turns the Protestant Reformation upside down.

An evangelical conclusion from Romans 1-2 would be that we are accepted by God individually, not as a class of people. No matter what we have done, we are accepted in grace because of what Jesus Christ has done for our salvation. As forgiven sinners we are called to submit all of our relationships, including our sexuality, to God who alone is capable of judging us.

Homosexual behavior, as such, is not sinful. It is simply the appropriate way for persons of same-sex orientation to express their need for intimacy. For either gay or straight people, the Christian standard is that the best way for sexual intimacy to be expressed is through a life-long commitment to one partner. That puts heterosexuals and homosexuals on even ground.

I’ve heard the claim whispered claim by straight people that gays are inherently promiscuous and incapable of stable relationships. That is simply not true. Again, we need to focus on the behavior of Christian people, not on the most bizarre case we can think of. I met a gay couple who had been together for 47 years. I have met couples that have celebrated more than twenty years together, and many, indeed most, who have good records of long-term relationships with the same partner. That is remarkable in a culture that does everything possible to discourage stable, long-term, gay relationships.

I had often said that I could not change my negative attitude toward homosexuality unless I was convinced by Scripture. I have now been convinced. I had to learn to be consistent in a gracious interpretation of Scripture, not just for myself, but for all people. I should not treat individual verses as universal laws, but understand them, as Calvin recommended, in their historical and cultural context. I had to learn to apply the perspective of Jesus’ life and ministry in interpreting Scripture.

Here is where a historical perspective is helpful. In the case of homosexual people we have lapsed back into the discredited practice of using proof-texts to support a general societal prejudice, just as we did in an earlier day to persons of color, women, and divorced and remarried people. In the case of race, women, and divorce we changed our minds as a church and self-consciously adopted a hermeneutic of looking at Scripture through the lens of Jesus’ life and ministry. In that way we recognized the full humanity of these people and our responsibility not to interfere with their right to have full privileges as members of the church.

Now I want to speak of some further historical and theological discoveries I have made. I have devoted most of my adult study to how we interpret the Bible and how we use the Confessions. January of 2001, I was preparing to teach a class on the Reformed Confessions at San Francisco Theological Seminary’s Southern California campus. One of my favorite confessional texts is the Heidelberg Catechism. It was written and published in 1563 to insure a Reformed, rather than Lutheran, understanding of theChristian faith in the area around Heidelberg, in what is now Germany.

I always try to relate the doctrines of the confessions to current issues in our Presbyterian (U.S.A.) denomination. We had been struggling with the issue of homosexuality ever since 1976, and appeared ready to do pitched battle over the issue of homosexual ordination at the 2001 General Assembly. So, I was especially interested in Question and Answer 87 in the Heidelberg Catechism:Q. 87 Can those who do not turn to God from their ungrateful, impenitent life be saved? A. Certainly not! Scripture says, “Surely you know that the unjust will never come into possession of the kingdom of God. Make no mistake: no fornicator or idolater, none who are guilty either of adultery or of homosexual perversion, no thieves or grabbers or drunkards or slanderers or swindlers, will possess the kingdom of God.”
(Book of Confessions 4.087)

That seemed to be clear evidence in favor of the denomination’s present policy of calling all homosexual behavior sinful and, on that basis, of barring gay and lesbian people from office in the church.

That would have been the end of the discussion except for my memory that when the Book of Confessions began to be cited against homosexuality, a professor at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Johanna Bos, said that the text I just cited was not authentic. A footnote in the Book of Confessions indicates that the translation is of rather recent origin. The Reformed Church in America and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches combined in the early 1960s to produce a book entitled The Heidelberg Catechism, 1563-1963. 400th Anniversary Edition (United Church Press, 1962). The text of the Heidelberg Catechism in our Book of Confessions was taken from that 400th anniversary translation.

The reason Johanna Bos had noticed a difference is that she was born and raised in The Netherlands, where I also had the privilege of living for five years. The Heidelberg Catechism is one of the three doctrinal statements of the Dutch Reformed Churches. It was common practice in the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands for the pastor to spend several years taking young people carefully through the Catechism in preparation for their joining the church, usually not before about age 18. Furthermore, Dutch Reformed pastors were obliged to preach through the catechism each year at the evening service. Johanna said, that despite all of that, she had never heard any mention of homosexuality.

I do my studying and class preparation in my carrel at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. It is a private research library primarily focused on British and American history and literature from the 16th to the early 20th century. I thought it unlikely that the Huntington would have anything on the Heidelberg Catechism. To my great surprise I discovered a significant quantity of index cards indicating books available in the rare book room. My curiosity piqued, I began my search.

I read Question and Answer 87 in the original Latin version of Zacharius Ursinus, in a work published in 1586 (1). I followed that with an early German version from 1795 (2). Caspar Olevianus is believed to have translated Ursinus’ Latin version into German. Then I went to more familiar territory and read a Dutch version of the Catechism, published in 1591 (3). I also found and consulted a 1645 English edition published in London during the meeting of the Westminster Assembly (4). I concluded my catechism inquiry by studying a 1765 English translation of the Catechism prepared for the Dutch Reformed Church in New York (5). (Citations for this paragraph are at end of article.)

The text of Answer 87 was the same in the original Latin and in all of the translations. The list of those impenitent sinners excluded from the kingdom of God was always, in the same order, “unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or any such like.” I was stunned! In none of the texts was there even a word where the 1962 version of the Heidelberg inserted “homosexual perversion.” In every case the list went from adulterer to thief, with no word or phrase, which might have been rendered “homosexual perversion.”

So what do we conclude? On the basis of my investigation into early sources, it would seem that we have in the Book of Confessions, a very unfortunate and inaccurate insertion. Some translator(s), imbued with the general, 1960s, American assumption that homosexuality is inherently perverse, took the liberty of inserting that bias into the Catechism. What is worse is that in the Heidelberg Catechism there is not even a word on which one could hang this prejudice.

That leaves as the only possible reference to homosexuality in the Book of Confessions the word “sodomy” which appears in a long list of sins forbidden in the Seventh Commandment at Question and Answer 139 of the Westminster Larger Catechism (7.249). The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the Texas anti-sodomy law renewed the discussion of the meaning of that word. Its origin is in the natural-law tradition of the Middle Ages that defined any sexual activity that was not open to reproduction as sodomy. That would include, for example, the use of contraceptives, and would implicate most heterosexuals. It was applied to heterosexuals in some states until the early 1970s by which time non-procreative sex was basically universal among heterosexuals. At that time the law was changed to make it apply to homosexuals only (6). I therefore cringe when people run to the microphone at General Assembly and claim that the Confessions reject homosexual relationships. That brings me to my final point.

It seems to me now that the issue is not only how we interpret the Bible and the Confessions, but to whom we believe their words apply. It was easy for Presbyterians to believe that Blacks were cursed by God in Scripture because we assumed, in the words of General Assembly pronouncements on the matter, that slaves were ignorant and vicious. We could believe the Bible said that women were meant always to be subordinate to men because men generally agreed with Aristotle’s dictum that women were incapable of reason, and thus of leadership in church or home. What is it that people believe about homosexuals that allows us to apply Scripture so selectively to them? Many people believe that the humanity of homosexuals is, in some way, perverted or twisted.

Stanley J. Grenz, in his much praised 1998 book, Welcoming But Not Affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1998) states that “in the end, the controversy over homosexuality involves our understanding of humanness” (pp. 32-33). I had found it difficult to understand how Paul’s injunction in Romans 1 against the idolatrous use of sex could be applied to god-fearing, devout, gay or lesbian persons living in faithful, monogamous relationships. Grenz has given an answer. He says that subversion of the natural order of male-female sexual relationships is by definition idolatry. To violate the natural order is an “idolatrous affront” to the deity (p. 45). He seems insensitive to the fact that African-Americans and women were also deemed not fully human on arguments derived from what society defined as the natural order.

Grenz alleges that homosexuality cannot be “a fixed, life-long, unchanging given of a person’s life” (p. xi).He insists that “some element of personal choice” must be involved. That is simply an assertion of his deeply rooted personal belief, despite the evidence against it. For Grenz, to be fully human is apparently to be heterosexual. To be homosexual is a willed deviance from the norm (p. 117).People construct elaborate theories to justify what to them is just a common sense observation. They say males and females fit together sexually, and homosexuals don’t. The most egregious example of this is the currently popular book by Robert Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000). It is being touted as the definitive statement on a biblical view of homosexuality. The irony is that for Gagnon, you really don’t need the Bible, because everything it says about homosexuality comes, not from revelation, but from his understanding of natural law.Gagnon says what most heterosexuals believe: “Acceptance of biblical revelation is thus not a prerequisite for rejecting the legitimacy of same-sex intercourse.” Behind all of the ancient sources, including the biblical ones, according to Gagnon, was “the simple recognition of a ‘fittedness’ of the sex organs, male to female” (p. 364). He refers to “Paul’s own reasoning, grounded in divinely-given clues in nature” (p. 142). The Old Testament Holiness Code also “was responding to the conviction that same-sex intercourse was fundamentally incompatible with the creation of men and women as anatomically complementary sexual beings” (p. 157). He says this so often it gets embarrassing.

Paul, according to Gagnon, proclaims that both God and ethical human behavior can be known through observing nature. To most American Christians that just sounds like common sense. However, in the Reformed tradition, we know God in Jesus Christ as revealed to us in Scripture. Augustine, Calvin, and most of the Reformed tradition, would have had real theological differences with Gagnon’s methodology.

Because he relies on natural law, Gagnon views all homosexual behavior as willful and sinful (pp. 138-139). He thus reads Romans 1:26-27 backwards. Instead of saying, as Paul does, that one consequence of idolatry could be unnatural sexual behavior; Gagnon turns it around and says that the homoerotic relationship causes the idolatry. He defines same sex intercourse as idolatry. He writes: “In other words, idolatry is a deliberate suppression of the truth available to pagans in the world around them, but so too is same-sex intercourse” (pp. 254-255).Whereas Gagnon presumably would judge heterosexual activity according to its motivation and manner of expression, he simply defines homosexual activity as lustful and denying of God, without consulting either the motivation or manner of expression of real gay and lesbian people.

Grenz and Gagnon are rightly cited as the most careful conservative scholars writing against homosexuality. At bottom, both of them depend, not on Scripture, but on natural law, what they assume is the natural order of things. They depend on a Western, Aristotelian tradition for their authority.

Let us instead be biblical. There is a verse of Scripture etched inside my wedding ring is I John 4:19 – “We love because he [God ] first loved us.” That is how the married relationship of my wonderful wife, Sharon, and I, began 46 years ago. That is what maintains it to this day. The only concise definition of God that we have in the New Testament is in I John 4:8, “God is love.”The sum of it is this. We image, or reflect, God in so far as God’s love is reflected in our lives. That means that every person has the capacity and the possibility of being in the image of God. Our being whole, fully human, beings and our living wholesome, fully Christian, lives does not depend on a human quality that some people have and others lack. It depends only on our trusting in the God we know in Jesus Christ and daily seeking to live in joyful obedience to our God. We can therefore be open to perceiving the image of God in others who, like Christ, reflect God’s love in their lives whether white or black, male or female, gay or straight.My reading of Scripture, my understanding of the good news of the Gospel, my experience as an evangelical Christian all lead me to believe that Jesus’ saving act is for all believers. We need to be open to see the image of God reflected in all those whom God has created and chosen. All those who reflect God’s love are worthy of consideration for leadership in Christ’s church.

I know what my evangelical friends are saying about now. If we are just loving, does that mean anything goes? What about promiscuity? Where are the boundaries!? I agree that we need boundaries. The problem is, the boundaries have been drawn in the wrong place. We have put a fence around homosexuals. It is true that marriage is in trouble in America. But homosexuals didn’t cause that problem and restricting sexual behavior between Christian committed gay couples won’t solve the problem.

We as a denomination need to invest our money and our energies in supporting traditional marriage and family life. And we need to be clear that promiscuity in any arena, homosexual or heterosexual, is destructive both personally and to our community.

 

So what do we do now? As a church, our first responsibility is to provide for LGBT persons a “moral equivalent” to marriage. We need to create liturgies that recognize and bless people who sincerely seek to commit themselves to another responsible person in a covenant of love and shared life. Currently, in the Presbyterian Church and most states, these ceremonies cannot be called marriage nor use the language of the marriage service. Marriage is a function of the state. What the church does is give community sanction and blessing to the union. We need to do that for people whether they can marry in the eyes of the law of not.In 1791, the Presbytery of Hanover in Virginia determined that marriage was constituted “in the sight of God” and “by the mutual consent of the Parties.” Therefore if slaves lived a Christian life of fidelity to one another and to their children they could be accepted into the church without the legal formality of marriage(7). We could benefit by following that precedent. We need to provide a “moral equivalent” to marriage for homosexual persons until the law is changed to allow them to be married in the eyes of the church and the state.Once we have recognized LGBT persons as fully human, as full members of the church, and as fully capable of living in faithful life-long relationships, then we are ready to act on the issue of ordination. The governing bodies that have always had the responsibility for ordination then can and should judge whether people are living responsible lives as judged by their public conduct. With a “moral equivalent” to marriage available to LGBT persons as well as traditional marriage to heterosexuals, the ground would be as level as the law currently allows.

We will never have peace in this church until we apply the same hermeneutic, the same interpretation of Scripture, to all. Presently we have a hermeneutic of grace for heterosexuals and a hermeneutic of law for homosexuals. I am calling for honesty and consistency in the proclamations and practices of our church. We need a consistent interpretation of Scripture, one that applies equally to gays and straights. We need a consistent interpretation of our polity, one that applies equally to gays and straights.

My experience of knowing gay and lesbian people, my study of the issues related to homosexuality in the context of my home congregation, and my own study of Scripture have convinced me that loving homosexual expression between responsible adults is not sinful as such. All of us should be judged by whether we express our sexuality in ways that are loving, respectful of our partners’ wishes, and contribute to our wholeness as people. The best way for all people, gay and straight, to express sexual intimacy is within the bounds of a covenant of commitment to another person for life. All people, gay or straight, deserve the support of the church in keeping that commitment.

 

That is where I have come since 1993. I do not expect others to replicate my journey of a decade in a matter of a few minutes. I do want to testify to the good it has done me. My heart and my head are now more congruent with each other. I believe that most Christian people, in their heart, respond positively to Christian LGBT people when they get to know them.What is holding us back as a church is a false theory — that the Bible condemns all homosexual practice as sin. For over 200 years we refused the full privileges of membership in the church to persons of color, women, and divorced and remarried people because we thought they were sinning by affirming their full humanity. When we finally changed from proof-texting our societal prejudice to looking at Scripture through the lens of Jesus’ life and ministry, we welcomed these people, and the church was enormously benefited. Many of those sitting in this audience today would not have been permitted to be officers in the church if we had not changed our minds and begun to read the Bible through the lens of Jesus’ life and ministry. When we finally accept Christian homosexual persons as full members of the church, as we will, we will be wonderfully blessed.
 
NOTES:
1. DOCTRINAE CHRISTIANAE COMPENDIUM: seu COMMENTARII CATECHETICI, ex ore D. ZACHARIAE VRSINI, vere Theologi. LONDINI: Excudebat Henricus Midoletonus impensis Thomae Chardi, 1586.2. Catechismus, oder Kurzer Untericht Christlicher Leher, wie derselbe in denen Reformirten Kirchen and Schulen in Deutschland wie auch in America, getrieben wird. Philadelphia: Dedruckt und zu haben bey Steiner und Kaemmerer, 1795.3. Het Boek Der Psalmen. Middelbvrgh: Richard Schilders, druker der Staten s’ landts van Zeelandt, 1591.

4. THE SUMME OF CHRISTIAN FAITH DELIVERED BY ZACHARIAS URSINUS First, by way of CATECHISM, and then afterwards more enlarged by a sound and judicious EXPOSITION, and APPLICATION of the same. First Englished by D.HENRY PARRY, and now again conferred with the best and last Latine Edition of D. DAVID PAREUS, sometime Professour of Divinity in Heidelberge. LONDON, Printed by James Young, and are to be sold by Steven Bowtell, at the signe of the Bible in Popes-head Alley. 1645. This commentary on the catechism by its primary author was translated into English in editions published in England in 1587, 1591, 1611, 1617, 1633, and the one cited in 1645. These would surely have been known to the Westminster Divines since they desired to be in harmony with the other Reformed churches.

5. The Heidelbergh Catechism Or Method of Instruction IN THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION As The same is thaught in the Reformed Churches and Schools of Holland and Germany. Translated for the Use of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, of the City of New-York, and others Schools in America. New-York, Printed: PHILADELPHIA, Re-printed by ANTHONY ARMBRUSTER, in Race-Street, between Second and Third-Street, near the Sign of the Green Tree, 1765.

6. Andrew Sullivan, “Banishing a Medieval Ghost,” Los Angeles Times (June 27, 2003), B 17.

7. Jack Rogers, Reading the Bible and the Confessions: The Presbyterian Way (Louisville: Geneva Press, 1999), 117, citing Thomas E. Buckley,S.J., “The Great Catastrophe of My Life”: Divorce in the Old South (Unpublished Manuscript 1998), 118.

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