Apologies to anyone who is uninterested in church politics, but…
Today marks an historic occasion for the Presbyterian Church (USA). Twin Cities Presbytery voted to ratify an amendment to the Book of Order that would allow lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people to serve openly as deacons, elders, and pastors. This amendment was passed by the General Assembly, but needed ratification by a majority (87) of the denomination’s 173 presbyteries.
Today, Twin Cities Presbytery cast the 87th vote in favor of ratification.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) now joins the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as mainline Protestant churches in the US that allow ordination equality for LGBT Christians.
This is a really big deal for us in the PC(USA). As we move forward in this new stage of ministry, there is still work to be done and prayers to be prayed. Of particular concern to me are:
1. The ongoing cause for marriage equality in church and society. LGBT people are still not allowed to get married in our denomination (and most of our states). Many of us would like to see that changed.
2. There are many thoughtful and faithful Christians in our denomination who will feel quite threatened by today’s development. Their concern is that our denomination is departing from biblical and historic Christian practice. While I personally disagree with their interpretation of the Bible on the issue of LGBT equality, I respect their faithful witness to the gospel and feel glad to count them as colleagues and members of my own family. My hope and prayer is that Christians on both sides of this debate might engage in fruitful and transformative dialogue with one another. Hopefully, we can continue to undertake this journey together in the PC(USA). If not, I pray that provisions can be made for individuals and churches to part ways amicably, in hopes of future reconciliation. To this end, I would call on denominational officials to let these churches depart with a blessing and not let issues of interpretation and conscience degenerate into petty spats over church property. The so-called “evangelical” and “progressive” voices need each other if we are to become a church that truly reflects the image and likeness of God.