[The Christian Post] 28 Feb 2009--As Presbyterians in Charlotte approved an amendment that would open the way for the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals, one pastor is speaking out, concerned that the Church is compromising its witness in morally ambiguous times.
"The approved amendment, in violating the teachings of Scripture and our confessional history, puts the church in the position of accommodating itself to a culture that is demanding permission for behaviors and patterns of life that, while self-gratifying, are not biblically permissible," states Jim Szeyller, pastor of Carmel Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C., in a commentary published Thursday in The Charlotte Observer.
Last week, the Presbytery of Charlotte – a regional body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – voted 177-139 to support a constitutional amendment that would delete language requiring clergy "to lead a life in obedience to Scripture" and to live in "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between and a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness."
The proposed substitute language states that clergy must "pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ ... striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church."
Some believe the new language would not only allow partnered gays and lesbians to be ordained but weaken the denomination's witness to biblical standards.
"The proposed amendment grants freedom from Scripture to do what seems right in our own eyes," Terry Schlossberg of The Presbyterian Coalition stated earlier. The coalition launched a campaign to defeat the amendment which requires a majority approval from the PC(USA)'s 173 presbyteries.
As of Wednesday, 36 presbyteries have approved the amendment and 46 have voted against it, according to The Layman.