Presbytery of New York City: Amending Marriage

I conclude this review of Rationale text with the most inexplicable excerpt of them all.

One part of our current Presbyterian polity specifically excludes a group of people when it comes to worship: those people in loving, committed, Christian relationships who are also of the same gender and wish to marry. However elsewhere in our polity, we hold up the words of Jesus Christ:

“… there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:27–29). … the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) shall guarantee full participation and representation in its worship, governance, and emerging life to all persons or groups within its membership. … [F-1.0403]

What we have here is Rationale text, written over weeks or months, reviewed, debated and passed by a Presbytery Assembly and entered into the PCUSA General Assembly record that attributes words of the Apostle Paul to Jesus Christ. Even if we allow that, by some incredible sequence of events, no one in this Presbytery recognized that the Book of Galatians is an Epistle by the Apostle Paul, or that this passage is not Paul directly quoting Jesus; couldn’t someone have noticed that the words themselves are clearly of a person talking about Jesus?

This excerpt places a capstone on the entire same-gender marriage Rationale record, in which Jesus Christ is not allowed to speak for Himself. The possible reasons for this situation will be considered in due course. Let me simply conclude by pointing out that when, finally, one Presbytery “allowed” Jesus Christ to “speak,” they chose words that He did not actually say. Perhaps this situation is a metaphor for the entire postmodern Christian project.

Reading the entire Rationale record in support of these two Overtures provides virtually nothing to mitigate the issues that have been identified in this analysis. The fact that arguments for same-gender marriage that are this defective carried the day in our General Assembly is a resounding condemnation of the intellectual and theological state of the PCUSA.

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