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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approves change in ordination standard

‘Submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ’ replaces ‘fidelity and chastity’

May 10, 2011

Louisville

While the Office of the General Assembly awaits official tallies, it appears that a majority of the 173 presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have approved a change in PC(USA) ordination standards.

At its meeting on Tuesday, May 10, 2011, the Presbytery of Twin Cities Area became the 87th presbytery to approve an amendment that will remove the constitutional requirement that all ministers, elders, and deacons live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness” (G-6.0106b in the church’s Book of Order).

The new language reads, “Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.

The new provision reaffirms the long-held right and responsibility of ordaining bodies (local church sessions for deacons and elders or presbyteries for ministers) to determine the suitability of each candidate for ordination. The effect of the new language also opens up the possibility that persons in same-gender relationships can be considered for ordination.

The 219th General Assembly (2010) of the PC(USA) approved Amendment 10-A last summer, but required a majority of presbyteries to ratify the provision for it to become part of the church’s Constitution.

The change will take effect July 10, 2011, one year after the adjournment of last summer’s assembly.

In response to the vote, denominational leaders issued a letter to all congregations of the PC(USA), calling the debate about ordination standards “a Presbyterian family struggle.” The letter goes on to say that Presbyterians havesought to find that place where every congregation and every member, deacon, elder, and minister of the Word and Sacrament can share their gifts in ministry while, at the same time, the integrity of every congregation, member, deacon, elder, and minister is respected.”

Additional resources are available at the Office of the General Assembly website, which include a “frequently asked questions” document, liturgical resources, a video podcast by Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, and Advisory Opinion #24 about the change to G-6.0106b.

The full text of the churchwide letter:

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

May grace, mercy, and peace be yours in abundance (Jude 1:2).

The debate about ordination standards has been a Presbyterian family struggle for much of the last three decades. We have sought to find that place where every congregation and every member, deacon, elder, and minister of the Word and Sacrament can share their gifts in ministry while, at the same time, the integrity of every congregation, member, deacon, elder, and minister is respected.

This year, the conversation has focused on Amendment 10-A that was passed by the 219th General Assembly (2010) and sent to presbyteries for approval.  While we wait for official tallies, it appears that 87 presbyteries have approved 10-A, which is the majority required for approval.

If this becomes official, the new language outlining the gifts and requirements for ordained service will say the following:

Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.

This decision begins with an unequivocal affirmation that ordained office will continue to be rooted in each deacon, elder, and minister’s “joyful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.”

This action also has important effects on our life together as a church, namely:

  • in keeping with our historic principles of church order, each session and presbytery will continue to determine the suitability of individuals seeking ordination within its bounds.
  • persons in a same-gender relationship may be considered for ordination and/or installation as deacons, elders, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament within the PC(USA); and
  • all other churchwide standards for ordination remain unchanged.

Reactions to this change will span a wide spectrum. Some will rejoice, while others will weep. Those who rejoice will see the change as an action, long in coming, that makes the PC(USA) an inclusive church that recognizes and receives the gifts for ministry of all those who feel called to ordained office. Those who weep will consider this change one that compromises biblical authority and acquiesces to present culture. The feelings on both sides run deep.

However, as Presbyterians, we believe that the only way we will find God’s will for the church is by seeking it together – worshiping, praying, thinking, and serving alongside one another. We are neighbors and colleagues, friends and family. Most importantly, we are all children of God, saved and taught by Jesus Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit.

We hold to the strong affirmation that all of us are bound together as the church through Jesus Christ our Lord. “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all,” Paul wrote to the Ephesians (4:5-6).

It is Jesus Christ who calls individuals to ordained ministries, and all those who are called to ordained office continue to acknowledge Jesus as Lord of all and Head of the church. It is this same Jesus Christ who is the foundation of our faith and to whom we cling.

No doubt, there will be several news stories and other reports about this change in the days ahead. A number of resources, including frequently asked questions and liturgical resources, are available for you at the Office of the General Assembly website. In addition, for those who wish to comment on or inquire further about 10-A, please email ga.amendments@pcusa.org or call (888) 728-7228, x8202.

We invite you to join us in prayer:

Almighty God, we give thanks for a rich heritage of faithful witnesses to the gospel throughout the ages. We offer gratitude not only for those who have gone before us, but for General Assembly commissioners and presbyters across the church who have sought diligently to discern the mind of Christ for the church in every time and place, and especially in this present time.

May your Spirit of peace be present with us in difficult decisions, especially where relationships are strained and the future is unclear. Open our ears and our hearts to listen to and hear those with whom we differ. Most of all, we give thanks for Jesus Christ, our risen Savior and Lord, who called the Church into being and who continues to call us to follow his example of loving our neighbor and working for the reconciliation of the world. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly

Cynthia Bolbach
Moderator, 219th General Assembly (2010) 

Linda Valentine
Executive Director, General Assembly Mission Council

Landon Whitsitt
Vice Moderator, 219th General Assembly (2010)

Other resources

  1. Don't quit the church over this! Rather, stay and change it back to the way it has been since Jesus walked among us. If everyone that opposes this unfortunate development quits the church, it will leave only the present leadership in charge, and that, in turn, will probably destroy what our parents and grandparents, and all our prior church members sought to create by their efforts and contributions. If you quit your church, you are abandoning that great history. Don't quit, change the leadership and the policy.

    by Trente

    May 20, 2011

  2. Holy cow...

    by Chad McCain

    May 19, 2011

  3. It's a shame that the Word of God is being trampled on by the "leadership." I am reconsidering my ties to the PC (USA) and hopefully find a church not engulfed in politics and stands firm on truth. Regardless, Scripture will remain while the ideals of man will perish.

    by Rich Kendle

    May 19, 2011

  4. I celebrate our willingness to acknowledge all of God's children as part of God's family.We must model this truth & invite society to follow.

    by Bill Allen

    May 19, 2011

  5. God remains the one who calls people to service in the church. This has not changed. Words in our constitution (new or old) cannot alter this claim we make about vocation.

    by Jon Martin

    May 19, 2011

  6. It is so sad to hear of this decision. We need to revisit what the Bible says on this issue. I don't want to see a lot of churches leave. I wonder how the world would see PCUSA. What would be our mission strategy? How about immigrant churches which have very conservative background? It seems we are more concened about "right" than what Jesus taught us. "Shrinking" is the best word for PCUSA....with much prayers.....

    by Soe

    May 18, 2011

  7. Many in the church will be disheartened by this decision, but I truly believe it to be the correct one. I believe that it is a more faithful understanding and interpretation of the scriptures than the longstanding "traditional" interpretation. I believe it to be consistent with our understanding of the nature and authority of scripture, as well as the methodology for interpreting scripture found within our historical Confessions and Catechisms. Many were disheartened in the past when the Church recognized earlier longstanding errors and corrected its course. This is just the latest such example. This is a very good, and scriptural, and Christlike action.

    by mr clp

    May 17, 2011

  8. I am not a Presbyterian myself, but I notice some people here who claim that we are going away from traditional Bible values. To go more traditional, have your wife quit her job, have all females stop being ministers and priests, have them not talk at all in church. There are many, many other "commandments" in the Bible to the safe effect, and yet we (and you) do not follow them. Why is that?

    by Zach Bayer

    May 17, 2011

  9. "May" consider persons in same gender relationships... not a problem. I'm sure they have been considered in the past. The suggestion that an unrepentant sinner may be considered for a position of leadership, codified in church "law" is merely a reflction of the rationalization of the national leadership and like all of their bad decisions (they aren't infallible), indivduals are free to ignore them. While the leadrship has spoken, the church will have the last word.

    by mbowlus

    May 17, 2011

  10. I don't think this is at all about living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. One cannot claim to be an Ambassador for a Kingdom, if one denies the authority of the King. This is purely and simply an attempt to gain more members and more money from a denominations which was already on the decline. It is a power move in the name of Christianity, and I am quite sure that the Lord is not at all impressed, no matter how fancied-up they try to dress their reasonings.

    by drs

    May 17, 2011

  11. When in doubt, read the red words. Matt 19:4-6

    by Tim

    May 16, 2011

  12. I have observed the vitriolic attacks on the PCUSA for over thirty years. The issue was settled during the Fundamentalist- Modernist Controversy during the 1920s when the Presbyterian Church rejected a literal interpretation of the Bible. The difference in biblical and hermeneutical principles has been the issue ever since. The rest has been a political-polity battle in which the 1978, 1996-97(1998-2010), and now 2011 Book of Order changes have been deliberated and voted on. Those who have continued to oppose the 2011 vote all these many years have either left, attempted financial blackmail of churches and presbyteries, attempted illegally- loaded votes at presbytery meetings, or whatever other political plotting they thought would work. This was also true on votes on the Hymnbook, Worshipbook, and Brief Statement of Faith after the 1983 PCUSA Reun

    by James Pat Kennedy

    May 16, 2011

  13. Ordained in 1996 in the PC(USA), I served only 2 congregations before being Honorably Retired by my present Presbytery. I have consistently sought to uphold my ordination vows and the Constitution of our denomination, but most importantly to uphold the Bible (in its entirety) and my obedience to Jesus Christ as Head of the Church as my sole guides in my pastoral and personal service to the Triune God. Having once served as a GA Commissioner, I left that assembly with great angst regarding the 4-vote margin on rejection of what now has been approved, that of the ordination of openly practicing homosexuals (& that does not exclude the Bs and Ts, plus the multiple-partner so inclined). I feel discriminated against for the hypocrisy in the church. I was married only once and remained so until my husband's death. Since then, I have upheld my ordination vow to remain chaste in singleness. What of those who have been previously ordained but have revealed their homosexual lifestyles and preferences? What have their ordinations not been revoked? So, now, is it OK for me to go "have a fling" with another unmarried or married individual and forget my ordination vows? Truly, I am praying over this decision of the church with great remorse. I am praying whether or not I, as a retired minister (dependent and struggling on a nominal monthly income), may be able to remain faithful to my faith views and membership in PC(USA), to remander my Pension and renounce my Ordination and membership in Presbytery and return to the laity in another denomination and find secular income to supplant the nominal income I receive from Board of Pensions in order to assuage my own consience? I may not rest at night until I settle this matter of my heart. Many years ago I chose to become a member of PC(USA), not because of inclusivity, but due to her form of government and then adherence to the biblical standards and practices. In recent years I have struggled to remain in this denomination, desiring to faithfully carry out my calls to ministry, which I have done. Now, what is left for me? At this moment, I do not know but I trust in God's abiding presence, daily "manna" and the guidance of His Holy Spirit to keep me faithful wherever He may lead.

    by Rev. Anne Beach

    May 16, 2011

  14. I just feel like the wording of the change shows how fully the General Assembly has failed to maintain fidelity to the message of the Gospel. How does one "joyfully submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life" while formally approving a measure that would allow disobedience to Scripture and tell the world that death to sin is irrelevant? In reality, PC(USA) should call those seeking to minister to repent of their sins and "joyfully submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ..." The GA has shown that they submit to Jesus in word only.

    by David Smith

    May 16, 2011

  15. It is so sad that a few words can send Presbyterians into a tizzy. The amendment doesn't say that an individual church has to accept a gay or lesbian, monkey or goat, or whatever, it allows for a congregation to decide as it ALWYS HAS! That aside, I see a devisive decision here and frankly, it shouldn't ahve been brought up at all. Similar amendments have failed over the years and a proper moderator could have declined to have it on the agenda for a vote I would think. Smarter persons than I should ahve seen this coming, deviciveness and a loss to the church as a whole. What were they thinking

    by BRL

    May 16, 2011

  16. I have never been ashamed to be a Presbyterian before. Now, if I'm ever asked, I will bear false witness. But I doubt that matters anymore either.

    by Randy Stear

    May 16, 2011

  17. Does this mean a PCUSA minister no longer has the "right" to advise a married couple to remain faithful to each other or a single person to refrain from premarital sex?

    by Susan

    May 16, 2011

  18. Churches have turned more into big business than places of worship. When they take God out of the decisions and worry more about how much money they bring in and how many people they can pack into a "mega church" then the end of christianity is near. Christianity, with a capital C does what GOD has ordained wether it is popular or not But he doe' s not debate the issues, they are "written in stone" so to speak. He does not hate gays, just the opposite, but he does not love the behavior. No marriage is sacred, and he will not be mocked. Sadly this church has done the PC thing and not the godly thing. Yes very sad.

    by Irchr

    May 15, 2011

  19. For the last year, I have experienced a profound loss in my Presbyterian Church in which the minister seems to have abandoned many traditonal biblical beliefs in favor of a new age-ish, liberal philosophy that bears little resemblance to tradtional Christianity. I decided to re read the New Testament, pray, and reexamine my affilication with the PCUSA. I will leave the PCUSA with a clear conscience and a recommitment to my belief in the Bible as sole authority that governs my life. Hopefull, I will join a church denomination that is not just a social activist group, but a denomination which values Biblical scripture.

    by Nancy

    May 15, 2011

  20. Yes, the falling away- And as I look at the website, I see further proof. Yes, the church is now following UN mandates rather than Biblical mandates. "Global civilization" is One World Order dogma that is not of the Biblical kind. and is dangerous. It will only be upon the return of Jesus Christ that the world is one.

    by LC

    May 15, 2011

  21. Being a divorcee denies any service as a deacon or elder in my small church to me. Not because the church wouldn't welcome my service....but because a voice inside me tells me that, though forgiven, there are consequences to my actions...i.e, Moses being denied entrance into the promised land, et al. If the PCUSA decided that it was just fine for me to become a lay leader of the church, it would not silence that small voice. Those of us who still listen to that voice can only pray that " those who have ears , let them hear" might apply to the church leaders.

    by Bill Pauch

    May 15, 2011

  22. I grew up Presbyterian and going to church every Sunday. When I'm at college I don't go to church, but had been attending a bible study. I tried going to church a bit this past semester, but just didn't feel right at the few churches I tried. I came home from school Thursday for the summer and did not want to go to church with my parents today. During the sermon though, our pastor brought up this topic. I had no idea this was even going on in the church. I came home and looked it up. I am so proud to have the Presbyterian church as my background. I have always supported LGBT people and believe they should have equal rights like anyone else. It shouldn't matter what you are or who you love. Everyone deserves to be happy and loved. The churches I had been to at school were not accepting like my home church had been of everyone. I hope to find one that is when I go back to school. I am glad that I went to church today and learned about this. I am so thankful that God has continued to work in my life in ways that I would never have guessed. I feel like I can proudly say I'm Presbyterian now, where before I would not say I was one.

    by Sarah

    May 15, 2011

  23. Is it possible to submit to Jesus' Lordship without submitting to the authority of the Bible? I think not! I can find many passages in the Bible condemning homosexuality, but not a jot or tittle that approves it. If I'm incorrect, please provide chapter and verse.

    by Nick Mikanos

    May 14, 2011

  24. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. - Colossians 2:8

    by M. Car

    May 14, 2011

  25. A poor move wich will cause a fu;rther decline in the mission of the church

    by Gar Burwell

    May 14, 2011

  26. ISAIAH 29, 13-16. The Lord says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder, the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish. Woe to those people who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, Who sees us? Who will know? You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, He did not make me? Can the pot say to the potter, He knows nothing?

    by MARTIN STEPHENS

    May 14, 2011

  27. I would be interested in hearing from the supporters of 10-A to explain the objective and what was accomplished. I would also like to understand better how supports feel that this change aligns with scripture - examples please. The church in Berea were of Nobel character because they discerned what Paul was preaching by studying the Scriptures. Acts 17.

    by Keith

    May 14, 2011

  28. I am very sad and a bit angered by this decision. Our large, local Presbyterian (USA) church has opening preached that homosexuality is sin. Though we attended for several years, we never became official members as this question was debated by your larger groups. We'll now leave in sadness that a group of people could be so lost in committee meetings and be swayed by worldly standards. So lost, so sad.

    by Steven Mark

    May 14, 2011

  29. What does God think about all this? Lev. 18:22: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (See Rom 1:25-27) Isa. 66:3,4:Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

    by Janet

    May 14, 2011

  30. This decision is an abomination to our Lord. Scripture is very clear that any sex outside the marriageetween a man and woman is sin. that goes for homosexual or heterosexual.

    by Susan

    May 14, 2011

  31. Someone please find me a place where this is Biblically correct, and not theologically. While God loves all people, He has destroyed cities over the sin of homosexuality. While I applaud your equal rights stance for all people, remember that ordination is supposed to be for people who have chosen to live their lives for God and doing their absolute best to live holy in His eyes. Homosexuality is anything but holy. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah?

    by Jason Evans

    May 14, 2011

  32. when I was a child I learned a song in Sunday school that said "The B-I-B-L-E, yez that's the book for me! I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E." That is what I have done and will continue to do. If someone says they are called by God to be a pastor and doesn't confess their sin, repent and do their best to live a life in following Christ's example, how can we allow them to be ordained? This issue has nothing to do with love. I love all people and believe all are welcomed in Christ's church. I have family members who are gay as well. We know clearly what God says about repentance. If I were a drunk, adulterer or confessed to leading a life of sin without repentance would I be eligible for ordination in the PCUSA. In passing this amendment I believe we are saying that living in sin is okay. If not, then isn't it discrimintion to pick and choose which sins would prevent candidates from being ordained? There is nothing to debate when it comes to loving one another. That is our purpose as Christians, to love God and to love one another. But to say that pastors can live in sin openly and continue to pastor our congregations is against the teachings of the Christian faith. It is truly amazing to me and sad that Christianity is caving in to the pressures of society. It will certainly be difficult to explain this one to our children and youth. I am a deacon and my husband is as well. Our families have been leaders in the Presbyterian church for many generations but we will not stay. I will continue to pray for the PCUSA and for those of us who must follow our hearts and leave the church in order to follow Christ. After all, He is the heart of our faith and not a particular denomination.

    by Cindy

    May 14, 2011

  33. Presbyterians have long prided themselves on seeking God's will as revealed in the scriptures. Leviticus 18:22 calls homosexuality an abomination. Romans 1:24-32 calls it vile affections. 1 Cor. 6:9-20 includes it in a list of unrighteousness [effeminate (young boy with a man) and abusers of themselves with mankind (sodomite) Strong's Concordance of the Greek]. Homosexuality is a sin just like lying, thieving, murder.....It all comes down to "Hath God really said?" How dare we call good what God has called evil? "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent," Rev:2:5.

    by Janet A., Hutchinson, Kansas

    May 13, 2011

  34. To Love one another is as Jesus commanded us to do. But to go against what the Bible teaches us, just to be in step with the Humanist belief is a sin. Yes, Jesus is weeping and the tears are not of Joy!

    by Ernest A.Smith

    May 13, 2011

  35. Isn't ironic, that so many are posting that many leave the PCUSA. Sadly, such views and Biblical literalism have driven so many from the church altogether. I am both heartened by the GAs vote (really this has taken too long!) and disheartened by the hate that so many espouse above. May this decision bring new life to PCUSA. It is right and good.

    by Sue

    May 13, 2011

  36. I don't understand this issue yet. I ask these practical questions: My church elders say churches can buy out of PCUSA. Who determines the amount of money that our churches are worth? Where does that money go? On the other hand, if the church stays in PCUSA and membership dips, under what conditions will the denomination "sell" the church? In my area, Scientology is buying all available property. Our church already has sold real estate that the church once owned. Personally, I believe this means an unmarried deacon (like myself) no longer has to adhere to the chastity standard. You have given us single leaders permission to have sex. I won't until marriage and I will look to be equally yoked, too. But, in the interview process, I was asked if I was chaste or monogamously married? Now, how can the questions be asked of potential leaders/pastors without a lawsuit. I mean, the church was protected under the Constitution and religious freedoms preserved until PCUSA decides that out religious beliefs do not require adherence to biblical standards as defined in scripture. It may now be illegal to ask, even in church pastorate, what the sexual practices of the candidate is. Because fairness in hiring is not under biblical standards, but under Eric Holder and under the jurisdiction of Federal Equal Opportunity Commission's determination. I wonder if the gospel being preached in all the world will now ceased to be the focus as we raise money to buy out our churches, defend against legal battles in churches that might want to ask biblical questions and catapulted into a legal and financial focus that could be used for missionary work. Just thinking, I gladly give up anything to serve Jesus - maintaining celibacy until marriage is not a burden when you get to watch the Lord work in people's lives. He's a healer, he's a teacher, and where else would we go? What would you put before Jesus in your life? Certainly, only the carnally minded would care about giving up sex - I mean, people are giving up their lives for their faith. Isn't it interesting that it is not shameful to forget your selfish desires and live for Jesus. Yes, he loves us, but do we really love him?

    by PCUSA DEACON

    May 13, 2011

  37. Next they will vote to remove Romans chapter 1 from the bible as it isn't inclusive enough.Google "confessing church movement"

    by T. Flynn

    May 13, 2011

  38. This denomination will join the ranks of others which have accepted same-sex marriage -- politically correct, morally bankrupt, theologically irrelevent, and numerically shrinking.

    by Sasha Bill

    May 13, 2011

  39. This is sad and terrible. I've went to a PCUSA church all my life. We've fought this and we lost. No way, no how could this be right. We will no longer support the PCUSA and will find another chuch who believes the Bible. Jesus died to save us. We have to repent of our sins and not continue in them. Now PCUSA has decided to conform to the world. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2:15-17 We'll be praying for the PCUSA.

    by Zack

    May 13, 2011

  40. Ephesians 6 The Armor of God 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Galations 1 No Other Gospel 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

    by Porter

    May 13, 2011

  41. Proud to be Presbyterian. Hallelujah.

    by Nia

    May 13, 2011

  42. I have never been prouder to call myself Presbyterian than today. We have moved in the direction of becoming the compassionate Christ-like people that Jesus calls us to be. May God bless all of us in this world of his/her creation.

    by Nancy Tuma

    May 13, 2011

  43. Wow, really makes me want to be presbyterian! I'm not homosexual and I applaud your new ammendment. Very brave, very Christian, the grace is obviously upon the Presbyterian Church.

    by Kimberly Rowlands

    May 13, 2011

  44. I have studied, and prayed about this issue for 33 years of debate and conflict in the churh. My wife will now leave the PCUSA, lovingly, graciously, and with great sadness.

    by Fred G

    May 13, 2011

  45. I join with all those who rejoice. I also am proud to be a Presbyterian today. I am glad to see us take a small step towards welcoming our gay brothers and sisters into full fellowship and open participation in our church.

    by Cathy Scheibner

    May 13, 2011

  46. This is a bad decision. Although it was voted on and discussed I believe many members of rural congregetions had any idea this was happening. I hope there is a way this can be reversed. To me it is just another way to be inclusive regardless of scripture. Jeff Barnicle. Elder Brazeau Presbyterian Church

    by Jeff Barnicle

    May 13, 2011

  47. In my college years, I danced at the ordination of my aunt, the first to be ordained an Episcopal Priest in her diocese. At that time, many viewed both dancing and the ordination of women in the same way that some view this issue today. It can certainly be argued that this vote seems to be counter to the traditional interpretations of scripture we were taught. However, my feeling is that if God is the Creator and Ruler of All that all should be eligible to lead his people. Otherwise, he isn't and can't be their God. My hope is that those who find it unfathomable that this is His will will eventually find peace with those they would shun.

    by Ann

    May 13, 2011

  48. If Jesus himself would not change one letter of the law that His Father and ours created, then what makes us think that Presbyterians can? Where does the PCUSA draw the line on sexual behavior now? Is there a line at all? Is one perversion, even if it is between concenting adults, less perverse in God's eyes? Where are we headed from here???

    by Brian S

    May 13, 2011

  49. This is a sad day for Presbyterians worldwide. PLease pray for us in Scotland as we debate the same issue at our General Assembly very soon.

    by Malcolm

    May 13, 2011

  50. Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    by Kathy Troxel

    May 13, 2011

  51. I feel very betrayed and disillusioned. I will always believe God's Word over any man-made decisions. I am a member of a confessing church. As long as it stays that way, I will stay. This breaks my heart.

    by Kathy Abbot

    May 13, 2011

  52. Do you folks not realize that this latest vote to allow gays in the leadership of the presbyterian church is merely one more" nail in the coffin" , as it were, re affirming God's revelations through Jesus Christ, Our Savior, regarding the end of times ?? I am attending a presbyterian church currently, and have had many doubts about the foundations and scriptural basis for what is preached. Certainly now, I have no more doubts!!

    by joe

    May 12, 2011

  53. It is a sad day for the Presbyterian Church. We are so worried about being politically correct and ignoring the word of GOD.

    by Angela

    May 12, 2011

  54. God bless the PCUSA church

    by Eric

    May 12, 2011

  55. There is a clear difference between giving in giving in to urges and desires that cause us to sin, versus practicing our God-given right to show true love and have a meaningful relationship with another human-being. I am a sinner, but it is not because I love another man. PCUSA has made a move towards inclusiveness so that we may spread the word of Jesus Christ to all, rather than alienate an entire population of individuals. I have never been prouder to be a Presbyterian.

    by Tyler Benson

    May 12, 2011

  56. This is a sad final chapter in an affiliation in which I have been a participant for well over 60 years.

    by Claude Lumpkin

    May 12, 2011

  57. I am an African from Africa. I have been a member and minister of the Presbyterian Church in Africa and I have been very proud of this denomination. I am deeply saddened by the decision of the Church, which in my view is unbiblical. I have a big respect for those who chose to be homosexuals and I think from human rights perspective their rights should be respected in the same way as everybody. However, biblically and morally I think the bible is very clear and straightforward on this matter – it is a sin in the eyes of God and indeed immoral as well, God created man and woman. All animals are created male and female. The question for African Presbyterian Churches is, do we still need to partner with PCUSA or is it time now to stand by the gospel we received and say No! No! No! to this new gospel. As apostle Paul said in Galatians 1:6-9: "6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!" PCUSA had done a great job in reaching out the gospel to us some years ago but now I think we should reject this new gospel they have chosen and may be bring them back the true gospel they had preached to us before.

    by Mark

    May 12, 2011

  58. I am deeply conflicted by this issue, because I can see both sides. But either position I take, I recognize I could be wrong. So, here is how I am inclined to view it at the moment (until the Spirit confirms or directs me otherwise): on each side, there is a perceived right and wrong … if I am right, then hallelujah and praise be to God! … but if I am wrong, then which is the greatest wrong? Not interpreting scripture correctly in honest intent, or violating the second of the greatest commandments that Jesus himself gave us (Mt. 22:38-39)? In the end, that is the decision each of us must make ... so, pray and then choose honestly and wisely!

    by Conflicted

    May 12, 2011

  59. I keep seeing comments saying that this is all a matter of interpretation. The idea that there are even sides in this matter tells me not that the Bible is interpreted differently by different people, but that some are listening to the Holy Spirit and some are not. 1st Corinthians 2:11-16 reveals that no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. There is only one Spirit, so there can only be one correct 'interpretation' of this. You can't have it both ways. Either this is God's will or it is not. Presbyterians don't like that concept because you accept before anything else that you can determine the truth by voting on it. I left the Presbyterian church because my own study revealed that to be contrary to scripture. And indeed, Paul goes on in 1st Corinthians to reveal exactly why congregationalism cannot be counted on to determine the truth. in 1st Corinthians 5, Paul reveals that there was sexual immorality among the Corinthians, "and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you" (5:1-2). Paul goes on to reveal that not only were they tolerating sexual immorality, they were boasting about it! Congregationalism did not work here. The Corinthians were not convicted by their sin, they were celebrating it. If the Corinthians had taken a vote, I'm sure they would have said that everything was fine. But Paul knew that they needed instruction and so he issued an apostolic call to purity echoed in so many other places throughout the New and Old Testaments: "But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard or swindler-not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you" (1 Corinthians 5:11-12). And again in 1 Corinthians 6:9-20, Paul reiterates his point over and over, patiently explaining why sexual immorality is so serious. And just like the Corinthians, those who support this amendment think that there is nothing wrong here, but they are deceived. Or they would prefer that these verses and the many others like them be excised from their Bible, which is a worse deception.

    by Jason Hackwith

    May 12, 2011

  60. My heart is broken for you. Not because I am naive about the number of people in ministry who struggle with adulterous homosexual thoughts and actions, any more than I am naive about the number of people in ministry who struggle with adulterous heterosexual thoughts and actions. I see no distinction between the two in Scripture. What breaks my heart and grieves the Holy Spirit is that this vote commits two heresies (yes, they are heresies!) of 1. placing the Book of Order at a higher authority than Scripture, and 2. denying the apostolic call to purity in the leadership of the church found throughout not only 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus, James, Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Romans, and Acts but also throughout every calling of kings, priests and prophets in the Old Testament books as well. I strongly urge anyone interested in the matter to begin their study with 1 Timothy 3:-1-13 (with particular attention to 3:2, 3:9-13), 4:1-2, 5:22, 6:3-16; 2 Timothy 1:22-26, 3:1-17, 4:1-5; Titus 1:5-16, 2:1-15, 3:1-11. The apostles clearly held that unrepentant men and women could not be placed into positions of authority in the church, that they need to be above reproach. That includes heterosexual adulterous thoughts and behavior as well as homosexual adulterous thoughts and behavior.

    by Jason Hackwith

    May 12, 2011

  61. After growing up in a church that taught me not to question, I am grateful for our church that is willing to question--as Thomas did, expressing his skepticism but also being willing to reach out to touch the body and spirit of God in his search for the answers. When I had cancer seven years ago, it was our gay associate pastor who answered all my daughter's questions of, "What kind of God would allow this to happen to my mother?" He sat in the waiting room with her during much of the nine hours I was in surgery, and he helped her to believe in our God of grace and compassion. I don't know what he said to her--that is between them--but I imagine that, at some point, he must have thought, even if he did not say it, "What kind of God would allow me to be gay?" Whatever he said to her, I know that he was filled with our gracious God's grace and love because I saw it in her faith that God would take care of us, no matter what happened. And who am I, who are we, to say that God has not called this gay man to show the face of God to the people of God--all people--whether we accept them or not? I am grateful for this God-filled pastor, and I am grateful for my church, in all its willingness to struggle with issues that some churches would say do not even deserve discussion.

    by Estelene Boratenski

    May 12, 2011

  62. PC USA will now stand for "Politically Correct." I can't believe that an entire denomination would cave to the pressure of a few.

    by Jacki Dixon

    May 12, 2011

  63. Whenever we attended GA, the discussions were never just about same sex couples. They were about gays, lesbians. bisexuals, and transgender individuals. I've never had anyone answer how the bisexuals fit into this formula.

    by Cathy Philips

    May 12, 2011

  64. There is nothing new here, except that it comes when there is increasing recognition in the secular culture that gays and lesbians deserve the same respect we give everyone else. Church law is now going back to what it was prior to 1997, when many of the present objectors and their predecessors were comfortable with the polity that then existed. The mistake at that time was to choose one side of a contentious issue, upsetting established relationships in some churches and presbyteries, with the result that supporters of the other side persistently tried to change things back. Anything that puts “Lordship of Jesus Christ” as the governing principle in place of human-defined virtues can't be all that bad.

    by Roy Castor

    May 12, 2011

  65. I am joyful today. I am a child of God. I will reflect on my own sin before lashing out at others.

    by Sarah

    May 12, 2011

  66. Love does not lie and it is sad when we do not love someone enough to help them overcome sin. To borrow from a leading comic, a church that accepts you for who you are and never intends for you to grow, is not a church but a bar. For anyone who admits they are still a sinner and only redeemed by The Lord instead of there is no such thing as sin and no need for The Lord, may the God of all Peace guide you to a church home.

    by Jason S Inman

    May 12, 2011

  67. The only thing good in this decision is that it took 33 years for it to occur. I grieve for a denomination that has moved away from being a witness to the world to one that is of the world. Our light is going out and we are exchanging our foundation for shifting sand. Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” Woe to those who justify this decision as inclusive while excluding the Word of God in the decision. Paul in chiding the Corinthians for being proud of a man having his father’s wife (1Corinthians 5) would be appalled at the decision reached on May 10th. We as a church are doing an even worse thing by accepting the ordination of an unrepentant sinner when we should be executing judgment and “…deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1Corinthians 5:5). Yes, these are harsh words and it pains me to write them, but, it is the truth that is contained in scripture.

    by Scott

    May 12, 2011

  68. This decision has allowed some in the church to follow the standards of our society, not the standards of the Bible. I agree with other postings, that this is in no way hating gays in the congregation, but being inclusive of all sinners in our church family. The issue is in allowing the ordination of any individual who is unrepentant of their sinful lifestyle. A representative vote by the few in name of the majority does not reflect the will of the congregation. I can see legal action down the road over denied ordination with the constitutional changes as the basis for the actions. This is only the start of a slippery slope. I have been a member for over 36 years serving as an elder for over 24 years, and this decision saddens me. The presbyterian church has been where I grew in my faith journey. I experienced many faithful events in my home church, from marriage, to baptism of my child, and death of parents. Life in this church has been rewarding and uplifting. I will be prayerfully deciding my future christian journey, and where I will be worshiping my Lord and Savior. May God help us.

    by JOHN THOMAS

    May 12, 2011

  69. "The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, a sexual orientation law and public policy think tank, estimates that 9 million (about 3.8%) of Americans identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (2011). The institute also found that bisexuals make up 1.8% of the population, while 1.7% are gay or lesbian. Transgender adults make up 0.3% of the population." ############################# 10-A changes the entire scope of PC(USA) in my opinion. What is turning out to be an intention to bring "All God's children" together will end up with a large number of members voting with their feet - right out the front door of our churches. 10-A will cause a schism in our denomination. Leadership positions to GLBTs? Good-bye and farewell.

    by Charles

    May 12, 2011

  70. @Tom Liddle: "Unfortunate to see such vitriolic rhetoric in the church of Jesus Christ. Come on folks, lets lighten up a bit and get on with serving Jesus Christ in this wonderful and broken world that God loves." Firstly I see no vitriol in those opposing this, only reasoned disagreement. Your response shows us where the real hatred lies, you feel you must attack all who disagree. Secondly, I tire of this left-wing "there must be more important things to do" argument. You and your ilk have spent years fighting for this but somehow if one wishes to fight against it they are wasting time that could be better used to serve others. How is upholding scripture a awaste of time?

    by Stacie J. Manter

    May 12, 2011

  71. Wow. While I am proud of my denomiantion today, I am sad (but not surprised) to see the heaping criticism of so many. Similar things were said about our denomination in 1956, upon the ordination of women. I do not believe that our church is bending its theology to cultural norms. Rather I would suggest it was cultural assumptions that led to our misreading of Scripture regarding sexual ethics (which present an ethic not of intimacy but one of power over mutuality). Still, regardless of which side of the debate you may fall on, let's please acknowledge our Reformed heritage and respect the voice of the Spirit that may be speaking in the one with whom we disagree.

    by Rob

    May 12, 2011

  72. Bring out your presbyters, that we might know them! Once again, debauchery at our gates. And now that the front door has been smashed open, "Let's just all get along."

    by Steve

    May 12, 2011

  73. I wandered here after reading news about this decision. I was raised a Presbyterian and have since distanced myself from the church, but I've always said if a denomination were to draw me back in, it would be the Presbyterian church. This decision reaffirms that thinking. Love for all. I find it interesting that many who seem up in arms about what the Bible says are not offering scripture in support of their thinking. Thank you, thank you for opening this door and taking this difficult stance.

    by Brenna

    May 12, 2011

  74. When I was just a young girl, trying to figure out where I belonged in my faith, my father once said to me "The Spirit will NEVER embarrass the Spirit because the Spirit in you is the same as the Spirit in me!" If this is of the Spirit, then why is there such controversy? The simple "black and white" answer that each of you wants is in scripture....I suggest that you do more searching there than in the things this world offers. Yes, the bible states that homosexuality is an abomination and I believe that (Lev 20:13). God made man to be over all of creation and woman to be his helpmate (Read Genesis). God is specific in his statements....as was Jesus Christ when he walked this earth. Homosexuality is a sin just as drunkenness and adultery...these are also forbidden for leaders of the church. I Timothy states that "If a man desire the office of a bishop he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good bahaviour." This does not leave any room for interpretation regarding man with man and woman with woman. I am just thankful that God is a forgiving and just God and that my sins are forgiven. May God forgive those who respect this world instead of His Word. I will continue to pray for those who are in PCUSA but hope that the Elders in my church and Presbytery of the Peaks will choose to stand by God and not PCUSA.

    by Rhonda Burnette

    May 12, 2011

  75. Unfortunate to see such vitriolic rhetoric in the church of Jesus Christ. Come on folks, lets lighten up a bit and get on with serving Jesus Christ in this wonderful and broken world that God loves.

    by Tom Liddle

    May 12, 2011

  76. I am so sad today. As I read through the comments I see a great divide in the feelings and thoughts of the people here. Let's not latch onto the one or two lines in the revision, but remember that the congregation itself is the final deciding body as to who will be their pastor. For those that want to leave the church, think about it long and hard, are you leaving in a snit or are you going to stay and work toward the goals our church has set. I refer directly to Rev Adam Smith above. Thank you sir for your insight and your thoughts. I cannot say it any better. And let's be honest, it never stopped a gay person from being a church elder, deacon, or dare I say minister in the past anyway ( I know a few). I wonder if we should go back to only ordaining men, only allowing men to be Elders? Yes that would be ridiculous, but so too will this be in the future. I am saddened that this one issue may divide our church and we will lose sight of what is real in the world and in our faith. Let Christ hear your prayers and lead us into the future as brothers and sisters in His service.

    by BRL

    May 12, 2011

  77. my fiancee and I have recently been searching for a church to attend. Our ideal church will teach from scripture. we were both raised in baptist churches. we have relocated to florida, and decided to take our time and investigate the different rules and regulation and operating standards of presbyterian,baptist , methodist and united brethren in christ. when visiting a rock n roll donut serving coffee break church where we were herded in and out no one ever noticed our presence and we had to introduce ourselves to the young pastor in shorts and tattoos. This type of church seemed like it was more for folks who just wanted to make an appearance in church every week. We decided this could be called church-in-a-box. We could not form any unity with the congregation. They were there to do thier business and leave. There was no fellowship to speak of. The second church we visited was baptist. This was a very pretty picturesque church building more like a business. The people seemed more interested in our dress and who we knew. To our delight the preacher was very enlightening and made us feel good. However he was a temporary pastor. The we tried a small quaint church called united brethren in christ. We were made welcome like we had always belonged. When making our final decision we read rules of all the christian churches on the internet. We were apalled that the PCUSA has voted to allow gays to be ordained. Neither of us are homophobic but this should not be permitted by an authority figure professing the bible to our childrenand in counciling people. We feel that the PCUSA has given in to the ways of the world which we all clearly know is highly influenced by satan. We feel that the PCUSA is not only disrespecting gods word by putting gays in that leadership role at the church, but that it is also changing the way the PCUSA will be viewed in christian leadership. This has been a difficult decision for many christians we know because we all love each other as brothers and sisters. A leadership position should be limited to individuals that follow gods laws. This will be the only way our children will have morals and godly standards. My sister's son and my son are both gay and we are struggling with the question Is this a genetic birth defect or did they choose this lifestyle. Both of these boys are christians and were raised in the church. They know the lifestyle they have chosen is not what god has written. They are still loved because they are our children just like we are god's children.

    by michelle Irving

    May 12, 2011

  78. I am a Christian - nothing more - nothing less. My heart is breaking for the Presbyterian Church and I am seeing God weeping with sadness over this. I am not someone who normally comments on such things - but God is speaking to my heart and I must -- for I must honor His word...and His only. I'm sorry, but I do not believe in "practicing" homosexuals to be ministers of my church. This is NOT according to God's word and God's law...no more than any unmarried couple involved in a relationship (living together -- having children out-of-wedlock, etc.) I'm so sorry for the state of our churches - they are disintegrating. I have loved the Presbyterian Church my whole life. My ancestors fought to bring their faith to America and even started a Presbyterian Church. I cannot support this or the Presbyterian Church any longer. I can only support God's word and will be practicing with other non-denominational Christians and no longer with the Presbyterian Church. This is what "organized - man-made religion" has come to. This is a sad day, indeed. I am NOT homophobic and LOVE all people, but God's word is clear. We are ALL sinners,but work everyday to try to overcome our shortcomings and failings. Every, single day. I will continue to Love and Pray for the beloved Presbyterian church, and all people, but will no longer be a "member" as the only family I know I belong to is the family of God. I will continue to honor God and God only. Amen!

    by Sunnie

    May 12, 2011

  79. This is very a disappointing decision for the Presbyterian Church. If you don't take the bible for what it says then what's the point of following it at all. Please consider reversing this decision! You are just another church falling into Satan's plan. Remember one day we will all give an account.

    by J

    May 12, 2011

  80. I am deeply saddend by this I was a member of a presbyterian church for 30 years and I will no longer be associating myself with this denomination. The bible says that living life as a gay person is a sin. So what is next murderers, child molesters that are known to be so can become ministers. There is no degree of sin...a sin is a sin. Christians are supposed to be living their lives according to the bible not the ways off the world. I am so sad that you have bowed to the pressures of what is popular in the world.

    by Nicole

    May 12, 2011

  81. The REAL issue here is not necessarily the ordination of homosexuals, it is the abandonment of the founding principle of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura. When people can overwrite Scripture (saying homosexuality is natural and not sexually immoral, for instance), the church has lost its identity and relevance.

    by Dan

    May 12, 2011

  82. From reading all these comments, it looks like I'm the only person who welcomes the full inclusion of gays in the PC(USA) but who thinks 10-A is an embarrassment for your church. I'm fine with the inclusion of gays. If I was a Presbyterian, however, I would be bothered immensely that my church now officially has nothing to say to a sex drenched culture on God's counsel to us as sexual beings. I would be bothered that my church appears to lack the theological, moral and intellectual rigor of the Lutherans who were crystal clear on what they were embracing when they changed their ordination standards - "publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous same gender relationships." Would any serious, conscientious Christian really want to be part of a church that had as little to say on race and gender and the PC(USA) now has to say on subject of sex?

    by Jim Caraher

    May 12, 2011

  83. I urge people to take a moment to pray before making a comment. We are not only talking to ourselves but showing others how Christians talk to each other. Let us always be a witness to God's love and grace when we are talking with each other. Prayers for unity, understanding, and grace are essential.

    by Rev. Sarah Iliff McGill

    May 12, 2011

  84. The church I attend left the PCUSA before this all came down. Yes, no sin is worse than any other, but it's UNREPENTED sin that's the issue! When Jesus forgave sin, He said, "GO AND SIN NO MORE!" He didn't say "Okay, try and do better next time!" BGLTQ participants are creations of God, yes, but prideful, unrepented sin is the issue, NOT the sin itself!!

    by Susan in KC

    May 11, 2011

  85. I am so proud of the PC(USA). I left the denomination over this issue while I was in seminary because I thought the Presbyterians would persist in choosing human judgment over God's extravagant welcome for at least another decade. I am so happy I was wrong.

    by Rev. Daria Schaffnit

    May 11, 2011

  86. while it is true that we are all Gods children and He loves us all I don't believe he condones the act. I am sad.

    by Beth

    May 11, 2011

  87. I joined the PCUSA last year and am deeply saddened by this decision. The PCUSA will now only continue to decline in membership. More important is the sad message this decision sends the non-Christian world -- that Christians can legitimately have a diversity of beliefs about something so clearly condemned in Scripture. I would urge those who believe as I do to "hold fast" to their faith; God does not lay "any other burden" on us. (Revelation 2:24-25)

    by Greg Watson

    May 11, 2011

  88. you are no longer a denomination of the church of Christ but of the church of the politically correct world. Christ said to come out of the world not join it in debauchery.

    by Ron Craig

    May 11, 2011

  89. My comment has to do with the many other comments I have read in response to this article. It is almost like reliving the debate that has been raging since 1972; the same arguments, the same Scripture references, the same "I'm right and you're wrong," passionate pleas that result in conversational bookends. I have trouble with black and white interpretations of scripture and anyone who claims to have 'the only right answer' and/or to "know with absolute certainty what Jesus would say or do." If that were the case there would be no need for debate. To disregard interpretations of scripture that take into account historical context is troublesome to say the least. To not look at scripture through the lens of what we learn about God through Jesus is also disconcerting. When I read these responses I see people lashing out in anger, confusion, sadness while others do so with joy and celebration. Emotions are running high at the end of this long contentious theological struggle that I daresay is not close to being over. It is my hope that we will not let one theological issue where there is disagreement detract us away from our mission as a church. We are a family, and like a family we do not always agree or get along, but let us embrace each other as brothers and sisters in Christ and say in a loud voice we've got a mission to do and it requires us to work together.

    by Rev. Adam Smith

    May 11, 2011

  90. i can only agree with one thing and that is to pray the the denomination that it will see te errror of thier ways, repent and ask forgivness for leaving the narrow roaad and junping on the wide path that will lead to distruction. i pray that will will get back to theword of god and follow what is says. i have been a presbyterian for over 40 years and now i am ashame to be in this denominaton. this is the sadest day of my church life. we have now set a path awy from Jesus Christ and towards distruction. we must return to God's wod not away from it.

    by ROER HAMMOND

    May 11, 2011

  91. This is a sad day for the presbyterian church. It seems the bible is pretty clear on this issue and we ignore it. I can not understand why a committed relationship is so much more important than the biblical teaching that this is wrong. I don't know how god will judge this change, but what a shame if we teach future generations that this is ok and they get to heaven and are turned away. Will we next use the bible to condone war and slavery?

    by Doug

    May 11, 2011

  92. Yes, we are all children of God, but God chastises those whom He loves. Yes, Jesus loves ALL sinners and outcasts, but he came to save them from destruction and he "scorns the shame" of sin that he endured on the cross. In the Old and New Testament it is very clear that fornication, adultery, homosexuality, sexual immorality are all sins. Jesus said to the woman at the well, "Go and sin no more." By condoning sex outside of matrimony between a man and a woman (for BOTH the ordained and lay people), the PCUSA is not sowing a harvest of righteousness or peace; rather, they are undermining the authority of scripture, coddling members instead of preaching the truth in love, taking part in prodigal, disobedient behavior, and sowing bitter roots. I am 27 years old, a charter member of a PCUSA church, a former comoderator of my youth council, and a daughter to two elders I feel orphaned by the PCUSA. Hebrews 12 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God....5 ...“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

    by Lily

    May 11, 2011

  93. "15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Johua 24:15) Whether I stay in the PCUSA or whether I leave...as for me and my household (the congregation I worship with) WE will serve the LORD.

    by Lisa Wright

    May 11, 2011

  94. So what other parts of the Bible does the church get to ignore? It's one thing to work with sinners of all sorts and try to help them, if they are willing to be helped. It's quite another to say "Hey, I'm gay and will continue to practice homosexulatiy and you in the church just need to get over it." A struggle with tendencies happens, acting out and then expecting to lead a church is blasphemous.

    by Mark

    May 11, 2011

  95. From the letter "Most importantly, we are all children of God, saved and taught by Jesus Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit. " By disregarding the teaching of Scripture, how can you say that you are "taught by Christ?" You cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit when you call evil good and good evil.

    by George Swanson

    May 11, 2011

  96. What a sad state... no matter what is said on this topic it seems that if you're not for it you are antiquated, ignorant or unpopular. I will definitely pray for our beloved Presbyterian church but I think it's time for me to move on.

    by Ron Beteta

    May 11, 2011

  97. In the prayer that the GA folks offer it says something about this decision being the mind of Christ. Would someone care to explain how the mind of Christ can directly conflict with the word of God?

    by don

    May 11, 2011

  98. Those who have been striving for this particular agenda have no concern for church unity or the fact that so many churches will ultimately leave the denomination. They do not care so long as their agenda is reached. It isn’t my place to put judgment on anyone, but they will in time answer for this. And of course this happens in light of an already shaky denomination and so many shaky presbyteries. The PCUSA will be broken and the battle has yet to begin. Now we will be dealing with people and congregations leaving the denomination many of which will be without a place to worship. So many people who have built up the local church for decades will be lost to find a new place to call home. I’m truly appalled and ashamed of the behavior of those adhering to this agenda for their lack of care and concern for the unity of the church and the authority of scripture. John Calvin is rolling in his grave!

    by RGR

    May 11, 2011

  99. As a young gay man who has been in the Presbyterian Church his whole life and is discerning a call to ministry, I cannot express how much this means to me. I was nearly crying in my office when I read this news. Thank you so much for treating gays the same way you treat everyone else. I firmly believe that one's orientation should have no bearing on whether or not they can share the Good News of Jesus Christ. You really are showing His love to everyone. God bless you all, and keep up the amazing work!

    by Drew C

    May 11, 2011

  100. One..To be Christian is to be living in the New Testament, of Jesus Christ teachings with the number one..LOVE. We are not the hebrew people of the old testament, of the Old Testament age following Old rules and guidelines. The Old Testament provides us with scriptures for inspiration, history, song, prelude to Jesus. Two.. Jesus said he was for all, all who came to him, all who accept him. He died for our sins. A gift for everyone. Three... If someone is a gay or lesbian their ability to serve the Lord and thus their church community has nothing to do with their sexuality. (And no it's not a Choice or a phase that will be worked out, and it's not a disease that you can catch). Four... Heaven will include all rather you want to accept that knowlege now or later

    by Linda Blanchard

    May 11, 2011

  101. "Give us grace and strength to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends and soften to us our enemies. Give us the strength to encounter that shich is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death loyal and loving to one another"~~Robert Louis Stevenson. I think this is an excellent example of how we need to move forward with respect and love for all those affected by this news. God works in mysterious ways but always toward justice for all.

    by Rev. Bonnie Boyce

    May 11, 2011

  102. Thank you for this letter that let's people know that the PC(USA) can be an inclusive denomination on so many levels -- no church if being forced to ordain anyone in a same gender relationship while at the same time if a congregation or presbytery desires to include a pastor in a same gender relationship they are no longer precluded from making that choice. I believe that Jesus' teachings on love for our God and love for our neighbors is upheld by this change.

    by Ann Catherine Keirns

    May 11, 2011

  103. Think about how hard it was to get us Presbyterians to allow remarriage after divorce and interracial marriage, and the ordination of women. Those decisions were surely Spirit-led that, in my view, theologically *requires* the amendment that has apparently passed. Moreover, the language of the present section excluding anyone from office who is honest enough to acknowledge "any ... practice hich the confessions call sin" exposes the factual and theological impossibility of an "anchor" for ordination standards based solely on sexual activity. On issues of this caliber, the desideratum of following "centuries of tradition" is no more persuasive than were the counter-Reformation insistence on that standard in the 16th Century.

    by Penn Hackney

    May 11, 2011

  104. As I understand this mismatch of the English language I may do just about anything I wish so long as I joyfully to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have spent the last 30++ years as a serving officer in the Presbyterian Church US and the Presbyterian Church USA and I now have to decide as to if I should continue in this denomination. I personally do not want to be around people that can twist things to the point that they are meaningless and we have reached that stage. Each and every time we do something this stupid we become a smaller and smaller denomination. In the not so distant future we will be not unlike Europe: unchurched. Then Islam and agnostism will be the prevelent organization. Maybe it is God's manner of religating us to uselessness.

    by noel P. mellen

    May 11, 2011

  105. @ Mark Bigelow: There are sad and hateful things being said by both sides. I wasn't trying to convey a preference for one side or the other. I'm merely trying to remind everyone to be respectful and loving to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. No matter which way this vote ended up, the decision was going to bring pain and disappointment. I'm just asking that EVERYONE remember that and speak to one another accordingly.

    by Lisa Johnson

    May 11, 2011

  106. Thank God for this day. What a blessing.

    by Laurie

    May 11, 2011

  107. May what we do be to God's glory and witness to the grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    by Tom

    May 11, 2011

  108. May the Holy Spirit's gifts of peace and cooperation that we 219th GA Commissioners enjoyed spread throughout the PC(USA). Now, let's get more respectful of each other; let's reach out across divisions; and let's embrace the obligation to consider all of each candidate's qualifications and limitations.

    by Rich Rosenfeld

    May 11, 2011

  109. Praise be to God! The Holy Spirit is alive and well in the PCUSA, and for far too long we have been a barrier to God's calling among our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

    by Tara

    May 11, 2011

  110. Shame on PC USA for joining the ranks of those who no longer know right from wrong. "Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6). So, will we also be ordaining habitual thieves, swinging adulterers, idol worshipers, etc.? We all sin, but there's a difference in ordaining a contrite sinner versus one who embraces a lifestyle of sin unapologetically. The latter should still be loved and ministered to, but should not be put in leadership positions in our churches. You can be inclusive in outreach without granting leadership status to people who embrace what God called an "abomination" in the Old Testament. The reason churches are declining in membership is not because we don't kowtow to every sinful whim; churches are declining because more and more churches don’t stand up for God’s word. People can find an “anything goes” attitude almost anywhere they turn these days, so why would they need to come to a church for that? But finding a church that actually says that sin is wrong, and lovingly but firmly says “this is what the Bible says”? Now, that would be guidance worth coming to church for.

    by Rob

    May 11, 2011

  111. As the mother of a young son, I read Kim C.'s comment with alarm...for she appears to have no concern about her son's apathy toward this highly tumultuous situation. Dobson long ago warned that the gay agenda was not so much about gaining acceptance, but about instilling apathy. Sadly, it has apparently been successful. Our church has, thankfully, taken a stand against the nonsense & corruption fueling the effort to change 10-A. I hope we will soon part ways with PC-USA & the ramifications of this embarassing vote. How could I ever be able to say to my children that an unrepentant homosexual pastor is "ok" in leadership? The reality that my life-long denomination has succombed to such infiltration and heresy is nauseating to me. If Biblical adherence and purity are no longer held up as benchmarks, it's tragic to think about where it's all headed from here. I'm weeping with those of you who are weeping, and praying for us all.

    by Karen W.

    May 11, 2011

  112. This is so sad, I wanted the best for the PCUSA but it seems that they have embraced man's wisdom instead of God's spoken word. What they are doing will ultimately hurt them as a denomination, and I wish it wasn't the case. Maybe in time, they will come to see the error of their ways, but I suspect that this is just another step in what is a dying denomination.

    by Mike

    May 11, 2011

  113. I don't understand why some of you think Jesus would be dissapointed today. There are only about 6 or 7 mentions of gays, not all of them negative (most of the negatives ones are in Leviticus). However, nearby some of those are lines like. LEVITICUS 18:19 The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman's period. If they disobey, both shall be executed. Or MARK 12:18-27 If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir. Look, the truth is as great as a book as the bible is, society and standards are very different today then they were then, and so we can't take everything as truth. Jesus never comes close to mentioning anything in favor or against Gay Marriage or homosexulaity at all. So open your hearts and rejoice. Christianity is a religion thats founded on values of acceptance and equality, and if we turn our back on our gay brothers, then we forsake our religion.

    by John

    May 11, 2011

  114. What I don't understand is how liberal mainline denominations don't seem to recognize what works and what does not. They have been abandoning Biblically-based theology since the 1960s and without exception have suffered massive membership losses since then. The churches that are succeeding are those that faithfully adhere to and promote Biblical Christianity. While I do not doubt that there are many good Christians in liberal denominations (I'm talking theologically, I don't believe Jesus endorsed a particular political party in His time on earth), but the Holy Spirit has clearly left these churches by and large. They continue to flounder under their misguided ideologically driven leadership and will ultimately be killed off by their apostasy. None of this is to say that the Christians who demonize homosexuals are in the right. Christ would be just as appalled by their behavior as He undoubtedly is over the abandonment of Biblical Christianity by liberal mainline denominations. Homosexuals are God's children too, and are sinners in need of salvation just like the rest of us. They deserve our love and support, but there is no grounds in Scripture to condone unrepentant homosexuality. This move by the PC(USA) was motivated by political correctness and the far left agenda of those who are in power, not by a sincere love to better serve as one of Christ's churches here on earth.

    by Luke

    May 11, 2011

  115. "We have sought to find that place where every congregation and every member, deacon, elder, and minister of the Word and Sacrament can share their gifts in ministry while, at the same time, the integrity of every congregation, member, deacon, elder, and minister is respected." You followed each other instead of Jesus. Try pleasing Jesus.

    by Calvin

    May 11, 2011

  116. The ordination of GLBT opens the door very wide for scandals of all sorts. The PCUSA lost over 160,000 members in 2009 due to their so-called liberal stance and we can expect this rate of loss to continue ever more so in the coming years. Sorry but the Lord's sheep will not follow this kind of leadership.

    by E.lee

    May 11, 2011

  117. I am so sad. I love my church. I just became a Presbyterian about a year and a half ago. I had no idea this issue would come to the forefront so quickly. I recently became a deacon. I sing in the choir. All of a sudden I feel so lost and alone. I don't know where to go from here. This is not about love and inclusiveness. It's about the church leaders choosing political correctness over Biblical correctness. I'm not quite 34 years old, so I'm not some old "fogey" stuck in the traditions of the past. I just want the Truth no matter what. Love without the Truth is not really love at all.

    by Matt Lucas

    May 11, 2011

  118. I think if this would of been put up for a vote of the congregations this would not have passed. once again a few have voiced their view for the Presbyterian Church values. God created Adam and Eve, NOT ADAM AND STEVE. What a said day for the Presbyterians!!!!

    by Don Kammrad

    May 11, 2011

  119. A sad time in the history of Presbyterians and in the time of the Church of Jesus Christ! Thank God that He remains the same forever. He is not persuaded by the mores of society. This has not taken Him by surprise. The whole of God's written word stands firmly as it has from it's beginning and is Truth. Jesus did not set it aside when He came from Heaven to Earth. It's still a sin against God to practice sexual desires other than what God ordained in marriage-- marriage being that between a man and woman. Those who do otherwise, and those who approve any other way, are gravely deceived by the Enemy of their souls.

    by Cathy

    May 11, 2011

  120. A sad day indeed for what once stood on biblical grounds and standards. "Beware when men call good, evil; and evil, good!" I don't know how many more will depart, but I know at least one!

    by Ken in FL

    May 11, 2011

  121. The new statement sounds a lot like a 12 Step Recovery statement of "My Higher Power," "God - as I understand Him to be, etc." IF we are submission to JESUS AS LORD, I see major conflict between 10-A and it's practical, local "affirmation" of ANY particular lifestyle and HIS Lordship. The Presbyterian Church is a dying denomination. The more it moves towards looking like the world it is called to come out of and be different from, the quicker the death throes advance upon it.

    by concerned

    May 11, 2011

  122. I'm excited to hear this news. I know that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that I attend would not be as strong as it is without the members including some members who are homosexual. As Christians, we need to love everyone, we ALL sin and we ALL are forgiven if we accept God's grace.

    by Sarah G.

    May 11, 2011

  123. The existing language included: “Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church.” This is being changed to: “Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.” In jettisoning “obedience to Scripture” in favor of being “guided” by it, they are clearly saying that doing what is right in our own eyes has replaced God’s Word as the ultimate authority because guidance, by definition, is not binding; therefore there must be a higher authority. In eliminating Scripture, what is left? This corporate statement of apostasy must be addressed – to ignore it is to tacitly agree with it. As Martin Luther declared at Worms when asked to recant: “to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me.”

    by Glen

    May 11, 2011

  124. Hallelujah! It's about time!

    by Judy

    May 11, 2011

  125. As someone who is straight, married, and in my mid-20's, I couldn't justify my faith in a church so far removed from reality. I know GLBT members who felt the joy of being called as an elder or deacon, but the sorrow of loneliness, forced to live in chastity. A calling from God is a calling from God - end of story. Who are we to judge those who have been called? I finally found a home in a welcoming Presbyterian church, and now feel that I can actively pursue membership knowing that we are more truly welcoming. This is how you bring young people back to the church - with open arms to all. Lord, in your mercy, you hear our prayers.

    by Emily

    May 11, 2011

  126. It is a sad day for the church of Jesus Christ. We are all sinners including me and need mercy and forgiveness. Essentially what the PCUSA is now saying is this behavior is not a sin and it condones this behavior. As an ordained PCUSA minister, I really want to leave this denomination -- it is no longer a model I want to follow. Some think this will bring in more members but it will not -- it is a dying denomination. I predict that in the next year, there will be the largest exodus of members ever in the PCUSA.

    by Douglas

    May 11, 2011

  127. My final comment and then I, for one, will move on. The primary source of the Biblical prohibition on homosexuality is Leviticus 20. This chapter establishes the death penalty for homosexual acts. It likewise makes adultery and cursing one's parents capital offenses and says that wizards and mediums should be stoned to death.

    by Greg Hanners

    May 11, 2011

  128. A lot of talk by those rejoicing at this decision (including those in denominational leadership....they all support this, which tells you a lot about our church) about love and justice etc. They criticize those who disagree as being hateful. It needs to stop. We disagree with you. Stop saying we hate homosexuals. We love them as they are God's children. Everyone sins. But, there is a huge difference between being a member and a minister. Unrepentant homosexuality is listed in scripture as one of those lifestyle sins that cannot be found in a true Christian. Period. Now, one can struggle with homosexuality and be a Christian, but not if they outright delight in it. Therefore, if we allow unrepentant homosexuals into the ministry, we are endorsing the lifestyle as okay. I don't have a problem with a person who comes to a session and admits they struggle with LGBT issues being ordained and installed as a minister. Why? They know it's sin, but no doubt just like any other sexual sin...pornography, adultery etc...it is really hard to beat. That's the thing here....ordaining a gay is okay, but not an unrepentant gay.

    by Roy

    May 11, 2011

  129. After years of being told that the "former" language did not target gays and lesbians, I am dismayed (but not surprised) that all the negative comments above target gays and lesbians! As a life long Presbyterian, I say let's get on with the real message of Jesus---love one another, and work for justice and peace.

    by Jo Smith

    May 11, 2011

  130. I have read several posts here that say since Jesus didn't talk about homosexuality somehow that makes it okay. All of Scripture is God's word, not just the red letters. It frightens me how so many people think only the words of Christ matters when you realize that Christ is God and God inspired all of the Bible....meaning really everything is from Christ, too.

    by Bob Jacobson

    May 11, 2011

  131. I grew up in a Presbyterian Church, I also have a brother who is gay. Over the years he has been turned away from Christianity because of these types of issues in the church. I know what the bible says about homosexuality. But how can we expect one to return to the will of God if they are afraid to even go to a worship service due to constant reticule, funny looks and comments about the lifestyle they have chosen. I have faith he will one day return to Christ Jesus, I respect this decision.

    by Wade

    May 11, 2011

  132. It is with a heavy heart I now transfer my membership to the Presbyterian Church in America. While I may not agree about them excluding women from the pulpit, at least they recognize if you compromise even one bit....this is what happens. A long history of compromise led us to where we are today in the PCUSA. This is a sad day. If this were just an issue with which we could agree to disagree, it would be different. If the PCUSA had done serious biblical study and come to the current conclusion, it would be different. If those for gay ordination had attempted to seriously study the issue from *scripture* and not try to find ways to justify their sin with touchy feely slogans about love, it would be different. What a sad day. I must wonder what is really lord of the PCUSA now....Christ or culture? As for young people being for this, that's not always the case. I am young and still oppose this. While I may not be a zealot on other issues like gay marriage, I am on this one because it has to do with Christ's church, not politics. Homosexuality is a sin like every other, but scripture makes a distinction between lifestyle sins and others. Homosexuality is one of those lifestyle sins. If you struggle with homosexual thoughts, you can be Christian. But, we should not ordain unrepentant and prideful homosexuals. That is what this change will allow. May God help those who remain find their way this together...peacefully BUT based on Scripture and NOT unity just for the sake of unity.

    by Chris

    May 11, 2011

  133. Lisa Johnson demonstrates all that we need to know, by merely disagreeing with the decision and trying to adhere to scripture we are accused of being "hateful". The tolerance the LGBT community wants is not reciprocated when someone merely disagrees with them, most posting here are disagreeing with the policy without preaching hate (hate the sin, love the sinner).

    by Mark Bigelow

    May 11, 2011

  134. I'm even more proud of our PCUSA today than usual. And I've never understood why this issue has caused us such difficulty. We affirm that God made all of us. And we affirm that God calls us to various forms of ministry. Who were we to limit God's power to call those He chooses?

    by J. Heckerman

    May 11, 2011

  135. On truth and unity: Unity is good and glorifying to God. But, truth comes first. If we seek to be united in something that is not God's truth, that is sin. It is against the Lord. Something else that I think should be said: 1 Cor. 3:21 - "So let know one boast of men." 1 Cor. 1:31 - "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." We must only boast in Jesus Christ, and not in ourselves (as Presbyterians). Our identity is not in our denomination, but in Him.

    by Emma

    May 11, 2011

  136. To the individuals quoting Leviticus, if homosexuality merits death and disqualifies people from Ordination, why aren't people required not to eat pork or work on the Sabbath?

    by Peter

    May 11, 2011

  137. There are many more issues like war,the poor,the Republicans,that upset me.The church needs to stay out of the bed room.Get mad about injustice and leave the gays along.They are often sweet loving people who care for others.This issue does not change a thing in my life.I am a male who loves a woman.If the church has a gay pastor I will support him or her.

    by Dan

    May 11, 2011

  138. I believe that the scripture is being fulfilled: For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3,4

    by Dave

    May 11, 2011

  139. My heart is heavy upon learning that you all are giving up on the requirement of fidelity between a man and a woman or singleness as a requirement for ordination in your church denomination. I know a lot of my collegues in the United Methodist Church will cheer your choice, but I for one believe you ar moving down the path of disobedience to the will of Almighty God who created a male and a female for each other period. I will pray for you and your choice and alsk the Holy Spirit to intervene. Our Jewish counterparts of the Old Testament were prone to disobey God for any number of reasons and now I see the church that claims it is the Church of Jesus Christ the crucified one doing just the same. Shame, sin is sin and we cannot white wash it by changing God's plan for his creation.

    by Rev. Lyle M. Miller, Sr

    May 11, 2011

  140. I grew up in this denomination. I have friends still in it, though I suspect not for long. Yes, to some degree we are all sexual sinners who need forgiveness and the grace of Christ. The biggest question, in addition to the authority of Scripture (which obviousy is now the suggestion of Scripture), is this: Does the gospel of Jesus have power to forgive and change people? If we open the door here, what about 'loving plural marriage'? Why can't that be a loving, committed relationship?

    by Chuck

    May 11, 2011

  141. I don't understand why people are being so hateful. I understand that this decision is going to be difficult for a lot of people to deal with in a lot of different ways. But as Presbyterians, this is how we make decisions - as a body. We believe that, as a body, we are led by the Holy Spirit. I'm sorry that this decision has caused so much contention and strife, but we are ALL still children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ. Do we need to become vicious and hateful with one another?

    by Lisa Johnson

    May 11, 2011

  142. There is a difference between being a sinner (and we are all sinners) and calling sin acceptable behaviour.

    by Tristan Beckham

    May 11, 2011

  143. The more churches conform to society, the less relevant they become, hence the reason for their decline in population/membership. Schism coming soon?

    by Dan

    May 11, 2011

  144. Where is the logical endpoint to this slippery slope? I do not expect my pastor to live a perfect life; but at the same time I would not accept that they openly endorse a lifestyle contrary to Biblical commandments. While I agree that God loves the LGBT as much as he loves me; I know he opposes their sin as much as he opposes my own. We should strive to apply the same standard...

    by James

    May 11, 2011

  145. JESUS said : GOD made them male and female, HE is the absolute final authority , not men or women. Enough Said!

    by Don Fritts

    May 11, 2011

  146. Interesting letter. There are strong feelings on both sides of the issue, so you can best seek God's will by changing the rules so that one side's viewpoint is supported? This is not enabling dialogue -- this is caving.

    by MarkUMC

    May 11, 2011

  147. I truly do not understand how this can be biblically justified. I always thought it was a sad day when the Presbyterian Church, US merged with USA and this makes it more evident.

    by James Lucas

    May 11, 2011

  148. Another step on the road to equality and justice! Good for you PCUSA!

    by Matt

    May 11, 2011

  149. I believe Jesus is among those thankful we are taking a step toward welcoming our brothers and sisters in Christ, since throughout His ministry He welcomed those whom mainstream society of His time rejected - women, children, outcasts, foreigners, eunuchs, the disabled. (Thank you, Vicki, for pointing out that Jesus never mentioned it; and even Matt. 19:12 points towards acceptance.) How many of us actually keep to every "Biblical Standard?" Don't you realize these evil thoughts toward your fellow human beings count as sin, and Jesus taught that you are to love not only your neighbor, but also your enemy? Those standing on precedent should educate themselves a little more on the living Bible and proper exegesis - and perhaps pick up a copy of Jack Rogers' book, too, before they start spreading a message of hate and who they think is "good enough" for God's grace. (News flash: none of us are; Eph. 2:8-10.) Our numbers as a denomination were already dwindling - perhaps now they will increase as we open our doors in an example of Christian love, rather than condemning our fellow sinners (since last time I checked, we ALL have sinned and fallen short.)

    by Carrie

    May 11, 2011

  150. "I'm so proud to be part of a church with such a strong democratic tradition that can provide a voice for all sides and adapt to changing realities." Thank you Rob for saying what I want to say but in a much more graceful way. Why should we exclude people from serving Christ? The arguement of gay pastors being sinners doesn't hold water. Aren't we all sinners? No one is perfect. If someone has the gift to preach, to know God's word and has a strong message, does sexuality really matter? They may have the strongest message of all, you just have to be willing to listen.

    by Kathleen

    May 11, 2011

  151. @Marcia "it will happen and future generations will find churches that's can't adapt irrelevant", Actually if we look at Church history since the 1970's everytime we have liberalized we have lost members. This is purely a political move and will not help bring folks into the pews. Evangelical and Catholic churches grow as the mainline Protestant denomionations are destroyed from within by liberal clerics and scholars that believe the Bible is an à la carte menu from which they can pick-and-choose their Christianity.

    by Stacie J. Manter

    May 11, 2011

  152. To those who are concerned about PCUSA members flooding out of the church, just think of the number of people who will now flock to PCUSA churches with the knowledge that they will be welcomed into a loving denomination.

    by Meredith

    May 11, 2011

  153. Get back to the bible! If God doesn't judge this wickedness SOON , He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!

    by franz

    May 11, 2011

  154. Jesus said clearly that He had not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it; that includes the Law's statements against all forms of sexual sin, including homosexuality. So now the PCUSA chooses to do with the Law what Jesus refused to do? What "Jesus" are we intending to bring to people - the one we find in the unadulterated Bible or the one distorted by those who, like Eve, would be equal with God and would pick and choose the truth they will follow? This opens the door to ordination of wolves to lead the sheep and the promotion of LGBT behavior from the pulpit and in the classroom. God save us from ourselves!

    by John

    May 11, 2011

  155. I'm very proud to say I'm a member of a PC USA church! What a bold move toward equality for all people.

    by Megan Morlok

    May 11, 2011

  156. We are a dying denomination. I do not see how this will bring life to the denomination or its congregations. Can anyone point to a denomination that has allowed openly practicing homosexual ministers to serve and seen their numbers or their impact for Christ in the world grow? We want to be inclusive, but apparently not to people that believe the Word of God is the Truth. As a denomination, we may as well have said that Paul and his letters are wrong and take them out of the pew bibles. I predict within 50 years that it will in fact be the case or at the very least, the "objectionable language" in Paul's letters will be changed or removed.

    by Michael Spires

    May 11, 2011

  157. Finally, we are an inclusive church offering full membership instead of conditional hospitality.

    by April Coldsmith

    May 11, 2011

  158. Submitting to the Lordship in Jesus Christ is covering all that it means to be a Christian - repenting, and being Christ like in our community. What this action does is remove the judgement of humans to what sin makes us fallen and therefore not worthy of God's Grace. We are all fallen (no matter the sin) and yet also worthy of our Lord's Grace. Dear Father in Heaven please forgive us our brokeness and help us to live in community to spread the Gospel. Amen.

    by Consquella

    May 11, 2011

  159. I was raised Presbyterian and am very, very proud of PCUSA for taking this necessary step. For all conservatives' efforts to stop social change, it will happen and future generations will find churches that's can't adapt irrelevant. And I do hope PCUSA doesn't back down when the inevitable happens and some people leave. This is bound to happen and in fact happened when churches started to be inclusive when it came to race and, for that matter, started ordaining female clergy.

    by Marcia

    May 11, 2011

  160. Sad news from this denomination that I grew up in. Why are you abandoning God's truth? Doesn't it bother you that you are making something ok that is considered offensive to God and aligning yourself with evil?

    by BB

    May 11, 2011

  161. I love how a majority of voters can determine what is the truth...pretty sure God got outvoted on this one.

    by Jason

    May 11, 2011

  162. It is sad that this is so upsetting to so many folks. I mourn the schism in this church. I also find it odd that so many read this amendment as being completely permissive or instructive for presbyteries and sessions to ordain openly gay or lesbian people. After all, wasnt' the language present in the BOO prior to 1996 when 'amendment B' went in more like this new language? Hasn't it always been the case that the church at large leaves the judgment up to the presbyteries? Therefore, before 60106B, GLBT folks were still being ordained or not dependent upon the discretion of their presbytery. Oddly, I agree with Justin: this new amendment could be interpreted by Presbyteries and Sessions that homosexuality is not following the Lordship of Christ, standards of the confessions or Biblical authority. There is much room for interpretation here.

    by Megan

    May 11, 2011

  163. My read of the Bible, and understanding of the human condition, is that the sins of obesity and homosexuality are very similar. Both are explicitly proscribed. Both are very difficult to resist which leads sufferers to minimize and rationalize ("God made me this way..."). I would prefer the church to deny ordination to both unrepentant gluttons and unrepentant homosexuals. We embrace and welcome everyone into the Church and into ministry, but ordination is something higher. If we lose track of sin and repentance we become a mere social club.

    by Ray Fisk

    May 11, 2011

  164. It is sad to see so many people get so upset and plan to leave the Presbyterian church over this issue. This change does NOT require any PCUSA church to accept or call an openly gay or lesbian minister. As has always been the case, the Elders of the Session of each individual church will decide such matters.

    by Greg Hanners

    May 11, 2011

  165. Thoughts and prayers go out to the Pres. Community who desire for their church to adhere to Godly priniciples and not the ways of the world. We hope that this will be reconsidered and will be recognized as decision not based on Biblical standards, but on social acceptance of the world.

    by Paul

    May 11, 2011

  166. I have hoped today would not happen. The PCUSA has left the teaching of the Bible.I only hope my church will leave the PCUSA.

    by Edward Donaldson

    May 11, 2011

  167. Being the 3rd generation of a Minister and Founder of the Presbyterian Church overseas, and learning about this has been incredible. I know that my grandfather, a vertical pastor would NEVER in his life would have accepted this inside his Church. Definitely, this IS NOT the Church where my kids will be raised. This is just the FIRST step of disobedience against the scripture: A NEVER CHANGING word of God. If the Church accepts this WRONG VALUE, soon we would have to accept gay marriages inside our own Church and pastors would be required to marry gay couples using the same Bible that establishes this behavior as a SIN.

    by Sarah Barnes

    May 11, 2011

  168. It is, indeed, a watershed moment for the Presbyterian Church. For a time, it will cause some devastation in the landscape like recent Mississippi floodwaters. But in time all will recede, and life will return to normal. God will have been present with all through the storm--whatever one's vote--and God's people will rebound, rebuild, and renew faith in the promise that nothing shall prevail against the grace, mercy, and love of God for all!

    by Lonnie Darnell

    May 11, 2011

  169. Why not then just change the text of The Bible to read: "A man shall lie down with a man or a woman shall lie down with a woman", as opposed to "A man shall not lie down with a man or a woman shall not lied down with a woman". You cannot change historically written text even when you bring the language up to date for modern times.

    by Alison Pinsley

    May 11, 2011

  170. Finally a decision. As I see it, each church still has the right to call the minister that suits the needs of that particular church. We have just refused to say that one sin is worse than another sin. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

    by Barbara Walter

    May 11, 2011

  171. I'm so proud to be part of a church with such a strong democratic tradition that can provide a voice for all sides and adapt to changing realities.

    by Rob

    May 11, 2011

  172. when will the vote be taken to repeal the words in the book of order that the Word is our final authority?

    by charles sinatra

    May 11, 2011

  173. This is a step in the right direction. Many people are making a big stink about something Jesus never even talked about. You would think that if it was so important Jesus would have mentioned it. Matt. 19:11 is the only reference to the subject.

    by Vicki Sargent

    May 11, 2011

  174. My husband and I are grateful for a church with an inclusive spirit. We have seen gifted seminary students leave the denomination over this issue. Young families have threatened to join more loving denominations. Our youth has pressed for this at Montreat and has been proactive for change. Our ministers have sacrificed much in life to abide by the old (1997) ruling. Change NEEDED to come. Hallelujah! We can all now grow in love and faith.

    by Vickie Williams

    May 11, 2011

  175. I will also be exiting to find a church which upholds Biblical standards. Saw it coming, now I am for sure. All are welcome to the Lord, but He has set standards for our obedience, Have been a Presbyterian all my life, third generation, the fourth and fifth generations will be leaving with me. The Presbyterian denomination has been corrupted by the standards of the world.

    by Frances Williams

    May 11, 2011

  176. We as Presbyterians have throughout our history as a denomination been proud of our "Biblically" based heritage. I cannot agree that this amendment adheres to the Bible. The one true guide to our beliefs is being usurped for the sake of modern pressures. I will continue to love all brothers and sisters in Christ; however, I am hurt that that my Church would consider the ordination of those living in sin as commensurate with the Lord's teachings. I only hope that the Holy Spirit will actively guide us through this difficult and self-imposed path. Sola Scriptura!

    by Christopher Simpson

    May 11, 2011

  177. What a sad day for the Church, sad that so many people allegedly educated in Scripture would go against the teachings of the Bible. While you hate the sin and love the sinner, this is one change that is not for the better. In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve, man and woman, not Adam and Steve. I shall be renouncing my Presbyterian membership forthwith, one I have held in high esteem for the past 55 years, but can no longer support.

    by John Jeffries

    May 11, 2011

  178. It is a sad day for Presbyterians; my family and I will be leaving the denomination now that this decision has been made. I bear no hate against gays and lesbians nor do I judge them but the Bible is clear as to sexual immorality. Like the Episcopal Church I can longer consider the PCUSA a real Christian church. Revelations warns us against the false churches and I believe they are here.

    by Mark Bigelow

    May 11, 2011

  179. A sin is a sin no matter how you put it. If you are deliberately sinning and you announce it does it make it a less of a sin? I don't think i could be led by someone who deliberately chooses to sin.

    by DJ K

    May 11, 2011

  180. To mollify a few unrepentant ones we have alienated missions of Christians around the world and inflicted what may be a mortal wound upon our expression of the Body of Christ.

    by Lowell

    May 11, 2011

  181. Get over it.We need to do ministry.People need Christ.

    by Jeff HARDENING

    May 11, 2011

  182. I don't see how the language of "Submitting joyfully" to Christ's Lordship makes it okay to ordain a gay minister. As much as I love my gay brothers and sister in Christ, I just can't see how this is beneficial. I'm not leaving the church over it, for sure, but I find it troubling that we have essentially disregarded entire sections of the Bible to make this happen... Think on it: If it were any other sexual impropriety, it would be a problem. If ANY minister had an extra-marital affair, unrepentantly partook of flagrant premarital sex, or embraced any other sin ads a lifestyle (gambling addiction, alcoholism, etc.), he or she would be ineligible. If ALL sin is equal, why is this one suddenly not such a big deal?

    by Chrellis

    May 11, 2011

  183. May God have mercy upon your souls.

    by Gerry Watson

    May 11, 2011

  184. This is a bad move for the PCUSA, but a good move for other churches who will willingly welcome those who desire to serve the Lord in a more biblical manner.

    by Evangelical Churches

    May 11, 2011

  185. This has been a long time coming. I sincerely thank all who crafted the lovely language, the loving language, that has the power to bind and heal.

    by Laura Clawson

    May 11, 2011

  186. Yes, indeed, this is a very sad time for PCUSA and for myself, a 32 year old life long Presbyterian. The church should not lean towards the world's standards. Rather, we are called to be loving, yet peculiar. I am no longer proud to be a Presbyterian and will study and look into a biblically based denomination.

    by Michele

    May 11, 2011

  187. It is the height of impudence for man to determine in his own mind that God is wrong. To then lead others to that same conclusion surely aggrevates that person's condemnation. You should be ashamed.

    by Douglas VanWiggeren

    May 11, 2011

  188. The overriding issue here that makes me weep is that this is at its core is a heresy. This is a rejection of apostolic authority. This at its core states that to the leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Book of Order has greater authority than the word of the apostles Paul, Peter, and John... not to mention our Lord Jesus Christ's commandments.

    by Jason Hackwith

    May 11, 2011

  189. Amen James A.! For many in younger generations, this is not an issue at all. My 11 year old son said just the other day: "Geez mom, I don't see why it should matter. It is weird that everyone cares so much about this."

    by Kim C.

    May 10, 2011

  190. Paul, I believe Jesus weeps for the hate shown with His name on it.. No matter which side you stand on, will our generation be remembered for a vicious battle against sexual immorality, while thousands upon thousands die of preventable causes every day? Is that really what God is asking of us as followers? and to those leaving the presbyterian church, you have no place to talk if you're not in it for the long- run. No one is asking that you compromise on your beliefs, but imagine the healing and restoration that would take place if instead of running- you stuck it out? We are not defined by our sin, why should they be?

    by anon

    May 10, 2011

  191. Submitting to the Lordship of Christ requires keeping His commandments, so I suppose homosexuality is still technically forbidden by the new language.

    by Justin

    May 10, 2011

  192. The news is out just minutes and my church has already lost two percent of its membership. I wonder how many people we will lose from the PC(USA) in this move to be "inclusive." This is a very sad day. I really hate to see our denomination, which once was a large-tent church with real influence, be slowly reduced to an irrelevant, micro-denomination, a theological cul-de-sac.

    by Daniel Morrison

    May 10, 2011

  193. How fast can our Church leave the PCUSA?

    by Jake Ramstack

    May 10, 2011

  194. I guess the upside of this is that now everyone can actually return to doing ministry, instead of being consumed with politicking.

    by Chris

    May 10, 2011

  195. I'm proud to be a Presbyterian today!

    by Susan Bigelow

    May 10, 2011

  196. Less than two years ago, I thought I found my church. By accepting unrepentant sinners as ordained, you have officially declared there are no standards within the church. I am absolutely sickened that you are turning from the Lord, who spoke out against sexual impropriety, which is any sex outside marriage. I will pray over it, but I will probably renounce my membership to this organization until the organization remembers that sin is sin, and those who don't care do not deserve ordination. That's not to say the Lord won't forgive and let them into Heaven, it's saying church leaders need to be an example, not a warning.

    by Rick R.

    May 10, 2011

  197. Thank you for this thoughtful letter and prayer. It acknowledges that this is a step in our family conversation, but not the final step, and that we must continue to listen to one another. In today's decision, I am reminded that expansion of ordination has brought our denomination a new generation of leaders whose voices would otherwise have been silenced. Some of our most inspired and moving leaders are women who would not have found a place in our pulpits a century ago. I believe today's decision will open our ears to God working through even more of God's people who would have been silenced in prior years. It makes me long for the day when others who have been long-silenced will be able to inspire us in church leadership. I also humbly await continuing to hear the will of God from brothers and sisters on both sides of this issue.

    by James A.

    May 10, 2011

  198. Well, get ready! The evangelical denominations are about ready to welcome a new batch of churches and presbyteries.

    by Van

    May 10, 2011

  199. I believe Jesus is among those who weep.

    by Paul Freeman

    May 10, 2011

  200. Thanks for getting this out so quickly!

    by Bruce Reyes-Chow

    May 10, 2011