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24 former GA moderators call for unity after 10-A passes

‘Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) needs the voices and gifts of all of us’

May 12, 2011

LOUISVILLE

Twenty-four former moderators of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly have written a letter to the church pleading to “move forward as a unified and missional expression of the Body of Christ.”

The letter comes in the wake of the ratification of Amendment 10-A to the PC(USA) constitution, which relaxes the church’s prohibition against  the ordination of sexually active  gays and lesbians as church officers.

That provision ― G-6.0106b, which requires “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness” ― has been replaced by language calling for candidates for ordination “to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” and affirms the responsibility of ordaining bodies to examine each candidate’s fitness for office individually.

In their letter, the former moderators acknowledge that some of them have supported the change and others have worked for retention of the “fidelity and chastity” standard. In the end, they state, “we believe that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) needs the voices and gifts of all of us.”

Only former moderator the Rev. David Dobler (205th GA -1993) declined to sign the letter.

The full text:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Greetings in the name of our Risen Lord!

We write to you as former Moderators of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and as disciples of Jesus Christ who love the church.

Now that Amendment 10-A has been passed in a majority of our presbyteries, we are aware of the mixture of feelings and fears that this decision has created. As those who have been privileged to serve as elected leaders of our denomination, we represent a spectrum of opinion about the wisdom and faithfulness of this change in our ordination standards. Some of us have worked and prayed for this change to happen, and some of us have worked and prayed that the current wording in the Book of Order would hold firm. But all of us fervently hope that the church will move forward as a unified and missional expression of the Body of Christ.

We affirm that Jesus Christ is Head of the Church, and continues to guide and direct it.  The decision to adopt Amendment 10-A does not bind the conscience of any Presbyterian, nor does it create a mandate for ordaining particular individuals. Instead it directs each congregation and presbytery to prayerfully discern the gifts and call of each candidate for ordination, guided by Scripture and the confessions. And it calls all ordained officers to “submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

We believe that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) needs the voices and gifts of all of us, whether we agree with Amendment 10-A or not.  Our unity is strengthened by our diversity, and vigorous debate as well as mutual forbearance is essential to the body. After thirty years of struggle related to the call and ordination of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, it is now time to move forward. We pray that God will bless all of us with a fresh commitment to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with a world hungry for the grace, justice, and truth of the Gospel.

Relying upon the wisdom of the Apostle Paul we "beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one anther in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4: 1-2).

Faithfully yours,

The Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel
214th GA-PCUSA (2002)

Elder Thelma Adair
188th GA-UPCUSA (1976)

The Rev. Susan R. Andrews
215th GA-PCUSA (2003)

The Rev. Robert W. Bohl
206th GA-PCUSA (1994)

Elder Patricia Brown
209th GA-PCUSA (1997)

The Rev. John M. Buchanan
208th GA-PCUSA (1996)

Elder Marj Carpenter
207th GA-PCUSA (1995)

The Rev. John M. Fife
204th GA-PCUSA (1992)

Elder Freda A. Gardner
211th GA-PCUSA (1999)

The Rev. Joan A. Gray
217th GA-PCUSA (2006-07)

Elder Price H. Gwynn III
202nd GA-PCUSA (1990)

The Rev. Charles A. Hammond
192nd GA-UPCUSA (1980)

The Rev. Robert C. Lamar
186th GA-UPCUSA (1974)

The Rev. William P. Lytle
190th GA-UPCUSA (1978)

Elder Sara Bernice Moseley
118th GA-PCUS (1978)

The Rev. Harriet Nelson
196th GA-PCUSA (1984)

The Rev. Douglas W. Oldenburg
210th GA-PCUSA (1998)

The Rev. Syngman Rhee
212th GA-PCUSA (2000)

The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow
218th GA-PCUSA (2008-09)

The Rev. Jack Rogers
213th GA-PCUSA (2001)

Elder Rick Ufford-Chase
216th GA-PCUSA (2004-05)

The Rev. Herbert D. Valentine
203rd GA-PCUSA (1991)

The Rev. Benjamin Weir
198th GA-PCUSA (1986)

The Rev. Albert C. Winn
119th GA-PCUS (1979)

Elder William H. Wilson
197th GA-PCUSA (1985)

  1. do we,as presbyterians, have a right to know who voted for or against this Amendment A ? Is there a site where we can go to see the results ? can we see the names ?

    by Cheryl

    October 5, 2011

  2. I agree with all those in pain over the innate "wrongness" of this decision. Our mainstream churches have failed to minister to their flocks since the turmoil of the 60's. Changes were made, some very good ones, but membership continued its decline in the mainstream congregations. This was, ironically, not a sign of the churches not keeping up with the times, but rather a sign of the deep need many members were feeling for a more spiritually centered church, a church of God, and not of Man. The evangelicals have seen astonishing growth in the same decades. Many such as myself were reluctant to join with the more "out there" elements of worship, yet would have welcomed a return to a more personalized and joyously energized, faith based Presbyterianism. Instead, we have been forced to endure a bleak march towards a combination of Unitarianism and Progressive politics. Why the leaders have failed to see this is simply incomprehensible. I would end with making two simple observations. First, the new amendment is a gauge for selecting leaders of the church, moral examples for the flock. If our clergy can no longer confess to strict fidelity in marriage and constancy in sexual conduct, what message does this send to our youth, already suffering from the hyper sexualization of society at large? Secondly, I believe that our actions speak so much louder than our words. Let us recall Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal church. To me, what devout man of God sees no problem with first ripping apart the admitted travesty of his own marriage, living openly with a man and forcing his children and ex-wife to deal with his actions "joyously," then goes on to stand firm as his church split in two over his nomination for bishop? Would not a true shepherd of the faithful have done anything, absolutely anything, not to mention the simple act of stepping down, away from the furor of the nomination, once it became clear that he was ripping apart the Body of Christ? Alas, our church and very fine clergy, with the best of intentions, have been swayed by the sad tales told ad infinitum by an increasingly bullying and focused group of one message political activists. WWJD? As we well and fully know, He would say, "Go and sin no more." Kyrie eleison

    by Margaret's child

    September 26, 2011

  3. If churches don't leave, individuals will. There is a wind blowing out there. God's Spirit is moving mightily in churches where pastors are praying and seeking God and are in the Word in their own personal devotions. I really haven't seen much of that in the PCUSA, but there are many other churches out there that are growing in their faith and numbers. The real root of this problem lies in that God's Spirit is stifled in worship in most PCUSA congregations. I for one will dry up and blow away if I don't find a church where I can experience God's presence. I pray that each of us can find that place with the Lord. When we do, God will begin to make it plain as to what we should do.

    by Concerned in California

    July 3, 2011

  4. I too have left the Church. My only question is: What part of repenting do they not understand?

    by Marge Regan

    June 9, 2011

  5. I think that the passing of 10-A WAS A BIG MISTAKE. Leaders of the church should not be ones who live that kind of lifestyle. Though I do not agree with it, I do not think that we should leave the denomination. If you leave, there is no way that we can change it back and strengthen thee church. We need to stay and raise our voices and be heard! Next year at the General Assembly we need to make a movement to change the Book of Order back and repeal 10-A! Stay strong and God bless!

    by Daniel

    June 4, 2011

  6. Personally glad to be rid of the chastity clause and I am okay with everyone leaving that disagrees. For most of my life as a Presbyterian that clause did not exist and we as a congregation were not defined by sex or sexual orientation. If you could only be a member because of this, perhaps you should have reconsidered your membership years ago. There is much more to the PCUSA and I for one celebrate that.

    by Scott

    June 3, 2011

  7. elizabeth...yes indeed the exodus of coonservatives has made this outrage possible...but that was the idea in the first place.....all this unity talk is of course absolute nonsense...the powers that be have wanted us out for years....they wanted the apparatus to give themselves a facade of respectability....they have their wish ....we conservatives on the other hand have our wish too..we can now go to where the word is proclaimed and the Truth is presented....the pcusa has now descended to the depths of college discussion group....on the other hand , folks like me will get over our broken hearts and tell the world that Jesus wasnt a liar...

    by charles sinatra

    May 25, 2011

  8. Ironically the exodus of conservatives from the PCUSA has brought this day about.

    by Elizabeth

    May 20, 2011

  9. This is a very sad day for our church. If you didn't like the church the way it was, why not start your own church. I agree people like to interpret the bible to meet their own needs and justify the way they live. We don't get to choose what we like and what we don't. The Presbyterian Church will have to suffer the consequences of this action. I believe many good people will be searching for a new church and this will only add to the already declining membership, not improve it. I am up in the air about what I plan to do but this will make me think seriously about finding a new church home.

    by Robert

    May 18, 2011

  10. Brother Dan, thank you so much for standing up for the Truth! I am glad I am not the only one leaving the PC(USA). I hope that there is a split. Jesus Christ has spewed this denomination from His mouth!

    by Caleb

    May 18, 2011

  11. The 2010 PCUSA General Assembly opening ceremony practiced idol worship for all to witness, thus the Holy Spirit immediately fled from the denomination. It is of no surprise that the sanctioning of sexual sin was soon to follow. My wife and I have 70 years of involvement and service between us in the PCUSA, I have served as an elder 3 terms. Since it is no longer good enough for the Holy Spirit it is no longer good enough for us. WE ARE LEAVING!

    by Dan Tapia

    May 17, 2011

  12. To single out sex as a defining criteria for ordination reflects our culture's obsession with sex. The new/old language acknowledges Christ above sex and strengthens loyalty to both biblical and confessional dimensions of our constitution. Thanks be to God for this change that welcomes the Holy Spirit at work throughout our membership and removes pre-occupation with sex as a litmus test. Soli Deo Gloria!

    by Robert G. Newman (Charleston, WV)

    May 17, 2011

  13. With all respect to all the former Moderators who consider them as my leaders in my beloved denomination, I wish they were articulate, united and serious when this matter was discussing in several GAs. If they held their peace, and decided to be silent in those moments and didn't express the biblical views, writing a letter (together) at this time seems to be neither hot nor cold. "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the SILENCE of our friends." (Martin Luther King Jr.)- The silence of leadership in PCUSA will be remembered in the history of the our church.

    by Edward W. Eissabake

    May 16, 2011

  14. Please e-mail me a copy of Amendment 10A, which I don't find on the website.

    by Laurence J. Brunson

    May 16, 2011

  15. A caution to those of you who use the Bible verse at Leviticus 20:13 as justification for being against homosexual acts. Are you ready to "do what the Bible says"? If you yourself do not carry out the commandment in the middle of 20:13, the response to discovering that "a man has laid with a man", then aren't you also failing to follow Scripture? How can you say you are standing on the Bible's truth? Be very careful about saying "This is what the Bible says." Black-and-white isn't as clear as some would make it seem...

    by Elizabeth

    May 16, 2011

  16. Allowing the ordination of gays goes against many Biblical verses including "do not be conformed to this world"; unsaved people in leadership positions did this and I pray they repent and are saved. You may be gay and get saved; you cannot get saved and remain gay. Homosexuality is sin and this thesis should be tacked on every church that strays from the leadership of Jesus Christ.

    by Kent Amick

    May 16, 2011

  17. @ Elder Chapin and all like-minded: so homosexuality trumps "be fruitful and multiply"? The notion that sexual sin is now OK because we have enough church members is absolutely an astounding point of view! Where in scripture can that be found? I will agree that this entire argument over is not specifically about homosexuality; that has merely been the focal point for supporters and objectors. The argument is really about the truth and authority of scripture and how maleable it should be in the hands of sinful, imperfect humans. If we can find support for the notion that God is OK with homosexuality now that the pews are at least partially filled, we can also find clear evidence that the "thieves and robbers" of John 10:1-2 have, indeed, invaded the sheep fold!

    by John Mitchell

    May 16, 2011

  18. I cannot say that I agree with amendment 10-A. However, why I disagree with the change is different than previous comments. I believe in Jesus teaching us to "judge not for you shall be judged first”. Whether or not someone is a heterosexual or a homosexual should NOT preclude them from holding office rather it is how they "submit joyfully to the Lord" that should serve as the difference. So on that point I do agree with amendment 10-A. However, I am puzzled and concerned about removing the chastity and fidelity clause. As an unmarried officer of the church, I am governed to live a life of chastity. Does that mean I can now have intercourse outside of the confines of marriage freely? Does that also mean that I do not have to be faithful to my wife when I do get married only to console parishioners about the value of marriage and the Word of God? Can I spread the gospel while doing these things, without regard to Jesus' teachings? It does seem that the Book of Order is being a little contradictory to the Word of God in this regard. Homosexuality is a personal, private decision between that person and God, and I have NO right to judge them or to interfere with their desire to "joyfully submit to the Lord". But striking the chastity and fidelity clause was, indeed, wrong. The PCUSA is wrong. And those who have made this into a political circus, on both sides, should be ashamed of themselves! I see the PCUSA and I see the federal government, and I see less of a distinction between the two. We are the followers of Christ, not liberals or conservatives, not republicans or democrats, and certainly not heterosexuals and homosexuals. Let us stop dividing ourselves and let us unite under that mantra. Will conservatives leave the church because they feel this perverts Jesus’ teaching? Yes. Will liberals who think the amendment did not go far enough leave? Yes. Will I leave the church? No and again I say No! Just because I do not agree with the amendment does not mean I do not agree with the religion. In closing, is amendment 10-A as it is worded a good thing for the church in the end? I wish I knew the answer to that question. I will say, however, our focus should be on our dwindling number of members. We must spread the Good News! We are a church of diversity. We are a family. We do not judge. We console. We love… God Bless!

    by Jason Stalls, Deacon

    May 16, 2011

  19. I am so glad that many of you feel as I do, that we should split from the denomination and begin down a new road. The PC(USA) is dead! They have spit in the face of God. May God's wrath abide upon them. I do hope that when we spit, we can take our communion and covenant relationships with the Moravian Church, The Methodist Church, and the Reformed Church with us so that the Lutheran, Episcopal, UCC, and PCUSA people cannot drag them down with their false theology, liberalism and "tolerance" as they call it. Repent and turn back to God PCUSA, or you will perish. May Psalm 23 be our Passage of strength as we split form the PC(USA). 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. The Lord is our Shepherd, our "Chief" Elder if you will. He is the head of HIS Church. If we trust Him, he will allow us to make our beds in green pastures and lead us to a place like peaceful waters. Christians, He will restore our souls after all of this heartache and despair. He WILL lead us in the paths of righteousness for His names sake, His Church will bring Him glory because they follow His will. As we walk through this world, we don't have to fear, He will protect us! Our enemy is the liberals within the PC(USA) and other denominations right now and if we follow the Lord and leave, the Lord will prepare us a table before their eyes and allow us to flourish as His Church! He will anoint us and we will proclaim His Gospel. We can dwell in our Fathers house forever. Amen! Christians, let us leave the PC(USA). It is not just about them accepting homosexuality, they are accepting sin, and the Bible say sin is contrary to the family of God (1st John 5:18). As a teenager of the PC(USA) I firmly declare this denomination as apostate and of Satan himself! Christians, lets leave! Amen!

    by Caleb

    May 16, 2011

  20. Bible + gray area = Liberal Practices Bible + 0 = Bible Wow, this is sad. I think this is an outward sign of a much deeper problem.

    by jorge

    May 15, 2011

  21. I attended, voted, watched, and was deeply saddened as Sacramento Presbytery took the action to approve this change. Now again I am saddened that this has passed nationally. What now, where do we go from here? I challenge all who disagree with this decision to vote to withhold your congregation's per capita and give those funds to Presbyterians for Renewal or other missions.

    by Nancy Hull, Elder

    May 15, 2011

  22. If you as leaders of the Presbyterian Church-USA confirm, believe and proclaim the Bible to be the Holy inspired Word of God then by modifying the Book of Order to allow, support or deem "OK" the sin in a persons life then you have simply watered down the gospel message to allow professed sinners to stay in their sin. Wrong!

    by ho

    May 15, 2011

  23. My heart cries for my church, but not for the changes. It's for those opposed to the changes. The Bible is full of inconsistencies and contradictions, yet this is the one topic people hang on to with all their might. Has God had nothing to say to us for the last 2000 years? As a highly respected friend of mine (an ordained PCUSA minister and biblical scholar) once explained to me, the early church needed to procreate and expand as quickly as possible, so homosexual lifestyles were not conducive to this imperative. That is no longer the case. I pray for all my beloved brothers and sisters to stay together and work from the inside to mend the rift and not leave. Regardless, my heart is filled with love for you all, and Sara Bernice, I am truly awed and proud to be called your friend.

    by Elder Terri Chapin

    May 15, 2011

  24. I rejoice in the passing of 10A. Not only for the Presbyteries which voted to get the tally close to 87, but for Twin Cities for tipping the scales in affirmative and for those who continue to vote in favor. I find it interesting that conservative Presbyteries that have voted "no" in the pass now have voted yes. What has changed? I believe that 10A is much better than G. 6 could ever have been and people are starting to realize that it is. In my opinion, 10A gets the PC(USA) back to what it really means to be Presbyterian. Whatever has happened to freedom of conscience and God's spirit working within our midst. Have we miss the point as a church when we disregard scripture that shows how God's spirit is pouring out on the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Have we forgotten that holding up scripture as the final word can also be a form of idoltry. I think that the church is now listening to God and realizing that it is God who calls people of all lifestyles to serve in the church. There is neither slave nor free, Jew or Greek -- for we all have been called. And we all have been called to serve. Please don't forget that 10A puts ordination of those who are called to serve in the hands of the calling governing body. Isn't this true Presbyterianism in pure form? I was speaking with a parishioner today about when women were allowed to be ordained to church offices. At that time, churches and people also left the church. Same is true for blacks in the church (segregation into a white congregation). If the Presbyterian Church can live through the days of Angelia Davis (remember her, 1968) and the Reimagine Conference of '93, then why on earth would this divide the church now. I just don't understand this type of thinking. Nor, can I understand the thinking that we welcome gay folk to be part of our church, even become a member, but, if a person is openly gay forget about being a leader. Isn't this treated others as second class citizens. All the negative comments on the passing of 10A come across, in my opinion, as arrogant and judgemental. Isn't this sinful? There is truly a new day dawning for our church. The Church reformed always being reformed. Do we still believe this? Oh by the way, some might think that the church is following cultural and society. Well, all one needs to do to see if this is true is to think about where was the church during women's suffage of earlier 20th century, salvary, civil rights, and human trafficing. Hasn't the church been lead by society in these issues? I ask myself, shouldn't the church have been the leader. Maybe it is time we lead cultural and society on something. God is still pouring his spirit on the church. I wonder what God will lead us to do next.

    by Daniel

    May 14, 2011

  25. Just several questions regarding the responses. 1. Most responders agree that the actuon taken by the Church was wrong. Those that supported the Churches action made comments about us leaving the church. Leaving is not an option. But, Luther, Calvin, Knox, and a thousand other ministers who are loyal to the faith as taught in the Holy Bible would roll over in their collective graves if they knew of this violation of the Lord. 2.. Where are these extreme left wing liberals coming from, to push an agenda's that are in direct viiolation of God's word. The next thing these liberal - anti-word-of-God people will push for are: perverts, rape, taking advantage of children, bondage of women, wide use of POT and drugs to get high while watching or reading their pornography, This was a very sick movement by a few, for what reason only they will ever know. But, breaking the Commandments and word of God is as low as it gets. I know God will ultimately be their judge. If I ever get sent to the Presbyterian Church (USA) meeting on behalf of our Flint, Michigan congregation, be prepared to hear a voclal person, who intends questioning eaxh and everyone who voted for this blasamous viol;ation agaisnt the word of God.

    by Richard Norrissett

    May 14, 2011

  26. Relying upon the wisdom of the Apostle Paul, "Don't you know that the unjust will not inherit God's kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or any kind of homosexual, 10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God's kingdom."

    by Daniel

    May 14, 2011

  27. This is a tragic day for the PCUSA. Evangelicals will see less reason to remain. The denomination is already dying and now another nail has been driven in the coffin. I hope my church finds a way to loosen ties to the PCUSA in some way and maybe someday leave. Liberals may feel victorious but there will be fewer Christians in the pews over this. Soon enough, the denomination will fade away into the past and it will deserve this. The PCUSA has become just another version of "Christendom".

    by Gary

    May 14, 2011

  28. I am saddened beyond words at the adoption of Amendment 10-A. Thank you former moderator, David Dobler.

    by Doris

    May 14, 2011

  29. It is disheartening for so many of these comments to state flatly that scripture condemns "homosexuality." When those writings were formed, there was no such word. It is a late 19th centure construct. Jack Rogers' book For the Bible Tells Me So elucidates the best of biblical scholarship on this. Also, this amendment does not force any ordaining body to ordain those who come before them as candidates. Criteria leans heavily on the convictions of faith in Jesus Christ, and recognition that we all fall short of perfection in every way. We are the body of Christ, representing every sort of human condition, yet accepted by God and God's mercy.

    by The Rev. Dr. Jean Rodenbough

    May 14, 2011

  30. So what does God think about all this? Lev 18:22: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (See Rom. 1:24-27) 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 J. Gordon

    May 14, 2011

  31. "Unity in diversity" - I wonder, is PC(USA) ready to ordain woman priests and church officers who support pre-marital sex and abortion? Perhaps polygamy as well? And will PC(USA) survive this course or will there be an exodus to the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, similarly to what happened with the Episcopal Church?

    by Joseph

    May 13, 2011

  32. When I decide to go have a night out at the dog track to gamble and cheat on my husband do not judge me because that is just the way God made me. Just started at a Presby church and now they are going the way of the Methodists. Good way to bring in more of what has become the most important thing -MONEY

    by Annie Q

    May 13, 2011

  33. When I read the entire new paragraph, there is no requirement any longer for integrity or repentance. This isn't just about homosexual verses heterosexual. Candidates are no longer barred from ordination if they are practicing and unrepentant of sin of any kind. Contrary to the claim in the article at the start, the candidate is not called to "submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life." The revision only says that "the standards for ordained service reflect the church's desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life." The individual is not required to so submit. It is a desire of the church...worded so that a "requirement" for such is unintended and unwanted. Also eliminated is the requirement that "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." Then no authority applies to those seeking ordination, only what a given body of presbytery might want this year or this month. I can only surmise that the language is written to allow any and all "lifestyles," any and all sins and any and all practices to be acceptable in one who is to be ordained to office. We could have learned from the Catholic Church where this is going to lead. But we have abandoned any pretense of holiness and purity and we will pay a price for it--so also multitudes in the church will pay a price. For example, Scripture forbids incest. But the candidate is no longer required to obey scripture. One can only weep at where we are headed.

    by tedd

    May 13, 2011

  34. The letter from these former moderators is condescending and insulting. Having been called "homophobic" for years, our stand likened to racism and sexism across every presbytery, and our concerns utterly and completely ignored by this very group they now want to act as though nothing has changed. But the fact is, everything has changed. It is time for the Evangelicals to unite in new ways. It is time for new relationships, new structures, and a new way of doing church that is faithful to God and his Word. These moderators merely speak for an old, faithless, and dying bureaucracy. It is time for us to acknowledge its death and rise to a new future. It is time to unite in new ways, not to fight the apostasy rising around us, but to turn from it and start a new future that seeks to display, proclaim, and manifest the wonders of Jesus. Leave? They have already left the faith. It is time for us who still believe to boldly make something new.

    by Mark R. Patterson, PhD

    May 13, 2011

  35. After years of actions and pronouncements from arrogant leaders, rife with apostasy and heresy, it is hard to believe anything coming from this denomination.

    by cclusn

    May 13, 2011

  36. With Joy I read the letter signed by past Moderators of the PCUSA. I thank you for your continued understanding and support of the process by which we Presbyterians are led by the Spirit -- that is what I see is happening now. How can we say that other actions and affirmations of the GA over the years were Spirit led and not feel that this too is the work of God's love? Especially I thank all who have served as Moderators and who continue to lend their wisdom to the PCUSA. An image that has helped me over the years as "we have wrestled with an angel for a blessing" over many issues, is that the PCUSA is like a wagon wheel. The hub of the wheel is Christ Jesus. The spokes are the diversities of the members of the church. We can speak to those on the 'other side' if we do so with Jesus as the hub, the center. We are made stronger in our wrestling with issues before us, but we dare not cripple the 'other' side or we are made weaker ourselves. The rim that holds us together is the Holy Spirit. And so we go on continuing to serve and to listen and to welcome all of God's children with open arms. God abides and for that I am ever thankful. Bobbie McGarey

    by Rev. Bobbie McGarey

    May 13, 2011

  37. I have been a Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian but Presbyterian more most of my adult life. I am so ashamed of the PCUSA. They are shifting a churvh of many for the acceptance of the immoral behave of a few. But this is just one of the many issues harming PCUSA today. . I am ashamed of myself for being so out of touch with our denomination while enjoying my life within my local church and all its good works. I am not ashamed of myself for now taking a stand. I pray for PCUSA and for all of us who can no longer stand with it.

    by Shana Moore

    May 13, 2011

  38. Such anger, such hateful language, such fear. "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind". What if God is at work here? What if God changed hearts to move us in this direction? There are some pretty hard hearts out there. That is scarier for me than the possibility that someone who is gay, with gifts for ministry, might be called by God to lead people in their faith.

    by Beth

    May 13, 2011

  39. I think your letter should have said that it does not bind your consciences. To say that it does not bind the conscience of any Presbyterians is arrogant, presumptuous, and wrong. You all have placed sexual morality and immorality on the same level, making them simply "options." You have placed truth and falsehood on the same level.

    by Walter L. Taylor

    May 13, 2011

  40. I am a new member of the Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City. I love my church but I am hurting. Yesterday, my neighbor rang my doorbell and stood there with a terrible glee in her eyes. I said, "oh, I guess you won't be coming to my church to visit because you've heard the "news." Please take the time to read this story. The United States of Dixieland: Corporatism, empire, Jesus, and the death genes By Phil Rockstroh http://bit.ly/ipb36H Thank-you, Billie Nash a proud and loving member of First Presbyterian Church of Oklahoma City.

    by Billie Nash

    May 13, 2011

  41. What do we believe in beyond diversity? Some will quickly say "Jesus Christ as Lord" but what does that affirmation mean? At some point, when the sacred texts and confessions we use to define the content are interpreted in ways that lead large portions of the church to polar opposite conclusions, our common affirmation becomes empty in the most practical of ways. We are like a married couple that believes in marriage, but can't in any way agree on how to have one. We are at that point in the PCUSA. Ironic that defining marriage will probably be next major issue that we face, and it will further divide us.

    by Dr. Mike Garrett

    May 13, 2011

  42. I was taught that the Church stands AGAINST Culture and does not adhere to Culture. Does the PCUSA not know this?

    by Carol

    May 13, 2011

  43. at least one can respect david dobler

    by charles sinatra

    May 13, 2011

  44. Soy pastor brasileño, en la Iglesia Presbiteriana Independente del Brasil. Soy completamente contrario a las decisiones de los clerigos de la PCUSA. Considero un retrocesso a Iglesia del Señor Jesu Cristo.

    by Rev. Thiago Gigo

    May 13, 2011

  45. USA (if it really wants unity) needs to respect the beliefs of its traditional members and allow traditional churches to align under an entity within USA that properly identifies them as traditional (following the Biblical teachings re gay and lesbians as not portraying a behavior that God sanctions as Spiritually led, by His Spirit) vs those churches that support gays and lesbians in leadership roles under an entity that lets people to know what their beliefs include. This would allow individual churches to follow the majority beliefs in their churches. Give the traditional members respect for their Biblical beliefs. To make the traditional members sanction something that they feel isn't Godly behavior could have disasterous consequences for the Presbyterian USA churches...Israel, Judah adopted the customs of those people that God drove out of The Promised Land to make room for them, and because of the adoption, Israel and Judah were also cast out...They lost their land and their churches...when conforming to the popular stance to please all. Seeking unity similar to the USA's call to unity), the church begins to die and the people will have to begin anew. The church in Jerusalem led by James, Jesus' brother made this point very clear it advising the Gentile churches what behaviors to avoid...and they included all the behaviors that the Israelite and Judean worship started to include (for unity within their communities)...sexual immorality, things poluted by idols, eating food that had been strangled to death, and eating/drinking blood. Since the Canaanites had become slaves within the Israel and Judean kingdoms, the Canaanites kept their religious practices which included the above, and eventually, for "unity", the Israel and Judean kingdoms incorporated these beliefs into their worship...and then their worship and land were taken away from them. Let's learn from the lessons that came before. Even Paul said that homosexuality was not a Godly behavior and that those members need to not be included in the churches. If the majority of people within a church want Lesbians and Homosexuals to lead their churches, let them do it under an entity that identifies their beliefs transparently. And let those with traditional beliefs be under an entity that identifies their beliefs transparently.

    by Karen Shelley

    May 13, 2011

  46. If you want to be in a Church that will never allow this... become a Catholic. I pray you all will.

    by Phil

    May 13, 2011

  47. Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    by Nick Mikanos

    May 13, 2011

  48. Good synopsis of this error and its breadth: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/mayweb-only/gayordinationpcusa.html?start=1

    by Christopher Simpson

    May 13, 2011

  49. God bless us and I hope we can foster love and acceptance for our brothers and sisters regardless of gender/sexual orientation/political views. After studying the Bible it seems there is not one solid view of 'biblical marriage'-- polygamy and treating women like cattle was quite popular back in the day, but you know we don't practice that now. I think this ruling is very much within Christ's example-- lets not throw stones or cast condemnation upon others but support and love them.

    by Anna R

    May 13, 2011

  50. When I stand before the Lord and give an account for my life, the General Assembly will not be there with me to plead my case. While I love my brothers and sisters in the PCUSA, I will not be party to this defiant decision to disregard explicit language in both the Old and New Testament. However, I will pray for others who choose to leave the denomination. I pray that they will find churches that teach scripture, who apply scripture to everyday life, who bend their will to the scripture, who conquer their flesh through self-discipline and church discipline, and who live in the spirit. I pray for revival in the spiritual lives of broken-hearted former presbyterians. God please forgive me and forgive others for slumbering for so long. Open our eyes Lord to your truth. Holy Spirit draw us closer to unity with the Father and Son instead of vanity and codependent destruction with eachother like Adam and Eve. Give us courage to stand for your truth even when it hurts. Soften our hearts to pray for those who curse our love for scripture and obedience to your Words as hatred for our brothers and sisters. Father thank you for giving us the chance to escape the death-grip of sin. We submit to the lordship of your son who committed no sin, and we desire to go and sin no more and repent when we fail. We offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to you as our reasonable act of worship. Lord we trust you to lead us. We acknowledge you although we see through a glass dimly. We lean to your words and not our own limited understanding. You said if we do all these things, you will guide our paths. Please lead us, Lord! We need more of you and less of us! Amen.

    by Lily

    May 13, 2011

  51. Well, it has been two days since the announcement…I still feel like I have been stabbed in the heart. I have been a Presbyterian for my whole life (more than 50 years) and feel as if the church is not the one I belong to and have supported for so long. Funny thing is, I consider myself a liberal. This decision has caused me to look at other denominations. I am lost, but will find my way. One of the saddest things about this episode is that the change will impact very few people. Few people are gay or lesbian and very few churches will hire previously unsuitable clergy. What is not minor is the earthquake that this decision has caused. It is ripping us apart. May God have mercy on us.

    by jim

    May 13, 2011

  52. its sad to see how many people put their political beliefs before their faith in god...its also sad how many people forget the bible is "the LIVING word" meaning that its open to interpretation by mortal men and women who are imperfect...finally while i think its admirable that many are calling for unity in the Presbyterian Church USA, social issues seem to be the one thing that will fracture a church quicker than anything else and reading through the comments by conservatives in the church, its obvious many have made up their minds that they would rather leave and engage in costly lawsuits over property they legally dont own, than stay and find a way to co exist with their progressive counter parts....its sad to see a fractured church but, i think a good 5-20 percent of the denomination will leave over this, just like with what happened when women were ordained... i will say you cant blame 10-A passing on conservatives leaving...sure it contributed a little but many factors including changed hearts contributed.... signed a some times presbyterian some times UCC some times DOC but always a christian.

    by kevin cline

    May 12, 2011

  53. The letter states accurately that the world is hungry for the truth of the Gospel. That statement is premised on saying, without evidence, that unity is strengthened by diversity and we are now ready to move forward. The PCUSA must now believe they are offering to feed the world with a diversity of truth, which is better than pure unadulterated truth. They have pushed aside those of us who see the contradiction in thinking that a truth can have diversity. The truth is that the father of lies has been welcomed into the PCUSA with full privileges.

    by Glen

    May 12, 2011

  54. Are you all truly so ignorant of the word of God ? Can someone really embrace this type of lifestyle and still think they are listening to God? You better go back and read what God has to say about it. 5.12.2011

    by Laurie L Brumbaugh

    May 12, 2011

  55. Apostates all!

    by Rose Santos

    May 12, 2011

  56. I am confused as to what bibilical authority the PCUSA points to to justify this change in its constitution. Jesus said love all sinners. Homosexuality is called out as a sin in both the old and new testaments. I did a double take when I read one of the justifications by the adovates of this change that our society has changed and is more accepting of this position. Since when is scriptural authority trumped by God's Holy Scripture? It is sad that another demoniation is headed down a road that is in conflict with the scriptures. I will be praying for your church.

    by Tim

    May 12, 2011

  57. What hypocrites, let those who are without sin cast the first stone!!!!

    by Fran Higson

    May 12, 2011

  58. I just heard on CBN that our Presbyterian Church (USA) have ruled apparently that it is okay to have homosexual ministers. If that is true, it is a clear violation of the word of God - reference; Leviticus 20:13 and 1st Corinthians 6:9 clearly tell God's words about the evil of homosexuality. And of course, Sodom and Gomorrah clearly reflects God's distain for adultery and homosexuality. Therefore, how can our Presbyterian Church make ministers of those who are homosexuals? Leadership with integrity means we must live the word, or we can not preach it. As an elder, I am obligated to speak out on this subject as we must never be drawn into evil ways. The liberal movement has paralyzed this nation and it frightens me when I see what has happened to our younger generation. I will also note I don't dislike or hate homosexuals, but I feel very sorry for their violations against the word of the Lord and I ptay for their recovery. But, if First Presbyterian Church of Flint has a vote on this matter at any level, I want to make sure our Flint Church votes against any possibility of homosexual pastors in the Presbyterian Church - period. It does not seem plausible or morally correct that the church should authorize ministers as leaders within the church who are homosexuals. Sincerely, Richard Morrissett, Elder

    by Richard Morrissett, Elder

    May 12, 2011

  59. You call for unity after this? Unity that is based in human standards and not on the Holy Spirit will only fail. You cannot have it both ways. Either this is God's will or it is not. Either the Holy Spirit led this to happen or He did not. If He did not, you will not be able to unify the congregations, period. The Holy Spirit will continue to expose this for what it is: the fulfillment of Romans 1:18-32 and yet another example of 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. I urge you, pay careful attention to the fruit that results from this. If the fruit is disunity, destruction, and death, how can this decision be from the Holy Spirit?

    by Jason Hackwith

    May 12, 2011

  60. You use the scriptures as a crutch for the allowance of sin. You stand in direct opposition to the word of God and the very fiber that it is built upon. You ask your followers to lead a life that is acceptable of christ when the very deacons that you are allowing to teach your flock stand in oppostion to that very scripture. My only prayer is that the righteous judgement of God would fall upon you and show you the error of your ways.

    by Dan

    May 12, 2011

  61. I wish this new level of inclusiveness would not be seen as responding to what is "popular" but the opportunity for open leadership from all of God's children. I am excited to have those who have served quietly in the past now be able to be open about their lives. We know that we have had splendid leaders who have had to deny their personal lives to serve in our denomination. Through our Book of Order, let us now open the doors and let all those blessed with gifts to lead be allowed to serve as themselves.

    by Nancy

    May 12, 2011

  62. You know, I know we would loose our women deacons, elders, and ministers by moving to the PCA, but I am sure that mnay of the women within our church would humbly step down for a season if it menat getting us Christians out of this apostasy. Homosexuality is wrong. Abortion is wrong. Why can this denomination not understand that. The only reason thta scripture gives is that the people who are for this are not bron again by the Holy Spirit. The sad thing is, we are dragging the Reformed Church in America, the Moravian Church, and the United Methodist Church down with us. TO ALL WOMEN LEADERS: would you step down for a season if it meant getting out of this apostasy? TO ALL CHRISTIANS IN THE PCUSA: We need to split this denomination and take our covenant relationship with the Moravians and United Methodist's and RCA with us. Leave those PCUSA, Episcopal's and Lutherans alone, they are not following the Bible. We should have never been in communion with them in the first place. This denomination has spit in God's Face. WOE UNTO YOU PCUSA, WOE UNTO YOU. People, we need to begin preparing to leave our denomination to merge with another or form a new on with better relations with those Presbyterian brothers and sisters who disagree with us on women ordination. Let's work with the Southern, Reformed, and Free-Will Baptist's as well.

    by Caleb

    May 12, 2011

  63. The Bible is the cornerstone of Presbyterian belief, not the Book of Order. How can we agree with this decision when it goes against what the Bible teaches? From I Corinthians:6 Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality, 10Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God. 11And such some of you were [once]. But you were washed clean (purified by a complete atonement for sin and made free from the guilt of sin), and you were consecrated (set apart, hallowed), and you were justified [pronounced righteous, by trusting] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God. 12Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power. 13Food [is intended] for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will finally end [the functions of] both and bring them to nothing. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but [is intended] for the Lord, and the Lord [is intended] for the body [[a]to save, sanctify, and raise it again].

    by CAC

    May 12, 2011

  64. There have been so many times I have wanted to leave a comment on articles on our pcusa website. Why did it take the passage of this amendment for me to have this privilege. The passage of this amendment has done nothing to expect unity to follow in the church. When a church cannot agree on biblical sexual standards for its leaders, it cannot provide leadership for a world awash in sexual immorality.

    by Rick Gillespie-Mobley

    May 12, 2011

  65. I am so thankful for the light that God shines on us. I am so thankful that God changed the hearts of many who voted yes. We are all made in God's image, and we all should be able to serve Him as He sees fit. For those of you leaving the denomination, I pray for you. Know that you are always loved.

    by Elder Kathy Eads

    May 12, 2011

  66. I found this post through a friend who shared it on their facebook page. I grew up Catholic, and after reading the letter and the comments below, I want to commend the members of the PC USA for your thoughtful engagement of this issue, whether you agree or disagree with the amendment. I think that Christ is most present in our lives when we struggle, and I encourage PC USA members and congregations on both sides to remember to approach one another with love and humility. Best, Stephanie

    by stephanieann

    May 12, 2011

  67. Thank you, dear moderators, for affirming that, "... the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) needs the voices and gifts of all of us, whether we agree with Amendment 10-A or not. Our unity is strengthened by our diversity, and vigorous debate as well as mutual forbearance is essential to the body." Members of the church, as in a family, may not always agree with one another. But we recognize and, hopefully, celebrate the beautiful spectrum of gifts granted to each. Eliminating this hurtful and prejudicial language from the book of order opens the way for each presbytery and each congregation, to prayerfully discern the gifts of each candidate. Alleluia! It's about time! I do understand the hurt and anguish some are feeling as a result of this vote. Welcome to the world where thousands of us have been living since the language in G6-0106b was amended to the BOO. We are your sisters, brothers, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, children and friends. We are one body of Christ. We're here to serve. Let us work!

    by Eileen

    May 12, 2011

  68. The pcusa has failed as a church. Let the light seperate 4rm darkness. As a presbyterian in Nigeria, the amendment is disgrace

    by Chukwuemeka kalu

    May 12, 2011

  69. I agree with Elizabeth: they only call for unity when this admendment is passed but they did not call for unity before. I think the reason is they have to conclude that the liberals have won mainly because they ran off so many conservative Christians who voted before to keep the fideltiy clause in the Book of Order. We can thank the liberal Christians for ruining what used to be a honorable denomination. As a minister I plan on leaving the PCUSA as soon as I can work things out. If this denomination wants to be respected, they need to let those churches who want to leave the denomination go and take their church property with them.

    by Douglas

    May 12, 2011

  70. The reason there was probably not a similar call for unity when past motions failed was that even though there were many people hurt and saddened by those actions, they weren't proclaiming to the world that they were going to leave the denomination. They continued to work and worship in this church, even while many felt rejected by our official stance. Thank God they did, and I will thank God for all who continue to be part of the PC(USA) even as they disagree with the most recent changes.

    by Rev. Mitch Trigger

    May 12, 2011

  71. Our church left PCUSA last year for this very reason, among others. Homosexuality goes blatently against Scripture. If you believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, how can you support these policies? Yes, ALL human beings are sinful, but choosing to practice an act of sin that is clear as a sin in the Bible and asking for the church to accept your choice is inexcusable. No church can in support of the Gospel accept these terms. God calls us to be in the world, not of the world, and this is simply another example of being "popular" instead of being the Truth. And i LOVE how these comments will be spewed by some as being "hateful", I'm calling it right now. We believe in following ALL of the Bible, not just the parts that are convenient for us. Being a Christian isn't easy, it's tough, and picking and choosing what works for you is not being a true Christian. Praying for all of these lost souls.

    by NEWEPC

    May 12, 2011

  72. JOHN 17:20-23: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

    by Let us work to follow Jesus

    May 12, 2011

  73. The Family we call Presbyterian is a big one. I understand that many disagree with the amendment; I don't want them to leave the denomination. I'm not scared of a shrinking denomination, and I know that many will leave in reaction. But I know that Presbyterianism respects a range of interpretations, including those that have worked to keep the fidelity/chastity clauses intact. You are us. We are you. Don't leave.

    by Candidate for Ministry, Ross Reddick

    May 12, 2011

  74. As someone else commented on Facebook, why was there no similar call for unity when the prior motions failed? I hold great respect for the former moderators on this list, but I have lost all respect for my beloved Church, as it seems to have now lost its Biblical moorings. To eliminate fidelity and chastity as requirements for our ordained leaders is, in my mind, to conform to social standards rather than scriptural ones, and that is not something I can support, no matter what great Presbyterians leaders endorse these changes.

    by Elizabeth Jurenovich

    May 12, 2011

  75. Light cannot have oneness with darkness. Sorry. Homosexuality is against scripture, there is nothing else to be said. We as faithful members of the Body of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA are calling out those who support this and countering it with scripture! We will split the denomination if this goes in our Book of Order. Light must be separate from dark. This denomination has so much history in America, and this trash has ruined it all. Faithful Christians can no longer support the theology, doctrine, practice, and tradition of the PC(USA), we are going to have to go to the PCA, EPC, OPC, or create another Presbyterian sect in America. This should sadden all who are truly Christians.

    by Caleb

    May 12, 2011

  76. I appreciate this letter and wholeheartedly believe that part of what strengthens a denomination is unity even in the face of diversity. A previous congregation I served was comprised of members some of which were catholic, episcopalian, baptist, methodist, ucc, etc. in terms of their theological outlook yet the congregation flourished as we faithfully sought to serve God together. Things got challenging at times, and it would have been easy to just cut and run when things didn't go our way, but to what end? If we simply surround ourselves with people of like mind would we ever truly seek with an open heart and mind the will of God, or heed the wisdom of the Holy Spirit when the world changes around us? Would we not simply affirm and reinforce our own limited, narrow point of view? Sure the easy road for a person that disagrees with another would be to run, but that simply results in both parties being hurt. But to stand by each other in the midst of the struggle, to say "I don't agree with you, but you are my brother/sister in Christ, a beloved child of God worthy of God's love, and mine," and to continue to converse, to learn, to struggle, to discern God's will with love and respect for one another, that is a part of discipleship and being true community.

    by Rev. Adam Smith

    May 12, 2011

  77. What a joke - "a spectrum of opinion" - only Marj Carpenter has stated her opposition to changing the standards - though some may have said during their moderatorial term that 'now is not the time' which is far from saying they didn't want the change. I admire David Dobler for refusing to sign - as the only other 'conservative' moderater to serve this denomination. Has anyone ever wondered why there are never more conservative voices in the leadership of our denomination?

    by Dan

    May 12, 2011

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