Amendment 14-F approved

March 17, 2015

Louisville

Amendment 14-F of the Directory for Worship in the Book of Order has been approved by a majority of the presbyteries. View a video message from the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, which also is available in Spanish;[Español] and Korean [한국어]. Read and share a document with questions and answers related to the action, and a pastoral letter from the Moderator and Vice Moderator of the General Assembly here as well. All of these materials, and other downloadable resources, are available at pcusa.org/marriage.

Lea este artículo en Español.
개정안 14-F가 승인되다

Other resources:

Video transcript:

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It appears from unofficial voting tallies that amendment 14-F of the Directory for Worship in the Book of Order has been approved by a majority of the presbyteries. The approval allows Teaching Elders wider discretion in whose weddings they may conduct and Sessions wider discretion in whose weddings it may host. That discretion could include same gender marriages in states where that is permitted.

It is important to note that the determination of what couple a Teaching Elder will marry has and will continue to be with that Teaching Elder. Likewise, the determination by a Session as to whose weddings a congregation will host remains solely with the Session. There is nothing in the amendment to compel any Teaching Elder to conduct a wedding against his or her judgment, nor a Session to host one against its judgment.

The Book of Order in F-3.0105 encourages us to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other when we differ. That forbearance should show itself in respect and genuine care for each other. As a church the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has received much grace from God in Jesus Christ. We should extend that grace to each other in all gentleness as we live into this chapter of our common life.

There will be additional resources to help us understand and dialogue about the approved amendment soon at pcusa.org/marriage.

This transcript also is available in Spanish;[Español] and Korean [한국어].

Lea este artículo en Español.
개정안 14-F가 승인되다

  1. As a baby I was brought up in the church. The teachings of right and wrong were instilled in me and that Homosexuality was a wrong in Christianity. God loves us all and as a church I believe we should reach out and teach homosexuals Gods word from the Bible and try to save these souls. I believe this is what our church needs to do, not go to the ways of the world.

    by Wayne Hughes

    March 22, 2015

  2. The "Church", needs to attend to the care of souls. Leaving definition and execution of marriage the civil government. Does the Church licence? No. How about he care of souls in marriage? Geez-louise I hope so. Those of Christ are not bound to the earth. The realms are distinct as are the functions and witness. Get out of the wedding business altogether. Most folk appear to be enticed by the esthetic and panache, and not the call to mission through faith. Marriage is only one expression of this mission.

    by Cornelious

    March 20, 2015

  3. Deeply distressed and saddened by my lifelong denomination's slide downward from Christian virtue into moral relativism and from authority of the scripture into political correctness. God have mercy on us, and show us the Way.

    by Nellie

    March 20, 2015

  4. That is wonderful news. I'm proud of the PCUSA and know that this has been the product of heartfelt and prayerful discussion on all levels. I hope that those dismayed by this amendment will be able to enter into conversation with others in their congregations and presbyteries and perhaps gain a greater understanding of God's love.

    by Jackie Ray

    March 19, 2015

  5. It saddens me, especially as one who grew up in a PCUSA church, that not only has the denomination made this away from clear Biblical teaching toward the clear teaching of the World, which Paul explicitly warns about in 1 Timothy 4:1. It further disappoints and concerns me that in a "pastoral letter" that was published last year on this issue from the leadership of the general assembly on this issue that they use so little Biblical support to justify their position, and that what little there is was twisted to conform to their agenda - rather than vice-versa: (1) "The ministry of reconciliation" that Paul teaches (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) is the reconciliation of sinners to God through the Blood of Jesus Christ, not the reconciling of the Church to the World. (2) As "ambassadors of Christ" we must be loving (John 13:35), however - one of the attributes of love, as related in 1 Cor 13:4-8, is that it "Rejoices with the Truth" - this means that we cannot alter the clear teaching teaching of God's Word on this, or any, issue in the name of love and still be ambassadors of He who is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life. If we are to truly be "Christ's Ambassadors" in the world we must follow His example, by His strength, by living out Eph 5:11 - "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them."

    by Neal Rhodes, MAR, MDiv

    March 19, 2015

  6. I want to say an "Amen" to the comments of James K. Thank you. When I was a child the questions that brought forth far too much discussion and debate were "Does God love all "men"? and "should we bring just our Bible to the mission field or should we bring food and other things needed like medicines and food as well?" How slow we are and how often we make our God "'too small." That's a title that still resonates: "Your God is Too Small." Maybe we should each read that again.

    by Mary

    March 19, 2015

  7. Congratulations to the Presbyterian Church for listening to the Spirit of God rather than to those who would perpetuate the injustices of the past. I am very confused by those who invoke “scripture” when they oppose this move. I would be happy to sit down with anyone and read Leviticus, line by line, and hear why that individual chooses not to follow the mandates of God’s Law, as it is clearly written. “Traditional” Christians ignore the vast majority of what is written in the Bible. To pick out one line of scripture for the purpose of condemning a neighbor, when one ignores the rest is pure hypocrisy. Because we have misinterpreted scripture for hundreds or even thousands of years is no justification for continuing the practice. Using the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to condemn gay people is an outright distortion. The literal reading of this story condemns male on male rape. This has been distorted into a condemnation of people who are lovingly attracted to a person of the same sex. It takes a frightening leap of logic to read this story and apply it to the modern day discussion of gay marriage. The Bible doesn’t condemn “homosexual” activity, as the word “homosexual” hasn’t even existed for more than two hundred years. Those who used this word in “translation” of scripture did not translate, they interpreted. We do not have to continue to follow what is obviously a misinterpretation. The move by the Presbyterian Church is a brave and righteous move. It is motivated by the Spirit of God, and love of one’s neighbor. It is to be applauded and celebrated. God Bless you for your brave move!

    by Frank Becker

    March 19, 2015

  8. Our presbytery is threatening to fire our pastor and dissolve ore session just for having the conversation about "gracious separation". There is no forbearance and there is no grace. Just vindictiveness.

    by Dan

    March 19, 2015

  9. If you are distressed about this decision, please read: http://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_homosexuality.htm grace and peace to you HT

    by HTMacon

    March 19, 2015

  10. There can be no greater torturing of language and reality than to state as some above have done that this has been a process of "discernment"!!!!!!! This has been a process of redefining and destroying standards and values and realigning with the world and all that that implies.

    by Joe Reality

    March 19, 2015

  11. Many of the posts may mix terms, see if you agree: Homosexuality is sexual activity between people of the same gender. Anyone can participate in this activity; Makes no difference if you are "Gay" or "Straight". The Bible makes many references to Homosexual activity, most of which are negative. Gay is attraction directed toward persons of the same gender, and may involve "Love". The is no way to confirm or deny attraction, so being "Gay" is not something that can be confirmed. There are no passages in the Bible about being "Gay"; Only mention of Homosexual acts, which is different from "Gay" . Based on the above, Homosexual acts, involving "Gay" and / or "Straight" people are controversial in Christianity, based on negativity expressed in the Bible. Being "Gay" however, should not be controversial in Christianity, as it has no biblical reference and there is no act, except for "Attraction" and in some cases Love. The bible does not discuss "Attraction" and Love is promoted throughout the Bible. As a Man Married to a Woman for over 25 years, I can only interject that my Christian Marriage is hardly about sexual acts (believe me I am very sad to have to admit this, I had high hope in the beginning); It is much more about Love and Attraction, and covenant between the 3) of us (Me, My Wife, and Christ).

    by Pietreau Tatricks

    March 18, 2015

  12. Too bad the PC-USA has chosen to ignore the Prophetic words given to it back in 2010 by the Archpriest Siarhei Hardun of the Orthodox Church of Belarus where he stated that a capitulation to the spirit of the age is like inventing a new religion. He used his short time as an ecumenical greeter to express his dismay at the way the PCUSA was seeking to reinvent morality. It is surely regrettable that they did not heed this prophetic analysis and warning. In essense, what he described then as an inventing of a new morality is in fact an inventing of a new religion - one that looks very similar to a modern expression of paganism. Such is the case in deciding to redefine marriage and disconnect its true definition from it's historically understood biblical roots.

    by Steve

    March 18, 2015

  13. There does not seem to.be much forbearance towards churches who feel God is calling them to leave. Where is your charity when sessions , elders and pastors can no longer be part of this denomination. Shouldn't your message apply to gracious separation! Why are you not speaking up to allow those who want to leave with their property, the same gracious attitude!

    by L. Lee

    March 18, 2015

  14. HOW WONDERFUL!!! Justice is served!

    by Dick and Virginia Bethune

    March 18, 2015

  15. I'm very saddened that the PCUSA has truly gone the way of the world. scripture is so very clear on what God sanctions, and what He condemns. God is love, and He has set forth His Word to protect and nurture His creation, not to withhold something. We cannot compromise His Truth for the sake of inclusion. "Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be who find it. Narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life, and few there be who find it."

    by Tricia Miller

    March 18, 2015

  16. I am thrilled by the decision we have come to as a church, not in the least because we have decided to "choose life" for millions of LGBT youth in pews across the country. We are saying, "Jesus Christ loves you, we love you, and we want you to love, too." I know many of my sisters and brothers are mourning today, and my prayer is that the Holy Spirit turn that mourning to dancing. I love you even when I disagree with you, and I do not doubt your desire to be faithful to God's calling as I hope you do not doubt mine. This change did not come lightly--the process of discernment on this issue has gone on longer than I have been alive. But I firmly believe the Spirit has been moving us to a new interpretation of the timeless Biblical text.

    by James K

    March 18, 2015

  17. FABULOUS news and affirmation of a God that loves all his children.

    by Chantel K Pomerville

    March 18, 2015

  18. My heart is broken! I feel we are giving in to the world that is wanton and are not standing up for our own beliefs and what God has asked of us as Christians. Allow the courts to marry but do not make a mockery out of the churches by following the desires of the world. Where is the sanctity of a marriage with God if we now justify the sins of the world?

    by Karen

    March 18, 2015

  19. The question the GA is refusing to address in this decision is whether they believe marriage is a sacred covenant with a sacred God or whether they believe it's just something made up by mankind to contractually and legally obligate two people to one another. If the PCUSA leadership stood by marriage as an expression of worship and a holy communion between two people and a holy God, this issue wouldn't even be up for debate. Do homosexuals have the right to get married? ABSOLUTELY. All Americans deserve a chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. From a legal and political stand point, I'm not sure the Church has business telling people who they can and cannot marry. That said, does marriage between homosexuals make sense in the context of a church body and Christian tradition? Not in the slightest if we hold true to what have claimed as truth for thousands of years.

    by Jon Howard

    March 18, 2015

  20. The church once used Paul's statements in Romans to support slavery and in Timothy to keep women from teaching or preaching. To use what Paul said about homosexuality to bar gay marriage would be similiarly to use a part of the Bible to justify our own prejudices and cultural practices. What would Jesus do? Where does the Holy Spirit lead us? How may we as church members move beyond our own comfort zones to help establish the kingdom of Christ until he comes again?

    by Greg Hanners

    March 18, 2015

  21. Approximately 37 years ago the Presbyterian Church (USA) began a process of full inclusion and equal standing for LGBT members and clergy (my sister and other family members included). I was a newly ordained Presbyterian Minister at the time, and have participated in civil and contentious debates with great sorrow in my soul. Today I am happy!

    by Roger M Rice, D.Min.

    March 18, 2015

  22. "at the beginning of creation God ‘made them MALE and FEMALE. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’[c] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." Mark 10: 6-9 " 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.” Joshua 24:15 "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him. Let the Scripture renew us!

    by Justin Choi

    March 18, 2015

  23. Deeply saddened to see the PCUSA throwing out the biblical truths and taking the wide path and giving the world what they WANT.... and not what they really NEED..... Our Father God is probably ripping his heart out.....God has called us to be the light in this dark world and to firmly stand with God and to spread the UNCHANGING GOD's WORD to the world, not, adopt and accept the ways of the darkness by changing the WORD. This is wrong!

    by Leah Park

    March 18, 2015

  24. As a lifelong Presby, I express my total agreement with the amendment.

    by Patricia Pollocck

    March 18, 2015

  25. This is the best thing to happen is a long time. Thank you for allowing those in committed relationships to publically share their love in a faith-based community.

    by Jennifer Gardner

    March 18, 2015

  26. I believe we ae called to love those in same sex relaitonships, however to condone or liken such a relationship to the Scriptural definition and teaching of marriage is ungodly. How can you ignore Romans 1 or Paul's writing to Timothy in his first letter to Timothy, that homosexuality is NOT for those in Christ? Please for the casue of true Christianity, reconsider your decision.

    by Chico

    March 18, 2015

  27. What is the moral, spiritual and biblical rationale behind the pcusa decision negate the sanctity of life through Christ.

    by Elder chukwu oji

    March 18, 2015

  28. How can this be reasoned with Scripture? I recognize that there are people who have strong feelings for same sex partners, or who identify with the opposite gender, but the Bible is very clear about sex outside of marriage and about homosexuality. Is there a transcript on the discussion that sheds light on the PCUSA belief that same sex marriage is Biblical? Thank you.

    by Leigh

    March 18, 2015

  29. I'm thrilled that this amendment has passed and that PCUSA opens the door to affirming and celebrating love.

    by Julie McCrea

    March 18, 2015

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