Sunday morning, during the “education hour” at church, two members of our congregation gave a program designed to fill interested folk in on some of the actions taken by the bi-annual General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The General Assembly (for those of you unfamiliar with the Presbyterian Church) is equivalent to Congress in our representative form of government. It’s where bills are introduced, declarations are made, and passionate arguments delivered vis-a-vis issues ranging from the monumental to the mundane.
(It’s also the place where some people like to point out how closely aligned their position is to the perfect will of God, and how far from the purity of biblical truth their opponents have strayed!)
But regardless of controversy, both of our presenters – Shelby Dale (who attended as a Youth Advisory Delegate) and David Childs – were moved by the pervasive spirit of understanding, respect, and willingness to listen that they witnessed during the long week of mission, business, worship and fellowship.
GOOD WORDS: One particular point of ongoing contention has resulted in deep division over the past decade. I’m talking (no surprise) about the long conversation within the Presbyterian Church regarding same-sex relationships.
Now I’m not – and you need to hear this so you don’t miss the point of this post – staking out a position regarding either ordination standards or same-gender unions. But what I am doing is commenting on what we ALL can learn from the following statement that was adopted by the 2012 General Assembly.
(The 2012 General Assembly) acknowledges that faithful Presbyterians earnestly seeking to follow Jesus Christ hold different views about what the Scriptures teach concerning the morality of committed, same-gender relationships” and that “the Presbyterian Church (USA) does not have one interpretation of Scripture in this matter.
MUTUAL LOVE OF JESUS: Now that, friends, is a critically important statement, a declaration conceived in humility and emerging out of the understanding that good and faithful Christians can be passionate followers of Jesus and – at the same time – hold radically different positions when it comes to social issues, politics, and more….
Let’s read it again, and this time take out the red-flag words “same-gender relationships.” “Faithful (Christians) earnestly seeking to follow Jesus Christ hold different views about what the Scriptures teach…”
Isn’t that the truth! So how about a large dose of that kind of humility for the rest of us, no matter what denominational affiliation we currently hold, “Bible-believing” Christians every one!
In love – DEREK