The Book of Order is Part II of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It includes: Foundations of Presbyterian Polity; Form of. The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as defined in The Book of Order contains the Foundations of Presbyterian Polity, the. Product Overview. A downloadable PDF version of the Book of Order. This book is Part II of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and contains the.
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The Foundations of Presbyterian Polity describes the basic behind the presbyterian polity of PC(USA). ndolefideshal.cf Free, easily accessible liturgical resources for all Presbyterians . Current PC(USA) Book of Order: PC(USA) Book of Order. Amendments finally adopted by the General Assembly in the current year are indicated in The Book of Church Order (BCO) by a bullet in the margin beside.
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Further information: Reformed worship. Retrieved from " https: Church order. Hidden categories: Articles lacking sources from October All articles lacking sources. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Languages Add links. This page was last edited on 29 May , at But I also wanted to discover what the Bible actually said about sexuality and homosexuality. My study led me to the conclusion that there is no credible biblical argument supportive of homosexual activity.
In the end, I contributed several paragraphs to The Bond that Breaks, my first published writing. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.
Thus began a titanic battle in the whole church over whether or not to approve Amendment B.
In a nutshell: The General Assembly votes to provide Definitive Guidance, making it clear that homosexual activity is sinful, and therefore active homosexual people should not be ordained. The new amendment, which, in a most unhelpful manner was called Amendment A, read as follows: Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture and instructed by the historic confessional standards of the church.
Among these standards is the requirement to demonstrate fidelity and integrity in marriage or singleness, and in all relationships of life. Candidates for ordained office shall acknowledge their own sinfulness, their need for repentance, and their reliance on the grace and mercy of God to fulfill the duties of their office.
This amendment, especially as a replacement to Amendment B of , was seen as opening the door to the ordination of actively homosexual people as well as people engaging in heterosexual activity outside of marriage. Though the pro-homosexual side won in the General Assembly, it lost more soundly in the presbyteries. A personal aside: Around this time, I had two experiences that shaped my understanding of what was going on in the PCUSA when it came to homosexuality. The first happened when I was asked to speak at a Presbyterian church where the leadership favored homosexual ordination.
I spent about an hour explaining in depth why I believed that the Bible does not endorse homosexual behavior, even though it calls us to love homosexual people. At the end of my presentation, I fielded questions and comments.
Almost nobody wanted to talk about the Bible. So we need to approve of him and affirm him. Out of their feelings of compassion they were not going to follow biblical teaching. My second experience happend in the context of a presbytery meeting in which we were voting on Amendment A. The debate was fairly predictable, as was the vote. My presbytery leaned in a conservative direction by about two-thirds to one-third. After the meeting, I was walking out behind a man who had spoken strongly in favor of a biblical understanding of homosexuality.
Apparently one could not be a person of conscience and deny ordination to gays and lesbians. It has eroded our fellowship in Christ, even as has the unloving treatment of homosexuals by persons on the conservative side. Once again, however, this proposed change to the Book of Order required approval of the presbyteries.
And, once again, a major battle was waged throughout the denomination. It also demonstrates that the General Assembly is often more pro-gay in its votes than the presbyteries. As long as the PCUSA maintains its current structure and population, increasingly strident debates about homosexuality will continue indefinitely, unless Christ returns to free us from our confusion. No doubt some of my readers are wondering why this fight has to keep on going and going.
What exactly happened in the next moments is disputed, but, before long, the officers were savagely beating King. The bulk of this beating was caught on video by a spectator , and his footage was subsequently shown endlessly on television.
On April 29, , when three of the four officers who beat Rodney King were acquitted by a jury that included no African-Americans, catastrophic riots broke out in Los Angeles.
In the midst of the riots, Rodney King himself made a televised plea for peace. Why not simply admit our differences and get on with our mission? Why do we have to keep on fighting?
Why must we keep fighting for a uniform Presbyterian standard on the ordination of homosexuals? Can we, can we all get along? But when you consider how this debate has looked to potential PCUSA members, and when you consider the vast resources we have poured into it, and when you think of those who have left the denomination because of our various and confusing positions and homosexuality, surely this debate has contributed to our numerical decline.
And when you consider the time we Presbyterians have devoted to this issue for the past three decades, the loss for actual ministry is staggering. So, then, can we, can we all get along? And no. There is no simple answer to this question. We can get along when we participate in common mission, building a house with Habitat for Humanity, or reaching out to victims of a natural disaster.
We can get along in our common confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and in the fellowship of his table.
We can learn from each other and share our victories and struggles together. In these ways and many more we who support the ordination of homosexuals and we who oppose it can get along. Yet we who believe in the presbyterian form of church government rule by elders would not be able to be in the same denomination as Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Methodists, who affirm an episcopal form of church government rule by bishops.
Though we share a fundamental oneness in our faith, and though we share much in common from a missional point of view, our differences are substantial enough to keep us in separate denominations. I have come to believe that, in the end, Presbyterians who support the ordination of gays and lesbians, and Presbyterians who oppose is, will not be able to get along in the sense of being in the same denomination, unless that denomination has very loose ties.
The only compromise I can possibly imagine would involve a massive reorganization of the PCUSA into governing bodies divided according to their views and practices in a number of areas, including homosexuality. But this sort of union would be very little union at all, and, in all likelihood, would be at most a temporary measure.
Okay, okay, let me acknowledge one other genuine compromise, which really would be no compromise at all. Folks on the other side would expect the Spirit to blow in the opposite direction.
History suggests that we PCUSA folk will never get along as members of the same denomination when it comes to the issue of gay ordination. Surely there must be some way to get us together.
But let me explain further why I believe ultimate compromise on this issue is unlikely. It has to do with what the folks on either side believe about it, and the strength of these beliefs. Given our disagreements and divisions over many things, centrally, the ordination of active gays and lesbians, is it possible for members of the PCUSA to compromise, to find away to move forward without major reorganization or separation.
Yes, we can get along in many ways, the ways we Presbyterians get along with folk in other denominations. This conclusion is one I have arrived at slowly.
It has come, substantially, from my having listened for years to folks on both sides of the issue. As you might well expect, I have found it easier to listen to those with whom I agree.
But I have also spent many, many hours listening to those with whom I disagree, hearing their concerns, their pains, their hopes. I have heard their resolve, their passion, their commitment to their side of this issue. This has led me to conclude that neither side in this debate is apt to be persuaded to change its mind, and that neither side is apt to give up the matter as inconsequential. I will try to explain this as best I can, beginning with the side that affirms gay ordination.
I will try to be fair, nevertheless. And, though I disagree with them, I have respect for them and their convictions. Folks on the pro-gay side believe that it is not always sinful for people to engage in homosexual activity, and therefore it is wrong to preclude the ordination of all active gays and lesbians. In fact, supporters of gay ordination differ widely on the conditions required for same-sex intimacy to be okay. Most on the pro-gay side do not limit acceptable sexual expression only to such a relationship.
They see sex between two mature, loving people gay or straight as potentially blessed by God even when there is no religious or civil union.
They will continue to fight for what they believe in, even if the fight goes on indefinitely. They feel justified in their cause. At the core of the debate is whether or not one considered homosexuality a sin or a natural God-created trait. I obviously hold the latter way of thinking. Much like race — and this is a huge debate in the brown community — I see sexual orientation as the same created gift as gender and race.
Yes, you are not screaming for outright violence, but there is still a message of division that is shared. On the other hand, if one does NOT think homosexuality is a sin, then one engages differently and focuses on what I would consider more shared human areas of brokenness: poverty, oppression, violence, etc.
The Bible is filled with the call to justice, especially on behalf of those who are marginalized or oppressed.
Thus, many Christians have seen advocacy for gay and lesbian people as a part of their faithfulness to God, even to the Scripture that calls us to do justice.
Divine justice requires a change in ordination policy, and they will fight for this change. From their point of view, those who deny ordination to gays and lesbians are perpetrators of injustice.
They must fight for justice until they win. Thus, compassion for those who have been excluded seems to demand a change in Presbyterian polity, in addition to a call to justice. Section 3 In my last post I tried to explain the ideological and emotional motivation of those who support the ordination of gays and lesbians. For Opponents of Gay Ordination: A Matter of Righteousness Those who oppose gay ordination see it as a matter of fundamental righteousness. It has to do with right and wrong, with right relationships and wrong relationships.
Sex outside of this relationship, whether it be homosexual or heterosexual, is sinful. Those who regard all homosexual activity is sinful do not insist that persons with homosexual feelings cannot be ordained. They ask such people to live in chastity, just as they ask those who are heterosexual but unmarried.
Moreover, opponents of gay ordination do not deny that homosexual Christians can be gifted for ministry. They do believe, however, that such people should live according to biblical righteousness.
And this, in the view of gay ordination opponents, makes no room for homosexuality activity. The vast majority of Christians throughout history have believed that homosexual behavior is wrong. And the vast majority of Christians throughout the world today still believe this.
Some of these people may have been motivated by ignorance or meanness. But many have come to their conclusion prayerfully and with genuine compassion for gay and lesbian people. I know many parents who deeply love their gay or lesbian adult children, and who continue to have positive relationships with them even though they believe that their children are making wrong choices with regard to their sexual expression.
Christians who consider Scripture as their primary source for divine guidance usually conclude that homosexual behavior is always wrong. Consider some basic evidence: Not one passage in the Bible speaks positively of homosexual behavior or gay relationships. Not one passage in the Bible provides a positive example of an active homosexual in leadership. Wherever Scripture speaks directly about homosexual behavior, it judges it to be wrong.
So, if the PCUSA were to ordain people who are engaging in homosexual behavior and who intend to keep on doing so as opposed to repenting of it , then folks on the pro-righteousness side believe that the PCUSA would be endorsing sin. It would be a contradiction of biblical righteousness. It would be just as if the PCUSA allowed avowed racists to be ordained on the ground that racism is not always wrong.
Folks who oppose gay ordination are compelled by their commitment to the PCUSA and by their biblically-shaped moral convictions to fight against any allowance for gay ordination. Their perception of biblical righteousness requires it. Their sense of faithfulness to God demands it. So, though we who disagree on this issue can get along in a wide variety of contexts, we clearly cannot get along when it comes to the question of who should and should not be ordained.
And this is one of the essential functions of a denomination. If one group of Presbyterians ordains someone and another group of Presbyterians cannot recognize that ordination, then those groups are profoundly divided. Such a division makes denominational connectionalism extremely difficult if not impossible to maintain. It also cripples many efforts at unified mission.
And it greatly complicates the ministry of individual churches. It seems that the new moderator of the General Assembly, Bruce Reyes-Chow, agrees with me about this, though we come down on opposite sides of the gay ordination issue. For me I can live with agreeing to disagree on things such as. Could we agree to disagree about the ordination of women?
Could we agree to disagree about interracial marriage? This is not a call for folks who disagree either way to get the heck out of dodge, but it is a little nudge out there to see what folks are thinking. If in the end, it looks like we are headed in a particular direction or if we are already there, would our efforts be better spent in grace-filled disengagement that allows for new life?
Do we keep passionately engaged in the discourse trying to reach some kind of resolution? Even though he and I disagree on several things, I find his candor to be a breath of fresh air.
Most votes, whether in General Assemblies or in presbyteries, have been relatively close. Whether one side or the other is on top for the moment, the denomination is deeply divided. And this division will continue because, whatever you might think of PCUSA folk, or if you are one, whatever you might think of the other side in this debate, both sides operate with integrity and conviction and persistence given their beliefs about homosexuality.
If current trends continue, the end of the PCUSA, one way or another, is both inevitable and imminent. Section 1 As I pick up my blog series on the PCUSA, I want to consider the question of why we Presbyterians, given that we share the same Bible, differ so widely on the issue of gay ordination.
I realize that some of my readers want me to stop analyzing the issue and start proposing solutions or dissolutions! Clarity about these matters will help us make wise choices when it comes to tangible actions. It will also help us speak truly and respectfully of those with whom we disagree.
Too often in this debate folks on both sides have misrepresented the other side.