Friday, June 20, 2014

Another one bites the dust. . .

In a monumental move, the nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination voted Thursday to change its definition of marriage and allow its pastors to officiate same-sex ceremonies in states where gay marriage is legal.  By a vote of 429-175, leaders of the 1.76 million-member Presbyterian Church (USA) voted during the biennial General Assembly in Detroit to change the denomination’s Book of Order to describe marriage as being between “two people.”

The decision opens a path toward gay marriage across the denomination’s 10,000 churches.
A majority of the church’s 173 regional bodies, called Presbyteries, must now approve the decision before it’s official, a process that can take up to a year. But after years of failed efforts to get the church to approve gay marriages, LGBT activists and pastors said they were optimistic.

“This is a glorious day for the church and for LGBT people who have been seeking full inclusion here for decades,” Pittsburgh-based Rev. Randy Bush, the co-moderator of the board for pro-LGBT church group Covenant Network, said in a statement.
In a separate vote, 371 to 238, the church assembly also approved a measure to allow pastors in the 

19 states where same-sex marriage is legal to officiate those weddings. That move is final and doesn’t need further approval.

Many smaller, more conservative Presbyterian denominations, including the Presbyterian Church in America and Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, don’t ordain gay people or official same-sex marriages.  But the decisions for the USA group, which came after hours of tense debate, follow years of discussions on the meaning of marriage in the church and a rapidly changing tide of support for religious and civil same-sex marriage. The Presbyterian Church (USA) voted in May 2011 to allow the ordination of openly gay men and women in same-sex relationships, and other Christian denominations have also increasingly ordained openly gay clergy.

There you have it.  Another one bites the dust.  Those on the winning side will no doubt triumph the prophetic nature of the vote and action done.  But how prophetic is it when you are merely following the beat of culture?  No, it seems to me that if you desire to be prophetic, the stance to take is not a mirror of what is going on all around you.

But nobody is listening to me... they are, however, listening.  The Presbyterians have had 4 splits in the last hundred years and they are bleeding off members and dollars like Julia Child hacking away at a chicken only to hit her own artery!  What comfort there is in taking a stance that had been rejected time and time again before until either the opposition grew tired or left is mystifying to me.  In a few years we will be singing about the PCUSA, ELCA, and other mainline liberal Protestants who have disappeared or simply exchanged their once robust and confident identity for a whisp of smoke blown in the wind.  Like Abraham, Martin, and John, a host of church bodies are gone, their memories remain but the churches that use those names now bear little resemblance to their predecessors... and that, my friends, is a loss that will not be regained.


Lutherstudent said...

Any Christian religious body who condones or supports gay rights violates Roman 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9. Many seem to believe they can pick and chose Biblical teachings and are driven to satisfying what seems fair to mankind and not what scripture teaches. But we are all going to be judged by the word, John 12:48; therefore, as the Bible says, "narrow is the road." The world is truly fallen and full of evil and getting worse every day.

Anonymous said...

I believe Luther said,"the greatest expression of God's wrath is His silence," we choose sin and He allows us to go our own way.

Augustine said, "the punishment of sin is sin."

We having been trying to destroy the family for the last fifty years. There have been consequences.

Lutherstudent said...

I never heard either of those quotes before, but God also gave us the Bible and many appear to let someone other than themselves do the studying. That methodology will lead to eternal consequences.

Unknown said...

In all fairness, the Presbyterians bit the dust along time ago before this as did the Episcopalians and the liberal Lutherans. The only people in those churches in about 50 years will be gay people. I'm sure the endorsing of heresy was worth it.

Carl Vehse said...

I believe Luther said,"the greatest expression of God's wrath is His silence"

That quote is noted several places on the internet, but no reference is given. Is there a reference for that quote?

Lutherstudent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lutherstudent said...

Anonymous and Carl,
I have "What Luther says" and pages 1,549-1,558 cover his comments on "Wrath Of God.".
#5064 on page 1,558 covers the above verse regarding "silence"; however, it refers to 1 Thess. 2:16 and the fact that the Jews ignored God's calling and continued in their unbelief so God no longer hears them. It is Wrath, a great unspeakable Wrath! God no longer listens to them. Because the Jews refused to hear God, he no longer hears them and that is still apparent today. What greater wrath than for God to refuse to hear you, Prverbs 1:24;28.

Carl Vehse said...

Does the editor of What Luther Says give a reference to the source document or book in which Luther made that statement?

Paul said...

I am not Lutherstudent, but in my copy of What Luther Says, the citation is said to be taken from (W-T 5, No. 5553). According to the "Guide to References, Appendixes, and Indexes," that notation refers to the Tischreden in the Weimer edition.

You can check out the text here:

Carl Vehse said...

The Rev. Dr. Mark D. Thompson, Principal, Moore Theological College, Newtown, New South Wales, Australia, has kindly provided me with the original source reference for the quote from Martin Luther, "The greatest expression of God's wrath is His silence." It comes from D. Martin Luthers Werke, Weimarer Ausgabe, Band 24 (WA 24), Reihenpredigten über 1. Mose (1523/24): Druckfassung 1527, p. 449, lines 16-17.

The German text reads: "das Gott selb mit yhm redet, Denn es ist der grosse zorn, den er erzeiget, wenn er stille schweiget und redet nicht"

BTW, in the picture included on the Welcome webpage of Moore College, which provides ministers to the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, the bottom book on the Principal's right appears to be a copy of Luther's Works: Career of the Reformer III, American Edition, Concordia Publishing House and Fortress Press, possibly Volume 31 or 33.

Carl Vehse said...

Paul: (W-T 5, No. 5553)... You can check out the text here: - See more at:

I look at that No. 5553 section (which is in Latin) and couldn't see anything that compared to the English-translated quote from Luther.

Paul said...

I was noting the source given in "What Luther Says" and where that could be found online, but I didn't translate anything on that page. This would not be the first time I found "What Luther Says" to be less than accurate.