Presbyterians grateful that marriage definition retained
Recently, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) turned back attempts to revise the denomination’s definition of marriage.
The assembly rejected an “authoritative interpretation” of the PCUSA constitution that would have allowed ministers to marry same-sex couples holding a civil marriage license. It also refused amendments to the denomination’s Book of Order that would have struck all references to “a man and a woman” marrying and replaced them with language about “two people” marrying.
The result is that the PCUSA Book of Order still declares, “For Christians, marriage is a covenant through which a man and a woman are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship.”
Likewise, the PCUSA Book of Confessions still defines Christian marriage as a “spiritual and physical union [of] one man and one woman.”
Theology Matters fellow Alan Wisdom said:
“We are grateful for faithful commissioners in Pittsburgh who spoke and voted to uphold the marriage of man and woman. Once again, the PCUSA General Assembly has stepped back from the precipice of redefining marriage. The revisionists’ victory, it turns out, is not the inevitability that they boasted.
“Yet the closeness of the vote warns us against complacency. The debate on marriage is far from over. There will be study, dialogue, and new overtures in local churches and presbyteries over the next two years. We know we will face the same debate in 2014 and beyond. Faithful Presbyterians must be ready to engage that debate, with truth and grace, over the long haul.
“In adopting this Pittsburgh Declaration, we vow to resist the ongoing attempt to redefine Christian marriage. We commit ourselves to a new Marriage Initiative to restore a biblical understanding of marriage in our church and culture, so that men, women, and children may flourish.”