A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Presbyterian Breakup

The Presbyterian's general assembly is meeting this month in Birmingham Alabama and apparently the right is using this as the watershed moment to decide whether they will split the church.

At issue is the Peace, Unity, Purity report, a series of proposals put out by a denominational commission. The right believes it involves a local option that would give flexibility to presbyteries on how they handle issues including gay and lesbian inclusion.

A number of presbyteries have produced statements threatening to leave or at least engage in a "trial separation", if the denomination approves the report. Among these are the presbyteries of San Joaquin in California and Prospect Hill in Iowa.

They write about their concerns over the affectional "bonds" of the community which are at risk if more liberal areas of the church are allowed to be glbt inclusive, but I'm not sure what affections are connecting a church in which coercion govern the day.

Heresy trials do not speak of affection. If their assessment of the PUP is accurate their ability to use coercive instruments will have been stymied Thus the consideration being given to schism. But keeping the ability to coerce will not bring unity or peace to the church.

It may produce uniformity but unity, for Paul, is something which allows differnces to contribute to the whole thus the church is not just the hands or the feet or the arms, it's all of this and each part (even us liberals)is integral to the church being the church.

Without that, all you've got is a group of like minded folks who agree. Instead of the unity Paul envisioned, we have the uniformity that any secular group is able to produce. Instead of a unity under God we have a uniformity based on similar interests and practices.


At 11:55 AM , Anonymous John B said...

Paul's definition of unity doesn't include heresy or the rejection of scriptural authority.

Why is it that those who stand strong for traditional moral values are using coersion, but those who are pushing equally hard for abandoning those values are not?

At 5:13 PM , Blogger Dwight said...

It's not pushing for one side which is coercion, everyone in the church is doing that. it's making ecclessiastical mandates, it's bringing in heresy trials that is coercive.

At 5:15 PM , Blogger Dwight said...

Paul also seemed to be on the side of folks who were trying to expand Christian faith to include folks that originally were not included, in this case Gentiles. A lot of turmoil in the early church was faced by such an expansion but it became central to Paul's life and work.


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