Thursday, July 10, 2008

Has the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) “jumped the shark?” Or, to put it another way, Was this past General Assembly the Assembly of Heresy? (Part 5)

Hold the presses!! A pronouncement from Constitutional Services of the PCUSA puts a new twist on yesterday’s post. Constitutional Service said:

The 218th General Assembly also adopted (Item 05-12) a new Authoritative Interpretation of G-6.0108:

…the requirements of G-6.0108 … apply equally to all ordination standards of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Section G-6.0108 requires examining bodies to give prayerful and careful consideration, on an individual, case-by-case basis, to any departure from an ordination standard in matters of belief or practice that a candidate may declare during examination. However, the examining body is not required to accept a departure from standards and cannot excuse a candidate’s inability to perform the constitutional functions unique to his or her office (such as administration of the sacraments).

We believe this modifies the 2008 GAPJC decision of Bush v. Presbytery of Pittsburgh, in that the scrupling of either belief or practice is now allowed. The effect of this action is to remind ordaining bodies that they bear the responsibility for determining whether any particular standard (including those described in G-6.0106b) will be a bar to that particular candidate’s ordination/installation. This Authoritative Interpretation preserves the historic right of sessions and presbyteries to determine their membership; all these decisions, however, continue to be subject to review by a higher governing body.

This changes everything!! Constitutional Services had in effect declared that local option is now in the rule of the day!

Heaven help the PCUSA…

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