The Presbyterian Church and missions have been one of the most active around the world. Over the years, Christian led missionaries, have successfully assisted in building churches and schools, and hospitals under a partnership known as the PC (USA). Marking their 178th Anniversary of achievements and aid this year, the church focuses on missions by partnerships, and they defined these principles of guidance. Their shared principles across the world, are the following:
- Shared Grace and Thanksgiving;
- Mutuality and Interdependence;
- Recognition and Respect;
- Open Dialogue and Transparency;
- Sharing of Resources. (Staff, 2015)
As part of the mission statement, and what sets the groundwork of what is to come, or what guides; these guidelines are what is followed, and changes are made at times, or amendments to the groundwork as needed. As of the 178th Anniversary, an amendment is now being made to the definition of marriage, per the most recent ruling from the United States Supreme Court, giving same-sex couples the right to marry. Some of the churches are taking the initiative based on the growing number of families, and couples with children. The churches wanted to recognize couples for those children who have same-sex parents. Therefore, the US Presbyterian Church has made this move through the guidelines.
The guidelines affect more than the US Presbyterian churches though; as the PC (USA) is part of Mission bonding across the country, and these guidelines must be accepted by each country as well. With that under consideration, the World Mission is composed of more than 100 partnerships. Two members of those, Latin America’s Peru and Brazil, have set forth statements on their behalf:
~“We cannot help but express our deep gratitude to God for the life and ministry of the Presbyterian Church of the United States. As a country and as a church we have been very blessed by this church ever since the first Presbyterian missionary arrived here in 1859. . . . Despite this notable contribution to the expansion of God’s kingdom in the world and especially in Brazil, our church has understood that the recent decisions made by the PC (USA) are against the principle of the authority of Scripture over the life and faith of the Church, as well as the confessional documents of our common Reformed heritage. Above all remains our deepest gratitude and respect to this Church and our prayers on your behalf.” (Pickett-Smith, 2015)
This is not the first response to something of this nature. This change is regarding what is known as (#14). However, PC (USA) had established an international partnership in which growing acceptance of homosexuality had begun to spread amongst the churches. Noticing this from within, other delegates took notice and made changes, as with (#10A).
~“The Mexican delegates also voted not to re-establish any relationship with the PC (USA) until 10-A is rescinded.” (Zeen, 2015)
At this point, Mexico, Brazil and Peru have all rescinded from the union, and there may be more to come. The PC (USA)’s progressive worldview on homosexual behavior continues to become greater in precedence across this nation, and in the eyes of other nations, than the traditional biblical principles regarding sexual sin. Although, President Obama continues to bring this topic of discussion with him as he makes his last calls throughout his visits with other nations, these other nation’s aren’t accepting the US decision as openly as Obama did.
While Brazil and Peru may be the first two Latin American countries to part ways over the denomination, they certainly may not be the last.
~“Even though many of PC (USA)’s other partnerships have not yet ceased, its redefinition of marriage has been condemned by many church partners — particularly in Latin America and the Middle East — giving rise to speculation that more nations will soon sever ties, as well.” (Haverluck, 2015)
Our Two Cents:
With so many sides divided, it is wrong of anyone to ask another to take sides; or is it? Latin American says, “No church has the right to change the Word of God. By voting to redefine marriage PC (USA) automatically forfeits Christ’s saving grace. There is always redemption in the body of Christ through confession of faith and adhering to Holy Scripture.” Does the church have the right to change scripture? Who has that right? Does anybody? Does any governing body?
1 Corinthians 1:18-20 ~
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
The wisdom of the wise- who is this referring? Is this referring to the United States Supreme Court? Is this referring to the church? Is this referring to the Sunday morning deliverer of God’s message? Who brings wisdom? Who is wise? Maybe it is a basic right to be “gay”, but the Bible doesn’t give that right, and the Bible cannot be read in fear, or foolishness.
The Bible cannot be read in selfishness either. The serpent told Eve—God is holding out by not allowing you to experience what you should. Are there things, we should not do, because they are wrong, even if they do not feel wrong? Well, yes. That’s why we have sacrifice, and grace. What if one doesn’t know? What if someone observes a life lived as not wrong, and then, wants that life as theirs.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
This takes away the belief Jesus has the power to save. Those who support a sin, by supportive or palliative treatment, is pushing God’s grace away. God has warned us society will turn against him. On judgement day, will the Supreme Court be your judging party? For those who don’t believe, what a thing to consider? Consider God will be there, and live in that place where Jesus loves and kneels down and provides healing and then say, “Go and sin no more.” It is loving to be kind and patient, but it is also loving to encourage someone toward holiness.