Less than a week after the unofficial defeat of the repeal of ordination fidelity/chastity standards in the PCUSA, a congregation has already put the matter back on the agenda for 2010, just as I predicted. Northside Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the Presbytery of Detroit, has sent an overture to its presbytery to strike the current wording of G-6.0106.B and replace it with the following:

Those who are called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003), pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, as revealed in Holy Scripture, striving to follow where He leads through the authoritative witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church. Each governing body charged with examination for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes the candidate’s faithful efforts to adhere to these standards.

This is practically identical to the language that was just defeated:

Those who are called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003), pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church. Each governing body charged with examination for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes the candidate’s sincere efforts to adhere to these standards.

I’ve highlighted the portions that are different from the 2008 language in bold. The references to the revelation of Scripture and its authoritative witness, and the substitution of “faithfulness” for “sincerity,” strengthen the statement in ways that conservatives could only applaud. But those changes are obviously secondary to the primary purpose of the overture, which is to have the denomination vote on exactly the same subject–ordination of sexually active homosexuals–for the second time in four years. As I’ve said before, proponents of change clearly think that the trends are with them–specifically, more opponents will leave or give in over the next two years–and the result will be victory if they just move fast enough. Anyone who thought that the PCUSA would get a breather from this debate as a result of the defeat of Amendment 8-06b is bound to be disappointed. That’s just not the way church politics work.

(Via Layman Online.)

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