Sunday, May 28, 2006

Gruntled Center: A Standard is a Standard Even If Exceptions Are Allowed

Gruntled Center: A Standard is a Standard Even If Exceptions Are Allowed:
"...The main mechanism [of resolving conflicts] is to trust each presbytery to ordain well. That ordination is for the whole church. However, if a minister wants to "labor within the bounds" of another presbytery, he or she must be examined and approved by that new presbytery. The second presbytery can't change an ordination granted by the first one, but it can say, "you may be ordained for the whole church, but you can't work in this corner of the church." This is a long-established tradition of the Presbyterian Church in this country, going back to the first synod in 1729. ..."
Beau Weston, who has written before on Presbyterian conflicts, posted this today. It serves a a timely reminder that adoption of the TFPUP report by the 217th General Assembly will not change things as drastically as some would have us believe.

The Task Force report is by no means a slam dunk. Its recommendation that no overtures relating to the removal of G-6.0106b be passed by this year's General Assembly was met with over 20 overtures that urged just that. All but one of these overtures come from presbyteries with a history of strong opposition to G-6.0106b.

I suspect that peace and unity will be difficult to achieve with both ends of the spectrum urging the rejection of some or all of the recommendations of the Task Force on the Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Presbyterian Church.

But, with God's help, the prayers of the people, and commissioners willing to heed the urgings of the Holy Spirit, things can work out.

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Gruntled said...

The Report of the Special Commission of 1925 was adopted as a whole. Much has changed in the church since then. We don't respect authority as we did then. But the main difference, I think, is that they tried to settle each substantive issue before the church of the time. Some of their settlements involved accepting a diversity of views on that issue, but they gave a clear answer to specific questions. I think the fate of the PUP report is unclear because they did not give a clear answer to the four clear questions they were charged with. The likely response of the GA, in the face of such uncertainty, is likely to supply its own definite answers -- and then we are back in the culture war.

Denis Hancock said...

I wonder if we have lost our collective ability to accept anything less than total victory? Or unconditional surrender?

It seems in 1925 the PCUSA chose to stay together as a body and maintain fellowship. Some ended up leaving, but the body stayed intact.

To extend the body metaphor perhaps a little too far, we are in constant immunological warfare within ourselves. A healthy body is not completely free of disease organisms, yet we don't all constantly run fevers.

Personally, I think the parable of the tares is useful here. As long as we're not talking kudzu here, let the weeds grow along with the wheat. It's not our job to harvest.