The largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States is only seven votes away from having enough regional bodies favor changing its official definition of marriage to include homosexual unions.
At last year’s general assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA) approved an amendment changing their Book of Order’s definition of marriage from being between “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”
Known as Amendment 14-F, the possible change to the Book of Order is leading with 79 regional bodies, or presbyteries, in favor and 37 opposed.
These 79 regional bodies included the Presbytery of East Tennessee, which narrowly approved the amendment Saturday in a vote of 61-56.
In a meeting held in Chattanooga, delegates spoke for and against Amendment 14-F. According to local media, one proponent was University of Tennessee campus minister Kally Elliott.
“We have a lot of students who come into our campus ministry with their story being one of hurt and shame given to them by the church,” said Elliott.
“Presbyteries have one year to vote on the proposed amendment. If a majority ratifies the amendment, it would take effect June 21, 2015.”
During the Valentine’s Day weekend several presbyteries voted on Amendment 14-F, including the Presbytery of North Alabama.
“With a vote of 28 to 24, representatives … approved an amendment to the Presbyterian Book of Order, a part of the church’s constitution, to allow, but not require, Presbyterian ministers to perform same-sex marriages in states where that is legal,” reported Kay Campbell of al.com.
“As several ministers present at the meeting of ministers and lay leaders pointed out, ministers have always had the option to refuse to perform marriages for couples who, in their opinion, were not fit for marriage.”
In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, a theologically conservative group, called the likely passage of Amendment 14-F “tragic, but not surprising.”
“The Presbyterian Church (USA) has been actively undermining her own theological foundations for generations. This vote is simply the result of a hundred years of progressive deviation from the Truth,” said LaBerge.
This is not the first time that PCUSA has garnered headlines on its internal debate over homosexuality and the Church.
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ – Galatians 1:10 (KJV).
In 2010, the PCUSA General Assembly approved Amendment 10a, a measure that allowed for presbyteries to ordain noncelibate homosexuals.
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him – 2 Corinthians 11:4 (KJV).
In response to the passage of the amendment, over 150 congregations voted to disaffiliate from the mainline denomination.
“As more and more Presbyterians in the pews wake up to the reality that their denomination has abandoned the Bible in exchange for the accommodation of sexual immorality, many of them will leave,” LaBerge told CP.
“They will either leave individually or they will seek to leave corporately as a congregation. But we are seeing presbyteries constrict the ability of congregations to leave, so many will wake up too late to escape.”
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Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils – 1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV).
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect -Matthew 24:24 (KJV).
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry – 2 Timothy 4:3-5 (KJV).
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (KJV).
Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple – Romans 16:18 (KJV).