One action our denomination can take now is by making it clear to the world, our presbyteries, and our churches through Overture 15 that men who define themselves as homosexual cannot be elders in our denomination. Perhaps even more important is that we make this strong statement to our members, church courts, the world, and those struggling with same-sex attraction in our governing documents so that it is clear that Side B homosexuality is sinful and must be repented of.
I attend a church in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The PCA is one of the more “conservative,” or biblically sound, denominations in the United States. Yet over the last 25 years the woke progressive movement has been making inroads into the PCA like it has in many other denominations. These inroads have been made on biblical doctrines such as those related to the days of creations, race, and egalitarianism.
The most recent assault on God’s Word in the PCA is on the issue of homosexuality. Particularly what is known as Side B homosexuality, the idea that it is okay to be a “Gay Christian” with same-sex attraction as long as one remains celibate. Now, I welcome all same-sex attracted men and women to church, including those who are attempting to remain celibate. I do so because they, like me, need to repent of their sin. And unless they come to church, they are unlikely to hear that both same-sex sex and same-sex attraction are unholy and sinful in God’s eyes and something of which they need to repent.
Sadly, in the PCA there is a movement which proclaims that same-sex attraction is not a sin if accompanied by celibacy, that men and women can live their lives as Gay Christians. To address this and to speak to the culture around us, the PCA has adopted a number of “overtures,” or resolutions, at our recent annual gatherings (General Assembly–GA). The same is true this year; several of the overtures relating to homosexuality this year (Overtures 8, 15, and 29) would amend the PCA’s Book of Church Order (BCO), one of our governing documents. To be included in the BCO, each must be also ratified by ⅔ of our presbyteries, then go back for one more vote at GA next year.
I want to focus on one of those overtures here: Overture 15. It would insert the following into Chapter 7 of the BCO:
7-4. Men who describe themselves as homosexual, even those who describe themselves as homosexual and claim to practice celibacy by refraining from homosexual conduct, are disqualified from holding office in the Presbyterian Church in America.
Overture 15 highlights one problem currently facing the PCA; the committees and agencies of the PCA don’t always reflect the beliefs of the majority of elders and members in the PCA. It was rejected by the GA’s Overtures Committee, but resurrected on the floor of GA and passed by a majority of elders.
One reason why a majority of our elders approved this is because the PCA has at least one elder (and perhaps more) who describes himself as gay and same-sex attracted. And because during the several years this has been an issue, the presbytery this man belongs to has refused to remove him from office. And because the highest court in the PCA, the GA’s Standing Judicial Committee, has ruled against one attempt that might lead to his removal. And because, more generally, the PCA has dealt poorly with the Side B Gay movement in our denomination and the culture over the last five years.
The vote to approve the language in Overture 15 for inclusion in the BCO was very narrow: it passed with only 51% of the votes, 1094-1044, (a second vote approved Overture 15 with 54%). Because of the narrowness of the vote, many people predict that Overture 15 will not receive the ⅔ majority of the presbyteries needed to become part of the BCO. Elders from my presbytery, the South Texas Presbytery, will vote on Overtures 8, 15, and 29 on October 29. A few other presbyteries have already voted, while the rest will be voting fairly soon. You can follow the votes of presbyteries on this and other overtures here.