“Increasingly, the conservative, evangelical members of the 1.8-million-member mainline Protestant denomination are finding themselves at odds with socially progressive congregations and leadership that seem to have moved in line with the secular world.”
Across Christian denominations, the debate over gay marriage has fundamentally pitted the views of socially progressive – if not radical – congregants and church leaders who are in favor of gay marriage against that of the conservative, evangelical sector that subscribes to a traditional and biblical definition of marriage.
For the most part, proponents of gay marriage have been on the outs – at times waging tough battles that tear churches apart and put their ordination on the line.
In the Presbyterian Church (USA), the tables seemed to have turned. Increasingly, the conservative, evangelical members of the 1.8-million-member mainline Protestant denomination are finding themselves at odds with socially progressive congregations and leadership that seem to have moved in line with the secular world.
Across the country, conservative, evangelical pastors who over the past year have taken a stand against the Presbyterian Church’s ratification of gay marriage are finding themselves forced out the door.
“I was surprised that they would go to such extreme actions. Especially when we are all supposed to have opinions and follow process,” says the Rev. Wayne Lowe, who a few weeks ago was dismissed from the Carlisle Presbytery, the regional governing body of the denomination across central Pennsylvania. “The church voted to say all those things happened, yet there was this other extreme action taken. It’s the full circle. They made it happen.”
Lowe, who subscribes to the traditional and biblical definition of marriage – that of being between a man and a woman – has been outspoken against his denomination’s new direction. As minister of Faith Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg for the past three years, Lowe refused to compromise his religious views, even though his congregants voted to remain under the main umbrella of the church in spite of its recent ruling on gay marriage.