Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Bible or Cultural Prejudice?

If you take time to read the blogs and the statements of advocacy groups of the Presbyterian Right, you will hear the mantra that the General Assembly of the PC (U.S.A.) has abandoned the Bible and embraced North American cultural prejudices. Here is an example from Presbyterians For Renewal:

Having lost sight of her clear, Christ-centered identity, the PC(USA) has continued to embrace our culture’s beliefs and morals.

That statement is mild compared to other statements that are far more harsh regarding the actions of the commissioners.

These statements are in response to one issue, the place of sexual and gender minorities in the church. The General Assembly did not address only one issue. They deliberated, debated, and decided on a number of issues that I have already highlighted on this blog including healthcare, war, torture, inter-faith relations, and the adoption of a new social creed. There are more to come. Anyone can go to PC-Biz, log on, click "committees" and get the exact language of what the GA did.

In all of these actions, the commissioners wrestled with what it meant to follow Christ and to interpret the witness of scripture in our time and place. Far from throwing out the Bible, they sought to follow it. When we do that, we will disagree, and disagree strongly at times.

We could interpret the actions of the right as emotional knee-jerk hyperbole. I, too, get emotional when votes don't go my way. Nevertheless, statements that bear false witness to the motivations and integrity of fellow Christians need to be addressed, and that includes those that I make as well.

Whether you agree or disagree with some or all of the actions of the General Assembly, the commissioners did seek to follow Christ and the biblical witness. In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, the General Assembly was faithful and prophetic regarding many issues including the actions regarding sexual and gender minorities.

You don't have to agree with me or the General Assembly. You can justly say that the commissioners were in error as they interpreted the Bible and Christ. But to say as a matter of fact and intention that they threw out the Bible in favor of cultural prejudices is to bear false witness.