Back to Nicaea? by Harry Chronis

Back to Nicaea?

Harry Chronis on Turning the Presbyterian Church, USA, Toward Home

“Amendment A,” the most recent attempt to approve the ordination of practicing homosexual persons in the Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA), went down to defeat last summer. At their meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, in June 2001, our highest governing body, the General Assembly, had called the church, first, to strike the requirement of officers “to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage . . . or chastity in singleness”; second, to grant absolute discretion to ordaining bodies to ordain whomever they deem fit (including, presumably, some who practice homosexual lifestyles); and third, to silence the “definitive guidance” of previous General Assemblies that unrepentant homosexual practice, being contrary to God’s will for humankind, precludes ordination to office in the church.

But the proposal failed to gain what it needed to become the new law of the church: the concurrence of a simple majority of the denomination’s 173 regional governing bodies, our presbyteries. Indeed, the final tally showed that close to 70 percent voted against it, roughly reflecting the views of Presbyterians on this issue.

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Harry L. Chronis is the pastor of White Rock Presbyterian Church in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He credits his father George H. Chronis and his sister Lisa E. Chronis for their very helpful suggestions. The quote from Robert Wilken is taken from his review of Andre LaCocque and Paul Ricoeur’s Thinking Biblically: Exegetical and Hermeneutical Studies in the May 1999 issue of First Things.

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