From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON LIFESTYLE OF CHURCH
05 May 1996 13:00:57
95123 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON LIFESTYLE OF CHURCH
OFFICERS IS TOO CLOSE TO CALL
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--With fewer than 20 presbyteries still to vote, a proposed
amendment to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) "Book of Order" that would
modify the requirement for how church officers should live their lives is
too close to call.
According to the Office of the General Assembly, Amendment A.1 has
received 73 affirmative votes, 78 negative votes and three "no action"
votes. Affirmative votes by 86 of the denomination's 171 presbyteries are
required for the amendment to be incorporated into the church's
Addressing the lifestyle of church officers, the "Book of Order"
currently states (G-6.0106): "Their manner of life should be a
demonstration of the Christian gospel in the Church and in the world."
The proposed amendment would replace that wording with: "Their manner
of life should be a demonstration to the Church and the world of the
Christian faith and life as defined by Scripture and the Confessions."
The modest word changes represented a compromise by last year's
General Assembly on an attempt to define more precisely what is acceptable
sexual conduct for ordained church officers. The proposed amendment passed
by a 357-176 margin after coming to the floor of the Assembly as a minority
report to the recommendation of the Assembly's Church Orders and Vocation
That committee had voted 31-26 to recommend to the Assembly that it
adopt an overture from Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery that stated: "Those
who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to
Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the
church. These standards require fidelity within the covenant of marriage
or celibacy. Persons engaging in conduct that does not accord with these
standards shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or
ministers of the Word and Sacrament."
The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advised the Assembly not to
adopt the Charleston-Atlantic overture because, it said, the "Book of
Order" already "affirms the highest qualities of moral character." The
advisory committee said the overture is "inconsistent with the doctrine of
sin contained in the Westminster Confession in that it singles out
particular acts as being worse than others."
Record of voting on church officer lifestyle amendment
AFFIRMATIVE (73): Abingdon, Arkansas, Beaver-Butler, Blackhawk, Central
Florida, Central Nebraska, Charleston-Atlantic, Charlotte, Cherokee,
Coastal Carolina, Donegal, East Tennessee, Eastminster, Flint River,
Geneva, Giddings-Lovejoy, Greater Atlanta, Hanmi, Holston, Huntingdon,
Inland Northwest, Lackawanna, Lake Erie, Lehigh, Los Ranchos, Memphis,
Mississippi, Muskingum Valley, Nevada, New Covenant, New Harmony, North
Alabama, North Central Iowa, North Puget Sound, Northeast Georgia, Northern
Waters, Noroeste, Olympia, Palo Duro, Peace River, Peaks, Pines, Prospect
Hill, Providence, Redstone, St. Andrew, St. Augustine, San Diego, San
Fernando, San Francisco, San Gabriel, San Joaquin, San Juan, Santa Barbara,
Savannah, Scioto Valley, Seattle, Shenango, Shenandoah, South Alabama,
South Dakota, Southeastern Illinois, Southern New England, Suroeste, Tampa
Bay, Transylvania, Tropical Florida, Wabash Valley, Washington, West
Jersey, Western North Carolina, Whitewater Valley, Yukon.
NEGATIVE (78): Alaska, Albany, Baltimore, Boise, Boston, Carlisle,
Cascades, Cayuga-Syracuse, Chicago, Cimarron, Cincinnati, de Cristo,
Denver, East Iowa, Eastern Oklahoma, Eastern Oregon, Elizabeth, Florida,
Foothills, Genesee Valley, Glacier, Grace, Grand Canyon, Great Rivers,
Heartland, Homestead, Indian Nations, James, John Calvin, Kendall,
Kiskiminetas, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Long Island, Louisville, Mackinac,
Maumee Valley, Miami, Middle Tennessee, Milwaukee, Minnesota Valleys,
Mission, Missouri River Valley, Missouri Union, Monmouth, National Capital,
New Brunswick, New Castle, New Hope, New York City, Newark, Newton,
Northern Kansas, Northern New England, Northern New York, Northern Plains,
Northumberland, Ohio Valley, Pacific, Palisades, Philadelphia, Redwoods,
Salem, San Jose, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, South Louisiana, Southern Kansas,
Tres Rios, Twin Cities Area, Utah, Utica, West Virginia, Western Kentucky,
Western Reserve, Winnebago, Wyoming, Yellowstone.
NO ACTION (3): Hudson River, Stockton, Susquehanna Valley.
STILL TO VOTE (17): Central Washington, Dakota, Des Moines, Detroit,
Eastern Virginia, John Knox, Midwest Hanmi, Pittsburgh, Plains and Peaks,
Pueblo, Riverside, Sacramento, Sheppards and Lapsley, Trinity, Upper Ohio
Valley, Western Colorado, Western New York.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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