Another example of the classic confusion between pastoral ministry to the homosexual with the demand for moral parity for homosexuals by the homosexual lobby, which is vehemently anti-Christian, and particularly anti-Orthodox. The Body of Christ endures it all, and offers a safe haven for those seeking refuge.
“Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
The Presbyterian Church voted on Tuesday to allow the ordination of gays, becoming the fourth Protestant denomination in the United States to make the move that experts say reflects a larger cultural shift.
The debate over whether gays should be ordained as ministers has led to sharp divisions within several Protestant faiths. Some 100 congregations out of 11,000 have left the Presbyterian church in the past five years, including a few large ones, church sources said.
A majority of the 173 regions, or presbyteries, supported the long-debated change in the constitution of the 2.3-million member Presbyterian Church (USA) that will permit gay candidates to be ordained clergy, elders and deacons, church sources said.
The move eliminates a requirement in the constitution that clergy live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.”
The 87th, and deciding, vote was cast on Tuesday by the liberal Minneapolis-St. Paul presbytery. Already, 19 presbyteries that voted against a similar amendment two years ago had switched sides.
“They’re making this change amid a larger cultural change. General public opinion on gay rights is trending pretty dramatically in the liberal direction,”
said Mark Chaves, a professor of sociology, religion and divinity at Duke University.
“There is no practical reason to do it,” such as a shortage of ministers, Chaves said. “It’s a matter of principle on both sides.”
Chaves said his father, a voting member of his presbytery, was persuaded to vote for it due to the vitriol of opponents.
Other mainline Protestant denominations in the United States to drop their prohibitions on gay clergy are the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church. The move by The Episcopal Church has opened rifts in the American church and in the larger Anglican Communion to which it belongs.
The United Methodist Church, a mainline Protestant denomination, continues to wrestle over the issue. The United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church broke new ground in the mid-1950s when both faiths approved the ordination of women.
Presby to Orthodox says
I was a deacon in the PC USA who left and now attends a “conservative” Lutheran church that split from the ELCA. And, for the last couple of years I’m an inquirer toward the EO church. It is God’s prompting as I would not have considered the Orthodox church on my on.
On the Journey!
The Matushka says
While I believe that ordaining gay clergy is contrary to God’s plan for the Church, to use such pejorative language as “the gay agenda” is unnecessarily provocative, and it alienates homosexuals who may be drawing closer to the Lord and, therefore, in need of spiritual guidance.
There is no “gay agenda.” Gay rights is a matter of civil rights. Let’s get that straight. To rail against gay rights does nothing to further the purpose of the Church, and it is unflatteringly derisive.
If I were gay, I wouldn’t seek out spiritual guidance and healing from the Orthodox Church.
Nicole Troon says
A tragic decision both for the church and those suffering with a cross they will now not recognize as such nor take to Christ for healing. My family or origin is Presbyterian, but in the more conservative branch as I understand it. Orthodoxy is such a healing, realistic faith — may those Presbyterians distressed by this decision consider it strongly. Thank you for posting so we may pray.
if homosexuals are christians, they are not anti christian. there are thousands and thousands of gay christians. i know, because i am one of them. i love orthodoxy and i know many many gay people who do also. we tend to stay in the closet out of fear of being separated from the true church. my priest supports me and tells me not to let the homophobes run me out of the church. i have been with my partner for 24 years.
Wow,what do you folks not understand. Lets get something straight, this sinful “lifestyle” will never be excepted by true christians. Sure there will be people like Abe who labor to convince themselves that they are in the right because he has a rogue priest. More than likely abe is a troll and is neither orthodox or even attends church. Thats what forum trolls do, say stuff like this to get a rise from people. Understand Abe, your lifestyle if true is a grave sin. No matter what your supposed priest says the scriptures are crystal clear.
There is hope and salvation in Christ, but not if you live the way you are. All thats left for you if you refuse to bow before Christ and submit to the lifestyle required is eternal judgment.
It is sad and burdensome the way satan blinds those like Abe, we do pray for you.
Fr Levi says
Abe’s comment goes to the heart of the human tragedy in all this. Is there no way to solve issues like this without the scandal of further schism in the Body of Christ?
Is it possible to go through the motions of attending church and even leading religious services in the name of Christ and be doing homosexual deeds. Of course it is.
However, is it possible to be doing such deeds as oral and anal sex with a member of the same gender and be in harmony with the Word and Laws of God and of Nature, and in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, who always upheld and upholds the Torah? Of course it is not. To take His name and do such deeds, while simultaneously rejecting the command to be fruitful and multiply according to Genesis 1, is to take upon ourselves the Lord’s Name (character) in vain, thus breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Anyone who does not see this and know it in their hearts is at best deceived, and at worst never has had a real genuine encounter with Christ and therefore cannot legitimately share Him in truth as a believer, let alone as a member of the clergy. The two are NOT compatible because homosexual affection is inordinate affection according to the New Testament and the vile practices violate natural law and the revelations of God in all of scripture.
Can such people be “loving and kind”? To some extent of course. Should they be cared for? Of course, and especially by Christians. Are they consistent with all of the revealed will and callings of God? No way.
As for there being a gay agenda, for the explanation of that there are a number of books that document the movement and the policies and principles…one I know if is THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA by Sears and Osten. This book shows how there very much as been a concerted plan with major funding to support it.
Then when we look even deeper to see who created and foisted the homosexual agenda on us what we find is Social Marxism manifested as “political correctness.” For a quick little history of that on Google videos watch the 22 minute documenary THE HISTORY OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. It was designed by Marxists to bring down Christian civilization one brick at a time, by creating victim groups such as races and feminists and gays. In so doing they are also bringing down freedoms of speech and freedoms of religion. It’s corrupt and evil and that acid is working away at Christian churches in all of this too. No good follower of Jesus would consistently support such moral corruption.
Then there is Islam. On YouTube watch “Muslim Demographics”. Simply by having more children they could conquer the world. Christians in the west are selfish and that includes the ones who have made the feelings in their bellies their gods instead of the word of God, and as a result are not doing their God-given duties to be fruitful, marry and raise children. At the rate things are going, future generations will be under Islamic Law and gays will be hung.
There is no “gay agenda.”
That’s absolute nonsense and demonstrably false.
The OCA has just suffered a terrible blow in that regard: a group of active homosexuals just succeded in isolating and disempowering a metropolitan who was intent on cleaning up the OCA. Now, apparently, it is acceptable behavior in the OCA for a priest to be an active–active–homosexual. For a priest or monk to be an ex-homosexual–i.e., inactive and repentant is fine–For one to be actively homosexual is a sin. It has been a sin and it will always be a sin.
If you want to belong to a “living Christian Church”, where you can make theology up as you go along, go join the Roman Catholics or Episcopalians, or–now–the Presbyterians. They’re all heathens.
This development has greatly saddened me. I grew up a Presbyterian, rejoicing in the many ways that our church followed closely, the teachings of the early church. I was proud that the Presbyterians were not happily jumping onto one bandwagon or another. This latest vote, from the very Presbytery of my youth, although I am now in Chicago, has only served to confirm my decision not to worship with the Presbyterians any longer. The Bible never has changed its standards regarding behaviors and which of those behaviors are on the wrong side of God’s Law. Christ himself came not to change the law, but fulfill it. He told the woman by the well that she must change her ways with repentance and sincere desire to do right in the law, not wait for a vote so that the rules would be amended to suit her lifestyle, and then she could be a deaconess. Why is it churches change to meet some unstated and unfelt need?
I am now at a crossroads and looking for the right road, so to speak. I don’t have a church that I can call my home any longer. I left the Presbyterian church a few years ago, because I saw this coming, just as I observed so many with a shockingly evident desire to pursue the wide and easy path, which is not, as near as I can tell, a Biblical. While it is not my place to judge, as that belongs solely to God, I am wise enough to know that there are some things that are just wrong. As a child, I was constantly told that the words of belief, without more, was pretty easy. The tough part was living the faith in every action, every step of every day. This recent vote shows me there is no spine in the Presbyterian body, despite all those jokes about them being stiff-necked.
Based upon the reading I have done, the only option I want in a church community is one that is firmly based in scripture, that follows the instruction of Jesus, and that will constantly work with all to achieve a relationship between the individual, the church and society that brings more of heaven to earth and deeper love of Christ to all, including welcoming the doubter while helping resolve the doubts. I don’t expect the Bible to change with society, I expect that I shall have to continue to change so that the Bible is more welcome in society, and so that my life is testament to the power of God within me. All together, the only church that even appears to be close to what I have been trying to find for so long is the Orthodox Church. Clearly, the Presbyterians are no longer interested in me, as I disagree wholeheartedly with them, as I was told I had to go along with changing times.
Now, I must decide where to go. I have missed going to church, but would rather not worship in a church where everything is slick and entertaining and easy, with a huge sort of gloss all over it. Despite this, my faith in God remains and grows stronger, and I engage in daily prayer, study and work on my faith. I’ve been looking and looking for churches, and based on the doctrines I have found so far, Orthodoxy might be an option for me. I’ve looked on the Parish map here and I don’t see any near me that appear to be English language based. Add to that, I don’t know a single person who’s actively worshiping in the Orthodox church. Would anyone here have any suggestions for me? Consider me a former Presbyterian and very present Christian. Thank you for this website, and any answer you might post here.
Fr. John says
I do have a suggestion. I was on the very same path. Welcome home.
The Orthodox Church really is what you have been looking for. Not perfect, but true. Please email me and we can make some connections for you.
I find this terrible news as it was the Presbyterian Church (USA) in the early 1970’s that I came to Christ. Had it not been for them, I’ve would have been totally clueless that God is a loving God and wants to have a personal relationship with me. I was 15. Before that, I viewed God as someone mean, wanting to pull the rug out for under you feet, at every chance. I came to Christ in a Presbyterian (USA) church back east that Lloyd Ogilvie was the pastor of, before he moved to CA. I sure hope his views weren’t affected while being pastor in CA. I had a devotional of his in the mid 1990’s. When I moved out west, to AZ, I went to a Presbyterian (USA) church only once and was shocked that they had a gay agenda. First and last time I went to that church. I’m sure if Lloyd Ogilvie was alive he wouldn’t have liked this. A man of outstanding integrity.
I love this website because it talks about people’s journey to the Orthodox Church from all sorts of background.
That a heterodox Christian group have chosen to ordain non-celibate gays has nothing to do with anyone becoming Orthodox. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is not an Orthodox church. It’s ‘ministers’ are not Orthodox clergy. The article does not say anyone became Orthodox, neither the gays nor the straights , nor the clergy, nor the laity, nor anyone and therefore does not seem to fit with the other articles. All it seems to do is say “oh, the heretics are at it again, become more heretical!” Well, duh!, isn’t that what they always do.
I don’t want to assume that it was placed here to stir up hatred towards gays, but really it has nothing to do with anyone becoming Orthodox. I don’t care what Presbyterians do or do not do, it seems irrevelant to me (even though many of my step-father, one of two step-brothers, and two of three step-sisters are of that group…. don’t get me wrong, I do love them, but their so called church is theirs, not mine).
So, is this website going to become “pick on the gays” or “pick on the heretics” and is it going to continue to be about the miracle of the Holy Spirit leading people to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that is the Orthodox Church? Enquiring minds want to know!
Of course there’s a gay agenda. It’s not about civil rights. Civil rights calls for nothing more, nor nothing less, than allowing everyone to move freely through society. Politically, homosexuality is being used to force change in norms, in the family, and in society. —But this is not a political forum.
I have to think that the first step is to be honest about things. A hypothetical priest who would be willing to ‘hide’ a gay member of the congregation is being dishonest, and dishonesty cannot possibly be the right way.
A priest should be honest about the existence of a gay church member.
A gay church member should be honest about what he is doing.
Everyone should be honest that it was never approved by the early church, (whether they agree with that or not).
And people need to start comong up with an honest assessment of what homosexuality is, and not just react based on political slogans.
Fr. John says
The only purpose for posting this article was to offer a path to truth to Presbyterians, who have seen their church abandon Christian principles and ethics, and to let them know that there is a place – not perfect, but true – that is the Church they hoped they were a part of.
Thanks for posting the item, Fr. John, I appreciate your intent is to inform and encourage us that Orthodox Bishops , will lead their flocks according to God’s revelation. This is what we want and need. When I became aware that the point of no return on this subject, had already been passed in my previous church, it was inevitable i would leave. Not an easy process for all sorts of reasons.
Orthodoxy was a God send, as we should expect!
I would like to encourage Lillibet, even if she has to spend some time travelling ( at least initially) to find an Orthodox church, the experience and contentment are worth it. We travel to a service about 2 1/2 hours away (one way) , at least once a month. The exciting thing is that with another another couple we have begun Typica services in our homes, with out priests guidance.
Christ is Risen!
It is very disheartening to learn that the Presbyterian Church (USA) has decided to go the direction that is has. My wife and I spent several years in a Presbyterian Church (PCA) church, and in a Reformed Episcopal Church before ultimately making our way to the Orthodox Church.
The continuous cycle of the non-Orthodox churches reinventing themselves to conform to the social pressures of the time seems like madness to me now. The Church should stand a bastion of Truth against these pressures, not succumb to them. They seem to forget Christ’s words from the beatitudes when he says “Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say every evil against you falsely for my sake.”
One must only read the daily lives of the holy Apostles, Saints and Martyrs to learn that this sort of thing has been going on since the beginning of the Church, and that we as Christians must stand up for what is true and right, not succumbing to the Evil One and his workers in the world. This is a fallen world in which we live, and it is Satan’s dominion. We are constantly surrounded by the temptations of this world, and it is a hard road to travel as a Christian. But, with Christ as our hope, our Orthodox clergy and bishops as our shepherds, and the examples of the holy Apostles, Saints and Martyrs to guide us, we can make this journey and, in the end, come closer to God.
We should all pray fervently for all those that are struggling in the Churches that have been lead astray by the wiles of Satan and the pernicious heretics of this world.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, through the prayers of thy most pure mother, of all our holy and God-bearing fathers, and all the saints, have mercy on us. Amen…
With regards to “agenda”:
Following the Stonewall riots in the seventies, the heirs of several fortunes decided to pledge substantial financial support to change the hearts and minds of Americans toward themselves and their homosexual orientation. Because I live in California, and have worked for the Legislature, I have been present at a number of assemblies of community groups and elected officials when attorneys for the gay and lesbian community have unequivocally expressed their political and social agenda, the financial means that supports it, and future goals. It is naive to assert that there is no agenda, since there have been for more than thirty years well-funded organizations that continue to pursue marketing, legislative and legal remedies regarding social equity for sexual orientation.
The explicit statements of the gay and lesbian attorneys for nearly thirty years have asserted the goals of gay marriage, gay teachers in parochial schools, etc., and most recently, a drive to lower the age of consent. The eventual assent of Christian Churches to gay and lesbian ordination has been one of the long term goals, because, in so many instances rather than objecting as Christians to the physical abuse of gays and lesbians by law enforcement, and others (as at the Stonewall incident), we have not provided love to humanity without judgement. If the gay and lesbian community could not acquire love and acceptance from Christians, than the goal became to change the church from within. From this pain, comes great anger and hatred directed at Christians, and the goal at ‘changing’ God’s Holy Church.
It is our askesis to love our neighbor as ourselves, and provide for their needs. It is Christ who will judge, both those we love and our love to the glory of God for our neighbor. It is the unchanging bulwark of the Orthodox Church which will continue to stand and tell the truth of God revealed to us.
Pray for all devout Orthodox Christians, for His Holy Church …
Christ Is Risen!
A reminder may inspire the Holy Spirit in all of us. We are commanded by our Lord to do 2 things. Love Him with all our hearts soul and minds and all that we are, and to love your neighbor as we love ourselves. Let love abound that all who see us will desire the true Bread of Life, and the Divine revelation which can only come by Him in all things. Only He can restore that understanding and thereby grant a spirit of repentance. Prayers of love are required from all who call upon the name of Christ! Every service we is dedicated to this as an offering of ourselves to Him. Let us not settle for any to perish. It’s why He came, to make it possible.
I Corinthians 6:9-11
“…Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulturers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU. But you were washed; but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
I Corinthians 11:27
“Whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of The Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and the blood of The Lord.”
As an Orthodox Christian I feel it is important for any church calling themself a Christian church to uphold the law of The Lord above the law of men – even to the point of being persecuted by our very own governments. These are not the only two passages in scripture which support The Lords view. The more one reads scripture, the more one finds to support that God despises unrighteousness – but not only the unrighteousness of the gays.
Do I know gays? Yes. Do I love them? Yes. “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” In the Orthodox Church there are clergymen who, as Paul said, WERE SUCH, but have become celibate, repenting, and living in holiness, and that is allowed in the church. But, to be practicing gay and serving in the priesthood, is an abomination according the the Lord.
If The Lord says this is impure and unacceptable, it is. He is Lord and dGod. If He says something is so,, it is. Let all come to the Lord in humility without an agenda. Listen to the word of God, pray to him for help. When the disiplines asked Christ how these things are possible for men to do, he answered and said, “with God all things are possible.”
Fr. John says
Regarding ‘the agenda’:
It may already be too late to really get into the conversation that took place here, but this is something I have really struggled with. I was raised ELCA Lutheran, and in a liberal ELCA church at that. I left the Church for about 15 years, became an outspoken opponent of Christianity, and to my great shame, helped foster agnostism and anti-christian sentiment in others. I know now that I was wrong, and in the last couple of years I have studied in earnest to learn all i can about Christ, and the Church. My studies have led me to Orthodoxy, as a History major, there seems to be no other option (denomination) that can guide me to truth. I am admittedly still not very good at attending Services as I should, etc. And I still feel like a fish out of water when I do attend Service, but I am trying, and I pray Christ will help me.
Many “conservative” beliefs held by Orthodoxy have been illuminated to me thru careful Fathers and the Bible, and I have embraced them whole-heartedly; the dissaproval of divorce, the ordination of only males to the priesthood, the ecclisiastical authority, etc. These make sense to me, I can understand there tangible effects on society and the individuals, they act to protect humanity. I can even embrace the refusal to use birth control now that I understand that the human sexual desire is out of proportion to it’s needs. And though one could ‘lump’ homosexual behavior in with this last point, I find it difficult to do so. I do have friends who are openly homosexual, and I have a hard time coming to terms with what the Orthodox Church says about there lifestyle choices. Yes, I will go as far as to admit they are choices. But where is the perceived harm derived from homosexuality, what are we being protected against by following scriptural canon in this regard? Aside from the antagonist above who believes muslims are going to populate the world because of homosexuals (ridiculous by the way, the mere percentage of homosexuals would have little to no effect on the population growth within the Christian community. If anything, birth control would have a much larger effect, but it is never focused on with such scrutiny… why?).
I understand what the Bible says, and I understand what the Church says, what I want to know is why? The act of homosexual love just doesn’t equate to sin for me, and i have sinned plenty, I feel I know well what sin feels like. That feeling, I hope you know what I mean, when you see someone doing something you know to be morally corrupt, I just don’t feel that in respect to homosexuals. And with no feelings, and no practical reasoning to support it… it becomes difficult for me to contemplate.
I also want to make clear that I understand I may disagree with God, and up to this point that is what I have had to tell myself. If I found a god that agreed with everything I agreed with, i would think that I had not found a god at all. God must disagree with me on some points, and maybe this is just going to have to be one of them. I am sorry for the rant, but i am open to any insight you can offer.
Perry Robinson says
Along with the Episcopalians, this is just one more reason to ask them, what makes them Christian? Once you erase all the distinctive Christian doctrines and morality all you have is an empty shell. So when there is nothing distinctly Christian that these bodies require for membership, they aren’t substantially different from Unitarians and so no Christian at all.
This doesn’t surprise me for one reason. The Holy Bible says that “they will fall away from the truth.” And they will accumulate teachers “who tickle their ears.” And they have. All of the major mainstream Protestant Denominations have all fallen away from the truth. This should be no surprise to anyone.
I was searching for Truth. And for me, I have found the Truth in the Orthodox Church. America has become more and more relative in its thinking about religion over the last 50 years. “It doesn’t matter what your church believes IT just matters that you go to church.” So I am not surprised by anything any longer. This is merely the ruler of the world doing what he does. He diverts people from the truth. Which means I must draw closer to the truth each day in unceasing prayer.
I converted to Orthdoxy because of the truth that it contains. I hear at every liturgy “Let us commend our lives to Christ. And establish us in Your Sanctification.” As an Orthdodox I am to be Light to people in the darkness. I pray for these people who have chosen to believe what they want to believe. I am not angry, I am sad. I pray for these people. That they will find and embrace the Truth that the Orthodox Church contains. Christ said, “Blessed are those who hear the Word and God and Do it.”