We trust and seek to follow Jesus Christ, our Savior and Savior of the world.
We accept the Holy Scriptures as the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the church universal and God's Word to us. We understand them according to our Confessions as inspired for our edification and interpret them according to the Confessions as they "agree with the rule of faith and love." [C-5.010]
We recognize that sincere believers may differ as to what the Scriptures require, because: "The Scriptures . . . reflect views of life, history, and the cosmos which were then current. The church, therefore, has an obligation to approach the Scriptures with literary and historical understanding." [C-9.29]
The Confessions, as the product of church councils, may err. [C-5.013 & C-6.175, etc.] They also reflect the prejudices as well as the virtues of their times and places. We agree to be guided by them as subordinate standards.
We affirm our loyal support for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) through our worship and prayers, service of compassion and witness, our tithes and offerings, and our active participation in governing bodies and their mission.
We affirm that the right of church governing bodies to elect their own officers is inalienable. [G-1.0306] We also affirm the responsibility of each governing body to elect, ordain and install those "who are persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, the love of Jesus Christ... [and whose] manner of life should be a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and the world." [G-6.0106a]
We commend the proposed amendment (Amendment A) to the Book of Order as correctly stating our primary allegiance to Jesus Christ and our sources of authority in the church, while protecting the rights of individuals and church governing bodies in ordaining and installing officers.
It is Reformed. It reaffirms the high standard of the Reformed ethic that requires integrity in all relationships " in families, work, governance, and with the earth itself. [C-9.44 & W-7.]
It is Workable. It is consistent with the ordination vows officers already take. It rejects an unproductive and judgmental stance.
It is Welcoming. It anticipates the abundant mercy and love of God while recognizing our common sinfulness.
That grace may abound, help pass this amendment proposed by the 209th General Assembly:
Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of scripture and instructed by the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to demonstrate fidelity and integrity in marriage or singleness, and in all relationships of life. Candidates for ordained office shall acknowledge their own sinfulness, their need for repentance, and their reliance on the grace and mercy of God to fulfill the duties of their office.
If you would like to support the ongoing effort, please call (202) 484-7700, or contribute to:
- 1313 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20005-4790
Visit the web site: http://www.radix.net/~execware/stonecatchers/