Today began bright and sunny. Skipped worship as it was going to be led by a UCC minister, who turns out, preached about (tada) how the UCC handled when it went to approve same-sex marriage. Surprise, surprise. Luckily, Mark Labberton is preaching tomorrow so I'll be able to begin the day in Worship. And trust me, as an evangelical at this GA, spiritual renewal is a requirement.
Today we started with Open Hearings, with most of the testimony being based on personal experiences, a lots of emotional tugs at the heartstrings. One person, a PR executive, looks at this issue as the PC(USA) brand is being sullied because of the ban on SSM. However, there was testimony from a young man who turned his life over to Christ, and that helped him work through his SS attraction, and who is now engaged to a very nice young woman.
Then came the Overture Advocates for amending the Book of Worship. Again, many personal stories, no biblical support. We even had one pastor claim that nothing in Scripture stood in the way of SSM. Another claims that 40% of homeless youth are LGBQT with no supporting documentation. The Advocates we heard after lunch for the AI, didn't have much more Scriptural support, only that Pastors are not able to be pastoral because they can't perform SSM.
After all the testimony, the Moderator asked to go around the room and have the commissioners give us an idea of where they are standing. It was sad to hear some of the justifications given for where some of the RE commissioners stood. I'm sure they are good people, and they are only using the information that they have been taught, but it was more eisegesis than exegesis. Lots of the 'Jesus I know' type of theology.
One REC stood up and told how he came into the Presbyterian church, that he studied and learned about the doctrine of total depravity, about the Authority of Scripture, how the Book of Order & Book of Confessions both came second to what the Word said about sin.
There were a few orthodox commissioners there besides this elder. A TEC told of how we're forgetting the elephant in the room, the fact that an passing an AI would cause pain for many, many others. He told of how the first church he pastored 30 or 40 years ago moved to the EPC. How 7 churches left his Presbytery in the past 12 months. That many more start the process if an AI or redefinition of marriage is passed.
Another TEC told of presbyteries he was in, having to merge as churches left to another, more conservative Reformed denomination. And so it went down the line... there doesn't seem to be much chance that something will not be passed this time around.
Tomorrow we start the deliberations.
... and so it goes!