On March 3, Rev. Jane Spahr was found not guilty by the Permanent Judicial Commission of Rebwoods Presbytery for marrying two lesbian couples.
The PCUSA news writes: The presbytery’s judicial commission ruled 6-1 that Spahr was acting within her “right of conscience” in 2004 and 2005 when she performed same-sex unions for the couples. The PJC added, in its majority opinion: “We also find that the accused acted within the normative standards of Redwoods Presbytery, faithfully reporting to it her activities at reasonable intervals.”
Currently PCUSA allows pastors to "bless" same sex unions, but forbids calling them marriage. The PCUSA news states: "The case against Spahr, a member of Redwoods Presbytery for more than a quarter-century, alleged that she violated her ordination vows and the PC(USA)Constitution by performing the same-sex marriages. The Book of Order (section W-4.9001) states that marriage is and can only be a covenant between a man and a woman. The highest Presbyterian court, the Permanent Judicial Commission of the General Assembly, ruled in 2000 that ministers may bless same-sex “unions,” but cannot confuse or equate them with marriage. Friday’s ruling was a departure from that provision."
The thing that frightens me, is Rev. Spahr 's rationale in violating her ordination vows. She states according to PCUSA news:“This historic ruling means that as a minister I can exercise my conscience to marry two people who have demonstrated their commitment to love, honor and cherish one another.” And to have the Rebwoods Presbytery honor this reason over against the clear teaching of scripture and the laws of the denomination is even more disturbing.
Al Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, reacting towards the Redwoods ruling states: "By any measure, the acquittal of Rev. Spahr should demonstrate that a call for all ministers to bind their consciences "by the witness of Scripture," does not avail. The presbytery of the Redwoods did nothing to require Rev. Spahr to subject her conscience to the constitutional bounds of the church or to the clear teachings of the Bible."
So what does this mean for FPC? I believe this is a call for the leaders of FPC to educate themselves on the issues involved and to respond in some fashion, regardless of the immediate impact on our church because we are united covenantally to a larger entity, that is, we are part of PCUSA denomination.
Finally, it is the writer's opinion that PCUSA has failed in protecting and upholding the gospel, thus committing a serious sin. I believe this to be truth, on grounds that PCUSA has consistently failed to discipline those that have openly abandoned the clear teaching of scripture and rules of the denomination, thus failing to protect the gospel. Scripture is clear that those who do not obey God's commandments are not true believers. The Bible states:" 3And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked" (1 John 2:3-6 (ESV)). And to have a denomination fail to obey God's commandment of disciplining those who would reject the rule of scripture and church governance, gives reasonable evidence of its own grave sin.
It is my opinion that FPC leaders should seriously consider the option of leaving the PCUSA. And I do not make this comment lightly, knowing the difficulties of leaving a denomination and the importance of unity (John 17), but it's my opinion that within PCUSA there are many apostate (false) churches, who are not being disciplined (and appears that they never will be), thus obligating FPC to take charge of it's own responsibilities of not being”yoked together with nonbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14).
For more information on PCUSA news: