Several members of Westminster have contacted me to ask if I will be forced to perform “marriage” between two men or two women after the change in our constitution which will go into effect this summer. I appreciate this concern. If you would like to read about the decision of the PCUSA you can read about it here:
Here is my reply…
This change in the wording of the constitution of the PCUSA will not force pastors who object to perform so called “gay weddings” – though I suspect that is coming fairly soon — within 5 years at the most. Yet even when it becomes ‘required’ by the PCUSA I think the denomination will be incapable of prosecuting any complaints which might be brought against those who refuse.
The elders of Westminster have always expressed their concern that their pastor never be forced to go against his conscience on matters like this – so I know I have their support and I appreciate it. We know there are different opinions in our congregation about civil unions for people who understand themselves to be homosexual in orientation – however we have stated in various ways over the years that we do not believe the church should be used to perform services blessing such unions since they have no biblical or confessional foundation. (See below)
The Session of Westminster voted many years ago to withhold all funds from the PCUSA. We determined that we could not in good conscience collect offerings in the name of Christ and then use them to support controversial political causes which offend the consciences of those who gave them. We believe that offerings should be used only in projects and programs which have clear and solid support in Scripture.
Though we no longer send offerings to the national church, we have continued to remain connected to the (approximately 30) churches of the Presbytery of San Diego since this has served as a source of support for us in our local ministry efforts.
If you would like me to take more time to explain the relationship between Westminster, the Presbytery of San Diego, and the national denomination known as the PCUSA, please submit comments. Thank you. – Jim
The Definition of Marriage (Adopted by the Session of Westminster Presbyterian Church in October 2014 in response to actions of the General Assembly of the PCUSA)
It is the teaching of Scripture that humanity has been created male and female, and that this creative order is the one proper basis for the covenant of marriage. Jesus cites and authorizes this order when he quotes Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 in relation to marriage: “From the beginning of creation ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ Thus, they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark 10:7-8).
This same understanding governs the confessional tradition of the PCUSA. The Second Helvetic Confession (5.246), the Westminster Confession (6.131), and the Confession of 1967 (9.47) all expressly define marriage as a covenant before God between one man and one woman.
Based on the teachings of Scripture and our confessions, we resolve that the facilities of this church will not be used for same-sex “weddings” nor shall pastors associated with our church be authorized by this session to perform weddings of same-gender couples.