In recent months, the Presbyterian Church USA has been locked in a controversy surrounding the ordination of practicing homosexuals and adulterers within the individual congregations and the national church.
The current Book of Order in the 216th General Assembly and supplemental Authoritative Interpretation codes strictly prohibit such ordinations. However, pro-gay activists, namely from the Covenant Network Group, have called to overturn these laws under the guise of “unity” and acceptance for all.
At that end, the moderator to the upcoming General Assembly of the PCUSA, a long-time activist against the denomination's "fidelity/chastity" ordination requirement, chose many overt pro-gay activists within the church to speak at the 216th General Assembly, slated for June 27-July 4, 2004.
Perhaps as a means to “balance the ticket,” the moderator Susan R. Andrews invited one evangelical speaker to the Assembly: The Rev. Jin S. Kim, President of Presbyterians For Renewal (PFR), a group that rightfully stands behind the denomination’s ordination standard in the past.
On Saturday, Feb. 28, the Christian Post staff was able to hear Rev. Kim’s voice on behalf of the PFR.
In terms of the possible toppling of the current ordination requirements as written in the Book of Order at the upcoming assembly, Rev. Kim said he does not believe such action would take place. However, he feared the liberal groups might overturn the supplemental codes that specify how to interpret the Book of Order.
“The strategy of covenant network which is our primary opposing group is to overturn the Authoritative Interpretation so that they could interpret the Book of Order the way they want because the AI and Book of Order has power together,” said Rev. Kim, senior pastor of Church of All Nations, PCUSA.
“This is their main strategy,” Rev. Kim explained, They want to defeat the AI as the first step because the AI can be overturned [directly] at the General Assembly, while overturning the Book of Order takes many steps.”
According to Rev. Kim, there is a chance the AI is overturned since the delegates to the upcoming General Assembly are mostly liberal. Once the AI is overturned, there will be no governing laws that would strictly interpret the Book of Order. Therefore, homosexuals will be able to subjectively interpret the laws as allowing gay unions and ordinances.
“That would cause massive confusion over how the Book of Order should be interpreted,” said Rev. Kim.
“Now, most of us know what the Book of Order mean by chastity,” Rev. Kim continued. However, once the AI is overturned, “they would define “chaste” the way they want.”
“Any homosexual would be allowed to interpret that if they have a monogamous “faithful” relationship with another of the same sex, they are following the Book of Order that sets chastity as a requirement.”