Recently, two Presbyterian denominations in South America cut ties with Presbyterian Church (USA). In March of this year, the PCUSA approved Amendment 14 F of their Book of Church Order, which defines marriage as “unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a women.” Notice that the idea of marriage between a man and a women is the traditional view, thus not the scriptural view. Further the amendment, as corollary, gives broader discretion to teaching elders (Pastors) over who they can conduct weddings for. If a pastor has no scruples about marrying a same gendered couple, then he (or she) may do so. The decision does not compel pastors to perform gay weddings, but gives them the freedom to do.
Well this does not sit well with Presbyterians in Brazil and in Peru. The Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil put forward a statement in which they say the following: “….our church has understood that the recent decisions made by the PC(USA) are against the principle of the authority of Scripture over the life and faith of the Church, as well as the confessional documents of our common Reformed heritage.”
These brothers are holding the line. They are not surrendering to cultural pressures that exist in their nations as well as in the U. S. They are willing to bear the stigma of the gospel. We must keep in mind that every generation of Christians will have their faith tested. In early church, Athanasius was tested as to his faith in the deity of Christ. Luther’s day saw the reformer confession’s of justification by faith severely tested. In our day the test comes on the biblical teaching about marriage. Amendment 14 F removes the stigma of the biblical view of marriage. Many folks within the PCUSA celebrate the decision. And yes many other lament it. Rest assured the world will fully affirm it.
But as Christians we must know that there will be parts of our faith that outsiders will find ridiculous, archaic and even morally wrong. Like anybody else we don’t like to be ridiculed. We want to be seen a rational and loving. But we can’t remove this stigma, nor should we try to. We must bear it, and like Christ despise the characterization. What does the world know anyway? In Christ’s day, the culture despised the cross. It was a curse to the Jews and a scandal to the gentiles. But Christ rejected this evaluation of the cross. He knew if for what it was, the means of atoning for the sins of God’s people. So he went to the cross, despising the shame. He bore the stigma. Brothers in the South are bearing it and so must we.