July 14, 2010
by Daniel Townsend
While the PC(USA) is in the process of re-thinking its position on ordination standards, with the General Assembly having recently recommended deleting the current paragraph concerning fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, how is the rest of Christendom reacting?
The Orthodox Church’s stance on the sexual ethics controversy was made by clear by Rev. Siarhei Hardun of Belarus who was, surprisingly, invited to address the General Assembly last week. Rev. Hardun said that the efforts to redefine the church’s standards, approving the ordination of non-celibate homosexual clergy, was in his view an effort to “invent a new religion—a sort of modern paganism.”
Not surprisingly, the Orthodox clergyman’s comments were applauded by traditionalists within the PC(USA). That the denomination would invite an Orthodox minister to address the assembly in the first place speaks well of the denomination. For example, one could scarcely imagine the PCA issuing such an invitation.
In the end, the PC(USA) ended up affirming the church’s current definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, after having initially considering redefining it to be between “two persons.” Some have credited Rev. Hardun’s comments as having had a decisive influence on the General Assembly, at least as far as this topic is concerned.
"Christian morality is as old as Christianity itself,” he said. “It doesn't need to be invented now," he said.
Rev. Hardun went on to say, “When people say that they are led and guided by the Holy Spirit to do it, I wonder if it is the same Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible."
• For more information on the PC(USA)’s recent 219th General Assembly, visit the Presbytery of Mississippi web site at www.presbyteryofms.org.