1)not ordaining anyone who has a scruple about any of the church's constitutional standards;
2) not to accept a minister ordained elsewhere with such a scruple;
3) not to make up money due the national church that any congregation withholds in protest; and
4) not to contest any congregation that wants to leave with its property.
Leslie Scanlon's solid article in the October 9 Presbyterian Outlook covers the whole meeting in more detail.
The intent of these resolutions I judge to be a serious attempt to find a middle way of keeping the constitution of the church whole. The presbytery commits to upholding a strong standard of the constitution, but it also makes room for those who do not find even this strong stand to be enough.
The first resolution, which was adopted on a vote of 87 to 59, says:
To promote the peace, unity, and purity of our presbytery, we resolve that the Sacramento Presbytery holds that all candidates for ordination, installation, and/or membership in this Presbytery shall comply with all standards for ordination set forth in the Constitution of the (PCUSA) (G-1.0500), or shall be ineligible for ordination, installation, and/or membership.
I have long wished that the church would take its whole constitution more seriously. We attend minutely to the Book of Order, but neglect the first book, the Book of Confessions. Yet the confessions are supposed to be the real meat of our constitution. If the first Sacramento resolution means that they will now take all the confessions seriously, I applaud them.
But I think Sacramento Presbytery bit off more than it can chew.
The Book of Confessions contains hundreds of tenets. I keep hoping that we will have a serious discussion about usury, prohibited by the Westminster Larger Catechism. Any up for the "undue delay of marriage" fight? Keeping "stews?"