The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission, the "supreme court" of the Presbyterian Church (USA), released a major decision this week on the Pittsburgh case. This case is the first of several heading to the GAPJC to test the real meaning of the church's adoption of the Peace, Unity, and Purity report in 2006, on which I have blogged quite a bit.
At issue in the Pittsburgh Presbytery case were two related points:
can a candidate for ordination in the church scruple behavior, as opposed to belief? and
can an ordaining body make a blanket determination of what the essential and necessary standards for ordination are?
In both cases the GAPJC said no.
Specifically, the court said that ministers and elders may declare that they disagree with the church's interpretation of scripture as requiring that all officers must “live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or in chastity in singleness” (Book of Order, G-6.0106b) - but they must still act within that standard of behavior until and unless the whole church constitutionally changes that interpretation.
Second, the court said that the presbytery must take each case for ordination individually and not issue a blanket interpretation of church rules that go beyond what the constitution itself explicitly says. Each candidate's confession and scruples must be considered individually and as a whole.
In other words, the middle way that PUP promoted, and the Adopting Act of 1729 standard that it revived, were upheld by the court.