Sunday, March 29, 2009

What Would a Presbyterian Establishment Do Right Now?

I have been promoting rebuilding an authoritative (not authoritarian) establishment for the Presbyterian Church. The current votes in the church illustrate why we need such a thing.

The church has several amendments to the constitution before it for presbytery votes. One is the perennial attempt to remove the requirement that officers of the church be married or chaste in singleness. We keep voting on this because we have no establishment that can work out a settlement, behind the scenes and within the constitution, that will allow for the normal historic variation within the church on just how strictly each presbytery must subscribe to the constitution.

The other vote before the church has gotten much less attention than the sex amendment, but is more important in the long run. This is the proposal to adopt a new Book of Order. The proposed new book would be a general framework that could be adapted by the different presbyteries. If we adopted this new understanding of what the constitutional rules of order are for, we would not have to convulse the whole church every couple of years with a sex fight.

The Presbyterian Establishment, insofar as we have one, should come out strongly for this new kind of Book of Order. If we understood the constitution as a constitution, rather than as a rulebook, the Establishment could better function as an establishment within each presbytery, and across the whole church.


Marty said...

You guys really have to FIGHT about whether or not a minister should be married or chastly single???? As opposed to fornication???

Good Lord!

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the Presbyterian Church have a leader. If you guys don't. It is just a matter of time before fornicators will be allowed to serve as clergy. Democracy will eventually kill any denomination.

Walter Taylor said...

There is no grounds in our denomination for an establishment. That is what the vote count suggests. If the institution did not place self-perpetuation, survival, and real estate above a shared Reformed faith, then it could well allow Presbyterians of different faiths to organize themselves accordingly. But something tells me that Louisville is not particularly interested in that.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Beau! I believe you are on to something.