The contentious General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) climaxed with a decisive victory against the Revoice Movement, one that amends the Book of Church Order to specifically disqualify and prevent homosexual ministers.
After passing Overture 23 through the Overtures Committee, the committee decided to revisit the amendment to the Book of Church Order, commonly referred to as the BCO. Overture 23 is designed to prevent and weed out homosexual ministers. However, since initially reporting the story, it has undergone a lengthy revision process. As initially advanced, it read:
16-4, Men known by reputation or self-profession according to their remaining sinfulness (such as, but not limited to, same sex attraction, same sex desire, and homosexuality) shall be deemed not qualified to hold office in the Presbyterian Church in America
But it was revisited with a lengthy revision process that had many wondering how much the language would be softened to pass in among the presbytery. The final version reads:
16-4 Officers in the Presbyterian Church in America must be above reproach in their walk and Christlike in their character. Those who profess an identity (such as, but not limited to, ‘gay Christian,’ ‘same sex attracted Christian,’ ‘homosexual Christian,’ or like terms) that undermines or contradicts their identity as new creations in Christ, either by denying the sinfulness of fallen desires (such as, but not limited to, same sex attraction), or by denying the reality and hope of progressive sanctification, or by failing to pursue Spirit-empowered victory over their sinful temptations, inclinations, and actions are not qualified for ordained office.”
This language is more precise and provides four validation points. The first being identity. Already those who declare themselves “celibate gay Christians” will will unqualified for ministry because they are holding on to their sin while professing Christ. The second validation point is belief that homosexual desires are sin in and of themselves. The Revoice Movement views this as a cross to bare, but Jesus bore the cross for your sins. The third and fourth validation points involve the rejection of homosexuality in an individuals lives. The third has to do with rejecting the ability for God to remove sinful desires, and the fourth validation point involves pursiuit of repentance and a God-glorifying life.
Overture 23 Passed by a vote of 1438-417 (77.52%), well above the two thirds majority. It needs to pass again above 2/3s majority at the next General Assembly to be officially added to the BCO.
The Revoice Movement suffered a decisive defeat and it was not because a movement helmed by a single figure. It was the grassroots that fought the fight. The celebrities of Big Eva, like Time Keller, were against you.
The passage of Overture 23 at the next General Assembly seems as though a foregone conclusion given that the vote was not particularly as close this time around.
Moreover, the Revoice Movement understands that they would be disqualified from ministry, which is evidence of how clear the language is.
The Presbyterian Church in America accomplished what the Southern Baptist Convention did not in 2021, the grassroots addressed their respective denomination’s most pressing issue (and they won!).
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