A friend was discussing an issue that has been smoldering for some time now in the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), the largest Presbyterian denomination in the nation.
The issue is whether homosexuals should continue to be denied leadership positions throughout the denomination or whether they should be allowed in any congregation that desires a homosexual to serve. My friend expressed his concern that this discussion is a distraction from the primary purpose of the church to feed the hungry and clothe the poor and believes the controversy should be ended by allowing homosexuals to lead in specific churches, e.g. those in Haight-Ashbury.
I'm wondering where my friend would draw the line. Would he stop with homosexuals? After all, homosexuality is specifically called out in Scripture as being a vile sin, a recurring theme of Scripture, not just an isolated verse. Should the church reinterpret the Scriptural definition of sin? What about a practitioner of bestiality? Man-child love? Where do you stop? If a church is in a neighborhood full of drunks or drug addicts, will it be ok for a drunk or drug addict to be a church leader?
I'm also wondering about his assumption about the primary mission of the church. Is feeding the hungry and clothing the poor the primary mission? My understanding is that being obedient to God's will and personal salvation are primary. Yes, feeding the hungry and clothing the poor represent one of the commands of God, but so isn't abstaining from sin and following God’s commandments.
As far as "distractions" are concerned, the distraction is the homosexual special interest group that is trying to weasel its way into church leadership and the misguided bleeding hearts who are supporting their cause, not the discussion of what to do about it. Once the homosexual repents from acting on his predisposition, just as the alcoholic determines to quit acting on his predisposition to drink, and a period of time elapses to demonstrate the sincerity of his repentance, then the individual might be considered for a leadership position. Not before then.
To cave in to deviance from Scriptural mandates because discussing its resolution is a "distraction" is peculiar. It's like if our nation was being attacked, and we called discussion about our response "a time consuming distraction." Hey! We are being attacked! The attack is the distraction, not our discussion on how to deal with it. In fact, discussion shouldn't even be necessary. And turning the other cheek is not an option, as ignorantly popular that misguided expression may be. What you do is cleanse yourself of that attack. Just as the church must cleanse itself from immorality in leadership positions.
Sure, sinners are in "the church." That's who it's for. But Scripture is clear about the morality of church leaders. And it does not include homosexuals, no matter how many are in the neighborhood.
The need to have a prolonged discussion on something that is Scripturally cut and dried is a sign of a deeper problem in the church: A rebellion against the Word of God.
The distinction between "the church" and the rest of our culture is disappearing. And it appears that the PCUSA, among other liberal denominations, is in the process of promoting the blurring of lines even further.