From PSALT’s Courts of the Church Team
We are very grateful for the spirit underlying the presentation of the remits to the 145th General Assembly. For a long time and certainly since 2015 this debate has had times of rancour and division. The expressed attitude of the mover of these remits was one intended to promote harmony and unity. For such action we are always grateful. Nonetheless the decision to adopt Pathway B and the proposed legislation to enable this Pathway found in the remits do not accomplish these praiseworthy goals; nor do they honour the spirit and intent of our ordination vows which commit us to the Scripture as the final voice on all doctrine and practice.
Some Arguments Against the Remits
- We have sisters, brothers, relatives and friends in our families, congregations and homes who struggle with sinful lifestyles in the LGBTQI community, as well others struggling with sexual and other sinful lifestyles. We love them all with Christ’s compassionate love without condoning their sin seeking restoration and renewal in their lives. These remits do not enhance a loving response to broken lives.
- The goal of the remits appears to be an attempt to bridge an unbridgeable chasm. Pathway B is in essence exclusionary. In seeking to make it inclusive, Remit B offers a logical impasse. If one defines marriage traditionally [male/female], then the alternate definition [two adults] is eliminated. The former position doesn’t logically permit the latter (law of non-contradiction).
- There is no scriptural warrant nor theological tradition to support the definition of marriage as “as a covenant relationship between two adult persons”. There is both scriptural warrant and theological tradition to affirm the traditional definition.
- These remits are a sign that as a denomination we are no longer committed to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the only rule of faith as per our subordinate standards and preamble to ordination vows.
- These remits were formed hastily near the end of General Assembly. Legislation of this importance requires a careful vetting process in order have legislation that minimizes loopholes and misinterpretations. Even the initial remits prepared by the “Implications Committee” lacked the due diligence such matters require.
- Liberty of action, a key aspect of the goal for harmony underlying these remits, is illusionary at best and deceptive at worst. Already the Clerks’ interpretation of what that concept means in the Presbyterian Connections newspaper, illustrates such freedom is in practical terms extremely limited.
- The remits instead of ensuring unity actually “enshrine” divisiveness and ongoing rancour by legitimizing two definitions of marriage which are not compatible and opening the doors to future conflicts about how such excluding beliefs are lived out among us.
- Adoption of these remits would make the PCC de facto apostate, separating it from the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church of the majority world.
- Adoption of these remits will place leaders holding the traditional position in legal jeopardy with Canadian culture should they refuse to perform same gender marriages.
- Polity and practice of ministry in the PCC is based on collegial relationships that are mutually submissive. This would be impossible when ordinations are considered in good conscience to be invalid and there are differing bases of ultimate authority.
- Passing of these remits would make it impossible for our cultural and multi-cultural churches, and some others, to reach their constituents and fulfill their mission.