After “a ‘centering’ prayer” and a quiet reading of “both the current language in G-6.0106a-b and the proposed changes to ‘b,’” the presbytery members were asked to, “Ponder these three questions, and then using mutual invitation invite one another to reflect on these questions. “
The three questions are:
“1. What is your initial response to 1) the current wording and 2) the proposed wording?
2. Where and how do you see God in each? - (Or to ask this question in another way) – How do you see faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ expressed in each?
3. What frightens you if the proposed language fails – and if the proposed language passes?”
This is spiritual manipulation under the guise of ‘we need to be in harmony in our presbyteries.’
Some thoughts on the wording of the questions as manipulation:
1. Using the term “initial response,” to the wording suggests that some do not have long held biblical reasons for holding on to their view of fidelity and chastity.
2.“Where and how do you see God in each?” implies that God is in both the current wording and the proposed wording. But if one of these is biblically unworkable then God is not in it.
3.“What frightens you?” Those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ are not frightened by policy changes rather they are concerned with faithfulness; their only fear is fear of the Lord and that has to do with reverence.
'Frightened' is a buzz word that has been used in my Presbytery on other issues. It puts the person defending their position in a very awkward place making it seem as though they are feeling endangered rather than standing up for what they believe is right.
Some thoughts on the process as manipulation:
1.In a free debate by those who were chosen by their Church to be Pastors and Elders people are allowed to speak as they feel led by the Holy Spirit. This process undermines that freedom. Someone else is controlling how each individual will form and speak their thoughts.
2.The reason given for the process is to make sure each person’s thoughts were “honored.” But we are not called to honor everyone’s position or thoughts but instead to be respectful to them as a person. We are to be polite and in fact to love that other person. We all fail at this but that doesn’t mean that we need to be controlled or manipulated. It means instead that we need to seek forgiveness and give forgiveness. It also means we need a Moderator that holds us to the rules of debate.
3.Another reason suggested is so that the other person might feel safe. But God has not called us to safety; he has instead called us to do the work of His kingdom. We, as Pastors and Elders, are instead to be concerned for the safety of our Churches. That concern is that sinful practices might not take hold and be lifted up among our congregations