I have written my letter, (E-mail) and sent it the the Civil Union and Christian Marriage Committee. I know it is a bit preachy and does not address all that should be addressed, but it is what is on my heart.
Presbyterian Church USA
Civil Union and Christian Marriage Committee
Office of the General Assembly
Dear members of the PCUSA Civil Union and Christian Marriage Committee,
As I read the biblical text for my devotions this morning I was struck by the words of our Lord to Peter in his hunger for food. He with his Hebrew sense of obedience complains to the Lord that he cannot eat the unclean food that he has three times been offered.
The text tells us that in a trance Peter heard the Lord say, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” The food was made clean because the Lord declared it clean. Christ has fulfilled the law for us freeing us from food codes that set the Hebrew people apart in the Hebrew Bible. But like the food humanity cannot be declared clean unless God declares us clean. That is the reason Christ lived, died and was resurrected for us.
But in both food and humanity it is God who declares and cleanses. It is to his word that we must listen. It is to his word that I pray you will resort.
When the Pharisees attempted to draw Jesus into their contemporary arguments about divorce he reached all the way back to the beginning of creation. His reply was, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh?” (Matthew 19: 4b-5)
This is the Lord’s declaration that marriage is meant for a man and a woman. Although about divorce, the text also speaks to same sex marriage since the whole concept of marriage, for our Lord, is based on the creation account of a woman and man created for each other.
Going further God uses the relationship between a husband and a wife to picture the relationship of Jesus Christ to his Church. In both cases it is a holy union based on God’s words to his people. In fact, holiness is a part of both relationships; the one is a picture of the other because of the call to holiness. As Paul writes:
Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her, so that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the word that he might present to himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. (Eph 5:25-27)
So returning to Peter’s complaint about eating unclean food and the Lord’s words that what he has cleansed is clean, Jesus had already declared this when he made a distinction between what goes into the stomach and the actions that come from the heart. In the Gospel of Mark, of food he states “…there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.”
But of the things that come from the heart, the sins that come from the heart, Jesus states, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.” (Mark 7:21-22)
All of these are heart problems that need the compassionate love of the Savior to cleanse and turn us around. For this Christ died. He makes us holy with his holiness, he makes us holy in our longing to be holy and because he makes us holy with his holiness we continually repent and move with him.
For the leadership to throw up stumbling blocks while the Holy Spirit' works to sanctify the Church of Jesus Christ is unthinkable. Let us not call good what the Lord does not recognize or call good, adultery, fornication and same sex marriage. Please abide by the words of God and allow grace to continue in the lives of Christ’s people.
Elder, Fremont Presbyterian Church Sacramento, California
Board member of Theology Matters
Board member of Voices of Orthodox Women