Using the language of Belhar, the Covenant Network, which advocates for the ordination of unrepentant gay and lesbian church members and also same gender marriage, slams the Minority Report of the Special Committee to Study Issues of Civil Union and Christian Marriage.
The minority report states:
“It is the intent of this report to represent the church’s biblical, historic, and confessional position that, among all varieties of sexual relationships, only marriage between a man and a woman is ordained by God and blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In its criticism of the Minority Report, the Covenant Network, under the subject Marriage and Civil Unions, offers an article, Marriage and Covenant, which refers to the above statement as absolutizing one particular biblical way of interpreting scripture on the issue of same gender marriage. They write:
“However, three committee members chose to submit a minority report, which also acknowledges that there truly exist variant interpretations of Scripture, which in turn dictate different pastoral models and advocacy models,” yet proceeds to absolutize one of these and attempt to impose it upon all.” (Italics mine)
The problem passage in the Belhar Confession is “…we reject any doctrine which absolutizes either natural diversity or the sinful separation of people in such a way that this absolutization hinders or breaks the visible and active unity of the church, or even leads to the establishment of a separate church formation. …”
This should help those who want some clarity on how the Belhar Confession could be useful to those people who are advocating for ordination and marriage of those who are unrepentant practicing homosexuals.
However, it ought to be noted that the Majority Report does not say that any of the interpretations are correct it simply admits that there are different ways that people have interpreted the Scripture. And it fails to mention that both the Presbyterian (U.S.A.)’s Book of Order and Book of Confessions absolutizes marriage as between a man and a woman, and that absolute understanding finds its foundation in the word’s of Jesus:
‘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 mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh…’”