Thursday, July 22, 2010
A Letter to the Board of Pensions: an addition
Addition: Although I plead for relief of conscience in this letter there is not any real way it can be provided, the only real option is to not use the tithes and offerings of church members to fund pensions and health care for same gender partners. See 18-06
Board of Pensions,
Presbyterian Church (USA)
As an Elder in the Presbyterian Church I am deeply troubled by the changes that may come to congregations in our denomination. The recent General Assembly voted to urge the Board of Pensions (BOP) of the PC(USA) to:
". . . extend eligibility for spousal and dependent benefits under the Plan to Benefits Plan members, their same-gender domestic partners, and the children of their same-gender domestic partners, on the same basis as, and equivalent to, benefits made available to Benefits Plan members, their spouses, and the children of their spouses. "
That is troubling because the action, although not an absolute mandate for the BOP is still a possibility. And it carries two significant and weighty outcomes for congregations. The first has to do with the cost to congregations since the money used for this action will come from the offerings and tithes of the people. I am told that one commissioner, a pastor, walked out of the plenary hall when this overture passed, saying “I will have to find a new church because now my congregation will no longer be able to afford me.”
But the other outcome is even more problematic because it goes to the very heart of the freedom of the people of God not to offend their conscience in anything that is contrary to the word of God. As both the Book of Order and the Westminster Confession of Faith state:
"That ‘God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to his Word, or beside it, in matters of faith or worship.’" G-1.0301 (a) & 6.109
It is my prayer, and the prayers of many others that if you decide to be mandated by the GA you will find a better way to fund the extra pensions and if not you will provide a means of relief for those who wish to continue holding to the apostolic faith of the Universal Church.
But our greatest prayer is that you will not become involved in actions that contradict the words of Scripture, the Book of Order or the Confessions of the Church.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Fremont Presbyterian Church