Is the church universal queer? Not at all! Oh the denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in its apostasy, might be. But that erases its claim to be the body of Christ. It erases Layton E. Williams’ claim that it is the body of Christ.
Williams, a teaching elder, has written a posting for Presbyterians Today at their site “Reimagining the Church.” Her posting is “Presbyhonest: relevant truth telling with a queer twist.” Various Presbyterians have been writing their visions of what the denomination should be. In a side column which serves as the writers voices they state:
“We are part of a creative team commissioned by Presbyterians Today to ask questions about who's getting a platform to speak and who's not. And this is our canvas.”
And they go on to suggest that the site is “a holy place for reflection.” Presbyterians Today has made a statement that they do not represent either the PC (U.S.A.) or Presbyterian Today, however they are providing the place where the postings appear. And on their front page they have this: Read Presbyterians Today’s new blog, Reimagining the Church.
Williams is insisting that now, since the PC (U.S.A.) ordains members of the queer community, (and that is the term she use), and since we are one body we need to come out and admit the church is queer. As she puts it:
“When people ask, “What’s next?” I’m overwhelmed by how much more there is still to be done. I believe the hardest work for the PC(USA) and the church universal still lies ahead. What God calls for isn’t inclusion of queer people. It’s justice. And for that, the church—the body of Christ in the world—must name and embrace its own queerness.”
And Williams also insists that the church, until it does come out, is homophobic and queerphobic. This is not an appeal for diversity in the denomination nor does it embrace compassion for those who see the queer lifestyle as sinful. It is rather a call for the denomination to acknowledge that because it contains queer persons it is also queer.
But here is a paradox. It is true that when we come, as a church, before the Lord to confess our sins, we must confess that not only are we child murders, greedy, unkind and disobedient to Christ, we must confess that we are queer, that we have allowed sexual immorality to invade the church and offered no help to those who are in such bondage. In other words, as the church we must confess for the church the sins of the church.
We are truly sinners, but we are also saints. That means that our identity is not tied to our sin but to the new life given us by Christ Jesus. We possess the righteousness of Christ. He who is innocent and holy gives us our identity. There is neither homophobe nor queer in the body of Christ. There is only the redeemed who glorify their Lord.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1Cor. 6:9-11)