Dean Weaver, moderator of the New Wineskins Association of Churches, recently wrote PCUSA Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick, asking for “a moratorium on certain disciplinary and administrative actions against churches and church officers who may be considering leaving our communion.” Dean cited G-1.0301 regarding freedom of conscience as a basis for this.
I am aware that some presbyteries have laid out plans, or followed the plan prescribed by the PCUSA legal offices, to aggressively seek out pastors and sessions who are considering leaving. This has established an atmosphere of fear.
Once again, we see the incredible double standard exhibited by the PCUSA. Read what the moderator and stated clerk of the GA wrote back to Dean.
“Freedom of conscience as it is understood in the Reformed tradition does not permit church officers to act outside the Constitution of the church….
The 212th General Assembly (2000) made it explicitly clear that even the General Assembly lacks authority to declare a moratorium on upholding the provisions of the constitution.”
Move back now to 2001. What follows is from the official denominational website:
“After a self-imposed two-year moratorium on the constitutional standards for ordination to church office in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the 213th General Assembly is poised to take up the issue that has divided the church for more than 20 years.”
Jerry L Van Marter, 01158
May 8, 2001
Is there something wrong here? Why can we declare a moratorium on receiving overtures (something the constitution doesn’t allow, so far as I can tell), but we cannot have a moratorium on unchristian actions against churches that are simply obeying their conscience?