Assembly Addresses Homosexual Issues

Reflecting current societal unrest regarding homosexuality, the 24th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) several times had the topic raised. On the opening night of the Assembly, host pastor Dr. D. James Kennedy warned the commissioners that there was going to be a demonstration outside the church building the next night. According to Kennedy, the organizers of the pro─homosexual demonstration had predicted that 1500-2000 people would show up, making it one of the largest such gatherings in Southern Florida. Concerning these activists, he said, with understatement, "They're not very happy with me." Dr. Kennedy has been outspoken in his criticism of homosexuality and has condemned it from his pulpit and over the TV airways. Among the documentary TV specials produced by Coral Ridge Presbyterian is a program dealing with the homosexual agenda.

A Display of Love

Dr. Kennedy stated that, for presenting the love of Christ and the possibility of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, he has been accused of being a hate-monger. He detailed the plans his congregation had made to show love towards the demonstrators. He said that the church had prepared large banners for the front lawn, declaring the love of God in John 3:16. Also, the church was setting up two large screen televisions which would play the TV special about homosexuality, including the story of a couple where both man and wife had previously been involved in homosexuality and lesbianism. And, the church was also going to provide lemonade and cookies for the demonstrators.

Dr. Kennedy advised the commissioners not to park in the front of the church building the next day (Wednesday), because of the possibility of trouble and damage to property. ("We're willing to have 40 inch televisions destroyed," he said.) He assured the men that ample protection was available for their safety, including mounted policemen; and stated that cameras would be recording any incidents that occurred. He pleaded with the commissioners to avoid the demonstrators and not to get involved in a shouting match with them. If any commissioner pointed a finger in the face of the demonstrators, Kennedy warned, he would make it onto the 11 o' clock news and bring reproach onto the Assembly.

A Display of Power

On Wednesday, the Moderator, Dr. Charles McGowan, appointed a special committee to gather in the chapel to pray for the demonstrators. In late afternoon, as the Assembly recessed its business sessions for the day, a handful of demonstrators had begun to gather outside the church building. But a sudden thunderstorm drenched both them and the media that were there to cover the event. The heavy rain continued throughout the evening, and only about 200 or fewer showed up to demonstrate.

Assembly Action Condemning Homosexuality

Later in the week, the Assembly took decisive action regarding its views of homonsexuality. The court voted to answer a personal resolution regarding homosexual marriages by reference to previous actions of the Assembly and the following statement: "We affirm the Bible's teaching that promotion of homosexual conduct and relationships by any society, including action by the governments to sanction and legitimize homosexual relationships by the legalization of homosexual marriages, is an abominable sin calling for God's judgment upon any such society (Lev. 18:22 and Rom. 1:18-32). We also reaffirm our belief in the transforming power of God's grace and our commitment to 'speaking the truth in love' to those in the homosexual community." The previous positions included a condemnation of homosexuality (1977) and a declaration of conscience as to why people of good will, such as those in the PCA, would oppose homosexuals in the military (1993).

But the Assembly refused to approve a personal resolution that would have addressed the recent action by the Episcopal Church regarding homosexual ordination. The grounds for answering that resolution in the negative were as follows: "1. The PCA is not in ecclesiastical fellowship with the Episcopal Church in the US and therefore has no basis for addressing her. 2. The PCA's position against the evils of sodomy and other sexual perversion has been clearly stated and reiterated in the past. 3. The issue is again being addressed by other personal resolutions to this GA. 4. It is impossible for the PCA to address every deviation from Biblical Christianity within the multiplicity of denominations and churches. 5. A prophetic voice is being raised within the Episcopal Church in the US against this sin." The Assembly also spread on its minutes this statement: "We encourage our members to pray for and to support those within the Episcopal Church who are opposing this error."