The traditional Biblical values took two major hits during an ominous week for the Presbyterian Church USA in Detroit last week by revamping the marriage definition in its own Book of Order, and then on Friday voting to divest funds in three major international companies that did business with Israel by a contentious 310-303 vote.
One can honestly say it is not a major consensus on Israel since debate raged for ten-years on whether to punitively punish Israel for lack of progress in the peace process, however the vote is perceived to be both symbolic and serious by Jewish observers when news of the PCUSA’s actions were reported by the Jerusalem Post in Israel.
The PCUSA is the largest Christian organization to follow the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and it sure to receive criticism for dropping a unilateral punishment on Israel.
Naturally the floor Moderator Heath Rada attempted to put a political spin on the divestment in Israel by saying, “in no way is this a reflection of our law and love for our Jewish brothers and sisters”.
The Israel American Jewish Committee, a political advocate group based in New York flatly condemned the results as a “vote driven by hatred of Israel”.
This observer finds the truth lies between the statement by PCUSA’s Rada and the statement from the Israel American Jewish Committee, with hard leanings toward the IAJC's call. There undoubtedly is a spiritual struggle going on within the PCUSA’s Christian roots. The vote on changing the PCUSA’s own Book of Order to accommodate drastic changes in marriage and the vote against Israel is clear proof.
Repudiation from the American Jews and Israel focused on the campaign that was obviously waged by the leadership of PCUSA to have the divestment take place. It was a painful, decade long process which finally culminated in a vote Friday by the PCUSA. A vote two years ago to divest investments in Israel failed by a mere two votes, so one could easily tell trouble was coming.
The vote to change the marriage definition in their Book of Order was 317-238, a stunning reversal when one considers marriage as a foundational belief in the Christian Churches. However the vote for divestment in Israel was 310-303. There were quite a few more in the assembly for the vote on Israel than marriage, a signal that the Israel vote was still not a foregone conclusion.
Majority votes where politics enters in and liberality becomes more critical than foundational beliefs of a religious organization is a slippery slope indeed. If one can go into a crucial document as the PCUSA’s own Book of Order and make changes based on the swinging morals of society, then nothing is really sacred, particularly in the PCUSA.
By Bible standards it was a disastrous week for the PCUSA which is becoming more loyal to the world views on marriage and Israel instead of remaining true to the traditional standards set by the Holy Scriptures and their own Book of Order. It is troubling when any religious organization begins subscribing to the talking points of liberal social movements
Does it not say in the Bible to be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind? Does it not say a friend of the world is an enemy to God?
Israel knows full well based on its own colorful history that allowing the people to have their way can initiate big problems. Such was the case when Israel under the spiritual leadership of the prophet Samuel was establishing its destiny in the Holy Land.
Instead of following the man of God, Samuel, the people wanted to “be like the world” and have a king to rule over them. Samuel went to God with their request, and God told Samuel to “give them what they want”. God solemnly told Samuel that “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me”.
God gave them what they wanted and the result was Israel’s first king Saul. Rebelling against God’s authority never did go that well.
Having wise spiritual leadership is much better than allowing critical standards of faith being subject to debate by a crowd of people that can be swayed by questionable doctrine. Popularity can be a curse.
Changing core foundational beliefs is spiritually never a good idea, especially if anointed God fearing standards are articulated by God.
Popularity sounds nice, but it is a poor standard to base morality that contradicts age old standards that historically work. The Bible has a mass of examples where popularity led down the road to destruction.
The track record for societies not having sound marriage concepts is extremely poor. The track record of those coming against Israel historically and currently is even worse.
The actions of the PCUSA on marriage and Israel will be determined by this and other critical spiritual truths…..as you measure it, it will be measured against you.