PC-USA’s Tolerance of Homosexuality becomes Official

The news media covered this story well, so many of our readers already know about it. But it is still worthwhile to take note of the Presbyterian Church-USA’s official redefinition of marriage that approves homosexual unions. Holly Yan of CNN reports:1

The country’s largest Presbyterian denomination has changed its definition of marriage to include gay couples—though not explicitly.

Presbyterian Church (USA) approved an amendment to its constitution after most of its 171 presbyteries—or governing bodies—voted for it, PC (USA) said Tuesday.

Before, the definition said marriage was between “a man and a woman.”

The new definition says, in part, that “marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.”

Already, PC (USA) ministers can perform same-sex marriages in states where such marriages are legal, the group said. But no teaching elder or session can be forced to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies if they do not believe they are appropriate.

Not all members supported the decision.

In a post on PC (USA)’s website, Jean and Robert Gorney accused the church of going against the Bible and threatened to leave.

“We are not to change the Bible,” their post said. “I don’t care who disagrees.”

But the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, which says it supports “a fully inclusive church,” welcomed the news Tuesday night.

“The change aligns the church’s constitution with a reality that has long been true: Both same-gender and opposite-gender couples have been living in relationships that demonstrate covenant faithfulness, shared discipleship and mutual love,” the group said.

“We are also aware that the discussion has been a difficult one for many, and that some will feel a deep sense of pain over this decision. The Covenant Network is committed to fostering healthy dialogue and working with those who hold a view different from ours, seeking opportunities for us to model an authentic and productive unity.”

The amendment will take effect on June 21.

It should be understood that homosexual unions are not sanctioned by every Presbyterian denomination. There are many Presbyterian denominations that continue to hold to the biblical view of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It is perhaps especially important to note that the PC-USA and the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) are distinct denominations. In response to the PC-USA’s redefinition of marriage Dr. Roy Taylor, Stated Clerk of the PCA, released a statement explaining that the PCA does not approve of homosexual unions.2

The PC-USA’s decision to change the definition of marriage now brings its official policy in line with what has been practiced in the denomination for years. For years, even though the denomination officially condemned homosexuality, homosexuality has been tolerated in the denomination. It is only logical that official policy be changed to conform with accepted practice. The lesson to be learned, by those who are willing to listen, is that if the church will not exercise discipline and demand turning from a sin, the passive toleration of that sin will one day lead to its active approval.

Boys and Girls Will Be Hens

The following is a report by Rick Noack for the Washington Post:3

In the Egalia, a preschool in Stockholm, there are no male or female students. Instead, all children are referred to as ‘hen’—a gender-neutral pronoun that has become so established in Sweden that it will be recognized next month in the newest edition of the country’s official dictionary.

The Swedish Academy’s SAOL dictionary, which is updated every 10 years and will be republished April 15, will feature ‘hen’ as an alternative to the male pronoun ‘han’ and the female ‘hon.’ The revised edition will also include thousands of other new words.

According to linguistic expert Sofia Malmgård, the gender-neutral term can be used in two ways. “First, if the gender is unknown or not relevant (as in: “If anyone needs to smoke, ‘hen’ may do so outside”). Second, it can be used as a pronoun for inter-gender people (as in: “Kim is neither boy or girl, ‘hen’ is inter-gender”),” she explained.

To many Swedes, the decision of the Swedish Academy reflects how quickly their society has embraced gender-neutral language. “Over the last few years, the word ‘hen’ has more and more found its way into the Swedish language,” Malmgård told the Washington Post.

Five years ago, barely anyone in Sweden was aware of the word. The decision to now include ‘hen’ in the authoritative SAOL dictionary is expected to facilitate an even more frequent use of it in everyday conversations. Set up in 1785, the academy was established with the aim to adapt the Swedish languages to changing cultural and societal influences—a role the institution still feels committed to.

According to experts, the ‘hen’-revolution in Sweden has two primary origins: LGBT groups have promoted the pronoun as a way to raise awareness for their cause. However, support for the idea has also come from a more unexpected side: Nurseries, kindergartens and preschools such as Egalia increasingly argue that the pronoun’s usage allows children to grow up without feeling the impact of gender biases. “The public debate over the pronoun actually only started after the publication of the country’s first gender-neutral children’s book,” Lann Hornscheidt, an professor of Scandinavian languages and gender studies at Berlin’s Humboldt University explained.

Gender-neutral education in Sweden goes far beyond linguistics. As the BBC already observed in 2011, toys and games in some nurseries are placed deliberately next to each other, in the hope that children will feel free to choose the items they feel most comfortable spending their time with.

To Hornscheidt, the popularity of ‘hen’ has not come as a surprise. “The introduction of a pronoun which challenges binary gender norms has been an important step, following a more thorough debate over the construction of gender within the last 10 years,” he said.

This article answers the question, how can the world increase in wickedness? This was a question that I once heard a man pose because he had recently read the account of the men of Sodom wanting to “know” the angels who visited Lot as recorded in Genesis 19. Genesis 19 shows us that there is nothing “new under the sun” when it comes to the depravity of man. Homosexuality is a sin that men have fallen into for thousands of years. But man is increasing in wickedness. Now the LGBT movement is spearheading an attack on God’s authority to decide that human beings shall be “male and female.” If you don’t want to be a man or a woman you can be gender neutral—a “hen” in Sweden.

Included in this idea of gender neutrality is an assault on God’s sovereign right to determine whether an individual is male or female. The Bible tells us that each human being is fashioned by God (Ps. 139:14). God, therefore, determines the gender of each individual. After the fall into sin, there are some unusual cases. But the norm is that, when a baby is born, it is very easy to determine the gender He has sovereignly chosen for that individual. And God obviously demands that people submit to His will and live their lives according to the gender God has chosen for them at birth. But men and women are not content to submit to God’s will in choosing their genders. Men may choose to feel and act like women. Women may choose to feel and act like men. And in some cases, men and women may feel and act like they have no gender or have both genders. The chaos of rebellion against God ensues.

This rebellion against God’s gender norms is also a devastating attack on marriage and the family. Society is in the process of redefining marriage to open it up to same-sex or same-gender couples. Soon marriage may be redefined in a way that abolishes any notion of gender. Today, marriage involves some combination of men and women. But tomorrow the “spouses” may both decide to be men or to be gender neutral “hens.” Of course, there will be no male headship in these “marriages.” Who knows who the male is anyway?

And what of children? They are forced to accept this confusion already in nurseries! They are taught from a young age to deny and rebel against God’s will concerning their genders and what that means for how they must live. There is no family structure for them. They do not know if they have one dad and one mom or two dads or two its—the possibilities are really endless for man to do whatever he pleases. The effects of this confusion on children will be catastrophic in terms of increased rebellion, depression, and a host of other problems.

1 Holly Yan, “Presbyterian group changes marriage definite to include same-sex couples,” March 17, 2015, www.cnn.com/2015/03/17/us/presbyterian-church-gay-marriage.

2 L. Roy Taylor, “The PCA’s position Human Sexuality,” July 6, 2011, theaquilareport.com/the-pcas-position-on-human-sexuality.

3 Nick Noack, “Sweden Is About to Add a Gender-neutral Pronoun to Its Official Dictionary,” April 1, 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/04/01/sweden-is-about-to-adda-gender-neutral-pronoun-to-its-official-dictionary.