GA: Fundamentalism

I just read a post about the upcoming General Assembly of the PCUSA. “Shall the Fundamentalists Win“. Chris Currie, a fellow PCUSA pastor I haven’t yet met, although I hope to soon, revisits the Fundamentalist/Modernist Controversy of almost 100 years ago.

His conclusion seems to be that those of us seeking marriage equality in the PCUSA are the fundamentalists of today’s church.

“Never mind that affinity groups do not seek to incorporate the broad views of our church’s remaining and fragile catholicity, but are nearly single-minded on all the major issues before us, even as they advocate diversity and inclusivity. Immodestly claiming to take up where Martin Luther King Jr., left off in Birmingham, it is now full speed ahead taking on all of us Bull Connors who make up the rest of the PC(USA) constituencies.”

He references fundamentalists on the more conservative side of the church too. But I’d like to point out a difference.

Most of the affinity groups seeking justice he paints with a broad brush are NOT fundamentalists. I’m a member of the Board of the Covenant Network. And while I certainly do not speak for every person who allies themselves with Covenant Network, I can say that we, the Covenant Network, have spoken out, again and again, for the right of pastors to determine which weddings they officiate. As a Board, we strongly believe in and respect freedom of conscience. Please read our statement here.

People seeking marriage equality are not the Fundamentalists in this scenario.

Yes, I believe marriage equality matters for all of us, as we seek to make the church and the world as generous and just as God’s grace.

I recognize many brothers and sisters in the PCUSA understand marriage differently. Changing the Book of Order will not require them to change their stance or participate in marriage services in which they do not want to officiate.

The Fundamentalists are the ones who insist there is only one way to view the subject, and if we disagree with them, we are wrong. The Fundamentalists are the ones who insist if we do not agree to their definitions, they will leave.

Rev. Currie lifted up statements made by the faculties of Columbia Theological Seminary (my alma mater) and Austin Theological Seminary. He implied all advocates for justice and marriage equality spoke against those statements. That is not the case. Covenant Network thanked the faculty for their words and lifted up our call to unity. You can read that here.

I agree with Rev. Currie that as GA approaches, we must seek the unity of the church. It is unfortunate that his article lumped all advocates for equality in a Fundamentalist camp.

As we move toward GA, I pray we will listen for, and be wary of, the “fundamentalist” voices.
Is there room in what they say for us to live together with our differences?
Can we seek a future path that allows different interpretations of marriage and human sexuality?

I serve on the Covenant Network Board because our commitment to the unity of the church is as strong as our commitment to justice. I pray the 221st GA will seek unity without sacrificing the call to justice.


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