If you happen to be in a church associated with the PC USA (the Presbyterian Church USA – not to be confused with the conservative PCA), you might encounter some odd liturgies. Of course “odd” is not really the proper word for referring to the Trinity as “Mother, Child, and Womb” or “Lover, Beloved, and Love.” Other words come to mind. In their annual gathering, delegates voted to “receive” a paper that encouraged churches to utilize new ways of speaking of the Trinity that are more gender inclusive. The denomination did not give full approval, meaning churches are not bound to use new language. The vote followed the singing of a revised version of the doxology which did away with male nouns and pronouns referring to God.
One committee member, in a rather fascinating comment, said, “This does not alter the church’s theological position, but provides an educational resource to enhance the spiritual life of our membership.” Choosing to redefine God’s name and nature doesn’t alter the church’s theological position? That could only be true if the church either did not have a theological position at all or had already abandoned biblical descriptions and depictions of God. Now that I think about it, she may be right after all!
Consider the arrogance of such a shift. A few hundred people have decided that they know God better than the Scriptures, which they no doubt believe to be out of date and out of touch. Society has evolved, you know. Such thinking clearly reveals that the wisdom of the PC USA delegates has supplanted the Bible as the denomination’s source of authority. We could go on about the influence of feminist theology and postmodern biblical hermeneutics, but it is quite likely that others will soon write about such things at greater length and with greater precision than I can.
Guess what’s on the docket for Tuesday? Delegates will consider a proposal that will give local presbyteries leeway in oraining homosexual clergy. Given the denomination’s apparent regard for Scriptural authority (or its penchant for creative re-interpretation), I wonder which way that vote will go.