This afternoon, the GA voted 53% to 46% to send to the presbyteries an amendment replacing the language of G 6.0106b with the following language: “Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.”
The language (what is presently in the Book of Order) that would be replaced by the amendment reads: “Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.”
A majority of presbyteries would have to vote in favor of this amendment in order for it to become a part of our constitution. If passed, this amendment would allow each ordaining body (session and presbytery) to establish ordination standards which might differ from standards established by other ordaining bodies. The amendment would not require ordination of homosexuals but it would allow an ordaining body to make that decision based on its own examination. It’ll be interesting to see how important our presbyteries consider it to be to have a uniform standard of ordination across the denomination.