Once again, the Presbyterian Church (USA) finds itself debating the ordination of homosexuals. The cost of the debate over sexuality has debilitated the ministry and the mission of the Presbyterian Church for the past four decades.
Sure, there are pockets of ministry still taking place. Sure, there are people who are coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. But these ministries are taking place in spite of what the national church is doing.
This debate has cost the Presbyterian Church much. That is an understatement. The countless hours, energy, money this has cost the church is incalculable. This debate has stolen so much creativity and energy from what the Presbyterian Church could have been.
We have fought this fight strictly on the polity front. We keep trying to preserve language or add language that will change the polity.
This is the wrong battle.
The question before us is not an issue of polity. The real question that continues unaddressed is the question of ecclesiology. The real question that must be answered is - What does it mean to be a connectional church in a post-denominational, post-Christian, and post-modern world?
What does it mean to be Presbyterian or any other brand of Christianity in a world where those denominational distinctions mean almost nothing to a people who reject the Christian worldview?
What does it mean to be the body of Christ when there are churches on both extremes who find much more in common with others who may be of different denominations?
For churches who want to maintain traditional standards, we have much more in common with other Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, non-denominationalists, and others who affirm unabashedly the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture.
For churches who favore a change in ordination standards, those churches have much more in common with other churches who are already ordaining homosexuals.
What does it mean to be Presbyterian, when if the only thing that seems to be binding and connecting us is the property clause?
What do we think would happen to a denomination called the PC(USA) if the property clause was no longer binding?
And what does it say about our denomination as a whole if the only thing keeping this denomination together seems to be the property clause?
Unless we answer these ecclesiological questions, we will find ourselves fighting a fight that's not worth fighting.