On July 3, 2008, I wrote a blog entry titled "PCUSA opts for human authority instead of Biblical authority." Part of that entry discussed my disagreement with the proposed changes to the PCUSA ordination requirements and how I feared they could open the door to relativism within the church. This amendment would remove the requirement that candidates for ordained office live within the covenant of marriage or in chastity in singleness. In its place the new standard would allow the ordination of a candidate if they sincerely believed that the scriptures led them to their theological conclusions. Missing, however, were any fundamental beliefs that defined Presbyterianism. In other words, if a candidate felt sincerely led to the conclusion that Christ was not divine, then he or she could still be ordained. The ordaining body is never called to evaluate whether or not those professed beliefs are actually true. See the earlier post for more details.
I mentioned at the time that the proposed amendment needed to be approved by a majority of the Presbyteries in order to take effect. I thought I would give you all a quick update on how the votes are going.
As of December 4, 2008, 13 out of the 173 Presbyteries have held their votes. Of those, 12 have voted against the amendment.
Presbyteries voting against the amendment have been:
Central Florida (48 to 164)
Central Washington (7 to 55)
Eastern Oklahoma (49 to 56)
Florida (41 to 46)
Los Ranchos (35 to 143)
Mississippi (2 to 49)
Palo Duro (29 to 47)
San Diego (17 to 74)
San Joaquin (8 to 74)
Stockton (11 to 39)
Upper Ohio Valley (12 to 72)
Western Kentucky (17 to 42)
The only Presbytery voting in favor of the amendment was Monmouth. It appears to have been simply a vocal vote (i.e., aye versus nay) because at least on the site I checked the precise vote county for and against was not available.
The early trend is promising, but there are still 160 Presbyteries that have yet to vote (including my own, Baltimore, but it is probably safe to assume that Baltimore will vote in favor of the amendment).
I will try to include more updates on this issue as more results come in.