PCUSA high court clears way for ordination of openly gay female minister

“Contention over Scriptural and confessional texts is both inevitable and common,” said one of the two concurring opinions accompanying the GAPJC’s decision. “However, it is not for this commission or the judicial process overall to test the value or judge the truth of variant interpretations of particular texts, excepting egregious refutation or abuse of primary or first order creedal affirmations, to which level the issue in this case does not rise.”

The Presbyterian (USA)’s highest court has cleared the way for the ordination of an openly gay woman in what appears to be the final appeal of a seven-year judicial process.

In a ruling released Tuesday, the PCUSA’s General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC) affirmed a previous ruling by the Synod of the Pacific PJC (SPJC) affirming San Francisco Presbytery’s 2009 approval of Lisa Larges’ ordination.

In its decision, the GAPJC failed to sustain any of the eight specifications of error brought by the appellants.

“The commission agrees with the SPJC decision that the presbytery properly exercised its prerogative in determining that the candidate did not depart from the essentials of Reformed faith and polity,” the decision stated.

“A vast diversity of interpretation of Scripture and the confessions regarding human sexuality evident in the record is also manifest across the churches and members of the denomination,” the GAPJC stated.

“Contention over Scriptural and confessional texts is both inevitable and common,” said one of the two concurring opinions accompanying the GAPJC’s decision. “However, it is not for this commission or the judicial process overall to test the value or judge the truth of variant interpretations of particular texts, excepting egregious refutation or abuse of primary or first order creedal affirmations, to which level the issue in this case does not rise.”

“In the eyes of our PCUSA judicial system, we have been defeated. In the eyes of God, we have stood faithfully for what is true and covenant-keeping,” said Mary Naegeli, lead attorney for the complainants.
“We believe they have erred in their conclusion, and it will be the undoing of our denomination. We can only commend the PCUSA to God’s mercy at this point,” she added.

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