Moderator's Comments - Posted 17 September 2016
Wednesday evening saw the reaffirmation of the Presbyterian Church of Australia’s resolute commitment to uphold the biblical and traditional view of marriage. The Presbyterian Church has always believed and still believes that marriage is the lifelong union of one man with one woman, voluntarily entered into, excluding all others.
Through informed and thorough theological debate, the Church demonstrated that it has not moved from its historic position or the commitments expressed in 2013.
This week, the church strengthened its position by declaring that it cannot allow its ministers to conduct celebrations of same sex marriage.
The church went even further this time. It debated the point at which it should withdraw as a denomination from cooperating with the state in celebrating and registering marriages under the Marriage Act. The major alternatives were: at the moment the Marriage Act is redefined to include same-sex marriages (if it is changed), OR, at a later point – yet to be determined – when we are forced by legislation to conduct same-sex marriage. The church chose the second option.
The Presbyterian Church has been at the forefront of the spiritual battle in Australia to uphold and preserve the biblical and traditional view of marriage. It has been resolute in its opposition to same-sex marriage. The church maintains that while God provides forgiveness of, and redemption from, all sin through Christ, he condemns homosexual behaviour, along with all other forms of sin.
For the sake of transparency, we held the debate in public. We took the risk that our debate might be disrupted or our decisions misreported. Sadly, an online article was published without consultation by Eternity News on Thursday morning that placed our position in a different light.
Rev John P Wilson
Presbyterian Church of Australia