DALLAS — What exactly the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will recommend remains to be seen.
But its 20 members do say in draft section of their report, released July 19, that they were intentionally selected to serve on the task force because of their diverse views and have found their faith strengthened by honest, ongoing, heartfelt discussions with those with whom they disagree.
“Repeatedly, we found ourselves moved and impressed by the depth and the truth of statements” made by those from very different backgrounds, the draft report states, and “more surprisingly, our faith was enriched and strengthened by the contributions of those whose views on contested issues we do not share.”
The report states, “… none of us has traded our basic commitments for a middle ground or compromise position. We still hold most of the views and perspectives we brought to the Task Force,” and some have kept their ties to advocacy groups working on controversial issues in the church.
But they write of deepening trust, a sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit, growing humility, honesty and faithfulness. In sharing their views, “we were chastened and humbled by the recognition that insofar as the body of Christ in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is broken, we have all played a part in betraying and denying our Savior and in inflicting the damage from which the church, as His body, is suffering today,” the report states.
And it lists some of what the task force members have learned from each other. Among those things:
Â· How much alienation and pain the Anglo tradition has caused by oppressing other racial and ethnic groups.
Â· “How alienating it is for conservative evangelicals when their passionate commitment to holy living and upright conduct is labeled rigid and judgmental”
Â· “How alienating it is for liberals and moderates when their passionate commitment to justice and compassion is labeled unbiblical.”
Â· “How alienating it is for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons to be so regularly identified as a major threat” to the church’s peace, unity and purity.
Â· And “how alienating it is for those who support a ban on the ordination of sexually-active gays and lesbians to be accused of prejudice.”