I am disappointed that the 25 moderators of previous General Assemblies who wrote
a letter posted on the Outlook's website have not been speaking out in regard to the
theological problems and deficiencies in controversial amendments, particularly
Amendment 10-A;

that is, I am not aware of articles by them in publications.
Similarly, the leaders of our Presbyterian theological seminaries and many faculty
members, with some notable exceptions, have not written about Amendment 10-A.
There is a major contradiction in the amendment itself that theologians should have
caught, in my opinion. The amendment says that “standards for ordained service
reflect the church’s desire to submit to Christ’s Lordship in all aspects of life” (G-
1.0000). This is a declarative sentence dealing with the church in general and not an
imperative addressed to individuals. It does not charge us “to submit to the Lordship
of Christ in all aspects of life,” but perhaps it can be argued that the wording implies
such. In any case, the amendment later states we are “to be guided by the Scriptures.”
This is in contrast to the older G-6.0106b that we are “to obey the Scriptures” – a very
significant difference. “Guided by” is a weak, non-specific word and not helpful for
understanding the meaning of a solemn vow.

Why have our church leaders and seminary professors with their theological expertise
not shouted from lecture halls or Presbyterian publications that Amendment 10-A
(now passed, I realize) is in direct contradiction to the essentials beliefs of the great
Reformation of the 16th century and our Reformed faith? Our Reformed faith has
long held that there is only one assured way of knowing God’s will and truth and that
is “by accepting the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy
Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the church universal and
God’s Word to us.” (Second ordination/ installation vow). Amendment 10-A speaks
of the church living under the Lordship of Christ, rather than that church officers are
charged to live in obedience to Jesus Christ whose will can only be known through the
Scriptures illumined by the Holy Spirit. Amendment 10-A, just as Amendment 08-
B two years ago, implies there is a way or ways of knowing Christ other than through
the Scriptures; however, the drafters of this amendment never declare what such a
way might be – human reasoning? our experiences? our feelings? Why do they avoid
being open about their thinking? There is no reason to follow or obey a humanly-
designed Christ.

Our church is faced with an immense problem. What can we think of a church that
proclaims it holds steadfastly to the Reformation and the Reformed faith, and then
amends our constitution to remove an ordination vow which accurately expresses

biblical sexual-conduct standards much needed in a morally chaotic world? How
can we as church officers take a vow that speaks of the authoritative, trustworthy
witness of the Scriptures to Jesus Christ and then have our church take a position in
the constitution that is totally contrary to this essential tenet of the Reformed faith, an
essential tenet on which the other essential tenets rest? This situation has to be very
confusing to the average Presbyterian as well as to many church leaders. It also causes
us to lose trust in our church’s leadership.

Richard S. McConnell, HR, Clarence, N.Y. (D. Theol. Basel, Switzerland)