Among those efforts that can be undertaken by the denomination to address our current malaise and drift toward fragmentation, none is as important -- or as elusive -- as the need for a major overhaul of the Book of Order.
Amendment A, overturning the "fidelity-chastity" requirement for ministers and church officers, must be defeated by those voting in the presbyteries in the coming months. There are several reasons why conscientious presbyters, who will be called to vote on this and other amendments approved by the 213th General Assembly (2001), should vote no.
In his report to commissioners given at the beginning of the 213th General Assembly, outgoing Moderator Syngman Rhee fervently called for "a more excellent way," a way based on love and mutual forbearance as set forth by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians.
Easter is the great day for the church of Jesus Christ. There would be no gospel, no faith, no hope without the resurrection. Everything depends on God's raising Jesus from the dead, Jesus' ascension, his sitting at the right hand of the Father, his promised coming again. His resurrection is the guarantee of our own, and the gift of life after death to all to whom God chooses to give it.
The minister's primary duty -- and the session's -- is to feed and protect the flock over which God, through the actions of the church, has placed them. One of the sad aspects of the church's wars in recent years has been the spectacle of the people of God in the pew being drawn willy-nilly into battles that they really don't need to be a part of.
If the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is at a crossroads in its life -- a time when many aspects of our life together need to be subjected to careful scrutiny to determine their usefulness to the church -- then certainly a re-examination of the meeting of the General Assembly itself is in order.
For more than 50 years, The Presbyterian Outlook and its predecessor publications worked passionately for the reunion of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A./United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church, U.S. -- the Southern branch separated from the main body since 1861. Year after year, patiently and persistently, our editors worked through individual Presbyterians, North and South, and through the governing bodies of the church to make reunion possible.