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We’re not for same sex marriage

Many of readers will have seen that the Presbyterians have been in the news a good bit lately. Many news outlets have been reporting that the Presbyterians have voted to allow their pastors to officiate same-sex weddings, approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage as “between two people” instead of “between a man and a woman,” and have divested themselves of companies that have dealings with the nation of Israel. I would like to inform your readers that there are many different groups of Presbyterians in our nation and that our local church, First Presbyterian Church, is not in any way affiliated with this group.

The denomination that is making headlines is the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (hereafter, PCUSA). In their annual meeting last week, they formally abandoned the biblical definition of marriage and supported homosexual marriage. This denomination has increasingly grown more and more theologically liberal since its inception in 1983 upon the merger of two already liberal denominations. First Presbyterian Church of Brewton left the PCUSA in 1993 when the elders felt that they could no longer maintain our affiliation with a denomination that had abandoned the Word of God as the only authority of what we believe and what we practice. Upon leaving, we joined the Presbyterian Church in America (hereafter, PCA), an evangelical and theologically conservative denomination that continues to uphold the truth of the Bible, the necessity of the cleansing blood of our Savior, and the call to make disciples of all nations.

Along with the other congregations in the PCA, First Presbyterian Church laments and mourns the move that the PCUSA has taken to affirm something that is so clearly against both Scripture and God’s created order. We affirm that true marriage can only be between one man and one woman. We further affirm that homosexuality is a sin.

While we affirm these biblical positions, we also equally affirm the hope that is available through the good news of the gospel – that through the sacrifice of Christ and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, there is no sin that is unable to be forgiven. All sin is serious in the eyes of God and we are all equally called upon to repent of our sin, ask the Lord for forgiveness, and place our faith in Christ as the only source of salvation. First Presbyterian Church is a place where sinners go for help. We are much like a hospital where the wounded and weary come to hear the good news of Jesus and to receive the transforming presence of the spirit.

In summary, First Presbyterian Church of Brewton is not a congregation of the PCUSA, which has abandoned the Word of God. It is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which continues to affirm that the Bible is authoritative, true, and inerrant. We further affirm the biblical view of marriage. The gospel offers hope for every sinner, no matter the type of sin dealt with. There is freedom, forgiveness, and hope found in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He took the penalty for our sins on the cross that we might have life and a relationship with the Father.

I close with the words of Paul from I Timothy 1:15 – words that resonate so deeply within my soul, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

The Rev. Parker Johnson

Pastor, First Presbyterian Church