Three Reasons to Adopt PCAGA49’s Overture 15

Three Reasons to Adopt PCAGA49’s Overture 15

The language of the Overture does not say that a man must no longer struggle with temptation or that he must be dishonest about his temptations. It states that officers may not “describe themselves as homosexual.” This is consistent with Paul’s affirmations that Christians are new creations, are to be unleavened, and are to consider themselves dead to sin. Genuine repentance does not mean perfection, but it does mean a complete break with sin, even in how Christians identify and describe themselves.

This year’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) voted to affirm an amended version of Overture 15, which is now being considered by the denomination’s presbyteries as Item 1. It seeks to add the following language to the Book of Church Order (BCO):

7-4. Men who describe themselves as homosexual, even those who describe themselves as homosexual and claim to practice celibacy by refraining from homosexual conduct, are disqualified from holding office in the Presbyterian Church in America.

I would like to give three reasons why I believe presbyteries should vote yes for Item 1 (i.e., PCAGA49’s Overture 15)[1] this cycle, and then respond to a couple objections.

  1. To describe oneself as a “Homosexual Christian,” “Gay Christian,” or “Same-Sex Attracted Christian” is itself a tacit approval of a Freudian worldview. Men who affirm this Freudian foundation are not qualified for office.

Sigmund Freud taught that what defines people is their sexuality, that who you are is ultimately determined by your sexual desires. Before the spread of this Freudian philosophy, homosexuality was viewed as something a person did. Now it is considered who a person is because he feels those desires, even if that person has never been sexually active.

For many in our day, to describe oneself as a “Gay Christian” does not sound as inappropriate as does to describe oneself as a “racist Christian” or “idolatrous Christian.” but this is only a reflection of the fact that we live in a Freudian culture which has convinced society at large that men and women are defined by their sexual desires (hence society’s broad acceptance of the LGBTQ movement that roots identity in sexuality). But this is not a Biblical worldview.

Racism and homosexuality are both sins, yet if one is considered an appropriate self-description for a Christian while the other is not, this only demonstrates that one’s worldview has accepted (at least in part) the world’s Freudian presuppositions. Scripture defines men and women in creation as being made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26) and then in redemption as being united to Jesus Christ. Officers in the PCA must be men who do not accept the world’s philosophies and definitions of men (Col. 2:8), but Scripture’s.  A Christian who describes himself in terms of sexual desires is one who at least in part affirms a Freudian worldview that contradicts God’s Word, and is thus unqualified to hold office in Christ’s church.

  1. PCA officers must embody and walk with the wisdom we teach others to live by.

The Report of the Ad Interim Committee on Human Sexuality [2] includes a section on language which states, “We affirm that those in our churches would be wise to avoid the term ‘gay Christian’…Churches should be gentle, patient, and intentional with believers who call themselves ‘gay Christians,’ encouraging them, as part of the process of sanctification, to leave behind identification language rooted in sinful desires, to live chaste lives, to refrain from entering into temptation, and to mortify their sinful desires” (p. 12).

As this is the wisdom that we are to teach all Christians, it ought to be the standard that officers – being above reproach – likewise pursue. To allow otherwise is to allow hypocrisy. We must walk in accordance with that wisdom we teach to others. It is a great hypocrisy to declare that we are to teach believers to leave behind this language when our officers themselves will not do the same. In such a scenario, the Report’s wisdom becomes “wisdom for thee, but not for me.” Permitting officers to continue to describe themselves with such language undermines our denomination’s exhortations to others that growth in sanctification means leaving behind identification language rooted in sinful desires. Men who will not abide by the wisdom with which we instruct others are not fit for office.

  1. Scripture describes Christians in terms of union with Christ, which is the foundation of Christian ethics.

When Paul rebukes the Christians at Corinth for failing to exercise discipline, he uses the metaphor of the leaven and the lump, with the lump being the church and leaven representing sin. He writes, “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened” (1 Cor. 5:7). Notice how he describes these Christians. They must cleanse out the leaven because they are unleavened. Paul grounds the church’s behavior in the church’s being, which he describes with the term unleavened. What Christians do is founded on what Christians are.

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[1] For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to Overture 15 in the remainder of this article.

[2] Visit for links both to the printed report and to the video footage of its presentation before the 48th Stated Meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

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