The church which I grew up in, recently held a congregational vote. The decision was whether to move forward with a process called “Discerning the Way”. This process involves church staff and members meeting with some intermediaries from outside the church to offer where they stand and state their case for how the ‘ideals’ of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and specifically the Presbytery of Southern New England no longer align with the ideals of their church community. Although ‘entering the process’ does not guarantee such, the intent is to request dismissal from the denomination. There is a lot of history and reasoning behind this. The foundation of their reasoning however, is that the PCUSA is moving away from “scriptural authority” (i.e. – literal interpretation). The biggest problem with this they state is that since the Bible is open to interpretation, many in the denomination now believe that other religions may be just as valid. So then what of, John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”?
What really got this whole schism within the PCUSA started? The change in their ‘constitution’, which allows congregations to no longer interpret literally, also allows ordination of LGBTQ people. The PCUSA congregations who do not believe in equality are doing their best now to separate the LGBTQ ordination/inclusion/equality issue from that of ‘scriptural authority’. They want to hide it and have trouble stating their own truth. The truth is, they can’t separate the two, they’re intricately linked. The congregational vote was taken at my family’s church — twice as many folks voted to enter the process (and seek dismissal and the right to deny people a place of leadership in their church based on sexual orientation and gender identity), as voted against it.