Why do we have the tenets document?

Why do we have the tenets document?

Community Presbyterian Church Town Hall Meeting Saturday, August 25, 2012 Meeting Objectives Follow-up from August12 town hall meeting. To provide answers to questions received since our first

meeting. To assist our congregation in understanding some of the denominational issues. Question 1 From a moral viewpoint the Holy Bible mentions in 3-4 places that marriage is between a man and a woman. The Bible is Gods Word. So my question is How can we come to accept a Gay Marriage as a legal, or more important, moral event. Do we (unreadable word) have a right to change Gods Holy Word in the Scriptures? Answer: Our denomination states its faith in the creeds and confessions in The Book of Confessions. Among other things, the confessions guide the

church in its study and interpretation of the Scriptures. The confessions are subordinate to the Scriptures and subject to the authority of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, as the Scriptures bear witness to him. (See F-2.01-2.02) The confessions refer to the authority and interpretation of Scriptures in various places. The Scriptures are the Word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience. (See The Larger Catechism 7:113) They have sufficient authority of themselves, not of men. And in this Holy Scripture, the universal Church of Christ has the most complete exposition of all that pertains to a saving faith, and also to the framing of a

life acceptable to God: and in this respect it is expressly commanded by God that nothing be either added to or taken from the same. (See The Second Helvetic Confession 5.001 5.002). So by our denominational standards it is not right to change the Scriptures. Question 2 Question: Part of any of my discernment processes involves two very important factors: 1) knowing the facts 2) Weighing the options For me, one cant be done without the other! Facts have been

presented But not the options. Answer: Options are important since they help us to focus our thoughts. Session intentionally chose not to offer options at first. We wanted it to be clear that session has not decided on any particular course of action. We are aware that there has been an undercurrent of discussion within the congregation of various denominational issues for years. We wanted to open the dialogue to determine how the congregation felt about these issues. We also wanted a transparent process without biasing the congregation in one direction or another.

Options can also be limiting. Once presented, they may stunt the discussion and discourage other creative solutions. Having said all this, we understand that providing insufficient information can be frustrating. Some options which have been suggested include having a discussion, getting feedback and staying where we are in our presbytery and denomination; exploring the possibility of changing from the Sacramento presbytery to another presbytery (e.g. Stockton); exploring the possibility of changing to another Presbyterian or Reformed denomination.

Question 3 Why do we have the tenets document? ANSWER: Session adopted the Essential Tenets document on October 17, 2006. A preamble was included to explain why the document was adopted. You are encouraged to read the preamble, but a basic explanation is included here. The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has two parts: The Book of Confessions and the Book of Order. The Book of Confessions includes 11 confessional documents and is several hundred pages long. Among other purposes, the confessional statements guide the church in its study and interpretation of the Scriptures, summarize the essence of Reformed Christian tradition and direct the church in maintaining sound doctrines. (F-02.01*, earlier

version G-2.0100b) When deacons and elders are ordained and installed they must answer the following question: Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions as you lead the people of God? (W4.4003c, formerly G-14.0207c) In 2006, General Assembly clarified that ordaining bodies (i.e. sessions and presbyteries) have the obligation to determine whether a

candidate being examined for ordination and installation as an elder, deacon or minister of Word and Sacrament has departed from scriptural and constitutional standards and whether any departure constitutes a failure to adhere to the essentials of Reformed faith and polity. The Book of Order refers to various important tenets when it discusses the confessions (see F-2.03 F-2.05, formerly G2.0300 G-2.0500), but it does not explicitly state that these are the essential tenets of the Reformed faith. Session adopted the Essential Tenets and Reformed Distinctives to clarify what it considered to be the essential tenets for church officers at CPC. It was provided for the study of the church as a whole but was particularly designed to be used in the orientation and education of new officers.

A copy of the preamble and tenets are available from the church office. Question 4 Is there mention anywhere in the Bible: marriage is approved for two people of same sex? Answer: There is no scripture which specifically states marriage is approved for two people of the same sex. Some individuals believe Scriptures do not prohibit it, while others strongly disagree with this position. Question 5 Regarding ownership of church property: If CPC were to disassociate

from PC(USA) How would ownership of our church property be affected? If our loan is paid off would the property belong to CPC? When other churches disassociated with PC(USA), property ownership became an issue for the courts, has that issue been resolved? Answer: Because there is a trust clause in the PCUSA Book of Order that states that all property is held in trust for the PCUSA and because California law currently upholds any such trust clause, the property does not belong to the congregation without negotiating for the property, regardless of whose name is on the deed or whether any debt is owed on the property. There has been only 1 case (2 churches) that went to court that case has now been settled between the parties.

Question 6 If CPC, after the discernment process, disassociated with the PC(USA) is the Evangelical Presbyterian Church the option we would consider, or, what would be our options? What did Covenant Do? Answer: The discernment process will determine what options are considered. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church is one of a number of Presbyterian or Reformed denominations which could be considered. Other Presbyterian denominations which might be explored are ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, or some other option that the discernment process brings to our attention. Covenant stayed in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), our

denomination, but changed presbyteries. It is now in the Presbytery of Stockton instead of the Presbytery of Sacramento We are not advocating any one of these options. Question 7 Is the Presbytery our adversary? It feels like big brother is watching when we are told that we cannot meet amongst ourselves without members of the Presbytery present? Where is the harm, and should we be afraid? In addition, our pastors should be able to advise us through this process. I feel that the presence of the Presbytery overseers inhibits their comments.

Answer: The Presbyterys discernment team is here to ensure that all voices get to be heard and all material is presented in as fair and balanced a manner as possible. They may also be able to help us answer some questions from the Presbyterys perspective. Our Presbyterys guidelines provide for them being here whenever such discussions are held. Additionally, your pastors do not want to unduly influence you. This is an important decision that impacts the future of this congregation and needs

to be a congregational decision. Question 8 As to same-sex marriage: Genesis 1:25 When God created a partner for Adam, He created Eve not another Adam. See Lev. 18:22 Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, that is detestable. Answer: Yes, and please remember, Scripture also has some very strong words about purity within heterosexual relationships.

Question 9 If PCUSA makes changes to our original agreement with them, say that we all agree that we will follow the Word of God, why then are we fined and punished for opting out of the contract that they changed? Answer: There is not any hard and fast contract with the denomination. Rather we are in a denomination which does study issues, take votes, and change its policies over time. That said, there have been some very large

changes within the last few years such as changes to our Book of Order that: Prevent us from witholding ordination to anyone due to theological conviction, Allow for removal of pastors without a congregational vote, Some meetings of the congregation must be authorized by the Presbytery Therefore, it would be incumbent upon all to be gracious with one another Question 10 Question: A pastor must be able to relate to his

flock, which would normally be a congregation of straight people.would he/she, who was not straight and who is not following the Word of God, be able to do that effectively and honestly? Answer: As Presbyterians we do not put such constraints upon a pastor nor presuppose who he/she is capable of effectively relating to. Everyday, pastors must relate to those that are different from their gender, race, economic level or life experience. It is always important for pastors to be honest and open. And because we

are all sinners, pastors need to be accepting of all people as those that God loves, regardless of their life choices. Question 11 Question: Is this a true statement? If PCUSA elects to enact a politically correct tenet, which is not biblically correct, and we do not agree with it and feel we must separate from them, they can fine us more than we are worth, as much as a million dollars. If this is the case, what would happen to those of us who have offered to loan CPC money to pay off the renovation?

Answer: There is no set fine. Every congregation has different circumstances and burdens. If our congregation were to one day separate from the PCUSA, there would be a negotiation for the property, and included in those terms would be all debts and obligations that the congregation would have. Those who have loaned money to CPC to pay off the renovation will have their money repaid by this congregation and any debt that is outstanding would become a part of said negotiations

(Presbyterys Discernment team to give examples) Question 12 Question: PCUSA is open to adjusting the Word of God in the instance of same-sex marriage and gay pastors. That being the case, what would constrain them from doing the same with any one of the Commandments and other teachings found in the Holy Bible? Answer: We cannot predict what the PCUSA will do in the future. As noted above, there have been some very large

changes lately and the close votes at the last General Assembly may tell us that more changes are most probably coming. Question 13 Question: What is the financial impact on us if we pull away from PCUSA? Answer: As answered above, there is no set fine or amount. Everything would be open to negotiation, should that time come. Question 14

Question: Why is the Presbyterian Church taking a stand on activities in the Middle East, i.e., Israel/Palestine the involvement there of Motorola, H.P., Caterpillar? Answer: There are some who see this as a social justice issue, wanting to impose some financial constraints upon Israel in retribution for actions that that government has taken. As within the General Assembly this year, those boycotts generally dont get very far.

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