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March 26, 2004


Dear Editor,

The following in Craig E. Tenke’s letter caught my attention: “[Authoritative Interpretations] were prepared by a GA-appointed team as a GUIDANCE PIECE… much like the recent Changing Families study and the ill-fated 1991 Sexuality report.,” I served as a commissioner to the 1991 GA, specifically on the sexuality committee enjoined with the responsibility to recommend a decision on the sexuality report. It is grossly wrong to refer to the 1991 sexuality report as a “guidance piece.” Our committee, by a vast majority, rejected the paper, asking the GA to do the same, which it did. We even voted to have it expunged from all records so that no one COULD describe it as a guidance piece. Sadly, the GA parliamentarian ruled that it could not be excised from the minutes. The result has been that some of the authors of that paper have nefariously implied that it is a guidance document. It is simply a sophomoric, failed attempt to redirect the church to extreme secular values.

Additionally, I attended the 1978 GA where Authoritative Guidance (or “interpretation”) was established. It also was the result of the rejection of a task force’s attempt to adapt faith to the world rather than the other way around. A minority report was written and overwhelmingly approved by the GA. This became our Authoritative Guidance on the issue of homosexuality.. That report (only 26 years old, hardly “dated”) still affirms the timeless values of Scriptural guidance.

While we all claim to treasure the words of Jesus it is a sad error to assume that his teaching of love excluded faithfulness to scriptural commands for holiness. It is accurate to assume that Jesus held to traditional sexual mores (witness “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife…”). Certainly, “B” has not reduced the controversy, as Tenke avers. The same two positions present in 1978 are present today. I pray that what has held throughout the ENTIRE history of Christianity and Presbyterianism will continue to hold.


Tom Gray
Pastor, Kirk of the Hills, Presbyterian
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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