Ruling on gays 'could be fatal blow to church'

by Hank Schouten

A RULING that opens the way for openly gay people to become ministers could destroy the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand, says Auckland minister Stuart Lange.

"If allowed to stick it could be a fatal blow to the church as we know it," he said after this week's decision by the church's highest court to let Wellington lesbian lay preacher Deborah Gordon apply to train for the ministry"

"If this decision were to be maintained and the door opened generally to the ordination of practising homosexuals it would have catastrophic results for the peace and unity of the Presbyterian Church."

Mr Lange, spokesman for Presbyterian Affirm, said the judicial commission decision would never have got through a full assembly of the church and the subject was bound to come up again at next year's assembly.

"It is the teaching of the scriptures from start to finish that God's intention for human sexual relations is faithful loving marriage be. tween one mail and one woman."

Wellington minister Margaret Mayman said biblical writers did not understand homosexual orientation - and for that reason the Bible was of limited value.  "We have a lot more data to help us understand our sexuality in the 21st century and the parts of the Bible that still have a hold on us tell us to love one another, love God and our neighbour."