October 7, 2018

Genuine Family Values

... I’m reminded of the Rev. Gary Demarest (a well-known Presbyterian pastor) who received a similar lesson when he was a young man and a very new minister.  His first call was to be an associate at a church in Florida, and he recounted his first speech on the floor of presbytery. This was the early 1950s. He rose to speak against the ordination of any one who had been divorced. Scripture was clear on this, he said, both in the Old Testament and in the very words of Jesus himself. “It’s a sin!” he thundered, “and if we open this door, what will follow?” He was 100% sure about this.

And then a few years later he went to his senior pastor with tears in his eyes and offered his resignation because he and his wife were getting a divorce. The senior pastor refused to accept it, as did the session -- unanimously. Some time afterwards, Gary said the following: “It was the community of faith that showed me the Gospel of grace and forgiveness that had always been there; I’d just missed it.” You know, we in the church miss a lot of things.