Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

In the News: Submitting to the Lordship of Jesus


A recent article at the Fox News website reports that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has voted to ratify a proposal that will eradicate the requirement of unmarried clergy to remain celibate. (To read the article, click here).

There is a lot wrong with that sentence, including the idea that a church can vote to make any doctrinal change, the concept of a clergy/laity distinction, and the idea that it is acceptable for a professed Christian to engage in the act of fornication.

The purpose of the change is to allow the ordination of homosexual priests. This battle has raged in the Presbyterian church for decades. Many individual congregations of the denomination disregarded church law on the matter, and ordained homosexuals anyway. Likewise, despite the change, many individual congregations will still refuse to ordain them. It is however another step in the process of digression, and will ultimately lead to the universal practice of ordaining homosexual clergy in that denomination.

The previous provision in the Presbyterian church constitution required that clergy live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The new provision, approved by majority vote, requires ministers to, “submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.” Each regional body is given the discretion under this provision to decide for itself who will or will not be ordained to the clergy.

The phrase, “submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” is a hollow phrase, as it will be interpreted by the various regional bodies of that denomination in whatever way suits them.

In actual fact, the concept of “Lordship” centers in authority. Jesus said, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Even if we disregard the apostle Paul’s clear teaching regarding homosexuality (as evidenced in such passages as Romans 1:26-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) — Jesus himself condemned fornication. Both in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9, fornication is referred to, by Him, as sinful.

What is fornication? It is unlawful sexual intercourse with someone other than your spouse. The Hebrew writer put it this way, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). Any type of sexual intercourse, except that between a married man and his wife, is condemned by the Lord. This would include premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual sex, and any other perversions of marital relations.

So, for an individual to “submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life”, he would have to abstain from extramarital sex. Jesus, as Lord, has required this of his disciples. Christians do not have a right to decide for themselves whether or not they will obey His will. In years past even the Presbyterian Church recognized this truth.

Logically, an interpretation that would allow for homosexual priests under the new provision would also allow for adulterers and polygamists. If we are allowed to define what our joyful submission will consist of, the door is opened to any type of sexual activity, no matter how perverse it may be.

Submitting joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus means to cheerfully do what He says. This, the Presbyterian church is unwilling to do.