It's not just Anglicans that are being torn apart by the issue of gay ordinations; Presbyterians are quietly waging their own struggle, as is evident in Mark D. Roberts' post "Is the PCUSA My Church?" [PCUSA stands for Presbyterian Church USA.] Roberts is a highly respected pastor, author, and blogger, so you know there's a problem when he says something like this:
The issue of gay ordination will continue to plague our denomination, to drag us down, to debilitate us, and to divide us until we come to some sort of institutional change that allows us to stop fighting . . . or until we kill off the PCUSA. [Ellipsis in original.]
The post is actually the last installment of a 13 part series, and I'm not so dedicated at to go read the earlier 12 installments. The concluding post seems to sum it all up for the casual reader, who can't help but sympathize with the plight of Presbyterians who see their denomination, the vehicle of their church life and Sunday worship, become a focus of dispute and disagreement. Representing what I take to be the conservative wing of PCUSA, Roberts says, "Those of us who oppose gay ordination as unbiblical face a variety of possible actions. As we evaluate our options, we must continue to let Scripture guide us."
From an LDS perspective, the most interesting part of Roberts' discussion is his view of "denomination" and "church." He agrees with those who value a diversity of theological views within a denomination, but disagrees that exiting a denomination (either individually or as a congregation) is equivalent to placing oneself in a different church from those left behind:
Their language suggests that the PCUSA is “my church.” It virtually equates our denomination with the church of Jesus Christ. And this, I’d suggest, is a biblical and theological mistake. As I read the Bible, it’s hard to find any support for the idea that a denomination is a church, much less the Church of Jesus Christ. It is either a collection of churches or a part of the one Church. But a denomination is not a church.
That, of course, is a very Protestant way of looking at things. He notes that Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox would view things differently, and I would add that Mormons would as well. Which is a reminder to us that Mormonism is doctrinally fairly Protestant but institutionally more like the Catholic Church. I'm sure others have made that point before, I just don't recall who or where.