“I realized I no longer believed in the traditional teachings regarding homosexuality,” and said that his aim was to see the congregation “allow for grace in the midst of disagreement,” and to “agree to disagree and not cast judgment on one another.”Does any of that sound familiar?
In a vote (remember this is a congregational church) which is probably more reflective of personal affection than theological discernment, the church is standing by their man,
...the church voted on May 18 not to dismiss the pastor and “to instead become a Third Way church.”What in the world is a "Third Way church"? A quick internet search will show you that a number of groups and denominations have used the term "Third Way" to mean any of a number of different things.
I suspect the "Third Way church" in the present context is a Utopian dream. The dream is that love and relationship can hold a church together despite the deep differences in theology which come from two very different gospels.
Albert Mohler spots a flaw in the Third Way model right away,
The impossibility of a “third way” is made clear in Pastor Cortez’s own letter.Sometimes the loving thing to do is to tell someone that they err, and if they agree to disagree, then to shake the dust from your feet because there is no third way, and in the long run, any church that tries it is doomed to failure.
In one paragraph, he writes:
“So now, we will accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship. We will choose to remain the body of Christ and not cast judgement. We will work towards graceful dialogue in the midst of theological differences. We wee that this is possible in the same way that our church holds different positions on the issue of divorce and remarriage. In this issue we are able to not cast judgement in our disagreement.”
But in the very next paragraph, he writes:
“Unfortunately, many who voted to remain traditional will now separate from us in a couple of weeks. We are in the period of reconciliation and forgiveness. Please pray for us in this. Then on June 8, we will formally peacefully separate, restate our love for one another, and bless each other as we part ways. It has been a very tiring and difficult process.”
From a separate post at the Gospel Coalition,
“It’s an unwitting decision to think that we don’t need to be held together by shared theology and a shared understanding of the gospel, but by relationships, shared institutions, and a general sense that we all want to do good in the world.” University Reformed Church (URC) in East Lansing, Michigan pastor Kevin DeYoung.I have yet to encounter a church that can stay together when its theological framework starts separating from the central picture. Love can keep us from coming to fisticuffs over our differences, and love should keep us from going to the secular courts, but can love really keep a church together if we are loving a different gospel?