A group representing religiously conservative African-American clergy has broken away from the Presbyterian Church USA over its embrace of homosexual marriage, Breitbart reported, citing Charisma News.
The National Black Church Initiative, which said it represented 34,000 black churches with 15.7 million African-American and Latino members, has ended its connection to the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) to protest the church's "arbitrary change of Holy Scripture," according to Breitbart.
PCUSA endorsed same-sex marriage in June. The church decided this month to constitutionally rephrase marriage to include a "commitment between two people."
The Rev. Anthony Evans, the National Black Church Initiative president, said that the traditionalists were "simply standing on the word of God within the mind of Christ" and urged PCUSA to "repent and be restored to fellowship."
Evans characterized the PCUSA shift as a "sin" and break with 2,000 years of Christian teachings. He quoted Galatians 1:8, in which Paul condemns those who would alter Christian teachings as "false apostles," "deceitful workers" and, by implication, tools of Satan.
"No church has the right to change the word of God. By voting to redefine marriage PCUSA automatically forfeits Christ's saving grace," Evans wrote.
Bishop Janice Hollis, presiding prelate of the Covenant International Fellowship, told Breitbart that she agreed with Evans
Too many members of the clergy were "preoccupied" with secular values, she said. "God has the final say, but we all have to say something about what we believe and not live in hiding. We must share our faith and when we don't, we lose ground to our spiritual enemy that comes to devour and destroy."
Conservative African-American clergy have also repeatedly criticized President Barack Obama for linking gay and lesbian rights with the civil rights movement. The Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American pastors, termed Obama "a disgrace to the black community" and accused him of "rewriting history," according to Breitbart.
He also denounced the LGBT community for hijacking the civil rights movement.
The Presbyterians may be the largest church in the United States to accept same-sex couples as acceptable for marriage but they are by no means the first.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America began officially allowing blessings of same-sex couples in August of 2009 as have the Quakers, Unitarians and Metropolitan Community churches and a number of other smaller churches for many years.