Stephen Van Kuiken is a Presbyterian minister again—albeit one without a church
A Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) court has reinstated Stephen Van Kuiken's ministerial credentials, saying the Cincinnati Presbytery was wrong to remove them after he conducted a same-sex wedding in direct violation of a presbytery order.

The synod court, which oversees PCUSA churches in Ohio and Michigan, voted unanimously for Van Kuiken in all four objections he made to his ousting. The main point of the court, however, was that the Cincinnati Presbytery violated church rules when it fired him while he still had an appeal pending in the church courts against the presbytery's order that he not perform same-sex weddings.

Too hard to follow? Here's the deal: The presbytery "rebuked" Van Kuiken for performing a same-sex wedding and told him not to perform any more. He appealed that decision, and went ahead with another gay wedding. So the presbytery formally renounced him. What the church court said yesterday, in essence, was that the presbytery should have allowed Van Kuiken to perform as many same-sex ceremonies as he wanted to while he continued to drag his initial case through the church court system.

While Van Kuiken rejected the presbytery's authority by flagrantly disregarding its orders, the court ruled that his very act of appealing the order was an acknowledgement of the prebytery's jurisdiction.

It's all very technical, and you can read a PDF of the decision at Presbyweb (which requires registration). You'll need to have the Book of Order on hand to decipher it, however.

One wonders if this will encourage presbyteries to take more decisive action against ministers like Van Kuiken. Would the Cincinnati Presbytery be in this mess if they had ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.