Approximately 15.7 million African Americans belonging to 34,000 churches have broken their ties with the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) following its decision to allow same sex marriage.
The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), led by its president Rev. Anthony Evans said the main reason for their coalition's departure from the PCUSA is the recent vote of the Presbyterian General Assembly to revise its constitution, specifically the terms that define marriage, reports Charisma News.
In its original Constitution, marriage was described as a "unique commitment between man and a woman" but the body recently ratified a revision that defines it as a "unique commitment between two people."
"NBCI and its membership base are simply standing on the Word of God within the mind of Christ. We urge our brother and sisters of the PCUSA to repent and be restored to fellowship," Evans stated.
Evans said that no church has the right to change the Word of God and PCUSA's move to redefine marriage is an immediate forfeiture of Christ's saving grace.
"In this case, PCUSA deliberately voted to change the Word of God and the interpretation of holy marriage between one man and one woman. This is why we must break fellowship with them and urge the entire Christendom to do so as well," he added.
The NBCI further denounced PCUSA's manipulation and declared it a "universal sin" against the entire church and its members.
"With this action, PCUSA can no longer base its teachings on 2,000 years of Christian scripture and tradition, and call itself a Christian entity in the body of Christ. It has forsaken its right by this single wrong act," Evans noted.
The NBCI was not the first group to sever ties with the PCUSA in the wake of the same sex marriage vote as the Brighton Presbyterian Church in New York earlier expressed its intention to separate with the group.
In its statement, Brighton said that their break from PCUSA is not borne out of anti-gay sentiment but rather because they believe that the Word of God does not change.
"We're not an anti-gay congregation. We love all people. All people that come here are welcomed and loved and we do that because we believe that is Jesus' model for us. Where we draw the line is when it comes to marriage and leadership," Tim Luddy, the lead pastor of Brighton, said.