The Presbyterian Church (USA) has been sliding for decades, so it probably comes as no surprise that the denomination is planning to vote this coming summer at its General Assembly meeting in Salt Lake City to further expand some of its already heretical policies.

If the proposal known as “OVT-001” passes, clergy who don’t affirm LGBT-identified individuals in their sexual confusion and sin won’t be allowed to minister.

Ironically, the change in the PCUSA’s “Book of Order” comes under its “Unity in Diversity” section. The proposed new section reads, in part:

The unity of believers in Christ is reflected in the rich diversity of the Church’s membership. In Christ, by the power of the Spirit, God unites persons through baptism, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, [gender identity, sexual orientation,] disability, geography, or theological conviction. There is therefore no place in the life of the Church for discrimination against any person. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) shall guarantee full participation and representation in its worship, governance, and emerging life to all persons or groups within its membership. No member shall be denied participation or representation for any reason other than those stated in this Constitution.

The statement starts strong, but quickly goes downhill. It’s true that within the Christian Church, the world’s social categories are flattened. This is what the apostle Paul was getting at when he wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28-29).

Christ and the Church welcome anyone and everyone – as sinners in need of a Savior – but that doesn’t mean every type of behavior is moral and biblical. Implied within the PCUSA statement is the belief that sexual confusion and immorality are healthy and acceptable. Of course, the powers that be don’t think they’re confused at all. They believe all sexual expression is of equal value. They would be wrong, but it’s this belief that animates the push for these types of changes to church polity.

The road to this moment of the PCUSA has been long in the making. Some point to the denomination’s split in 1973 that led to the creation of the more conservative PCA. Others suggest it dates back earlier to Princeton Seminary abandoning the teaching that Scripture is the inerrant Word of God. Still others point to even earlier decisions a century ago.

But whether in the PCUSA, other liberal Christian denominations or the broader culture, heretical beliefs are very often a byproduct of sloppy thinking.

Schools teach a lot of subjects, and lately they spend an inordinate amount of time brainwashing students regarding what to think – but do they spend much time helping people how to think?

It was the pastor Henry Van Dyke who once observed, “No amount of energy will take the place of thought. A strenuous life with its eyes shut is a kind of wild insanity.”

Poor philosophy leads to bad theology. At the root of the PCUSA’s misguidedness is the dangerous belief that all lifestyles are healthy, equal, and compatible with God’s Word. It’s just not true.

Thinking Christians understand we’re compelled to abide by God’s laws, not man’s variable desires and tortured thinking. We know that God puts limits and laws in place not to punish, but for the good of our own and society’s welfare.

Sloppy thinking often seeks to be liked or even loved in the short-term. Critical thinking takes the long view, recognizing that value is remembered after the price we pay is forgotten.

It takes time to think critically. It can be an expensive habit, but one worth the investment. I once knew a man who encouraged employees to block out time on their calendars to do it. He enjoyed finding them lost in thought. It’s like exercise. It might not come easy at first, but the more you do it, the more natural it becomes.

In his writings to early believers, the apostle Paul urged Christians to leverage the power of their minds. “Do not be conformed to this world,” he wrote, “but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Given the noise and lies of the world, we need to prioritize the skill of discerning fact from fiction. We need to keep our eyes open, aware that the enemy is regularly trying to cloud and confuse and trade truth for lies.

The more clearly and neatly we think, with God’s Word as our unchanging plumbline, the closer and more aligned to the Lord we will be.