A church court has upheld the National Capital Union Presbytery decision to accept as a member a Rockville pastor whose theological views have displeased some conservative members of the presbytery.
The Permanent Judicial Commission of the Synod of the Piedmont last week rejected complaints that, based on his answers in an oral theological exam, the Rev. Mansfield Kaseman should not have been admitted to the presbytery.
Kaseman, 40, who also holds standing in the United Church of Christ, is pastor of the Rockville United Church, a parish maintained jointly by Presbyterians and the United Church.
Kaseman twice has been examined and twice voted into the presbytery by overwhelming majorities, but the first action, taken more than a year ago, was invalidated on appeal. The presbytery was directed to reexamine and admit him, which it did last March.
A group of seven churchmen, headed by the Rev. Stewart J. Rankin of the Atonement Presbyterian Church in Silver Spring, once again challenged Kaseman's theological orthodoxy at a higher level of the church.
But the Judicial Commission, after studing the transcript of the presbytery's March 18 decision, rejected each of the six complaints cited by the challengers.
In its decision, the Judicial Commission indicated that most of the differences between Kaseman and his challengers lay in the pastor's tendency to express his beliefs in contemporary rather than traditional language.
"Indeed it appears to this commission that by his refusal to use traditional theological language in answering the questions asked at his examination, Mr. Kaseman was being true to the spirit of the Confession of 1967," the church's official statement of faith, the commission noted.
In dismissing the complaints, the commission appealed for pluralism and tolerance within the denominations. "Theological pluralism is a reality which is both desirable and present in our midst," the commission said. r