(RNS) — The Christian Reformed Church, a small evangelical denomination of U.S. and Canadian churches, voted Wednesday (June 15) at its annual synod to codify its opposition to homosexual sex by elevating it to the status of confession, or declaration of faith.
The 123-53 vote at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, caps a process begun in 2016 when a previous synod voted to form a study committee to bring a report on the “biblical theology” of sexuality.
The vote, following a long day of debate, approves a list of what the denomination calls sexual immorality it won’t tolerate, including “adultery, premarital sex, extra-marital sex, polyamory, pornography and homosexual sex.”
Paul VanderKlay has been preparing for this synod for quite some time. In past videos when addressing this topic, he has demonstrated a sadness that he knew that the issue would tear the denomination apart. He has offered a couple of short videos outlining his thoughts and reactions to the vote, here and here.
I commented at the first of these two videos, and my (edited) comment follows (with a few further thoughts thrown in):
In my parents’ home was a poster, depicting the narrow path and the broad path. The first showed a family under blessing; the second, movie theaters, alcohol, prostitutes, etc. The first led to heaven, the second to hell. Setting aside the theological discussions which such a depiction entails, it is at least an interpretation of Jesus’s words in Matthew 7: 13-14.
This is the poster, although I don’t recall that the one my parents had was in German:
What such a decision does to the CRC is unknown; but it is doctrinally correct. Matthew 7:21 is quite applicable here. No one said the road would be easy, and teaching people that it would be easy is a path to destruction for all. This is not to discount the point: what we believe to be true (and is objectively true) says nothing about how we relate to those who live outside of or fall short of that truth. We all have logs in our eyes.
Lines have to be drawn somewhere, don’t they? Remember, we are enemies to those of this world. Yes, we are to love our enemies; this doesn’t mean we have to affirm and accept and take pride in everything done by our enemies – in June or in any other month of the year.
It is also interesting to note that Calvin University will now (presumably) require a signed statement on beliefs regarding homosexuality.
Calvin University is owned by and under the auspices of the Christian Reformed Church of North America. As this issue is now a statement of confession, well…if such a statement cannot be confirmed by those employed by and representing the denomination…this has to mean something, doesn’t it?
This is nothing new in society – corporate, academia, etc. It is just that this might be one of the few institutions that requires the statement opposite of that which many other institutions are demanding. The university may see an increase in student applications, as many are looking for such academic institutions for their children.
I do believe that this last sentence may be truer than even I understand. We see people searching for solutions to this meaning crisis. At the root of the meaning crisis is the abandonment of objective truth and the natural law ethic built on this. We see interest in the Traditional Latin Mass, in the Orthodox Church, and in Protestant denominations that hold to a more conservative social construct.
People are looking for meaning. They want something built on rock, not sand.
Finally…interesting to note 20% strongly in favor, 20% strongly opposed, with those in-between voting primarily on the conservative / traditional side. This is an image of the larger society. Just because the crazies scream the loudest or get the entire month of June to shove their views down our throats doesn’t mean that they have numbers.
There are more normal people out there than we might come to believe if we only watch the mainstream or listen to our politicians.
I think it is fitting that we get to celebrate this event in June….
Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.