Synods and General Assemblies: The Reformed Church in America (part 4)
Reformed Free Publishing Association
The Homosexual Agenda Advances, Too
Like the proponents of women’s ordination (which I examined here), proponents of accepting homosexuality have a goal too. Homosexuality will not be condemned as sin. It will be viewed as a legitimate (preferable?) “alternative lifestyle.” And it will receive the complete acceptance of every congregation and member in the denomination. The RCA is not there . . . yet. But Synod 2013 made three decisions that move in that direction.
First, the Synod rescinded the following statement made by Synod 2012—“any person, congregation, or assembly which advocates homosexual behavior or provides leadership for a service of same-sex marriage or a similar celebration has committed a disciplinable offense.”
Second, the Synod passed a motion calling for more “grace-filled” conversations about homosexuality.
Third, the Synod remanded the case of Ursilla Cargill, a practicing lesbian, back to a lower assembly. Cargill is not only a lesbian but was also ordained to be a “minister”. Apparently her ordination was approved by a classis and then upheld by a regional synod that rejected a protest against her ordination. Appeal was then made to Synod 2013 to rule Cargill’s ordination invalid. But Synod 2013 sent the case back to the regional synod. Although I am inclined to believe the Synod should have treated the case, it is not completely clear to me from the information available if Synod’s action was improper. Even if synod made the proper decision, RCA pastor Ben Kappers suggests that manipulation may have been involved to ensure that Synod would remand the case. He writes, “While the vast majority of people agreed with the recommendation to send the case back to the Regional Synod, it was disappointing to hear from the President that the [General Synod] was not even prepared to address the case if the Synod delegates decided to move in that direction. This action seemed to be a predetermined outcome.” Whatever the reason for the decision to remand the case, the outcome is that Synod 2013 did not put a stop to the evil of a homosexual woman laying claim to the office of minister in the RCA.
According to RCA pastor Kevin De Young, the acts of Synod 2013 are ominous for conservatives who oppose the acceptance of homosexuality. He writes,
Conservatives lost ground on the issue of homosexuality. Instead of trying to strengthen our resolve, the RCA backpedaled. Instead of making up our minds after thirty years of dialogue, the denomination has called for more conversations and another study committee. There is little doubt how this will end up. Progressives do not stop calling for dialoge (sic) until their side is accepted, and eventually mandated… In the meantime, the Regional Synod of Mid-Atlantics will surely uphold the ordination of Ms. Cargill (they already sided with the classis once). The formal position of the RCA on homosexuality is being weakened and the informal position, we will soon discover, is that classes can ordain whom they wish without fear of disciplinary action.
In addition to these wicked acts of Synod, a serious failure to act should be mentioned too. This is the failure to discipline. There is a failure to discipline those who agitate for the acceptance of homosexuality. Kappers comments in his report on the presence at Synod of a group known as Room for All. Room for All is an organization made up of RCA members that is committed, according to its website, “to the welcome and affirmation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies.” This organization wants the “full inclusion” of homosexuals in the church. Kappers says their presence at synod was “significant”. And he writes, “This group continues to be well organized and influential at Synod. In fact, their pride hearts could be seen worn by . . . professors of theology, elder delegates, pastor delegates, seminary student delegates, and corresponding delegates.” The Synod also invited, according to Kappers, two RCA authors to “do official book signings at General Synod. Both authors openly support Room for all.” These authors made their support for the full inclusion of homosexuals known during these signings.
There is also a failure to discipline those who are homosexuals. In the documents I read I found that objections were brought to the regional synod and synod about the ordination of Ursilla Cargill, but no one, far as I could tell, called her to repent for her sin of being a lesbian. Apparently her sin is public. Yet, there is no public call for repentance and discipline in case she does not repent. Even if Cargill’s ordination is overturned the members of the RCA seem content to allow her to remain a member in good standing in the denomination as an impenitent “practicing lesbian”.
The homosexual agenda will not stop, especially if members of the RCA are not disciplined for promoting the sin or living in it. If they are not disciplined they will form organizations such as Room for All. They will trouble denomination with “grace-filled dialogue” that does not end. They will gain control of a classis here and there. They will gain control of a regional synod. In those assemblies they will allow and uphold the ordination of homosexuals. And eventually they will control the broadest assembly of the denomination, the general synod. And soon there will be a synodical decision binding the entire denomination to accept homosexuality. And following that decision there will be the discipline of anyone who dares condemn homosexuality as a sin.
In light of the RCA General Synod’s decisions about the Belhar Confession, women in office, and homosexuality, there is a very serious question facing conservatives in the denomination. May they remain committed to the RCA? Or put another way, may they stay in the RCA, a denomination that holds to a confession that teaches false doctrine, that condemns the biblical prohibition of women office bearers, and that approves the vile sin of homosexuality?
To ask is to answer.
Click here to read Part 1 on the RCA Synod 2013.
Click here to read Part 2 on the RCA Synod 2013.
Click here to read Part 3 on the RCA Synod 2013.
“General Synod News” on the RCA’s website here: https://www.rca.org/Page.aspx?pid=9443
“What Happened at the RCA General Synod?” by Kevin DeYoung can be found online here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/07/09/what-happened-at-the-rca-general-synod-2/
“General Synod 2013 Recap” by Ben Kappers here: http://benkappers.blogspot.com/2013/07/general-synod-overview-2013-in.html
“2013 RCA General Synod undermines previous Syond’s decision” by Glenda Mathes published in the July 31/August 21, 2013 Christian Renewal
This article was written by guest blogger Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Peace Protestant Reformed Church in Lansing, IL. Rev. Spronk will be blogging for us several times a month. If there is a topic you'd like to Rev. Spronk to address, please contact us.