I write with deep concern for the Christian Reformed Church. The tone and substance of too much of the dialogue surrounding Synod 2022’s decisions about human sexuality has been less than respectful and charitable. It is unbecoming of our Christian community and has created a breach in our fellowship that might not be repaired. It might split the CRC sooner rather than later.
I believe we should be seeking middle ground. I believe God despises how the body of Christ has been divided when the Scriptures have called us to unity. Like other traditions, the Reformed tradition has embarrassing divisions. Consider the Reformed churches just in my hometown: There are CRC, Reformed Church in America, Protestant Reformed, United Reformed, American Reformed, and Netherlands Reformed congregations. Do we need yet another? What a contentious people we are! Let’s make the case to instead learn to love across our differences.
I love our church. I am thankful to have been raised in Third Lynden (Wash.) CRC and to have been a member of Christian Reformed churches in Fort Wingate, N.M.; Rehoboth, N.M.; and now Sonlight in Lynden. They have blessed my family, now into a fifth generation in this denomination. Our churches, denominational agencies, and colleges have been an enormous blessing to the kingdom. How dare we ignore this! I can’t imagine God approving when seeing what he has built through the Holy Spirit being rent asunder.
Many people do not know the pain that will come for hundreds, even thousands who cherish their Christian Reformed roots if the CRC splits.
I’ve talked to dozens who agree with me that Synod 2022’s decision to make a traditional view of human sexuality “confessional” is what creates the greatest threat to our unity. I happen to come out on the more conservative side of the issues, but I am not about to condemn and disassociate from those who disagree with me. I go to church with them—and I dare say most of us do. Do we want to give them the boot? Folks, we need to learn how to love one another—something Jesus was quite good at, asSamaritans, prostitutes, and others would attest.
I have yet to hear a good answer when I ask this question: What makes the seventh commandment rise above the rest of the commandments? Read the Heidelberg Catechism. Surely we have idolaters, Sabbath-breakers, blasphemers, haters (even of parents), cheaters, liars, gossips, and jealous folks in our churches. That sounds serious to me. Is that confessional? Shall we give them all the boot?
My plea is to allow the decision to affirm a traditional interpretation to stand but to remove the confessional status. Let’s continue to wrestle with these challenging issues as congregations and a denomination. Let’s be willing to listen and not so quick to condemn.
About the Author
Ron Polinder is a retired school administrator of Rehoboth (N.M.) Christian School and Lynden (Wash.) Christian School. He is an elder at Sonlight Christian Reformed Church in Lynden.