“The Council of First Christian Reformed Church, Toronto… resolve[s] to acknowledge the CRC guidelines with respect to homosexuality as the current position of our denomination and agrees to tailor its ministry accordingly.”
That was the response of First CRC, Toronto, in December 2005, after Classis Toronto (the region’s Christian Reformed churches) told First CRC it must bring its practice, pastoral care, and teaching ministry within the guidelines of Synod 1973. Those guidelines state that “explicit homosexual practice must be condemned as incompatible with obedience to the will of God as revealed in Holy Scripture.”
The response from First CRC pulls the congregation back from the brink of being disaffiliated from the Christian Reformed Church in North America after several years of controversy.
Three years ago First CRC announced it would allow its members living in committed gay and lesbian relationships to be nominated as elders and deacons. That move prompted protests throughout the denomination, calls for the officebearers at First CRC to be disciplined, and the appointment of a special committee to investigate the matter.
That committee, appointed by Synod 2005 (the CRC’s annual gathering of delegates from across the denomination), and Classis Toronto encouraged First CRC to ask synod to revisit the CRC’s position on homosexuality as the appropriate avenue of seeking change. First CRC plans to bring such an overture (request) to the next meeting of Classis Toronto. Classis Toronto will vote on whether to send the overture to synod. If classis chooses not to, First CRC can bring its request to synod directly.