No New Study of Homosexuality

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Following a spirited debate, synod decided Monday not to re-examine the Christian Reformed Church’s biblical and theological position on homosexuality, unchanged since 1973.

Classis Grand Rapids East (a regional group of churches) had asked synod to appoint a study committee to consider new biblical and theological resources that have been published since the denomination’s official stance was decided.

Delegates were starkly divided on the question.

“I hear a lot of words of fear, backed by the assumption that the position of the CRC on this issue will change,” said Rev. Arthur De Bruyn, Classis Rocky Mountain.

Rev. Alvern Gelder: “We must stand boldly and not act out of fear.”

Karen Huttenga

Rev. Alvern Gelder, Classis Atlantic Northeast, went further: “We must stand boldly and not act out of fear. We can open the light of Scripture to all that is being done around us and know that Scripture is strong and firm.”

Many delegates were not convinced by those arguments to strike a new study committee, or even to restate the denomination’s existing position.

“The Bible has not changed,” said elder Donald Kloosterhouse, Classis Zeeland. “We should not take an easy route by twisting, trying to look for ways to twist God’s Word to fit the world, to fit current thinking.”

John Kloosterman: “The CRC position has to be able to speak to young adults.”

Karen Huttenga

In a 93 to 81 vote, synod decided not to appoint a study committee on the issue. Yet a challenge from young adult representative John Kloosterman still faces the denomination as a whole as it continues to assert its position adopted in 1973.

“The CRC position on homosexuality must be one that we are extremely confident standing behind,” said Kloosterman, a student at Calvin College. “It has to be able to speak to young adults for whom the position on homosexuality represents an opportunity to splinter away from the church.”

For more coverage while synod is in session, including webcasts, photos, discussion forums, reports, and more, visit the Synod 2011 website.

About the Author

Dan Postma is an occasional reporter for The Banner.

See comments (50)

Comments

This vote is the final straw for me. It makes me sad but I will no longer attend or support the CRC.

John. It sounds like you care a lot about this denomination and this issue. Im sorry that you are thiking of leaving. Yet ,this is such a hot button topic that people are going to leave no matter what. If Synod decides not to revisit this issue many people will slowly leave the denomination. But at the same time if synod would come out and say that scripture is ambiguouis on homosexuality or that teachings on homosexuality are simply cultural there would be a mass exodus from this denomination. It would make the women if office issue look like a picnic. I would have liked to seen the motion pass. Hold up our current view on homosexuality but at the same time talk about how our culture has become more accepting of homosexuality and how we as a church are going to engage in this issue.

This has been an issue that has been bothering me for a long time and now that I am in seminary (not Calvin) I am learning other sides of this discussion.

The simple fact that the CRCNA has decided to stay away from discussing this subject seems to indicate to me that there is a fear in discussing (writer Dan Postma seems to note this as well). If we are so sure in our biblical stance and our particular interpretation of the Scriptures on this topic, then why are we scared? If the Bible actually says that homosexuality is wrong, then we shouldn't be worried.

With that said, we need to recognize that the Bible doesn't actually say outright that it IS wrong! This means that we need to be delicately interpreting the Scriptures to see what the Bible is leading us to say regarding homosexuality.

The CRCNA did a great job of this in the 70's and given the context of the church at that time, it was very well done and an appropriate response. BUT that document is now almost 40 years old and we are in a new generation of the church. We NEED to be reconsidering what we said in the past. Simply affirming that document (like we did in 2003) is not enough. This does not necessarily mean we need to change our stance on homosexuality, it simply means that we need to write a response to it that is in line with our interpretation of scripture *today*. Some of the largest denominations on the continent are changing their stances on homosexuality (including the Presbyterian Church USA, with 2+ million members) and to ignore this fact by sweeping it under the rug is NOT okay.

@John -- I am very frustrated as well, especially since I think that the denomination has something learn and to contribute to the international conversation on homosexuality. With that said, I will continue to attend the CRC and work toward ordination within it and hope that God gives me the words, spirit, and opportunity to petition for conversation (and change?).

@Brian -- I understand your concern in having people leave the denomination around this discussion, and I agree that it will happen either way. So if people are going to leave regardless of the discussion, then why not at least have the conversation? I challenge our denomination to at least converse on the topic and struggle through this incredibly important theological debate.

I want to applaud Classes GR East and the many other churches in our denomination that are engaging in this conversation and responding to the call to approach the topic of homosexuality. I praise God for ministries like New Direction Ministries of Canada that support those that identify as having same-gender attraction. And I pray for the thousands (statistically) within our denomination that identify as being “non-straight”.

I guess there is always next year to revisit the topic...

Leviticus 18:22 - "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." (NIV)

Leviticus 20:13 - "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." (NIV)

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 - "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (NIV).

and in verse 11, it says:

1 Corinthians 6:11 - "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (NIV)

So what I read is that homosexuality is a sin but if we fight our sin (just as thieves, drunkards etc have to) and don't continue to live in that sin, the grace of Christ washes away our sin.
But as with any sin, we can't expect salvation if we continue in the wrong path. We must at least strive.
If a man/woman is a thief, a drunk or a prostitute would they be our elders/deacons/pastors??
I hope not! Neither should anyone who lives a homosexual lifestyle.

Rose - Don't take translations at face value, especiallt the OT. How can you be sure that the translations are accurate. One has to fully understand the historical context and culture to interpet biblical texts properly. As far as Paul's admonitions go, he was not referring to gay lifestyle as we know it, but to the habit of rich men abusing young boys sexually. To be like Jesus, we must be willing to accept and love unconditionally all others, especially those different than ourselves. That is one of Jesus' radical teachings and one of our costs of discipleship.

Rose - Don't take translations at face value, especiallt the OT. How can you be sure that the translations are accurate. One has to fully understand the historical context and culture to interpet biblical texts properly. As far as Paul's admonitions go, he was not referring to gay lifestyle as we know it, but to the habit of rich men abusing young boys sexually. To be like Jesus, we must be willing to accept and love unconditionally all others, especially those different than ourselves. That is one of Jesus' radical teachings and one of our costs of discipleship.

Rose - Don't take translations at face value, especially the OT. How can you be sure that the translations are accurate. One has to fully understand the historical context and culture to interpret biblical texts properly. As far as Paul's admonitions go, he was not referring to gay lifestyle as we know it, but to the habit of rich men abusing young boys sexually. To be like Jesus, we must be willing to accept and love unconditionally all others, especially those different than ourselves. That is one of Jesus' radical teachings and one of our costs of discipleship.

Synod 2011 did a great job on this one.

Some say that this stops the conversation about homosexuality in the CRC, but I completely disagree. Any member of any CRC can discuss the issue in their church, but the discussion should be conducted under the perspective of the 73 report (which is VERY helpful).

I have to disagree with John Kloosterman's call to make the language more applicable to young members of the CRC. I'm a young member of the CRC and I understand the '73 report just fine!

It's sad when we assume that by asking for a study we intend to depart from Scripture to be able to accept and adopt the standards of the world. That's not what the overture was asking for, that's not what advocates were asking for. Some pointed out areas not addressed in 1973 or subsequent report, others pointed out the need to speak to a changed context, others pointed out the need to show that we are concerned about a topic that matters to today's youth. We could also address the assumptions behind gay lifestyle positions and do so in a way that demonstrates how to respectfully engage in conversation.
We've done the biblical study, we done the pastoral exhortation, now we must address the cultural context.

There are many good reasons why we should confidently undertake a new study to refresh and restate the Bible's position on this issue. It's too bad some don't see the value and benefit of doing that.

I am deeply concerned about an unwillingness to look at the current position of the CRC's stance on homosexuality. There are many people that are hurt emotional and mentally by the church. They are told there is something wrong with the core of who they are. Homosexuality is not a choice. Find someone you know who is gay or lesbian that you care about and ask them about their experiences in their church. Compassion is strongly needed.

As I stated below it was my hope that Synod would have revisited the issue. But can your really blame many of the delagates for not going down that path? How many denominations in the past year have started "conversations" and "dialouge" and eventually ruled that homosexuality was normative and changed thier view on homosexuality.
PDR ,how are you so convinced that Paul was only talking about men abusing young boys? Do you really think those were the only kind of homosexual relationships that Paul was aware of? I dont think it too hard to imagine that Paul knew of men who were of thier own free will in relationships with other men that were loving and mutualy satisfying. A lot of liberal Christians would actually disagree with you .I have a friend who is gay and he says that Paul IS saying that all homosexuality in whatever form is wrong .My friend condiders this hate speach, and that it is to be ignored. I agree with my friend on this. But at least he and I can agree what Paul is saying.

A correction. I mean my friend and I agree with what Paul is saying .But I disagree with him that we should ingore the Apostle Paul.

A quick response to Brian and Henry regarding Biblical study and culture:

The Bible was used as a basis for South Africa's apartheid.
The Bible was used as a basis for the belief that women should not be allowed to hold office (and this is still held by various Classes and Churches in our denomination to this day).

As a denomination (and as general society) we do not hold to those once-Biblical statements.

So do we use culture to interpret the Bible?
Is it even possible to do otherwise?
Is it responsible to interpret the Bible according to the CRC of 1973?
Is it going to be encouraging the engagement of the people in our denomination who weren't even alive then?

(I'm not trying to be facetious, just bring up some common arguments brought forth by my theologically-inclined colleagues.)

In their excellent book Unchristian: What a New Generation Thinks About Christianity David Kinnaman, Gabe Lyons, and Lloyd James identified the three key understandings of the evangelical church from the viewpoint of those in their 20's who have left the church or have never attended church. The number one response was consistently "the church is anti-gay". Our challenge is to stay consistent to our Biblical understanding of the issue while at the same time finding ways to welcome gay people into our congregations and being willing to walk with them on their faith journey.

Here's a question to think about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJtjqLUHYoY&feature=player_embedded

In the OT (Lev. 21:17- 24) qualifications of priests are listed (many of today's CRC pastors clearly wouldn't make the cut) Not surprising that Biblical literalists leave these sleeping dogs alone, since an extension of the logic of grace is clearly more inclusive than they are.

However the logic of grace is clearly the realm of liberal thought, and we all know where that leads.

I am not particularly opposed to re-affirming what the Bible teaches regarding homosexual behavior. That said, the 1973 report is pretty good and I have a hard time seeing that we'd really change anything in it. In fact, in the article by the pastor of the congregation originating the overture (http://www.thebanner.org/features/article/?id=3149) we are assured they have no intention of seeking a change in that 1973 stance, just "updating" it.

So why the irritation about not having a study committee when it would end up merely restate what we've already said? We don't need a new statement just because the other was written 40 years ago. If it's true, then its age is irrelevant. Synod voted not to spin its wheels on a settled matter.

Having watched the proceedings of Synod regarding whether to revisit the 1973 report on Biblical teaching regarding homosexual behaviour, one can only shudder. If the clarity regarding instructions about how to use the computer system to vote is any indication, this is an issue best left to future generations to decide.  

Throughout history the church has repeatedly been wrong regarding interpretations of scripture. For example: The world is not flat. The earth does indeed orbit around the sun. Slavery is not an acceptable practise and there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that women are as fully human as men.

Based on this historical track record, it would be insane for any gay or lesbian christian to make life decisions based on a report published in 1973 by the CRC. There are other options. We can go across the street to join the methodists, presbyterians, episcopalians, congregationalists and many others. Like so many other proud earthly empires, the CRC will soon fade away. Thanks be to God.

I believe that through the centuries there is one thing that never changes and that is God.
It's truly sad that people try to take scriptures out of context just to suit their lifestyles. Deep down we all know that the Bible looks at homosexuality as immoral. Man and woman were meant to be together. Plain and simple.
I believe it's sin but I hate the sin and not the sinner. Never would I hate the sinner - I am a sinner too!

Check out this article by Brian Schwertley
http://www.reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/homosex.htm
Quote:
"The arguments in favor of homosexuality are nothing more than pitiful excuses for a behavior that God hates and will clearly judge. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Homosexuality was condemned by God, centuries before the giving of the law (e.g., Gen. 19). It is explicitly condemned by God’s law (Lev. 18:22, 20:13). As will be shown, it is also clearly condemned in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul."

The day that the CRC embraces homosexuality as the norm, will be the day we look for another place to worship. I'm sure we won't be leaving on our own.
Looking forward to the final day when it will all be revealed!

Rose - Lev. 19:19 "You shall not put on a garment woven with two kinds of yarn." Have you ever worn a cotton/polyester blend? Sev. 19:27 "You shall not round off your hair from side to side..." Have you ever been to the hairdresser? Absurd - but there it is - in the Bible - in the same passages you rely on for your argument.

John, these things you're talking about have to do with the times the Bible was written in (hair and clothing)
Nothing at all to do with morality. God gave us His Word as a guide for our lives - with rules, and things we have to do and things He won't allow.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10)

I really don't want to argue and that wasn't my intention at all.
Wishing you a blessed day!

The whole "love the sinner - hate the sin" approach promulgated in the 1973 report is nothing more than a passive agressive technique used by CRC leaders to avoid dealing directly with the issue.

The CRC needs to decide. Yes, gays are welcome to come as they are or No, gays are not welcome. The question is simple.

Rose - I am gay. I am in a committed relationship. God has blessed our relationship. We go to church every Sunday (not CRC). Pray. Believe the creeds. Sing hynms. Donate money and time. We are heirs of God's eternal kingdom (John 3:16 etc. etc.). The only sadness I feel is that we are not welcome in the CRC (yet).

If you are married you will understand. If the CRC told you to leave your spouse, you would go to a different church.

Angry, I agree - make a decision! But there's nothing wrong with 'love the sinner - hate the sin'. Someone very dear to me is a recovering alcoholic - I love that person but hated the drinking. The life of a Christian is paved with burdens and struggles but in the end it's worth it. This life is just a stepping stone.
John, if they asked me to leave my husband I would have to leave that church because the Bible says that marriage and love between a man and woman is Biblical.

I for one believe that the 1973 report on homosexuality is something that we as a church can confidently stand behind in response to the current generation's concerns. I have come to appreciate opportunities to dialogue with our young people. It is good to allow each generation to grapple with the truth of God's word.

Rev. Fleming Rutledge is an evangelical Episopal minister who describes Christian orthodoxy in this way, "... we cannot do without orthodoxy, for everything else must be tested against it, but that orthodox (traditional, classical) Christian faith should by definition always be generous as our God is generous; lavish in his creation, binding himself in an unconditional covenant, revealing himself in the calling of a people, self-sacrificing in the death of his Son, prodigal in the gifts of the Spirit, justifying the ungodly and indeed, offending the “righteous” by the indiscriminate nature of his favor. True Christian orthodoxy therefore cannot be narrow, pinched, or defensive but always spacious, adventurous and unafraid."

So why should the CRC be so AFRAID to revisit its position statement?

Sheryl, that is a great quote. I wondering where you found that and what the context is. We should not be afriad ,agreed. But ,you could use it in a variety of ways. Should we be unafraid to revisit the women in office issue? Should we be unafraid to rexamine our position on lets say, abortion or Euthanasia? Should every few years at synod should we "revisit" the physical ressurection of Jesus and wether or not that really happend? Just wondering .Love to hear your response.

The discussion in this blog has been very helpful to me. I have had second thoughts since making my decision to leave the CRC. At times I have felt homesick. But the abusive arrogance of those who believe they can decide which passages of an ancient scripture must be read literally and which passages can be dismissed as immaterial, along with the tired and ridiculous "slippery slope" argument have helped reassure me that my decision is correct. Thank you all for your help and best wishes.

Rose - Your comparison of homosexuality to alcoholism is misguided and insulting.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease that destroys families and leads to poverty, destruction and ultimately, death.

Most people in homosexual relationships live healthy, happy and joyous lives. They are usually successful in their professions and financially secure. They support and nurture those around them and they contribute to society.

There is no comparison.

In response to Brian's comments and questions. Yes, I suppose the quote could be used for revisiting just about anything. However, I think what compels me to say this in the context of this issue is that: 1) one's position on whether LGBT people can have partners or not within the church is not an issue that should define a person's status as a Christian. Personally I would be at least happy if the CRC decided to not take an official position on this and allow the Holy Spirit to work within individual congregations and 2) LGBT people and those who love them are deeply hurting because of the CRC "official position". Shouldn't that fact as well as the fact that this is not a "confessional issue" give us pause to at least reconsider this issue again?

Sheryl. Thank you for your response and I appreciate the humble and loving way that you are asking these questions.I am a pastor in a community that has a large gay poplulation, so I talk almost daily with people in the church and the neiborhood about this issue.
I agree with you whole heartedly that what defines us as individuals is having Jesus Christ as our Lord. But what we must also take account of is that both in the gospels and the epistles there are many desires ,actions and attitudes that are deemed incompatible with Christian behavior. You can be a compasionate person and still believe that the bible condems homosexuality. I have read with interst different posts that accuse others of being "literalists" and cherry picking bible verses to support our view of homosexuality .But what I would like to say to all of you, is that we all do it. We all cherrry pick ,we are all are in some ways literalists.
Some of you dont like others quoteing scripture from the OT that deals with homosexuality. Some of it is taken out of context. But cant we use the same arugument for adultry ,obeying your parents, and not lusting after your neighbors property? Am i backwards and a literalist for beliveing that adultry is wrong because its in the old testament? Are some of you "literalists" because you believe that Jesus said love your enemy and pray for those who hate you? Lets pray deeply for one another and our denomination as we continue to talk about this.

John; Angry;

I am compelled to be faithful to the Bible as God has given me light to understand it and, in that light I cannot see a way to read scripture in such a way that homosexual behavior is not sinful behavior. I have seen the arguments adduced to excuse it, but I am unconvinced. I am sorry that gives you pain.

Nor do I assert that homosexual behavior is sin as a way of clearing myself of any guilt or that I am somehow better than you. I'm not. I am bound to the Word, not my wishes about what that Word might say. If that means you must go to a different church, then so be it. That, however, will not be what kills the CRC.

I had to laugh, though, at your equating it with a "proud empire", John. Too many in the CRC feel that way when it is in fact a rather miniscule part of North American Christianity and always has been, never even getting to .1% of total population. Outside of West Michigan and NW Iowa, the most common response to "I'm Christian Reformed" is "What's that?"

Angry, I only used it as a comparison because it is listed in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 in the same context as being a sin - 'homosexuals' 'nor drunkards'. I'm sure many people who 'covet' or 'fornicate' live healthy, happy and joyous lives as well.
I'm not excusing myself from being guilty of sin, don't get me wrong. I'm sure there is no one guiltier than me. I'm so thankful for the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for me.
I'm just saying we have to be so careful not to try to change God's Word to suit our lives. God's word is unchanging. He is our one constant.

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. The God that I worship is still alive and active in today's world. Continually revealing itself to us. The God y'all worship appears to have died with the Apostle Paul - never to be heard from again.

@Angry
No, the God I worship did not die with Paul, but neither has he changed. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Yes, he is still alive and active, continually revealing himself to us. One of the things he does is to continually affirm what he said then.

PNR - Perhaps God is trying to reveal himself to the CRC through the voices of its gay members? Perhaps some quiet listening is in order?

The fact that this issue was even before synod should not be surprising as the strategy of the homosexual movement is to wear down the oppostion. What is more concerning however is that churches have refused and pastors have ignored the 1973 report which should be fully understood by all congregations and interjected into any conversation that one might have regarding the subject of homosexuality. Having studied the subject for years, the CRC did an exceptional job in 1973. Unfortunately for the church, the fact that pastors have continued to fail to educate their congregations on the facts of the report now allow a misguided young man to propose that we are now somehow more "enlightened" is this generation. Nothing could be further from the truth, the fact of the matter is that our silence on the subject and failure to educate members on the excellent 1973 report is unfortunately allowing more young people to buy into the lie that is being propogated and becoming more accepted today. My recommendation to John Klooserman is that he spends additional time studing the subject matter in light of God's word before making further recommendations and then make those recommendations in light of Go's word. I would be happy to assist him in his study.

@Angry

I've listened - and will continue to do so. As of yet, I am unpersuaded.

I hope you have also been listening and not allowing your anger to cloud your judgment.

PNR - I've been listening to smug and simplistic proof-text thumping all my life. I've listened enough - it is time to push back. We simply disagree. Your side continues to twist and misrepresent scripture to justify prejudice. You think people like me are trying to twist scripture to justify homosexual behavior.

After carefully re-reading the entries in this blog, it seems clear that your side is wrong. Your side claims that certain english translated verses must be applied verbatim. Yet other verses in the same text can be dismissed. You claim that God has reaffirmed the specific texts you rely on yet you offer no proof of such reaffirmation. Who did God contact recently? How? What exactly did he say? I am convinced. Your understanding is irrational and your argument will fail. Prejudice corrodes its vessel.

You're right. We disagree.

Fortunately, when the CRC wisely decided to be in communion with our sisters and brothers in the WCRC (specifically the UCC) we took a huge leap toward achieving significant momentum in a huge array of justice issues. GLBT issues will be resolved to the satisfaction of our homosexual sisters and brothers; the diversity we've craved for so long will elevate the person of color, the woman, the NON-Dutch to positions of leadership, and the abortion-provider will no longer be treated as a pariah, but as an integral part of the medical community. This is the main-stream of history; it is wonderful, multi-hued, multi-faceted brush stroke of the Spirit's leading. Some may stand in the way, but to my liberal friends, I say, take heart; the things we strive for are inevitable. To my conservative friends, I say, instead of standing in the way or threatening to leave, just sit back in quiet, tacit support (for once!) and be amazed at the blessings recieved as we act in obedience to the broad sweep of the Spirit's leading.

Beatrice .The UCC and other mainline Protestant denominations that embrace what you call "justice issues" are dying. The Episcipol church in particular is shedding members at an alarming rate. The mainstreem of history? Churches like Lagrave CRC in Grand Rapids ,Redeemer Church led by Tim Keller in New York City and Mars Hill in Seattle are full of young people of a diverse range of backgrounds that are pro choice who reject what you call "the mainstreem of history" There are some commets on here that I disagree with ,but at least they are humble and well written, factual, and well written. Yours is not one of them.

Correction . Lagrave ,Redeemer ,and Mars hill are not of course pro choice but pro life .Sorry for the mistake. Brian

@Beatrice
You're wrong on 2 points.

1) these are not "justice" issues unless you completely redefine the word in an unbiblical, marxist and statist fashion;

2) it might make you happy to see the CRC become a lap dog of one political faction, but it would destroy us within three decades.

We've already lost 20% of our membership over the last 20 years, and this corresponds with the rise in our focus on these highly politicized issues in a way often cut loose from our biblical and confessional moorings. There may not be a strict causal relationship between those two facts, but neither are they unrelated.

To those people that want to petition synod to change the status of homosexual behavior as not a sin. Your problem is not with the Church, your problem is with God.

I have a question for those who claim the Synod 73 is an excellent report. However, first I would ask them to consider how a gay or lesbian teenager in the CC feels reading this 'excellent' report today.

These teenagers have already researched what the medical professions have concluded about the lives of gay people. They have read directly from the medical associations' websites and learned that homosexuality is not a mental illness, and that the psyches of gay people are 'virtually indistinguishable' from straight people. They will also learn that the causes of homosexuality remain a mystery, and that the Freudian theories from the 1950's and 60's that claim homosexuality is caused by sick family dynamics, have long been discredited by empirical studies. They will also note that virtually every medical association in the nation has condemned the theories and practices of the evangelical "ex-gay" groups, declaring them to be fraudulent and morally wrong.

So, imagine how these teenagers feel when they consult the 'excellent' Synod 73 and discover that the medical profession still proclaims that homosexuality is a mental disorder, that the lives of gay people is filled with 'depression', 'desperation', 'degeneracy', 'mental disintegration', 'alcoholism', and 'mental illness', - that 'recent' research favours sick family dynamics as the cause of homosexuality, that 'new research' has indicated better 'therapy' for 'healing' gay people, - meaning converting them to straight people, - and that scripture condemns gay couples in the same way it condemns the sinful behaviour of other people with mental disorders.

It takes little effort for these teenagers to learn that homosexuality was dropped as an illness by the medical profession thirty-eight years ago, - a mere six months from the publication of the Synod 73, yet here we are still claiming this report is 'excellent', and that it's conclusions are accurate and valid.

What do we say to these teenagers? - that if they cannot see themselves as the miserable stereotypes within the report, they are failing God? - that they must consider all of the accurate medical information as coming from The World, as opposed to scripture, even though all the Freudian baloney in Synod 73 is not even remotely based on scripture?
- that submission and obedience are far more important than anything else in the church, particularly the academic integrity of Synodical documents? - that they can ignore all the garbage in the report and just concentrate on obeying the conclusions? You tell me.

If these teenagers become angry when they learn that the church after thirty-eight years still cannot admit that gay people are no longer a mentally sick, what do we respond? - that they mustn't be so self-centred, these things take time? - that it doesn't matter if your congregation think you are mentally sick like the kleptomanics mentioned in Synod 73, - so long as they 'love' you, it's a healthy place for you to be?-that it doesn't matter about all of the personal, professional and international scandals within the "ex-gay" movement these days, you are still obliged, - obliged to seek 'healing' for your illness from them?

I'd really like to know what you think.

Don you are right there is no cause for homosexual behavior. It is a choice. The CRC position is to treat these people with compassion and lead them to repentance. The CRC cannot change the law of God.
To tell them otherwise is the most harful thing we can do.

@George - Please be careful in what you are saying and how you are saying it.

I know you said that homosexual *behaviour* is a choice. This needs to be highlighted. Homosexuality is NOT a choice. Acting on those desires is a choice.

With all this said, I would like to say that it hurts me a lot to be reading this post. I preface this next portion by noting that I have spent the first 24 years of my life completely encompassed by the CRC and its extensions (Church, schools, extra-curricular, youth groups, missions, and much more). The CRC is my home - through and through. It's starting to feel less and less like it, though.

I have been working through my own struggle with my sexual identity since 4th grade. For almost two decades I did not tell a soul about my desires and struggles. When I did start sharing my struggles, I held to the stance of the CRC and worked toward finding a way to cope with and 'conquer' these struggles. For 3 years I went through intensive counseling, hours of conversations with trusted pastors and Christian leaders, and so much more.

After all of this I still find myself with my homosexual tendencies; my desires, stronger than ever, are to find a same-gendered partner. I spent many years praying for change. I spent years going through "treatment" as outlined by the CRC in their 1973 document. I honestly wanted to change.

So now what do I do? What is there left to do? Am I to be placed on the outskirts of my home - the CRC - because I am inherently different? Am I condemned to a life of celibacy?

Celibacy is not a condemnation. It may not be your first choice, or even your second or third, but it is not something to which one is condemned so much as called.

Nor is it surprising that a divine calling might well entail sacrifice. In fact, it's typical that it does.

The fact that a temptation to sinful behavior is strong, is not sought, is resisted, and yet persists doesn't make the behavior less sinful.

I may be tempted to sin by heterosexual desires every bit as strongly, resist them, try to overcome them, and yet still those desires persist. Or by envy, wrath, or any of a number of sinful behaviors.

It's still sin.

I did choose my words carefully. I object to referring to people as homosexual. We are all people we all sin we all are called to struggle against behaviors that are sin. I struggle daily with behaviors that are sin.It is behaviors that are sin, not being a person.

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