CRC Executive Director Issues Statement on Court Ruling re Same Sex Marriage

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Steven Timmermans, executive director of the Christian Reformed Church, issued a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that made same-sex marriage legal across the nation. Same sex marriage has been legal in Canada for more than a decade.

While many denominations and religious organizations are taking public stands against the ruling, he noted that the Christian Reformed Church already has a position on homosexuality, and one on marriage. The CRC’s position on marriage states, “Marriage is an institution created by God. It is a covenant relationship established by mutual vows between a man and a woman united by God.” He also pointed out that both of those documents make reference to the CRC’s synod-appointed study committee to provide pastoral advice concerning same-sex marriage, scheduled to report in 2016.

Timmermans said that some of the questions coming to his office are from people wondering if the state can, by means of the recent Supreme Court ruling, force churches to open their doors to same sex marriages. “The answer, while not at a level of legal advice, continues to be the same,” he said. “If a church restricts the use of its building for its stated religious purposes, it can refuse to ‘rent’ to others for different purposes.”

He concluded his statement saying that Christians must give clear witness to Jesus’ command to love one another.

“While great discernment is necessary due to society’s rapidly changing mores, we must be clear about our witness,” he said. “Society may change, but our goal does not. May we continue to be used powerfully by the Spirit in making disciples next door and around the world.”

About the Author

Gayla Postma retired as news editor for The Banner in 2020.

See comments (3)


As and ordined pastor of the CRC applaud the CRC and its leadership on the chruches stand againt homosexuality and same sex marriages...I stand not behind them, but right beside them.  However, my concern (it is not a fear) is that as a pastor and I refuse to conduct or condone this life style will I be on my own should I be dragged into litigation (sued) or do I have to obtain my own legal counsel?  I know there are those organizations out there that are stepping up for help, but where does the CRC stand in support of its clergy?

In reverence to God,



I think you (Bob Johnson) have little to worry about as to whether the civil courts will press charges against churches and ministers for not performing the wedding celebrations of homosexual couples. I think such talk is one way we express our disapproval of the Supreme Court’s recent decision and of our culture’s willingness to embrace gays as acceptable members of our society.  It’s part of an, “It’s us against them,” mentality.  Our denominational position is secure at this time.  For our denomination our stand is to condemn the homosexual lifestyle, as well as not recognizing homosexual marriage as being approved by God.  Such lifestyle and marriage is an anathema to God.  And as long as that is clearly stated by our churches and denomination there should be no problems refusing such people for marriage or membership. That’s the beauty of being part of a confessing church and denomination.  We stand together and support each other.  I really think you are safe Bob, as far as the courts go.

I’m more concerned with what God thinks of our denominational stand on homosexual behavior and marriage, and that should be the concern of our churches and ministers. I believe we grieve the Lord by our stand. But I wonder if that is really a concern for our denomination. When a young newly married homosexual couple comes to one of our churches and wants to get fully involved in the life of the church because of their Christ driven love for the Lord and for each other, we as a church can only say that their involvement may only be limited.  They cannot be welcomed as professing members, serve on council, teach, or assume roles of leadership in our churches.  But we will love them, because God loves sinners, and that they are, homosexual sinners.

I hope, as ministers and as a denomination, we have the good sense to suggest they go to a church (or denomination) where they can be fully accepted, loved, and used by the church and by Christ. In fact, I pray that our denomination will fit that description too, one day.

How can you (Roger Gelwicks) say that we grieve the Lord by our stand? Scripture is clear on the matter of homosexual activity is sin. We are called to follow our Lord who said, "Leave your life of sin." John 8:11. If the hypothetical couple you mention truly love the Lord they will seek to honor him by repentance and obedience.