Classis Ko-Am, an assembly of Korean-American congregations of the Christian Reformed Church in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee, hosted a special seminar Feb. 20, inviting pastors and lay ministers to an English and Korean session about Synod 2022’s decisions on the Report of the Committee to Articulate a Foundation-laying Biblical Theology of Human Sexuality. Synod is the annual general assembly of the CRC. It recommended this report to the churches in 2022 as a useful summary of biblical teaching regarding human sexuality and declared an interpretation in the report—that ‘unchastity’ in the Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 108 encompasses homosexual sex as well as a list of other extra-heterosexual marriage behaviors—to be an interpretation of a confession, concluding that it therefore has confessional status. Classis Ko-Am leadership invited Jeffrey Weima, professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary and co-chair of the report committee, to give an address on the report.
“The Korean pastors wanted me to explain some of the details of the report,” Weima said. “I gave an overview of the whole report but did a more detailed analysis of the biblical evidence related to the topic of homosexuality. That lasted for about two hours and left one hour for Q&A (question and answer) time.” Weima was in southern California on a trip that he said was typical of his activities outside the classroom—offering a preaching seminar for pastors at Anaheim (Calif.) CRC on Friday, a seminar for lay people on Saturday at Bethany CRC in Bellflower, Calif., preaching at Anaheim CRC on Sunday, and then this invitation from Ko-Am Classis on Monday. Weima delivered his address in English with Rev. Chris Choe, Korean ministry leader for Resonate Global Mission, providing simultaneous translation. About 30 people attended the Feb. 20 presentation, including Korean-American leaders, representing about 75% of the classis, a couple guests, three pastors from neighboring Classis Hanmi, and two pastors' wives.
“Tragically the Christian Reformed Church has often responded to questions about sexuality either with harsh judgment or simply with silence,” Weima said in his presentation, “while at the same time adapting to the surrounding culture’s sexual practices.”
Rev. Han Gyu Park, from Urim CRC in Laguna Woods, Calif., found the talk to be a great learning opportunity. “I got a firm view on the biblical foundation about homosexuality. And also I learned insight to take care of our homosexual friends within and outside our church as a practical, pastoral application,” Park said. Rev. Jaeseong Moon, L.A. (Calif.) Global Mission Church, said he felt the need for a seminar like this following Synod 2022’s decisions, “to seek to cope with homosexuality, with LGBTQ” for the sake of younger generations. Rev. Jae Young Kim, a former professor at International Theological Seminary and academic dean for Korean students, from El Monte, Calif., and Hanmi Classis, said he appreciated the approach Weima presented on biblical scholarship. “He showed us who and why biblical scholars should be (included) in the community of faith,” Kim said.
The session was hosted at Orange Hope Church in Fullerton, Calif. A member of Ye-eun Korean Presbyterian Church provided a Korean-catered lunch. Weima said Choe’s translation of his oral presentation and of some of the Powerpoint slides helped the communication. “A number of the pastors at the gathering understand at least some English and so were able to follow the presentation well, hearing it twice in both English and Korean,” Weima said.
The report of the Committee to Articulate a Foundation-laying Biblical Theology of Human Sexuality is available from the denomination in English, Spanish and Korean. Synod 2022 encouraged churches to make use of curriculum prepared by Pastor Church Resources—the Challenging Conversations Toolkit and now the Next Steps Discernment process—“to help small groups study and discuss aspects of the committee’s report which may be controversial” (Acts of Synod 2022, p. 908).