Synod 2023, acting without much discussion near the end of its deliberations, adopted two statements in response to an overture (formal request) from the council of Trinity Christian Reformed Church in Fremont, Mich., and an overture from Classis Minnkota, a regional group of churches. The Trinity council had called for 11 named congregations “to repent of and rescind their public affirmations of same-sex relationships.” Minnkota asked synod to instruct six named classes to begin the process of church discipline “upon its constituent churches that publicly and proudly proclaim their acceptance of blatant heterodoxy and their willingness to appoint officers (pastors, elders, and deacons) who do not meet the biblical requirements articulated in Church Order Articles 3 and 5.”
The two statements adopted by synod in response to these requests were:
- that synod instruct all classes to guide into compliance the officebearers of their constituent churches who publicly reject the biblical guidelines affirmed by Synod 2022 regarding same-sex relationships; and
- that synod remind all church visitors (officebearers appointed by their classes to visit churches to determine church spiritual health) throughout the CRCNA of their authority and responsibility to, in a spirit of love and grace, guide officebearers into alignment with the biblical guidelines, including but not limited to all areas of human sexuality.
Only one delegate spoke to this matter. Peter Bulthuis, Classis Hamilton, was opposed to tasking church visitors with what he saw as the job of a “constable.”
“I’m a church visitor, and it has been my joy to visit churches in my classis—for encouragement and for joyful sharing,” he said. “Most of what we do as classis visitors is encouragement. Now on top of this, we have to be constables, making sure every ‘jot and tittle’ of the law is attended to. To me, that takes some of the joy out of it. ”
Synod 2023 is meeting June 9-15 at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod. Visit crcna.org/synod for the synod schedule, webcast, recordings, photos, committee reports, and liveblog. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church.
About the Author
Alissa Vernon is the news editor for The Banner.