To talk, or not to talk
Received a letter from a local RCA church consistory (leadership board) today expressing "deep concern over the proposed 'continued dialogue' within the denomination over the next three years regarding the issue of homosexuality,... finding it very disturbing that the RCA seems to be unable to 'once and for all' take a firm stand on the issue," and "call[ing] for an end to further dialogue."
Hm. I'm 95% there. I'm disturbed, holding the same position as the authors, having the same concern that the desire for dialogue really DOES reveal an inability to take a stand with the Scriptures against worldly trends of tolerance for sin (in some quarters of the RCA, not all).
But to cut off dialogue? That's what the RCA did with this issue for the last 7 years or so and look where it got us - divided and isolated camps in one pressure cooker waiting to blow.
I recently called for us to take a quick, decisive stand on this issue, just like this letter does, but I don't see a need to end dialogue. Perhaps taking a stand does that tacitly, and we need to accept that kind of fallout in order to live out the truth we've been stating for 20 years. But we shouldn't shut dialogue down, explicitly. Just make the decision graciously and deal with those who remain graciously and according to the decision taken. Those who leave will have condemned themselves.
Part of the difference of opinion here is in what the church should be. Should we reflect:
a. Jesus' parable of the weeds growing with the wheat until harvest, not trying to pull up the weeds until it's time?
b. Paul's call to remove the leaven from among us in 1 Corinthians 5?
I believe it is the latter, because the former is a discussion between God and His angels, the latter option is Paul the Apostle with a direct command for the church (John does the same to other churches in Rev 2-3, so it's not a church-specific thing, either).
If this is the case, then those who slander people trying to be faithful with labels like "witch-hunt" had better be ready to apply that label to Paul and John as well.
"I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel... [who] misleads My servants into sexual immorality" (Rev 2:20). As the corporate Body of Christ living together, tolerance of sin and people promoting sin is wicked. Never mind that in Rev 2 God then says He will deal with the problem; He first rebukes the CHURCH for not having dealt with it already.