I am a pastor in the Reformed Church in America. Our General Synod convened for the last 7 days or so, and had the hot issue of homosexuality to deal with. Maybe another time on what they actually did, and analysis. But for now, Here is a response to another RCA member's thoughts on homosexuality. The other members thoughts are quoted, mine are normal script.
"Fundamentally novel questions are being asked of us as theologians and pastors [regarding homosexuality]."
I disagree. Homosexuality has been with us since Bible times. It is not a new socio-cultural question. The only change is that society wants to endorse it officially. True, more people need the demonstration of its sinfulness and harmfulness than ever before, but the church may not reconsider the moral legitimacy of homosexuality.
"Our situation is almost precisely identical to theirs [pre-Nicene church]"
To extend your analogy, but with a different take, I would say we are about 370AD, with lots of Arians running around yet, tolerated by the church, who haven't been disciplined along Nicene lines. What more do we need besides all these position papers in the way of discernment in the RCA? We've DONE that work, and it was done well. Synod has simply proven once again that we are unable to live out our beliefs in the face of opposition from within. What do we do when entire classes defy these beliefs? Synod just punted that question. The question is not exegetical, but polity/discipline-based.
These are not "hard questions." They are interesting and provocative, but not hard:
"Does the one-flesh union of single sex partners damage the manner in which traditional marriage functions as an icon of the Trinity or the of Christ-Church relationship?"
Yes, so we must stand opposed to such unions, as Scripture does, not merely think abstractly about the Trinity.
"Is gender a biological reality or a socio-cultural reality or a combination of both?"
"How does Dordt's reflections on radical depravity inform our conception of sexuality?"
God made them male and female, so it's biological. Isn't this obvious? Cultural conditioning may occur, but it's based on the biological. How does this relate to the issue at hand? Even if homosexuals are born that way, we are ALL born in sin and called to resist it, not endorse it.
"Would it really matter whether someone discovered a biological cause for homosexuality?"
No. It is a non-issue. I was born a heterosexual adulterer-in-heart. I need to resist it every day. It is a heavy cross to bear sometimes. Isn't the weight of it too much for me? Why not just say, "OK, if you really have to, you can have a mistress, but only one." Where does this stop?
"Love for our homosexual brothers and sisters, bound to us in baptism, requires
that we attentively consider their experience of being in the world
and in the church."
Love for homosexuals in the church requires that we show them the Scriptural way, and sorrowfully discipline them if they consciously reject it. Are we more concerned about not offending an unrepentant sinner or about staying true to our only rule of faith and life?
"If we really believe that humans were created good and in the image of God, we should very much welcome the unique ways that this goodness and image bearing are manifest. Here, I suspect that we have forgotten how to "love the sinner" in our white-hot "hatred for the sin."
This sounds to me like endorsing the sin, in an effort to love the sinner. We are NOT created good. Homosexuality is NOT a unique way in which God's image is manifested to us. This is blatantly unscriptural. I don't know for sure if you meant to say that - it's what I heard - please clarify if not.
"We are too neck-deep in church growth handbooks to bother with Augustine,
Calvin, and Aquinas."
Amen to that, brother! (Check out Calvin's commentary on Romans 1:26 some time...)
I do appreciate your thoughtfulness, even if the current situation has made me a bit short in tone.
Following Messiah Jesus,
Pastor Steve Hemmeke
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever
Soli Deo Gloria - glory to God alone