- (Photo: Reformed Church in America)
The Reformed Church in America has opted to appoint a "new committee" to recommend a set of plans to deal with certain issues pertaining to the denomination's position on homosexuality.
The General Synod voted Monday during its annual meeting to create this new group so as to deal with the many overtures made by RCA churches about the controversial issue. Christina Tazelaar, managing editor of the denomination's publication RCA Today, told The Christian Post that the new committee came as counterproposal to a recommendation to create a "study group."
"A recommendation was presented to the General Synod to appoint a study group on homosexuality," said Tazelaar. "Delegates discussed the recommendation and, in the end, adopted a substitute recommendation that affirmed the General Synod's stance on homosexuality and called for a new committee…"
According to Tazelaar, this new committee will "pray and work together to recommend a way forward given the disagreement in the denomination around homosexuality."
In the time leading up to the General Synod, congregations in the Reformed Church called upon their leadership to discipline anyone who promotes homosexual behavior or conducts a same-sex wedding. Others in the RCA have sought the termination of an agreement that enables sharing of ministers with three denominations that ordain homosexuals: the United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Presbyterian Church (USA).
"Homosexuality was on the agenda of the General Synod because of several overtures, or letters, sent to the synod by classes (local governing bodies)," said Tazelaar. "The overtures were referred to an advisory committee, which presented a recommendation to appoint a study group on homosexuality."
The General Synod has frequently affirmed that homosexual behavior is a sin. In 1978, it adopted a paper that said that when Paul rejects homosexual acts on the grounds that they are "against nature" he expresses and reaffirms the clear sense of Scripture. In 2004, the Synod passed a resolution "to affirm that marriage is properly defined as the union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others."
The recommendation to create the "new committee" to resolve the denomination's issues pertaining to homosexuality was passed by voting delegates who were elders and ministers from regional synods and church bodies in the RCA. Final vote tally was 120 in favor of the new committee and 91 opposed.
In addition to the "new committee," other business was dealt with during the General Synod, which began its meeting on Thursday, June 21, at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill. One item was the election of a new president of the General Synod. Tom Smith, who has held several other lower positions in RCA, was elected president and will be installed at the closing worship service of General Synod. His term will expire at General Synod 2013.