What do the three things in this article’s title have in common? At first glance, you might not think there is much in common. We are used to isolating sexuality from religion and especially from the scriptures but this is unfortunate in so many ways. God’s Word was given to us in order to enlighten our minds and lead us on the paths of righteousness (Ps 119). And since we are by nature sexual beings, the Word of God speaks even to this part of our life. But what does all this have to do with the CRC?
Quite a lot. The CRC Synodical Study Committee whose task was to formulate a biblical and theologically faithful report on Human Sexuality has completed its task. The report is available on the denominational website and in many ways, it is quite encouraging and faithful in understanding what the Biblical Ethic of sexuality is and how that ethic relates to current cultural practices related to pornography, prostitution, same sex marriage, polyamory, singleness, divorce, etc. I encourage each person at HICC to read the report and reflect upon its instruction. Many of the things that culture is trying to promote and normalize are in fact not normal, nor scriptural and we all need to be informed about the Word so that we can compassionately but firmly hold to the Scriptural witness and point people to the Savior Jesus, who hates sin and calls all people to repentance, even in areas of sexuality.
One of the great gifts I received from reading through the full report was the call to self-control. This call is overarchingly made in the report – urging people engaging with every form of sexual unfaithfulness to depend upon the Spirit and exercise the gift/fruit of self-control in their lives. This fruit is needed whether we are single or married, whether we are same sex attracted or opposite sex attracted. Self-control seems to be one of the major counter-cultural fruit that the Spirit is leading the Church and her members to display. The Christian is called to self-control before entering into a marriage between a man and a woman and when that marriage is ended through death or divorce, self-control again is needed to control the body and the sexual desires it has. Likewise, those with same-sex attraction are called to self-control like any other single who is opposite attracted but not married to a member of the opposite sex. I am grateful for this strong and biblically faithful and articulate way of framing sexual ethics.
The report has a very strong biblical foundation at the beginning that traces sexuality as it was created, the results that happened as part of the fall, how Christ redeems broken sexuality and ultimately what the consummation in glory will entail for human sexuality. This framework is wonderful and points out a number of errors that the church has fallen into by not remembering and learning how to care for and nurture those in the body of Christ who are single.
A word of caution is in order when approaching the report. First, it is quite graphic in some of the language that it employs. Be forewarned that the interviews that are related also are quite revealing about how decadent some in our denomination have become. That they were willing to share so openly about their sexual sin without any hint of remorse is also quite sobering. Second, at times the report seems to have a flavor that the majority opposite sex attracted culture needs to learn from those with same-sex attraction, as if they are the only ones who understand true sexual struggle and what it means to seek after Christ faithfully. I think this is overstating the case and not true.
Finally, realize that there is a battle brewing in the CRC. For those following the Banner articles the past few years but especially in October-December 2020, there is a movement in the CRC that is seeking to reject this report and make human sexuality a negotiable issue – like women’s ordination was made in the past. It is imperative that we all read our Word and compare it to this report. It is imperative that we pray for God to preserve Biblical faithfulness and not sacrifice the teaching of Scripture to the cultural accommodation that those with more liberal leanings are proposing. This battle will determine the future of the CRC and will likely result in people and churches leaving the CRC no matter which way the decision is made. If biblical orthodoxy is upheld, likely many progressive churches and members will withdraw as they will not be able to sign the confessional status that this report declares. If orthodoxy falls, then likely the historically authentic and biblically faithful churches will withdraw.
In conclusion, if you would like to be part of a group to read and reflect upon this report in smaller chunks, I would love to facilitate a time where we can come together and discuss the teaching the report presents and its applications to specific issues of human sexuality. There is much to learn and grow in. Please call the church office and let Lisa know if you are interested.