homosexsuality conversation started

June 6, 2007

I guess much debate can go into the question of which topic of this synod is the most important. However, I think little debate can go into which topic is getting the most attention by the public. The hall is packed with visitors, and we had to stop a few at the doors. However, for others this topic is overrated. Some would say this topic is important, because it is a litmus test for how we read the Bible. Others believe this conversation is important, because we really need to provide place for gay people in our congregations.

In 1986 the Dutch Reformed Church general synod decided against gays. I can’t remember the exact formulation, but it’s not important, since I don’t think we were really fare in how we used this decision. For a long time, gays were the black sheep of the church. You could do many things wrong, but if caught to be gay, especially in a gay relationship, you would quickly find yourself under church discipline.

I’ll give more of the history as I see it in a moment, lets first go to the debate

As I’m sitting here, André Bartlett and Jorrie Potgieter are giving the points of consensus, as well as the points of difference of opinion. Basically, and André Bartlett said something similar a few minutes ago, it’s about the relationship of gay people. Can we accept gay people in relationships, and I assume
Bartlett wants us to leave the decision about gay relationships on congregational level, accepting that there is difference of opinion, accepting that those best equipped for this, is those who know every individual case.
Potgieter is presenting us with a exegetical argument to make it clear that the Bible definitely only accept heterosexual relationships. One of his favorite points, and I’ve heard him speaking before as well, is that the Bible knew permanent homosexual relationships.
Both of them seem to have prepared excellently.
I just want to quote a short joke from our daily synod paper, but I’m doing it in Afrikaans:
Die van julle wat “Uit die agterste bank” in Kerkbode lees, sal nou al die dominee ken. Nou, ek moet erken, ek het ‘n jaar of so terug opgehou lees, maar hierdie laaste 3 dae, was dit van die hoogtepunte van elke dag. Nou, die storie is dat domineer en oom ouderling by die sinode is, en nou skryf dominee elke dag vir Antjie ‘n briefie.
Wel, oom ouderling het bietjie aanpassingsprobleme, en gister se problem was al die afkortings, sou skryf domineer:
“Sy nuutste problem is die klomp afkortings. As dit nie A.D.G.O. in die oggend, og A.T.B.V. en S.B.G. in die agtermiddag is nie, is dit A.D.R.I.O. – die hele dag”
Hierdie het werklik vir baie lag gesorg, alhoewel op ‘n goeie manier. Prof Adrio Konig het werklik ‘n groot invloed op hierdie sinode gehad, beide op die Doop, en veral op die verslag oor Bediening van Bevryding, maar meer daaroor later.

Well, it’s just a short joke, with explanation, about Prof Adrio Konig, who is really having a big influence on this synod. Well, just before we started, he asked at what stage one can make an amendment, if a different viewpoint than any of the above can be found. Up to this point very little has been said in the debate which is really new, maybe he will bring something new to the table. But I can say this, the debate is really being held in good spirit, no shouting matches, although the differences are clearly here. One interesting thing is the fact that the minister at the synod with the most years of service has voiced his opinion, which actually represent those of Bartlett much more than those of Potgieter.

I’ll post this now… watch this space

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