DRC synod to be asked to approve gays

2013-02-14 00:00

THE general synod of the Dutch Reformed Church will be asked to approve permanent gay relationships and gay clergy.

The church’s Western Cape moderator will send this proposal, made by 26 of its members, to the synod with a request for clear leadership on the issue.

Moderator Dr Braam Hanekom said he was aware that the issue was a “seriously divisive one in churches all over the world”, but asked that the synod consider it in a “sober, scriptural manner”.

The proposal asks that aspects of a 2007 decision be maintained, notably that only a relationship between a man and a woman can be regarded as a marriage.

The 2007 decision says the church does not regard homosexual relationships as an alternative to marriage.

In place of this, the new proposal asks the general synod to accept that there can be a permanent relationship of a unique nature between two people of the same sex.

It also asks that a commission investigate how such a relationship can comply with Christian ethics.

In its motivation, the group refers to a “unique loving relationship that is reminiscent of marriage in some respects but not in others”. Exactly what the church expects of such a relationship would be clarified by an investigation.

The 2007 ruling also says gays may be ordained as ministers as long as they remain celibate.

This led to an uproar when a student who had completed her theological studies was not ordained because she refused to promise to remain celibate.

Critics said heterosexuals would not be expected to make the same promise.

The new proposal recommends dropping the celibacy requirement.

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