Reforming as we go
A letter to Synod 2022 delegates.
What is the hurry on the Human Sexuality Report? It took 300 years of conversation for the church to reach consensus on the Trinity. To this day, the church discusses whether God chooses you, or whether you choose God. It is such a central question, yet there is no human answer, the Bible holds both views. Much about God is not open to human comprehension. It took 200 years of conversation before the church found consensus that modern slavery is not in accord with God’s will. Then a hundred years of conversation about divorce and re-marriage, and the place and role of women in modern society.
The church, throughout its history, discerns its calling through conversation. Yes, conversation, reading the Bible together, observing the historical unfolding of the creation and listening to the Spirit, given to help us find truth. The Spirit did not stop working on Pentecost day. As long as time remains, the Kingdom keeps permeating people and cultures. But each time we opt out of the conversation, every time we assert that now we know God’s will and this is how it is, the Spirit is quenched, there is no growth in Christ and the church splits.
Synod 2022, please do not stop the conversation.
Also this, our church council endorsed the Report without consulting the congregation as is required by Article 37 of the Church Order. How many other local councils decided before engaging the congregation? And last, there is widespread misunderstanding about the practical implications of giving this report confessional status. Should we not know what it means before accepting it?
It is fitting to be humble about our ability to capture the will of God in theological statements and in a code of conduct. God judges the heart, not outward behaviour. The church, under the leading of the Spirit, is on a journey, reforming as it goes. The denomination should continue inviting the membership to join that journey, to contribute to the conversation, not to stop it.