I have recently begun following the Christian Reformed Church’s Young Adult Leadership Taskforce (YALT); as I have mentioned before, my wife was raised in the CRC and her parents are still members of a CRC church. I’ve filled the pulpit for two of the largest CRCNA churches in her hometown. Because of these ties to the denomination that once produced Geerhardus Vos, Cornelius Van Til, and Louis Berkhof, I continue to watch with the CRC with an ever-growing degree of concern for the direction of their theological drift.
The existence of YALT has done nothing to assuage my concern.
Ever since Synod 1995, the CRC clearly been drifting towards theological liberalism. Synod 1995 was notable for two significant events: it was the year that the CRCNA decided to permit the ordination of women to the offices of minister and elder—a decision that attracted considerable attention. The same Synod also decided that congregations would be allowed not to hold a second service on the Lord’s Day—a decision that attracted very little attention at the time and since, although it is no less monumental.
Both of these Synondical decisions can only be described as historic judgments on the part of the CRC. The first tells us something about the authority of Scripture in an ostensibly confessional Reformed denomination. The second tells us something the relative importance of the means of grace in the life of an ostensibly confessional Reformed denomination. Neither decisions were good signs.
As I explored the YALT website, I noticed several disturbing posts that are suggestive of the future direction of the CRCNA; one in particular on the benefits of postmodernism, really stood out. Another on the question of same-sex relationships also caught my eye. While I could spend my time focusing on how significant the undergirding relationship between those two posts are, I thought it would be more interesting to focus on some of the details in the second post.
The post in question quite helpfully lays out what the author sees as the three main positions in the CRCNA at the moment:
- Those who maintain the official position of the CRCNA, that while being gay is not intrinsically sinful, engaging in a gay lifestyle is, and hence celibacy is mandated.
- There are those who, based on relationships with gay family members and friends, are rethinking the issues surrounding homosexuality, and find themselves wondering if there is a place for these individuals within the CRC.
- Finally, there is another group that would maintain that by repudiating monogamous same-sex relationships, those who find themselves in group one are in fact excluding individuals from the kingdom of heaven. This is actually an amalgamation of two distinct sub-groups: one believes the Bible to be unclear on the issue of homosexuality, and the other thinks that the question doesn’t rise to the level of being essential to the gospel.
I should say at this point that while I appreciated the author’s attempt at a taxonomy of the CRC on this issue, I’m not sure how beneficial it is. First, because there is a wider difference of opinion than the taxonomy would lead you to believe; second, because I don’t think the lines of demarcation are that clear between groups two and three.
But it is in the following paragraph(s) that YALT’s undergirding theology becomes crystal clear: just take a look at their book recommendations.
Now, I haven’t read Generous Spaciousness or Washed and Waiting, so I can’t speak to the theological foundation of those works. However, if we put those aside, and look at the rest of the list, one stark fact emerges. All of the other books are written from a revisionist perspective. Why didn’t YALT recommend The Bible and Homosexual Practice, by Robert A.J. Gagnon, or Homosexuality: A Biblical View, by Greg Bahnsen, if only for balance? Could it be because, like nearly all revisionists on this subject, they’re interested in a monologue rather than a dialogue?
This is just one more sign that the CRCNA’s future is getting dimmer.