On July 1, I will begin my tenure as General Secretary of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. This position was just approved by Synod 2022 as part of our denominational restructuring. For the last five years I’ve served as director of our denominational mission agency, Resonate Global Mission. Before that, I served twelve years in Haiti as a missionary. I am humbled and honored that synod agreed to appoint me to this role. I am also a bit daunted by the tasks that now lie ahead of me. I covet your prayers.
If you were keeping up with the news from synod, you know that our denomination made some big decisions. (The full Acts of Synod 2022 will be available later this summer, but you can get a great summary of what took place by checking out The Banner’s coverage).
Decisions related to human sexuality were especially contentious, and while they led to a decisive vote, they also exposed some deep divisions within our denomination.
Synod did adopt almost all of the recommendations of the report from the Committee to Establish a Foundation-Laying Biblical Theology of Human Sexuality, commissioned by Synod 2016. This included a commitment to providing robust pastoral care for people in the LGBTQ+ community. While we have made such commitments several times in the past 50 years, we acknowledge that we have often failed to live up to them. We need to do better.
Synod also affirmed the CRC’s position that homosexual sex is inconsistent with Scripture, and declared that this position is in alignment with the church’s confessions (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 108), and is therefore confessional. This means that officebearers in local churches are expected to preach and teach in alignment with this position. We will be collaborating with the boards of the denomination’s higher education institutions as they work to understand the implications of this decision for their policies related to confessional subscription and academic freedom.
I know that these decisions have left some in our church celebrating the defense of Scripture and our Reformed confessions, while it has left others wondering if they still belong in our denomination. I also know that many are wondering, “what now” in terms of how to apply these decisions in our local contexts. We’ve received many questions.
I would like to assure you that I am consulting with staff and church order experts to answer those questions with integrity and grace. I humbly ask for the gift of your prayers and patience as we figure it out. We anticipate being able to provide greater clarity by the middle to end of July.
In preparation for Synod 2022, many of us were literally and figuratively on our knees in prayer before our Lord, pleading for wisdom and grace. I would ask all of us to continue that posture as we step into ministry and conversation after synod. Isaiah 30:15 offers me great comfort: "This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." May it be so for us.
Rev. Zachary King, Ph.D.
CRCNA, General Secretary