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Hey Dr. DeMoor,

I remember fondly our church polity discussions and debates from seminary days.  Though I often struggled to come up with a good argument against the church order, as you challenged us to do, I did find that to be a really engaging pedagogical approach.  I see that approach continues here on the network. :) 

I'm obviously quite late to this discussion.  I stumbled upon this only recently.  So it could be that my thoughts are already represented in the comment section above.

Firstly, I think the whole notion of "pastoral advice" is being misconstrued in some of these conversations.  Synod did not say, "It's our pastoral advice that this is what scripture says."  No, what is pastoral advice is how we live out scripture's clear teaching with regard to specific pastoral situations.  So yes, there's more room for flexibility in terms of determining just what we do in a given pastoral situation (just as there is when dealing with someone wrestling with any other sin or sinful inclination), but Synod has never invited flexibility on the question of whether same-sex sex is unchaste. 

As such, I have difficulty with the premise of your question: namely, that if Synod has not officially declared something to have confessional status, then that matter / behaviour does not already have confessional status.  Driven to its logical conclusion, it would mean that Synod would then have to give exhaustive definitions of just about everything in our confessions and then declare those definitions to have confessional status before the confessions could have any binding meaning for the local church.

In addition, if it's indeed the case that something doesn't have confessional status until Synod explicitly says so, that would functionally serve to elevate Synodical proclamations above scripture and the confessions.  You're correct that Synod has never explicitly declared that homosexual sex is included in the definition of unchastity in LD 41.  It's actually said something even more authoritative and binding than has said that scripture itself is clear on the unchaste nature of same-sex sex.  So it would seem to me that far from needing to show where Synod has declared this to be confessional, it's up to those who don't think it's binding on the local churches to show where Synod is wrong in its statement of scriptural clarity.  If one concurs that scripture is clear but says we can't make that view binding upon the church unless Synod explicitly says so...that de facto makes Synodical statements more authoritative than scripture itself.

I would argue that unless the 2021 report is wrong about the clarity with which scripture speaks, then the logic of saying this is already confessional is inescapable.

Sorry for being late to the conversation.  Hope you're well. Dr. DeMoor.

I appreciate you raising this question, Greg.  I think it's timely.  I also appreciate your conclusion.

I confess a rather strong negative reaction to the idea that wanting to evangelize Muslims (or anyone) contains some kind of objectionable hidden agenda.  How could there be anything objectionable about wanting others to come to know the hope of Jesus Christ and therefore being vigilant for opportunities to share that hope with them?  If we really believe the gospel, what more loving desire could we possibly have for someone?  Even in formal / structured settings, my hope would be that we have the desire to be as winsome as we can in whatever ways we can for the sake of drawing others to Christ.

I want to insist that there's no need to hold the Great Commandment and the Great Commission "in tension."  I can't see how they contain any opposing elements.  One of the most important ways in which we love our neighbours is by making disciples of Jesus.

This article is confusing from the outset when it says, “I’m not advocating for a particular position…[but] a particular posture.”  The advocacy of uncertainty is a position.  Kindness, patience, compassion…these are postures one can take with regard to any ‘Issue Y’ regardless of one’s position on ‘Issue Y.’  Advocating uncertainty with regard to any ‘Issue Y’ is itself a position on ‘Issue Y’ …namely, that claims to certainty are (currently?) less warranted than uncertainty.


I want to echo those who have noted how little publicity uncertainty gets in scripture.  Uncertainty with regard to things that have not been revealed? Absolutely.  Uncertainty with regard to the meaning of things that have been revealed?  To put it mildly, I’d argue that the scope of scripture pushes in the opposite direction.  The Luke 24 example itself bears this out.  The disciples on the road to Emmaus were not commended but scolded for their uncertainty.  “Foolish” and “slow of heart” are not compliments.  Uncertainty simply doesn’t get the Biblical endorsement many assume.  Humility--yes; uncertainty--no … and we as a church must forever insist that the two are not synonymous. 


I also find it odd to advocate for a season of uncertainty for an entire denomination.  I can see how individuals may need to journey through a season of uncertainty on this question (and many others) … that is until they’ve had an opportunity to do some more praying / studying / listening / reflecting.  But the suggestion that a denomination made up of nearly 250,000 people all need to go through this season at the same time seems to overlook the fact that many of us have prayed / studied / listened / reflected on this matter for some time, have weighed the various perspectives and voices, and as a result have settled on informed convictions.  To be told that we should now go back to uncertainty seems to imply that all previous seasons of discernment were insufficient for one reason or another. 


Finally, I have a few questions about this season of holy uncertainty: How long is this season supposed to last?  Or will it simply be suggested in perpetuity that we’ve still been too hasty and that we should enter into another season of uncertainty?  Is this uncertainty open to the possibility that we’ve understood scripture correctly all along?  If so, when and how is anyone allowed to conclude that?  If not, same question.  Why advocate for a season of uncertainty only on this one issue and not dozens and dozens of other moral and doctrinal matters (including those outlined in our confessions)?

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