Dutch Reformed

DRC Storyline

Date What was presented/adopted? Key aspects to note:
1986 The General Assembly of the DRC still takes a very hard stance in a decision on homosexuality, referring to it as an abomination. Since this was the same year in which “Kerk en Samelewing 1” was accepted, it perhaps underlines Elizabeth Stuart’s point: “When a community is threatened it often responds by seeking to preserve the body of the community by living it out in the individual bodies of its members.
1999 Homosexuality is brought anew to the table of the Western and Southern Cape synod of the DRC. For the first time there was a consultative process which included the voices of lesbian and gay believers in a study group. This brought a different stance to the DRC decision-making process.
2003 The General Assembly takes an official position of uncertainty on the subject. Local congregations and presbyteries are encourages to discuss in smaller groups.
2005 Laurie Gaum’s partner outed him in the tabloids before committing suicide. A commission of the Cape of Good Hope Dutch Reformed circuit decided to act on his being in a same-sex relationship reverting back to the 1986 decision on homosexuality. They proposed his dismissal from his congregation and furthermore demanded that he take a vow of celibacy or lose his ordination.
2005 Johan Strydom challenged the Moreletapark DRC before the Equality Court after the congregation dismissed him from his position at the congregation’s Arts Academy responding to a rumour of him being in a same-sex relationship. In 2008 Judge Dion Basson finds in his favour ordering the congregation to accept payment for compensation and also apologise to Strydom.
2007 In a final appeal in to the General Assembly in session of the DRC, Laurie’s appeal was granted on merit and he was reinstated.At the GS the decision made was one of diverting to local church councils In the lead-up to the Assembly, an open letter to the DRC with more than 500 signatories was published pleading for a more tolerant stance on homosexuality. The signatories represented a large cross-section of theologians, academics and artists within South African society. A task team equally representative of an affirmative approach to homosexuality and full inclusion as well as an opposing view, reports to the Assembly. The full report in printed in the Agenda of the GS.

DRC SYNOD – DECISION ON HOMOSEXUALITY

These recommendations replace all other recommendations (consensus as well as A and B

The General Synod (GS) decided as follows:

  1. The Bible is our point of departure and in our reflection on homosexuality we honestly seek ways of interpreting Biblical values within the context.
  2. We accept the love of Christ as the only valid attitude (grondhouding) on which relationships within the faith community is based. All people are created in the image of God; the salvation in Jesus Christ is for all people and the Holy Spirit is for all believers. We therefore accept the humanity (menswaardigheid) of all people.
  3. All people, regardless of sexual orientation, are part of God’s Love and they are accepted as members of the Church of Christ on the grounds of their baptism and faith. Membership means access to the holy sacraments, access to ministry and subject to Church discipline.
  4. The GS affirms the decision of 2004 that, according to our understanding of the Bible, only the relationship between one man and one woman can be seen as a marriage.
  5. The GS also affirms the decision of 2004 that both heterosexual and homosexual promiscuity should be strongly condemned.
  6. The GS decides, in the light of our present understanding, that homosexual unions and marriages should not be regarded as an alternative for marriage.
  7. It is the GS’s responsibility to grant entry to ministry. The GS decided that homosexual ordained candidates who practice a celibate lifestyle may enter into ministry.
  8. The GS acknowledges the discretion of local Church Councils to handle the differences about homosexuality (diversity) in their local congregations in the spirit of Christian compassion.
2011 Homosexuality is not on the agenda of the General Assembly of the DRC. The reasoning behind this is that the synod has a commission in place that deals with diversity in all its forms.
2013 AANBEVELINGS: MENSWAARDIGHEID (bl. 196)5.1 Die Algemene Sinode keur die optrede van die ASM ten opsigte van die vestiging van ’n kultuur van menswaardigheid goed.

5.2 Die Algemene Sinode onderneem, en versoek ook die kerkverband daartoe, om in alle werksaamhede, aksies en strukture te getuig van die Godgegewe waarde van alle mense en geregtigheid vir almal na te jaag.

5.3 Die Algemene Sinode dra dit aan die Moderamen op om die voortsetting van die werk in hierdie verband moontlik te maak en in die kerkverband te implementeer.

AANBEVELINGS: SEISOEN VAN MENSWAARDIGHEID (bl. 198)

4.1 Die Algemene Sinode verbind haarself heelhartig tot deelname aan die Seisoen van Menswaardigheid en versoek die kerkverband ernstig om deel hiervan te wees.

4.2 Die Algemene Sinode verbind haar om die vier waardes van die Seisoen van Menswaardigheid, nl respek, luister, omarming en selfloosheid te bevorder.

7.2 AANBEVELINGS: HOMOSEKSUALITEIT (bl. 91) – vervang

7.2.1 Die Algemene Sinode neem kennis van hierdie beskrywingspunt/versoek van die moderamen van die Sinode van Wes-en-Suid-Kaapland.

7.2.2 Die Taakspan vir Leerstellige en Aktuele Sake versoek die Algemene Sinode om, ook in die lig van die aanwysing van ‘n taakspan uit die ASM om met ‘n prosesvoorstel na die Sinode te kom,

7.2.2.1 die Taakspan vir Leerstellige en Aktuele Sake betrokke te maak in die NG Kerk se verdere besinning oor sy besluit/standpunt/posisie oor homoseksualiteit;

7.2.2.2 in die verdere hantering/besluite van die NG Kerk oor homoseksualiteit, ook kennis te neem van ons ekumeniese vennote se hantering van die saak.

1.5 AANBEVELINGS: PROSESVOORSTEL OOR HOMOSEKSUALITEIT (bl. 24 van die aanvullende agenda) – vervang

In die lig van bogenoemde insette van sy Taakspan, maak die Moderamen die volgende aanbevelings aan die Algemene Sinode:

1.5.1 Die Algemene Sinode neem kennis

1.5.1.1 van verwikkelinge rakende die besinning oor homoseksualiteit sedert die besluit van die Algemene Sinode van 2007;

1.5.1.2 van die verslag van die Ad Hoc-Taakspan van die Moderamen sonder om enige uitspraak te maak oor die inhoud daarvan.

1.5.2 Die Algemene Sinode besluit om ATLAS te versoek om

1.5.2.1 verder te besin oor die aanvaarbaarheid van homoseksuele verhoudings en die Kerk se

standpunt daaroor;

1.5.2.2 riglyne vir gemeentes daar te stel oor die doop van kinders van homoseksuele ouers en ander kinders wat kunsmatig buite die huwelik verwek is;

1.5.2.3 in die verdere besinnig oor homoseksualiteit rekening te hou met die komende Seisoen van Menswaardigheid;

1.5.2.4 die kerkverband en ekumeniese vennote te betrek by die verdere besinning; en

1.5.2.5 aanbevelings aan die volgende Algemene Sinode te maak.

Amendament op A.12 (Moderamen Aanvullend) – aanvaar

Prosesvoorstel tov die voortgesette gesprek oor homoseksualiteit, vervang 1.5 (bo) met:

Die Algemene Sinode

1.5.1 bevestig dat die besluit van 2007 oor homoseksualiteit geneem is is ‘n deeglike eksegetiese en teologiese studie.

1.5.2 gee opdrag aan die ASM om in voortsetting van die 2007 verslag oor homoseksualiteit ‘n studie te doen oor die status van selfdegeslagverhoudings in die lig van die Skrif en die Gereformeerde tradisie.

1.5.3 besluit dat homoseksuele en heteroseksuele student wat hulle voorberei vir die bediening in die NG Kerk, aan dieselfde Christelik-etiese standaarde moet voldoen met die oog op legitimasie.

1.5.4 verbind hom ook in die hantering van die saak aan die waardes van die Seisoen van Menswaardigheid.

Two key decisions were made at the DRC Synod in Port ElizabethThe decision to enter into a Season of Human Dignity informs the way in which the DRC reflects further on the subject of homosexuality and also the way in which they will engage with gay and lesbian members, proponents and clergy.

The second decision is an amendment to the 2007 decision (point 5)

2014 The project committee (Season of Human Dignity) of the General Synod that has to formulate recommendations enters into a dialogue process with various interest groups in the DRC and outside in order to include various marginal groups. The groups that are included are groups reflecting on gender, sexual orientation, race, class, disability, and other marginalized groups.