Holland, Michigan — The governing body that makes decisions for many churches in northwest Iowa has wrapped up their annual meeting at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Among their decisions, the Reformed Church in America’s — or RCA’s — General Synod affirmed that the Heidelberg Catechism “categorically states that God condemns all ‘unchastity,’ which includes same-sex sexual activity.” Before delegates voted, General Synod president Dan Gillett asked them to observe a few minutes of silence to pray.

RCA officials say that though the debate was long and involved complicated aspects of Robert’s Rules of Order, Gillett praised the Synod for their decorum.

They say that because the Heidelberg Catechism, as one of the RCA’s Standards, is part of the Constitution, it is binding upon RCA ministers and other bodies. The recommendation says, “faithful adherence to the RCA’s Standards, therefore, entails the affirmation that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Gillett says the catechism is the authoritative and constitutional interpreter of Scripture for the RCA, and it speaks to the matters of marriage and sexual ethics in Q&A 87, 108, and 109.

Some delegates were glad that the decision was made, but questioned what this would mean in regard to how the denomination ministers to LGBT people.

Read the Heidelberg Catechism: www.rca.org/heidelberg

During General Synod, delegates also requested that the RCA discuss the future of the denomination “in light of our current state of contention and division.” The recommendation calls for the discussion to take place at the next stated meeting of the General Synod Council and of each classis and regional synod.

They say these three questions will be part of the discussion:

1. How do we understand the biblical calling to live together in a unity of fellowship and love for one another?

2. Are we willing to see the Reformed Church in America embark on a serious division, and what is our part in bringing reconciliation and restoration?

3. What do we believe is God’s intended future for the Reformed Church in America?

If you’d like to know more about decisions made at RCA General Synod 2017, you can find out more by clicking here.

Photo caption: RCA General Synod 2017 meets at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. (c) 2017 Reformed Church Press; used with permission

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