On March 13th, City Church of San Francisco issued this statement: read here . Below is a public letter in response to their statement.
An Open Letter to the Elders of City Church,
Grace and peace to you in our Lord Jesus Christ. This letter comes from leaders throughout the denomination of the Reformed Church in America. It is written in the hope of understanding the decision you have made—to open up membership to men and women in sexually active gay relationships. You said you have made this decision because your, “pastoral practice of demanding lifelong ‘celibacy’, by which we meant that for the rest of your life you would not engage your sexual orientation in any way, was causing obvious harm and has not led to human flourishing.” Many of us are dismayed by your decision and reasoning.
We wonder if we are misunderstanding you. Could it be that this is just another innovative way to be, “pastorally progressive and theologically conservative”? Because we love you, want to understand more fully how you made your decision, and admit that this has serious implications for our denomination, we have some questions that we hope you will answer publicly.
We understand that we have no ecclesiastical authority to ask these questions. But your senior pastor has been advocating a third way on the LGBT issue publicly in our denomination. Since he has been such an advocate for this “new way”, we wonder if this is it. Answers to the questions below will help all of us understand exactly what you have decided and why you have decided to do it.
- How does City Church view homosexuality? Is homosexuality a gift from God or something that is rooted in brokenness that requires redemption? Please give a biblical reasoning for your answer.
- You cite the work of Ken Wilson as being instrumental in your decision. Did you know that Wilson’s attempt to do what you are doing failed at his church? It created deep division, denominational crisis, disunity and eventually, Wilson had to leave. Do you understand the risk you are putting City Church and the RCA in making this decision?
- How long did you take to make this decision? How many resources did your Board explore before making this decision? Which resources? Were opposing views openly discussed? Was the City Classis invited into the process?
- Do your members have open forums to share concerns or questions? Are there public conversations happening that are hosted by your leadership? Was there a period of open dialogue where members could give input before the decision was made? Why or why not?
- If an LGBT person came to you, told you that she had made a decision to follow Christ, had been reading her Bible and decided that her relationship with her gay spouse is sinful, how would you counsel her?
- In your public statement you write, “For all members, regardless of sexual orientation, we will continue to expect chastity in singleness until marriage.” Can we assume that you will now perform gay weddings at City Church so that the LGBT community can live up to your moral demands?
Thank you for taking the time to consider this letter. We look forward to the conversation your answers bring. Our deep hope is to keep unity and peace and to continue together in gospel mission.
Love, Concern & Prayers,
Rev. Bob Bouwer – Senior Pastor, Faith Church
Rev. Ron Citlau – Senior Pastor, Calvary Church
Rev. Mike Pitsenberger – Dyer Campus Pastor, Faith Church
Rev. Andres Serrano – RCA Pastor, Iglesia La Senda Classis of California
Wayne Van Regenmorter
Rev. Tim Taylor – Senior Pastor, Hope Reformed Church Grand Haven, MI
Tim Vink – Coordinator for Church Multiplication, RCA
Pastor Brad Haitsma – Valporaiso Campus Pastor, Faith Church
Pastor David T. Weemhoff – Cedar Lake Campus Pastor, Faith Church
Pastor Jeff Lundington – Lead Pastor, Park Church
Rev. Bruce Wilterdink – Transitional Pastor, New Hope Community Church, Wasau, WI
Richard L. Schuler Classis Leader – Chicago Classis Executive Administrator Calvary Reformed Church, Orland Park, IL
Rev. Dave Izenbart – Senior Pastor, Living Springs Community Church
Rev. Dennis Colton – Pastor, Calvary Church
Pastor Scott Nichols–Faith Reformed, Midland Park
Barry Voorn – Elder, Calvary Church
Bruce Reenders – Vice President, Hope Reformed Church
Pastor Charlie Contreras – Hammond Campus Pastor, Faith Church
Rev. Shawn M. Hulst – Lead Pastor, Fellowship Reformed Church
Pastor Jamison Elder – Calvary Church
Pastor Nathan Prairie – Beecher Campus Pastor, Faith Church
Rev. Jason DeVries – Highland Campus Pastor, Faith Church
Rafael Garcia Elder, Iglesia La Senda from Corona California, part of California Classis
Pastor Brett Dood – Schererville Campus Pastor, Faith Church
Rev. Ted Lindman – Senior Pastor, Alto Reformed Church, Waupun, WI
Rev. Michael VanBuren – Fellowship Reformed Church, Hudsonville, MI
Pastor Ron Ovitt-Calvary Church
Pastor Keith Allen, Pastor of Redemption Church Providence and RCA New England Catalyst for Multiplication
Rev. David H. Powers–Pastor Newkirk Reformed Church
Rev. Troy Nanninga–American Reformed Church, DeMotte, IN
Rev Tony De La Rosa–Christ’s Community Church
Pastor Earl Vander Wall–Calvary Church
Rev. David Vandervelde–Ebenezer Reformed Church
Rev. Joshua Scheid–Massapequa Reformed Church, Long Island, NY
Rev. Grant Mulder–Associate Pastor, Gibbsville Reformed Church
Rev. Chad Strabbing–Pastor, St. Paul’s Reformed Church, Ohio City, OH
Matthew Hendricks, RCA deacon & seminary student
Rev. Nathan Weller–Campus Pastor, Centerpoint Church
Pastor Christopher Hall–Commissioned Pastor, Elevation Church, Wyoming Church, Wyoming, MI
Rev. Michael Saville–Pastor, Faith Reformed Church, Stevensville, OH
Pastor Jim Vellenga–Pastor, Bethel Reformed Church, Exeter, ON
Pastor Mark Jicinsky, Ebenezer Reformed Church, Leighton Iowa
Pastor Paul Smith–New Life Community Church, Corralville, IA