Here's a post of mine to an RCA email list.
I'm responding to this - it will be helpful to read it first.
Having spoken briefly with Dr. Stapert at GS, I appreciate his clarity in presenting and mediating this dialogue. He does a good job reminding us that this is OUR problem, not something he's going to solve for us.
However, I believe it is misleading for Dr. Stapert to say the dialogue has 86%endorsement from GS. There was a significant minority (something like 35-45%) that voted to end the dialogue, and then a GS majority voted against its own theology committee's recommendation to keep the process as it is - to not set boundaries on the discussion. But then, with nothing on the floor, GS then voted not to set boundaries to the discussion. So we were schizophrenic, not to mention unfaithful to Scripture. God's word does not allow dialogue within the church over a clear sin (1 Cor 5:1-2, 12-13; Rev 2:20), and the context and players in this dialogue reveal that we ARE questioning, or reconsidering, the sinfulness of homosexual practice, even if liberals and moderates protest that we are not doing so.
While the stated purpose of dialogue is rather benign, it obfuscates the division in the body over how to read Scripture and reduces the whole thing to a let's-all-understand-each-other thing, when there are serious theological divides.
The phrase "miserable 30-year history": who is responsible for causing anxious conflicts and relationships in the last 30 years over this issue? How does the verse go: "warn a contentious brother once or twice - then have nothing to do with him..." (Titus 3:10). It does not say to make sure you have a healthy dialogue process. We are letting the world's standard of being nice trump the Bible's standard of righteousness and purity in the church.
It's interesting to me that we have a psychologist facilitating this dialogue, instead of a theologian. Lowering anxiety seems to be the main theme of the dialogue. As if after the Kansfield trial, the RCA leadership has to say to everybody, "All right, now settle down!" There appears to be a very patronizing assumption currently held among RCA leadership, that everybody's emotions are running too high right now for any reasonable discourse to take place.
I'm not "afraid of dialogue," as some argue. It does not follow logically that if you are against something you must be afraid of it. As a result of this dialogue, I see more liberal slide occuring among conservatives and moderates, and not as much winning of moderates to the Biblical view. The moderates already HAVE a Biblical view of the issue, for the most part, but they aren't willing to discipline those opposing Scripture. A dialogue process isn't likely to get them to see the need for that discipline.
Finally, please try not to get used to (i.e., lower your anxiety over) something that isn't right, just because it is going to happen anyway.
Following Messiah Jesus,
Pastor Steve Hemmeke