In June 2018, the RCA General Synod commended the “Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality” for consideration by the Commission on Theology (COT) and the wider RCA. In response, a diverse group of people from the LGBTQ community, parents, pastors, educators and others shared their thoughts with Room for All and the COT, offering alternative perspectives on a faithful ethic for living as sexual and gendered people of God. Room for All is grateful for the opportunity to share those responses in “Outsights” over the next several weeks.
Response to “Great Lakes Catechism”
Carol L. Mutch, New Jersey (General Synod President, 2000-2001)
In Genesis 1:18 (New Living Translation), God speaks regarding Adam that “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him.” To be a human being is to want and need others to walk through life with. I believe the only true definition of marriage is “commitment”. The only reason to marry is because one is making a commitment before God that he or she will be faithful to that one person for the rest of their lives, to honor, cherish, protect and love.
The triune God lives in community and commitment. One of the most profound ways of understanding God’s love is when we experience that commitment between two people who love each other. To deny that experience to someone because they were born with a natural attraction to a person of the same sex is to deny them the physical understanding of God’s love.
Sexual immorality is action taken outside the bounds of commitment and spiritual love. It is not a matter of the sexual orientation of the one with whom the action is taken; it is a matter of commitment and intention to honor that person with your love and devotion.
To state that one of the reasons that marriage must be described as a bond between a man and a woman is because they can fulfill the physical act of bringing children into the world is a very limited and basically unchristian approach to what it means to be a parent. We already know that there are more than enough children already born into this world, and that what is really needed is people who out of the goodness of their heart want to parent those children already born – who don’t need to make carbon copies of themselves to fulfill God’s purpose – who share their love through adoption. Same-sex couples have the same drive as all humans have to want to parent and share God-given love to those children. They do that very intentionally, not simply as a by-product of conjugal union.
And lastly, to imply as this document does in answer 19, that those disciples of Jesus who were created by God with an innate attraction to individuals of the same sex, and choose to love each other in the sanctity of marriage are NOT disciples of Jesus, is a betrayal of everything God taught us about love. Romans 10:9 tells us that those who confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe are the true followers, and I John 4:12b states: “If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us.”
My parents were missionaries for the RCA in Africa for ten years. I grew up in the RCA for my entire life. I remember a Sunday School teacher telling me I would go to hell if I was gay. I remember an Assistant Scout Master of the BSA chapter tied to our church exposing his erection to me when I was 13 years old. I remember the RCA telling me I was bound for Hell because I loved another man. Changes must be made and they must be made NOW!