Update: Believe it or not, this is a muddled message – see the note at the tail of this article.
Christians follow Jesus, who said as follows:
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the good news.”
The good news of the kingdom of God is not just a matter of good news, but a matter of repentance. What should men repent of? Sin. Repent of sin; live in holiness:
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
But wait! Never mind holiness! There’s a new gospel! It is at war with the gospel of holiness, and it says:
A new time has come: repent of calling men from sin! Sin matters no more, and you can choose to live in it! This is good news!
And this is the gospel that the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NG Kerk) has recently adopted as an optional confession. In accordance with this new gospel of sin, churches are now free to admit unrepentant sinners as preachers of the gospel, including those that flout their sinful lifestyle.
They took the trouble to present their resolution in that foreign language, somewhat stilted English:
4 The General Synod decides, in the light of point 1 above, to give recognition to the status of civil unions between persons of the same sex that are characterised by love and fidelity. The General Synod makes provision for pastors who see their way open to solemnise such unions.
5 The same Christian ethical standards (doctrine and life) apply to all persons with regards to licensing and ordination.
6 The General Synod acknowledges the diversity of opinions within the DRC concerning same sex unions and confirms the right of church councils to formulate and exercise their own viewpoints and practices.
There are thus two gospels permitted in the NG Kerk, only one of which is the gospel of Jesus Christ:
- The gospel of free grace and sanctification: freedom from sin
- The gospel of free sin: freedom to sin
The proponents of the new gospel say they will reach out with evangelistic zeal to win over converts from the old gospel to their new gospel. For now, they say they are content to have the new gospel of sin approved as an official alternative theology of the church.
So here’s what it means to congregations:
- The door to the infiltration of the church by homosexual activists is now flung wide open. Homosexual activists that pretend that they are teachers of the gospel with no special commitment to sin will gain trusted positions. When their concealed sin becomes known, they will claim that their deception was innocent, and they were under no obligation to disclose that they are sold out to sin, rather than to Christ. They may now infiltrate the church with official sanction.
- Young men in the church will be exposed to sexual predation by officially sanctioned homosexual clerics. When this recruitment is exposed, the predators will point out that it is quite normal for the homosexual lifestyle to recruit new members to their sin. And furthermore, this practice is officially sanctioned by the church.
- Congregations that do not tolerate sin will be targeted by activists for harassment and re-education towards sexual deviance and acceptance of the false gospel.
- Depraved men (and women) will feel free to preach all manner of false doctrine, and go from bad to worse.
- Any sin and lapse by those that preach the true gospel will be taken as a proof of the false gospel. There’s no logic to this, but they will do it.
- The gospel of grace that calls us to faith and repentance from sin will never be heard again. Instead, there will be endless bickering about a matter that should not even be mentioned in private.
The official position of the NG Kerk is that they base their teaching on the Bible:
Die NG Kerk fundeer dus sy leer op die Bybel. Die Bybel is die onfeilbare Woord van God. In dié Woord openbaar God Hom as Vader, Seun en Heilige Gees. Die Kerk verklaar dus sy onvoorwaardelike gehoorsaamheid aan die wil van God soos dit in sy Woord geopenbaar is.
However, this resolution (and a few before it too) are a bit of a problem. By accepting public sin, they are publicly rejecting the true gospel There’s not much left after this:
For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
Edit: The careful reader will note that the Lord did not say “repent from sin”, but rather “repent and believe”. The gospel calls us to repentance (a change of mind) and to believe (you had better believe it). The practical effect of believing the gospel is that the believer calls on the name of the Lord, is saved to a new birth to a living hope that is fatal to the life of sin. While this is colloquially shortened to “repent from sin”, it is incorrect to consider this to be the gospel appeal.