framework for life together

In March 2018, City Classis adopted the following framework for living together in the midst difference around issues of human sexuality.

1) The City Classis recognizes and affirms among its membership the historical Christian teaching regarding marriage and human sexuality as the normative and majority model for Christian discipleship and practice across both time and cultures.

2) The Classis also recognizes and affirms among its membership pastoral and interpretive variance in discipleship around human sexuality and marriage. Members of City Classis that embrace newer interpretations and practices have done so with integrity, pastoral and theological reflection, and as the result of their commitment to Scriptural obedience.

3) We recognize the fruit of the Spirit’s work in the ministries and pastoral practices of sisters and brothers who hold to both traditional and newer interpretation and practice, and we are committed to listening more deeply, more patiently, and more humbly to what the Spirit is saying in our midst.

4) The church – as the fellowship of the baptized – is given its unity through our mutual welcome by God in Christ and not through uniform Christian discipleship. We submit ourselves to this unity and to one another in our baptismal vows. We bear witness to it in our communion with Christ at the Lord’s Table. These theological and ethical differences are weighty, but they do not undo our welcome into God’s one covenantal family. Thus, we remain committed to pursuing the mission given to God’s one family by planting and growing healthy churches in urban contexts – churches that participate in the healing message of the Gospel of reconciliation.

5) City Classis commits to respect one another across different Scriptural interpretations regarding human sexuality. We will respect as genuine biblical obedience the work of Pastors and Consistories as they exercise local pastoral authority in decisions regarding marriage and congregational leadership. The classis encourages its members not to approach these differences judicially. Attempting to listen to the Spirit, we will engage and admonish one another pastorally around these issues, always calling one another back to Scripture and to the vows of baptism and ordination.

6) We believe that maintaining the visible unity of the church in the midst of sincere disagreement is the most biblical way for City Classis to advance its mission and the mission of the Reformed Church in America, the most faithful way to listen to the voice of Spirit in a time of divergent Scriptural interpretation, and the most effective way to bear witness to the ongoing work of Jesus. We earnestly hope, and sincerely pray, that the Spirit will help us, correct us, and lead us according to God’s will.

7) The Classis adopts this posture in humility and love, and in continued submission to one another and to the Constitution and Polity of the Reformed Church in America.