This post is about why I think leaving the RCA is a necessity. But before I get into the denominational weeds, I want to give you a ‘lay of the land’. This contextual background helps give clarity why so many churches are leaving.
Barna Research will soon release data from a new study that reveals 40% of Generation Z and 30% of Millennials now identify as LGBTQ. This reveals a profound shift in culture. These young adults aren’t necessarily talking about their sexual appetites but instead embracing a worldview that believes in two realities that Charles Taylor mentions in The Ethics of Authenticity .
The first is “soft subjectivism”. Soft subjectivism is “the view that moral positions are not in any way grounded in reason or the nature of things but are ultimately just adopted by each of us because we find ourselves drawn to them”. The second reality is what Taylor terms “self-determining freedom”. Taylor writes “I am free when I decide for myself what concerns me, rather than being shaped by external influences”. These are bedrock beliefs in the LGBTQ worldview and from them come novel definitions of diversity, gender, love, sexual norms, acceptance, and family.
The gospel we preach must be good news here. It must articulate and demonstrate that following Jesus is a much better idea than following oneself. The LGBTQ worldview is non-sensical if Jesus is Lord.
Now lets talk about the exodus out of the RCA. The church I lead has left the RCA. Many of the largest churches in the denomination are leaving the RCA. I had said very little about our exit until I was contacted for a Christianity Today article asking for a comment on general synod and the exodus of churches. The journalist asked a question that I’m still thinking about: “why make the issue of sexuality an issue to divide on when there is such wide spread disagreement on what the Bible says?”
Wes Granberg-Michaelson, former general secretary, served as a delegate for this year’s general synod and he reveals why its time to go . He wrote this on Facebook:
I arrived at the RCA General Synod with a heavy heart, but I’m departing hopeful, grateful, and encouraged. The mood here among delegates was conciliatory, respectful, honest, and open. We decided to walk forward together, respecting our differences regarding same-gender relationships, but following pathways for common mission and ministry. We rejected proposals to build a wall between us over those differences, but rather to continue our journey together as the oldest Protestant denomination in the U.S. A group will now work on how we radically re-create our aging organizational structure to serve this future. Some congregations will leave, which we knew from the start. But now there’s a pathway for those who will stay together. I’m deeply grateful, as delegates depart today, that we’ve been brought to this place.
It all sounds very nice but do you see the problem? The radical restructuring is built upon a LGBTQ worldview where morality is subjective and we can choose the flavor of Christian we want to be. The answer given by general synod—a restructuring of the denomination that places conservatives into a synod and the liberals in another synod—is impossible in a Christian worldview.
The churches that stay have lost their authority. They are no longer salt and light. They have acquiesced on what matters. Their actions declare that morality is subjective and personal choice is king. There is simply no way now for orthodox churches to be faithful in the RCA. The leaven has ruined the whole loaf.
For the sake of the gospel, we have left the RCA. I pray if you are like minded, you do the same. There are faithful ‘denominational’ expressions being birthed in this moment. The Kingdom Network and the Association of Reformed Churches are two such communities. Both believe that Jesus is the answer and that he alone is Lord. It is now a necessity to leave the RCA.