Leaders of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) or NG Kerk are considering an appeal to reverse the historic decision to recognise same-sex unions and allow non-celibate gay ministers.
While the vote by the General Synod last month was welcomed by the LGBT community and its supporters, conservative elements of the church were outraged by the decision.
An appeal has now been lodged against the new policy, which will be heard as part of the church’s “moderamen” meeting, which runs from today until Wednesday.
The DRC secretary’s office told Mambaonline that the meeting is being attended by four representatives from each of the ten synods, as well as the executive.
“We are quite surprised about [the appeal]” said a source, who confirmed that Dr. Johan Ernst, a former senior leader in the church, was behind it.
Netwerk 24 reported that Ernst had initially supported the vote by the General Synod but has now changed his mind.
A decision or clarification on the matter is expected on Wednesday.
The DRC’s 9 October decision allowed individual congregations to choose whether or not to accept same-sex relationships and gay clergy. The church has nevertheless continued to assert that marriage itself can only be between a man and woman.
Last week, the Dutch Reformed Church in Kokstad lashed out at the General Synod’s vote in support of gays and lesbians, insisting that the Bible proclaims that “a union between people of the same sex is sin…”
Reverend Petrus Fouché told the East Griqualand Fever: “Now the decision taken by the general synod undermines the very foundations of our church which is the word of God. It seeks to suggest that the Bible is full of mistakes and we cannot allow that to happen.”