Dutch Reformed Church won’t appeal judgment

Dr Gustav Claassen (PHOTO: kerkbode).

The Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) synod has decided to abide by a controversial Pretoria High Court ruling ordering the church to allow ministers in same-sex relationships and the solemnisation of same-sex civil unions.

The decision followed a vote in which a “significant majority” of 48 synod members supported a proposal not to take any further legal action, said Dr Gustav Claasen general secretary of the DRC, in a report in kerkbode today.

The High Court ruling on March 8, which overturned a 2016 synod resolution to reverse a 2015 resolution on gender issues, has raised religious freedom concerns, and last Friday the ACDP urged the DRC to “appeal until the matter reaches the highest court” and pledged to join any application as a friend of the court.

Laurie Gaum, a DRC minister who led a group of church members who launched the successful appeal against the 2016 synod resolution, reportedly warned on Friday that they would fight the church if it appealed the High Court ruling.

Calling the DRC’s decision to accept the High Court judgment  “disappointing but not surprising”, Philip Rosenthal of ChristianView Network said today that the root problem in the church was not a debate about homosexuality but about the authority of the Bible.

Commenting on the ruling last week, Michael Swain executive director of Freedom of Religion SA (FOR SA), said the court’s findings on the constitutional aspects were concerning from a religious freedom point of view and posed a severe threat to the institutional autonomy of churches and religious groupings.

He said the judgment does not go so far as to force all churches and religious groupings to marry same-sex couples but it sets a dangerous precedent.

“When the state starts telling society (including the Church) how they should think and believe, we may find ourselves on a dangerous path towards totalitarianism,” he said.

The ACDP, in a media statement released on Friday, also expressed concern about the constitutional aspects of the ruling.

“Effectively, ruling in favour of same-sex marriages in the Church amounts to regulation by an arm of the State — in this case, the court — on sacred affairs of the Church that cannot be compromised,” it said.


  1. My heart goes out to the Dutch Reformed Church. I pray that the would repent for compromising God’s word and putting His Church in disrepute. This is what happens when we no longer act as ambassadors and serve a secular humanist agenda. My God raise up true leaders in This church who will return to a biblical worldview and appeal the decision.

  2. Assie Van der Westhuizen

    AS soon as ACO has taken over the Government of South Africa, this and other similar ante-Biblical laws will be repealed.

  3. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
    (1Jn 3:2-9 KJV)

  4. It is very wrong for the courts or the government to impose rules on churches with regard to religeous matters.

  5. Hwo many of us will be willing to be persecuted for Jesus? the fact that the DRC does not oppose this ruling, means they ARE NOT WILLING TO BE PERSECUTED FOR JESUS. They would much rather compromise, keep the peace roll over and play dead.

  6. I find it quite sad that the DRC, once the bastion of Christianity in South Africa, Should choose to comply with the world’s rules rather than the God’s rules. I suppose that they will be issuing a directive to their congregants ordering them to take a black pen to every reference in the Bible to homosexuality.
    I wonder what the next passage will be to be removed? Perhaps “thou shall not murder” in order to allow abortions? Please forgive the cynicism, but where will the descripturising of God’s word stop?