Neels Jackson
2 minute read
6 Oct 2008
00:00

Boesak quits church positions over homophobia

Neels Jackson

Dr Allan Boesak has accused the General Synod of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA) of betraying the Belhar Confession, which commits the church to oppose all forms of discrimination.

Pretoria — Dr Allan Boesak has accused the General Synod of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA) of betraying the Belhar Confession, which commits the church to oppose all forms of discrimination.

Boesak shocked the synod on Friday evening by announcing that he will step down from all church positions. This follows an accusation during a debate on homosexuality that he is abusing the Belhar Confession.

Boesak told the synod that, based on Belhar, the church should fully accept gay members, should perform gay marriage ceremonies and allow ministers in gay relationships to serve in the church.

On Saturday morning, Boesak said that in his heart the decision is final, but he will not write his letter of resignation before he has spoken to his people.

Yesterday he said he will speak to the moderators of the Cape synod tomorrow and to the committee on Wednesday.

The more he thought about it, the less likely it seemed that he wouldchange his mind, he said. Boesak spoke harshly about the synod, although he said their criticism was not aimed at him personally.

He said he confronted the synod with an issue that they are neither emotionally nor theologically ready to discuss.

The way in which synod delegates read the Bible is deeply fundamentalist, said Boesak, adding that they cantherefore not claim a deeply reformed reading of the Bible.

They could not refute the arguments in the report he presented. Yet some delegates said that although they couldn’t answer him, they would still vote against him.

Boesak said the synod has a deep hatred and disgust for gay people. Because he emphasised that one should not talk about gays in the style of Robert Mugabe, delegates vented their anger and disgust of gay people on him.

He said he believes the synod actually wants a task team that will come up with an anti-gay report.

But if you do that, said Boesak, you will be manipulating the Bible to suit yourself and your own prejudices. Boesak said he is no longer prepared to represent a church that is betraying the Belhar Confession in that way.

The positions from which Boesak will step down are those of moderator of the Cape synod and member of the committee and the synod commission.

Boesak said he would have travelled to America next year to speak to three churches about Belhar, but he will now decline the invitations.