Tom De Vries urges the RCA to commit to loving each other and being united in mission.
By Tom De Vries
In June, the RCA spent the week of General Synod figuring out how to stay connected and committed to each other, trying to journey in unity and harmony.
This isn’t the first time in the RCA’s four centuries of history together that we’ve disagreed—but throughout that history, our standards of unity have called us to stick together as we figure it out.
I strongly believe that the RCA not only has a history but also has a future. Our history gives us a pattern for working through our disagreements to move us toward God’s future for us. Our history reminds us to put our trust in the Holy Spirit, not in ourselves, to bring resolution and reconciliation. Our history gives us hope in God’s ability to unify us around one mission, even as we differ.
God has been transforming the world through the RCA for centuries. In 1859, it happened to be in Japan, as the country was opened to Western nations. The RCA sent three missionaries, one of whom baptized a Samurai warrior and paved the way for the Protestant church in Japan. Today, that kind of transformation is happening in India and Nicaragua, in Toronto, Chicago, Fresno, and Sioux Falls—because God is working through us together as the RCA.
With that transformation in mind, let’s work to find a way to move forward with mercy and grace, as we seek unity together. It must not be unity for the sake of unity, but unity that helps us share the gospel, motivates us to live and love like Jesus, and seeks God’s reconciliation and restoration in our world.
The foundation for our life together must be love, and it must be love extended outward, both in the church and in our world. I challenge us as the RCA to love one another—fully and completely. Let’s figure out how to love one another as the General Synod resolutions pass through the classes for a vote. The RCA’s journey isn’t over yet, and I pray that we can learn from our history how to keep loving each other into our future.
Through our commitment to love, I believe that we can figure out how to find resolution and reconciliation that is God-honoring and a witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.
Because I do believe: Love figures it out.
Tom De Vries is general secretary of the Reformed Church in America.