The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, also known as the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK), has been forced, by law, to alter its stance on same-sex marriages.

The North Gauteng High Court made its final decision on the matter following a protracted legal challenge brought before it by disgruntled congregants. The contention stems back to a decision undertaken by the Dutch Reformed Church in 2015, when it first resolved to recognise same-sex unions. 

Church cites ‘Christian guidelines’
This decision, which was hailed as a progressive step for what is largely considered an overtly-conservative religious establishment, was dubiously reversed in 2016. This sudden reversal, endorsed by the church’s executive structures, was met with public outrage. The church maintained that, after evaluating its initial decision, it found that same-sex unions did not meet ‘Christian guidelines’.

Adding fuel to the fire, the NGK added that homosexual congregants could only become ministers if they remained celibate. The reiteration of these conservative and prohibitive clauses ended up in a fierce court battle. 

Court disagrees with the NG Kerk
Reverend Laurie Gaum, his father Dr Frits Gaum and eight other members of the NG Kerk launched a High Court application to have the 2016 decision set aside and declared unconstitutional. The NGK, represented by advocate Schalk Burger, argued that its decision was not discriminatory in nature as it did not prevent same-sex couples from being joined in union within other religious establishments. Burger said:

“I would like to submit that there is no unfair discrimination. As I understand the Constitution there is room for the church to follow its own doctrine.” 

The most recent court decision set aside the argument brought by the NGK, effectively overruling its current clauses and reverting them back to those initially sanctioned in 2015. Same-sex marriages will now be recognised and endorsed by the NGK, under legal duress. The celibacy-clause has also been overruled.

The NGK has vowed to review the judgement which leaves room to appeal.

Date published: 11/03/2019
Written by: Luke Daniel
Feature image: Dutch Reformed Church, Church Street, Hanover, South Africa / Image via Wikimedia Commons
Article source:


  1. As our Triune God allows governments to rule, it is a fact that His authority is ALWAYS the final Word👑. His people should obey Him in everything and decisions of the earthly bound institutions should not bind or prohibit them from being obedient to His holy and perfect will.
    It is again, like in the dark ages, and being the end times that are at hand(Laodicéa), we must only stand for Him, with Him, in Him and through Him.

  2. Acts 5:29. and 1 Timothy 4:1 It’s high time the Church starts resisting the heretical oppression of the governing powers. The government has no business interfering in ecclesiastical matters. And the Courts have no business in usurping the laws of God. I would also question the constitutionality of the court’s decision.

  3. I would never attend a church which does not uphold biblical values. If God says no, then it is no. You cannot alter the word of God to suit your views and to change with the times just because it is convenient. His word remains the same from the day it was written and no man can ever alter or challenge it.

    • You make in interesting point Ms Basson. The difficulty is that the Christian community is divided on so many issues as far as “biblical interpretation” is concerned which has made us the laughing stock of our detractors. We don’t agree on the issue of the permissiveness of divorce when a marraige has become “loveless” or when “someone else has been found;” contraception-The willful decision to NOT want any or more children; The choice to not limit sex within marraige only! Euthanasia and abortion are other issues which seems to have appeal to many groupings is a deliberate rejection of biblical teaching. The theological chasm between “biblical” truths and subjective personal desires by disparate denominations that decide their beliefs and bend the bible to match their subjective beliefs on a pic and choose basis that fits their definitions and acceptance based on the outcome of a ballot! Each protestant denomination and “owner managed” church has thus become an authority based on a personal interpretation and conviction, hence the thousands of denominations.

  4. “Well said”, to your previous correspondents. Sin, of this depth will certainly lead to us experiencing God’s anger.

Comments are closed.