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The catholicity of the church 3

 

R. Sollie-Sleijster

28-04-18

 

[Former title: The catholicity of the church 2]

On the table of synod Lansingerland were two requests concerning relations with churches abroad and the work of deputies BBK: one was from the Liberated Reformed Church at Abbotsford (LRCA) and the other one from DGK Dalfsen.

Synod thoroughly discussed about these matters. Below you’ll find its decisions.

 


 

LRCA

 

Request

 

'… With these matters in mind we therefore overture General Synod Lansingerland to reject the minority report and to adopt only the majority report to be used in contact with Presbyterian churches.'

 

Synod

 

Considerations

  1. LRCA as a foreign sister church may and has a right to keep an eye on DGK. In accordance with this rule it is reasonable to accept this request.
  2. DGK don’t have the Westminster Standards as official confession.
  3. To have or not to have the WS as confession is in itself not a good reason to enter or not to enter into contacts for starting a sister church relation.
  4. GS Groningen made decisions providing stipulations on which to start contacts with Presbyterian churches that do have the WS.
  5. The GS Groningen did not accept the majority and minority reports, but only wanted to use them as study reports in contacts with foreign churches which have the WS. The synod Groningen did not judge the contents of these two study reports.
  6. DGK is not bound to either of these study reports.
  7. The possibility that we might not agree with the minority report, does not force us to accept the majority report as vision of DGK.
  8. LRCA does not provide new and urgent arguments based on which a revision would be justified.
  9. LRCA does not prove that these decisions would indeed be detrimental for the contacts with foreign churches.
  10. LRCA erroneously argues that the GS Emmen had already decided against the minority report when the report of deputies BBK with regard to LRCA was accepted. This is a way of reasoning which captures and immobilizes the ecclesiastical life and decision making.
  11. LRCA does not prove that the GS Emmen accepted br. Vantil’s report on the WS.

Decision

 

The General Synod Lansingerland of The Reformed Churches (restored), assembled in Hasselt on April 21, 2018, decides not to gratify the request of LRCA to reject the minority report and to accept only the majority report for use in contacts with Presbyterians.

 

Grounds:

  1. LRCA requests for adapting decision 6.01 of GS Groningen, but it does not provide such new and urging arguments to justify a change of decision 6.01 GS Groningen.
  2. LRCA does not prove with new and urging arguments that decision 6.01 GS Groningen would be detrimental for the churches.
  3. GS Groningen decided to use the majority and minority reports only as study reports for contacts with foreign churches which have the WS as confession of faith.
  4. The churches are not bound to both study reports.
  5. Ground 4  of decision 6.01 GS Groningen is self-evident and indicates a right track for contacts with churches which have the WS as a confession.

 

DGK Dalfsen

 

Request

 

'… to begin talks with the sister church in Abbotsford about the catholicity of the church in connection with the legitimacy of its secession and its present ecclesiastical position.'

 

Synod

 

Decision [1]

 

The General Synod Lansingerland of The Reformed Churches (restored), assembled in Hasselt on April 21, 2018, decides to declare the letter of DGK Dalfsen admissible and to deal with its contents together with the report of committee 5.

 

Ground:

Because of the existing concerns and questions regarding the vision of the LRCA on the catholicity of the church.

 

Decision [2]

 

The General Synod Lansingerland of The Reformed Churches (restored), assembled in Hasselt on April 21, 2018, decides

  1. the GS admits that the GS Emmen and the GS Groningen erroneously stated that the possibility to proceed with objections in the ecclesiastical way had been removed from CanRC members.
  2. to start talks with the sister church in Abbotsford about the catholicity of the church regarding the legitimacy of its secession and its present ecclesiastical position.
  3. to continue talks with the CanRC deputies about the coming about and the existence of the LRCA.

Grounds:

  1. Statements of the LRCA about churches which have the WS as confession overture questions about its vision on the catholicity of the church.
  2. When there are reasons for concern within a sister church relation, matters can be discussed with the sister church.
  3. In the statements of GS Emmen and GS Groningen accusations of the LRCA  addressed at the CanRC about their decline are expressed and taken over, but not all of these accusations have as yet been proved or substantiated.
  4. In examining the considerations of the LRCA for reaching secession from the CanRC the CanRC have not been heard sufficiently.