06 May GS 1980 art 74
GS 1980 ARTICLE 74 – Re-opening – Appeal Ollj
The Chairman calls on the brothers to sing Psalm 48:1. Synod meets in closed session. The following decision is taken:
Committee I presents: Appeal Rev. and Mrs. Olij
A. Material – Agenda
- VIII, I, 12 – Appeal of the Rev. C. Olij against the decision of the Regional Synod East, Burlington, June 11, 12 and 19, 1980, re: the decision of Classis Ontario North, of March 20, 1980 to accede to the request of the Consistory of the Church at Orangeville to release its minister in accordance with Article 11, Church Order, with an enclosure.
- VIII, I, 13 – Letter of sr. C. Olij re: the same matter.
- 1. The Appellant objects to the decision of Regional Synod, Article 38, 1, a.b., that Regional Synod failed to recognize that Classis March 20, 1980 dealt with matters which had been dealt with already at previous Classes.
- The addenda to the Consistory request to release the Minister are meant.
- 2. The Appellant objects to the decision of Regional Synod that “these two matters, although stemming from the same basic difficulty in the church at Orangeville, are certainly not the same” (Acts Regional Synod June 1980, Article 38, 1.c). He maintains that it was the same matter.
- 3. The Appellant objects to decision 1.c. of Regional Synod, in which, according to him, Regional Synod apparently accepts as fact that the basic problem in the Church at Orangeville is the method of preaching, without saying so and without ever having judged the validity of this allegation by examining sermon tapes or the testimony of some members of the congregation (Appeal p. 9, 2nd par.).
- 4. The Appellant complains that by not disclosing or judging this alleged basic problem, his name is brought under a cloud of suspicion which unjustly limits his possibilities for receiving a call from one of the other churches (Appeal p. 9 bottom).
- 5. The Appellant claims that ground a. and b. of Regional Synod’s decision 2 are untrue, since Classis February 7, 13, 1980 also gave advice to the Consistory, on its request, as to how to deal with the brothers whose appeal had just been rejected by this Classis.
- Regional Synod decision Article 38 2.a.b. limits the advice of Classis only to these brothers, thereby obscuring the fact that Classis gave advice to both parties in the Consistory to unite and to cooperate in harmony (Appeal p. 10).
- 6. The Appellant objects to decision 2.b.c., which decision is based on what the Appellant calls “the blatant lie” of Fact 17 (as stated in the Consistory decision of release) namely that efforts made by the Consistory and Church Visitors in the meetings of February and March to restore unity and cooperation, remained without results.
- The Appellant claims that the real fact is that the three Elders (who released themselves) and the Minister (who had received temporary release) returned to the duties of their office, after they had admitted their error, so that good result was reached indeed in the restoration of unity and co-operation in the Consistory (p. 10).
- 7. The Appellant objects to Regional Synod decision 3 in which Regional Synod judges that it cannot conclude that Classis March 20, 1980 acted contrary to Article 11, Church Order in approving the release of Rev. Olij, among others, on the grounds that the Facts (mentioned in the Consistory Decision sub 1-17) show that real cooperation is considered impossible by the Consistory. The Appellant claims that the Facts give a distorted picture of the real situation in the Consistory of Orangeville.
- Fact 17 fails to mention what has been said in observation 6 (see above), which gives evidence that in reality cooperation was indeed possible, as also the two rejected proposals and their discussion at the Consis tory meeting of March 7, 1980 show. Both proposals aimed at cooperation and peace in the spirit of the Class is advice to all the parties involved, but which have never been made known by Consistory to the Congregation as to their contents (pp. 11, 12).
- 8. The Appellant claims that the Facts are also misleading in this respect, that no mention is made of the proposal of br. VanOmmen immediately after the rejection of his appeal by Classis June/August, 1979 against the decision of the Consistory not to dismiss Rev. Olij. This new proposal is evidence of br. VanOmmen’s unwillingness to hold the Classis decision for settled and binding without lodging an Appeal against it at Regional Synod.
- 9. The Appellant complains that the Regional Synod completely ignored his argument from Scripture that unity and cooperation are a divine commandment, which by the power of God can and must be kept (p. 1 bottom, p. 14 middle, pp. 13 and 17).
- 10. According to the Appellant, Regional Synod should have adopted the proposal of Article 37 Acts Regional Synod on the ground of God’s commandment to live in harmony with one another and his promise to work by the Holy Spirit, by whom “miracles do happen” (p. 17 bottom).
- 11. The Appellant claims that the Regional Synod accepted the Facts of the Consistory as grounds for the dismissal, while at the same time denying this. The Facts, however, only show the apparent inability to cooperate in the Consistory, which inability as such can not be a ground for dismissal according to Article 11, Church Order, but asks for investigation by the major assemblies in order to find out about and deal with the real cause of this inability to cooperate (pp. 16, 17 bottom).
- 12. The Appellant claims that the decision to dismiss him was contrary to the intention of Article 11, Church Order. Th is article of the Church Order does not apply in the situation (pp. 14, 15, 16).
- 13. The Appellant deems the financial arrangements made by the Consistory with the approval of Classis and the concurring advice of the Deputies of Regional Synod unacceptable as being not in accordance with the promises made by the Consistory in the Letter of Call (p. 18).
- 14. Sr. C. Olij in her letter to General Synod complains that Rev. C. Olij, right from the start of his ministry in the Church at Orangeville, did not receive the assistance and understanding which might have been expected.
- Regional Synod should never have accepted the proposal to dismiss Rev. Olij from elders who never personally approached the minister about it.
- 1. Article 11, Church Order provides for situations in which it is obvious that a minister no longer can be considered to work fruitfully in his congregation, according to the judgment of the Consistory, with the approval of Classis and Deputies of the Regional Synod.
- 2. By adopting this Article in their Church Order the churches have agreed that such a release or dismissal, whereby the minister retains his title, is not in conflict with the promises and commandments of Scripture.
- 3. The addenda to the Consistory’s request to Classis, March 20, 1980, although pertaining to matters dealt with by previous Classes, served not as grounds for the Classis decision, but as documentation for the one ground the Consistory adduced, namely “that real co-operation within the Consistory was not possible.”
- 4. The proposal recorded in Article 37 of the Acts of Regional Synod, June 1980, did not point out a way to deal with the issue at stake, namely co operation within the Consistory.
- The Appellant has not proven that the commandment of love, which speaks about a relationship of brothers who have to accept each other, wouId then exclude dealing with the issue at stake.
- 5. The fact that Classis June/August 1979 judged the ground for the appeal against the decision of the Consistory not to dismiss the minister according to Article 11, Church Order insufficient, does not imply that at a later date (March 20, 1980) the Consistory, on different grounds, cannot be granted the request to do so. The Appellant fails to prove that both Classes dealt with the same request.
- 6. There was no compelling need for the major assemblies to investigate and judge the preaching, since the only ground was the apparent lack of cooperation within the Consistory, for which lack no one-sided blame was given (Acts, Article 10, Classis Ontario-North, June 26, 1980).
- 7. The advice which the Classis February 1980 gave to the Consistory, on its request during the Question Period ad. Article 41, Church Order, concerned the request as to how to deal with the brothers and the minister in connection with the restricted matter of the situation occasioned by the rejection of their appeals (Appeal p. 10 top).
- 8. The omission from the Facts (as mentioned in the Consistory’s decision of release) of the contents of the two proposals which aimed at unity and cooperation, but were rejected by the Consistory, does not distort the picture of the real situation.
- These proposals do not show that there clearly was a possibility to cooperate.
- On the contrary, their rejection clearly demonstrate and confirm the inability to cooperate.
- 9. The omission from the Facts that br. VanOmmen, immediately after the rejection of his appeal by Classis June/August 1979, proposed to give the minister leave of absence for study purposes, is no distortion of the picture either. The proposal clearly shows that this brother abided by the Classis-decision regarding his appeal and proposed a different way than dismissal to solve the problems in the Church of Orangeville and restore unity and peace.
- 10. Rev. Oiij’s rejection of the proposal Kottelenberg at the Consistory meeting of March 7, 1980, in combination with the contents of his own proposal at that meeting lead to the conclusion that there was, at least also on his part, lack of cooperation to deal with the cause of the difficulties.
- 11. Fact 17 cannot be considered to be a “blatant lie,” as the return to office by elders and minister, after admitting their error, in accordance with the advice of Classis February 1980, only opened the way to deal again together with the problems of disunity and lack of cooperation and their basic cause. Rev. Olij’s proposal at the Consistory meeting of March 7, 1980 reveals that he himself acknowledges the still existing difficulties, in spite of his and the three elders’ return to their respective offices. The efforts to solve these difficulties remained indeed without results, as Fact 17 states, as evidenced by the rejection of the two proposals which aimed at the restoration of unity and co-operation. One of these two proposals was rejected by Rev. Olij himself as he admits in his appeal to General Synod (Appeal, pp. 13.12).
- 12. The Appellant’s dissatisfaction with the financial arrangement made by the Consistory of Orangeville, with the approval of the Classis of June 1980, cannot be dealt with by General Synod (Article 30, Church Order).
- 13. The complaint of sr. C. Olij that elders who proposed the dismissal of Rev. Olij never personally approached the Minister, has not been dealt with by the minor assemblies nor does it appear that those assemblies were requested to deal with this complaint. It is not possible for General Synod to establish whether the alleged actions of the brothers concerned would render their proposal to release the Minister inadmissible.
- The most General Synod can do is to take note of sr. Olij’s grievances.
- 1. General Synod decides, on the ground of the above-mentioned considerations, that Rev. C. Olij has failed to prove that the decision of Regional Synod East-Burlington, June 1980, “not to grant the requests of the Rev. C. Olij” (Acts, Article 38), was contrary to Scripture and the Church Order.
- 2. General Synod decides to take note of the letter of sr. C. Olij.
The Rev. Cl. Stam and the Rev. M. van Beveren abstain from voting, the former because of his involvement in various Committees dealing with this matter, and the latter because of his involvement as a Church Visitor.
The Rev. J. Mulder was absent.
The Chairman expresses the hope that the blessings of the LORD will be experienced by the Church at Orangeville and the Rev. C. Olij and his family in these difficult circumstances.