06 Jun GS 1983 art 148
GS 1983 ARTICLE 148 – Appeals of the Churches at Neerlandia and London re Acts Synod Smithville 1980, Art. 143.
Committee I reports:
A. J. 11, Appeal of the Church at London
B. J_ 12, Appeal of the Church at Neerlandia
- 1. The Church at London states that it cannot accept the decision recorded in Art. 143 of the Acts of Synod Smithville 1980 “as settled and binding.”
- 2. The Church at London has three reasons for the above statement:
- a. The decision does not contain any grounds.
- b. The decision is confusing.
- c. Injustice has been done to both parties involved.
- 3. The Church at London requests Synod to “deal with the question whether the published exhortation, to practice communion of saints ‘with other believers who do not go with us’ p. 30 sermon, is against Scripture and confessions or not.”
- 4. The Church at Neerlandia appeals point 1 of the decision mentioned in Observation 1.
- 5. As “this Synodical decision as a whole finds itself without any grounds” the Church at Neerlandia requests this Synod “to do what the previous Synod failed to do.”
- 6. The Church at Neerlandia requests Synod “to consider its (appeal to Synod Smithville 1980) content and to judge whether we have indeed failed to submit proof that the views of Rev. D. DeJong regarding the Church and the Communion of Saints are against Scripture and Confession.”
- 7. The Church at Neerlandia recommends acceptance of Observations (except No. 10), Considerations 1, e-j, and the subsequent Recommendations as presented to Synod Smithville, Acts. page 107-111
- 8. The Church at Neerlandia holds that “the view that all the believers without exception (whether they belong to false churches or not) are all members of Christ’s holy congregation is in direct conflict with the spirit and content of Art. 28.”
- 9. The Church at Neerlandia states that “In Art. 28 we confess that there is a calling for believers outside the Church to join Christ’s holy congregation wheresoever God has established it. Only by joining this holy congregation are believers able to maintain its unity “
- It is regrettable that Synod Smithville 1980 did not publish the grounds for its decision mentioned above.
- 2. From both the above submissions it is evident that the issue is: Does Art. 28 of our Belgic Confession call the believers to prove that they are Church members or to join the Church while not being members at that moment?
- 3. Article 28 of the Belgic Confession states clearly:
- a. No person ought to withdraw from the Church.
- b All men are in duty bound to join themselves to the Church. thereby maintaining the unity of the Church.
- c It is the duty of all believers to join themselves to this congregation.
- d. All those who separate themselves from it act contrary to the ordinance of God.
- e. All those who do not join themselves to it act contrary to the ordinance of God.
- 4. The statement that “all believers already belong to the Church” would nullify the above confession.
- 5. Although we confess in Lord’s Day VII that those are saved who are ingrafted into Christ by a true faith, yet it is obvious that question and answer 55 describes the communion of saints as a characteristic of and a gift to the Church.
To send the above Considerations to the Churches at London and Neerlandia as Synod’s judgment on the issue raised in their appeals.