09 Jun GS 1983 art 165
GS 1983 ARTICLE 165 – Appeal br. H. J. Noot
The discussion on the appeal of br. H. J Noot is continued. The recommendations are adopted.
Committee I presents:
A. MATERIAL – Agenda J,9
Appeal by brother H. J. Noot with appendices.
- 1. Brother Noot appeals the decision of the Regional Synod West of September 20-22, 1983 which Synod:
- a. Did not grant brother Noot’s request to Regional Synod “to judge ‘that Classis Alberta-Manitoba did not do justice to request #1 of the Immanuel Presbytery as it did not deal with the Christian doctrine (that which is taught) in the sermon. but that it missed the point.”
- b. Did not grant brother Noot’s request “‘to please clearly state what we confess and believe’ (concerning the Church),” since “the request ‘to state what we confess and believe’ can only be answered by referring to the text of the Confession, and not to various interpretations of the Confession.”
- 2. Brother Noot asks General Synod to state:
- a. “That the view “that believers scattered throughout false churches and sects are by a true faith ingrafted not only into Christ, but also into His Body, the Church” is not a view leading out of the Confession but is a view contrary to the Confession.”
- b. “What we confess and believe about the Church.”
- 3. The Regional Synod did not grant request #1 of brother H. J. Noot, mainly on the ground that “brother Noot gives an incorrect extension to the term ‘doctrine’ and therefore incorrectly interprets request #1 of the Immanuel Presbytery as the request to judge the whole sermon in all its statements.”
- 4. The request mentioned under 3 was “to judge whether the Christian doctrine concerning the holy catholic Church. the communion of saints, as taught by Rev. S. DeBruin in the sermon on Lord’s Day 21 of the H.C. and Answer 54 on September 12, 1982. is in full accordance with the Holy Scriptures as confessed in our Three Forms of Unity.”
- 5. Both Classis and Regional Synod restricted the term “doctrine” to “the principle of the sermon,” namely, “that the holy catholic Church is not limited to the Canadian Reformed Churches or to those with whom our Churches have a corresponding relationship as sister Churches.”
- 6. The above sermon was typed from a tape. and unspecified parts of it were withdrawn later on.
- 7. Rev. S. DeBruin himself issued a document “Hand-out” containing his views on the point in question.
- 8. From this document it becomes evident that Rev. S. DeBruin teaches, among other things:
- a. “All who have received a true faith become by virtue of that fact ‘a member of Jesus Christ and of His Church'” (p. 4).
- b. “When one calls or encourages true Christians who are members of a false church, or who are isolated, into a visible unity with a true Church, such ought not to join in order to become members of the holy catholic Church, but be cause they are already members by faith … and therefore are duty-bound to join in obedience to Christ’s command” (p. 6, 9d).
- c. “Since the word ‘pluriformity’ as used in relation to the diversity of Churches in the world has become suspect … it is advisable … to use the word ‘plurality’ in relation to obvious numbers of different Churches or Church federations in the world. Based on our own confession (see Art. 27 B.C.) it is simply impossible to deny this plurality in the world.” (p. 9ff.).
- d. “In principle the communion of saints is as broad as the holy catholic Church. i.e. they cover each other perfectly” (p. 11. 19).
- e. “Due to situations beyond one’s control (result of sin in general) it may become necessary for one’s own (or family) spiritual well-being to look for another communion of saints (Church), without having to judge the Church one leaves as being false” (P. 13. 23).
- To restrict the term “doctrine” to “the principle of the sermon” is unwarranted and arbitrary, since this so-called “principle” was elaborated on by Rev. S. DeBruin in sermon as well as in “Hand-out.”
- 2. As unspecified parts of the sermon were withdrawn. it would be incorrect to base a judgment on it.
- 3. From Observation 8 it is clear that Rev. S. DeBruin teaches:
- a. that all believers are members of Christ’s Church;
- b. that, in fact, a true believer cannot become a member since he is a member already;
- c. that there is a plurality of Churches;
- d. that the communion of saints is as broad as the holy catholic Church (as consisting of all true believers);
- e. that one’s “spiritual well-being” may make it mandatory to leave a certain Church without it having become a false church.
- 4. In our Confession we state:
- a. that no person ought to withdraw from the Church;
- b. that all men are in duty bound to join and unite themselves with it;
- c. that all believers are to join themselves to this congregation;
- d. that all who separate themselves from it or do not join themselves to it act contrary to the ordinance of God.
- 5. To state that all true believers are already members of Christ’s Church would nullify the above Confession.
- 6. To state that there is a plurality of Churches in fact undermines the Confession that everyone is in duty bound to join the Church and to this end “ought diligently and circumspectly to discern from the Word of God which is the true Church.”
- 7. What the Church believes and confesses has been summarized in the Three Forms of Unity. The Regional Synod West of September 20-22, 1983, therefore was correct in answering brother H. J. Noot’s second request by referring him to the Confession.
Synod declare that by the above considerations brother H. J. Noot’s questions have been answered.