GS 1983 art 43

GS 1983 ARTICLE 43Reopening

The chairman requests to sing Psalm 90: 1 and 8. After the roll call is held, he wel­comes all the guests present. He especially addresses the delegates from the Dutch sister Churches, Dr. K. Deddens and the Rev. J. de Gelder. and the representative from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Rev. J. J. Peterson of San Antonio, Texas, with the following words:

“According to the Synodical Guidelines which will be discussed further this eve­ning, it is the task of the chairman to welcome any guests that may merit special men­tion. As far as this is concerned, we do have some here who deserve this.

There are here. from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church the Rev. Jack J. Peterson, and from the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland the Rev. Dr. K. Deddens and the Rev. J. de Gelder. These brethren are here, having been invited to represent the communi­ties that sent them. We are thankful for the fact that we are deemed worthy to be hon­oured with their presence. They are accustomed to far larger broadest assemblies than the one they are visiting right now. Although they are not members of this assembly, they are here, they are most welcome, and will attend our sessions for the time they are here in such a manner that we may benefit from their wisdom and insight.

Their arrival has boosted our number by almost twenty percent. What is a group of sixteen or nineteen men in the eyes of the world?

What impact on the life. on the well and woe of country and nation can this group have, representing a mere 10,0 00 people, half of whom are in the age bracket of chil­dren, of babes and sucklings, and therefore do not rate?

When we realize that we are only a very small segment of the population. we ap­preciate it the more when there are others who do not think it to be below their standing to send some to bring greetings from afar. The only reason why they are doing this must be that they see something in us that others don’t see. It is the grace bestowed upon us by our faithful God and Father, the grace by which we are allowed to be His people, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. If this had not been the case, why would their com­ munities have sent them. and why would the brethren have made the sacrifice of com­ing here?

We thank our God for His grace upon us in your presence, brethren, and thank you for coming.

The relationship with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is not the same as that with the Reformed Churches in The Netherlands. Our bonds with the latter are those of full sister Churches, whereas the relation with the former is of a temporary nature. When the Synod of Coaldale 1977 dealt with the matter of contact with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, it decided to ” offer the Orthodox Presbyterian Church a temporary relationship called ‘ecclesiastical contact.’ ” It is the intention of a “temporary relation­ ship” that it becomes permanent or, if there are urgent reasons for doing so, is broken off. We cannot deny that there are grave concerns on our part as far as this becoming permanent is concerned. and the Rev. Peterson will be even more aware of those points than we are. It will be of great interest to him to attend the discussion of the report of Committee II regarding the continuation of our contact. It is our sincere wish that it may become very evident from all we say and decide that the purity of doctrine and the sanc­tity of life are our main concern. If the marks of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ can no longer be found with our communities, we have lost our reason for existing.

As for the brethren from The Netherlands, we have a special reason to welcome them. This reason is not in the first place a financial matter, although there is a financial aspect to it. We would have invited Dr. Deddens anyway to come over and meet us; now our Dutch sister Churches were so kind as to foot the bill. It goes without saying that originally this was not their intention.

I do not know whether Dr. Deddens has already been appointed as our fourth full­ time professor. I do know that we have instructed the Board of Governors to make this appointment. I do not know for sure whether Dr. Deddens, having received the appoint­ment, has already accepted it. We would like to have your decision by November 25.

What I do know is that personally I am looking forward to working with Dr. Deddens at our College. I did not know him personally before he came out here. but I may say that the contact we have had so far was most pleasant.

Dr. Deddens, it will not be taken ill of me when I say that we are happy for your willingness to consider the appointment. There was – as everyone knows – some con­ tact between you and the Faculty as well as between you and the Board of Governors prior to the proposal made to General Synod to appoint you at our College.

This institution has the love of our heart, it is borne by the dedication and prayers of God’s people, and it is as much an honour for you to be considered for a professorate as it is for the College to have you teach at it.

What we were looking for was someone who is academically qualified and who is absolutely faithful to the King of the Church, adhering to the truth of God’s Word, lean­ing neither to the left nor to the right, but going the straight path which our God has pointed out. We are convinced to have found such a man in you, and it is our sincere wish and heartfelt prayer that the Lord our God may strengthen and encourage you to take up the task at our College once you have made your decision known to us.

I consider it a great honour that I may welcome you as our fourth professor-designate. In 1968, at the Synod of Orangeville, it was my equally great privilege to welcome and greet the first appointees at the College-to-be-established. We can only marvel at the goodness and mercy of our God who caused this College to become and remain a bless­ing to Christ’s Churches. Him we praise.

May your work be a factor in the continuation of this institution and the Lord’s bless­ing upon it.”