29 Mar GS 1983 art 53
GS 1983 ARTICLE 53 – Address Dr. K. Deddens
On behalf of the Dutch sister Churches, de Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland, Dr. K. Deddens addresses Synod with the following words:
- Beloved Brothers in the Lord. Delegates to this Synod:
- It is a great pleasure to me, Mr. Chairman, that you gave me the floor to address the Synod on behalf of your sister Churches, “De Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland.”
- It is in the name of my fellow delegate, the Rev. J. de Gelder, as well that I convey to you the regards of the Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad.
- In this connection I have to add that we feel sorry for not having delegates in 1977 and 1980, your Synod years, neither for Synod Coaldale. nor for Synod Smithville. So there is, unfortunately, an interval of nine years, because our first representation was that of the Rev. S. S. Cnossen at Synod Toronto 1974. There were several reasons for not sending delegates in the meantime, so all in all it was impossible to send anyone. We hope you will not follow this bad example! We highly appreciated your sending Prof. Dr. J. Faber as a delegate of your Churches to Synod Kampen 1975 and to have met the Rev. M. VanBeveren as well at Synod Groningen-Zuid 1978. Please, do not return evil for evil and feel tree to send one or more delegates to Synod Heemse 1984! Maybe it is “cold comfort,” but we hope we have made it up again a little bit this time by sending two delegates, namely, the chairman and the secretary of the Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad.
- What do we bring along with us, besides greetings and excuses? We come from The Netherlands with credentials. Our basis is just the same as yours: the infallible, trust worthy Word of God, the confessions of the Church and the Reformed Church Order. We say this with great thankfulness and with deliberate intention. In this position and conviction we hope to participate in this Synod for some weeks. May the Churches which sent us maintain this basis. That is not something natural, nor a matter of course, but it is only possible through the grace of the Lord Himself.
- Looking around today it is apostasy that meets the eye everywhere. Satan is sly in his temptations. You can hear the cry, the slogan. in so-called Reformed Churches: The truth should be looked upon as ” relational.” The development in the RES, the “Re formed Ecumenical Synod. ” is very disquieting and alarming, let alone the situation in the WCC, the “World Council of Churches.”! In spite of all the commending words and all the praises sung of the assembly just held in this area (Vancouver, 1983). we see the continuation of the theology of liberation and revolution, in fact nothing less than horizontalism! We wonder what is left of the adage so/a Scriptura, the confession of the Reformation in the 16th century.
- But praise the Lord! There are still Churches whose strength is in the Lord, who persevere in listening to the Word of God and who defend it against the attacks of the father of all lies. We know that the Church “sometimes for a while appears very small and in the eyes of men to be reduced to nothing.” Nevertheless, we are thankful that the Lord has left us in The Netherlands 104,000 Church members, 264 congregations and 216 ministers.
- We are thankful for the Theological Seminary in Kampen with more than 100 students who are preparing for service in the Church. We are thankful that you gave us one of the professors in Kampen, namely, Prof. H.M. Ohmann, which vacancy in Hamilton was filled again rather soon. The appointment of your own Synod Cloverdale looks like service in return, but I do not want to dwell upon that now!
- We are thankful that we live in a free country, where we established our own schools. our own social league, our own political party, where we can give testimony in municipal councils, provincial states, even in the States General, and where we still have our Re formed daily newspaper. In spite of all that, we are a small minority and the spirit of the times threatens us as well. Therefore, we are very grateful that all over the world there are Churches that have the same struggle and the same purpose: to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
- After the internal struggle of the sixties for the strict adherence to the Confession of the Church and the Church Order, we could spread our wings in the seventies: several contacts and relations came within our range of vision on all continents.
- And now, in the eighties, casting a glance at the Churches we represent, we may mention the revision of our Church Book. General Synod Heemse 1984 hopefully can offer to the congregations a complete new Church Book, many parts of which have al ready been established in the last few years. I think we can draw a parallel between your Churches and ours. Maybe we can learn from you in the matter of your Book of Praise, and we can tell something about our experience as the opportunity arises when the matter comes up for discuss ion during this Synod.
- It is a remarkable thing that several of the items you have to deal with were also on the agenda of our Synods! Very important is the matter of the International Conference of Reformed Churches, the ICRC. We enjoyed meeting your delegates and many other Reformed and Presbyterian delegates at the constituent assembly of the ICRC in Groningen-Zuid last year. The Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad proposes a motion to General Synod Heemse 1984 to join the ICRC and to send delegates to the first meeting of the ICRC in Edinburgh 1985. We are very pleased to hear that your Committee of Correspondence with Churches Abroad proposed a similar motion to your Synod. If you agree to this proposal, you can be proud that you will precede us and we will come after you! We are very thankful that our heavenly Father still gives us such opportunities to come together from all continents.
- Our future is in His hands. When we look ahead to the future. we know: time is short. But we know too: our Lord Jesus Christ walks among the seven golden candlesticks. He gathers His Church all over the world. In our apocalyptic times, many people join peace movements. The whole world seems to be dreaming of a paradise on earth. There is a peace-song today which tells us:
- Tell it all over the world, there is no doubt at all:
- our sweet living earth will never, never die!
- We know better. It has been predicted by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself: ” You shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, for nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. The love of many shall grow cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
- In these very days, we are commemorating the five hundredth birthday of Martin Luther and the beginning of the Reformation as well. I remind your Synod of the four final theses of Luther:
- ‘Out of the way with all the prophets who say to the people of Christ: Peace, peace, and there is no peace!
- Blessed all the prophets, who say to the people of Christ: The cross, the cross, and there is no cross.
- The Christians are to be exhorted to follow Christ, their Head. dedicated in penitence, in mortifications and in tortures;
- and better trust to enter the Kingdom of heaven by many oppressions, than by security of peace.”
- Let us subscribe these words, all of us together and agree with one of the oldest confession songs, in its oldest form dating even from the end of the second century, called Te Deum:
- Martyrs and prophets shall in all eternity
- Together with Thy church of every tongue and nation
- Bring Thine immortal Name their boundless admiration.
- Safeguard Thine heritage, while still the battle rages,
- Till Thou shalt call Thy flock, the faithful of all ages.