18 Nov GS 1986 art 1
GS 1986 ARTICLE 1 – Opening
On behalf of the convening Church at Burlington-West, ON, the Rev . J. Mulder calls the meeting to order. He requests that Psalm 72:1 be sung, reads II Timothy 2: 1-13, and leads in prayer.
He welcomes the delegates with the following words : “Esteemed brothers,
On behalf of the convening church, its consistory, and congregation, the Rehoboth Canadian Reformed Church at Burlington, I am delighted to extend to you all a hearty welcome!
We thank the Lord that He has protected you on your travels to Burlington so that you safely arrived.
We consider it an honour as convening and hosting church to have you in our midst. We express the hope that you will enjoy our hospitality!
You have come here to fulfill an important task in and for the churches. Your aim is to serve the preservation and increase of God’s church in order that His kingdom may come.
This demands the guidance of the Holy Spirit and submission to the Word of God . This also requires of you a free and honest discussion of the matters put before you by the churches and their members. What is said in these coming sessions and in the meetings of the advisory committees must be characterized by love for the Lord Jesus Christ and His church. That also implies that everything must be done ‘decently and in order.’ For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. That word of Scripture from I Corinthians 14 is, as you know, the scriptural basis of our Church Order. Let it also be your guideline when you, by way of discussion and expression of opinions, endeavour to reach meaningful decisions.
All this does not require agreement concerning all things! But it does demand that ‘wisdom from above’ of which James says that it is ‘first pure, then peaceable, gentle and open to reason ,’ (3 :17 ).
Let us have good, sometimes even heated discussions, but let it be done not in terms of conflict or anger, but in terms of mutual trust and gentleness. Brothers, you have been entrusted by the churches with a significant task! You must direct the appointment of a professor in the New Testament department of our Theological College, since Professor L. Selles hopes to retire at the end of this academic year. We now already wish to thank him for his work done at the college and for the churches in faithfulness, dedication, and humility. The new professor will be different (Prof. Selles would be the first one to say, ‘He better be!’), but we hope that he may have much of the dedication and faithfulness of his predecessor.
You have to deal with other matters of the college, which could move to its new functional premises in the spring of last year.
You have to decide on matters in which the churches are genuinely interested, as is clear from the many appeals and revision requests on the agenda of synod. Decisions made here may have an impact upon the life of the churches for many years. If you are sometimes discouraged and ask yourself whether what you are doing here really will benefit the churches and solve any problems, then stop worrying about that question. The point is whether you who are here in the synod ‘compete according to the rules,’ to say it with the words of the apostle Paul in II Timothy 2, the Scripture passage we read. Let your aim be ‘to satisfy the one who enlisted you.’ Then you have the promise that the Lord will grant you ‘understanding in everything.’ Not too long ago we celebrated Easter. We must not make that celebration a one-day event. You serve also here a Lord who is very much alive and gloriously active in the throne of God.
‘Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David’
Brothers, be also here good soldiers of this risen Lord! Don’t get side-tracked by pursuits which are not your concern. Follow the orders of ‘the seven-star General’ of Revelation 1: 20.
And when you feel discouraged, take a look again at II Timothy 2, that last will and testament of the apostle Paul. Keep your memory sharp and call to mind that you are recruited by a Lord and Master who is not merely alive, but also in power and in glory!
In closing, I wish to especially welcome the representative of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Glenn Jerrell of Roswell, New Mexico. We appreciate it greatly that you came from far to attend part of this synod, and we express the hope that your presence among us may strengthen the ecclesiastical contact between the Canadian Reformed Churches and the churches you represent!
Brothers, may the Lord bless you and guide you when you now start the work which later on will be referred to as the Acts of the 11th General Synod of the Canadian Reformed Churches.
May I now ask you to rise when we together profess the catholic faith by singing the Apostles’ Creed, Hymn 1A. ”