GS 1986 art 23

GS 1986 ARTICLE 23

Response by Rev. W. Huizinga to Representative Orthodox Presbyterian Church

On behalf of Synod, the Rev. W. Huizinga responds to the words spoken by the Rev.

G.D. Jerrell as follows:

” On behalf of the 1986 General Synod of the Canadian Reformed Churches I would like to respond to the words of the Rev. G.D. Jerrell.

First of all, we thank him heartily for his kind and Christian greetings on behalf of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. We would like to reciprocate those greetings.

Secondly, you have mentioned the fiftieth anniversary of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which will be celebrated this year, especially at the General Assembly to be held in June of this year. We hope to send a delegate who can participate in the joy of this event. As churches we have noted how the Orthodox Presbyterian Church has championed the cause of God’s Word over against the flood of liberalism, by which the evil One wanted to sweep away ‘the woman,’ the church who keeps the commandments of God and bears testimony to Jesus. Remembrance of how God worked reformation and faithfulness through faithful servants will undoubtedly occasion much rejoicing and thankfulness. May the faith of those forefathers and leaders of reformation be fondly remembered, as the letter to the Hebrews instructs us to do.

Thirdly, you mentioned the invitation of the Presbyterian Church in America to have the Orthodox Presbyterian Church join and be received into it. It is with keen in­terest that we follow these developments. We will pray that the Lord of the Church may cause the truth of the Word to triumph. For our only High Priest prayed that His believers would be united as the Father and the Son are one. But this union must be based on the Word of truth through the Spirit of truth. We can sympathize with you as you struggle to ascertain whether that basis of covenantal truth is pre­ sent. For on the one hand, to join a body with doctrinal error or ungodly conduct would break that unity in the truth. On the other hand, to abstain from union when there are no sound Biblical, confessional or church-governmental grounds would be schismatic. We have experienced both these pitfalls in the recent history of the Reformed churches in the Netherlands during the Liberations of 1944 and the Union of 1892 respectively.

Fourthly, you referred in your address to the developments within the Reformed Ecumenical Synod. We are thankful to hear that your voice has been loud and clear in favour of the Reformed faith and confessions. In fact the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland (Synodical) have described you as ‘the small church with the big mouth.’ You have stood strong against any erosion of the Biblical and Reformed confes­sions. We applaud this.

Also, your assistance to, understanding of, and Biblical approach to the Reformed churches in South Africa is laudable. On the other hand, we must interject a word of criticism. To be a member of an organization which has thus far tolerated diver­sion from the Reformed confessions and from the Biblical truth and conduct should not continue. It is our hope that the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, be it to its regret, will give a loud and clear testimony by offering a detailed declaration that they can­ not continue as a member of the RES.

Fifthly, you have noticed that we want to obey the apostolic call to unity in that we entered a temporary ecclesiastical contact with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. We want to maintain that obedience.

However, we at the same time adamantly strive to maintain the truth of God’s Word. Unity must not be at the price of truth. Therefore, as you have noticed we have asked serious questions about our relationship with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Since this General Synod has not dealt with these matters, now is not the time to comment on these problem areas. But please be assured that we do not do this out of animosity towards those to whom we have stretched out the hand of fellowship, but simply out of loyalty to what our chief Prophet and Teacher has taught us. Rev. Jerrell, may our mutual contacts further Christ’s triumphal march of truth in this world. To Him be the glory and the honour.”