13 Nov GS 1989 art 137
GS 1989 ARTICLE 137
Committee IV presents: Agenda Item VIII, D, 10
Letter from the Church at Coaldale, AB. re Acts Regional Synod West (Chilliwack, March 31 -April 3, 1987) art. 13, 14.
- 1. The Church at Coaldale appeals the following judgments of Regional Synod Chilliwack 1987:
- “3. Coaldale is wrong in concluding that the Church at Carman made itself guilty of prejudging. A convening church must examine the credentials on the basis of the credentials themselves, and not on the basis of various submissions placed on the agenda of classis.
- 4. In the light of the foregoing, the consistory of Coaldale is wrong in concluding that Classis, by its decision to accept the decision of the Church at Carman made itself guilty of prejudging.”
- 2. The Church at Coaldale requests General Synod to judge:
- “1. That Regional Synod Chilliwack 1987 did injustice to the Church at Coaldale, by suggesting in R.S.’s Judgment 3 that Coaldale wanted the credentials judged by the convening church on the basis of various submissions placed on the agenda of classis, while Coaldale’s request to R.S. in fact was based on the consideration that no judgment on the validity of the credentials of the Immanuel Church at Edmonton ought to have been made (by the meeting of the delegates, and even less by the consistory of the convening church) except by classis, after classis had dealt with the issue as it was placed on its agenda;
- 2. that Regional Synod Chilliwack 1987 itself in its Considerations 4 and 5 confirms Coaldale’s complaint that the acceptance of the one credential as valid and the rejection of the other one as invalid, constitutes a judgment on the legitimacy of the suspension of the office-bearers and on the legitimacy of the delegating bodies, before classis had dealt with these very matters which were placed on the agenda of classis for judgment. Therefore Regional Synod should have judged that the Church at Carman made themselves guilty of prejudging, in conflict with the ninth commandment.”
- 1. It is understandable that the Church at Carman as convening church took the notice of the Immanuel Consistory very seriously as a “church orderly legal notice of suspension”, because the requirements of the C.O. had been formally met (Art. 71 C.O.). It is equally understandable that Classis AB/MB Jan 1987 took over this position on the same grounds immediately after its constitution (Acts Art.V).
- 2. Regional Synod did not misunderstand Coaldale’s reasoning but did not agree with the Church at Coaldale because Synod also judged the acceptance of the validity of credentials on the strict church-orderly notice of suspension. In its appeal to Regional Synod West 1987, the Church at Coaldale itself combines the judgment on the validity of credentials with items placed on a provisional agenda (Appeal Coaldale to Regional Synod West 1987, Considerations 6 and 7).
- 3. The validity of credentials is not only determined by the formal legality of the delegating body, but also is subject to the investigation and approval of the meeting which constitutes the major assembly, or by the major assembly itself. Regional Synod West 1987 did not properly take this fact into account (Acts, Art. 13, Considerations 4 and 5).
- 4. To conclude that Carman prejudged the matter of suspension is going too far. Carman only decided with respect to which delegation should be accepted on strictly church-orderly grounds. The legitimacy of the suspension was thereby not determined. Regional Synod West 1987 rightly rejected the accusation of prejudging the suspension.
- 1. Regional Synod West 1987 did not do injustice to Coaldale when it understood Coaldale’s reasoning as connecting the judgment on the validity of the credentials with a decision on items placed on a provisional agenda.
- 2. In the complexity of the situation in which Classis AB/MB, Jan.1987 found itself, a decision with respect to the validity of credentials on strictly church-orderly grounds did not mean a prejudging of the suspension. The legality of this suspension and its consequences would be determined later by Classis (Acts, Art. 21 and 25).
Rev. P.K.A. de Boer and br. A. Poppe abstain from voting because this matter pertains to the Church at Carman.