GS 1989 art 143

GS 1989 ARTICLE 143

Committee 1 presents: Agenda Item VIII, D, 17


Letter of appeal from br. H. Boersma


Br. H. Boersma appeals a decision of Regional Synod Oct. 15, 1986, which denied his appeal to a decision of Classis Ontario South of September 11, 12, 1985. This appeal is declared admissible.


  • 1. Br. H. Boersma feels that Regional Synod was incorrect in denying his appeal because Regional Synod did not deal properly with his contentions that :
    • a) Blue Bell acted in a schismatic manner;
    • b) Blue Bell did not struggle for years to have justice done;
    • c) the Form of Government only allows for withdrawal after the church has been diligent to the utmost in seeking to keep the unity of the church;
    • d) Blue Bell was withdrawing itself even before a special meeting of Presbytery on August 10, 1984 took place;
    • e) Blue Bell did not take the complaint to General Assembly.
  • 2. Br. H. Boersma feels that the issue of restricted communion was not a sufficient reason to consider the OPC not to be a true church.
  • 3. Br. H. Boersma draws a similarity between the action of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, and Art. 41 C.O. He also compares the OPC practice re the Lord’s Supper with circumstances possibly applicable under our Church Order.
  • 4. Br. H. Boersma requests Synod to decide
    • a) Classis Ontario South, Sept 11,12, 1985, did not follow the correct procedure in admitting the congregation in Blue Bell into the federation of Canadian Reformed Churches;
    • b) Blue Bell should as yet maintain a brotherly relationship with the OPC in general, and the Philadelphia Presbytery in particular.
    • c) Although it is to be appreciated that Blue Bell joined the Canadian Reformed Churches rather than remain independent, it must be stressed that by joining the federation of Canadian Reformed Churches Blue Bell has agreed to treat the OPC as true church of our Lord Jesus Christ.


  • 1. Br. H. Boersma did not prove that Blue Bell did not follow the required procedures for withdrawal in Form of Government XVI, 6. Form of Government XVI, 6 allows for a withdrawal of a congregation from the OPC upon two consecutive meetings of the congregation duly called by the session. According to Appendix I (p. 3, p. 6.) of the appeal of br. H. Boersma, these meetings were held on July 25, 1984, and October 7, 1984 respectively.
  • 2. Br. H. Boersma overlooks the fact that in the years preceding the immediate struggle, Blue Bell increasingly desired to submit to a Reformed church polity.
  • 3. Br. H. Boersma has not proven that Blue Bell was not diligent in seeking to maintain the unity of the church.
  • 4. The fact that Blue Bell began the withdrawal process without waiting for the final decisions of the Presbytery is not inconsistent with the Form of Government of the OPC.
  • 5. Regional Synod was correct in stating that although it might be regretted that the congregation at Blue Bell did not first address the General Assembly, there was no compelling need (according to the Form of Government) to address the General Assembly since a. the Form of Government does not require it; b. the basic issues had been dealt with in 1966, 1967 and 1983.
  • 6. Br. H. Boersma appears to confuse the recognition of the OPC as a true church with affirming a full sister church relationship with the OPC. Although the divergencies have not formed an impediment for “ecclesiastical contact”, they may still form an impediment to a full sister church relationship with the OPC.
  • 7. Br. H. Boersma appears to be attempting to superimpose Reformed church polity onto the Form of Government of the OPC. The parallel with Art. 41 C.O. is fallacious, since Art. 41 C.O. does not deal with a situation where a consistory is imposed upon a congregation. The reference to the Lord’s Supper practice is also incorrect since in the places br. Boersma refers to, the authors are dealing with very special circumstances, (Art. 61 C.O.). These arguments do not add new grounds to br. Boersma’s appeal to the Regional Synod.
  • 8. Br. H. Boersma has not proven that Classis Ontario South did not follow the correct procedure in admitting the Blue Bell congregation into the federation of the Canadian Reformed Churches in the light of the Church Order of our churches.
  • 9. It is not in the province of a General Synod to admonish the churches to maintain a specific brotherly relationship with the OPC, or with any particular Presbytery.
  • 10. In joining the Canadian Reformed Churches Blue Bell did not demand that the Canadian Reformed Churches for their sake break the “temporary form of ecclesiastical relationship” which the Canadian Reformed Churches have with the OPC, Cf. Press Release, Classis Ont. South, Sept. 11,12, 1985, (Appendix II, Appeal).


Synod decide:

to deny the appeal of br. H. Boersma.