09 Aug GS 1992 art 104
GS 1992 ARTICLE 104 – Appeal of Rev. G. Nederveen
Committee V presents: Agenda item VIII D5
The following motion is made and defeated:
- To delete Considerations D and E.
The following motion is made and defeated:
- To replace Consideration G with the words: As to the method of instruction, Synod cannot judge whether Regional Synod exceeded its jurisdiction since the appellant does not provide the necessary documentation.
The Advisory Committee report is now voted upon.
Letter from Rev. G. Nederveen of Burlington, ON re decision of Regional Synod East, November 13-14, 1991.
The appeal submitted by Rev. G. Nederveen is admissible, seeing that it deals with an appeal against a decision of a minor assembly and was submitted in accordance with the Guidelines for Synod.
Rev.G. Nederveen requests that General Synod judge:
- A. “Regional Synod East of November 13, 1991, was remiss in its dealings of my appeal by treating it in the contexts of the appeal of Toronto.
- B. Regional Synod has not dealt with the specifics of my appeal and did not refute my arguments which defend the Reformed principle that a minister and the consistory have the right and freedom to select material which they deem suitable for catechism instruction.
- C. Regional Synod erred in stating that Classis has the right to deal with catechism teaching in a congregation. A classis may only judge an appeal against a consistory decision whereby this consistory upheld the teaching of its minister at catechism classes even though the material he used or the thing he taught are contrary to Scripture. Such a judgment can be based only on the contents of the material not being faithful to Scripture and not on the basis whether the writer of a book or the speaker on a tape has signed the Three Forms of Unity.
- D. Regional Synod erred by upholding the decision of Classis Ontario North of December 14, 1990 that the speaker on tapes becomes the instructor.
- E. Regional Synod erred in upholding the decision of Classis North of December 14, 1990 because it denied a consistory the right to use material it found to be Scriptural. This is a ‘lording’ over a consistory and, therefore, contrary to Art. 74 C.O.”
- A. From the material submitted it is clear that Rev. G. Nederveen’s appeal functions within the broader context of the appeal of church at Toronto, ON.
- B. It is evident that Regional Synod did deal with that part of his appeal which pertained to the basic question whether a minister and the consistory have the freedom to select material which they deem suitable for catechism instruction when it observed that “Classis has indeed the right to deal with the catechism teaching in a congregation when this is properly brought before Classis.” (Acts, 1991, Article 11, A 1).
- C. A major assembly may sustain an appeal against catechism instruction when it is proven that this instruction (whether this deals with the instructor, method of instruction or contents of instruction) is contrary to the Scriptures, Confessions and the Church Order.
- D. A minister has as one of his main duties “to instruct the children of the church in the doctrine of salvation.” (Article 16, C.O.). As such a minister must not give the appearance of abdicating his duty as an instructor and must be sensitive to the fact that the use of a large number of tapes, to which Rev. Nederveen refers, could call into question the performance of his duties.
- E. Should he make use of supplemental material, it must be properly scrutinized and used, and if it is given for independent study, the minister must be certain that it serves to promote a better understanding of Reformed doctrine.
- F. When a minister properly scrutinizes and uses material to supplement his catechetical instruction, he, and not the original author of the material, remains the instructor. The appellant states that the aforementioned tapes were properly scrutinized by the consistory of the church at Toronto, and adds that this fact is: “… not acknowledged by Classis anywhere in its report.”
- G. Given the absence of any proof in the decision of Classis Ontario North, that the method was contrary to the Scriptures, the Confessions or Church Order, Regional Synod erred in upholding this decision and therefore these minor assemblies exceeded their jurisdiction.
Synod judge to adopt the above considerations as its answer to the appeal of Rev. G. Nederveen.