GS 1989 art 4

GS 1989 ARTICLE 4Constitution of Synod

The chairman of the convening church, Rev. W. den Hollander, declares Synod consti- tuted. He invites the officers to take their seats. The chairman, Rev. Cl. Stam, addresses Synod with the following words.

Esteemed brothers, members of General Synod 1989:

First of all, let me express gratitude to you, members of Synod, for the confi- dence which you have placed in us as members of the moderamen to serve Synod as its officers. With your help, and above all with God’s blessing, we hope to do a good job. I am grateful for the good spirit which so far has manifested itself among us and I trust that it will continue fully.

This Synod has been referred to by Rev. den Hollander as a Synod of “baby boomers”. Well, fortunately, I have beside me in Rev. M. VanderWel one of the “baby boosters”, and we look to his maturity and wisdom for help and support.

This Synod has been billed as one of inexperience. Some also feel that this is a very “conservative” Synod, whatever that means. I believe that we must be a faithful Synod —faithful to the Word of God,as we have it summarized also in our Reformed confessions. We must do everything in a proper fashion, according to our adopted Church Order. Sometimes some inexperience may show, but this doesn’t matter. As long as our faithfulness is evident, we will do okay.

I will not deliver a long speech here. There is something, however, which I now as your chairman feel I must stress. Ecclesiastical assemblies never stand on their own, by themselves, isolated as it were, including Synods! Each General Synod is an assembly on its own, yes, but still it stands in a historical line, in a continuity. Many items on the agenda of this Synod have served in some way on the agenda of previous Synods. Many appeals are against decisions of previous assemblies.

Our Synod 1989 must reckon with this aspect of continuity. We should not break radically with the past nor chart out new, unexpected and controversial courses, but we must stress unity in continuity.

“Bad” Synods are those which make rash decisions that have not been proper- ly prepared and are not at all expected in the churches. I could give you some examples, but I will not. Let us pray that we do not make rash judgments but care- fully weigh all the aspects of every matter to come to responsible and balanced decisions. Remember to listen carefully to each other, to see the value of the argu- mentation of the other, even if you do not agree with it. Treat every submission and appeal with respect, without consideration of persons. Be impartial and let justice prevail. Then we will have a good Synod and may be proud —in a humble sense— of the work which we have done.

I want to thank the convening church for all the preparations made and for the excellent reception which we have received until now: it holds great promise!

At this time I may also express gratitude to Rev. M. Van Beveren who conduct- ed the prayer service for the work of Synod. Rev. M. Van Beveren showed that although he is retired, he can still be very active and alive on the pulpit. In response to the preaching we express the hope that in all our “observations” we may do jus- tice to all the facts, that in all our “considerations” we follow the only norm, and so indeed may decide what is pleasing to the Lord. We thank you for your words, for the preaching of the Word, and we solicit from all your outgoing prayers.