07 Jul GS 1995 art 73
GS 1995 ARTICLE 73 – Contact with the Reformed Church in Quebec (ERQ)
Committee IV presents:
Agenda items VIII. C. 2, 3, 4, 34, 46
- A. Overture from the Église Réformée du Québec
- B. Overture from Classis Ontario North December 9, 1994 re: contact with the Église Réformée du Québec
- C. Letter from the church at Burlington-East
- D. Letter from the church at Chatsworth
- E. Letter from the church at Ottawa
- F. Report from the Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad
- A. The church at Ottawa submitted an extensive report to Classis Ontario North on their contact with the Église Réformée du Québec (ERQ). Based on this report Classis decided: “The information provided by the church at Ottawa demonstrates that l’Église Réformée du Québec can be recognized as a true Church of Christ. Therefore, Classis requests Synod 1995 to respond to the request of l’ERQ by mandating the Committee for Relations with Churches Abroad to intensify and confirm the contact initiated by the church at Ottawa with a view to entering a relationship of Ecclesiastical Fellowship.”
- B. The church at Burlington-East overtures Synod not to deal with this matter since it has not been finished in the minor assemblies. They content that a classis may not place a matter on the agenda of a General Synod.
- C. The Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad states “It should be mentioned that from the very beginning the CRCA questioned and debated whether or not this was really a matter for our Committee seeing that, as our name indicates, we are to deal with “churches abroad” i.e. foreign churches.”
- D. The church at Ottawa urges General Synod to follow through with the consequences of recognizing the ERQ as a true church by agreeing “to enter into ecclesiastical fellowship with l’Église Réformée du Québec.”
- E. The church at Ottawa urges Synod to add the ERQ to the mandate of the CRCA because historical, cultural and linguistic differences make it impossible to work in the same federation.
- F. The church at Chatsworth believes the decision of Classis Ontario North to recognize the ERQ as a true church and to recommend Ecclesiastical Fellowship was done without due consideration to a number of points, for example, the relationship of the ERQ to the Christian Reformed Church and the Presbyterian Church in America, the ordination of women deacons, the development of church life, fencing of the Lord’s Supper, the possibility of working within the same federation.
- G. The church at Chatsworth also requests Synod to appoint separate deputies with the following mandate:
- 1. to discuss with the ERQ deputies the differences in Confession, Church Polity and worship which exist between our two federations.
- 2. to discuss with the deputies their relation with the PCA and the CRC and the need for severing these ties.
- 3. to further investigate whether it is possible to have the churches of the ERQ become part of the same federation.
- 4. to keep the churches informed about the ERQ so that their needs as missionary churches can be responded to in a positive manner.
- A. According to the Word of God and the Confessions (John 17:11,17, 20, 21; Ephesians 3:14-4:16; 2 Tim. 3:15,16; L.D. 21 H.C. and Art. 27-29 B.C.), true believers and churches have the calling to seek fellowship with those who with them confess the same faith and maintain and practise it in preaching, worship, discipline and government.
- B. It belongs to the jurisdiction of the federated churches (Article 27 B.C. and Article 50 C.O.) to seek unity with other federations of true believers. The church at Burlington-East is incorrect when it suggests that a classis was wrong to place the matter of the ERQ on the agenda of a General Synod, since the original request for ecclesiastical fellowship did not come from Ottawa but from the ERQ. The federation has its own task and responsibility (in its Synods) to deal with requests from other church federations. Even though it was wise on Ottawa’s part to involve the churches in Classis Ontario North, they were not under obligation to do so.
- C. The church at Ottawa is to be commended for its extensive submission.
- D. Fellowship with other churches should be initiated only after a thorough and serious investigation is made and it is clear that these churches not only accept the Reformed confessions and regulations of Reformed church government but also abide by them (Synod Edmonton 1965, Acts, Art. 141 II).
- E. Churches that seek unity with one another and live in the same country normally work toward federative unity in spite of differences in history, culture or language. The history of the Reformed churches indicate that language is not always a barrier for living together in the same federation. The English and French churches in the Netherlands had their own separate Classes within the federation of Reformed Churches during the sixteenth century (see Acts of Synods Emden 1571 and Dordrecht 1578).
- F. Even though there is no official relationship with the ERQ, the information provided by the church at Ottawa, which was also evaluated by Classis Ontario North contains sufficient evidence to recommend to our churches that they seriously consider extending financial and other assistance to these churches.
- A. To note with gratitude the overture from the Église Réformée du Québec.
- B. To note with gratitude the contact and developing relationship with the Église Réformée du Québec as initiated by the church at Ottawa.
- C. To ask the Église Réformée du Québec to appoint deputies for contact.
- D. To appoint deputies with the following mandate:
- 1. to discuss with the deputies of the Église Réformée du Québec the differ- ences in Confession, Church Polity and worship which exist between our two federations;
- 2. to discuss with their deputies their relations with the Christian Reformed Church and the Presbyterian Church in America, and evaluate them;
- 3. to further investigate whether it is possible to have the Canadian Reformed Churches and the Église Réformée du Québec as part of the same federation;
- 4. to make use of the report submitted by the church at Ottawa and Classis Ontario North;
- 5. to keep the churches informed about the Église Réformée du Québec so that their financial and other needs as missionary churches can be responded to in a positive manner;
- 6. to serve Synod 1998 with a report to be sent to the churches at least six months prior to the beginning of Synod.