07 Jun GS 1998 art 34
GS 1998 Article 34 – Contact with Churches Abroad: Australia and South Africa Committee III presents:
Agenda item: I.D.
Report of the Committee for Relations with Churches Abroad regarding the Free Reformed Churches of Australia (FRCA) and the Free Reformed Churches in South Africa (FRCSA).
The Committee for Relations with Churches Abroad received from Synod 1995 the following mandate.
- A. General
- 1. To continue Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the FRCA and the FRCSA in accordance with the adopted rules.
- 2. To charge the CRCA to send an invitation to the sister churches abroad to attend the next General Synod as soon as its date has been established and published by the convening church and to have our churches represented by a delegate to General Synods of such churches abroad if invited and when feasible.
- B. The Free Reformed Churches of Australia C.
- 1. To request the CRCA to convey our appreciation for the support given by the Free Reformed Churches of Australia to our Theological College.
- 2. To mandate the CRCA to solicit a response to our reservations about the Rules for Ecclesiastical Fellowship adopted by the Free Reformed Churches.
- A. The Free Reformed Churches of Australia (FRCA) The CRCA notes
- 1. The FRCA decided to terminate their membership in the ICRC. The main reason for this action was “the membership of the FRCA in the ICRC has not promoted harmony and unity in the churches.”
- 2. The FRCA gave an explanation of the words “give account” in one of their Rules for Ecclesiastical Fellowship, which reads “the churches shall give account to each other concerning the establishing of relations with third parties,” as questioned by Synod Lincoln 1992. They responded by stating that ” in their opinion this wording provides details and grounds for the impending relationship that was to be entered into by our sister churches, and would then enable rule 1,2,3 to be practised should that be deemed necessary by the informed church.” They also added that this rule was never intended to “lord it over” any sister church.
- 3. With respect to interchurch relationships Synod Kelmscott decided:
- a. To continue sister relations with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, Canadian Reformed Churches, the Free Reformed Churches of South Africa, the Presbyterian Church of Korea, and the Reformed Churches of Indonesia (Sumba, Savu, and Timor)
- b. To continue contacts with other Reformed churches in Indonesia
- c. To strive for sister relations with the Reformed Churches of New Zealand.
- 4. It was decided to continue to “recommend” the use of NKJV in the churches and to “recognise” the NIV as a faithful and reliable translation which may be used by the churches which prefer this translation of the Bible.
- 5. Synod Kelmscott decided to continue their support for the Canadian Reformed Theological College.
- 6. Synod Kelmscott decided to change the Form for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons so that the charge to the deacons now reads, “Encourage the congregation to do good to all men especially to those of the household of faith”, and to inform the Canadian Reformed Churches of this change.
- B. The Free Reformed Churches of South Africa The CRCA notes
- 1. The FRCSA gave an extensive update of developments in their churches. Mention was made of several ministers and a congregation leaving the Dutch Reformed Church and requesting membership in the FRCSA.
- 2. Upon repeated request the CRCA decided to send Rev. J. Moesker to visit the churches of the FRCSA.
- 3. Synod Capetown 1996 gave much attention to the work of mission. Deputies for mission explored the idea of an office of evangelist in mission. Synod instructed them to report further on this to the next synod.
- 4. Synod Capetown instructed deputies for theological training to look into initiating theological training in South Africa. Ad-Hoc Synod 1997 appointed five instructors and five curators for the work of theological training with the FRCSA. As of January 1st, 1998 the FRCSA has its own theological college.
- 5. Synod decided to continue sister church relations with the FRCA, CanRC, and RCN. They maintain brotherly contact and exploratory contact with various federations including the PCK and the ERQ. Synod instructed the deputies to urge the Australian sister churches to reconsider their withdrawal from the ICRC. Synod also instructed deputies to study the Report on Theological Affirmation made to the ICRC in 1993, and to exchange ideas with sister churches concerning the recognition of other churches as “true churches” within the same country.
- A. From the correspondence and the Acts of the FRCA and the FRCSA we may gratefully conclude that these churches are faithful to the Word of God, the Confessions, and the Church Order.
- B. The CRCA has fulfilled its mandate regarding our Ecclesiastical Fellowship with these churches.
- C. The FRCA are to be commended for the generous support they give to the Theological College in Hamilton.
- D. The response of the FRCA to “our reservations about the rules for Ecclesiastical Fellowship” has been answered sufficiently.
- E. The FRCSA are to be commended for their endeavours in establishing a Theological College.
- A. To thank the CRCA for the work done since 1995.
- B. To continue the Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the FRCA and the FRCSA in accordance with the adopted rules.
- C. To request the CRCA to convey our commendations to the FRCA and the FRCSA.
- D. To charge the CRCA to send an invitation to these sister churches to attend the next General Synod as soon as its date has been established and published by the convening church and to have our churches represented by a delegate to General Synods of their churches if invited and when feasible.