GS 2004 art 110

GS 2004 Article 110 – Appeal of br. and sr. VandeBurgt against various assemblies re: the Lord’s Supper

Committee 3 presented its proposal on the appeal of br. and sr. B. Vandeburgt against various assemblies re Lord’s Supper.  The following was adopted:

1.    Material

Appeal of br. and sr. B. Vandeburgt against various assemblies re: the Lord’s Supper

2.    Admissibility

Br. and sr. Vandeburgt ask General Synod to judge that they, as well as the churches of the federation, have been wronged by the assemblies’ method of interpreting Scriptures.  Synod declares this part of the appeal inadmissible since it is not the task of General Synod to judge the validity of various exegetical statements (Acts of Synod Neerlandia 2001, Art. 70, Recommendation 5.1).

Synod declares the second part of the appeal admissible, since it is an appeal against a decision of Regional Synod West, November 18, 2003.

3.    Observations

  • 3.1.   Br. and sr. Vandeburgt request Synod to judge that:
    • On the basis of our confessions, the definition to the word ‘norm’ in General Synod Neerlandia 2001’s decision is ‘an authoritative standard’ and therefore normative, since Christ instituted wine as a sacrament of His blood and because the true church maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them.
  • The appellants feel that Regional Synod wronged the churches by defining “norm” to mean “usual” for this interpretation undermines what we confess.
  • 3.2.   According to Art. 5 in the Acts of Regional Synod West 2003, the word “norm” is not used by General Synod 2001 in an absolute sense, thus leaving room for exceptions.

4.    Considerations

  • 4.1.   It is not clear from the decisions of Regional Synod West 2003 that it defines “norm” to mean “usual.”
  • 4.2.   Synod Neerlandia 2001 judged that “the clear and consistent language of our confessions” indicate “that the norm is to use wine at the Lord’s Supper” (Acts, Art. 70).  This judgment by Synod Neerlandia shows that it used the word “norm” in connection with the confessions. Since the confessions are normative in the churches, Synod considers that wine should be used at the Lord’s Supper. “Wine makes an important contribution to the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. This alcoholic drink, therefore, should be maintained in the celebration of this sacrament”. (Dr. N.H. Gootjes, “The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper” in Koinonia, vol.xiv, 1993 #1, p. 33. See also Dr. N.H. Gootjes “The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper” in Clarion, Vol. 41, nos. 5-10.) This does not exclude the possibility of making an exception.  Allowing for an exception demonstrates Christian love and compassion for those with difficulties.

5.    Recommendation

Synod decide to send the above considerations as a response to brother and sister Vandeburgt.