10 Feb GS 2004 art 85
GS 2004 Article 85 – CPEU re: The Free Reformed Church of North America (FRCNA)
Committee 2 again presented its proposal on the report of the CPEU re: the Free Reformed Church of North America (FRCNA). After several rounds of discussion, the following was adopted:
- 1.1. Report of the CPEU, including a supplementary report re: the Free Reformed Church ofNorth America (FRCNA)
- 1.2. Letter from the church at London
The letter from the church at London is admissible since it interacts with the report of the CPEU.
- 3.1. The CPEU recommends that Synod 2004 decide:
- 3.1.1. To continue meeting with the FRCNA with a view to promoting federative unity, discussing whatever obstacles there may be on this path;
- 3.1.2. To attend each other’s Synods and send copies of Acts of Synod to each other;
- 3.1.3. To appoint Dr. J. Visscher to the committee.
- 3.2. The church at London recommends “General Synod to encourage that the FRNCA be invited to meetings of Canadian Reformed Classes and Regional Synods.”
- 3.3. The deputies attended the three annual FRCNA Synods and also met three times with the FRCNA sub-committee.
- 3.4. The FRCNA maintain “Limited Contact” with the Canadian Reformed Churches. This type of preliminary contact does not necessarily require moving towards the next level of contact. The FRCNA is not yet ready to consider moving towards federative or organic unity, which is the goal of the Canadian Reformed Churches.
- 3.5. The combined sub-committees were able to express appreciation for each other’s sermons. However, in the report to their synod, the FRCNA committee stated that they continue to sense a lack of understanding of what an experiential, discriminating ministry should be. Though this statement was to be corrected on the floor of the last FRCNA Synod, this was not done.
- 3.6. Our committee is concerned whether the FRCNA fully appreciates the Lord’s demand for unity; to what extent “distinctives” keep us separate and how serious they are about meaningful fellowship with the Canadian Reformed Churches. In light of this, our committee considers that there is a need to discuss with the FRCNA the scriptural requirement for federative unity.
- 4.1. Our deputies have been diligent in meeting with the FRCNA committee to promote Ecclesiastical Fellowship, and they have been well received by the FRCNA.
- 4.2. Appreciation is expressed for the relationship of “Limited Contact” given by the FRCNA. While this level of relationship may not necessarily lead to federative unity, at the same time, it may well be a step toward federative unity. Therefore, the “Limited Contact” relationship with the FRCNA should be received positively in our discussion toward Ecclesiastical Fellowship and federative unity.
- 4.3. While mutual appreciation has been expressed for each other’s sermons, the matter of experiential preaching continues to receive attention. Statements of mutual agreement made at the committee level still need to be corrected at the FRCNA synod level.
- 4.4. From the beginning of our contacts with the FRCNA, the Canadian Reformed Churches have maintained the scriptural requirement for federative unity and consider this the goal of our discussion with the FRCNA. It would be helpful for the committee to discuss the matter of federative unity, using the document entitled “Foundational Principles of Reformed Church Government,” as used in the unity discussion with the URCNA, as a working document to further explore this matter together (cf. Appendix B of the CPEU report in the appendices of these Acts).
- 4.5. The committee requests the appointment of Dr. J. Visscher to fill the vacancy left by the expiration of Rev. R. Aasman’s term. Currently, Dr. J. Visscher serves in the Theological Education Committee, which is a sub-committee of the CPEU.
- 4.6. The request of the church at London to invite the FRCNA to our broader assemblies has merit as it could increase the mutual contact and understanding at a more local level. As the Canadian Reformed Churches pursue a deeper relationship with the FRCNA on a federative level, it should be stimulated and complemented by meaningful interactions and discussions with the churches at the local level.
- 5.1. To thank the committee for its work.
- 5.2. To give the CPEU the following mandate:
- 5.2.1. To continue meeting with the FRCNA with a view to pursuing Ecclesiastical Fellowship, while at the same time promoting and maintaining the desire for federative unity, discussing whatever obstacles there may be on this path;
- 5.2.2. To explore and discuss the matter of federative unity with the FRCNA using as a basis, for example, the document entitled “Foundational Principles of Reformed Church Government”;
- 5.2.3. To encourage that the FRCNA be invited to meetings of Canadian Reformed classes and synods, and to send copies of the Acts of Synod to each other with the purpose of pursuing meaningful interactions and discussions with the churches at the local level.