19 Sep GS 2007 art 131
GS 2007 Article 131 – Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC)
The advisory committee presented its third proposal:
- 1.1 CCCA Report 3
- 1.2 CCCA supplementary report
- 1.3 Letter from Yarrow
- 2.1 Synod Chatham, Art. 88, mandated the CCCA to:
- 2.1.1 Continue the Relationship of Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the OPC under the adopted rules.
- 2.1.2 Continue the discussions with the OPC on the existing differences.
- 2.1.3 Endeavour to meet with the CEIR at least once per year.
- 2.1.4 Publish a synopsis of the discussions and position papers of the last 20 years.
- 2.2 The reason for mandating a synopsis was that our churches receive the evidence that the discussions have occurred and what the outcome has been.
- 2.3 The CCCA resolved to give priority to compiling the requested synopsis so as to prevent repeating previous discussions with the OPC.
- 2.4 The CCCA has helpfully provided a plan of action with respect to the preparation and use of the synopsis:
- 2.4.1 Stage 1: Abridgement. Complete the index and synopsis of discussions and positions of the OPC and CanRC on all topics discussed in the history of contacts with the OPC.
- 2.4.2 Stage 2: Assessment. Evaluate this synopsis internally as a sub-committee, to determine what has been agreed by both the OPC and CanRC on these topics.
- 2.4.3 Stage 3: Agreement. Meet with the CEIR to discuss this synopsis, to determine whether we can agree to its accuracy and that it reflects the current position of the CanRC and the OPC, and so enable future discussions to build upon what has already been agreed upon without rehashing previous discussion.
- 2.4.4 Stage 4: Advancement. Meet with the CEIR and progress in discussions beyond what has already been agreed upon and discussed previously.
- 2.5 The CCCA has completed writing the synopsis, and given copies to the CEIR members for review and discussion in a future meeting. This synopsis is also included in the CCCA’s report for synod’s consideration.
- 2.6 The committee recommends that synod decide “to consider the synopsis of previous discussions with the OPC as the completion of this part of their mandate, and to publish this with the Acts for the benefit of the churches.”
- 2.7 Since receiving its present mandate, the CCCA has formally met twice with the CEIR and stayed abreast of the work of the OPC’s General Assemblies. Limited discussions on outstanding differences occurred.
- 2.8 Yarrow recommends that Synod:
- 2.8.1 Accept the synopsis as the CCCA’s fair attempt to sketch the history and current status of the divergencies.
- 2.8.2 Mandate the CCCA to meet more than once a year with their CEIR counterparts.
- 2.8.3 Instruct the CCCA to use the Synopsis in further discussions with the CEIR.
- 2.8.4 Mandate the CCCA to “as yet obtain from the CEIR a written statement of mutual agreement and understanding on those topics listed in the Synopsis that are considered to be concluded if this is not in General Synod archives. For those topics on which mutual agreement and understanding have not been reached, a written statement outlining the point of departure of the two federations should be provided to the next General Synod.”
- 3.1 The CCCA writes that limiting the synopsis to the last 20 years would defeat the reason why Synod Chatham wanted a synopsis in the first place. The committee is to be commended for drawing their information from more than the 20 years synod mentioned.
- 3.2 As the committee has finished compiling the synopsis, it is fitting that synod accept this synopsis as the completion of this part of the mandate.
- 3.3 The reason for mandating a synopsis was that “it would be beneficial for the churches to receive the evidence of these discussions and their outcome” (Acts 2004, Art. 88, 4.1). Consequently, it would be beneficial to include this synopsis in the Acts for the benefit of the churches.
- 3.4 The CCCA writes that it has completed compiling the relevant material, and now wishes to share it with the OPC counterparts to “determine whether we can agree with its accuracy and that it reflects the current position of the CanRC and the OPC.” The CCCA is to be encouraged to use this synopsis as a tool in their further discussions with the OPC.
- 3.5 Synod Chatham had mandated the CCCA “to continue the discussions with the OPC on the existing differences.” This mandate cannot be repeated because it does not take into account the decision of Synod Neerlandia to establish ecclesiastical fellowship with the OPC. The establishment of ecclesiastical fellowship means that unity of faith is recognized.
- 3.6 As churches in ecclesiastical fellowship, there are numerous issues with both the OPC and the CanRC that need each other’s attention. For example, both federations are working on a new Song Book or Psalter, both are in various stages of unity talks with the URCNA, both are working on revisions to their respective Church Orders. In an existing relation of ecclesiastical fellowship, these topics-of-the-day need attention as much as the outstanding matters of confessional membership and supervision of the Lord’s table. As the CCCA carries out its work with the OPC according to the adopted Rules for Ecclesiastical Fellowship, it should pursue the outstanding matters where appropriate.
- 4.1 To thank the CCCA for its work in our contact with the OPC.
- 4.2 To consider the synopsis of previous discussions with the OPC as the completion of this part of the mandate, and to publish this with the Acts for the benefit of the churches.
- 4.3 To continue the Relationship of Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the OPC under the adopted rules. As the CCCA fulfils its mandate according to these rules, the outstanding matters of confessional membership and supervision of the Lord’s table are to be raised when appropriate.
- 4.4 To endeavour to meet with the CEIR at least once a year.