GS 2010 art 173

GS 2010 Article 173 – Reformed Churches of Korea (RCK)

1.         Material

  • 1.1       Report from the CRCA re: RCK (8.2.m).
  • 1.2        Letters from Coaldale (8.3.M.8), Fergus-Maranatha (8.3.M.16), Lincoln ((8.3.M.36), and Winnipeg-Redeemer (8.3.M.37).

2.         Observations

  • 2.1        The CRCA received a letter dated July 17, 2009 from the RCK, officially requesting ecclesiastical fellowship with the CanRC.
  • 2.2        The letter contained information about the RCK: The federation was established in 2008 and consists of five congregations with a total of 200 members. They have adopted the Three Forms of Unity and the Dort Church Order. The federation has a complete Psalter, set to Genevan melodies. The churches use the (translated) liturgical forms of the CanRC. Several ministers of the CanRC have visited RCK congregations.
  • 2.3        The CRCA replied to this letter by stating that although we were thankful for the RCK’s commitment to the Reformed faith, the CanRC could not recommend the RCK at this time, because:
    • 2.3.1     The federation is very new and we need to learn more about these churches.
    • 2.3.2      We have a ecclesiastical fellowship with the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) and we need to discuss the RCK with the PCK.
    • 2.3.3     It is not clear to the CRCA why the RCK churches do not work with the Independent Reformed Churches of Korea (IRCK).
  • 2.4        The CRCA received another letter from the RCK on October 17, 2009. It provided the following information:
    • 2.4.1     The ministers of the RCK come from various Presbyterian churches. They perceived deformation in these churches and, united by a desire to build up a “true reformed church,” they began to study the Reformed Confessions and Church Order. They frequently invited Dr. S. G. Hur to give lectures regarding the Reformed faith and life. In 2004 they came to the decision to establish a new federation.
    • 2.4.2     They feel that they cannot work with the PCK because of creeping deformation in the PCK and that they cannot join the IRCK because of hierarchical elements in its church government.
  • 2.5        The CRCA recommends that Synod recognize the RCK as faithful churches of the Lord and further that Synod mandate the CRCA as follows:
    • 2.5.1     To continue the contact with the RCK with a view to making recommendations regarding ecclesiastical fellowship to Synod 2013.
    • 2.5.2     To discuss the matter of the RCK with the PCK and with the IRCK.
  • 2.6        The churches of Coaldale and Fergus-Maranatha do not think it appropriate to seek ecclesiastical contact with the RCK because these churches do not have a relationship with the PCK.
  • 2.7        The church of Winnipeg-Redeemer recommends not to recognize the RCK as faithful churches, but does not give grounds for its recommendation.
  • 2.8        T he church at Lincoln agrees with the recommendations of the CRCA.

3.         Considerations

  • 3.1        It would appear from the information received from the CRCA that the RCK aspires to be a faithful church of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, many questions would need to be answered before ecclesiastical fellowship could be established, including the following:
    • 3.1.1     On what grounds, exactly, does the RCK remain separate from the PCK?
    • 3.1.2     What does the PCK think of the separate existence of the RCK?
    • 3.1.3     Why is the RCK separate from the IRCK?
    • 3.1.4     Would barriers of language and geography allow for a meaningful and functional relationship with the RCK? Does the CRCA have the resources and manpower to maintain another official international relationship of ecclesiastical fellowship?
  • 3.2        In its Report to Synod 2010, the CRCA gave a report of some discussions between representatives of the CRCA and the Fraternal Relations Committee (FRC) of the PCK. The following quotation is relevant:
    • The matter of church relations within Korea was also discussed. We were informed that there is virtually no contact between the PCK and the Independent Reformed Church in Korea (IRCK), at least in any official way. There were a number of reasons given, such as they (IRCK) are so small, and they do respect the PCK seminary (implication – they are not different?). There was a commitment made by the FRC to give some attention to this matter, especially in light of our position about consulting the federation that we already have a relationship with. The FRC did question why the IRCK approached the ICRC for membership before having discussions with the PCK. In personal discussions, we learned quite a bit more about the IRCK as well as the more recent Reformed Church in Korea (RCK). Much more information will need to be gathered before an informed decision about relationships with either or both of these federations can be made.

4.          Recommendation

That Synod decide:

  • 4.1        Not to accept the offer of the RCK for ecclesiastical fellowship but to wait until more information becomes available.
  • 4.2       To mandate the CRCA to:
    • 4.2.1     Continue the contact with the RCK with a view to making recommendations regarding ecclesiastical fellowship to Synod 2013, keeping in mind especially Considerations 3.1.1 – 3.1.4.
    • 4.2.2     Report to the churches six months before the next General Synod.