GS 2010 art 28

GS 2010 Article 28 – Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS)

1.         Material

  • 1.1       Report of the CCCNA re: the RCUS (Report 5) (8.2.f.1).
  • 1.2       Letter from Attercliffe (8.3.F.16).

2.         Observations

  • 2.1        Synod Smithers 2007 gave the CCCNA the following mandate in regard to the RCUS (Acts 2007, Article 107):
    • [4.2]     To continue the relationship of ecclesiastical fellowship (EF) with the RCUS under the adopted rules. As the CCCNA fulfills its mandate according to these rules, matters of concern raised by the churches (see Observations 2.7-2.11) may continue to be raised when appropriate.
    • [4.3]     To endeavour to meet with the RCUS Interchurch Relations Committee at least once a year.
  • 2.2       The CCCNA met with the RCUS Interchurch Relations Committee at NAPARC in 2007 and again in 2008.
  • 2.3       Dr. A.J. Pol and br. A. Poppe attended the 263rd Synod of the RCUS in 2009
  • 2.4       The CCCNA notes with gratitude that the RCUS followed the committee’s suggestions regarding the Church Unity Paper to ensure that the language was consistent with the Three Forms of Unity.
  • 2.5       The RCUS is seriously considering implementing a system of church visitation.
  • 2.6       The RCUS draws its ministers from a variety of seminaries. To date, they have not sent any students to our Theological College in Hamilton.
  • 2.7       The CCCNA has responded to the concerns of the RCUS about our position on “Federal Vision” by referring to the Three Forms of Unity.
  • 2.8       The church at Attercliffe questions whether the RCUS is serious about following the Rules for EF and suggests that the mandate given to the CCCNA by Synod Smithers is incomplete and allows matters of concerns described by previous synods to be glossed over. These matters of concerns include Lord’s Supper to shut-ins, the fencing of the Lord’s Table, Lord’s Day observance, and confessional membership.

3.         Considerations

  • 3.1 The CCCNA has fulfilled its mandate to the best of its ability.
  • 3.2           Some matters of concern have been addressed.
  • 3.3         Consultation with RCUS delegates at General Synod 2010 revealed that RCUS congregations expect all members to abide by and uphold the doctrines confessed in the Three Forms of Unity.
  • 3.4       Synod 2004 considered that “it would be beneficial for the churches if the committee (the CCCNA) could share more information” concerning discussions it had with the Inter-Church Relations Committee of the RCUS regarding observance of the Lord’s Day and admission to the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2004, Article 24, Consideration 4.3).
  • 3.5       Consultation with RCUS delegates at General Synod 2010 indicates that a recent RCUS Synod adopted the concept of a denominational seminary.
  • 3.6       Although various matters of concern highlighted by previous synods have been discussed both before and after the establishment of EF, there is good reason to continue the dialogue. As Synod Smithers stated in regard to the RCUS: “It is not necessary to state that discussion on particular topics is completed. In the dynamic of church life, opportunities to speak about differences between our federations will remain beneficial” (Article 107, Consideration 3.2). Working toward a more unified position on these significant matters ought to be one of the goals of being churches in EF. This would also address the concerns of Attercliffe mentioned in Observation 2.8. 3.7      Synod 2007 also stated: “As churches in EF, we are obliged to ‘assist each other in the maintenance, defence and promotion of the Reformed faith in doctrine, church polity, discipline, and liturgy, and to be watchful for deviations’ (Rule 1). As the CCCNA carries out the CanRC’s responsibility towards the RCUS according to this rule, attention can continue to be given to the topics mentioned by the churches when necessary and appropriate” (Acts 2007, Article 107, Consideration 3.3).

4.         Recommendation

That Synod decide:

  • 4.1       To thank the CCCNA for its work in our relationship with the RCUS. 4.2            To mandate the CCCNA as follows:
    • 4.2.1    To continue the relationship of EF with the RCUS under the adopted rules.
    • 4.2.2    To endeavour to meet at least once a year to discuss matters of mutual concern and edification.
    • 4.2.3    To share more detailed information with the churches about the nature and the development of its dialogue with the RCUS.