GS 2010 art 74

GS 2010 Article 74 – Appeal from Attercliffe re: Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the ERQ

1.         Material

Appeal from Attercliffe re: Article 75 of the Acts of Synod Smithers 2007 (8.5.l).

2.         Observations

  • 2.1       Attercliffe asks Synod to rescind the decision of Synod Smithers 2007 to establish a relationship of ecclesiastical fellowship (EF) with the Reformed Churches of Quebec (ERQ).
  • 2.2       As evidence for its belief that establishing EF with the ERQ was premature, Attercliffe highlights the Report of the CCCNA to Synod 2010 which speaks about the lack of a consensus in the ERQ concerning how supervision of the Lord’s Table and the pulpit is to be done.
  • 2.3       As further evidence that EF with the ERQ was established prematurely, Attercliffe points to the recommendation of the CCCNA to Synod 2010 that matters of confession and practice, especially regarding admission to the Lord’s Table and supervision of the pulpit, should be discussed with the ERQ only when appropriate and that these matters should not be belaboured unnecessarily. According to Attercliffe, this recommendation from the CCCNA indicates that the first Rule of EF cannot be implemented.
  • 2.4       Attercliffe believes that the lack of a consensus in the ERQ regarding admission to the Lord’s Supper and supervision of the pulpit is evidence that obedience to Scripture and the Three Forms of Unity “has not yet been understood or implemented in the practices of this federation.”
  • 2.5       According to Attercliffe, key portions of the mandate of the CCCNA in regard to the ERQ were not fulfilled and the relationship of EF did not really function.
  • 2.6       Attercliffe recommends that the CanRC end the relationship of EF with the ERQ and instead work with the ERQ in order to support their development and understanding of the implications of being faithful Churches in a secular society – as resources allow.

3.         Considerations

  • 3.1       The main concerns of Attercliffe in regard to the ERQ revolve around supervision of the Lord’s Supper and the pulpit in the ERQ. In coming to the decision to establish EF with the ERQ, Synod Smithers was clearly aware of the matters listed by Attercliffe (see Acts of Synod Smithers 2007, Observations 2.3 – 2.4) but did not consider these an impediment to offering EF to the ERQ. Attercliffe does not demonstrate from Scripture or from the Three Forms of Unity that Synod Smithers erred in coming to this decision.
  • 3.2       Synod Smithers 2007 also took note of the statement of the CCCA (the predecessor of the CCCNA) that “it has become clear from our discussions that although the practices in the ERQ and the Canadian Reformed Churches are not identical, their position mirrors what the Canadian Reformed Churches have agreed to in discussions with the OPC, and that in this respect there is an agreement on the same principles” (Acts, Article 75, Observation 2.7; Consideration 3.4). Attercliffe does not interact with this important consideration.
  • 3.3       Synod Smithers 2007 indicated that differences between the ERQ and the CanRC can be discussed in the context of a relationship of EF. While stating that these differences should not be belaboured, the CCCNA Report to Synod 2010 is not suggesting that the differences should be simply forgotten. Working toward a more unified position on matters of mutual concern remains one of the goals of EF.
  • 3.4       Contrary to the assertions of Attercliffe, the report of the CCCNA to Synod 2010 indicates that the relationship of EF is working well and is bearing positive results. There has been a good exchange of views and a willingness to hear each other.

4.         Recommendation

That Synod decide to deny the appeal of Attercliffe.