GS 2013 art 160

GS 2013 Article 160 – Appeal of Burlington-Ebenezer re: Regional Synod East 2012

Committee 1 presented its third draft with this result:

1.         Material:

Letter of appeal from the church at Burlington-Ebenezer (8.5.26)

2.         Observations:

  • 2.1.      Burlington-Ebenezer appeals a decision of Regional Synod East 2012, Article 8, on the basis of its claim that Regional Synod East 2012 erred on three points:
    • 2.1.1.   Regional Synod East 2012 should have interacted with Burlington-Ebenezer’s exegesis on 1 Corinthians 11 because the appeal of br. Nordeman was more than a case of Nordeman vs. Classis Central Ontario 2012. The appeal was ultimately a challenge to the position of the Ebenezer consistory with the deacons. That challenge should have been dealt with fairly and fully.
    • 2.1.2.   Consideration 1 misses the point of contention and therefore serves neither br. Nordeman nor Burlington-Ebenezer;
    • 2.1.3.   Consideration 1 creates the impression that 1 Corinthians 11 does teach a general headship of men over women in church.
    • Burlington-Ebenezer provides the following supporting grounds:
      • []          Br. Nordeman and Burlington-Ebenezer agree that 1 Corinthians 11 applies to women in a general sense;
      • []          Since the term headship does not occur in Scripture the use of the term is context specific;
      • []          The context of 1 Corinthians 11 is decorum in worship where what is proper for the man is improper for the woman and vice versa;
      • []          Since 1 Corinthians 11 has a very specific context (i.e., worship) it is biblically unwarranted to transpose a headship principle to other Bible passages within a different context;
      • []          Numbers 30:9 negates the idea of a general headship of men over women in church while it reinforces the headship of the husband over his wife and that of the father over his unmarried daughter;
      • []          The use of the term “general headship principle” is foreign to Scripture and should therefore not be made into a general principle.
  • 2.2.      Burlington-Ebenezer requests Synod Carman 2013 to judge that Regional Synod East 2012 erred in its Consideration 2b that 1 Timothy 2:12-14 does “teach a general headship principle which ‘applies to matters of congregational life in general.’”
  • Burlington-Ebenezer provides the following supporting grounds:
    • [2.2.1.] In 1 Timothy 2:12-14 Paul stresses the specific application that only the men may be office bearers in church;
    • [2.2.2.] The context of 1 Timothy 2:12-14 does not allow for a general application about the role of men versus the role of women in the church;
    • [2.2.3.] This text does not teach a general headship principle applying to congregational life in general otherwise it would have been wrong for Priscilla to teach Apollos in Acts 18:26.
  • 2.3.      From the appeal of Burlington-Ebenezer the following chronology is determined:
    • [1.]       The consistory with the deacons of Burlington-Ebenezer accepted the decision of Synod Burlington 2010 concerning women’s voting (Article 176) as settled and binding.
    • [2.]       Br. Nordeman appealed this decision to Burlington-Ebenezer.
    • [3.]       Burlington-Ebenezer denied br. Nordeman’s appeal on the basis of a different interpretation of passages he put forward.
    • [4.]       Br. Nordeman appealed this to Classis Central Ontario September 2011 which denied his appeal and again to Regional Synod East November 2011 which ruled the matter unfinished in the minor assembly due to the addition of another Scripture passage in his arguments.
    • [5.]       Br. Nordeman again appealed to Burlington-Ebenezer and they again denied his appeal.
    • [6.]       Br. Nordeman subsequently appealed Burlington-Ebenezer’s denial of his appeal to Classis Central Ontario September 2012 and classis denied his appeal.
    • [7.]       Br. Nordeman then appealed the decision of Classis Central Ontario 2012 to Regional Synod East November 2012, which upheld part of his appeal concerning a general headship principle in the church in 1 Corinthians 11.
    • [8.]       Burlington-Ebenezer believes that neither Classis Central Ontario September 2012 nor Regional Synod East 2012 did due diligence in interacting with br. Nordeman’s disagreement with his consistory about 1 Corinthians 11 showing a general headship principle and thus it asks Synod Carman 2013 to rule that Regional Synod East 2012 erred in its response to br. Nordeman about whether 1 Corinthians 11 teaches a general headship principle of men over women in church.
  • 2.4.      As can be seen from Observation 2.3, extensive correspondence has taken place. However, Burlington-Ebenezer does not provide us with copies of the actual correspondence, but only with excerpts in their letter of appeal to Synod Carman 2013.

3.         Consideration:

In regard to both requests of Burlington-Ebenezer, Synod Carman 2013 only received Burlington-Ebenezer’s letter of appeal and none of the actual documents that are important for the entire appeal process. Burlington-Ebenezer requests Synod Carman 2013 to come to a judgment based only on its own version of the entire situation. Although Burlington-Ebenezer did copy and paste several decisions of minor assemblies into its own letter, it did not provide copies of the material relevant to its appeal. It would not be appropriate to come to a judgement based on this letter from Burlington-Ebenezer only. In order to come to a full understanding of what is at stake Synod requires complete documentation to make a proper determination.

4.         Recommendation:

That Synod declare the appeal of Burlington-Ebenezer inadmissible.