24 Jul GS 2013 art 164
GS 2013 Article 164 – Appeal of Br. G.J. Nordeman re: Regional Synod East 2012
Committee 1 presented its first proposal with this result:
Letter of appeal from br. G.J. Nordeman against a decision of Regional Synod East 2012 (8.5.37)
- 2.1. Br. Nordeman requests Synod Carman 2013 to rule that:
- 2.1.1. Regional Synod East 2012 did not interact with the substance of his appeal regarding the character and weight of the voting for office bearers.
- 2.1.2. Considering the arguments outlined by br. Nordeman regarding the Headship Principle and the binding nature of the voting, it would be improper for a woman to participate in the voting for office bearers. Therefore, he asks Synod Carman 2013 to declare that:
- 188.8.131.52. Synod Burlington 2010 erred in stating that “…neither the Scriptures nor the Confessions provide instructions regarding the participation of women in the voting for office bearers …” (Acts of Synod Burlington 2010, Article 176, Consideration 3.10);
- 184.108.40.206. The consistory with the deacons of Burlington-Ebenezer erred in accepting the decision contained in Article 176 of the Acts of Synod Burlington 2010.
- 2.2. In his appeal to Regional Synod East 2012 br. Nordeman requested it to judge that Classis Central Ontario erred “by denying that the accepted Church Order allows for the ‘approval by the congregation’ in the matter of voting for office bearers.”
- 2.3. Regional Synod East 2012 denied the appeal of br. Nordeman, stating that “Brother Nordeman has not demonstrated that classis denied that the Church Order allows ‘for the approval by the congregation’ in the matter of voting for office bearers.”
- 2.4. Classis Central Ontario 2012 had denied the appeal of br. Nordeman. Regional Synod East 2012 decided that Classis Central Ontario 2012 erred in the first two grounds. The third and the fourth ground are connected. In these two grounds Classis Central Ontario 2012 had considered:
- “Consideration :
- [3.1.] Reformed Church polity is Presbyterian (elder-rule).
- [3.2.] All authority in the church flows from Christ the Head of the church, to the special offices.
- [3.3.] The Church Order of Dort does not defer any authority to the congregation with respect to the calling to office.
- [3.4.] Voting is not an exercise of authority. If it were, men should not vote either because they would be exercising authority over their office bearers.
- Consideration :
- Based on all the considerations above Classis judges that br. Nordeman has not demonstrated that the consistory together with the deacons has erred in its decision to accept Article 176 of the Acts of Synod Burlington 2010 as settled and binding according to Article 31 of the Church Order.”
- 2.5. Br. Nordeman, in his appeal to Regional Synod 2012, states that he fully agrees with the first two statements (see above, Observation 2.4, the points 3.1 and 3.2). His issue is with the third consideration. He agrees with it to the point that the Church Order of Dort does not defer any authority to the congregation with respect to the calling to office. Article 31 CO does not defer any authority to a broader assembly, yet the churches abide by the decisions of that broader assembly. In the same vein the churches abide by the decision of the congregation in the election of office bearers. It has a binding nature. In Article 3 of the Church Order the word ‘shall’ is used which makes it binding, according to br. Nordeman. Article 5C makes clear that the consistory needs the approval of the congregation to call a minister. He agrees that voting is not exercising authority. However, if women were permitted to vote they might be in a position to determine the outcome of the vote and thereby overrule the decisions of the men in the congregation.
- 3.1. Br. Nordeman states repeatedly that he agrees that voting by the congregation does not mean that the consistory defers authority to the congregation, but his disagreement concerns the binding character of the vote. Because it is binding, br. Nordeman continues, women might outvote men and therefore should not be allowed to vote. Classis Central Ontario 2012 did not pick up this element and in its Consideration 3.4 stated that voting is not an exercise of authority. Classis Central Ontario 2012 clearly misunderstood br. Nordeman.
- 3.2. Br. Nordeman, in his appeal to Regional Synod East 2012, again made it clear that he never claimed that the vote for office bearers is an exercise of authority. In his appeal to Regional Synod East 2012 he asked Regional Synod to judge that Classis Central Ontario 2012 had erred by denying that the accepted Church Order allows for the “approval by the congregation” in the matter of voting for office bearer. However, Classis Central Ontario 2012 did not say this. What Classis Central Ontario 2012 considered in 3.3 and 3.4 was not relevant to the appeal of br. Nordeman. If br. Nordeman had simply asked Regional Synod to judge that Classis Central Ontario 2012 did not do justice to his appeal, he would have been correct. Considering the way br. Nordeman formulated his appeal, Regional Synod East 2012 was correct in its response to him. There is an inconsistency between br. Nordeman’s comments on the decision of Classis Central Ontario 2012 and his appeal regarding this decision to Regional Synod East 2012.
- 3.3. The request in the second part of the appeal of br. Nordeman is dependent on a decision regarding the first part of his appeal. Since the first part of br. Nordeman’s appeal cannot be sustained, the second part becomes irrelevant.
That Synod decide to deny the appeal of br. G.J. Nordeman.