08 Jul GS 2019 art 121
GS 2019 Article 121 – GGRI (Reformed Churches in Indonesia)
- 1.1 Report of the Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad (CRCA) regarding the Reformed Churches in Indonesia (GGRI) (22.214.171.124)
- 1.2 Letter of greetings from the GGRI (126.96.36.199)
- 2.1 GS 2016 (Art. 115) decided:
- [4.1] To continue the relationship of Ecclesiastical Fellowship (EF) with the Reformed Churches in Indonesia – Nusa Tenggara Timor (GGRI-NTT) under the adopted rules;
- [4.2] To mandate the Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad (CRCA):
- [4.2.1] To discuss our rules for EF with the Committee on Relations of the GGRI and to gather as much information as is needed to come to a good recommendation to General Synod 2019 regarding a relationship of EF with the GGRI;
- [4.2.2] To gather and evaluate information regarding the GGRI-KalBar and the GGRI-Papua in order to prepare a proposal as to how to deal with the GGRI as a national federation instead of dealing exclusively with the GGRI-NTT, which has become part of this larger federation of churches;
- [4.2.3] To try to ensure that a delegation of two brothers is sent to Indonesia to represent the CanRC at a synod of the GGRI;
- [4.2.4] To work in consultation and cooperation with the deputies of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia (FRCA) to encourage and support the churches of the GGRI in their efforts to grow in the Reformed doctrine and church polity;
- [4.2.5] To encourage the GGRI to seek cooperation with the Reformed Theological School in Kupang (established by Smithville);
- [4.2.6] To encourage the GGRI to seek closer contact and cooperation with the Calvinist Reformed Churches (GGRC) and to monitor the progress of the dialogue between the GGRI and the GGRC.
- [4.3] To pass on the letter of the Toronto-Bethel CanRC to the CRCA for consideration.
- 2.2 From the CRCA report, we note the following observations:
- 2.2.1 There are many historic and personal ties between the GGRI and the CanRC. Further, like the CanRC, the GGRI are concerned about developments in the GKv. This implies that the CanRC ought not to discontinue its relationship of EF with the GGRI. Nevertheless, the geographical and cultural distance between Canada and Indonesia makes this a cumbersome relationship to maintain for the CanRC. It is prudent and proper for the CanRC to maintain this relationship in close consultation with the FRCA, who are much better positioned to provide whatever assistance the GGRI require.
- 2.2.2 The CRCA has found no evidence substantiating the allegation that the GGRI-KalBar is compromising its commitment to the Reformed faith; rather, the CRCA witnessed the GGRI- KalBar testify that it would not do so.
- 2.2.3 The CRCA has found no evidence that the GGRI-Papua is unreformed in its practice of church polity. The approach taken by the GGRI-Papua to structure its communication with the government is Biblical and appropriate in the civil context of the GGRI-Papua.
- 2.2.4 The GGRI, pointing to the harmony and unity at its national synod, requests the CanRC to receive the GGRI as a whole as sister churches (NS-GGRI-2016 decision 9.1). Further, the GGRI as a whole has been received by the ICRC as member, and the FRCA and GKv have extended their relationship of EF to cover the whole GGRI.
- 2.2.5 The FRCA extended EF to the GGRI as a national federation in 2012. Subsequent to this, because of a request for more information, both in 2015 and 2018, the General Synods mandated the deputies to “as yet report to the churches with a clearer picture of the GGRI Papua and the GGRI Kalimantan Barat that have united and formed one federation with the GGRI-NTT in February 2012, confirming their Reformed character and the implications of this union.”
- 2.2.6 Nevertheless, GS 2018 stated in Article 105, Grounds “1. The GGRI shows faithfulness to the Word of God, maintaining the Reformed confessions. 2. Our rules for sister church relations indicate that the churches need to mutually care for each other that they do not depart from the Reformed faith in doctrine, church polity, discipline and liturgy. The deputies express confidence about the Reformed faithfulness of the federation. At the same time, they do indicate that there are concerns, and it is important that we monitor these things.”
- 2.3 In the letter of greetings from the GGRI to the CanRC, mention is made of the first National Synod of the GGRI held in February 2012, in Papua. There the Reformed Churches of Papua, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and West Kalimantan become one federation. A National Synod is to be held every four years. A second National Synod was held in 2016. In that Second National Synod, they decided to request the CanRC to accept the whole federation, not only the churches in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). This request is repeated in their letter of greetings to GS 2019.
- 3.1 With thankfulness to the Lord, the CRCA concluded that the GGRI evidence in confession and practice to be churches seeking to serve the Lord according to his Word.
- 3.2 Since the GGRI in the provinces of NTT, KalBar, and Papua now see themselves as a single federation, we also have to see them as such. There is no reason brought forward to discontinue our EF with the GGRI-NTT, and not to extend EF to the GGRI as a whole.
- 3.3 The FRCA knows the GGRI-NTT well from frequent interactions with them on the field, and so has mandated deputies to “support the GGRI with the intention of building up the Reformed character of these churches.”
- 3.4 The FRCA also wants to get to know the GGRI KalBar and Papua better in order to assist them properly according to the terms of EF. Observations 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 above may help address their concerns.
- 3.5 Given that the FRCA is closer to Indonesia than the CanRC, it is responsible that our CRCA work in close conjunction with the FRCA allowing the Australians to take primary responsibility for the direction of the contacts in Indonesia. It would therefore be helpful if the respective committees would share information on their observations and activities in Indonesia.
- 3.6 The GGRI, as a federation of federations, could prove to be an effective vehicle to foster church unity among the various groups of Reformed churches in Indonesia.
That Synod decide:
- 4.1 To extend ecclesiastical fellowship (EF) to the Reformed Churches in Indonesia (GGRI) as a whole, being the federations of the churches in Kalimantan Barat (GGRI-KalBar), the churches in Nusa Tenggara Timur (GGRI-NTT), and the churches in Papua (GGRI-Papua);
- 4.2 To mandate the Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad (CRCA):
- 4.2.1 To try to send a delegation of brothers to Indonesia to represent the CanRC at the next national synod of the GGRI, planned for 2020;
- 4.2.2 To work in consultation and cooperation with the Free Reformed Churches of Australia (FRCA) in encouraging and supporting the churches of the GGRI in their efforts to grow in Reformed doctrine and polity;
- 4.2.3 To work in consultation and cooperation with the Smithville CanRC given their mission work in Timor;
- 4.2.4 To encourage the GGRI to foster and promote church unity among Reformed churches in Indonesia;
- 4.2.5 To submit its report to the churches 6 months prior to the convening of the next general synod.