08 Jul GS 2019 art 124
GS 2019 Article 124 – DGK (The Reformed Churches [in The Netherlands])
- 1.1 Report from the Subcommittee Reformed churches in The Netherlands of the Committee on relations with Churches Abroad (CRCA-SRN) regarding The Reformed Churches (DGK) (188.8.131.52)
- 1.2 Letters from the following CanRC: Flamborough-Redemption (184.108.40.206.2), Attercliffe (220.127.116.11)
- 1.3 Letter from Deputies Contact Churches Abroad of De Gereformeerde Kerken (18.104.22.168)
- 1.4 Letter from DGK Mariënberg (22.214.171.124)
- 2.1 GS 2016 (Art. 117) decided:
- [4.1] To maintain contact with The Reformed Churches (DGK) and continue to monitor developments within this federation, paying special attention to the relationship between the DGK and the Liberated Reformed Church at Abbotsford (LRCA)
- 2.2 The Subcommittee on relations with the Netherlands (SRN) maintained contact with the DGK through correspondence and a face-to-face meeting. The subcommittee reiterated the position of GS 2013 and GS 2016 that the EF which the DGK has with the LRCA remains an impediment to closer contact. The DGK had attempted to set up a three-way meeting between themselves, the LRCA and the SRN, but the LRCA declined to participate. At a two-way meeting between the DGK and the SRN, the SRN pressed upon the DGK that the picture the LRCA gives of the CanRC is not correct. Further, the SRN laid out that under the banner of the Lord’s church-gathering work our sister churches do not need to have precisely the same practices as we have on topics as fencing the Lord’s Supper table or members’ commitment to the confessions; these are instead the sort of topics that continue to be discussed as fitting opportunities present themselves.
- 2.3 At their 2018 Synod the DGK decide to maintain their sister church relationship with the LRCA. Of significance, though, is that this Synod instructed deputies for contact with the LRCA to engage that sister-church in a discussion about the catholicity of the church. Whereas in the past the DGK had been critical of the Westminster Confession (and so of churches embracing this Confession), it appears that the DGK now no longer considers this Confession to be unfaithful or not in harmony with Scripture.
- 2.4 The SRN conveyed to the DGK the CanRC’s concerns with the GKv. The DGK were heartened by the SRN’s analysis and the CanRC’s position concerning the GKv. As a result of their 2018 Synod their deputies attending the 2018 FRCA Synod expressed the wish of the DGK to have further talks with the CanRC.
- 2.5 The SRN encouraged the DGK to engage in further discussions with the GKN with a view to working towards unity.
- 2.6 The SRN considers it important that the CanRC maintain some form of contact with the DGK and recommend that we continue to monitor developments within this small federation even though they maintain their relationship with the LRCA.
- 2.7 Deputies from DGK responsible for Contact Churches Abroad sent a letter of greetings to GS 2019. In their letter they drew attention to a decision made at the very first DGK Synod Mariënberg 2005 where they decided that they would “seek ecclesiastical unity with all who want to live on the foundation of Scripture, confession (which means the Three Forms of Unity and/or the Westminster Confession) and the Dort Church Order” (bolding theirs). They add: “This entails that churches with the Westminster Confession can be considered for a sister church relationship.”
- 2.8 Via a letter, “De Gereformeerde Kerk Mariënberg e.o.” advised Synod of injustices they feel happened to them at the hand of hierarchical decisions made by the DGK, resulting in their removal from that federation of churches. They suggest that the SRN report was incorrect when that report states that this church “placed itself outside the federation.” As a result of their experiences, they also urge caution upon us in our contacts with DGK.
- 2.9 The Flamborough-Redemption CanRC desires GS 2019 to instruct the CRCA to communicate clearly to the DGK that their relationship with the LRCA remains an obstacle for the CanRC entering into a relationship with them.
- 2.10 The Attercliffe CanRC draws attention to the disappointment the DGK expressed concerning “the lack of discussion between our two church federations on the matter of fencing the table of the Lord and confessional membership, and the decision of Synod Dunnville to state that there is no longer need to talk about these issues.” Attercliffe expresses her conviction that these matters were never discussed, or if they were, they have not been reported to the churches. On the other hand, Attercliffe does support the recommendation that contact should be maintained and suggests that further discussions on the points mentioned above would be beneficial.
- 3.1 The development within the DGK to be more receptive to the Westminster Confession (and so to have a greater eye for the world-wide church gathering work of the Lord) is to be noted with gratitude.
- 3.2 The relation the DGK have with the LRCA continues to be an impediment to increased relations between the CanRC and the DGK because the LRCA broke away from the CanRC precisely because of their opposition to our sister relationships with churches of Presbyterian identity.
- 3.3 The letter concerning perceived hierarchical activities within the DGK can be received for information, without prejudice to its accuracy.
- 3.4 GS 2016 (Art. 49, Cons. 3.3) addressed Attercliffe’s concern.
That Synod decide:
- 4.1. To thank deputies for their work and discharge them;
- 4.2. To maintain contact with The Reformed Churches (DGK) and mandate the Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad (CRCA) to continue to monitor developments within this federation, paying special attention to the relationship between the DGK and the Liberated Reformed Church at Abbotsford (LRCA).