08 Jul GS 2019 art 125
GS 2019 Article 125 – GKN (Reformed Churches The Netherlands)
- 1.1 Report from the Subcommittee Reformed churches in The Netherlands of the Committee on relations with Churches Abroad (CRCA-SRN) regarding Reformed Churches The Netherlands (GKN; formerly GKNvv) (126.96.36.199)
- 1.2 Supplemental Report from the CRCA-SRN re: GKN sister church request (188.8.131.52)
- 1.3 Letter from the following church: Flamborough-Redemption (184.108.40.206.4)
- 2.1 GS 2016 (Art. 118) decided
- [4.1] To maintain contact with the Reformed Churches The Netherlands (GKNvv) and continue to monitor developments within this federation
- 2.2 The SRN maintained contact with the GKN through correspondence and a face-to-face meeting. In the latter meeting the brothers of the GKN expressed appreciation for the opportunity to meet and provided an update on 1. The developments in the GKN and 2. Their discussions with the DGK.
- 2.2.1 The churches of this young federation (2009) were quite independent, with a loose and problematic cooperation between the churches. This has now changed so that the federation is structured in accordance with the Church Order of Dort. Due to their size they have no classes or regional synods, but they meet in General Synod twice a year. Their recent GS reflected improved harmonious cooperation.
- This small federation consists of 7 instituted churches and 6 preaching points. Among its ministers are two who in time past have served in the CanRC.
- 2.2.2 There were some initial positive steps toward improved contact and discussions between the GKN and the DGK. However, this contact was terminated from GKN side because writings with the DGK appeared to label the GKN as schismatic. Efforts are underway to open up this contact again.
- The GKN wishes to focus its inter-church relations on Europe plus the former sister churches, ie, the FRCA, CanRC and the FRCSA. They have already requested a sister church relationship with the FRCA and hope to make a similar request to the CanRC at their next Synod.
- 2.3 The SRN expresses understanding for “the difficulties that may exist in a small federation as well as the need for a soundboard,” and recommends that “some form of contact be maintained with the GKN.”
- 2.4 In a supplementary report to GS 2018, the SRN advises that the GKN have requested that a sister church relationship be established between the CanRC and the GKN. After digesting the request, the SRN recommends that GS 2019 not establish sister relations with the GKN on grounds that the ecclesiastical situation in the Netherlands is still too fluid. The SRN:
- Expects more people to leave the GKv in the coming years;
- Sees wisdom in awaiting the outcome of discussions between the GKN and the DGK;
- Mentions that exercising patience on this matter is in line with the decision of the FRCA.
- The SRN recommends that this request be referred to the CRCA for further consideration.
- 2.5 The Flamborough-Redemption CanRC recommends that Synod mandate the CRCA to “initiate greater communication and dialogue with the GKN with the intent to establish a relationship of Ecclesiastical Fellowship with them.” They make this recommendation because the GKN “appears to be a faithful church of Jesus Christ, with similar theological positions and practices to the CanRC.”
- 3.1 The development within the GKN in relation to adherence to the Church Order of Dort is to be noted with gratitude.
- 3.2 The efforts to open up avenues of communication with the DGK is to be noted with gratitude.
- 3.3 Given the fluidity of the ecclesiastical situation in the Netherlands, the request to establish sister church relations with the GKN is premature.
- 3.4 Being available for further dialogue is one way in which we can provide assistance to this small federation as they seek to find their way forward after their departure from the GKv.
That Synod decide:
- 4.1 To maintain contact with The Reformed Churches The Netherlands (GKN)
- 4.2 To instruct the Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad (CRCA):
- 4.2.1 To monitor developments within the GKN;
- 4.2.2 To consider the request from the GKN to establish sister relations;
- 4.2.3 To be available for dialogue with the GKN when needed.
- 4.2.4 To submit its report to the churches 6 months prior to the convening of the next general synod.