GS 2016 – Article 54
2.1 The SCBP submitted two corrections for the forms of subscription in the Authorized Provisional Version of the Book of Praise. These corrections were submitted because, due to an editing oversight, these forms did not reflect the approved versions adopted by GS 2010.
2.2 The Abbotsford CanRC stated that it could not agree with the corrections submitted by the SCBP, and advised that both forms be amended as follows: “We will first submit this to the church via her assemblies for judgment.”
2.3 GS 2013 adopted the wording proposed by Abbotsford (GS 2013 Art. 101 Rec. 4.1.1).
2.4 Dunnville considers that GS 2013 had stated that Abbotsford’s disagreement was with GS 2010, and not with the action of the SCBP.
2.5 Dunnville further considers that as a result of the decision to adopt the wording proposed by Abbotsford, the CanRC now have novel terminology in the subscription forms that was not first examined by the churches.
2.6 Dunnville further considers that the terminology adopted by GS 2013 is problematic, because it confuses the federation of churches with the local church. The assemblies referred to are not assemblies of the local church, but of the federation of churches. On a point of principle, the federation is called the Canadian Reformed Churches, not the Canadian Reformed Church.
2.7 Dunnville further considers that GS 2013 should simply have noted that what the SCBP submitted was a correction of its own mistake. The wording adopted by GS 2010 would thus still stand.
3.1 Abbotsford’s disagreement was with GS 2010, and not with the SCBP.
3.2 The CanRC now have wording in the subscription forms that is novel, and had not been examined by the churches prior to its adoption, because it came to GS 2013 by way of a letter from Abbotsford.
3.3 GS 2013 should simply have noted that the SCBP was correcting its own mistake.
That Synod decide
4.1 That GS 2013 erred when it changed the wording of the subscription forms from what had been adopted by GS 2010;
4.2 That the correction presented to GS 2013 by the SCBP reflects what GS 2010 had decided to be the correct formulation of the forms of subscription;
4.3 That the wording of the subscription forms as decided by GS 2010 be reinstated at the next printing of the Book of Praise.
GS 2013 – Article 101
3.1. Forms of Subscription:
3.1.1. The correction presented to Synod Carman 2013 by the SCBP reflects what Synod Burlington 2010 decided (Article 65) to be the correct formulation of the forms of subscription. The SCBP is merely correcting its own error. Therefore the church at Abbotsford is incorrect when it states that this is a suggested change coming from the SCBP. If the church at Abbotsford “cannot agree” with what the SCBP presents, Abbotsford’s disagreement is actually with Synod Burlington 2010. Nonetheless, Abbotsford’s proposed alternative has merit: “We will first submit this to the church via her assemblies for judgment.” This streamlines the process required of ministers whose doctrinal convictions are under scrutiny. Moreover, it is hardly conceivable that a consistory would not be involved in the process when a minister’s doctrinal convictions are under scrutiny at the classis level. The proposal of Abbotsford allows for immediate involvement of the consistory even if the scrutiny is initiated at the classis level.
3.1.2. The proposal of the church at Cloverdale that a note should be added to the forms, to the effect that these are the forms of subscription “in common use” in the churches, does not take into account the decision of previous synods. When a church asked Synod Chatham 2004 “whether it is the intent of these forms to be compulsory,” Synod considered, “When Synod adopts a Form of Subscription it is to be considered binding upon the churches” [Consideration 188.8.131.52, Article 115]. When this consideration of Synod Chatham 2004 was challenged by another church to Synod Smithers 2007, Synod (pointing to Synod Neerlandia 2001, Article 72) stated in its consideration: “Since the churches via regional synods had expressed a desire for such standardization, all the churches should use the standardized form. The word ‘binding’ used by Synod Chatham indeed indicates that a standardized form shall be used by all the churches” (Consideration 4.2, Article 67, Acts of Synod Smithers 2007).
That Synod decide:
4.1. Forms of Subscription:
4.1.1. To approve the recommendation of the church at Abbotsford regarding the wording of both Forms of Subscription and to instruct the SCBP to include the new wording.
4.1.2. Not to adopt the proposal of the church at Cloverdale regarding a note with the Forms of Subscription.
GS 2007 – Article 111
2.5 Orangeville points out that while the committee has agreed with a suggestion of the church at Abbotsford to use the wording “either publicly or privately; rather, we will first make…” (184.108.40.206 of the report), yet in the final draft of the form (8.3.1 and 8.3.2) the committee neglected to include the change.
2.6 Winnipeg Redeemer recommends the following changes in the proposed Subscription Forms:
2.6.1 to change the word “major assemblies” in paragraph 3 of each form (8.3.1 and 8.3.2) to “broader assemblies.” Grounds: this is more consistent with the terminology used in the proposed church order. The term “broader” is better than “major” since some might interpret “major” as “higher authority.”
2.6.2 to change the sentence “During the time of appeal we will acquiesce in the decision of classis or regional synod” in paragraph 5 of the proposed form for use at classis (8.3.1 of the report) to “During the time of appeal we will acquiesce in the decision of consistory or classis or regional synod.” Grounds: Consistory is involved in the process and therefore the appellant should also acquiesce in the decision of consistory.
3.2 Regarding Observation 2.5, the church at Orangeville is correct.
3.3 Observation 2.6.1 and 2.6.2 have merit.
3.4 Since the subscription form for office-bearers is not a liturgical form it should be placed after the Church Order in our Book of Praise.
4.2 To instruct the committee to use the term “broader assemblies” in place of “major assemblies.”
4.3 To instruct the committee to change the sentence “During the time of appeal we will acquiesce in the decision of classis or regional synod” in paragraph 5 of the proposed form for use at classis (8.3.1 of the report) to “During the time of appeal we will acquiesce in the decision of consistory or classis or regional synod.”
4.4 To adopt the proposed subscription form for office-bearers as amended for inclusion in the Book of Praise after the Church Order.