GS 1986 art 150

GS 1986 ARTICLE 150

Correspondence with Churches Abroad (Korea) (See Art. 146)

Committee 3 presents:


–  Agenda,

  • VIII, G, 1 Letter from Ebenezer Canadian Reformed Church.
  • VIII, G, 3a Report of the Committee on Correspondence with Churches Abroad.
  • VIII, G, 3b Appendices to the Report of the Committee on Cor­ respondence with Churches Abroad.


  • 1.     The committee received the following mandate:
    • a.     to obtain and evaluate the complete text of the Koryu-Pa’s Form of Govern­ment;
    • b.    to enquire into the grounds of the many changes made in this Form of Government;
    • c.     to seek an official evaluation from the Koryu-Pa of the confessional and church-political divergencies as these have been discussed and are being discussed with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church;
    • d.    to seek information from the Koryu-Pa regarding its relations with the Hap­ Dong Churches so that the implications of establishing correspondence with the Koryu-Pa may become completely clear in this respect (Acts 1983, Art. 105, D, 3).
  • 2.     The committee reports:
    • a.    They have informed the Presbyterian Church Koryu-Pa of the decisions of the General Synod of Cloverdale and that no reaction was received.
    • b.    The convener, the Rev. J . Visscher, met the Presbyterian Church Koryu-Pa representative to the ICRC, Prof. Dr. P.S. Oh, from whom he received the following information:
      • The Form of Government is basically the same as the common Pres­byterian Form of Government. It has been adopted to take into account the Korean situation.
      • ii    No official contact exists between the Koryu-Pa and the Hap-Dong.
    • c.    The convener emphasized to Prof. Dr. P.S. Oh, who received the decisions of the General Synod of Cloverdale of 1983, that a reply would be very much appreciated and would be essential if the committee was to make a recom­mendation to the General Synod of 1986. No response has been received.
    • d.    From the remarks made by Prof. Dr. N.H. Gootjes, professor at the Presbyterian Church Koryu-Pa seminary at Pusan. it was gleaned:
      • That the Westminster Confession was adapted by the Presbyterian Church Koryu-Pa in 1970. The Korean translation still has errors that, although not major, need correction.
      • ii      The Form of Government is based on the American form, but has been adapted to take into account the Korean situation.
      • iii     One must be careful to view these churches through western eyes and keep in mind that the Korean people still have to learn to work with the Westminster Confessions.
    • e.     The committee states that the problems of language and communication continue to be encountered and make entering into and maintaining a cor­respondence relationship impossible.
    • f.     The committee thinks that the mandate from the General Synod of Clover­ dale of 1983 is not workable.
  • 3.     The committee recommends that:
    • a.     The Canadian Reformed Churches recognize the Presbyterian Church Koryu­ Pa as a true church of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
    • b.     The implementation of entering into a formal relationship with the Presbyterian Church Koryu-Pa be postponed until such time as communica­tion problems can be resolved .
  • 4.    The Ebenezer Canadian Reformed Church requests synod to take away an in­ consistency which exists in Consideration 3a of the Acts, Art . 105 of the General Synod of Cloverdale. According to this church, the inconsistency is this that the recognition of the OPC preceded the detailed evaluation of the confessional and church-political divergencies, while the Presbyterian Church Koryu-Pa evalua­tion must be made prior to recognition.


  • 1.    From the committee report it becomes clear that no official communication has taken place. Some informal discussion occurred between the convener, Rev. J. Visscher, and the ICRC representative of the Presbyterian Church Koryu-Pa.
  • 2.    General Synod of Edmonton of 1965 judged that correspondence with churches abroad should be established only after an accurate and serious examination has shown that these churches not only officially have adopted the Reformed confessions and church government, but also practically maintain the same (Acts, Art. 41, 11, Edmonton, 1965).
  • 3.    The General Synod of Smithville expressed its concern regarding the impor­ tance of communications with these churches and charged the Committee on Correspondence with Churches Abroad to evaluate the communication with the Presbyterian Church Koryu-Pa as to the question whether official ecclesiastical correspondence, even if it would be warranted in principle, can be responsibly maintained, due to distance and language (Synod of Smithville of 1980, Acts, Art. 153. E, 4, b).
  • 4.     Formal recognition of the Presbyterian Church Koryu-Pa as true churches of Jesus Christ should not be based on testimony of sister churches only, or on ICRC membership. Such recognition remains the churches’ own responsibility .
  • 5.     Mere formal recognition of the PCK as a true church of Jesus Christ without the possibility to implement such recognition by entering into a correspondence relationship with the PCK renders such recognition ineffective.
  • 6.     Both the General Synod of Smithville and the General Synod of Cloverdale ex­ pressed their regret that with regard to the OPC the publication of the detailed evaluation of the divergencies was not given before stating that these divergen­cies do not form an impediment to recognition. It is therefore understandable that the General Synod of Cloverdale did not consider it edifying to proceed with ecclesiastical fellowship until this evaluation for the benefit of the churches was completed.


  • 1.     To recognize  with regret  that  due  to language  and communication  difficulties, a correspondence-relationship with the Presbyterian Church Koryu-Pa can neither be established responsibly nor maintained fruitfully at this time.
  • 2.     To advise the Ebenezer Canadian Reformed Church at Burlington of this decision.
  • 3.     To express gratitude to the committee for all the work done in this respect, and to charge them with the following mandate:
    • a.     to explain to the PCK this decision of the General Synod of Burlington West of 1986;
    • b.    to respond to any reaction, inquiries, and information the PCK may direct to our churches;
    • c.     to be diligent in the endeavour to improve communications with the PCK so that the “entering into and the maintaining of a correspondence­ relationship” becomes possible;
    • d.    to report to the next general synod. The report is discussed.

A motion to vote is ADOPTED.

The recommendations are ADOPTED. Synod is adjourned for lunch.