Women’s Voting

Once the complete, official Acts are published, I hope to write something here about the issue of women voting for office bearers in the Canadian Reformed churches.  In the meantime, Thea Heyink has some reflections on this issue and how it all went down at our Synod last week.

About Wes Bredenhof

Pastor of the Free Reformed Church, Launceston, Tasmania. View all posts by Wes Bredenhof

9 responses to “Women’s Voting

  • Nicole

    I read Thea’s viewpoint, and will be interested in hearing yours. However, I wonder if it will be possible for ANY blog author to nicely summarize what happened on May 27 without being biased one way or another? 🙂

  • Pete

    I read Thea’s viewpoint as well, and to say the least, I’m disappointed. Not disappointed in her opinion, but the fact that she felt it was necessary to air it already – when the Acts of Synod have not yet been released. How she can come to the conclusions she does only by what was heard as an audience member is beyond me – I was there too, and without the benefit of copies of the majority and minority reports I wonder how anybody could pass judgement on what was decided at this point. As instructed by Scripture we need to ‘test the spirits’, and that involves sober, prayerful reflection on the Acts once they are released. Further, it involves the willingness to be convinced by the Biblical/Confessional/Church Orderly arguments contained therein (if that proves to be the case), not the obstinacy of already stating your case when you have not been able to read the observations, considerations and recommendations of Synod! Is it brotherly, or is it ‘honouring the decisions of the major assemblies’ (Art. 31 CO) to have already drawn conclusions without reading the Acts of Synod?

  • J. VanBelfry

    Hi Dr. Bredenhof, If I might ask a question or two because I’m not really sure of the Can Ref. practice in this regard. It is regarding the nomination process. Are woman allowed to nominate men for office? And how exactly is a list of nominees formulated? I’m sure some councils might do this better than others. I mean some might use the church directory to formulate a list well others give better consideration to the qualifications listed in scripture. Perhaps you could include some discussion in this regard in your writing. Is this not where the rubber hits the road?

    Thanks in advance!

    God is good always!

    • Wes Bredenhof

      Yes, women are allowed to submit names for nomination. You could conceivably have a situation where a woman submits different names than her husband (though I’ve never seen it happen). A woman may also participate in the approbation process. In other words, after the election a woman may bring a lawful objection against the installation/ordination of an office bearer. Up to now, women have only been prevented from participating in the middle step (the election).

      As to how the slate is drawn up, it may vary from congregation to congregation. My experience is that generally it begins with the nomination letters. Then the council goes through the all the wards and identifies other suitable men. Once a preliminary slate is drawn up from those sources, all the names are discussed, particularly with input from the district elders of those identified and, of course, with an eye to the qualifications mentioned in Scripture. In the process some might be removed. Then the office bearers vote to obtain the necessary number of names for the congregational election. That’s generally how it works, at least in the congregations that I’ve served.

  • Thea

    In response to Pete’s comment, above, I would like to state that I do not believe I was passing judgment on what was decided, I was merely passing on what was decided.

    You see, after waiting five days for the complete unofficial Acts to appear, it certainly looked like they simply would not appear at all, because the other days’ Acts appeared within 48 hours, and it had now been five days. I was not at all confident that those Acts were going to make an appearance, and then it would be some months before I could make comments.

    You see, those decisions taken that day sat very heavily on my mind. I became anxious and I committed the sin of impatience. Mea culpa.

    As a result, I did pass on misinformation. I stated only the minority report would be included, when in fact I had it wrong. Both reports are included. Thankfully. However my observations and concerns stand. The written Acts bear me out. Except for the curious omission of the capitalized word ADOPTED at the end.

  • Ally

    By posting a link to Thea’s blog I assume that you support her opinion of Synod, in that they are cowards and advocates of Satan?

    • svandyken

      Ally: Thea has not described the delegates to Synod 2010 as advocates of Satan. We might want to consider whether a claque of feminist agitators among the churches have been useful idiots in Satan’s plans, but that would be another post no doubt.

      As for “cowards”, I don’t recall her using that word either. However, perhaps you could help to come up with a better word that describes a deliberative assembly that voted on changing the voting protocol for itself immediately prior to its discussion of women voting — and then adopted (by silent, unrecorded ballot) a minority committee report. Coincidence?

      • Ally

        What you might want to consider is that those you call “feminist agitators” and “useful idiots” are your brothers and sisters in the Lord and perhaps they are striving to serve Him properly. It’s sad to see that despite your intelligence you have no grace or love for your fellow Christian.

        Read the post again. Watch for the words “I found that cowardly,” and “on May 27, 2010, Satan firmly inserted his foot in our church door,” implying that those in attendance were cowards, and they allowed the devil into the church.

      • svandyken

        Ally:

        Someone agitating for unnecessary, provocative change in the church — a transformation, if you will, from what the church is to what they imagine it should be (not what God’s Word says it should be, but what they imagine) demonstrates that their first love is not Christ or His Church — but their own self-will.

        You appear to be under the illusion that every member of the organized church is a Christ-serving brother and sister. I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt wherever this is possible. But when someone demonstrates a desire to change a federation — against the expressed will of the majority of churches — I am not overly concerned about stepping on toes, As I said earlier, agitators ought to be told in no uncertain terms that the bus they are on is not changing course to suit their whims; and if they don’t like staying the course, they may get off at the next stop and wait for the next bus heading where they want to go. There are dozens of empty busses just around the corner eager to pick them up.

        One other problem with your reasoning of is that it only goes in one direction. The small but noisy minority that accomplished this recent overhaul showed zero concern for the thousands of brothers and sisters who were quite content with a biblical arrangement that has served the churches well for centuries. Your energies would have been more effectively spent convincing agitators to cease agitating than to chide those whom they have rightly angered.

        I’ve already explained the reason for my dismay (to put it mildly). I’ve read Thea’s posts, and stand by my comments.

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