It’s that time again when Canadian Reformed consistories are reading reports for an upcoming synod. That synod will be in May in Carman, Manitoba. Some of the reports are more interesting than others. One that I find especially encouraging is the Report of the Coordinators for the Committee for Church Unity. This is the committee charged with facilitating contact with the United Reformed Churches with a view to full federational unity. We’re a long ways off from reaching that goal, but there are some good developments to take note of.
The report discusses the fifteen points adopted by Synod London of the URCNA to address Federal Vision theology. Our report draws attention to point 12:
The sacrament of Baptism does not effect the believer’s union with Christ or justification but is a confirmation and assurance of the benefits of Christ’s saving work to those who respond to the sacrament in the way of faith (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Days 25 and 27).
Our report then comments with a Canadian Reformed perspective:
Contrary to the Federal Vision movement, we too believe that baptism does not bring about the believer’s union with Christ or justification. One is united to Christ through faith, and one is justified through faith. It is good that we state this explicitly, since we are sometimes seen by some as being part of the Federal Vision movement.
That’s great to read!
Our report goes on to comment about the notorious point 6 of the Nine Points of Schererville. In that point, Synod Schererville 2007 of the URCNA rejected the error of those
…who teach that all baptized persons are in the covenant of grace in precisely the same way such that there is no distinction between those who have only an outward relation to the covenant of grace by baptism and those who are united to Christ by grace alone through faith alone (HC QAs 21 and 60; BC 29).
And how does our report respond to that?
As Canadian Reformed Churches, we too believe that while all covenant children receive the promise of salvation, not all will receive the promised salvation. This is what point 6 of Synod Schereville is trying to get across.
Our report concludes by stating that this analysis should allay any fears — and I agree. I pray that our Synod will adopt recommendation four (with the other recommendations) and decide that this discussion is over. The CanRC is not FV — and we have nothing to fear from the URCNA’s stand against FV. End of story. Let’s move forward towards the unity which pleases Christ our Saviour…