By now, many readers are already aware of what took place at Synod Baldivis last Friday. After all, there was a press release already last week. Nevertheless, the Acts were not published until today and I prefer to summarize from the Acts. Two significant decisions are worth noting.
The first has to do with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated). Two possible courses of action were put forward by the deputies: 1) Break off the relationship with the RCN altogether, or 2) Suspend the relationship. Synod Baldivis chose the second course of action. The relationship between the FRCA and RCN is now suspended. This entails the following:
- Attestations will no longer automatically be accepted from the RCN. Attestations will only be issued to members departing for the RCN “with due care.”
- FRCA pulpits are no longer open to RCN ministers. If an FRCA congregation wishes to call an RCN minister, the call must be approved by a classis.
- Fraternal delegates from the RCN will still be invited to the next FRCA Synod, but will only be accorded the privileges of visitors from churches in temporary ecclesiastical contact.
The FRCA will be taking additional measures, including:
- A letter will be sent to the next RCN Synod informing them of these developments and warning them that the relationship will be untenable if there is no repentance before the next FRCA Synod in 2018.
- FRCA congregations are encouraged to pray for the RCN that they would “uprightly uphold and defend the Scriptural truth as maintained in the three forms of unity.”
- All RCN consistories are to receive a copy of the letter sent to Synod Ede, as well as the letter to be sent to the next RCN Synod.
From all this, it is apparent that the relationship between the FRCA and RCN is anything but “business as usual.” What a sad course of affairs!
The other important decision had to do with the Book of Praise. The Australian churches have officially decided to produce their own version of the CanRC songbook. We’ll call it the AuBoP. It will be slightly different from its Canadian counterpart. For example, the 19 extra hymns adopted by the CanRC (but not FRCA) will be left out for now. There will be two versions of the AuBoP: one using the NKJV (with capitalized pronouns for God), the other using the ESV. It will also include the Australian versions of all creeds, confessions, liturgical forms, and church order. The deputies were mandated to have this AuBoP ready to present to the next synod in 2018. In the meantime, the 19 extra hymns will be investigated for possible inclusion. Moreover, the churches are also encouraged in the meantime to use the 2014 edition of the CanRC BoP.