Though it’s not yet 2020, Synod 2020 of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands has begun in Goes. The first press release has been issued and can be found here (in Dutch). The big question many are wondering is whether Synod Meppel’s decision to admit women to all the offices of the church will be reversed. Certainly efforts are being made by some local churches — you can read here about Urk and its request for revision, and also its bold refusal to send delegates to classis in the meantime (a classis which recently gave preaching consent to a woman).
What are the prospects for a course reversal? The Synod has already been discussing the topic. The Synod spent some time first discussing the topic “Dealing with Diversity.” A couple of professors from the Theological University in Kampen came to make a presentation on that. Saturday November 23 was spent discussing explicitly the topic of “men and women in the church.” The deputies who wrote the report for the last Synod advocating for women in office came and gave introductions and workshops.
Reading the press release, one certainly doesn’t get the sense that the Synod is starting off on the right foot towards a course reversal. Moreover, one detail is easy to miss in the press release: the synod delegates consist of thirty brothers and two sisters. So this synod apparently has two female office bearers as delegates. Does anyone realistically think that this synod will come around later and say, “Sorry, sisters, the RCN made a mistake at Meppel and you really shouldn’t have been around this table”? Really?
I can’t help but think of a vivid Dutch expression that Klaas Schilder used at a certain point in his discussions with Herman Hoeksema: de kous is af. Literally, “the stocking is finished.” In English we would say, “It’s game over.” After this, I pray Urk and other concerned believers still in the RCN will see it and move out and move on.