Synod Armadale 2012 – Final decision about the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands (RCN)

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Article 142 –

I.        Final Decision:

  1. To present to the RCN an official admonition stating our concerns.This admonition will be a statement of weighty objections with respect to the doctrine and practice of the RCN in line with the rules for sister church relations.
    1. Deputies to arrange for a clear and accurate Dutch translation of the letter of admonition to the RCN to accompany the official English letter of admonition.
    2. To include with the letter of admonition to the RCN all the material referred to in the footnotes, either in hard copy or soft copy.
  2. To express our deep sadness at the lack of progress to resolve our concerns to date so that our relationship is strained.
  3. To advise the consistories of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia to exercise due care with respect to their responsibilities towards those coming from and going to the RCN.
  4. To call on the FRCA to frequently remember the RCN in their prayers, in view of the continuing struggle for the truth within these churches.
  5. To continue sister church relations with the RCN according to the established rules.
  6. To discharge deputies, to thank them for their work and to appoint new deputies with the mandate:
    1. to interact with the deputies BBK
    2. to report to the next synod
    3. to discuss with the deputies BBK the matters contained in the Letter of Admonition as well as:  i.    concerns regarding independentism
      ii.    the formulation of the new church order
    4. to send two delegates to the next synod of the RCN.
    5. to instruct deputies, or two people delegated by them, to attend the conference on hermeneutics to be held in Hamilton Canada 2014.
  7. The overtures from FRC Armadale, FRC Mt Nasura, FRC West Albany and FRC Darling Downs have been answered by these decisions.

II.       Grounds:

  1. While there are many brothers and sisters in the RCN who remain faithful to God’s Word and the Confessions, there is also evidence that the RCN does not reject all errors contrary to the Word of God. The seriousness of these concerns requires an official admonition.
  2. Because of the grave concerns we have for our sister in The Netherlands, the churches should bring this matter regularly in prayer before the LORD.
  3. The RCN response has been such that the Deputies expressed their great disappointment of little progress in their reports to our synods.  This has resulted in a strained relationship between our churches.
  4. Our rules for sister church relations require mutual assistance, encouragement, exhortation, and care. Although the deputies report, as well as previous synod decisions and reports to synod, have substantiated many of our concerns it is important to go the extra mile to ensure that our concerns are accurately and properly formulated and understood, particularly when our Dutch sister churches are requesting this.
  5. The RCN have clearly communicated to us that they would like communication of official concerns to be addressed directly to their synod, as is the intent for the official admonition.
  6. To deal with the concerns that we have, in the most effective way, it is important to also be represented at the next synod of the RCN.
  7. The relations with other churches are governed by General Synod.  Within the relationship, there is the practice of issuing and accepting attestations, as well as being able to preach on each other’s pulpit.  The synod is not able to affirm in all things that the RCN is faithful to the word of God and the confessions.  For this reason, the synod has determined that an urgent appeal be made to the RCN.  In this situation, synod also has to make clear to the FRCA that because of the concerns expressed in the letter of admonition to the RCN, due care is needed with respect to their responsibilities towards those coming from and going to the RCN.
  8. a. The points raised in the overture of FRC Armadale have all been addressed in this decision.
    b. Synod cannot decide now to terminate the sister church relationship with the RCN since we first need to know what the response of the RCN will be. This answers the submissions of FRC West Albany, FRC Darling Downs and FRC Mt Nasura.
    c. Synod cannot address all the individual churches in the bond of the RCN by letter as proposed by FRC Darling Downs because their synod is considering our admonition.