It was probably inevitable in view of the very sad decline in the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands (GKv) over the last couple of decades. Very sad because we recall with deep gratitude how the LORD so wonderfully liberated the GKv, in whom we have our roots, from false teachings and synodical hierarchy in 1944. Their decision, now, to allow women into the offices will, for many overseas churches, be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Yet as Rev E Heres reported earlier (see https://defenceofthetruth.com/en/2017/04/more-than-a-synod-decision/), it’s merely the tip of the iceberg. By means of a new way of interpreting Scripture and selective use of texts they have broken with the way the church of Jesus Christ has understood and applied Scripture over the past two thousand years.
We gleaned the following from www.eeninwaardheid.info:
The Die is Cast!
Tonight (June 15, 2017) the General Synod of the GKv in Meppel took the decision to open the offices of deacons and elders as functioning at present for women!
In a long and tiring session that was extended (unusual and unscheduled) until after dinner, the Synod decided to open the office of elder for women by 23 to 9 votes. Earlier on this was already the case with the deacon’s office, with only two votes against. A counter proposal whereby a church council (men and women) would operate under the final responsibility of a ‘core’ council or council of elders consisting of men only did not make it: only 10 delegates voted in favour.
The Synod has not yet made decisions on the preaching consent and the office of minister for women. However, given the course of the debate and the argumentation in favour of female eldership, this will be a mere formality.
With this decision Synod broke with the church of all ages and took a new direction. We expect that it will have great consequences for the relationships with the domestic churches (attractive to the NGK and repulsive for the CGK – GTU for example!) as well as for the foreign churches around the world. Some of them have already announced they will break the sister church relationship with the GKv should the offices be opened. Membership of the International Council of Reformed Churches (ICRC) will also undoubtedly become a point of discussion.
Next week, we hope to give a detailed report of the manner in which the delegates came to their decision. And the question will also have to come to the fore what at bottom has happened in the GKv with regard to the authority of Scripture and the vision on the Word of God.
Here is synod’s decision regarding the office of elder:
To declare that there are Scriptural grounds for calling in addition to men also women to the service of governance, the pastorate and instruction and thus to the office of elder.
1. The figures of Miriam (Micah 6: 4) and Deborah (Judges 4-5) show us women in the old covenant who act in cooperation with men in governance and jurisprudence.
2. God could also call them for that purpose, as evidenced by Micah 6: 4, where the Lord tells Israel: “… I sent before you … and Miriam.”
3. While the New Testament denotes older men as elders, older women as well are called to be examples and to provide soul care (Titus 2: 3-5).
4. Paul’s description of Junia and her husband Andronicus as apostles who enjoy much respect, Rom. 16: 7, or of other couples as his fellow workers, Rom. 16: 3, and his mention of married couples and of a brother and sister at whose house a congregation meets, Rom. 16: 5, 15, raise the impression that man and woman in an equal position together give leadership in Christ’s congregation.
Thus far the article from eeninwaarheid. It appears to limit the decision to opening the offices of elders and deacons to women.
However, the official GKv website refers to the office of minister also being open to women. We read on http://www.gkv.nl/voorzitters-geven-reactie-op-synodebesluit-openstellen-ambten-vrouwen/ (our translation of the print section; the web article is also accompanied by video-clip interviews):
Chairmen give reactions to synod’s decision to open the offices to women
Synod chairman [Mr] Melle Oosterhuis and the chair of the deputyship men/women [Mrs] Avelien Haan provide their reactions to today’s (16/6/2017) synod decision to open all the offices (elder, deacon and minister) to women. Synod also decided that consent will be given for women to preach.
In his reaction, Oosterhuis anticipates how the decision will be implemented in the churches. There is a proposal on synod’s table on how to phase it in. That doesn’t mean it will necessarily be implemented that way.
Tomorrow (17/6/2017) synod will sit and consider further how best to implement in practice the decision in the churches.
We are reminded of what Rev Ken Wieske wrote last year in response to the GKv report that has now led to this decision (see https://defenceofthetruth.com/en/2016/11/women-office-rcn-report/):
“For thousands of years, the catholic Church has, in accordance with the Word of God, been served by ministers who are men. This goes back to the Old Testament and ultimately to the Garden of Eden.
The Dutch Reformed Churches Liberated [RCN] have been served with a Synod report which finds that the Bible has “room” for a new concept for leadership in the Church. All offices should be open to women.
This is not a surprise, but it still leaves us profoundly sad. This report is one more awful, heart-rending evidence that these Churches are riddled through with the cancer of the new hermeneutic, which looks to the World instead of the Word in order to find out God’s will.
Although it is couched in all kinds of fancy language, the basic message is this: we do not believe the Word of God. We will take what the world believes, what the world practices, what the world approves, what the world values, what the world promotes, and we will find a way to make the Word of God approve of our worldliness.”