Appeal of The Reformed Churches-restored (DGK hersteld) to the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands (GKv)

50

21 May 2010

To the General Synod of the Reformed Churches (liberated)

Subject: An appeal and a wish

 

Respected brothers,

 

1. Introduction: Longing for unity in the true faith

The General Synod of The Reformed Church (restored) in the Netherlands, held in Emmen, discussed your letter dated 24 October 2008 at its meeting on 8 May 2010.

We are pleased to read that your love continues to reach out to us. As one of the reasons for that, regardless of the church-separating factors, is that the Christian calling continues to exist to seek healing of the break and the unity on the grounds of God’s Word and the Reformed Confession. In your prayer to our God and Father, you asked for coming together again, for reconciliation and dialogue, trusting in God who knows and works in our hearts.

These are beautiful words in which we like to hear your heartbeat.

We will gladly give you an answer. Our heart also goes out to you, to our many relatives, friends and acquaintances with whom we miss the spiritual bond since the separation. For so many years now.

We noticed in your letter that you did not respond to the contents of the appeal we sent to you in an answering letter, dated 15 April 2006. The contents were well-meant, and came forth from our concern about you. Concern, that you as churches, continue to stray away from the only foundation on which true unity must be founded: God’s Word and its authority.

We read in your letter that you have called upon God’s greatness and that you have prayed for dialogue. The question is then: a dialogue about what, for you do not mention a single topic.

With this letter we wish to give you a helping hand. Because of our love for you and our sympathy towards you, we ask attention for the following:

1. Introduction: Longing for unity in the true faith.

2. Scripture criticism takes away the foundation from under the church.

3. The New Bible Translation leads astray.

4. The fourth commandments of our God: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

5. The seventh commandment of our god: You shall not commit adultery.

6. The Lord’s Supper is for members of the church.

7. Ecclesiastical unity at the expense of God’s Word is wrong

8. Appeal: Return to faithfulness to the Almighty.

9. Wish: To together serve our God and Father in unity of the true faith.

 

2. Scripture criticism takes away the foundation from under the church

2.1. Scripture criticism is self-willed explanation of God’s Word

The first thing we want to mention is the central theme in our letter. That is the Scripture criticism that you are letting into your churches. This means that you openly allow an explanation of the Word of God that deviates from what the Bible itself says. In this you wrong the trustworthiness of God’s Word. That saddens us. Among the decisions of GS Zuidhorn, which we had to reject as unscriptural

in our liberation of 2003, was the acceptance of the new hermeneutics (exegesis = interpretation of Scripture). Because of that, many Bible passages are no longer accepted the way God’s Word gives them to us in all clarity and obviousness. In your churches it is acceptable to teach that Bible texts were influenced in form and content by the world of that time. They are therefore texts that in our day must be re-interpreted by and for the congregation of Christ, because it is assumed that Bible passages today do not necessarily have that validity, as they are written in the Scriptures.

We have in mind, for instance, the historical passages from Genesis (1-11), Jonah, Joshua and the decisions about the new-testament Sabbath as a possible human ordinance, and also the new views on marriage and divorce. These are the views that led to God’s Word not having any commandments anymore, but are to be seen as instructions and guidelines that must continually be applied to the own situation in the own time.

 

2.2. Six examples of Scripture criticism that you allow in your churches

Over the past years our churches have often seen this unfaithfulness in various publications. We come across deviating explanation of the Bible in your synod decisions and in publications in your churches. We would like to mention some striking examples in which the actual and historical trustworthiness of Scripture is being disputed:

  1. The approving and recommending of the Emmaus-course (GS Zuidhorn, art. 109, decision 2i, GS Amersfoort, art. 114, decision 5). This adopted interdenominational evangelization course contains passages of extreme Scripture criticism with regard to Genesis 1-11, chapters that are indicated as being “pre-historic”. That the approach of the Emmaus-course originated from the “mainstream of the historical-critical view”, is emphatically recognized by the editors, as is also mentioned in the course itself. You, as churches – against your own confession (Art. 7, Art. 29 Belgic Confession) – have not opposed the use of this course, but instead promoted it as the successor of the Alpha-course, because, according to you, it is a “reliable and usable course to be able to get acquainted with the Word of God and the congregation of Jesus Christ in a Reformed manner and in a Reformed setting.”
  2. The denial of the historicity of God’s Word about the days in Genesis 1 (Rev. J.J. Doedens in the book ‘Woord op Schrift’, 2002).
  3. The giving of more room to see many Bible stories as metaphor and not as historical (Prof. dr. A. L. Th. de Bruijne in the book ’Woord op Schrift’, 2002).
  4. To consider it legitimate to speak of the Big Bang and an evolutionary development of the universe and the earth and also letting go of the literalism of the days in Genesis (Prof. dr. J. Douma in ‘Genesis’, 2004).
  5. The speaking about the exodus from Egypt and the origins of the people of Israel in a very Scripture-critical manner and the denial of the historicity of Genesis 1-3 (Rev. S. Paas, in his thesis, 1998 and in the magazine ‘Wapenveld’, 2001; after this he was appointed as lecturer at your Theological University at Kampen).
  6. The Lord’s fighting for his people by letting sun and moon stand still, as written in Joshua 10:12 is disposed of as an eastern narrative tradition (Dr. K. van Bekkum in his thesis, March 2010).

 

2.3. The foundation of the church is being increasingly undermined

The sad and most damaging thing is that criticism of Scripture in your churches is being given plenty of room and is not being opposed by church meetings. The few faithful brothers who still stand up for the authority of God’s Word receive no response and their objections are constantly rejected (see e.g. GS Zwolle-Zuid, art. 104, 105).

In this way you are in fact disassociating yourself from the Art’s. 2-5 &7 of the Belgic Confession that are based on God’s Word itself and you undermine the foundation of the church (Art. 29 B.C.) more and more.

We are convinced that the topics which we put before you in the rest of this letter cohere with the criticism of Scripture and the letting go of the authority of God’s Word.

 

3. The New Bible Translation (NBV) leads astray

 

3.1. We have concerns about you

It is already five years ago that you made the decision to heartily recommend the use of the New Bible Translation (NBV) in your worship services. Your GS said at the time that is was thankful for the gift of the NBV because, according to you, this translation conveys the Holy Scriptures carefully and in a reliable and modern Dutch language.

And two years later your GS again voiced their trust in the NBV and declared furthermore that you had not received any arguments by which the trustworthiness of the NBV could be doubted.

These remarks give cause for great concern and they sadden us.

For we have found that the NBV is a translation that proclaims the message of forgiveness of sins brought about in man also through self-activation. The NBV is a translation that does not do justice to Jesus Christ, for it is only He that saves His people from their sins.

We would like to make that clear to you by giving a short deliberation of the NBV. This includes a specification of the introductions on the Bible books, three examples of incorrectly translated texts and a conclusion with an incitement.

 

3.2. The introductions on the Bible books are governed by Bible criticism

The NBV gives a short introduction at the beginning of each Bible book. In it something is said in short about the contents and the origins of the Bible book. These introductions are open to various interpretations, but often an approach of Scripture criticism dominates.

We would like to show you by using two examples.

3.2.1. God reveals that all people descend from Adam

On page 4 of the introduction on the book of Genesis we read the following: “By means of a number of genealogical registers in Genesis 4, 5, 10 & 11 a view is expressed that all people have Adam as a common forefather”.

The NBV reader is being misled here. For the Lord has given us genealogical registers in the Bible and these registers show Adam as the first man and the forefather of all people who came after him. That is the reality. We must not do away these teachings of the Lord as a view.

For the Bible is the Word of God, the LORD. He tells us everything we need to know for our salvation. In that He is perfect, He does not make mistakes. That is why He says elsewhere through the mouth of the apostle Peter that “no prophesy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20).

3.2.2. Paul himself wrote the letters to Timothy

In the introduction on the Bible-book of 1 Timothy we read: “According to some the letters were written by Paul himself at the end of his life. Others think that, on the grounds of style and content, they were not from Paul’s hand, but were written at the end of the first or the beginning of the 2nd century by an unknown author who wanted to give authority to his letters by using Paul’s name.”

The contents of this quotation from the NBV is in contradiction with the teachings from the Holy Scriptures itself. For in 1 Timothy 1:1&2 we read that the apostle Paul does write the letter to Timothy. To us it is therefore beyond question that Paul is the author. That is confirmed through the word in 2 Peter 1:21 where the Lord tells us that “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of Gods spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”.

 

3.3. The NBV does harm to the redemption through Christ only

In this part of the letter we wish to give you three examples that the NBV is a translation that alters the fact that we can only and exclusively receive redemption from our sins through Jesus Christ.

3.3.1. Genesis 3:15

Translation NBG – 1951 (comparable with RSV): “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise (crush) your head and you shall bruise (crush) his heel.”

Translation NBV: “I will set up enmity between you and the woman, between your descendants and hers, they shatter your head, you will bite in their heel.”

Assessment:

a. The word ‘he’ (NBG – 1951) refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of a virgin. He shall crushingly defeat the devil (Col. 2:15).

The word ‘they’ (NBV) refers to the descendants of the woman; because of the plurality of the verb ‘shatter’ it refers to the believers.

b. Biting in the heel is not life-threatening, crushing the heel is; this expression means that the devil will pursue Christ strongly, and that Christ shall triumph through death.

c. This text is a Christ-prophecy, it indicates that the victory over sin comes about by Christ only.

This does not become evident in the NBV.

3.3.2. Luke 1:27b

Translation NBG – 1951: “The virgin’s name was Mary.”

Translation NBV: “The girl was called Mary.”

Assessment:

a. The miracle of the virgin birth of Christ is gone here in the NBV.

b. Therefore the new beginning that God Himself began is also gone.

c. The redemption of our sins is the work of the Lord God only, through his Son: Jesus is the Christ.

3.3.3. Ephesians 2:8a

Translation NBG – 1951: “For by grace you have been saved through faith.”

Translation NBV: “By His grace you are now saved, thanks to your faith.”

Assessment:

a. We receive justification from Christ through faith.

b. Here ‘through’ has the meaning ‘by means of’ (indicating the way). This is totally different from

the ‘thanks to’ which means ‘giving a positive contribution’.

c. The NBV alleges that I am saved, thanks to my faith. This is not true, because I am saved, thanks

only to Jesus Christ. I can only belong to Him through faith.

 

3.4. Conclusion, with an incitement to return to a trustworthy translation

By presenting God’s Word in a human way, there is a big chance that the gospel of free grace will disappear, and through that the true faith (Lord’s Day 7, Q. and A. 21).

The NBV is to be characterized as a liberal, unreliable translation that re-introduces the remonstrant error. The error of the Remonstrants is that the salvation of the believers is partly dependant on the self-activation of man. This error were rejected on Scriptural grounds by the Synod of Dordt in 1618/1619. It is thanks to that, that we have our beautiful confession of the Canons of Dordt. A document about which, according to you, you can be approached.

We confess: The believer receives salvation only through Jesus Christ through faith, which is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8b).

You present the NBV as a reliable Bible. We can, on many more grounds than the ones mentioned above, do nothing but reject this translation.

The first thing we wish to mention is that the NBV is a proclaimer of a gospel of self-activation of man for his salvation.

Secondly, the NBV can be purchased in two different versions: one with and one without apocryphal books (also called: deutero-canonical books). There are also issues where there is no mention that the apocryphal books are included. In public libraries and in bookshops (May 2010), two orange-coloured versions stand side by side, barely distinguishable from each other, one without and the

other with apocryphal books. In the introduction on the Bible in the one edition, the New Testament is called the second part of the Bible. In the introduction in the other edition (with the apocryphal books), the apocryphal books are mentioned as the second part of the Bible and the books of the New Testament the third part.

It is true, the introduction mentions that in the early church the word ‘apocryphal’ was used for the books that were not considered authoritative, but at the same time the pronouncement was upheld that these books belong to the Bible.

This manner of editing means that each buyer determines for himself what is or what isn’t the Word of God by the choice he makes when buying. That is wrong. For only the Lord Himself indicates which is His Word. A sinful person cannot do that of his own accord.

Thirdly, we see that with each Bible book an introduction has been added that is in conflict with the Bible and in this way violates the truth.

By presenting the NBV as a reliable Bible you are giving divine authority to all the errors in this translation. And by using the NBV you are exposing the members in your bond of churches to the possibilities of severe damage to their faith. The possibility that this can even lead to loss of faith is unfortunately a reality.

We hope that you will return to fully holding on to all that God has given you: His glorious Word, so that no one may take your crown (Rev. 3:11).

Your eternal life and that of the sheep entrusted to you, is at stake.

 

4. The fourth commandment of our God: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy

 

4.1. God gave us the commandment that the Sunday is to be a day of rest

In your churches you allow the preaching that the Sunday, as a day of rest, is not based on a divine command.

This pronouncement of your synod is against Scripture and is therefore condemnable. Sadly your synods, up till now, have upheld this pronouncement. Yet it is really wrong that you permit this doctrine. For the word ‘sabbath’ means a day of rest. This was instituted by God Himself at the time of creation (Gen. 2:2,3; Ex. 20:8-11).

After the fall into sin, this day of rest remained valid (Ex. 16:23-30).

In the New Testament the Sabbath on the Saturday is moved to the Sunday. For the Lord Jesus arose on the first day of the week (John 20:19; Acts 2:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 1:10).

The actual day of rest remains the same, it is a gift of creation to the honour of God for His great deeds. It is not written literally in this way. This is because the commandment is so obvious that it is taken for granted that everyone adheres to it, therefore it is not necessary for it to be explicitly written down.

“Not one jot or one tittle will pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18).

That was, in the past, summarized and defended by the church in her confessions and decisions at many synods.

The General Synod of Dordt 1618/1619, which so clearly laid down the foundation for the church, gave a number of rules with regard to observing the Sabbath. From those we can draw the following conclusions:

. one day a week is dedicated to religion;

. the day of rest is the Sunday;

. on Sunday man must rest from his daily work and the recreational activities that is unbecoming for

the service to the Lord.

The last conclusion mentioned implies that only works of mercy and necessity are permitted

(Matt. 12:9-14; Luke 14:1-6).

 

4.2. Enervation of God’s commandments makes the preaching powerless

The observance of the Sunday as the day of rest on the grounds of the fourth commandment, that was given to us by God, is put on the same level by your synods as a human opinion.

Therefore, it is possible that a minister will preach a human opinion from the pulpit. Your synod also stated that an opinion in the church may not be considered binding (GS Zuidhorn, Acts art. 52, decision 3). Because of that, the doctrine of the Sunday as day of rest cannot be preached with divine authority in your churches anymore.

That has huge consequences, not only for the fourth commandment, but because of your decision, the whole law of God is affected. “For whoever stumbles over one commandment, is guilty of all” (James 2:10; see also Matt. 5:17-19).

Because of this the Word of God is robbed of its power and a calling with divine authority to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord cannot be made.

Your church denomination is no longer “a pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

The publication of the brochure “Zondag HEERlijke dag” (Sunday LORDly day) changes nothing of that. For in that publication the Divine Word and a human opinion have equal rights. But in this way your preaching lacks the power of our God. And you persistently mislead your sheep. That is extremely bad.

 

4.3. Resting on the Sunday is to the honour of God and it is good for man

It is arrogant to think that we ourselves are allowed to decide what we are allowed to do with the Sunday and do whatever we want. God lays down what should or should not be done (Mark 2:28).

The day of rest is a commandment of God and also a gift from God, and by this we know that this day is very good for the people. Yes, our good God gives His people good gifts.

The day of rest: we must adhere to this, to the honour of God and for the well-being of all people and the whole creation.

 

5. The seventh commandment of our God: You shall not commit adultery

 

5.1. The Lord hates all divorce

We call your attention to the fact that God hates all divorce, see e.g. Mal. 2:16; Matt. 5:31-32; Mark 10:6-9; Heb.13:4.

Scripture however, does recognize a situation in which divorce is allowed and that is the case of sexual immorality outside of wedlock. (see for this Matt. 5:31-32.)

Here Scripture rejects all opinions that stretch the concept of “sexual immorality” to other situations. Divorce is allowed by God only in the case of adultery, where marriage is already broken by the adulterous party (Matt. 19:9). For it is then an accomplished fact: the marriage is broken. One must, of course, always point to the road to reconciliation, but it is not an obligation that the stricken party must always come to restoration of a marital relationship.

Scripture reveals one other situation where divorce is possibly permitted. That is the situation of desertion because of the faith of the man or the woman. In that case, the partner who has been deserted, is no longer bound to the unbeliever who has deserted him or her (see 1 Cor. 7:15-16).

It is, however, debatable whether remarriage in this case is allowed (1 Cor. 7:10). We attach importance to the fact that the apostle Paul does not introduce a new rule here, but that he, in an exceptional situation, implements the words of Christ in Matt. 10: 35-37:

“For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household’. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

Brothers, every other ground for divorce than the above-mentioned is, according to God’s Word, unlawful.

 

5.2. Own criteria when allowing divorce affects God’s Word

Your most recent synod stated that in the case of remarriage after divorce, the consistory must see to it that this must be solemnized in a worship service in the same manner as a first marriage. That is if the consistory approves of the next marriage. This decision indicates that divorce in further defined situations is tolerated. In that, you, as churches, apply your own criteria to the situation in which the persons in question find themselves. This own criteria is not written in God’s Word. That leads to harming the authority of the Word of God because in this way the Bible is not its own interpreter anymore.

 

6. The Lord’s Supper is for members of the congregation

 

6.1. Participation of the Lord’s Supper asks for unity in faith in doctrine and conduct

On the grounds of God’s Word, the Reformed Churches have always agreed that participation of the Lord’s Supper is open only to confessing members of a Reformed Church or to members of a sister-church who have an attestation issued to them by their own consistory.

This is the Reformed rule that is laid down in Art. 61 of the Church Order (Art. 60 of the Dutch Church Order). There it says that: “The consistory shall admit to the Lord’s Supper only those who have made public profession of the Reformed faith and lead a godly life. Members of sister-churches shall be admitted on the ground of good attestation concerning their doctrine and conduct.”

Also, on the grounds of God’s Word, we have also agreed in Art. 61 of the Dutch Church Order that:

the Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated in a public worship service, according to the ecclesiastical order in the churches, under the supervision of the elders.” (note: these words – in italic – have not been included in the English (Book of Praise) version of the Church Order).

 

6.2. The presumption of unity in faith outside the church goes in against our confession

You synod has stated that a consistory can admit, as guest to the Lord’s Supper, a member of a church with which there is no sister-church relationship, after the consistory has convinced itself that the person involved is admitted to the Lord’s Supper in his/her own church, not be under Christian discipline, acknowledges the Reformed Confession and lives a godly life, such as is referred to in Art. 61 of the Church Order (Art. 60, Dutch Church Order).

When asked if one acknowledges the Reformed doctrine, nothing more or nothing less is asked than that they acknowledge the ‘doctrine of the Old and the New Testament , as summarized in the confessions and taught here in this Christian Church’. That is the same question that is asked when one publicly professes his/her faith.

We believe that the Church, God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper are connected.

The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is a sign and a sealing of God’s promises as is preached and given in the administration of God’s Word in the church.

The open contradictory dealing with the confession of the Church is to be an impediment to participate in the communion of Christ at the table of the Lord’s Supper.

Moreover, in our opinion, it is not possible that someone, who is disobedient with regard to Art. 27-29 of the Belgic Confession, can sincerely and with a clear conscience, before God and His people, acknowledge the Reformed Confession.

By allowing someone to participate who is not a member of a Reformed Church or a sister-church, it gives an assumption of a unity of faith outside the church. This is the acceptance of a multiplicity in the Church that is in conflict with the Belgic Confession, Art.’s 27-29. For participation of the Lord’s Supper cannot be taken as detached from the Sunday worship service.

In Art. 35 of the Belgic Confession we confess that the church receives “this holy sacrament in the congregation of the people of God”.

We are of the opinion also, that it is not possible that a consistory can keep a watch over the sacredness of the Lord’s Supper if guests , who do not fall under the admonition and discipline of the consistory or of a sister-church, participate.

 

7. Ecclesiastical unity, at the expense of preserving God’s Word is wrong

 

7.1. Ecclesiastical unity is only permitted when the full Word of God is kept

Your most recent synod thankfully took note of the deputies’ reports of your churches and of the Netherlands Reformed Churches (Nederlands Gereformeerde Kerken) with regard to the dialogue about the binding to the Confession, even though this has not yet been rounded off.

Your synod has also thankfully ascertained that an agreement was reached about the necessity of endorsing the Confession, even though that has not yet been done by all the churches involved.

Your synod has pronounced that this agreement gives confidence that other obstacles concerning the binding to the confession, can also be overcome.

As motive for these pronouncements, you bring forward that from the agreement about the necessity to endorse the Confession, it has been found that the Netherlands Reformed Churches have the intention to take the binding to the Confession seriously.

Your synod also expressed that by consent, note was taken of the manner in which the pronouncements of the Netherlands Reformed Churches regarding the opening of the office to women in the congregation, was discussed.

Likewise, your synod thankfully took note of the advancement that became apparent concerning the understanding and interpretation (exegesis) of Scripture.

The reason given for this was that, among other things, it was mentioned that there was recognition and/or clarification on the point of dealing with Scripture.

 

7.2. Do you really remain faithful to the Word of God and the Reformed Confession?

The above-mentioned pronouncements of your synod fill us with great concern.

We wish to draw your attention to the pronouncements of your and our synod, who, in 1967, were of the opinion that the Open Letter of 31 October 1966 cast doubt upon the contents and general character of the Reformed Confession. The Reformed Confession is the summarization of the true and complete doctrine of salvation.

The contents of the Open Letter, at that time, fitted in the framework of the so-called ecumenical movement, but the Reformed Churches have always rejected the wrong ecumenism and preserved the Reformed Confession. The scriptural-confessional foundation of our churches in the articles 27-29 of the Belgic Confession were not found in the Open Letter

In 1967 your and our synod expressed that an unacceptable contradiction (antithesis) existed between expressing agreement with the confession for the church on the one hand, and on the other hand the endorsing the Open Letter, because with this endorsement, the responsibility for its contents was accepted. These pronouncements of 1967 were confirmed by your and our synod of Hoogeveen 1969/1970.

We wish to remind you of these pronouncements of your and our synod because the Netherlands Reformed Churches came into being through the work of those that supported the contents of the Open Letter. Even today, that still influences the ‘Akkoord van Kerkelijke Samenleving’ ( Accord for Ecclesiastical community) of these churches. In that, among other things, it says that: “The churches request all congregations that have objections against the acceptance of the/an ecclesiastical accord, focus as much as possible to that which is approved of by major votes. We find that through this, every church can decide and do what is good in its own eyes.

The Scriptural calling to form one bond of churches is being ignored here (see Eph. 3:17,18).

We draw your attention to the fact that since 1995, ministers in the churches are not compelled to sign the Subscription to the Confession and in this way a minister is not officially bound to Scripture

and to the Scripture-based Confession. It is stated however, that a “future minister shall place his signature under…”, but this is not made explicitly compulsory. This rule also counts for other office bearers, see for this Art. 17 of the Accord.

The binding to Scripture and the Confession is very much in the air, and because of this, self-willed religion is permitted. This is against our Church Order. ( see Art. 26 (Art. 53 & 54, Dutch Church Order)).

 

7.3. Without binding to Scripture and Confession, straying away will occur in ecclesiastical life

in practice it appears that straying away from the Word of God occurs when one lets go of the binding to the Confession. We wish to give two concrete examples for this, and in the next chapter we will show what Scripture teaches regarding the dealing with errors and what our attitude towards that must be.

7.3.1. The soul of a deceased believer immediately goes to Christ

Firstly the error that believers, between the time of their death and the Second coming of Christ, remain in a type of interim state and are oblivious of everything. This error is still accepted by the churches and has not been rejected.

We confess in Lord’s Day 22 of the Heidelberg Catechism that the soul of a deceased believer is immediately taken up to Christ. Christ is the Head of the believer. The body of the deceased believer will one day be raised from the dead, be united with its soul and be identical to the glorified body of Christ.

7.3.2. The special office has been allotted by Christ to the men only

The second example of unfaithfulness to Scripture is that the offices have been set open to sisters of the congregation in the Netherlands Reformed Churches.

The opening of the special offices in the church to sisters of the congregation is in flat contradiction with the Word of God. In 1 Timothy 2:11-15 we read: “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, fell into transgression”.

The Holy Spirit says with this that women who profess godliness adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, with good works; they shall be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

 

7.4. The LORD says: Do not be deceived, be faithful

Whatever happens, we are always allowed to trust in the Word of the Lord. He has promised that at our baptism. If we sometimes through weakness fall into sins, we must not despair of God’s mercy nor continue in sin, for baptism is a seal and trustworthy testimony that we have an eternal covenant with God.

7.4.1. No working together where there is unfaithfulness to the Word of God

For this reason we speak frankly when we ask you not to work together or continue to work together where unfaithfulness to the Word of God is tolerated.

For working together with an association that will not bend to the authority of God’s Word and the Scripture-based Confession is against the will of the Lord. Scripture certainly rejects this attitude in 1 Kings 12:33-13:34 and in 2 John verse 10.

The Belgic Confession rejects this attitude in Art. 7.

With the words from Scripture
written in James 1:16 we ask you: ‘Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers’.

7.4.2. The LORD asks faithfulness to His Word

The LORD commands us to keep His full Word

The LORD

. teaches us that there is only one church and the office bearers must give good council and

supervision (Eph. 4:1-6; B.C. Art. 27-29);

. abhors the permissive use of His Word (1 Kings 13:2);

. indicates that there is deliverance only when one binds oneself to God’s Word (Joel 2:32);

. wants us to listen to Him (Luke 16:27-31);

. teaches us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of Scripture

(Prov. 1:7; Prov. 9:10; Prov. 15:33; Psalm 111:10);

. calls us not to despise the prophesies (1 Thess. 5:20);

. instructs us to test all things and hold fast what is good (1 Thess. 5:21);

. admonishes us, in spite of everything, to love the Lord entirely (Rev. 2:4);

. tells us not to follow a crowd to do evil, nor to testify in a dispute to pervert justice (Ex. 23:2).

 

An appeal: return to faithfulness to the Almighty

We have seen that the decisions of your last synod, held in Zwolle- Zuid, are completely in line with the decisions of the general synod of Zuidhorn.

The decisions of that synod were the cause for the Liberation in 2003 and 2004. You continue to follow the wrong path that was chosen in Zuidhorn.

In this letter we therefore urgently appeal to you to return to the Scriptural path, the path that you had followed before and for which your and our synod of Amersfoort-West in 1967 so clearly chose.

You wrote to us that you in your prayers have asked our God and Father for coming together again, for reconciliation and dialogue, trusting in God, the knower and the worker of our hearts.

You write that you want to commit yourselves to His will.

Therefore we feel free to ask you to reconsider the path that you are now following and to take away from within your churches the decisions that are against Scripture and Confession. That will be cause for great blessings and shall give much joy and happiness on earth and in heaven.

We can inform you that our prayer for the repentance of our brothers and sisters in the Reformed Churches Liberated is regularly sent up to the throne of our Almighty God, who is our Father through Christ and who hears and answers the prayers of His children.

We write this letter to you because our heart goes out towards you. With many of you, until some years ago, we have sat together at the one Holy Supper table. May the Lord still grant restoration of these damaged relations in the way of true faith, because Christ calls us to do the will of our Father who is in heaven

 

9. A wish: Serving our God and Father in the unity of true faith

We wish that the prayer of Psalm 25:4,5 will also be your prayer and will become reality, so that we and the sheep entrusted into your care will again be able to sing together to our Almighty Father with the words:

“Show me your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You

are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.”

We know and believe that:

“No one who waits on You shall be ashamed, those who deal treacherously and without cause

shall be ashamed.” (Psalm 25:3)

We hope and pray that the Lord will grant you repentance, so that we can again look up together, stand before God’s countenance together, together serve Him again in unity and together receive His blessing.

With sincere and warm greetings,

On behalf of the General Synod of The Reformed Churches (restored)

A. Admiraal, chairman C. Baan, 2nd clerk

(NOTE: The quotations from Scripture have been taken from the New King James Version)