Chairman of the latest RCN synod, Rev P Voorberg, says he laments Douma’s departure from the RCN, finding it ‘unnecessary’. He doesn’t consider attempts to seek unity with the Netherlands Reformed Churches (NRC, formerly ‘Buitenverbanders’)—which was the catalyst for Douma’s departure—to be such a big issue. Douma, he said, has overstated the problem and anyway further discussions needed to take place before the desired unity was achieved. By staying, Douma would have been in a position to influence the discussions, Voorberg is reported to have said.
Is Douma overreacting? No, because the RCN have clearly stated at their 2014 synod Ede that they do not consider women in the office of ministers, elders and deacons—as occurs in the NRC—to be an obstacle to unity with those churches. In other words, their flagrant rebellion against God’s Word (which clearly forbids women in office in 1 Tim. 2:12) is not to be objection to unity.
But there are reasons, besides women in office, to depart from the RCN. Time and again appeals and admonitions have been directed at successive synods about the RCN’s departure from Scripture in relation to their interpretation on matters such as the 4th commandment, divorce, administration of the sacraments to outsiders in the military, unreformed hymns, independentism and the first chapters of the Bible. It seems that these appeals and admonitions have fallen on deaf ears. We must sadly conclude that the RCN (Lib) can no longer be considered true churches of Jesus Christ. It is high time for sincere believers in the RCN to follow Douma’s example and to “come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins…” (Rev. 18:4).
And we should stop implying that we have unity of faith with the RCN. Where is the unity of faith when high profile theologians from the theological college of the RCN at the Hermeneutics Conference in the Canadian Reformed Churches “could brazenly suggest, without the slightest evidence of shame or embarrassment, that Scripture is not trustworthy in its historical narratives, that ordaining women to office is not unthinkable, that the apostle Paul really has an unacceptably weak argument when he declares the Lord’s will about the role of women, and that perhaps the church needs to think about being more tolerant with respect to homosexuality” (quoted from Rev Ken Wieske, Facebook, 16-10-2014)?
Douma’s departure is certainly no overreaction; if anything, it is well overdue. It is our prayer that many who seek to be faithful to the Lord will, in obedience to His Word, follow his example by leaving the RCN. The Lord continually calls us to choose the right paths. Staying where one should not be is a choice for the wrong paths. We can choose to serve a god of our own construction, a god who we say is the God of the Bible but whose Word we change to suit ourselves so that we can work on Sundays, like the world does; divorce on various grounds, like the world does; question the truth of parts of the Bible, like the world does; give women equal positions of authority, like the world does; tolerate homosexuality, like the world does; reinterpret Genesis to accommodate the worldly views of evolutionists, etc. Or we can choose for the LORD, for the people and place where His Word is faithfully proclaimed and maintained. As Joshua said, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).