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The final (published) version of the Acts of Synod 2006 is available as a single PDF file here.
The Acts available in HTML format are an "Approved Draft", and contain spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and typos.
These draft acts are being retained online for convenience and ease of access. Quotes should not be taken from these draft acts.
 
Friday 14th July 2006 - Morning Session


Article 57 - Re-opening and welcome to Canadian delegates

Br H Hamelink invites those present to sing Hymn 38:1-4. He reads from Romans 12 and leads in prayer.

The chairman welcomes the delegates from Canada, Br H.E. Hoogstra and Br H. Leyenhorst who arrived last evening.

A letter of credentials for the brothers is read out.

The chairman requests the two brothers to rise to indicate their agreement with the Three Forms of Unity. The brothers rise.


Article 58 - Deputies Relations with Sister Churches (Indonesia/Philippines)

I. Material:

Agenda Item 12f (i) - Deputies Report on Indonesian/Philippines Churches

II. Recommendations from Deputies for Relations with Churches in Indonesia and the Philippines
  1. Recommendation: Gereja-Gereja Reformasi di Indonesia - Propinsi Nusa Tenggara Timur (GGRI-NTT):

    1. To continue sister relations with the GGRI in accordance with the adopted rules.

    2. To continue to visit the synods and conferences of the GGRI subject to available finance.

    3. To support the GGRI in a well-considered and responsible way with the intention of building up the reformed character of these churches.

    4. To continue the financial support of the church at Kataka for the support of Rev. Pila Njuka and to reconsider this support after the theological seminary has been established.

    5. To support the plans to establish a Theological Seminary in Sumba and to make extra funds available for this cause.

    6. To financially support Rev Yan Pariamalinya of the GGRI to study English in Australia and to familiarize himself with reformed church life for three months. This will be done according to the financial agreement with our Dutch sister churches and as per our previous mandate.

    7. To financially support evangelist Benyamin Rohi to come to Australia to study English and to familiarize himself with the Australian churches for three months subject to a financial arrangements with the Dutch deputies and subject to available funding from the churches. This support will be given in a different year than Rev. Yan Pariamalinya of the GGRI and Rev. Yawan Bunda of the GGRC.

    8. To monitor and report developments on the unity of GGRI with the GGRC. Where possible, to encourage these churches to fully practice the unity they already recognise.

    9. To encourage the churches and their members to provide the means of support for the activities of deputies as mentioned in 4,5,6,7.

  2. Recommendation: Gereja Gereja Reformasi Calvin (GGRC):

    1. To continue contacts with the GGRC.

    2. To continue to visit their synods subject to available finance.

    3. To support the GGRC in a well-considered and responsible way with the intention of building up the reformed character of these churches.

    4. To monitor and report developments on the unity of GGRC with the GGRI. Where possible, to encourage these churches to fully practice the unity they already recognise.

    5. To encourage the GGRC to support the theological training of the GGRI by way of prayer and sending their students to this college when it opens. It would also be beneficial to utilize the study of Rev. Yonson Dethan which he completed at the Theological College in Hamilton.

    6. To financially support Rev Yawan Bundi of GGRC to study English in Australia and to familiarize himself with reformed church life for three months, but not in the same year as Rev. Yan Pariamalinya of the GGRI [provided that contact between these two bonds of churches is restored]. This will be done according to the financial agreement with our Dutch sister churches and is subject of available funding from the churches.

    7. To direct the Deputies Relations Sister Churches, in our relationship with the Canadian Reformed Churches, that while doing mission work among our sister churches in Indonesia, they direct the result of their work to be joined in the bonds of the GGRI and along with us encourage the GGRC to put to practice the unity they recognise by being joined into one bond (federation) of churches.

    8. To encourage the churches and their members to provide the means of support for the activities of deputies as mentioned in 4, 5, 6 and 7.

  3. Recommendation: Reformed Free Churches of the Philippines and the Free Reformed Churches of the Philippines:

    1. To terminate the contact with both Reformed churches of the Philippines.

    2. The deputies remain as an address so that if they are still interested in contact they can contact deputies.
III. Decision:
  1. To thank the deputies for their work and discharge them.

  2. To appoint deputies with the following mandate:

    1. Regarding GGRI:

      1. To continue sister relations with the GGRI in accordance with the adopted rules;

      2. To continue to visit the synods and conferences of the GGRI subject to available finance;

      3. To support the GGRI in a well-considered and responsible way with the intention of building up the reformed character of these churches;

      4. To continue the financial support of the church at Kataka for the support of Rev. Pila Njuka and to reconsider this support after the theological seminary has been established;

      5. To support the plans to establish a Theological Seminary in Sumba and make funds available for this cause;

      6. To financially support evangelist Benyamin Rohi to come to Australia to study English and to familiarize himself with the Australian churches for three months subject to a financial arrangements with the Dutch deputies and subject to available funding from the churches and if possible Rev. Yawan Bunda of the GGRC.

      7. To provide limited support to ensure that effective communication continues.

      8. To monitor and report developments on the unity of GGRI with the GGRC. Where possible, to encourage these churches to fully practice the unity they already recognize

      9. To encourage the churches and their members to provide the means of support for the activities of deputies 4,5,6,7 above.

    2. Regarding GGRC:

      1. To continue contact with the GGRC.

      2. To continue to visit the synods of the GGRC subject to available finance.

      3. To support the GGRC in a well-considered and responsible way with the intention of building up the reformed character of these churches. This will include giving instructions through yearly seminars if finances are available.

      4. To monitor and report on developments regarding the unity of GGRI with the GGRC. Where possible, to encourage these churches to fully put into practice the unity which they already recognise. This includes urging them to be united in theological training which also includes encouraging them to utilize the study Rev. Yonson Dethan completed at the Theological College in Hamilton.

      5. To financially support Rev Yawan Bundi of GGRC to study English in Australia and familiarize himself with reformed church life for three months, but not in the same year as others students. This will be done according to the financial agreement with our Dutch sister churches and is subject to available funding from the churches.

      6. To provide limited support to ensure that effective communication continues.

      7. To encourage the churches and their members to provide the means of support for the activities of deputies as mentioned in 3, 5 and 6 above.

    3. Regarding Reformed Free Churches of the Philippines and the Free Reformed Churches of the Philippines:

      1. To discontinue attempts to contact both Reformed Churches of the Philippines.

      2. The deputies remain as an address so that if they are still interested in contact they can contact deputies.
Grounds:
  1. The GGRI continues to show faithfulness to the Lord as He teaches in His Word and has been upheld by the Reformed Confessions.

  2. Seeing that the GGRI and GGRC are sister churches of each other, relations with the one makes contact with the other mandatory. Moreover, these churches have show faithfulness to God's Word and the Reformed confessions in many ways.

  3. Deputies need to be appointed to maintain the sister church and contact relations:

    1. Visiting the conferences and synods have proven to be helpful especially to establish and maintain personal contacts.

    2. These churches have very little means to build up and hold fast to the reformed faith. They have expressed a lot of gratitude for the support they do receive and were particularly thankful for the support and integration of Rev. Njuka. When visiting conferences and synods the topic of theological training in their own country has always been a very important matter to them.

    3. A request has been made from the deputies for support for further training in the English language and in church life for one of their evangelists, and a possible student to Hamilton for training a lecturer at their own college.

    4. Regular communication remains very important. These churches do not have the means to sustain them. Previous synods agreed that a certain person be supported to keep communications possible. Deputies consider it better (without increasing the amount) to spread this support over more than one person.

    5. Past synods have agreed that to support these churches, deputies encourage the churches to contribute to this important work.

  4. Concerning the Philippines, deputies report that in the past period it was impossible to get in contact with these churches. Telephone calls were not answered. Addresses are not available. The people do not respond at all. In case that these churches still respond, they need an address to which they can direct their correspondence.
ADOPTED


Article 59 - Appeal from Legana re Article 67 Synod Launceston 1985 (refer Article 41)

I. Material:

Agenda item 8i - Letter FRC Legana Appeal re Article 67 Acts 1985

II. Appeal:

The church at Legana asks Synod to repeal Article 67 of Synod Launceston 1985 as counter-productive, confusing and binding beyond our confessions.

Grounds:
  1. The article is not helpful in the process of coming to sister-church relationships in a scriptural way. In the past years we have refused to admit that churches such as the RCNZ and the PCEA with whom we were in discussion were a true church of the Lord, yet we have been forced to admit that we do tacitly recognise them as true churches of the Lord, because else we wouldn't be talking with them. This tacit recognition was made to the PCEA by letter from the last synod and was seen as de facto recognition of them by the PCEA. In practice this article forces the churches into withholding recognition of a church as a true and faithful church of the Lord until all points of disagreement are removed, when the points of disagreement are not of sufficient weight to deny the recognition, but of sufficient weight to frustrate or slow down progress to unity. This fosters resentment, frustrates communication and ultimately the union of the Church of Christ which it seeks to promote.

  2. It is badly worded.

    It is not a declaration regarding the meaning of "true and faithful church" as the title claims, but a declaration of the implications of declaring a church true and faithful.

    Point 1 is unclear in its intention, for recognition of a church as true and faithful will depend on doctrinal agreement over the whole range of confessed doctrine, of which Articles 27-32 are only a small part.

    Point 2 is unclear about:

    1. the process towards unity. "can be established" does not mean must or may be established. Are we talking about a possibility, an obligation or permission?

      The confusion extends further, for it is unclear if this point is saying that we can enter into sister church relations while practical difficulties still keep us apart.

      It is also unclear whether the "practical realisation of unity" is perceived as a confessional obligation or a desirable outcome. It is not the former for BC Articles 27-32 nowhere speak of the obligation to federational unity of churches. In the catholicity of the Church there is a spiritual and not an organisational unity.

    2. historical developments: All differences of doctrine and praxis are the result of historical developments. Which are meant or are all meant? The language says the latter.

      Due to the lack of clarity this point can be interpreted to mean that we can, may or must enter into sister-church relations with other churches without resolving the difficulties first, or that differences of doctrine or praxis which arise from historical developments have no bearing on the question.

    Point 3 goes beyond our confessions in asserting that one must join the nearest true church.
DEFEATED

III. Decision:

Proposal 1:

Not to accede to the appeal.

Grounds:
  1. Legana has not shown convincingly that Article 67 is counter-productive.

  2. Article 67 need not be confusing as previous Synods have made clear that Article 67 was written in the context of the contacts with the PCEA and was not intended to be used as a principle statement applicable to every potential sister church relationship. (cf Synod 1983 (Article 96) and in the Considerations of appeals to Synod 1985 (Article 67) and Synod 1987 (Article 41)).

  3. Article 67 does not bind beyond our confessions when stating that one must join the nearest true church because the article (declaration 3) refers to a true church which has become a sister church.
DEFEATED

Proposal 2:

Not to accede to the appeal

Grounds:
  1. No evidence has been provided that this article has not been helpful in coming to sister relations.

  2. If the article is badly worded, it should be revised, but not repealed.

  3. This article applies our confession regarding other true churches, and does not go beyond our confession.
ADOPTED


Article 60 - Reformed Churches of New Zealand (RCNZ)

I. Material:

Agenda Item 12f (iii) - Reformed Churches of New Zealand
Agenda Item 8j - Letter FRC Darling Downs Appeal re Articles 44, 62, 67, 68, 69, 72 Acts 2003
Agenda Item 8n - Letter P 'tHart Appeal Article 72 Acts 2003

II. Decision:

That Synod decide to begin first with discussion on the Deputies report before dealing with the appeals.

ADOPTED


Article 61 - Reformed Churches of New Zealand (RCNZ)

I. Material:

Agenda Item 12f (iii) - Deputies Report on Reformed Churches of New Zealand (RCNZ)

II. Discussion:

A round of discussion takes place on the report of Deputies for Relations with Reformed Churches of New Zealand.




last updated 19 Jul 2006
 
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