Address by Rev W Huizinga
Response to address by Br Hoogstra
Monday 17th July 2006, Synod West Kelmscott, Western Australia, 2006
(Acts Article 84)
Delegates from our Canadian sisters, Henk Hoogstra and Harold Leyenhorst,
Members of synod,
Brothers and sisters,
It is my privilege to respond to the speech of Br Henk Hoogstra, delegate of our Canadian sister churches.
We met each other last year at the 2005 GS of Amersfoort, and we could share time and compare notes at that time. So it is good to see each other on this side of the world.
That you take the time and trouble to fly half way around the world, 36 hours in total you tell us, means you do not share the priorities of the world. What pollutes the world first and worst is not the emissions which the Kyoto protocol targets, but the wickedness of man. This corruption is so great in the earth that every intent of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil continually (Gen 6:5). As on the early earth this evil fills the world with corruption and violence as well as pollution. This is what the church must target in its preaching and teaching. It is not a popular message, and hence receives scant attention in this world.
But we are very happy that you have come to visit our synod and churches. Yes, it has indeed been too long since you paid us an official visit. We receive many visitors from Canada. There is a constant stream and the airlines do well as a result of our close ties. But it took me some time for me to recall the last time you sent a delegate to us. Was it not Rev E Kampen who visited our 1994 Synod?
The names you mentioned make us realise that many men who entered the ministry via the Theological College in Hamilton originally came from the Free Reformed Churches of Australia. Of course, some ministers from the Canadian Reformed Churches now serve here, with yours truly being the first of them.
The Canadian Reformed Churches has indeed grown, and grown in maturity. We note that in the numbers you mentioned. But we also note that in the growing number of sister relations you exercise internationally. Nationally you support the reformed churches (L'Eglise Reformee du Quebec) in the French-speaking province of Quebec. On the North American continent you now work hard towards unity with the United Reformed Churches of North America (URCNA). This takes time. That is good, because it will be necessary to prepare not only the church assemblies, general synods especially, for this quest for unity, but you also need to prepare your church membership for it.
There are three phases in your quest for unity with these churches.
You have reached the second phase which includes much interaction and cooperation. One might compare it to privileges and responsibilities we enjoy with sister churches, according to the rules for sister relations. In the press and in our visits we consequently note how the ministers of the URCNA fill your pulpits at times and your ministers serve on pulpits of the URCNA. You can exchange attestations, and you even call each other's ministers.
Rev. Frederik A.V. Harms of the URCNA impressed on us at the 2005 GS of Amersfoort how disciplined and cautious they are in entering relations with other churches. They take their time. May the LORD bless these endeavours at unity. We in our history have experienced not only the need for separations in 1834, 1886 and 1944 but by the grace of God also experienced the joy of the unions of 1869 and 1892.
Throughout the Bible God calls his people to unity. After all, our time here on earth is not that long. Ultimately we will all be together in the one grand assembly of saints who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:9-14).
We too grow not only numerically but also in maturity. It means that we too seriously look at our own theological training and our own version of the Book of Praise. Mind you, let me immediately add our great appreciation for the privilege of supporting and using your Theological College and your Book of Praise. You have greatly helped us and we owe you a debt of gratitude.
I think it fair to say that we have not subjected you to the same intense scrutiny as we have our Dutch sister churches. Some may say that this is unfair to our Dutch sisters and too fair to you! I will let others judge that.
We are thankful that you wish to retain the Psalms, in rhymed versions, as central in your church services. We share that goal, and we have asked our Dutch sisters who have so much more manpower and expertise to focus more attention on the Psalms. May the LORD bless the efforts of your committee and that of the URCNA to resolve this issue of a common book of worship!
We appreciate your visit to us very much. It helps to build good bonds. May God bless your stay in our midst, and grant you a safe journey home.
In closing I would like to read a portion of Scripture:
I thank you.
last updated 21 Aug 2006