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The final (published) version of the Acts of Synod 2009 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.
 
Synod Legana 2009
Response by Reverend A Veldman
Response to the address of brother J Bronsema of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands
Tuesday 23rd June 2009, Synod Legana, Tasmania, 2009 (Acts Article 74)

Dear Brothers in the Lord Jesus Christ,

When I wrote this address during the early hours of this morning, no final decision was made yet with respect to our continuing relation with you as sister churches. In responding to your address of last evening, I could easily bypass the decision, which was taken this morning. Still I would like at least say something about it. When reading this decision one can easily dwell on all the concerns that have been listed and which need to be addressed by deputies to be appointed. Yet this evening I like to highlight the main decision, namely that we have decided to continue the sister church relationship. I realize also speaks about tension in this relationship. Yet we acknowledge with thankfulness that we still stand on the same foundation. It's on this foundation that we are to speak as sisters also about tensions and concerns. It's like in many a letter of the apostle Paul, who often also starts expressing the blessing of the unity in Christ first. Well it is this unity, which I like to stress first this evening, especially in light of what over the past days has been said around this table.

In your address of last evening, you have stressed that together with us your are looking for Scriptural direction how to be a true church of the Lord Jesus Christ in today's secularized society. You are seeking also our help in finding Scriptural answers to the issues, which are not only facing you, but also us. In finding answers, you would like us to stand next to you. Brothers, let we assure you we have that same desire. We need each other, especially in today's climate in which we see the truth of God's Word being attacked more fiercely than ever before. One of the greatest dangers is today's post-modern thinking, which tells us that no one is allowed to claim what he says to be true, not even on the basis of Scripture. All this does not bypass the doors of the church. At times, office bearers are challenged, when they say with the hand on the Bible, "Thus says the LORD". Office bearers face this challenge, in particular when visiting young people, who live on the fringes of the church. Although, it's not young people only.
Last night you spoke about members leaving the church. You spoke about the idols of egoism and materialism, the attraction of the evangelical movement, and you asked the question, do you recognize this in Australia as well. Brothers we do. I feel the hurt in my heart, when I think of young members who live out there in the world, who need the pastoral care so much. When I think of them, at times I wonder, should I really spend so much time on all the paperwork in front of me at this synod. Is there not more necessary work to do, when it comes to the pastoral care for the flock? I know this is a false dilemma, yet at times, it can eat you away, when you think of those sheep in need and whose number is increasing.
I spoke about a false dilemma, since in today's global village, there is also an increasing need to help one another as sister churches in Christ. This is what we have been busy with also at this synod. We want to be a hand and a foot also to you in fighting for the truth of Scripture and the honour of Him in whose service we stand. That's our aim in all the discussions around this table. At times, it may seem as if we have only criticism. Yet, Brothers, we do care with a loving heart. Please accept this.

When I was listening to your address last night, I thought perhaps we should have a bit more appreciation for what you try to do in finding answers to the issues we face in today's secularized society. Looking at your Acts of Synod, you are truly busy with these things; personally, I think more than we do. At times, as FRCA we run the risk of being introvert, busy with all kind of issues among each other. I know also these things have to be addressed calling each other to stay committed to the truth of Scripture. At the same time, we are church in the midst of this world, where we are called to cause the light of God's Word to shine.
I was thinking of this, when you mentioned the activities of your churches among Hindustani, Muslims, and asylum seekers. I would love that among us there would be a similar enthusiasm and zeal to reach out in the Australian society. I know when it comes to manpower to do so, you have much more resources to do so than we have. At the same time, I believe, the fields are white harvest, right at our doorstep also for us.

By saying all this, I try to do what you asked us to do, namely to have a good look also at ourselves, which brings me back to being a hand and a foot to each other also in these things. Yes, how can we really help each other in being a true church of the Lord Jesus Christ in today's secularized society? In finding answers to the issues we face, we cannot simply repeat the answer of the past. At the same time, we have a rich heritage to fall back. I think here in particular of the confessions originating from the age of the Great Reformation. So often when we are faced with new ideas, in essence it comes down to old heresies, which only have received a new coat. These confessions we have in common. It's the basis, on which we work together, as it was expressed by our rising around this table.
Last week, at the TU in Kampen, someone whom we could call a fair dinkum Aussie, received his title of doctor in theology defending a dissertation, in which the question was put, do we not need in new confession for this day and age. I don't want to interact with this question, after all the one who speaks this evening has come no further than just being a bachelor in theology. Yet wether or not we need a new confession is not the point this evening. I would like to point to something else.

In your speech of last evening, you said, "In performing this calling (i.e. the calling to be true church of the Lord Jesus Christ in a secularized society) - "In performing this calling we are given to each other in teaching and conducting the so called 'old path'." When I heard these words, I was reminded of a sermon of Rev. Hur, delivered a number of years ago in what at that time was still called the congregation of West-Kelmscott, now Southern River. The text for the sermon was Jer. 6, 16, where we read the following, "Thus says the LORD, "Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls."
Brothers, our sincere desire is to walk together with you on these old paths, only then we will find rest as it says in Jer. 6. Rest - last night, on the screen in front of us you could read the title of the report written by the late Rev. M. Nap, "Onrustig is mijn hart" (Restless is my heart), because of the influence of modern hermeneutics. This report does not give the final answers, yet it is a beautiful document to use as basis for our continuing discussion on this subject.

Brothers, much more could be said. Yet the main point is - as I mentioned it before - together with you we want to fight for the truth and the honour in whose service we stand. May the God of all grace help us as federations together in fighting this battle.
In conclusion, we wish you God's blessing. Be assured that we will continue to pray for you. Amongst others, we will do so with the words written in the concluding part of the final chapter to the Hebrews, "May the God of peace, who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."

Thank you



last updated 25 Jun 2009
 
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