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The final (published) version of the Acts of Synod 2009 is available as a single PDF file here.
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Synod Legana 2009
Address by brother P Drijfhout
on behalf of the Reformed Churches (restored) of the Netherlands
Wednesday 17th June 2009, Synod Legana, Tasmania, 2009 (Acts Article 35)

Esteemed chairman, delegates, brothers and sisters,

Upon receiving the invitation to attend, the FRCA Synod here in Legana, the Deputies for Relationships with Churches Abroad of 'our' churches initially decided to send delegates to your Synod.

Yet this consent 'took a turn' when we received and read the reports your deputies prepared in preparation of this Synod. The content of these reports seriously disappointed us , and were cause for great concern. These reports (both the majority- and the minority report) were of a totally different nature than the 'good-natured' conversations we enjoyed with your Deputies. At our Synod we received rev. Veldman and we could wholeheartedly speak to each other. Later on we could continue that dialogue with him and br. Breen.

Besides the 'good nature' of these contacts and the welcoming invitation to come to Legana, we could not fail but notice one major shortcoming. At large, we missed any references to our letters, brochures, Synod Acts, and other material we sent. It is almost, as if, these important documents are nonexistent. We asked ourselves the question whether your Deputies underestimated the value of these documents and the information they contain. Hence we were left wondering: 'was there something we overlooked or failed to pass on?'; 'What else could we have done to serve God and His worldwide church-gathering work?'. We could only conclude that we provided the necessary documentation. Hence we were facing the question: 'Would it be any use to go to Legana when the information we provided and worked on so diligently is apparently being disregarded?' (At least that is the only thing we can conclude from the content of the Deputies reports. With regard to the Reformed Churches (Restored) they were very negative indeed!) As the information we provided is being disregarded anyway, we reconsidered whether it would be of any use for us to attend the FRCA Synod. We, sadly, had to come to the conclusion that it would be better not to go after all.

When this became known we received many different phone calls from various members of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia. In the end they persuaded our Deputies to reconsider the decision 'not to come'.

This we discussed and we decided to come nevertheless. In the end we believed we had to come. We did not come to defend 'our' case, as it is not 'our' case. We are here to defend the honour of God. His Sovereignty encompasses everything. To this Sovereignty we want to submit our lives in obedience to His Word. In His Word alone He expresses His will and the only way to salvation.

Brothers, secularisation does not strike Holland only. Apostasy does not occur in The Netherlands alone. Very rapidly the world is becoming a 'global village'. Information and ideas travel from one side of the world to the other at high-speed. Faster than the 'Mexican flu' all kinds of 'winds of doctrine' (Eph. 4:14) and modern hedonistic ideas spread around. Therefore, the issues facing Christ's people and His churches today are no longer restricted to the national boundaries of The Netherlands, or the bounds of Europe. The world is more and more becoming a 'small village' in this way.

These developments harbour the danger of 'looking' at the other side of the world when one is no longer happy on his side of it. For this reason we take rev. Veldman's warning to heart. He said: 'do not entrench yourself but reconsider your task with relation to your brothers within the Liberated Churches'. We know that many people within the Liberated churches have become confused. Even though we sympathise with them we cannot takeaway their own responsibility. Therefore, every Sunday our prayer goes out to God, and we ask Him whether He will give them understanding by His Word and Spirit. They are in need of this 'insight' in order to go down the pathways of obedience. Where possible we try to speak to these people trying to point out to them, from the Word of God, that there is only one way to true Liberty: obedience to Jesus Christ alone.

Brothers in the Lord, we do not consider ourselves to be any better or worthier than 'those left behind'. We too are conceived and born in sin. According to God's righteous judgment we too are worthy of everlasting destruction (II Thess. 1: 9). Yet, in our Lord Jesus Christ, Whom God made to be our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, there is salvation (I Cor. 1:30). Only in Scripture God revealed Jesus to be our mediator, the only way to life eternal. We believe that Holy Scripture contains the full will of God. It contains everything we must believe in order to be saved. In turn, we must believe everything It contains.

Therefore it is unlawful for anyone, even an apostle, to teach anything that differs from Holy Scripture. According to the Belgic Confession Article 3 we confess: 'that this Word of God did not come by the impulse of man, but that holy men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, as the apostle Peter says (2 Pet. 1: 21). In article 5 we continue to confess: "We believe without any doubt all things contained in them, not so much because the church receives and approves them as such, but especially because the Holy Spirit witnesses in our hearts that they are from God, and also because they contain the evidence of this in themselves; for even the blind are able to perceive that the things foretold in them are being fulfilled."

When we look at the present 'state' of the Liberated churches in The Netherlands there is no-way that we can say: 'the Lord graciously provided for them to return to the truth.' On the contrary: we must establish, with great sadness and sorrow, that they only continue to depart further and further from the Word of God and the Reformed Confessions.

In all this we continue to pray that the Lord will graciously forgive all our sin also. We also are guilty, as we also had part in the decay and their straying from the Truth . At the same time we thank our Covenant God for allowing us to see the errors of our ways and leading us to the way of obedience as stipulated in His Word. This is the summary of the Reformation or Liberation of 2003/2004. To Him be all honour and glory.

Esteemed brothers, the Lord has called you to lead and guide His flock in Australia. As His servants you must guide and to protect His sheep, your only Guide being His Word. In this you were called to a huge responsibility. To say it Biblically: you are the watchers on the walls of Jerusalem. In this you are also set as an example to God's people. Not only to the older people, but also, and even more so, to the youth of the Church. In your deliberations and decisions it is your duty to convey to all 'children of God' that they must remain faithful and obedient to the Word of God.

During the past 65 years the Lord richly blessed us in The Netherlands. He entrusted many things into our care: Reformed Primary- and High Schools, a Reformed daily Newspaper, a Reformed Political Party, a Reformed trade council, a Reformed Scientific Institute, a Reformed Theological University, many Church buildings and much, much more! Over the past few decades, however, all these great riches were forfeited! The phrase from Joshua 24 verse 15: 'but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord' was once 'header' above the news in the Reformed Newspaper. It became the 'slogan' for a Reformed way of life. This has now been exchanged for some ecumenical catchphrase: 'to be an involved Christian', whatever that means?! With this phrase they recently had a advertising campaign on the radio, calling on people from all kinds of denominations to subscribe, whether they were Reformed, Christian Reformed, evangelical, Baptist or Roman Catholic...

Over the years the clear Reformed testimony has been 'watered down' in order to gain more 'influence'. The increase in numbers became more important than increase in faithfulness. The 'Reformed Political Party' became the 'Christian Union Party'. In all of Reformed life the focus became the 'increase in numbers at all costs'. This meant that Reformed people and assemblies accommodated to others, in order to become more acceptable; to steer away from the isolated position. From Scripture we know that such synthesis can only mean a departure from the Reformed pathways. This means a rejection of the fundamental words Paul spoke in Ephesians 4 verse 20: "but you have not so learned Christ." From the beginning we were taught differently, in fact, we were taught to be different. We were set apart, as a result of the enmity God Himself put between the seed of Satan and the seed of the woman. We were 'set apart' from among the other nations, chosen by God to be a holy and royal priesthood (2 Pet. 2: 5). We were set apart from both the world and the false denominations. These last confess with their mouth to believe in Him. Yet by their practice, in their everyday-life, they convey a different message. In their walk of life (and consequently in their doctrine) it becomes apparent that they stumble over The rock of offense (1 Pet. 2: 8).

The Lord will take away His blessings when you leave the 'straight and narrow' pathways as described in His Word. We experienced this first hand over the past decades. In blessing and curse, the Lord remains faithful.

In the North, East and West parts of The Netherlands a Bible School commenced. A school to educate the Children of the Covenant. The beginnings are very humble, the School is being organised every third Saturday. We were left with no other choice! The Primary Schools that once were Reformed suffered from the decay that took place in the churches and lives of its members. We experience that especially in their Bible lessons. There they are more interested in the emotions one experiences as a result of the bible story. Or the Biblical accounts are applied in an 'examplaric' way. Often 'Jesus' is downgraded to some role-model. Rather than singing the Psalms as songs of the Covenant more Pentecostal-like songs or interdenominational hymns are taught. Instead of teaching about Gods mighty deeds in the history of His Church, Church History lessons are often left out all together. In aiding the parents to live up to their vows, the Bible School, therefore, concentrates on teaching the History of Salvation and the Psalms as songs of the covenant, as well as church history.

In some other churches in the Netherlands we still see people that want to serve the Lord in an orthodox Reformed way. This being so does not make the churches they belong to true churches. Not even when they confess to believe God's Word and the Three Forms of Unity. The Lord Jesus Christ said: 'not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven: but he who does the will of my Father in heaven' (Matthew 7: 21). Therefore it is our duty to warn all those believers to break with the 'church' they belong to. Those 'denominations' do not show the marks of the true church as confessed in the Belgic Confession (art. 27-29). They too are obliged to join and unite with the assembly of the redeemed, established by God. It is our continual prayer that they will come over and join us in the assembly that wants to be governed by the pure Word of God in doctrine and life.

As you know, all 'areas of life' are not separated but form a unity. Confessing Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and our Redeemer cannot go without a lifestyle according to Scripture. Hearers must become 'Doers' (James 1: 22). In doing so there is no need to adjust the Word of God to meet our 'needs and wants' or to adjust it to the 'standards' of our day and age. The Word of God is clear and sufficient. It does not cater for synthesis, dualism or pluralism. 'The Lord our God, the Lord is one!' (Deut. 6: 4). Our God has no double standards, hence we are not to worship Him in any other manner than He has commanded in His Word (Lord's Day 35 H.C.). He commands us to be Holy as He is Holy (I Peter 1: 16). His 'yes' is always 'yes' and His 'no' always 'no'. We should do likewise, 'for whatever is more than these is from the evil one' (Matth. 6: 37).

Of the Lord, however, 'and through Him and to Him are all things' (Romans 11: 36). 'To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen' (II Tim. 4: 18).

last updated 22 Jun 2009
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