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Bron: Synod 2009 Deputies Report (v.a. pag. 118)

6. Report on the visit to the RCNr in 2008 AD

6.1 Meeting 17 May 2008

Preliminary note:
Earlier during the week, I was approached by phone by. Br. R. DeBoer from Hardenberg re the recent split that had taken place there, and his position as second scribe at synod, since he too had been suspended from his office as elder. The Friday evening prior to the meeting of May 17th synod replaced Br. de Boer by someone else, nothing was mentioned during the meeting in which I was present. I did not consider it appropriate to raise this item in a public meeting, since on the evening before this matters was dealt with in closed session.
This matter was discussed more generally in a meeting of your deputies with the deputies BBK of the RCNr – see report there)

Rev. S. DeMarie, as chairman called the meeting to order by 10 am. We sung Ps. 33 : 1,2,5. He read Rev. 3, 14 – 22, whereafter he led in prayer. Next, he gave a meditation on the section of God’s Word, which was read. A hearty welcome was extended, especially to the Australian delegate, who straightaway received the floor to address the meeting.

Address Rev. A. Veldman
Esteemed Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ, On behalf of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia, I thank you for your invitation to attend one of the meetings of your synod. We would have loved to be here with two delegates, yet my fellow delegate who will be here later on this month joining me in attending the synod of our sister churches, could not stretch his time off work so long to make it also to this synod. Hence, I’m on my own today.
As regards the invitation received, normally we would not send delegates to a federation of churches with which we have no sister church relation.
Yet in line with the decision taken by Synod West Kelmscott 2006, we thought it would be beneficial to be present in person, rather than sending you a letter. For the benefit of the delegates present at this synod, perhaps it would be good to put our decision regarding your churches in the historical context of 2006. May I do this by way of a little anecdote.
It’s about 40 years ago, if I want to be completely accurate it was 39 years ago, that as a 19 year old high school student, living in Hoogeveen I attended many a session of the general synod who at time was meeting in my home-town. When this synod came together on April 15, 1969, it faced the awkward situation of having to deal with two sets of credentials from the churches in the Regional Synod Noord-Holland. A committee was appointed to deal with this problem, during which time synod did not meet. It was in May 1969 that synod continued its meetings and made a decision to accept only one set of credentials. I can vividly remember, how during this debate delegates were discussing the issue with tears in their eyes, because of the pain in their heart.
You may wonder why I call this to mind today. The reason is, when the FRCA came together in synod in 2006, we also met with two set of delegates from the churches in The Netherlands, who both claimed to be the true church. On that day, as chairman of this synod, I was literally moved to tears, when on the morning of July 11th both sets of delegates rose to express their agreement with the Three Forms of Unity, whilst on the evening of that same day, one of the delegates of your churches literally called our sister churches a false church. Of course, they had to do this since they had broken away from a church they no longer could regard as a true church.
How did we as churches deal with this situation, especially in view of the fact that you as Reformed Churches restored made a request for sister church relationship and urged us to be more firm with our sister churches in The Netherlands, especially concerning deviation from the truth.
Your delegates may recall that lengthy discussions were held on the subject of the developments of church life within The Netherlands. Also within FRCA there is concern about these developments, and we did not hide this from our sister churches. In the period leading up to Synod Amersfoort 2005, our deputies have been very busy in digesting the
reports of the various deputyships. They expressed concerns and made comments and in quite a number of instances, we could find these comments back in the final decisions taken by Synod Amersfoort 2005. In general, we could find ourselves in the decisions taken by this synod, even though we still have concerns with respect to certain developments within their churches, as it is also reflected in the decisions taken by our latest synod, Synod West Kelmscott 2006.
During Synod Kelmscott 2006, our deputies have tried to arrange a meeting between your delegates and the delegates of our sister churches, since we thought it was a unique opportunity to have talks face to face about the issues at stake. It’s a pity, that from your side there was not much willingness for such a meeting. Even informally, it was at times hard for you to look each other in the eye. Brothers, even though since that time a lot of water has gone under the bridge, so to speak, and further developments within our sister churches may give you cause for even greater concern, we still believe that you should not let go off brothers and sisters, who still want to stand with you on that same foundation. We pray that those whose heart is bleeding for the truth may unite and do not go separate ways.
It’s within this historical context that you must read the decision Synod West Kelmscott made regarding your request for sister church relations.
Our synod decide – and I quote here literally from the Acts – “Although we understand that the RCN (R) have concerns with the decisions and directions of the RCN, the information provided to us by the RCN(R) does not adequately explain why the liberation had to occur at this time (ie. 2003) and in the manner that it did.....Even though the liberation took place in 2003, subsequent events including that of Synod Amersfoort 2005 need to be discussed with the RCN (R) to ascertain whether or not their liberation was lawful... It is a serious matter to allow deformation to go unchallenged, but it is also a serious matter to separate when it is not warranted...” Synod made reference to the situation in Corinth, a congregation that surely also had it’s problems. We as FRCA have met with a listening ear, when our deputies discussed concerns with our sister churches and so we question that in 2003 you had not yet come to the end of the road. It’s on the information at hand at that time, that we could not accede to your request for sister relations.
At the same time, synod decided to maintain official contact with you, so that we can work for reconciliation between you and our sister churches on the basis of truth and love. We made this decision, since we hear in the voice of you as our brothers a strong desire to remain reformed. It is out of sincere appreciation for this desire that we want to continue contact with you, and perhaps in this way can be instrumental – if the Lord gives it – in the reconciliation between you and our sister churches.
Brothers, the Lord alone knows what the future hold, dark clouds may arise at the horizon, yet in faith we only have to live one day at the time.
In that faith, we will attend the synod of our sister churches later on this month and again voice our concerns and we will plead with them to stand up for the truth. May the Lord hear this fervent prayer and on the only true foundation may He reunite those who since 2003 have gone separate ways. There are brothers out there who together with you dearly love the truth.
Synod Amersfoort 2005 has sent you an Appeal in which they express how the separation - being no longer united around the same pulpit, font and table - feels even worse than an amputation. They asked you and your ecclesiastical assemblies to consider their appeal before the face of God, and told you that they are prepared to explain their appeal to your Synod at any time. They made clear to you how they have given authority to their deputies for church unity (assisted by the moderamen of the Synod in Amersfoort Centre) to do this. They have been authorised to speak with you by means of an agenda, which would be drawn up mutually, in order to make recommendations to their next Synod. If necessary, they could even request the assembling of an interim extraordinary Synod. In all sincerity, they expressed the hope that the separation wouldn’t turn out to be permanent, but that you both would search for and find each other as Christians and as churches. They sincerely prayed for God’s blessing over you and the wisdom of His Spirit in your considerations and decisions.
Brothers, do not forget this and therefore don’t dig yourselves in an entrenched position, but reconsider your task also with respect to those brothers. If we as Australian churches can be instrumental in initiating this contact, we are willing to help you any time.
In conclusion, we wish you wisdom from above in your deliberations at this synod. We also pray that on the basis on the infallible truth of the living word of our faithful covenant God unity can be restored between those, who now have gone separated ways. Later on during the course of this month, I will say the same to the brothers delegates at the synod of our sister churches, urging them to have an open ear for the concerns addressed to their synod and in doing so to take a firm stand in the battle for the truth.
In this secularized world, where Satan relentlessly attacks the church and so many so-called Reformed churches have already deviated from the truth – in this battle we need one another, and so we pray that unity may be restored not at the cost of the truth, but to maintain this truth against the attacks made on it. May our gracious God help you here in the Netherlands and us in Australia to fulfil this task in faithfulness.
Thank you

Response Rev DeMarie
Rev. DeMarie responded saying how much they appreciated the brotherly bond with the brothers and sisters in Australia. The RCNr have seen it as their duty, straightaway after the liberation in 2003 and 2004, to maintain and to seek contact with churches elsewhere in the world, who in truth want to follow the Lord Jesus Christ as the only head of the church. That’s why we as churches consider it a very important obligation that the sister church relations, which there were before the liberation of 2003, should
be continued on the basis of recognizing and acknowledging each other according to the norm of God’s Word. That’s why already in 2005 our mutual deputies have had contact, with subsequent correspondence following from this contact. The intention of this contact was to make clear from our side that we still regarded you as our sister, since the RCNr are the legitimate continuation of the RCN.
The next section of the response was a review of the history prior to the liberation and why there was no other way than to call for a return to the truth and to break with which was no longer a true church. It was a reiteration of what has been said before and is recorded also in the speech delivered by Br. P. Drijfhout at synod West Kelmscott 2006. It was also mentioned that with the recent developments within the RCN the gap has only grown wider.
Rev. DeMarie concluded his speech with a number of questions he would like me to respond to in the meeting.

1. Do you recognize some of the same problems, which in The Netherlands led to liberation, also with your churches.
If so, which matters are these and how are you weighing/judging them?
2. What is you reaction at the brochure we sent you “Do not take words away from this book of prophecy.” Also, what is your reaction to Acts of GS Marienberg 2005-2006, in
which the decisions of the synods of RCN 1993 – 2003 were dealt with?
3. How can we help you in coming to a proper judgment regarding the legitimacy of the liberation of 2003.
4. What is your position with respect to recent developments within the RCN.

Response Rev Veldman
Rev Veldman, in response, mentioned the following:
a. I highlighted that the response I would give was personal, since I could not converse with a fellow delegate. I pleaded with them to consider this response in this light.
b. Regarding Q 1 – I mentioned that one cannot deny that the battle is on worldwide and that Satan is attacking the church surely also in Australia. We too have our battle with the influence of the evangelical movement and slackness in the attendance of the second worship service. We too have breakdown in marriages and as a result marriages that end up in divorce. There are even different viewpoints within the FRCA on the matter of remarriage after divorce. Yet this has nothing do with a matter of new hermeutics. It would be an overstatement to say that the same problems that led to liberation in The Netherlands also play in a similar way in Australia. I also emphasized that we should be careful not to import these problems, by just making them our own. We live in Australia and we should not play The Netherlands.
c. Regarding Q 2 – I mentioned that the content of the brochure did not differ much from what was said before and therefore did not really interact with the decisions of
GS Amersfoort 2005. It literally mentioned the same things as mentioned in the letter of 4 Feb. 2005 written to our deputies. I referred to the extensive documentation of
our deputies regarding the meeting held with their deputies in 2005 ( see our Acts) which interacted which this letter, on the basis of which Synod West Kelmscott could not conclude that the liberation was legitimate. It’s obvious that there is a different taxation of the decisions of the synod of Amersfoort 2005. You ask us to reconsider our position, at the same time you do not really want to reconsider your own position. I highlighted that we speak here about the legitimacy of 2003 and not about what might happen as a result of recent developments.
d. Regarding Q 3 - I explained our synod decision, highlighting also our mandate of monitoring recent developments. Hence, we would also speak with those who are presently very much concerned within the RCN (lib). Also, being present at this synod helps us in a clearer understanding of your view on matters. After synod Zwolle, we will look at the total picture. Regarding the legitimacy of the liberation of 2003, our next synod has to make a decision on this on the basis of the information available, yet the synod decision of synod West Kelsmcott seems to say implicitly that it was too early, otherwise sister churches could have been offered.
e. With respect to the last question, I mentioned that we too have our concerns about recent developments and that we would also mentioned this at the synod of our sister
churches. At the same time, we will await the decisions of this synod.

This discussion took up the whole morning session and was continued after lunch. In this discussion I stretched very strongly not to forget the concerned brothers and sisters within the RCN and to keep trying to stay in contact with the RCN and not to refuse the outstretched hand as it was made by Synod Amersfoort 2005. I added that I would say the same to the brothers meeting in GS Zwolle-Zuid, when I would address them later on during the month of May.


Monday afternoon, June 2, 2008, your two deputies met with the deputies BBK of the RCNr in Hasselt. Present were: (RCNr) brs Admiraal, Drijfhout, Griffioen, Houweling and VandeNiet; (FRCA) brs AC Breen and Rev A Veldman.

Br Houweling, chair of the restored BBK, opened. We read from John 13, sang from Ps 95 and prayed.

Our first question was, “Why is it that many concerned people in the RCN when they have to liberate from the RCN will not join your church?”

The RCNr deputies don’t understand this because our confession says that all and everyone are obliged to join the true church and unite with it. They are convinced that the concerned RCN brothers and sisters have no other choice than to join the RCNr.

Our second question, “Why is it that 3 churches of your very small bond of churches have already split?”

RCNr deputies mention the following reasons:
1. You can compare it with the immigrants to Australia. In the first years there was disunity amongst the people who were all strong characters and independentists. Then it is not easy to build a church together. You go through “the crisis of the youth”.
2. It’s almost a second nature of the new liberated people not to trust consistories. They had to fight against them for so many years. There is weed amongst the wheat which should be removed via discipline. Not all the intentions for the new liberation were pure at that time.
3. All our members were against the decisions of the RCN synods. Now they have to be positive and to build together and to trust each other. And that’s not always easy.
4. The last ten years our members were not accepted within the RCN. That means that there are no men within our churches who have the experience of having been an elder in the church. We lack experienced office bearers and ministers refused to liberate.
5. The last years there was no discipline in the RCN. Now the RCNr administers discipline again. That hurts people who were not used to it. Within the RCN everything was possible. There was no rope around the church. Now we have put electric barbed wires around the church. That hurts, but it is life saving. Especially for the youth. We give
the antithesis meaning again.

Our third question, “What are you doing with the appeal of Amersfoort-Centrum 2005?”

For the RCNr deputies it is clear that they cannot comply with their request as long as they maintain their decisions which are in conflict with Scripture and confession. They compared it with the request of the synodical churches after the Liberation of 1944 to talk together. They have learnt from K Schilder who has said in that time that we only can speak about the official documents.
Further, “many years we have appealed and they have not listened!”

They had also a question for us: “The problems in relation to the antithesis in your churches, are they in your churches only, or are they consequences of the developments in the Netherlands and Canada?”

This is what we answered.
We don’t have a problem with the antithesis. We recognise the antithesis or enmity of Gen 3:15. No one denies it. The schools emphasise the importance of the anti-synthesis which actually is the real meaning of what we call the antithesis. Students should understand how to defend and promote the anti-synthesis with the sinful world and the worldly sin: no compromise. As B Holwerda said: your being Christian in the world is not a snoepreisje (tour of indulgence) but a dienstreisje (tour of duty). Though we have no
problem with the antithesis not everyone gives the same meaning to this concept. The understanding varies from “anti the world” (anti-thesis of the world) to “anti the compromise” (anti-synthesis of the church). As long as everyone understands that we are Christians in the world. In the Netherlands it’s necessary to emphasise: “Yes, we are in the world, but certainly not of the world.” In Australia we sometimes like to emphasise: “Yes, we are not of the world, but certainly in the world”. Therefore our message is: Fight and be a light!

At the end of the meeting br Admiraal closed in prayer.

Laatst aangepast op donderdag 06 maart 2014 20:14  

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