From the Dutch Correspondent
Alexander de Lange
The Christian Reformed Church in the Netherlands, not to be confused with the Christian Reformed Church in North America, had her synod in June. The Christian Reformed Church has her origin in the secession from the Dutch Reformed Church in 1834. When the secession church merged into the church of Abraham Kuyper (1892) a small group remained aside. This group continued the Christian Reformed Church and established a seminary in Apeldoorn. Today this seminary is a theological university.
While the Christian Reformed Church was conservative, after the Second World War parts started to depart from the old paths. Major parts of the denomination started to use modern Bible versions and adopt a worldly living style and experiment with modern forms of worship. Even so, another part of this denomination remained conservative. Thus the Christian Reformed Church has become a broad church. In some place there a two Reformed Churches: one conservative and one liberal church.
Proceedings at the last synod are concerning. The Rev. S.P. Roozendaal from Lelystad, believes the church should acknowledge and confirm a registered partnership. He stated that the difference between marriage and a partnership is so small that a partnership should be admitted in church. It was decided that the matter should be studied and discussed at the next synod. It is clear that various ministers protested against this proposal and stated that marriage is holy and that the church should only acknowledge marriage.
While it is good that the synod did not concur straight away with the Rev. Roozendaal, it is disconcerting that such a proposal was done at the synod, discussed, then put on the agenda for next year. It should have been rebuked straight away by the synod, shocked that somebody dared to propose something so unbiblical. The Rev. Roozendaal should have been put on trial and examined for gross erroneous teaching. It shows how much one is affected by the world when one starts to leave the old paths.
The other disconcerting point is the acceptance of women office bearers. A few local churches have ordained women in 2021 despite that this is against the regulations of the denomination. The discussion is about whether it should be accepted or not. Some stated that churches who ordain women should be excluded from the denomination. Others had a more liberal view. Last year, it was decided the question should be discussed this year and again the synod decided to leave the question to next year. It is sad that the synod did not conclude immediately that women office bearers are unscriptural and that measures should be taken against churches who have ordained women. It seems that many in the Christian Reformed Church are no longer sure about it. The problem is, as Prof. Selderhuis stated, “the longer no decision is made, the more difficult it will be to speak to churches with women office bearers”.
While we are glad that decisions were not taken for registered partnerships and women office bearers, we are also sad that there was no clear decision against such. Some concerned ministers started a committee in order to warn against the new approach to Scripture. We hope that the Christian Reformed Church may keep to the old Biblical paths.