Canadian Reformed Synod (15)

26 May 2010 by Wes Bredenhof

I just received word that our Synod is wrapping things up tonight.  Unfortunately, I don’t yet know of any of the decisions that were made yesterday or today.  When I find out, I’ll let you know.

12 responses to “Canadian Reformed Synod (15)”

  1. Frank says:

    I find it unfortunate that daily reports were not made available next day. There are updates on the website, but if they are old, it defeats the purpose. A dedicated person should be at General Synod preparing and publishing reports daily, in my humble opinion. This will be appreciated by the church members interested in the proceedings of General Synod, and it might create interest with others.
    I hope that at next Synod a live-camera will broadcast public sessions over the Internet. The technology is available (at least in Langley) and it could create a greater involvement of the church members in General Synod.

  2. Thea says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. I too have found waiting for news very frustrating. On Tuesday evening I heard the rumour that the Women’s Voting Issue would be dealt with sometime during the day Wednesday. So I was in attendance Wednesday morning, where the Synod Chair realized that people would be interested in knowing when exactly the issue would be discussed. This is when he instructed the second clerk to put a notice on the website revealing that it would be discussed in that afternoon’s session. That notice was put up almost immediately, and as a result the afternoon session was quite well attended.

    I really should not scoop the official press release, because I may have some details wrong. As an audience member you have none of the documents in front of you, so it is hearsay. However I can tell you that Synod ruled that women not prohibited by Scripture to vote for office-bearers, and therefore should be included in the voting process. However the church councils will be left free to implement this ruling as they see fit.

    Personally I regret this ruling deeply. This issue has never been pressing among the majority of our people, with the exception of a handful of women and one or two churches. Just check out the histories of the CRC in North America, and our own mother church in the Netherlands. Even in the URC federation, which “inherited” the practice, have a lot of unity and doctrinal problems among themselves. Then tell me that won’t happen here. The image of Pandora’s box sits heavily on my mind today.

    • Jay VanHuizen says:

      I personally like the recomendation to allow for women voting. Your logic of if one allows “A” than “B” will soon come to be, is quite faulty at best. “The Sippery Slope” arguemet is not a scriptual way of solving problems. The URC, as a federation, has the allowence for women voting. Not all the churches exercise that liberty though.
      However, I do not see how the supposed “doctrinal problems” or “unity problems” has anything to do with women voting.

      One of the main reasons why a sizable number of churches that are now part of the URC left the CRC is the allowance and practise of women in office. Due to that fact alone it is unlikely that women voting in the URC will then lead to women in office. That goes for the same in the CanRef churches, as well as , other true and faithfull churches that have been practising women voting for a lot longer than any of the our churches.
      If the right reasons and safeguards are put in place, women voting in of itself is not in error. The (mis) interpretation of scripture is where problems come into play.

  3. CalvinV says:


    I think it is a good decision. Most assuredly we will (soon) hear outcries and expressions about how sad this decision is but, in my opinion, that sentement is overdone, nor is it new. It’s a bold decision for that reason – not just sticking to the status quo because “that’s how we are.” Just because the CRC went sour should not cloud this issue. It is not fair to say that such a decision to allow women-voting leads to the church-problems. I don’t see how A logically leads to B.

    • svandyken says:

      If it is true that there is a small contingent of noisy women who agitated for this decision — which seems likely — then it is ridiculous to believe that this is the end of the matter. If the CRC’s path to oblivion were a unique phenomenon, I might take some comfort in your soothing words. Unfortunately, the name of those who have travelled this sad path is “legion”.

      One could argue that every lemming following the others over the cliff is making “a bold decision”, but I don’t see it.

      As a latecomer to the CanRC (yes, from the CRC), I see this decision as just one more step down the GKN road. The truly bold decision would have been one which bluntly told agitating females to either sit down and be quiet or find another bus (figuratively speaking of course).

  4. Thea says:

    I’m not going to try and argue with you, or change your opinion. But the fact remains that there is plenty of evidence that upheaval and trouble follows denominations which have opted for women voting. If you don’t believe that women voting will lead to a quest for women in office, I think you are being naive. Those very same women who made it their personal goal to achieve voting will not be satisfied with the new “staus quo”. They have the nature and desires of Eve, to usurp man in his God-given role as head.
    Here’s some reading to prove my point:

    Here’s an expose on the (Liberated) Church in the Netherlands, read especially the section on History, the reversals and trouble since 1990:

    And finally, here is an article by a CanRef minister who, although he says women voting is Biblically supported, forsees lots of difficulty and upheaval as a result:

    This is why I see this as a Pandora’s box. I rest my case.

    • svandyken says:

      Being somewhat removed from the common-knowledge “grapevine”, it would be helpful to know the names (and any available contact info) of those women who “made it their personal goal to achieve voting.

      In the event of a hijacking (successful or not), it is appropriate that passengers and crew be informed as to the perpetrators’ identities. It appears that “Code Pink” activists may have landed in the CanRC. Better to know who they are now, then to wait until they show up as pulpit supply (which is always the ultimate goal with ecclesiastical feminists).

      • svandyken says:

        By the way, as pleased as I am to see this blog still open for posts, I was disappointed to see Thea’s is closed.

        I applaud Thea for taking the time to attend a public session of Synod. I applaud her for taking the time to provide some up-to-date information about the concluding hours of Synod 2010. Why was this information not made available on the CanRC website?

        I especially appreciate Thea’s account of the decision of Synod 1987: the matter of federation-wide women’s voting rights was closed, unless new grounds would be presented.

        Perhaps it is time for councils to simply eliminate all voting outside the council room.

  5. Gerard says:

    According to your response you appreciate the decision that Synod made but you don’t say why it is a good decision other than the fact that it changes the status quo. Is this the only reason you appreciate this decision or are there other reasons for this?

  6. CalvinV says:


    The purpose of my original comment was not to provide all my reasons why I appreciate the decision (see Synod Reports and my comments on you blog for those). Rather I was writing in order to curb undue hysteria and outcries of doom and gloom in the aftermath of this decision. Jay’s comments are an reflection of what I was trying to say.

    As for using the status quo as justification for the decision – if you allow yourself a charitable re-reading of my comments then you will notice that I was not invoking the “changing the status quo” argument to justify the Synod’s decision. That’s never a good reason for any decision, obviously. Rather I’m worried of the opposite: that some (churches) will use the status quo as rationale to decry the decision, whereby implying that “since our churches are not ready for this, therefore it was a bad decision”. Wouldn’t you say that that argument is a way of invoking the status quo to defend their viewpoint?

    I see the decision of Synod as a bold move, for it recognised that women’s voting is biblically sound even if some of the churches do not (yet) see it that way. Biblical soundness is the best reason there can be. And the decision of Synod is wiser yet not to implement such measures across the country but to leave it in the hands of the churches. Great decision in my opinion.

    • svandyken says:

      As the second airliner plowed into the World Trade Center, no doubt there were numerous well-meaning supervisors encouraging their co-workers not to panic. “Just return to your work and we’ll let you know if we need to evacuate. Everything’s going to be okay”.
      Or, if you prefer, “We appear to have hit a small iceberg. There’s no reason to panic; this ship was built to handle it — it is, after all, unsinkable.”

      Just remember to speak slowly and in a low pitch, and the sheep, er, people will not become alarmed.

      I remember the meetings 25 years ago (in my CRC congregation) where post-war Dutch immigrants warned of the coming collapse — having witnessed firsthand the man-made disaster formerly known as the GKN. I also remember the snickering among long-time members of the congregation — as well as the patronizing “there, there, it’s okay; it can’t/won’t happen again here” from the (grinning) pastor. Been there, done that. No thanks.

      Just out of curiosity: which article of our church order proscribes women’s involvement in voting for officebearers? In other words, this matter was already “in the hands of the churches”.

      Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

  7. Rob says:

    I don’t have strong feelings for or against voting by sisters for the election of elders and deacons. However, I can say that it is possible to recognize and fight against egalitarian thinking while also recognizing that Scripture gives no explicit or implicit directive about whether or not women should or may vote in a congregational election. For me, that’s the bottom line. Going against Scripture, as in ordaining women to office, is a great sin but binding other churches in the federation beyond Scripture or beyond what we have agreed upon in the Church Order is unhealthy. No extra-confessional binding and no extra-church-orderly binding.

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