Synod Carman 2013 — photo courtesy of Rev. D. Boersema.
Synod made a decision about Bible translations. The ESV is now the recommended translation in the Canadian Reformed Churches, having supplanted the 1984 NIV. Synod refrained from recommending the NIV2011 for use or testing in the churches. However, the Committee for Bible Translation was tasked with doing further study of both the NIV2011 and the ESV.
There were a number of decisions pertaining to the Book of Praise (with more to come). One of the decisions was in regard to the Abbreviated Form for the Lord’s Supper. I predicted that the recommendation of the Committee would be followed and the words “For the Second Service” would be dropped. It didn’t happen. The Synod decided to keep the words, citing as grounds the fact that the Committee still needs to interact with the reasoning of Synod Smithville 1980.
But the biggest surprise of all has to do with women voting for office bearers. My prognosis postulated that the status quo would prevail. I was wrong. Many churches appealed the decision of Synod 2010 to leave this matter in the domain of local churches. Synod 2013 was persuaded by the arguments presented and has overturned that decision. A 180 degree turnaround is rare in the Canadian Reformed Churches, but that’s what has happened here. Let me give the full text of the recommendations that were adopted:
4.1 That Synod Burlington 2010 erred on church political grounds in its decision to leave the matter of women’s voting in the freedom of the churches.
4.2 That Synod Burlington 2010 erred in stating that the exegetical sections brought forward in both the majority and minority reports are “hardly relevant or decisive for the matter of women’s voting”.
4.3 That the churches should return to the voting practice as it officially was before 2010, namely, male communicant members only voting.
This decision doesn’t affect our congregation in Providence, but I can think of some who will not be happy with this. This issue is not over, not by far.