CanRC Interim Report on Relations with Churches in the Netherlands

27 October 2014 by Wes Bredenhof


Recently, an important report was released by the CanRC synodically appointed subcommittee tasked with relations with our Dutch sister churches (and others).  The report is available online here.  From the report, it’s quite evident that the concerns of the Canadian Reformed Churches are not being taken seriously by the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands.  The last CanRC synod sent a letter to Synod Ede of the RCN.  The Dutch Synod did not deal with many of the specific concerns raised by our synod.  The report states:  “We can only conclude that Synod Ede’s response did not show much real consideration for the deep disquiet expressed by our churches.”  Further, the report notes the discussion about women in office at Synod Ede.  While the report proposing opening the offices to women was not accepted, the doors were not completely closed either.  In fact, the report goes on to note the decision of Synod Ede regarding their relationship with the Netherlands Reformed Churches, churches where women in office is a done deal.  Here’s what our committee says about that:

Two of the decisions of Synod Ede concerning the contact with the NRC are as follows (our translation):

  • to declare that due to the agreement in discussions concerning hermeneutics the hindrance which existed because of the opening of the offices to women in the NRC has been removed;
  •  to continue the contact with the NRC and to proceed from talks to discussions with an eye to church unity.

What these decisions clearly showed us is that the hermeneutic utilized by the NRC to open all church offices to women has in principle been already accepted as valid by Synod Ede. Thus, we could say, the matter of women in office has already entered the RCN via the “Trojan horse” of decisions concerning unity talks with the NRC.

The report concludes the section on the RCN in a understated way, noting that all of this does not bode well for our relationship with them.  Indeed!  And reason to keep on praying for our sister churches.