The Christian Reformed Churches of Australia held their synod from May 6 to 11 in Melbourne. For those unaware, the CRCA is not the antipodean equivalent of the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA), although they do have ecumenical relations. The CRCA was formed through post-war Dutch immigration and today consists of over 50 congregations throughout Australia. Besides the CRCNA, and unlike them, the CRCA also has ecumenical relations with the Reformed Churches of New Zealand (“ecumenical fellowship”) and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Last year, the CRCA also joined the International Conference of Reformed Churches.
A few items of interest from this recent synod:
In the area of ecumenical relations, the CRCA synod decided to suspend their relationships with two sister churches in South Africa. The Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa and the Netherdutch Reformed Church of South Africa have both made synodical decisions compromising the biblical view of homosexuality. If there is no repentance in these South African churches by 2021, the next CRCA synod will terminate these relationships.
Until recently the CRCA Church Order stated in article 56: “The sessions shall see to it that the congregations assemble for public worship twice each Sunday unless valid reasons make this impractical.” A proposal to change this was discussed and approved. The CRCA Church Order now reads: “The sessions shall see to it that the congregations assemble for public worship at least once a Sunday.” This effectively makes two worship services optional in the CRCA.
Finally, there was a noteworthy discussion regarding children at the Lord’s Supper. According to the official Short Minutes a proposal was tabled to allow children access to the Lord’s table “on the basis of their covenantal membership and exercising an age and ability appropriate understanding of God’s grace and how it applies to them.” After extensive discussion, a committee was appointed “to review previous synodical, theological, and exegetical studies, to consult with churches in ecclesiastical fellowship, consider whether the practice is a confessional matter, and to clarify other theological issues and practical implications.” This committee has been mandated to report to the next synod in 2021.
Of course, other matters were discussed as well, and you can read a longer summary of them all here.