Protestant Reformed Church Settles 2 year old Judicial Case

Protestant Reformed Church Settles 2 year old judicial case – requires all Ministers and Elders to send children to denomination-affiliated Christian schools.

The 2009 General Synod of the Protestant Reformed Church was held at the Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church in Hudsonville in August. One of the most significant results was that final action was taken on a case that began in 2007. The case involved a congregation in Classis East when a Grand Rapids pastor was asked to leave when his congregation became divided over his children being homeschooled.

Following is an extract from the minutes of the Classis from January, 2008 that explains the case:

Classis treated protests from four individuals and a consistory against decisions taken by classis in September, 2007 regarding a pastor’s calling with regard to the education of his children in light of Article 21 of the Church Order. Classis did not uphold any of these protests, thus allowing the original decisions of classis to stand. Classis also dealt with the report of a special committee appointed to assist the Grace PRC in implementing the decisions taken by classis. The discussion of this report and of the advice of a committee of pre-advice was held in closed session. Classis, however, decided to make its decisions public.

Classis decided 1) that, in light of the requirements of Article 21 of the Church Order, Grace PRC’s consistory erred when they judged valid the reasons for their pastor’s withdrawing his children from two good Christian schools and home schooling them; 2) to advise Grace PRC to work with their pastor to show him the inadequacy of his reasons, and to inform their congregation of this and of the fact that they are working with him to show him that his reasons are not acceptable as the pastor of Grace PRC.

The 2009 Synod went on to say that congregation members are encouraged to send their children to Christian schools, but they aren’t required to do so. Synod Clerk Don Doezema said the vote overwhelmingly favored requiring denomination-affiliated schools for children of clergy and office holders.

The synod’s decision notes that elders are in a different category than congregation members because they are supposed to promote denominational schools “by word and by example.”