United Reformed Churches of North America to Reformed Churches of the Netherlands: Farewell

The URCNA voted to end fraternal relations [“ecumenical contact”] with the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands over the RCN’s decision to ordain women to all church offices.

The Dutch media reported that the RCN had examined its first woman at a classis for preaching consent.  Gerry Bos was examined by Classis Hattem and is now able to preach in the churches.  Even before Synod Meppel, however, one RCN church had already allowed a woman to take the pulpit as part of her theological training

 

The United Reformed Churches of North America (URCNA) held their synod this June in Wheaton, Illinois.  One of the decisions made dealt with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (RCN).  Up till this synod, the URCNA had a relationship with the RCN termed as “ecumenical contact.”  This was the first step on the way to having a closer relationship as sister churches.  However, because Synod Meppel last year decided to admit women to all the offices of the church, the URCNA has decided to terminate this relationship.

One needs to remember that the URCNA partly owes its very existence to this issue — they developed out of an exodus of faithful believers from the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in the 1990s.  One of the main issues leading to that was the adoption of women in office.

Last week, the Dutch media reported that the RCN had examined its first woman at a classis for preaching consent.  Gerry Bos was examined by Classis Hattem and is now able to preach in the churches.  Even before Synod Meppel, however, one RCN church had already allowed a woman to take the pulpit as part of her theological training.  In 2015, Ineke Baron was permitted to preach at the RCN in Haulerwijk.

Next week, starting on Monday, the Free Reformed Churches of Australia will have their synod.  One of the major items for discussion will be our relationship with the RCN.  The deputies responsible for ecumenical relations with the RCN are proposing the termination of this relationship.  If that happens (and it likely will), it should be another clear signal to the RCN that they are on the path of unfaithfulness.  Sister churches and organizations like the ICRC (International Conference of Reformed Churches) see the writing on the wall — the faithful still in the RCN ought not to be naive and see it too.  It is increasingly becoming apparent that their calling is to depart and find a bond of faithful churches.

Wes Bredenhof is Pastor of the Free Reformed Church, Launceston, Tasmania. This article is from his website.

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Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS) to RCN: Farewell