A Binational Church

Vantage Point
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May God hit a home run with a crooked bat.

I agree with Adrien de Jong that the American Christian Reformed Church gave us Dutch immigrants in Canada a splendid welcome back in the 1950s (“Let Us Go Forth”).

I also agree with editor De Moor that we have too much in common to separate.

The 1940s in the Netherlands comes to mind. Our leaders could not agree on some issues related to infant baptism. The people in the pews took sides and the GKN (Netherlands Reformed Church) split. It hurt, but worse was the split in hundreds of families, including my own.

Today, 70 years later and three thousand miles apart, it still hurts.

So we must stay together, not only struggle but sacrifice for our unity too, and have open minds. Let us find our unity in the Giver rather than in his gift of nationality (as we do in the Apostles’ Creed).

But we must do something too, for we are different people. We have different nationalities, each with its own history, different cultures, systems, ministries. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Praise the Lord! Those differences are God-ordained. They keep us all from building a tower of Babel.

I had a dream of how we should change our way of doing things in the organized binational church. For an almost 90-year-old man, dreaming is very biblical!

1. We should change our synodical meeting format. First we should meet separately—the American and Canadian delegates each dealing with their country’s specific ministries.

2. Next we should meet together and deal with the ministries we do together.

3. We should change our voting system at all our binational meetings from one delegate, one vote, to a system that fairly balances Canadian and American votes. Abandon voice votes and install a digital system.

I hear some of you say that this idea is too drastic, that it is not democratic. But may I remind you that in God’s kingdom, the church is not a democracy. The Bible teaches plainly that the rules in the kingdom of God and in the church are completely different (see Matt. 20:1-16 and Galatians 5).

I challenge a classis in the United States to bring the above plan to synod. Let us debate it, study it, and change it for the better until we feel comfortable with it. The big hurdle is to get it passed at synod under the old rules!

May our God hit a home run with a crooked bat.

Let us joyfully and in peace serve our multinational Lord.

Related articles:

Why Being a Binational Church is So Important (The Banner)

“A New Day” in Canadian Ministry (The Banner)

Canadian Forum Causes Both Appreciation and Frustration (The Banner)

About the Author

Theodore Ferwerda has been a member of the Christian Reformed church for 68 years. He attends Cross-Point CRC in Brampton, Ontario.

See comments (1)

Comments

Point 1 - fine with me...

Point 2 - okay...

Point 3 - I think we're going to have some trouble coming to a mutually agreed upon understand of what constitutes a "system that fairly balances Canadian and American votes."  What is "fairly" and what is "balance" in this context?  Those are the sorts of questions that, if you ask two people you'll get three answers.

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