No New Process to Change Confessions, Church Order

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Synod 2011 decided to maintain the current process required to make substantial changes to the Reformed Confessions and Church Order of the Christian Reformed Church.

Classis Grand Rapids North (a regional group of churches) had requested that synod change the process so it’s similar to that used by the Reformed Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA). Those churches require two-thirds of the classes (regions) to approve major changes to the confessions, Church Order, and liturgical forms, among other documents.

Some delegates supported the proposal. “We need to realize that there’s a disconnect between what happens here and people in the pew thousands of miles away from here,” said elder Chad Werkhoven, Classis Columbia.

Supporters said the proposed process would encourage healthy, denomination-wide discussion on the Belhar Confession before Synod 2012.

But more delegates favored the current system.

Rev. Kathy Smith, Calvin Theological Seminary faculty adviser to synod, praised the effectiveness of the current process. “We come together to discuss and deliberate all together, not in our separate classes, but together, so we can hear the wisdom from one another.”

About the Author

Ryan Struyk was a former Banner news correspondent for classes Grand Rapids South and Thornapple Valley. 

See comments (3)


By the way, I'm not so sure the PCUSA requires 2/3rds for Church Order changes - as the article says (maybe only for Confessional changes). This year the PCUSA adopted major changes in its Form of Government (nFOG - new FOG - as it is referred to) as well as its permission of the ordination of gay clergy by 50% + majorities only.

With all do respect- while we all come together to discuss and deliberate together...we don't hear all the wisdom from one another. Perhaps that one reason to create a tiered decision making process. We already have created a mechanism more or less of where one Synod proposes, then another decides on a major issue. Why not put another step in- require the Classis to fill in the time between with advice to the subsequent Classis officially? That method could be done many ways, but most simple and direct is a vote. That way you would have "all the wisdom" and plenty of deliberation. The Synod that needs to make a decision would have knowledge of what is really "out in the bushes," and not just a surmise of the same.

Elder Chad Werkhoven spoke words of wisdom when he said "We need to realize that there's a disconnect between what happens here (synod) and people in the pew thousands of miles away from here.

We wonder why so many of our young people and families are leaving the CRC denomination. I'm a senior citizen who has belonged to two Home Mission churches and four other CRC's because of job related moves. I very much doubt that the delegates from the various classis that my churches belonged to, were connected in thought and spirit. Is Synod an objective body, or a subjective body, in other words, do our delegates express their own feelings on issues or do they reflect the the feelings of those they are representing.