Maranatha Christian Reformed Church, Belleville, Ontario, has served notice that it intends to disaffiliate from the denomination, rather than comply with the request of Classis Quinte (its regional group of churches) that it apply special discipline to depose its pastor, Rev. John Visser. (See previous article.)
Only a local church council may apply discipline to its pastor.
Classis Quinte made the request at its May 10 meeting after receiving the report of a team that assessed the situation of Maranatha. The report of that assessment team included concerns regarding the principles and practices of the healing ministry of Maranatha.
A $1 million lawsuit had also been brought against Visser, Maranatha CRC, Classes Quinte and Eastern Canada, and the Christian Reformed Church in North America in the fall of 2008, alleging that Visser abused his position of influence, trust, and authority in a counseling relationship to further his own business interests. The lawsuit was dropped in the fall of 2010.
Classis Quinte met in special session again June 2 to hear Maranatha’s response to its May 10 request. After delegates heard presentations by the council, staff, and concerned members of Maranatha, and by members of the independent assessment team, it upheld its May 10 requests.
During the summer months the classical ministries committee of Classis Quinte will meet with Maranatha CRC.