Synod 2012 accepted a new Covenant for Officebearers that must be signed by all ministers, elders, deacons, and professors at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary.
Rev. Eduardo Gonzalez, Classis Arizona: “It is really an outstanding document for the church. We should uphold it and we should use it.” Photo: Karen Huttenga
The document, which replaces the Form of Subscription, calls officebearers to affirm their commitment to the Scriptures and to the church’s creeds and confessions.
Synod approved the new document unanimously and gave a standing ovation to the study committee that spent seven years developing it.
“I’ve been chair of the [study] committee for what seems like an eternity now,” said Rev. James Dekker, introducing himself.
Both Synod 2008 and Synod 2011 had considered previous drafts of the document, but recommitted them to the study committee for further revision.
“I deeply appreciate how the [committee] has stated in unambiguous terms that we agree with the doctrine of the Reformed confessions because and only because they fully agree with the Word of God,” said Cedric Parsels, a young adult representative.
Some delegates had concerns with including reference in the Covenant to Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony.
“My sense of the Form of Subscription revision is for clarity, and to introduce the Contemporary Testimony in this statement—though it’s on a different level—I think is more confusing than helpful,” said Rev. Roger Sparks, Classis Minnkota.
“How can I recognize the witness of something whose content will change?” asked Rev. D. Vance Hays, Classis Columbia.
But synod decided to leave reference to the testimony in the document, asking officebearers to “recognize” it, but stopping short of “affirming” it, as is required for creeds and confessions.
“[The Contemporary Testimony] is for our denomination. We appreciate it. It should be part of our DNA, and I don’t think it should be taken out,” said Rev. Eduardo Gonzalez, Classis Arizona.
“It is really an outstanding document for the church. We should uphold it and we should use it,” he said. “It should be a part of what we are.”
The passing of the document was met with enthusiastic applause and hoots from delegates.
“This has been a long journey for your committee,” said synod president Rev. Leslie Kuiper. [Thank you] for the deep commitment that you’ve demonstrated in working through all of the process.”