No New Process to Change Reformed Confessions

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Synod 2012 rejected a request to change the process by which the Christian Reformed Church deals with changes to the Reformed confessions.

Rev. William Vis, Classis Grand Rapids North: Requiring two-thirds of classes to ratify changes has worked well for the RCA and PCUSA.
Photo: Karen Huttenga

Classis Grand Rapids North requested a process similar to that of the Reformed Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA), which requires two-thirds of the classes to ratify changes before a final adoption by synod.

“It has worked well for them,” said Rev. William Vis, Classis Grand Rapids North. “The RCA sent the Belhar [Confession] to the classes. Over two-thirds of the classes adopted it.” He went on to explain that, using the same system, the PCUSA did not adopt the Belhar Confession.

“We think highly of our confessions, and it’s appropriate that we require a substantial vote to approve any change in those,” said Rev. G. Duane Nieuwsma, Classis Grandville.

Some believed that process would take away from the deliberative nature of synod.

“As soon as we farm it out to the individual classes, that deliberative nature happens just in that classis, but it does not happen between the classes,” said Rev. Michael Vander Laan, Classis Toronto. “I am afraid that is going to cause more division within our denomination.”

Synod voted down the proposal by a vote of 89-73.


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About the Author

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

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