Synod 2015 Hears It’s a Changing World for Ecumenical Relations

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Synod 2015 (the general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church), heard from Rev. Peter Borgdorff, retired executive director of the denomination and longtime member of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee, that “the world around us is changing.”

Borgdorff said that until recently the CRC scanned the world looking for churches “with whom we mostly agree.” But in doing so, he said, “the CRC became increasingly isolated.”

Some churches with whom the denomination had been historically connected moved to positions with which the CRC was no longer comfortable, and other churches were no longer comfortable with the positions of the CRC. But, Borgdorff reiterated, “The world around us has changed. What binds us together [is] much greater than the differences that divide us.” He listed such challenges to the faith as secularism, materialism, and injustice.

Borgdorff added that it was the realization that the world had changed that led to the adoption of the 2007 ecumenical charter. The new charter gave the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee more flexibility in dealing with relationships with other churches.

He noted that the CRC is admired for its scholarship and for the work done by its institutions in the world. As examples, Borgdorff cited two churches newly approved by synod as churches in dialogue, the United Reformed Church in the Congo and the Sudanese Reformed Churches, who sought to establish relationships with the CRC.

Borgdorff said that in Reformed ecumenical circles, the CRC often finds itself in the middle. “Being in the middle,” he said, is not the most comfortable place to be, but to be comfortable is not to be at the table at all.”


Synod 2015 is meeting at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, from June 12-18. For continuous Banner coverage, please follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

About the Author

Clayton Libolt was the long time pastor of River Terrace Church in East Lansing, Mich. Since his retirement, he has served in a variety of interim positions. He is presently serving as the interim senior pastor of Sonlight Community CRC in Lynden, Wash.

See comments (1)


Ecumenicalism and interfaithism. 'The world around us has changed. What binds us together [is] much greater then the differences that divide us." - Peter Borgdorff. Jonathan Cahn recently stated on Capital Hill: "Follow Baal and go to Hell!"

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3)

'You adultereous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)