Synod 2017, the general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church, denied an appeal brought by seven congregations and one individual pastor against a decision by Classis Pacific Northwest (a regional group of churches) to approve a candidate for ministry.
The action of the classis was endorsed by the synodical deputies, representatives of other classes sent to ensure that good order is followed.
A committee of synod examined the materials submitted and recommended that synod not sustain the appeal, stating that proper procedure had been followed.
Some delegates wanted to see the materials themselves. George Koopmans of Classis Alberta South said that in this case synod was acting as a court of appeal, and that as a court of appeal it needed the relevant facts.
Synod did not agree. It voted noted not to sustain the appeal on the basis of the testimony of its committee.
But Synod did not leave it there. J. Scott Roberts of Classis Pacific Northwest spoke of “deep divisions and rifts” in the classis. He said, “This is a no-win situation.” He requested prayer for Classis Pacific Northwest.
Peter Byma of Classis Grand Rapids North broadened the appeal. He said that “classes are hurting all over our denomination.” Asking for a “spiritual moment,” he suggested that the delegates spend time in prayer for the classes.
As the synod bowed in prayer, the song “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” emerged spontaneously from the delegates. Synod president Cornelius Pool instructed that a request for prayer for Classis Pacific Northwest be placed in the minutes.
Synod 2017 is meeting at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., from June 9-15. For continuous coverage while synod is in session, download the Banner app on your mobile device or 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 thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases and the webcast, please visit crcna.org. 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.