Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Seventh Reformed Church Dismissed from Reformed Church of America

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
Seventh Reformed Church of Grand Rapids (where Dr. John R. de Witt is pastor) was dismissed from the Reformed Church of America (RCA, American counterpart of the Reformed Church of Canada) because the church had adamantly refused to pay part of its 1994 "assessment." The reason for the church's refusal of payment was to show its opposition to theological liberalism in the RCA. For this "sin" of non-payment, Seventh Reformed was summarily dismissed. One hundred and five years of membership in the RCA ended on March 7, 1995. Although the pastoral staff was permitted to retain membership in the denomination, Dr. de Witt indicated that he and retired pastor, Rev. Charles Krahe, would likely be leaving the RCA as well. "We are trying to think of what to do," said de Witt. "Everybody always says you've got to stay until you get thrown out, and we got thrown out... I feel a bottomless sadness for the Reformed Church that things have come to this."

Where Seventh Reformed and de Witt will go is not at all clear. The congregation had sent observers to attend meetings of the Alliance of Reformed Churches for the last few years, but de Witt is a strong opponent of independency as un-reformed. De Witt was most recently a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and pastor of one of its largest congregations, Second Presbyterian Church of Memphis, Tennesseee. However, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church allows local churches the option of women in office and the charismatic movement--positions toward which Seventh Reformed has historically taken a strong negative stand. (From Facts and from Believers Press Service)

We have commented on the developments in the RCA before, and again, we want to commend Dr. de Witt and his congregation for their stand against denominational liberalism. It will be interesting to see where Dr. de Witt and his congregation will go from here.

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