Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

Christian Reformed Church Censured

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
Two orthodox churches in the USA took steps this past year at their General Assemblies to break off fraternal relations with the Christian Reformed Church (CRC). The 22,000-member Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) (formerly the church of Gresham Machen and John Murray) voted in June of 1997 to end its 60-year long relationship with the CRC. In the same month the 278,000-member Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) terminated its ecclesiastical fellowship with the CRC, although it wants to keep open some discussion with them. Meanwhile, the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC), an organization embracing seven Presbyterian and Reformed churches, have voted 6 to 1 to begin the process of suspending the CRC from its fellowship of conservative denominations. Only the CRC voted against the motion. "Sad but inevitable," according to Rev. Gordon Keddie, chairman of NAPARC. As the motion was discussed, CRC Rev Leonard Hofman gave his opinion on the motion. "This is not a court. What are you hoping to achieve in a vote to suspend us? Are you trying to discipline us? Do you have that right? We do not want to be accused or even described as giving in to a subtle cancer of an insidious nature that is pulling us away from the Word of God." (As gleaned from The Banner of Truth and Christian Renewal)

Perhaps without fully realizing it, Rev. Hofman has described his own denomination's problem quite accurately. This is also why we as Free Reformed Churches cannot have any fraternal relations with the CRC, At the same time we should not take on a "holier than thou" attitude, but take the warning of 1 Corinthians 10:12 seriously: "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Besides, we agree with the final words of the Banner of Truth on this issue: "The hopes and prayers of many are that the CRC will reconsider its liberalizing policy of the last few years and return to its former obedience to the Word of God:' Churches can recover in that way and in recent years in the USA this has, by God's grace happened in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Presbyterian (and Reformed) Churches in other countries could profit from study of these experiences.

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