Saturday, July 01, 2006

Here's a movement from within the Canadian Reformed Churches which is based on a wrong premise. Call to Reformation

On its front page you'll read this:

"This site has been created for the purpose of providing members of the Canadian and American Reformed Churches with important information concerning the erroneous decisions of General Synods 1992, 2001 and 2004. We focus on the decisions, which established Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the Presbyterian Church of Korea, the Free Church of Scotland, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the United Reformed Churches, and the Reformed Church in the United States.

"We are convinced that even though these General Synod decisions have been unsuccessfully appealed, they are in conflict with the Word of God, our confessions and our Church Order. We believe that when consistories accept these decisions as settled and binding, they also accept the practice of an open Lord's Supper, promote the false doctrine of the pluriformity of the church, impair the authority of the office-bearers in maintaining discipline, and undermine confessional membership."

I have bolded what seems to be their primary concern. The mistake of these brothers is in claiming that these churches with whom we have entered into ecclesiastical fellowship hold to the practice of an open Lord's Supper table. These churches do not hold to this practice. They may fence the table in way different from how the Canadian Reformed Churches do, but they fence the table. To say that they hold to an open table is not right.

Even a verbal warning, as is often done in the OPC, is not an open table. When persistent sinners are warned to stay away lest God's judgment break out against them, that's not an open table. We might disagree that it is the best way to fence the table, but it's not an open table. To say so is wrong.

1 comment:

George van Popta said...

Post 1:
Interesting point of view. I think there are more concerns here than defining what constitutes an open or fenced Table. I know that in the URC any Bible believing christian is invited to partake after talking to an elder. This would, I believe, include a Roman Catholic, Baptist, Mormon etc. I saw this "invitation" in a URC church bulletin. Indeed, any christian minister can be on their pulpits, after being cleared by the consistory. These are only two of many other differences between the URC and CanRc. How can we sit at the same Lord's Table when we have these differences? Or don't we have these differences anymore? If there is unification, I wonder,will we see this in our churches as well?
by: KC (URL) on 2006-07-04 04:13:35

Post 2:
I doubt very much that any URC would admit a Roman Catholic (QA 80 HC would prevent the elders from admitting one who regularly participates in an accursed idolatry) or a Mormon (a non-Christian). Likely these are myths propagated obstructionists.
by: George vP (URL) on 2006-07-04 04:41:33

Post 3:
Practices vary within the URCs. Some are *more open* than others -- but then again some CanRef churches may be more open than some URCs too. The point remains: there is no open Lord's Supper in the URCs.
by: Wes Bredenhof (URL) on 2006-07-04 12:15:53

Post 4:
I also would be surprised to see Mormons or RC's partake. But that was the wording in the bulletin. That covers a pretty broad spectrum. What about the open pulpits and their ideas on training their pastors though?
by: KC (URL) on 2006-07-04 13:06:06

Post 5:
The wording in the bulletin invited Mormons and RCs? I doubt it. I don't think the URC has open pulpits. The elders restrict who is allowed to preach. I don't think many are restrictive enough, but they don't have open pulpits. We need to be careful with our terminology. Statements that the URC has an open table and open pulpits are wrong and not helpful. As to your last question, I agree with the position that our side of the JTEC took on training of ministers.

It would be nice to know who "KC" is. Anonymity has no proper place in serious discussions about important matters.
by: George vP (URL) on 2006-07-04 13:46:08

Post 6:
There are of course differences in practice. It would be very surprising if there weren't. As Paul says, we should not dwell on these disputable matters. If we insist on our own practice, then by our own confession, we are a false church. "The false church assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God." (B.C. Art. 29)
by: Rick Baartman (URL) on 2006-07-04 13:46:11

Post 7:
Besides, from the latest press release of our Joint Church Order committee, it would appear that the URCs are prepared to restrict access to their pulpit. Give them time -- they are a young federation of churches. After the reformations of the past (the 16th century, 1834, 1886, 1944), things were not always kosher right off the bat either.
by: Wes Bredenhof (URL) on 2006-07-04 13:51:44

Post 8:
I received a private email from a brother who took issue with some of the words I used (that I referred to "these people" instead of "these brothers," and to "false witness" instead of "difference of opinion"). The last thing I want is fences erected because of certain terms employed. I have, therefore, made a few changes to the post.
by: George vP (URL) on 2006-07-04 22:08:26

Post 9:
I've read this exchange with some interest and would like publically to disabuse readers of this blog of any concern over the alleged admission of Mormons or Roman Catholics to the Lord's Table in United Reformed Churches. In the URC church I pastor --and I assume our protocol is standard -- every guest is required to meet with the elders before partaking of the Lord's table. He or she is carefully questioned regarding the confessional requirements for participation (as per Lord's Day 30:81) and regarding membership in a faithful church. For the record, we do our share of denying folks admission to the Lord's Table. The allegation that the URCNA practices open communion, therefore, is patently false.
by: Bill DeJong (URL) on 2006-07-08 08:53:33