A COVENANT of ORDINATION for OFFICEBEARERS in the CRCNA
We, the undersigned office bearers of the CRCNA heartily accept the authority of the Word of God as received in the inspired Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, which reveal the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, namely the reconciliation of all things in him.
We accept the historic confessions: the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort, as well as Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, as faithful expressions of the church’s understanding of the gospel for its time and place, which define our tradition and continue to guide us today.
Personally, I’m not wild about accepting the ‘Our World Belongs to God’ as a fourth form of unity. It strikes me that before that should happen there should be some advance notification to the Churches that that is being considered because there are some people who, understanding the three forms of unity, don’t pay any attention to this ‘expression,’ and thus would need time to get up to speed on what it actually says.
We promise with thankfulness for these expressions of faith to be shaped by them in our various callings: preaching, teaching, writing, and serving. We further promise to continually review them in the light of our understanding of the Scriptures.
I hope that all realize that in this series of posts I honestly believe that I have been shaped by the Confessions in my writing of these posts.
I wonder if Guido de Bres would have characterized the Belgic Confession of faith as a ‘expression of faith’ or if he would have characterized it as a faithful summation of the Gospel?
Now previously I had to defend, and diligently teach the Confessions. I also had to reject and refute all errors. Now, I just have to be shaped by the Confessions. Is this not a downgrade?
Should we at any time become convinced that our understanding of the gospel as revealed in the Scriptures has become irreconcilable to the witness of the church as expressed in the above documents, we will communicate our views to the church according to the prescribed procedures and promise to submit to its judgment.
Doesn’t this have a silencing effect?
We do this so that the church will remain faithful to, grow in understanding of, and be diligent in living out this witness in all of life to the glory of God.
My difficulty with this whole process overall is that it strikes me as an attempt to solve one problem with another problem. The problem that exists currently is that people don’t take the FOS seriously. The answer that has been stumbled upon is to get rid of the FOS so that people won’t have to worry about not taking it seriously. I suppose that is one way to deal with the problem.
Another difficulty I have is the nagging suspicion that this is being done in order to build bigger tents. The Three forms of unity (TFU) and the FOS don’t allow us the kind of flexibility to be all things to all people. The TFU and the FOS don’t allow ministers to do both baby dedications and infant baptisms, and how can we build bigger tents unless we do both? The TFU and FOS are very precise about the character of God in such a way that modern sensibilities are offended, and how can we build a big tent if we offend those sensibilities. The TFU and FOS don’t allow post-modern categories because they speak as if absolute truth can be absolutely known regardless of people’s time, place, or culture, and everyone knows that you can’t build bigger tents with that kind of certainty. Mist is in. Clarity is out.
I don’t think the committee’s argumentation is well reasoned and therefore I oppose this change.