Evidence Ignored?

Synod Armadale 2012
The Synod Armadale 2012 of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia (FRCA) has concluded and the press release can be found http://synod.frca.org.au/2012/.

The Liberated Reformed Church at Abbotsford has submitted a letter to the FRCA Synod Armadale <link>.

This Synod has dealt with this letter:

Article 58 - Liberated Reformed Church Abbotsford (LRCA)

I. Material:

Agenda Item 8.e.i – Letter from Liberated Reformed Church Abbotsford.

II. Admissibility:

Following some discussion, the matter was declared inadmissible.


Rule 7.3 – “The admissibility of an agenda item shall be decided at the time when the item is scheduled for consideration. Submissions not from the churches, except those allowed by the Church Order, shall be received for information only and require no acknowledgement.”


The Liberated Reformed Church was also profiled in appeals from the following:

Article 59 - Liberated Reformed Church Abbotsford (LRCA)

I. Material:

 Agenda Item 8.a.i – Letter from FRC Kelmscott re request regarding material received from the Liberated Reformed Church at Abbotsford. 
Agenda Item 8.b.i – Letter from FRC Armadale re request regarding Abbotsford. 
Agenda Item 8.c.i – Overture from FRC Mt Nasura re Liberated Reformed Church at Abbotsford.
Agenda Item 11.g.iv – Deputies Report for Sister Church Relations:
Supplementary Report for Liberated Reformed Church at Abbotsford.
Free Reformed Churches of Australia - Synod Armadale 2012 http://synod.frca.org.au/2012/
These acts are an “approved draft”, and may contain spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and typos.

II.    Proposal:

Not to agree to the request of the FRC Armadale, FRC Kelmscott or FRC Mt Nasura to investigate the Liberated Reformed Church of Abbotsford and to accept the deputies grounds.


1.  The LRCA have requested deputies to make a judgment as to whether the CanRC are faithful or not. However, the FRCA continues to recognize the CanRC as true and faithful churches.

2.  The points of contention raised by the LRCA regarding the CanRC entering sister-church relations with the OPC (and other churches) are appeals against decisions of various General Synods of the CanRC (2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010). The FRCA has not objected to these sister-church relationships.

3.  It is not appropriate to delve into a local church matter which belongs within the jurisdiction of the CanRC federation of churches.


Testimony Ignored?

The Lord has given opportunity to the Liberated Reformed Church at Abbotsford to submit testimony before our sister churches in Australia concerning the deformation in the CANRC.  However it has become certain now where they stand in regards to the decisions of the Synods of the CANRC 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.  Indeed it is saddening; however nothing happens by chance but only through the will of our heavenly Father.  We believe that all is under His sovereignty and know that His will is for our good and for the preservation of His church through the ages.  For this we are certainly thankful.  Reading how Synod responded to the letter and upon reading the grounds given to the churches raises the question, why would Synod simply ignore the evidence put before them?  We see in the grounds that no real attempt is made to interact with the important evidence of deformation in the CANRC.  In fact it is worse the Synod has not permitted the material to be interacted with based on the ground: Rule 7.3 – “The admissibility of an agenda item shall be decided at the time when the item is scheduled for consideration. Submissions not from the churches, except those allowed by the Church Order, shall be received for information only and require no acknowledgement.  In this we see that Synod Armadale actually acts in the same fashion as the Christian Reformed Church did towards the newly liberated immigrants in the 1940s.  See also John deHaas' book "And replenish the earth" and G. Bosveld's book "Free Reformed Pioneers." 

This kind of attitude is severely lacking when we know the teachings of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in Matt 7:12 “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  Certainly if there is evidence presented of deformation and those to whom it is presented are unwilling to look at it when in the past this rule was not used in regards to the RCN(restored) would it not be considered partiality?  If so then we ought to remember the words of the Apostle James “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”[] you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” 
Driving a wedge?

After carefully considering the adopted decisions of the Synod at Armadale 2012 regarding the RCN (restored) I can only come to the conclusion that the Synod seems to seek to drive a wedge between the RCN (restored) and the LRCA.  Here is how I come to that conclusion.

First I would direct attention to previous Synods of FRCA concerning the RCN (restored).

The FRCA acknowledges the restored churches' desire to be reformed.

Consistent with this the FRCA is preparing to admonish the vrijgemaakte churches, however only in consultation with the other sister churches.  Is not the weight of Holy Scripture sufficient, without having to "gang up" on the offender?  The offender is already complaining about this - see the report of the Australian deputies!

Secondly, the FRCA has now stated in Art. 59 grounds 1 & 2 that they stand with the CANRC.  Take a look at the decisions of the CANRC regarding the RCN (restored).  The CANRC has twice stated the RCN (restored) is schismatic! (I cannot overemphasize this)  By stating the faithfulness of the CANRC and its Synod decisions the FRCA accepts those Synod decisions.  In addition the CANRC had even admonished the RCN (restored) to return to the RCN.  These decisions of the CANRC do not even fit in with the Australian assessment of the restored churches.  So how then is the LRCA an impediment?

Finally, the FRCA maintains full unity with the RCN formerly GKV.

As stated previously with all these points in mind how is it even possible for the FRCA to establish a unity with the “schismatic” RCN (restored)?
So when they state that the LRCA is an impediment to unity with the RCN(restored) is there a certain amount of craftiness here or just plain ignorance?

We can conclude that the real impediment to unity with the RCN(restored) is the relationship with both the GKV(RCN) and the CANRC which declared at Synod 2007 and affirmed by Synod 2010 that the restored churches are schismatic! 

One rule to break them all

      (Rule 7.3 – “The admissibility of an agenda item shall be decided at the time when the item is scheduled for consideration. Submissions not from the churches, except those allowed by the Church Order, shall be received for information only and require no acknowledgement.”)
     The use of this rule raises the question do churches in Australia take evidence of deformation in a sister church serious?  I would believe that the rule would not have any weight if evidence of deformation in a sister church is presented in all seriousness for the sake of the sister church to the body of Synod.   By the use of this rule one cannot ignore this kind of evidence put before them.  What is the purpose of a federational bond of sister churches if not for most importantly keeping watch for each other.  So when members who were part of the “bond” prior to 2007 show the necessary separation from the bond their fellow brothers decide to pull a rule.  This is hierarchical and smacks of contempt.

Thus by the using this rule to ignore the evidence presented to the FRCA and the FRCA declaration of solidarity with the CANRC decisions they have in effect broken the unity of the church of Christ.  For the unity decisions in the CANRC are not in obedience to God’s Word and do not submit to the headship of Christ.

We can also ask why was this rule not used with the RCN(restored)?

What is the FRCA giving up?

Much more can be said of the grounds found in Art 59.

Sadly we can note that the FRCA has officially decided to stand with CANRC in the relationships with other churches established by the previous CANRC synod decisions.  (Art 59, ground # 2)  These established relationships are with other churches which do not confess and which refuse to confess the doctrine of the Church and of the Covenant in accordance with Gods’ Word.  All of this has been proven!  In addition the CANRC is in relationships with Churches who do not abide by the Reformed Confessions.  Take a look at the constitution of NAPARC.  You will find that all member churches must allow their members to attend each others’ Lord’s Supper.

By accepting the CANRC as a faithful federation and with it the Synod decisions to date.  The FRCA has considerably weakened the right of appeal (Acts of Synod Smithers).  The FRCA also then accepts the loosening of confessional membership mentioned in the editorial “Worse then 1944”.  It accepts an unscriptural binding within the CANRC’s cf “An Unscriptural Binding” It also then accepts the wrong concept of the church as taught in the Westminster Standards.  Lastly it accepts the improper supervision of the Lord’s Supper.  But all of this was ignored!

We should look at the history which has developed after these unscriptural synod decisions.  For example we can take a look at what is written in the Annual Yearbook of the CANRC and FRCA on page 243 by Rev. James Visscher.  “Sadly, the same cannot be said of the General Synod 2010 of the URCNA.  Synod London decided to re-appoint with Church Order Committee but then with a rather limited mandate.  It also decided not to re-appoint the remaining committees.  In other words, the proposed merger died in 2010.”   Died?  What about the last 15 years of prayers to the effect “may God bless this merger”.  What about the sermons in Abbotsford during 2001 with threats against those who would stand in the way of this merger?  It died.  So now the FRCA stands firmly behind this ‘dead’ relationship as the work of Christ.  This is sad in many ways but most importantly because the CANRC could have been a much better witness.

As a result of these decisions we can attest to the severe weakening of the doctrine of the Church as confessed in Article 28 & 29 of the Belgic Confession.  There has even been a major exodus of many CANRC members to go to the churches with whom the relationships have been established, but also to churches which whom no relations exist.  The CRC, PCA, Free Reformed Church.  Many have been given a ‘blessing’ when they depart in the church bulletins.  This proves an already compromised concept of the Church by the Shepherds of the CANRC.  But it fits in with the Westminster Standards.  So the reality is that the CANRC by way of these unscriptural relations has come to accept the Westminster Standards and in so doing are in conflict with the Three Forms of Unity.  The Westminster Standards teach the pluriform concept of the Church, more or less pure.

Pluriformity, with this doctrine you get to pick your church like apples at a supermarket they all claim to be ‘reformed’ they all have their own unique history – indeed some do have a unique history.   The Presbyterians have a history which involves rejecting the Three Forms of Unity when given the chance at the Synod of Dordt 1619.  More will be said of this in a future editorial.  What about the Lord’s Supper?  We then hear “as long as I am right with God” or “my salvation is what is important”. Is that truly what we confess?  So we are not our brother’s keepers?  What about confessional membership? 

If we claim to be Reformed it means we constantly reform.  What is the alternative?

We should reflect on the words of the LORD in Ezekial 33:12 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ ” NKJV  Reflecting on this text I understand it to indicate in relation to our church life today that we can never sit back and be silent when deformation occurs, nor can we ever have the attitude that we have ‘arrived’ and no longer are in need of reformation and indulge in the distractions of this world.


As believers we confess that we must promote our neighbours well being.  We also confess that we must not bear false witness.  In today’s day and age our ‘neighbours’ are closer then they appear.  When work has been done to bring serious concerns to the ecclesiastical assemblies it would only be suitable to invest the same amount of work to honestly defend the position taken by the ecclesiastical assemblies of the CANRC and the FRCA.  However when we look at the past 10 years of the decisions made by the assemblies of the CANRC we see otherwise.  How can I have the audacity to say this?  Simple take a look at the weight of the argument.  It is not as if we are coming up with something new here.  Indeed much has been written about these concerns prior to the CANRC Synod of 2001 Neerlandia in such magazines like Reformed Polemics.  But now there is silence.  The amount of Scriptural evidence to support the decisions made by the assemblies today is considerably lacking.  Where are all the articles from those who wrote in the past to reflect this new idea in support of the current practices of the CANRC.  There is none, and so we see that there has indeed been a change in thinking.  But the laity is not worthy of an explanation.  Thus we see an even greater hierarchy today.  The leaders of the CANRC couldn’t be bothered to correct what was said in the past or invest any time in defending the current status quo.  But in this situation we know and have confidence that the Lord is on our side since we speak the truth.  The LORD is the preserver of His church.  His unity is not a ‘dead’ unity.  The Lord has by way of reformation delivered His church at Abbotsford from the snare of the lie.    

True believers are not bystanders when the Lord brings reformation to His church.  Tomorrow we all will remember the Great Reformation and with it also the constant struggle involved with being Reformed and constantly reforming!

We hope and pray that our brothers in Australia will weigh the matter and come to the realization that the evil one is making war against the Church of Christ.  The struggle for the truth is continous thus we also need correction where we are lacking, but also support when we are correct.

R T Vanlaar