November 13th, 2006
Dear brother <FF/MT/JVL/JVT>:
We have received your letter, signed by you and three other brothers, dated October 11th, 2006, in which you ask us to i)recognize the legitimacy of the "secession" that has happened in Lynden and ii)rescind our approval and implementation of all Synodical decisions to establish and confirm ecclesiastical fellowship with the OPC, PCK, FCS, RCUS and the URC.
In regard to your second request, we remind you of our letters to you dated February 4th, 2006 and June 27th, 2006. As yet we have not received any substantive reaction to points one through eight of our letter of February 4th, 2006. Please remember that both Classis Pacific East of March 30th, 2006 and Classis Pacific East of September 14th, 2006 have judged that you have not shown consistory's response to you dated Feb. 4th, 2006 to be Biblically deficient. Until such a time as we receive a substantive and convincing reply to our February 4th letter, we will no longer receive any correspondence from you on the matter of ecclesiastical fellowship with other churches.
We now wish to address your first request. It is clear to us that your request that we recognize the legitimacy of the Hofford "secession" depends on the assumption that you are correct in your opinions about the afore-mentioned ecclesiastical relationships. If these ecclesiastical relationships are contrary to the teaching of God's Word, then the Hofford "secession" might warrant further investigation. As things stand, the Hofford "secession" cannot be considered to be anything other than a self-willed act of schism.
To highlight the schismatic nature of the actions of the Hoffords, we also point out that they broke with the church of Christ in Lynden without following the agreed upon process of Article 31 of the Church Order. It appears to us that the Hoffords have determined for themselves that the appeal process in our federation of churches lacks integrity and that, for this reason, they are not obliged to follow the appeal process. We can only deplore the arrogance and individualism displayed in this course of action. We have no intention of investigating a so-called "secession" in Lynden when the self-described "seceders" have not even followed the agreed upon process of seeking justice.
Brother <FF/MT/JVL/JVT>, seeing that you have not presented proof that Consistory's February 4th response fails the test of Scripture, and yet forge on with your demands, we can only conclude that they are based on your human opinion rather than on God's Word, Not God's Word but your unsubstantiated interpretation of God's Word has become your guide and your law. In the Name of the Lord, you are seeking to impose upon the consistory and congregation ideas and opinions which you say are from the Lord but which do not have the authority of the Word behind them. In the Name of the Lord, you call us to be obedient but the standard of obedience is not a clear word from the Lord but your own opinions. Thus you are presuming to say things in the Name of the Lord which are not from the Lord. This is sin against the third commandment.
Your letter also shows a rebellion that is characteristic of sin against the fifth commandment. When, despite several exhortations of the consistory and the judgment of two different Classes, you do not respond to an official letter of the consistory but instead continue with your (expanding) demands, we consider that you are showing disrespect for the leadership of the church. This is sin against the fifth commandment.
Furthermore, your support of the schism of the Hoffords
is also sin against the fifth commandment. In the fifth commandment, the Lord
calls us "to show all honour, love and faithfulness ... to those in authority
over us" and to submit with "due obedience to their good instruction
and discipline" since "it is God's will to govern us by their hand"
(see Lord's Day 39, Heidelberg Catechism). By supporting the actions of the Hoffords, you are with them repudiating those lawfully called to govern the American Reformed Church at Lynden. You are sowing the seeds of rebellion among the people of God. This makes you, like the Hoffords, guilty of sin against the fifth commandment.
Brother <FF/MT/JVL/JVT>, your letter to us reveals that you are on a dangerous course. By endorsing the schism of the Hoffords, you have in essence broken fellowship with the Canadian Reformed church of which you are a member and with the other churches of the federation to which it belongs. You regard as a false church one which we consider to be a faithful congregation of Christ. You endorse separation from this church while we believe that God's people in the Lynden area are called to remain united to this church. You endorse what we view as a schism whereas Christ calls us to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Brother <FF/MT/JVL/JVT>, we urge you in the Name of Christ to turn away from your support of an unlawful schism in the church. We hereby warn you officially to neither publicly nor privately support the unlawful separation of the Hoffords. In the very near future the elders hope to meet with you to ascertain whether or not you have taken this letter to heart. If you have, we will rejoice and will continue to work with you for the building up of our congregation in the true Christian faith. If you do not take this letter to heart, the elders would have no choice but to proceed with church discipline.
Yours in Christ,