Canadian Reformed Church
Box 66, Abbotsford, B.C. V2S 4N7

July 14th, 2006

Dear br, and sr. VanTil:

We are writing in response to your letter dated June 21st which was made available to us as our Council meeting of June 22nd, 2006.

In your letter, you first state that the Council has failed to articulate a "lawful objection" for not proceeding with the installation of br. J. Van Laar as elder in our congregation.

In response, Council consider that it is indeed a lawful objection to the installation of an elder when that brother states that he will not uphold the decisions of the broader assemblies as accepted by his own consistory even though he himself has not appealed those decisions. Council also considers that it is a lawful objection to the installation of an elder when that elder would be involved in calling the congregation to the Lord's Table at which he himself would refuse to sit; furthermore, Council also considers it to be a lawful objection to the installation of an elder when he states that he will not sit at the Lord's Table due to the presence of a member in good standing of an acknowledged sister church.

It is good to point out that, contrary to the assumption of your letter, the consistory has not disciplined br. Van Laar. Not proceeding with installation was a serious step to take but it did not constitute an act of church discipline.

In addition, you claim that Council incorrectly "states that br. Van Laar never formally appealed synodical decisions regarding the United Reformed Churches." Contrary to the implications of your letter, the minutes of consistory do not reveal any evidence of an appeal by br. Van Laar. Council acknowledges that br. VanLaar did address the Consistory in December of 2003 in regard to the United Reformed Churches. However, a motion put before a Consistory does not in itself constitute an appeal. When Consistory failed to endorse br. Van Laar's motion, he could have appealed this Consistory decision to the major assemblies. However, he did not do so. Hence, what the Abbotsford Council said in its public announcement is entirely correct: br. J. Van Laar did not appeal Consistory's decision to accept the decisions of General Synod regarding the United Reformed Churches.

To show that this understanding of the word "appeal" is correct, we refer you to Article 31 of our Church Order. This article is entitled "Appeals." It states that "If anyone complains that he has been wronged by the decision of a minor assembly, he shall have the right to appeal to the major assembly." Article 31 shows how the word "appeal" is used in our Reformed circles. In terms of the language of Article 31, it is clear that br. Van Laar did not appeal any consistory decisions in regard to the United Reformed Churches.

In light of the above, the Council believes it is necessary for you to retract and apologize for your allegation that the Council is guilty of sin against the 9th commandment (see sections d.i and d.ii of your letter).

For the reasons given above. Council cannot agree to your request to rescind its decision to withdraw the appointment of br. J. Van Laar as elder.

Yours in Christ,

H. de Boer, clerk of Council R. Schouten, chairman