To:  The Congregation of the Canadian Reformed Church of Aldergrove          May 21, 2009

Dear brothers and sisters:       


On May 15, 2009 Aldergrove consistory responded to my May 11, 2009 letter to the congregation.  Once again, in this letter consistory has made a number of statements that are either not true or are not complete.

1) Wine vs. Grape Juice

While Aldergrove consistory is correct in that Synod 2007 (Article 112) agreed that it is arbitrary to allow for individual exceptions and not 'wholesale' exceptions, Synod did not explicitly grant Aldergrove's appeal.  An arbitrary decision is not necessarily wrong or invalid.  To say that wine is the element normally used when in fact wine has been abolished, is as ridiculous as saying that slavery is normative in the USA, when slavery has been abolished.
As to consistory's handling of the quote from Prof. Bavinck, I am amazed how consistory can fabricate an argument to completely twist someone's words.  How can consistory make a clear statement from Prof. Bavinck that the use of wine is a command of Christ into a statement that Prof. Bavinck would encourage the church to not be concerned about whether or not the 'fruit of the vine' was alcoholic, or sufficiently alcoholic, or perhaps not alcoholic at all?

2) Article 61 Church Order

Consistory accuses me of having a 'restrictive' view of Article 61 of the Church Order.  However, this same view was adopted by Synod 1986.  In Consideration 2 (Acts Article 144) Synod considers that "The statement '... as is taught here in this Christian Church' [Form for Public Profession of Faith] means one gives allegiance to all the confessions of the church."  This is also the view expressed by Rev. Van Dellen and Prof. Monsma (cf. my May 11, 2009 letter), a point that was completely ignored by consistory.  All Lord’s Supper participants (including visitors) need to be held to the same standards.
Consistory states that the Form for Public Profession of Faith widely used in the URC is identical to the one used in the CanRC until 1983.  However, consistory did not state that there are two forms for public profession of faith that are presently being used in the URC, and both forms are available on the website  In the 1976 form (Form #2) there is clearly no binding to the confessions.  To use the words of the Winnipeg URC (Overture #82, as found in the URC Acts, 1997) "Commitment to the doctrines of Scripture and our Reformed Confessions, as taught in this Christian church, is much more clearly, richly spelled out in Form #1."   Motions to eliminate the use of Form #2 in the URC failed at Synods 1997 (Acts, Article 62(E)) and 1999 (Acts, Article 35(3)).  In fact the URC is still coming to terms with the level of doctrinal commitment required for communicant membership.  At the 2007 URC Synod Schererville (Acts, Article 27) Overture #8 was accepted in which the URC agreed to further study this matter.  In light of this ongoing discussion, how can we be sure that even with Form #1 the degree of confessional commitment in the URC is the same as it is in the CanRC?

Clearly, in both the OPC and the URC there is no consistent binding to confessional standards.  How can Aldergrove consistory claim to maintain Article 61 C.O., when Aldergrove consistory has agreed to admit members from the OPC and the URC who have not 'professed the reformed faith', ie. have not declared 'allegiance' to the confessions?  How can we have ecclesiastical fellowship with churches that are still studying the degree of doctrinal commitment required for communicant membership?
Consistory incorrectly states that until 1983 our churches did not require explicit and formal agreement with the Three Forms of Unity when one made public profession of faith.  According to Synods 1983 (Article 145), 1986 (Article 144), 1989 (Article 161), and 1992 (Article 122) this change in 1983 was only a linguistic change.  Excerpts from these Acts are now available on the website The CanRC has always required allegiance to all the confessions of the church.  Aldergrove consistory, however, indicates that something major changed.  Does Aldergrove consistory disagree with these general synod decisions?  Does Aldergrove consistory agree with the Abbotsford appeal in 1992 and consider that 'articles of the christian faith' actually mean the Apostles' Creed?  If so, is it not Aldergrove consistory that is now calling into question the legitimacy of those who professed their faith prior to 1983?  Does Aldergrove consistory still accept these general synod decisions?  

3) Sermon on Galatians 5:25

In Paul's letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul is addressing baptised members of the church, those already included in the covenant of grace.  How could the covenant status of these church members depend entirely on believing?  Why did consistory not fully explain the sermon excerpt?  Further, I ask the congregation to carefully examine the sermon excerpt (cf. my previous letter), note the similarities to the doctrinal pronouncements of Synod Schererville, and contrast this with the statement by Rev. VanOene.

4) Sermon Excerpt re. Blasphemy

Consistory has now changed its definition of blasphemy.  Using this definition the liberated churches have not blasphemed the name of God.  On the contrary, out of concern for the holiness of God's name they have separated themselves from those who do not revere His Name and respect the holiness of His sacraments.

5) Recognition of the liberated churches

I do not understand how consistory can first state that the matter of recognition has never been on their table, and now state that they judged the secession in Lynden but not in Abbotsford.  Why can consistory not acknowledge that I requested recognition of both churches?

6) Right to separate

In consistory's March 22, 2009 letter, consistory acknowledged my right to separate from unfaithful teachers and their assemblies (cf. the Rev. Veenhof quote).  At this point, the consistory’s only objection was that consistory considered the issues to be of minor importance.  In my May 11, 2009 response I demonstrated how important these issues are.  For example, I quoted Rev. Van Dellen and Prof. Monsma, who write that confessional membership is our 'reason for being.'  Now, however, consistory has changed its position.  Inexplicably, in its May 15, 2009 letter consistory alleges that I am not entitled to ‘withdraw from’ [or temporarily separate from] my own church no matter what my ‘status or standing may be’.  What new information became available that made consistory change its position?

In my May 11, 2009 letter I also suggested that Consistory is trying to turn the ‘unless’ of Article 31 C.O. into an ‘until’ (cf. my quotation from Patrimony Profile).  As Rev. VanOene writes on page 153 of his book With Common Consent “Article 31 says ‘Unless proof is given’ and not ‘Until proof has been accepted’.”  In its May 15, 2009 response Consistory ignores this point. Instead, consistory quotes from Reverend VanOene's book (With Common Consent), and suggests that Article 31 of the C.O. cannot be used based on ‘deductions’ from the Word of God. However, I did provide scriptural proof.  Moreover, consistory does not finish the quotation.  Reverend VanOene also refers to a second possibility (page 153) that the broader assembly acted in a manner or came to a conclusion that is in conflict with the Church Order.  I maintain that I have proven that consistory's implementation of the general synod EF decisions is in conflict with both the Word of God and the Church Order.

7) Unfounded Concerns?

In its May 15, 2009 response, consistory claims that because General Synods 2004 and 2007 rejected the appeals regarding EF, all concerns expressed by synods prior to 2001 are now considered to be unfounded.  In light of the failure of the last three synods to interact with the decisions of Synods 1965, 1986, 1992, and 1998, that these are serious confessional divergencies that need to be addressed, why does consistory refuse to live up to its obligation to address these concerns?  


On Sunday May 17, 2009 consistory proceeded to the third announcement of my excommunication for sin against the fourth commandment.  How can consistory proceed with discipline when my concerns remain unaddressed?  I ask you the congregation to join me in calling consistory back to faithfulness to the Three Forms of Unity and to maintenance of the Church Order of Dort as indicated in the Act of Liberation or Return of 1944.  I ask you, the congregation, to call upon consistory to put a stop to this ‘persecution’ of those who rebuke consistory for its sins (Art. 29 Belgic Confession).  All the marks of the true church are at stake.


With brotherly greetings,                                                                                     Maurice Vantil