AN APPEAL TO GENERAL SYNOD 1998 OF THE CANADIAN REFORMED
CHURCHES REGARDING ECCLESIASTICAL FELLOWSHIP WITH THE PCK
From the church at Grand Rapids, MI
I. General Synod 1992 decided to enter into a relationship of Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) according to the adopted rules (Art. 111.IV., p. 73).
II. The church at Grand Rapids appealed the above decision to Synod 1995 on the grounds that the Orthodox Presbyterian Church's charge of a double standard with reference to the issues of confessional membership and the admission of guests to the Lord's Table was accurate. Among the observations made in that appeal was the following: "The Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) reports that the PCK holds the same views as the OPC with regard to the divergencies identified as supervision of the Lord's table and confessional membership. In a letter from the Committee on Ecumenicity and Interchurch Relations (CEIR) of the OPC to our CCOPC, dated March 3, 1993, it is stated, '...both the PCK and FCS have essentially the same position as the OPC in matters of confessional membership and supervision of the Lord's Table!' (Acts 1995, Appendix V.II.B.1., p. 152). And in its report to the Sixty-First General Assembly, 1994, the CEIR reported, 'It is the judgment of the committee that given the fact that the CANREF has entered into ecclesiastical fellowship with two churches, the Free Church of Scotland and the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Kosin), whose views and practices are the same as those of the OPC with regard to what are called divergences, there are no divergences remaining that would bar full ecclesiastical fellowship.' (Minutes, p. 211. D.3)."
III. In its report to General Synod 1995, the CCOPC describes its September 27, 1994 discussion with the CEIR regarding this issue as follows, "On the basis of information received by Synod Lincoln 1992 we showed that we have reasons to believe that the practices of the FCS with respect the (sic) supervision of the Lord's Supper and confessional membership are dissimilar from those of the OPC. We found it more difficult to show the same for the PCK. CEIR contested this assertion, and we concluded that more evidence regarding the respective practices of guests at the Lord's Supper should be provided by both sides." (Acts 1995, Appendix V.II.B.4.).
IV. No evidence can be found in the Acts of any of our Synods showing that these two matters, which are still considered impediments to full ecclesiastical fellowship with the OPC, were resolved prior to establishing ecclesiastical fellowship with the PCK.
V. Synod 1995 answered the appeal of Grand Rapids regarding the PCK by stating, "It must be admitted that with respect to the PCK Synod is not able to evaluate the situation with the information available to us." (Art. 106.V.D.1. & V.A.2).
I. Grand Rapids does not believe this appeal should be denied on the basis of Art. 33, C.O. For although the substance and grounds of the appeal are virtually the same as that submitted to Synod 1995, the fact is that Synod 1995 gave no reason for denial. Rather, Synod virtually admitted ignorance regarding the issues in question and thereby effectively substantiated the concern raised by our appeal.
II. The validity of the OPC's claim of a double standard, in the face of the CCOPC's concession (Observation III above) and Synod's admission of ignorance, is further reinforced by the fact that the OPC has had a much longer history of close contact with the PCK. Thus, whether they are correct or not, the presumption ought to be that their claim is worthy of further investigation.
III. In light of the reports to various Synods about the PCK, the continued assertions of the OPC of a double standards regarding the Lord's Supper and confessional membership, and our confessed ignorance about these issues in relation to the PCK, it is clear that these two issues were not resolved prior to entering into a relationship of ecclesiastical fellowship with the PCK. In accord with the pattern of our relationship with the OPC, the church at Grand Rapids believes that these two issues should have been resolved prior to offering the PCK a relationship of ecclesiastical fellowship.
I. That the decision to establish ecclesiastical fellowship with the PCK be rescinded.
II. Than an explanation and apology be sent to the PCK based on the above information.
III. That we reaffirm to the PCK our desire to continue contact with them with a view to resolving all impediments remaining which prevent full ecclesiastical fellowship.
IV. That the CRCA be instructed to investigate these two issues of supervision of the Lord's table and confessional membership and report to another General Synod.
We pray that our heavenly Father will guide you by His Spirit in all your deliberations and decisions.
For the consistory at Grand Rapids, MI,
Rev. B. R. Hofford, President
P. A. ten Haaf, Clerk