Re. URC Churches
1) On Sunday April 16, 2006 during the meeting to elect office bearers Mr. Casey De Haas, chairman of the consistory, announced that Aldergrove consistory may call a minister from the URC. This course of action is a reasonable and logical extension of Aldergrove consistory's acceptance of the decisions of General Synods Neerlandia and Chatham to extend ecclesiastical fellowship to the URC.
2) I attach an article by the Reverend Barry Hofford entitled 'THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN AND CLOSED COMMUNION', as well as two of his letters to the consistory of the American Reformed Church of Lynden dated February 23, 2004 and January 16, 2005. Reverend Hofford has granted his permission for me to make use of this material.
3) With regards to the admission of guests to our Lord's Supper table, Aldergrove consistory has agreed to follow Article 61 of the Church Order, and admit 'only those who have made public profession of the Reformed faith and lead a godly life.' Moreover, 'members of sister Churches shall be admitted on the ground of a good attestation concerning their doctrine and conduct.'
In contrast, in the URC Article 45 of their church order reads as follows:
"The Consistory shall supervise participation at the Lord's Table. No member shall be admitted to the Lord's Table who has not first made profession of faith and is not living a godly life. Visitors may be admitted provided that, as much as possible, the Consistory is assured of their biblical church membership, of their proper profession of faith, and of their godly walk." (cf. Reverend Hofford's Feb. 23, 2004 letter, page 1).
1) 'Biblical Church Membership' and a 'Proper Profession of Faith'
Whereas in the Canadian Reformed Churches eligible guests must come from sister churches (per Article 61 of the Church Order), in the URC guests can come from 'virtually any evangelical church' (cf. Rev. Hofford's Feb. 23, 2004 letter, page 1). As outlined by the Rev. Hofford in his 'The Keys of the Kingdom' article, the URC approach fails to recognize the duty of the consistory to properly use the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
2) 'As Much As Possible'
Whereas in the Canadian Reformed churches eligible guests must have a good attestation concerning their doctrine and conduct, in the URC consistory must be assured 'as much as possible' of the guest's godly walk. As a result a common practice among the URC is to conduct personal interviews of visitors who request admittance to the Lord's Table (cf. Rev. Hofford's Feb. 23, 2004 letter, page 3). This self testimony is biased and actually provides little assurance of a godly walk. Once again, this approach fails to recognize the duty of the consistory to properly use the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
3) Article 31
According to Article 31 of the Church Order whatever may be agreed upon by a majority vote (by a major assembly) shall be considered settled and binding, unless it is proved to be in conflict with the Word of God or with the Church Order. General Synod Neerlandia and Chatham have extended and confirmed ecclesiastical fellowship to the URC. These decisions, however, are in conflict with the Word of God and the church order since the URC federation does not properly exercise the keys of the kingdom, does not properly fence the Lord's Supper table, and is not consequent with either Lord's Days 30 and 31 of the Heidelburg Catechism or with article 61 of our Church Order (cf. Rev. Hofford's Feb. 23, 2004 letter). Consistory must therefore liberate itself from these sinful general synod decisions. As professor Greijdanus writes:
"Everyone must judge for himself, must decide now, when something does not confirm to God's Word, to reject it and to break with it, not continuing with others in the wrong. No synod, no church federation affords you any excuse. People are not the lords of the church. Christ is its absolute owner and commander." (see Bound Yet Free, Readings in Reformed Church Polity, edited by J. DeJong, copyright 1995, pages 63 and 64).
I request that consistory make the following determinations:
1) Based on the above considerations the decisions of general synods Neerlandia and Chatham to extend ecclesiastical fellowship (or sister church relations) with the URC are in conflict with the Word of God and the church order, and therefore Aldergrove consistory must liberate itself from these decisions.
2) Considering the URC failure to properly administer the keys of the kingdom, calling a minister from and engaging in pulpit exchanges with the URC would be most inappropriate.
I would appreciate a written response to these requests.
With brotherly greetings,