The “A Way Forward” task force has proposed a reflection on how the RCA does its business. R-16 proposes that the RCA review its church order that it might change the relationship between the synods, classes and congregations. The entire project is problematic from the outset because the fundamental changes envisioned change the Reformed church at its very core. The RCA functions with a particular understanding of those relationships and to alter those relationships, while possible, would be a shift in the Reformed church’s understanding of the nature of the church.
However, it is R-16c that makes the recommendation a “spectacularly” bad idea. Continue reading
At the last two CI meetings, we have been developing our focus on “Practical Ecclesiology.” A paper I’ve drafted, “The Church Being Reformed: Characteristics and Challenges,” was discussed at the October meeting, and continued as background at our recent May meeting.
On the encouragement of others, I am providing it here.
(The following was discussed at the recent CI meeting. Those in attendance encouraged me to put it on the website.)
The authority of the General Synod while extensive is limited. It is limited in the following ways:
Yesterday, July 31, New Brunswick Seminary feted Renee House on her 25 years of service to the seminary and as she leaves the post of dean. It was appropriately an in-house event since she has been so much a part of the life of the seminary — and the seminary part of her life. Her service as librarian continues to reverberate and her time as dean (twice!) has served the seminary very well.
In this post, I want to acknowledge her service to the church. She is a General Synod Professor and served (serves) the church in a variety of ways. But as professor at the seminary, she inspires, encourages, guides, teaches class after class of students as they prepare for ministry in the church. Her reach extends far beyond the seminary.
She will continue a relationship with the seminary as she continues to teach. But thanks Renee, for your service to the church!
The General Synod’s action in response to the overtures on homosexuality was unwise — and unloving. It also disclosed a fundamental problem with how the process of the synod has evolved.
The most promising result of CI’s May meeting was a turn toward the future. The CI’s first years were dominated by its response to the RCA’s “vision” (subsequently morphed into “our call”). Our hope was to recover the vitality of a Reformed way of being. This meeting appeared to be a turn away from a critical approach to denominational events and toward the question of the church and its future.
At our recent CI gathering we discussed the RCA’s process for “discerning” a new ten-year goal. I asked the rather rude question: why goal? There were instructive and helpful responses. Among other things, it shapes where the General Synod places its resources. I am less sanguine in thinking that it can be the “goal” for local congregations.