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Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00
Split in Liberated Churches in the NetherlandsWritten by Rev. H.A Bergsma
A group from the Reformed Church (Liberated) in the Dutch city of Berkel en Rodenrijs has left their local congregation and the Reformed Churches (Liberated). In their press release the group uses the term "vrijmaking," or liberation, to describe their action, declaring that this liberation was necessary because of the "decay of the churches and the unbiblical decisions by the General Synod of Zuid Hoorn in 2002.Ó In spite of the many appeals this synod not only failed to struggle against the ongoing deformation, but also in fact furthered it with their decisions. The possibility of a split in the congregation in Berkel en Rodenrijs became clear in February when the same group of "concerned members" sent an "appeal for Reformation" to the church council. They asked the council to "return to reverent obedience to God's Word on all terrains of doctrine and life" and asked the council to reject several decisions of the General Synod. In particular, the group asked the church council to reject the synodical decisions regarding the observance of the Sabbath, the approval of 117 hymns for inclusion in the Psalter (given the objections to about 100 hymns on account of their alleged unbiblical content) and decisions regarding church union with the Christian Reformed Churches (Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken) of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Reformed Churches (Nederlands Hervormd). The group also asserted that "various kinds of heresy and higher criticism of the Scriptures are not just ignored but their existence is even denied." It also sees the decay of the (Vrijgemaakte) Churches evident in the false teaching with regard to marriage and divorce, the denial of the confessional teaching about the church, the resistance to ongoing reformation, liturgical aberrations, the dilution of the preaching, unconcern about the antithesis, and the so-called higher criticism present at the Theological University in Kampen. In their press release the group uses the same language that was used in 1944: "The members are liberating themselves of (synodical) decisions which they view to be in conflict with God's Word, following Article 31 of the Reformed Church Order and Article 28 of the Belgic Confession, and they make themselves free from the denomination which they view as illegitimate according to Article 29 of the Belgic Confession. Starting Sunday, 7 September, the concerned members will no longer attend the worship services of the (Liberated) Reformed Church.
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