Demokrasie in die kerk ?

Gaan lees ondergenoemde belangrike artikel, oor hoe die verval in ons susterskerk, die CRCNA, plaasgevind het en gelei het tot die stigting van die URCNA.  Ongeag die voortdurende deformasie van die CRCNA, het ons kerkverband (GKSA) besluit om nogsteeds met hul bande te hê, wat daartoe lei dat ons nie met ons broers en susters van die URCNA bande het nie (ns. let ook daarop waar hierdie artikel/lesing gehou is):

Robert P. Swierenga, “Burn the Wooden Shoes: Modernity and Division in the Christian Reformed Church in North America”

Paper Presented to the University of Stellenbosch Conference (South Africa), International Society for the Study of Reformed Communities, June 2000.

Sien die volledige artikel hier:

Hier is ‘n paar kerngedeeltes:  

“In the 1990s the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), according to survey data, lost between 41,000 and 53,000 souls, or nearly 15 percent of the membership. From a high of 316,000 members in 1992, seven lean years followed. Instead of reaching the stated goal of “400,000 by 2000,” the momentum swung in the opposite direction; the denominational Yearbook in 1999 tallied only 275,000 members.[1] This is less than three decades ago. The decline is actually greater, since hundreds of members departed prior to 1990, beginning with the first congregation to leave in 1960–the Christian Reformational Church of Wyoming, Michigan. The 1990s secession is far greater than the Protestant Reformed defection in 1924, which included only 1,300 souls, or a mere 1.2 percent of the membership. Indeed, the secession of the 1990s substantially exceeds the 10 percent of Classis Holland (Michigan) of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) who withdrew in 1857 to organize the CRCNA.[2] …     

In 1999 the seven-year membership decline in the CRCNA halted, at least temporarily. If the ordination of women is mandated denomination-wide, perhaps another 10,000-15,000 members (4-5 percent) will leave. But no mass exodus will occur, as in the 1990s, until the second shoe drops–the acceptance of practicing gays and lesbians.  …   In 1999 James Bratt observed that the CRCNA has a “new way of doing business.” In the sixties the professionals debated the theological issues while the laity stood by confused and apathetic. But by the nineties “the issues were not even noticeably Reformed in origin or argument.” The denomination and its administrative arms had become politicized, just like society at large, and it took stands on gender roles, cultural diversity, and individual rights, on similar grounds as society at large. The conservative remnant stood on Scripture, plain and simple, while the progressive majority insisted on living in the “world.”[69]

            This new way of doing business in the church was really the adoption of the ideals of democracy that had been enshrined in the previous two hundred years. Norman De Jong first made this connection in his doctoral dissertation in 1972 on Boyd A. Bode, a son of a Christian Reformed minister who as a professor at the University of Wisconsin became an ardent disciple of John Dewey, the philosopher of American democracy. De Jong concluded that Christianity and democracy were antithetical. “Logically and theologically,” one could not be “both a democrat and a Christian.” The sovereignty of God precluded the sovereignty of the people. If Christ is king, the collective voice of the people cannot be king. Democracy is a philosophy of life that has captured the hearts and minds of the American church. Yet, De Jong believes, it “is as much a heresy as are homosexualism, apartheid, and evolution.” The democratic ideals of equality and fraternity have progressively taken over the church, and it is being conformed to the world instead of being transformed by Christ. Many of the conflicts over belief and practice in the churches stem from the inroads of the democratic ideals of tolerance, individualism, feminism, multiculturalism, and anticlericalism. Even church polity has been corrupted by democratic ways of thinking and acting, as has often been evident in the contentious meetings of higher assemblies since the 1960s.[70] 

            The changes in the CRCNA follow by about twenty years–one generation–those in the mother denomination in the Netherlands, the GKN, and in its sister church in North America, the RCA. The same forces of democratization and modernity are pressing Reformed bodies everywhere, and only the isolationist mentality that prevailed in the CRCNA until the post-World War II years retarded the pace of change by a generation. That mind of safety has disappeared and daughter is rapidly “catching up” with its mother and sister.”

Psalm 25: 22, o God, verlos Israel uit al sy benoudhede!

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