Namibia ultimatum adds to pressure on DRC to address charges of unbiblical leadership

Dutch Reformed Church Synod of Namibia (PHOTO: Republikein)

Pressure on the leadership of the Dutch Reformed Church to address growing displeasure within the denomination over its perceived unbiblical leadership increased at the weekend when the Synod of Namibia delivered an ultimatum to the General Synod in South Africa.

The Namibian Synod with its 44 congregations has given the DRC leadership six months to revoke certain of its decisions, failing which it will separate itself from the General Synod through Article 37 of the church’s constitution which allows it to withdraw from the General Synod while retaining its full rights and privileges if it can justify such a step “before God in the light of His Word”.

In a media statement released on Saturday the Namibian Synod refers in particular to decisions by the DRC leadership regarding same-sex relationships and theological training which it says undermine its trust in the General Synod.

The statement, which is signed by Ds De Wet Strauss assessor of the Namibian Synod says they will walk a path of discipline with the General Synod according to Matthew 18: 15-17. It says it trusts that the General Synod will repent but if they do not decide, within six months, to revoke certain of their decisions, Namibia will sever ties with them.

Rapport newspaper reports that Dominee Nelis Janse van Rensburg, moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church said they will travel the road ahead with the Namibian synod in love.

He said the General Synod cannot simply reverse the decision it took at its 2019 general synod where it gave DRC congregations the option to solemnise same-sex unions. The matter could only be considered again at next year’s synod. He said it would be too expensive to convene a Special General Synod to address the issue.

According to Rapport, Janse van Rensburg also said that to date the DRC leadership have invited everybody to discuss their complaints with the church’s board of trustees. He said that Namibia’s concerns about theological training could probably be dealt with in this process. To date the church leadership had only heard general grumbling and complaints about the training, he said.

Dr Anton Knoetze chairman of Kairos Network, which is committed to reforming the DRC from within. told Gateway News they have repeatedly raised the same issues that Namibia has raised with the General Synod but have not been taken seriously.

“We will continue to try and engage with the General Synod as they alone can arrange a special synod to repeal decisions that are in conflict with Scripture and with the reformed system of church governance,” he said.

He disputed Janse van Rensburg’s reported statement that there is no money for a special synod, stating: ”There are sufficient funds.”

He said: “Church history will be a severe adjudicator about the term of the current leadership of the DRC as it has never before been recorded that more than 92 congregations –  and now a regional Synod – are prepared to cut ties with their mother church. 

“We are, however, still praying for the church and its leadership that God will be merciful, and that the leadership of the Church will recognise the folly of their ways, humble themselves, repent of their arrogance and return to the values in Scripture as defined by the Bible and our doctrinal confessions.”

Knoetze said that Kairos Network has decided to form a family group of concerned DRC members, churches, rings and synods and to hold a conference on July 22 to take this vision forward.

“We have formally been approached by concerned groups and recognised churches from the Reformed family to engage in negotiations,” he said.

He said the Synod of Namibia has requested that Kairos Network become part of their support system in implementing Article 37.

“This is not limited to only the local family of reformed churches. We are also in discussions with the Alliance of Reformed Churches in America, since they went through a similar situation which led to an amicable parting of ways between them and the Reformed Churches in America. KN finds great comfort in their support.,” he said.

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One Comment

  1. I commend and pray for a resolution that is in harmony with the Biblical teaching on Marriage as Heterosexual.