The formation of a new Dutch Reformed Church synod to accommodate congregations which stand for biblical truth is on the cards for next year, said Dr Anton Knoetze chairman of the Kairos Network.
He told Gateway News that the leaders of the network — an association of DRC members and groups opposed to the liberal stance of the general synod — regards the formation of a new synod as a way to become an effective, united voice of reformation within the denomination rather than breaking away completely.
“We believe this is the way that God’s Spirit is guiding us. We still love the church. We believe the church is our mother. But we are not happy with some of the things that the current leadership have done and with some of their decisions which are not Bible-based.” he said.
Expanding on Kairos’s position, he said they regard the authority of Scripture as non negotiable and wish to remain true to their confessional statements as members of a reformed tradition.
Regarding their differences with the DRC general synod, he said: “We believe that there is a strong emphasis lately, a human-centred emphasis, trying to bring the church in line with some of the thoughts that we find in government at the moment — some of the legislation in government. And we see that especially with what’s going on in the Western Cape now — this whole gender issue at schools. We can see how this thing will influence the church and we need to maintain our ground.”
He said that several meetings at which they had discussed their grievances with the senior leadership of the DRC had proved fruitless because of their irreconcilable differences.
Commenting on concerns about liberal teaching in theological faculties he said that, sadly, they could not recommend that young people go and study at the existing structures. He said they are exploring alternatives and hope to come up with constructive proposals in February.
Dr Henrietta Klaasing, a leader of the Kairos Network, said they plan to convene a national summit in Bloemfontein early next year, similar to a summit that was attended by about 530 concerned DRC leaders at Moreletapark Church in Pretoria in February last year.
She said to date about 120 congregations throughout South Africa — that is more than 10% of the total number of DRC congregations — are officially grieving over the decisions of the general synod.
“And I will almost say that daily the Lord is adding to our numbers,” she said.
“We [grieving congregations] are pleading with the [DRC] church leadership to recant and come back to a faithful biblical position — to be the real church. But I don’t think we are going to be successful in that,” she said.
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