On 16 February 2018, brothers and sisters of DGK Bergentheim/Bruchterveld (and surrounds) have liberated themselves. The declaration of these brothers and sisters has been taken over in its entirety below.
Call to Return to the True Church
Declaration of Liberation of DGK Bergentheim/Bruchterveld (and surrounds)
Brothers and sisters,
With great sadness we, as concerned brothers and sisters, appeal to you to return to God’s Word and our confessions, among which the three forms of unity. That is the true foundation of God’s Church.
Already there is censorship on those who point out the sin of the church.
We appeal to you to once again turn to the obedience to Scripture, Rom. 16:17.
With this Call to Return to the True Church you also receive a Declaration of Liberation of DGK Bergentheim/Bruchterveld and surrounds.
- The foundation of the church
- We confess that God’s Word and the Universal and Reformed Confessions are the foundation of the true church, and that the churches live together according to the Canons of Dort as worded in the ‘Gereformeerd Kerkboek’ (the Reformed Church Book) and as it was most recently determined by the General Synod of De Gereformeerde Kerken (DGK).
- We confess that we must believe everything that is promised to us in the Gospel. (1)
- We believe and confess one holy and catholic (universal) church. (2)
- We believe that this holy church is preserved by God against the fury of the whole world, although for a while it may look very small and as extinct in the eyes of man. (3)
- We believe that no one ought to withdraw from this holy assembly, content to be by himself. There is no salvation outside of this assembly. All therefore who draw away from the Church or fail to join it act contrary to the ordinance of God. (4)
- We believe that the true Church is to be recognized by the following marks: the pure preaching of the gospel, the pure administration of the sacraments, the exercising of Church discipline for correcting and punishing sins. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and regarding Jesus Christ as the only Head. (5)
(1) (Matt. 28:19,20; Mark 1:2; Isaiah 56:1,2; John 20:32; HC-Lord’s Day 7).
(2) (Gen. 12:3; Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:8; Nicene Creed, Belgic Confession-art.27).
(3) (Psalm 46:5; Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 3:11; Isaiah 1:9; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 11:7; Rev. 13:11; BC-art. 27).
(4) (Acts2:47; Gal. 4:26; Eph. 5:25-27; Hebr. 2:11; Hebr. 12:23; Isaiah 28:16; BC-art.28).
(5) (Gal. 1:8; 2 Cor. 11:4; 1 Tim. 3:15; Acts 19:3-5; 1 Cor. 11:20-29; Matt. 18:15-17; 2 Thess. 3:6,14; 1 Cor. 5:4,5,9; Titus 3:10; Rom. 16:17; 2 Tim. 3:5; John 8:47; John 17:20; Acts 17:11; 1 Tim. 6:3,20; Col. 1:18; John 10:14; BC-art. 29).
- The General Synod Publication of 16 December 2017
A publication from General Synod concerning Mariënberg (de Ark) was spread via the pigeon holes of our church. This publication was also published in De Bazuin of 27 December 2017 and received attention in national newspapers.
- Accusations against the consistory of DGK Mariënberg
Without any proof the following statements and accusations were made in the General Synod publication, at the expense of the consistory of DGK Mariënberg.
- The consistory had to correct certain errors regarding admonition and discipline.
- All attempts of classis failed due to the refusal by the consistory.
- The consistory accused classis of hierarchy.
- The consistory appealed time and again to the Church Order and the Canon Law.
- A spirit of independentism has taken control of the consistory.
(Independentism is a wrong form of independence.)
- The independentism went together with a form of domination by the consistory.
- The consistory has led the congregation on a sectarian path.
(Sectarian means heretical, which is: deviant from the Reformed doctrine.)
- The consistory members are erring brothers.
- Publication with regard to the own minister
It is stated in the publication that the minister was suspended and deposed by the consistory.
This suspension and deposition however, was done after the classis had stated that DGK Mariënberg no longer belonged to our bond of churches. It is incorrect to make such announcements about a consistory which, as a result of the statement of classis, no longer belongs to our bond of churches.
Such announcements are also not made of ministers who belong to other church federations.
- Judgment about suspension and deposition
In the publication General Synod states, as judgments, that the suspension and deposition:
- Are high-handed and unjust, and
- Are entirely beyond all regulations recorded in the Church Order.
These judgments are not in accordance with the rulings and decisions of General Synod Rotterdam-Delfshaven, held in 1964-1965. This can be read in the Acts of that Synod.
Because of the arisen situation in the congregation of Groningen-Zuid, General Synod of 1964-1965 judged that the consistory was authorized to exercise “its own responsibility” towards the great Shepherd of the sheep, to proceed to suspend its own minister, Rev. A. v.d. Ziel, without the assistance of the neighbouring church.
General Synod pronounced that this suspension was not unlawful even though it did not conform with the letter of article 79 of the Church Order.
The purpose of the Church Order is to protect the flock.
- The responsibility of the consistory
In spreading this General Synod publication, the consistory also took co-responsibility for its contents. In fact the consistory ratifies the GS-decisions with this.
The spreading of unfounded accusations, inappropriate and unjust information is meddlesomeness and a start to partisanship within the congregation. Spreading of such a publication cannot give rest; it has brought unrest.
- Our confessing
In the Heidelberg Catechism we confess the following:
6th commandment: We may not dishonour our neighbour. HC, Lord’s Day 40 – Q&A 105.
8th commandment: We must promote our neighbour’s good wherever we can and may. HC Lord’s Day 42 – Q&A 111.
9th commandment: We may not condemn or help condemn anyone rashly or unheard. We must love the truth, speak and confess it honestly and do what we can to defend and promote our neighbour’s honour and reputation. HC, Lord’s Day 42 – Q&A 112.
The consistory was requested to apologise to the minister, the consistory of DGK Mariënberg and our own congregation with regard to the spreading of the GS-publication concerning Mariënberg. A similar request was also put out to the General Synod.
The reason for this is that publicising this publication is a sin against the 6th, 8th and 9th commandment.
The consistory has pronounced that these requests are not to be dealt with because a member of the congregation is not a party in this issue. This judgement is incorrect, the requests related to the fact of spreading the GS-publication and not to the actual issue.
General Synod has stated that the requests are inadmissible. Synod has not formulated any considerations and grounds.
- The path to rectification
Rectification of a guilty act goes by way of Confession and asking for forgiveness, see among other things:
- 2 Samuel 12:13,14,20,24: David confesses his guilt to the LORD and then comforts his wife.
- Psalm 32:5,1,2a: “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said: ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
- Psalm 51:17-19: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.”
- Discipline and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper
In one case the consistory has applied ecclesiastical censorship because of the speaking with church members about the distributed GS-publication and what is associated with it.
With an appeal to the commandments of God, participation in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper has been denied.
This one member then informed the consistory that the consistory itself may not participate in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper so long as there has not been a confession of guilt towards the minister concerned, nor to the congregation of Mariënberg and to the own congregation, in connection with sins against the commandments of God.
This call is done with reference to Ezekiel. One can read about this in chapter 3:17-21, particularly the verses 18-21, and chapter 33:3-9, particularly the verses 8 and 9.
- Breaking of the marks of the true church
With sadness we observe that the marks of the true church are at stake in DGK Bergentheim/Bruchterveld (and surrounds). This observation includes the following developments:
- God’s Word
- Transgression of the 6th commandment
Matthew 5:22: “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”
To wrongly speak about brothers will cause one to be found guilty on the grounds of manslaughter. There is gradation in transgression and in vengeance.
- Transgression of the 8th commandment
Matthew 7:12: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
This statement is a summary of the second table of the law, of the love toward the neighbour. This word presupposes the unity of the love to God and to the people. Everyone who wants to live by this word, knows what to do in practice.
- Transgression of the 9th commandment
Matthew 7:1-2: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Everyone who says that they want to live by God’s forgiveness may not, be it rashly or out of hatred or envy, take it upon oneself to pass on God’s judgment. Everyone who does do this will be treated by God with the standard that he himself uses. Don’t put yourself in God’s judgment seat and never forget that you yourself are also a sinner.
1 Cor. 13:6: “Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.”
Love is not glad when someone is wronged. Love is glad when someone is treated rightly and honourably. Truth here means uprightness, sincerity.
Ephesians 4:25: “Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour, for we are members of one another.”
These words are a quotation from Zachariah 8:16. Speaking the truth is only then possible when we let ourselves be led by The Truth. Speaking in such a manner leads to peace.
1 Peter 4:8: “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Love bears all things and forgives everything. Love never has unfriendly behaviour. Love does not persecute a Christian brother. The first requirement is love. Without love there is no prayer life, and certainly no communal prayer life.
- The intention of consistory to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with perseverance in transgression of commandments of God’s Law.
Gereformeerd Kerkboek, (page 523): The form for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper gives the warning to abstain from the Supper, otherwise their judgment and condemnation will be the heavier. (Book of Praise 1984 – page 596)
- The unjust exercising of censorship
Acts 4:17-20, Peter and John before the Council: “But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this Name. So they called them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them: Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
The Council cannot deny the facts, and through intimidation tries to rob the apostles’ testimony of its effect. Peter however, before the face of God, appeals to the judgment of the Supreme Judge. In Acts 5:29 we are given this guideline: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” This is a guideline for the believers in their relation to the powers that have been placed above them on this earth.
- Deformation breaks through
Because of these developments the church of Bergentheim/Bruchterveld shows marks of deformation.
This church seeks what soothes the hearing and collects for itself teachers according to their own desires (2 Timothy 4:3,4).
It does not submit itself willingly to the yoke of Christ, see Matthew 11:29-30): “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Jer. 6:16; 1 John 5:3).
That is why we pray that you and this church return to the paths of the covenant and take up the call to return to the true church.
- Warning and encouragement
The Lord Jesus has taught us:
“Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (Rev. 3:11)
“They will put you out of the synagogues.” (John 16:2)
“It is impossible that no offences should come, but woe to him through whom they do come.”
We may bind these words of the LORD to the heart:
“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
In all the difficulties in our congregation we are thankful that the LORD will preserve His church, to the end of this world. He has promised that in Ezekiel 34.
This is shown very clearly in the verses 11 and 12 of that chapter:
“For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day’.”
See also John 10:1-21, in particular verse 11: “I am the good Shepherd”.
We believe that the Son of God, gathers, defends and preserves in the unity of the true faith, a church. And we believe that we are and forever shall remain a living member of it. (Lord’s Day 21).
The undersigned are few in number. That is why we turn to the church of Christ in Mariënberg. This church holds worship services in the building ‘De Ark’, Beerzerweg 1D. The normal times for the services are 9.30 am and 2.30 pm.
We shall attend the worship services there, request membership and we also hope in God and pray to Him that He will make it possible in the future that we are united with you again so that together we may give God the honour which is due to Him in a congregation that is faithful to Him.
We are thankful to the Lord and receive courage, for we may sing:
To His people who revere Him,
Has the LORD His friendship shown,
And He will to all who fear Him
Make His steadfast covenant known.
With a confidence complete,
Toward the LORD my eyes are turning.
From the net He’ll pluck my feet;
He will not despise my yearning (Psalm 25:7 – rhymed version).
We call you to:
- liberate yourself from De Gereformeerde Kerk Bergentheim/Bruchterveld (and surrounds),
- attend the worship services of DGK Mariënberg, held in ‘De Ark’,
- also to request membership there.
“Let us with one accord, go to the temple of the LORD. Jerusalem, where blessing waits, our feet are standing in your gates”. (Psalm 122)
The undersigned wish you God’s wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit with the words of Ecclesiastes 12:13,14:
“Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.”
With warm regards from your brothers and sisters,
The Call to return to the true church and the Declaration of Liberation of DGK Bergentheim/Bruchterveld (and surrounds) concerns 17 confessing members and 13 baptized members, a total of 30 members.
Dated: 16 February 2018
(All Bible quotations are from the NKJV.)
The publication from DGK Mariënberg: “Return to the firm foundation of the true Church!” has been attached.
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