Effort to Rescind Action on CRC Ties Handily Defeated

Colorado Springs, CO (June 12, 1997)--The 25th General Assembly decisively defeated a motion to reconsider its action on breaking fraternal relations with the Christian Reformed Church (CRC). The vote against broaching the topic again was overwhelming.
Responding to a call from TE Steve Beck, a church planter in Toronto, Canada, TE Norm Wise of Southern Florida Presbytery, as one who had voted in favor of the motion, offered a motion of reconsideration.
Arguing strongly against reconsideration was TE Fred Mau. The Dyersburg, TN, pastor noted that Dr. Robert Godfrey, President of Westminster Theological Seminary in California, had recently spoken at his church. According to Mau, Godfrey, a prominent CRC minister, and his church in Escondido, CA, were probably not going to remain long in that denomination.

After the defeat of reconsideration of breaking ties with the Christian Reformed Church, TE Tom Vanden Heuvel, upon motion by Dr. Paul Gilchrist, was given a few moments of personal privilege to tell of the present direction of his mother church. A veteran CRC pastor who was ordained in 1961, Mr. Vanden Heuvel has, along with his wife, Laurie, edited The Outlook, a conservative publication which long sought reform in the CRC. Until last year a pastor in a large CRC congregation in the Grand Rapids suburb of Byron Center, MI, he was called in 1996 as a PCA church planter in Holland, MI, a Dutch stronghold where he had pastored between 1967 and 1975.
The Interchurch Relations Committee had flown Vanden Heuvel down to Atlanta for its April meeting, so as to glean from him insight into the CRC. He stated on the floor of the Assembly that he was heartily in favor of the breaking of fraternal relations with his former denomination. He also said that the reason why CRC General Secretary Dr. David Engelhard was harsh in his statement to the Assembly was because the Interchurch Relations report had touched on a very sensitive point--belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, a belief in which the CRC has always prided itself.