Monday, 2 September 2013

ICRC 2013 - Day 5 Monday 2nd September

Today at conference we began with worship at which Rev Richard Holst gave an exposition of 1 Thessalonians chapter 2. After this a presentation was given by Rev Geoff van Schie of the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia which is making application for membership of the ICRC at this conference. Geoff's ministry is varied and depends much on support from others financially but he is thankful to report many instances of God's blessing on his ministry.
Rev Geoff van Schie
This was followed by a discussion of the report of the Review Committee which was recommending changes to certain aspects of the ICRC Regulations. No final decision was arrived at as the document requires further consideration the amendments proposed by the Advisory Committee which looked at the Report. This was followed by the second “workshops” session where issues raised by the second paper given by Rev James Visscher on Friday, “The Nature of Preaching”, were discussed. Our group concentrated for most of this session on the matter of “appeal” in preaching. We dealt with how preaching ought always to have an "appeal" element both to those who are confessing Christians and to the unsaved.

During the lunch break we had a very pleasant and profitable informal meeting with Rev Heon Soo Kim and Rev Byoung Kil Chung of the (Korea) who had both visited Lewis on their way to the conference. Although the Free Church has a fraternal relationship with them as members already of the ICRC we explored the possibility of taking this further so as to develop closer relations where there could be mutual assistance and edification in gospel ministry. This is one of the good and important aspects of the conference that time is available for delegations to meet so that the relations we share in the gospel are applied as much as possible to the extending of God's kingdom.

Then it was time after lunch to hold a plenary session at which a brief report was given by each of the four workshops after which Rev Visscher gave his response to the points raised.

The conference then considered another presentation, this time from the Reformed Churches in Korea given by Rev DongSup Song. This denomination is young, with four ministers and around 200 members, founded in 2005, and is now seeking admission to the ICRC. This application will be reported on later in the conference by the Advisory Committee set up to examine it.

Rev Patrick Jok and Rev Daniel Kithongo
The Committee examining the application from the African Evangelical Presbyterian Church, given by Rev Daniel Kithongo last Thursday, reported. The Committee was recommending that the application be received. The conference unanimously accepted the AEPC into membership and Rev Kithongo was then welcomed as now a sitting delegate of the Conference. The Chairman led the conference in prayer.

Before the coffee break another report was received, this time from the Committee examining the application from the Sudanese Reformed Churches. Again the Committee was recommending that the conference receive the application favourably and admit the SRC into membership. This was agreed to unanimously by the conference and Rev Patrick Jok was then welcomed as a sitting delegate of the conference. The Chairman again led the conference in prayer.

It is such a heartening experience to be part of a conference admitting these relatively new churches into membership of the ICRC. When we are so used to dealing with declining numbers in our churches and are free from poverty and persecution how humbling and challenging it is to see growth in churches set amongst poverty and persecution, with an obvious commitment to maintain Reformed theology, preaching and church order. It's a cause of much thankfulness for the growth but of much prayer that our decline would be turned around by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Coffee (and tea) time
Dr Ho Jin Jun
The evening session began with worship, led by Rev Pila Nkuka, Reformed Church of Indonesia NTT, who spoke from Colossians chapter 2. This was followed by the delivery of the third and final paper of the conference "Preaching in Illiterate Cultures" given by Dr Ho Jin Jun, Cambodia Presbyterian Theological Institute. It's hard for us to imagine what it must be like to preach the gospel in a context of illiteracy where many of the hearers cannot read a text or write. Africa has a 40% literacy rate and Asia 20%. Dr Ho's paper dealt with the illiteracy situation in Asia mostly and gave details of the practices used in preaching in that situation.

There was just time for another presentation from a church already in membership of the ICRC but which had not yet managed to give such a presentation to conference. This was the Reformed Churches of Brazil, located in north east Brazil and the presentation was given by Rev Luiz Fernando. The RCB developed from missionary work carried out by Canadian and Dutch missionaries in the 1970's, one of whom was the Corresponding Secretary to the Conference, Rev Cornelius Van Spronson.
Rev Luiz Fernando


  1. The Australian denomination is the Christian Reformed Church of Australia, who left the WCRC last year.

  2. Thanks. Result of late night composition! Now corrected.

  3. Actually, the correct name for this body is the "Christian Reformed Churches of Australia."

  4. Thanks Peter. Good to hear from you.

  5. Thanks for the reporting -- your efforts are appreciated over here in Canada. Just another small correction: Luiz Fernando is an elder in the IRB, not a pastor.

    Wes Bredenhof
    Hamilton, ON

  6. Excellent reports James and as edifying usual. Thanks