News Articles

Garderen convenes emergency alliance of abstaining churches

GKNs group agrees to institute federation

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

GARDEREN, the Netherlands - A group of at least eight local churches of the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland (GKNs) which say they “at this time” can not go along with the church merger of May 1, is forming an emergency alliance (noodverband). About twenty local churches attented a very recent meeting called by the consistory of Garderen’s GKNs. Most of the other churches (perhaps as many as 60) are still awaiting the outcome of their appeal to GKNs synod. The decision will be announced before May 1.

Opposition in the GKNs to the SoW-merger which joins it with the Nederlands Hervormde Kerk (NHK) and the Evangelisch Lutherse Kerk (ELK) into the Protestantse Kerk in Nederland (PKN) only has surfaced in recent years. The church at Garderen played a prominent role in channeling the resistance.

Opposition to the merger caused GKNs’ synod to create a transition period during which former GKNs churches can leave the new denomination if they so choose. However the Garderen group calls this idea “not very principled,” saying it still can join the PKN in the future but that they currently do not have this freedom.

Garderen also has set up a contact point for scattered members of merging GKNs elsewhere in the country who can not follow their their merging congregation into the KPN. Members in such circumstances are invited to register themselves with the Garderen group of churches for assistance.

The group wants to remain Reformed, be governed according to the Reformed church order and bound by the Reformed confessions. It sees the PKN as a pluriform denomination which also adopted historic and contemporary lutheran confessions.

A group of NHK churches also says it cannot join the PKN. It too is instituting itselves as a continuing church. While GKNs churches are separate legal entities and own their property, a number of NHK congregations have sought a court ruling on their legal status but potentially could lose all their assets. In the NHK title to properties belongs to entities part of the denomination. However, the church order of 1951 has not been tested on that point.