This, in one word, is the outcome of the Dekker Case in the Christian Reformed Church.
It is impossibly to report in this issue the details of what took place at the reconvened Synod on August 29 and 30. These details will be reported in our next issue, and at that time editorial comment will also be forthcoming, D.V. But here is a brief account of what took place since we last reported to you:
1. Synod’s advisorty committee succeeded in drawing up a rather lengthly unified report after the Synod recessed. This report was distributed to the delegates prior to the time Synod reconvened.
2. When Synod reconvened, the recommendations of the Study Committee took precedence; Synod, therefore, was again confronted by a motion which, in effect, declared Prof. Dekker’s teachings to be contrary to Scripture and the confessions. After about a half day of fruitless discussion, the recommendations of the Study Committee were tabled by a vote of 76 to 59.
3. Synod then turned to the unified report of the Advisory Committee. Most of Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning were devoted to discussion of a motion to warn against certain dangers in the use of Prof. Dekker’s statements. An attempt was made to table the recommendation of the Advisory Committee, but this failed by a vote of 68 to 66.
4. Toward noon on Wednesday, August 30, at the instigation of President William Haverkamp, a motion was passed to have the Advisory Committee and the members of the Study Committee meet and try to draw up something which would be acceptable to Synod. This meeting took all of Wednesday afternoon.
5. On Wednesday evening Synod reconvened. Well-nigh unbelievable as it may seem, here is Synod’s decision:
That Synod admonish Professor Dekker for the ambiguous and abstract way in which he has expressed himself in his writing on the love of God and the atonement:
- His writings have resulted in considerable misunderstanding and confusion within the churches concerning the doctrine of the atonement.
- His presentation of his views has resulted in widespread uncertainty concerning his adherence to the creeds.
The above decision was taken by an overwhelming majority; there was a very thin scattering of negative votes.
Mark well, this is the only substantive decision taken on the entire Dekker Case!
For the time being, I will leave it to the reader to consider this and draw his conclusions.
On the floor of Synod, Dr. Henry Stob, a faculty advisor and staunch supporter of Prof. Dekker, called this a miracle! Another delegate declared that the mountain labored and brought forth a mouse,—a remark which brought forth laughter.
But this is Synod’s decision. It is the total outcome of the Dekker Case!
Synod was in travail and brought forth the wind!
But it is in one word: TRAGIC!