Chairman of NAPARC Comments on Vote to Expel CRC and on Future of Council

East Point, GA (November 19, 1997)-The lobby of the Crown Plaza Hotel provided the setting for an impromptu press conference with the Chairman of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC), shortly after that body had voted to suspend the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) from membership. The Rev. Mr. Gordon Keddie, a pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA), stated that the NAPARC action was "sad, but inevitable." He continued: "The women's issue really triggers a perception that the Christian Reformed Church has departed from the understanding of Scripture as understood historically."

Mr. Keddie said that his own denomination had been content to let other churches lead in the matter of the CRC. However, he stated that the Interchurch Relations Committee would likely recommend to Synod 1998 to suspend fraternal relations with the CRC until the year 2000, "which corresponds with the time when they say they're going to review the matter [of women's ordination to ruling and teaching office]."

Reflecting on the future of the Council, Mr. Keddie opined that "NAPARC cannot do anything until it resolves the question of its basic unity of what constitutes the Reformed movement." In his opinion, NAPARC "should be a meeting place of all bona fide Reformed churches": a Council of "not six or seven churches with lots of observers, but twenty churches," with the size of the denomination not particularly mattering. He specifically mentioned the Presbyterian Reformed Church as an example of the type of denomination which should be a full-fledged member.

Mr. Keddie conceives of NAPARC as being "a meeting place with a view to drawing churches together in organic union or organic unions. . . . Not just a talk show, but something that heals breeches in the body."

The native Scotsman made reference to Dr. Robert Godfrey's recent article, entitled "A Reformed Dream," which envisions using the exodus of many conservatives from the CRC as an opportunity to bring together, organizationally, the Dutch and Scottish traditions of the Reformed faith. Dr. Godfrey, the President of Westminster Theological Seminary in California, recently left the CRC for the United Reformed Churches of North America, the largest group of CRC seceders.

Mr. Keddie, who pastors the RPCNA congregation in State College, PA, stated that "the proliferation of tiny denominations-and I regard the RPCNA as a tiny denomination-is not a happy thing. It's not something that should be accepted as a kind of final solution."

He noted that a Manual for his church's Interchurch Relations Committee is in preparation, which document is to "take seriously the claims and challenges of the unity of the church."

In the view of this Reformed Presbyterian minister, "All these churches are divided in many ways, and the main thing is to get these churches to square one so we can talk about it."