At Synod 1987 a fellow delegate taught me new words for the second stanza of "Onward, Christian Soldiers:" “Like a mighty turtle moves the church of God; brothers, we are treading where we’ve always trod.” I found myself singing that song again when I read some of the overtures to Synod 2011.
Even though synods have received yearly reports from the Faith Formation Study Committee since 2008, a classis wants synod to withhold action on the Church Order changes the Committee proposes (Agenda, pp. 689-90). In November 2009 the churches received the initial report of the Committee to Propose a Combined Translation of Our Three Reformed Standards. In July 2010 a revised translation was available online, and the committee received over forty responses (Agenda, p. 180). An expanded committee discussed these suggestions, and the Agenda contains its final revision. Yet, one classis wants synod to postpone action on this matter for another year, and another classis wants synod to appoint another committee to study it (Agenda, pp. 656-58).
Successful organizations respond promptly to changes and opportunities. Is it possible that over the years repeated requests to synod to delay action on various matters have contributed to our membership’s disinterest in what synod does and says?
Another classis wants synod to declare that synodical decisions on changes to the Confessions must be approved by two-thirds of the classes (Agenda, pp 676-78). Since 1957 synods have defeated twenty overtures asking that decisions on weighty matters (the Confessions, the Church Order, etc.) be made by a two-thirds synodical vote or approved by a majority or two-thirds of the classes or by a majority of the consistories.
Doesn’t requiring anything more than a majority vote institute rule by minority?