In his report on Friday, June 7, General Synod president James Nakakihara urged the RCA to “work to clarify what it is we believe in and what we are fighting for.”
He acknowledged the divisions within the denomination and wondered, “Just how wide and long and high and deep are these hermeneutically-derived beliefs? From what I have witnessed, I would say to the very core.”
To address this disagreement, he encouraged RCA members to articulate their beliefs: “If my assumption is correct and we do not know just how different we are, then finding out is not unreasonable. It may not bring us together—in fact, it may push us apart—but at least we will have more knowledge about our differences instead of ignorance.”
Nakakihara emphasized that clarifying our beliefs should be done with an eye toward the Great Commission. “How do our beliefs relate to going out into the world and making disciples for Jesus, teaching them to obey his commandments?” he asked. In that same vein, reflecting on his visit with RCA missionaries in Japan, he urged the RCA to continue to support mission work.
Even as delegates articulate their beliefs and interact, he asked them to do so in the spirit of Philippians 2:1-2, “in a kind manner, worthy of a follower of Christ.”
He also thanked many groups within the RCA for their ministry. Acknowledging the volunteer service of elders, he urged them, as members of their consistories, to model Christian love and strive together for the gospel. He thanked pastors for their “service and sacrifice.” He celebrated the service of women and of those working with people with disabilities (Nakakihara teaches high school special education).
Nakakihara made two proposals. The first is to create a volunteer-driven RCA media channel, for the purpose of making content created by RCA entities publicly available for the advancement of the cause of Christ. The second is to prepare or recommend a study on postmodernism and its history, beliefs, and relationship to Christianity as a resource for churches to understand the world we live in and to help devise ways to reach people for Christ who are living under this prevailing philosophy. These two proposals will be considered by delegates later this week.