“The positive consequence of forgiveness is that we can invite each other into our congregations, our church, and our Christianity” – reminded the participants of the constuting assembly of the Danubian Reformed Church District Zoltán Balog on January 25, after his inauguration as Bishop of the Church District.
As part of the ongoing general elections, kirk sessions (local church councils) of over 300 congregations of the Danubian Church District elected Zoltán Balog, pastor of the German-speaking Reformed congregation as Bishop of the District in November 2020. Sándor Veres was elected as Lay President for the period of 2021-2026.
After the new Assembly of the District had been constituted, members received and acknowledged the outcome of the election, wished God's blessing upon the live and ministry of the elected officials, thanked those who had actively participated in the successful election and censured those who did not consider it their moral duty to vote or did present invalid ballots during the election.
Gratitude for the invitation
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, Zoltán Balog took his oath in the circle limited to the members of the assembly. Due to the pandemic, the Danubian Church District was forced to keep inauguration and dedication ceremony of the Bishop separate, latter to be held on Easter Monday, at which occasion the inaugural remarks of the Bishop will be delivered.
While István Szabó, outgoing President of the Synod of RCH and former Bishop of the Church District opened the assembly by reading the first six verses of Chapter 4 of the Book of Zechariah, Zoltán Balog referred to Chapter 3 of the same book in his words of greeting: “I am not a high priest," he said, "and I will never be, because we have only one high priest: Jesus Christ. Still this vision of Zechariah appeals to us and to me personally, for you have chosen me to serve God.” He said that he feels the Bible passage personally compelling, because he wears “filthy clothes” just like the high priest in the prophetic vision. But the angel tells also today to the community to take it off of him. “See, I have taken away your sin (…). (…) If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here,” stressed the relevence of words of the Angel of the Lord Bishop Balog. He also added, that "Jesus was the one putting our filthy clothes on, he is the one who "will remove the sin of this land in a single day". If we truly accept forgiveness of our sins, then we will be able and ready to invite each other into our own “vineyards”, means into our lives, said the Bishop.
“Here comes the judgment, which I want you all to listen to, together with me, carefully: as long as we are not able to invite each other, we live in sin. The consequence of forgiveness is that we can invite each other – into our congregations, into our church, into our Christianity," reminded the Bishop referring to the prophecy "In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree". The Bishop asked the members of the Assembly: "Let us not begin in sin. Rather, let us invite each other and accept each others invitation. Let me also express my gratitude to Bishop István Szabó, because he always welcomed me in the past decades, just like he willingly came into my 'wineyard'. I'm also grateful for all those who invited me so far and will do so in the future."
The assembly elected members the council of the assembly of the Church District, which is eligible to make decisions in the periods between the sessions of the assembly. The newly elected officials and judges of the Chruch District took their oaths at the end of the session.
Via reformatus.hu, based on the full report on the website of the Chuch District
Opposing fake political correctness
“In the church we do not like to silence or rephrase the truth we recognized in the name of some kind of political correctness. In faithfulness to the principles of the Reformers and the biblical heritage, greatest possible honesty is required,” said the former minster of the Ministry of Human capacities highlighting the difference between state and church office in an interview to the Hungarian News Agency.
The new Bishop identified strengthening church communities as his most pressing. "Hungary and the world as a whole lacked the strong communities that people could call home. Church communities can give people the strength and support they require in times of crisis," he added in the public media. The Bishop earlier announced that he will resign of all remaining public and political appointments as of 31 January, including the Presidency of the Foundation for a Civic Hungary, the political foundation "aiming to enhance the quality of the work done by Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union Party and its parliamentary group"; and the position of commissioner of the Prime Minister for social affairs and the Virtuosos V4 program series.
Read more about details of the public interview to the Hungarian News Agency here.