GS 1983 art 91

GS 1983 ARTICLE 91Decisions re Revision Church Order

A.  MATERIAL –   Agenda VIII, F. 

  • 1. Report from the Committee on the Church Order (plus addition).
  • 2.  Letter from the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer).
  • 3.  Letter from the Church at Burlington-South.
  • 4.  Letter from the Church at Carman.
  • 5.  Letter f rom the Church at Cloverdale.
  • 6.  Letter from the Church at Hami lton.
  • 7.  Letter from the Church at Orangeville.
  • 8.  Letter from the Church at Smithville.
  • 9.  Letter from br. J. Gelderman.
  • 10.  Letter from br. C. Groenewegen.
  • 11.  Letter from br. J. Hendricks.
  • 12.  Letter from br. L. VanZandwijk.
  • 13.  Letter from br. M. Werkman.
  • 14.  Letter from br. E. Witten.

B.  OBSERVATIONS

  • 1.   Synod 1980 gave the Committee the following mandate:
    • “to send a complete definite draft of the Revised Church Order to the Churches before January 1. 1982, soliciting remarks from the Churches to be sent to the Committee before January 1, 1983. and to present the result of its work to General Synod 1983. (Acts, Art. 19. D. 3).”
  • 2.   Synod 1980 also decided to pass on to the Committee the proposals of br. C. Groenewegen and the Church at Burlington-East (Acts. Art. 34, D).
  • 3.   The Committee has submitted its report to the Churches and comes to Synod 1983 with a definite draft, which was also linguistically corrected.
  • 4.   Synod 1983 has received the following submissions from Churches and indi­vidual members:
  • Art. 1    the Church at Hamilton proposes that the wording “there should be” be changed to “that there be.”
  • Art. 3 the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) proposes to distinguish between consistory with or without the deacons by using the terms “consistory” and council.”
  • the Church at Smithville recommends to retain the expression “after preceding prayers” with respect to the election of office-bearers (Grounds : Acts 1:24; Belgic Confession, Art. 31).
  • Art. 4  the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) suggests to add Art. 4 A. 3. the words “Have been declared eligible or” and the words “or intend to live” to Art. 4, B. 2.
  • the Church at Hamilton recommends that the words “or by the Church with which the American/Canadian Reformed Churches maintain a sister Church relationship” be added.
  • Art. 5   the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) suggests to add under Article 5
    • B.  “from the Church only, in case he remains within the same classis.” the Church at Hamilton recommends to change the phrase “coopera­tion of deputies” to the “concurring advice of the deputies.”
  • Art. 6  the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) suggests that “service” be changed to “serve.”
  • Art. 8 the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) suggests to change this to read “unless there is assurance of their godliness, humility and modesty, and of exceptional gifts of good intellect and discretion, and also of the gift of public speech.”
  • Art.  9     the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) suggests to add the same words as in Art. 5, B.
  • Art. 11 the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) suggests to change “from his ministry” to “from his service with in the congregation” and to change the time period from two to three years.
  • the Church at Orangeville recommends that the specific time period be deleted and replaced with “eventually, if no call is forthcoming.” Rev. M. Werkman proposes to change “unfit and incapable” to “unfit or incapable.”
  • Art. 13 the Church at Hamilton recommends to add “for physical or psychical reasons.”
  • Art. 15 the Church at Smithville recommends to add “and that only in the Fed­eration of Churches.”
  • br. J. Gelderman requests that old Art. 15 be retained.
  • Art. 16 the Church at Hamilton recommends to change “doctrine of salvation” to “doctrine of the Scriptures.”
  • Art. 17 br. J. Gelderman asks why the phrase concerning the equality among elders and deacons has been deleted.
  • Art. 18 the Church at Hamilton recommends to change “their faith” to “the faith. “
  • Art. 19 the Church at Hamilton recommends to add “and they shall appoint professors of theology and governors tor the Theological College.” the Church at Smithville proposes to retain part of the old redaction “to expound the Holy Scriptures and to vindicate the sound doctrine against heresies and errors.”
  • Art. 23 the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) recommends to add the essence of old Art. 26 to Art. 23.
  • the Church at Burlington-South suggests the same.
  • Art. 30   the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) objects to the new rule added to Art. 30 since it would restrict addressing Synod on matters of urgent common concern.
  • the Church at Hamilton suggests to delete the last sentence since it introduces a very confusing rule and would make a “bureaucratic mess” with respect to matters of common concern.
  • Art. 32 the Church at Smithville recommends to add “and instructions.”
  • br. J. Gelderman also objects to the removal of the words “and instruc­tions.”
  • Art. 35 the Church at Burlington-South, Hamilton, br. L. VanZandwijK and br. E. Witten request Synod to retain the sentence “Furthermore his office shall cease when the assembly has been ended.”
  • Art. 37 the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) recommends to add the explanatory sentence “The consistory however has received from Christ the authority over the local congregation.”
  • Art. 38   the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) states that it is not correct to say that the word “consistory” as meeting of ministers, elders and deacons is “in harmony with the Belgic Confession,” since the Confession uses the word “council” in Article 33.
  • the Church at Burlington-South suggests to retain the wording of Art. 38 as in the drafts submitted in 1979 and 1981.
  • the Church at Cloverdale proposes to use the name “consistory” for the meeting of the elders and “council” for that of ministers, elders and deacons.
  • the Church at Orangeville wants to retain the previous draft proposal regarding this Article.
  • Art. 39 the Church at Orangeville proposes to have Art. 39 read as follows “Where the number of elders is small, the deacons may be added to the elders by local arrangement; this shall invariably be done where the number of elders or the number of deacons is less than three.” This shall be added to the presently proposed Art. 39 which Article shall be amended from “may meet” to “shall meet.”
  • Art. 40 the Church at Burlington-South deplores that the deacons can no longer be added to the consistory since under the proposed redaction they already belong to the consistory.
  • Art. 42 the Church at Smithville recommends to add the stipulation that the deacons shall meet “as a rule at least once a month.”
  • Art. 43 the Church at Burlington-South proposes to retain the present (old) Ar­ticle 43.
  • Art. 44. the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) suggests to make the following changes in this Article: “The classis shall consist of neighbouring Churches that respectively delegate to the classical meeting … as were determined by the previous classical meeting … which would warrant the convening of a classical meeting. cancellation of a classical meeting. however. shall take place. And finally, at the last classical meeting before the regional synod.”
  • the Church at Burlington-South does not want Art. 43 placed under Art. 44 (see above).
  • Art. 46 the Church at Hamilton recommends to delete “unless the great dis­tances render this inadvisable.”
  • br. J Gelderman is of the opinion that too many specifics have been deleted from this Article. e. g. regarding school teachers and the youth.
  • Art. 52  the Church at Hamilton recommends that the phrase “The Churches shall keep an order of service approved by General Synod” be added to this Article.
  • br. J. Gelderman wants to see retained the expression “Catechism,
  • which at the present time is accepted in the Canadian Reformed Churches.”
  • Art. 55 the Church at Burlington-South suggests that the wording be changed to read: “In the worship services the Psalms will be sung in the rhym­ing adopted by the General Synod: and the Hymns. that have been ap­proved by the General Synod.”
  • Art. 57 the Church at Carman proposes to stipulate that only those believers “who have made public profession of the Reformed faith” can have their children baptized.
  • Art. 58   the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) suggests to change the expression “attend a school” to “receive an education,” also to title the Article “Edu­cation” instead of “Schools.”
  • the Church at Burlington-South proposes to add the words “according to the promise at the baptismal font.”
  • the Church at Hamilton recommends that the Article read “to the best of their ability as declared in the promise made at the baptismal font.” the Church at Smithville would like to have inserted “and according to the promise of baptism.”
  • br. J. Gelderman proposes that there be in this Article a reference to the baptism premise.
  • Art. 62 the Church at Burlington-South expresses concern that there are some who do not request an attestation. and would like to see this matter reg­ulated.
  • the Church at Hamilton recommends to add “Notice shall be given to the receiving consistory that an attestation has been issued. “
  • the Church at Smithville would like to see added “after previous an­nouncements to the congregation” and also stipulated “by the chair­ man and clerk. “
  • Art. 63  the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) proposes to delete the words “as are in accordance with the Word of God.”
  • Art. 65 the Church at Burlington-South, Cloverdale, Hamilton, Smithville and br. J. Gelderman all suggest to retain this Article.
  • Art.  66  the Church at Hamilton recommends to add the phrase “the secret sins of which the sinner repents, or.”
  • Art. 67 br. J. Hendricks requests that the present (old) Article 76 be retained here. He objects specifically to a regulation for the excommunication of non-communicant members.
  • br. J. Gelderman questions whether a non-communicant member can
  • be excommunicated and believes that he/she should simply be removed from the membership.
  • Art. 68 br. J. Gelderman wonders why with respect to the confession of sin the phrase is deleted “where there is a difference of opinion about it in the consistory, be considered with the advice of two neighbouring Churches.”
  • Art. 69 the Church at Cloverdale is convinced that provision has to be made for the readmission of excommunicated non-communicants.
  • br. J. Hendricks remarks that this Article will need further stipulation for the readmission of baptized former members.
  • Art. 70 br. J. Gelderman complains that the reference to the civil government has been omitted (also in Art. 71).
  • Art. 83   the Churches at Burlington-South and Hamilton want this Article retained.

C.  CONSIDERATIONS

  • 1.  The Committee has presented Synod with a definite draft, linguistically corrected, of the revised Church Order and thus has fulfilled its mandate.
  • 2.  a.   Although some of the suggestions of br. C. Groenewegen have been used by the Committee for their final revision, it is evident that the Committee could not decide in the line of various other proposals of br. C. Groenewegen.
  • b. The proposals of br. C. Groenewegen, basically suggesting “to adopt a policy similar to the practice of the RPCES” (Vol. 1, p. 6) extend far beyond the mandate given to the Committee, as well as beyond the intent of the revi­sion as requested by previous Synods, namely to “undertake a general re­ vision of the presently adopted Church Order, as much as ‘the profit of the Churches demand it’ (Art. 86 Church Order), with preservation of the Re­ formed character of this Church Order” (Acts 1971, Art. 82). Br. Groenewegen does not propose a revision of the existing order, but an entirely new order, while the Churches wish to remain with the Order adopted at Dordrecht 1618-1619.
  • 3.  The following considerations regard the submissions of Churches and individuals (cf. Observation 4):
    • Art. 1    the Committee has already changed the wording of the Article to suit the proposal of the Church at Hamilton.
    • Art. 3 a. the matter of “consistory with or without deacons” (Burlington­ Ebenezer) can be best dealt with under Art. 38. Here the Advisory Committee agrees that in the process of election the deacons shall be involved;
      • b. the recommendation of the Church at Smithville to retain the expres­sion “after preceding prayers” has merit in the light of Art. 31 Belgic Confession “with calling on the Name of the Lord.”
    • Art. 4 a. the recommendations of the Churches at Burlington (Ebenezer) and Hamilton re the calling of candidates declared eligible for call in sister Churches abroad has merit in the light of the nature and rules of correspondence. The possibility left open by the Draft 1968 would be made impossible by this revision;
      • b. it is not really necessary to add the provision “or intend to live,” since someone eligible for call would have to be a member of one of the Canadian Reformed Churches or sister Churches before being eli­gible for call and would be examined in the classis to which that Church belongs.
    • Art. 5 a.  the recommendation of the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) “from the Church only, in case he remains within the same classis” should be adopted, since one can not be discharged from service in a classis if one remains in that classis;
      • b. the Church at Hamilton is correct in stating that the phrase “with the cooperation of the deputies” is too weak. The element of “con­curring advice” (see also Art. 13) should be somehow expressed. We advise to change this Article to read. “with the cooperation and concurring advice.
    • Art. 6 the suggestion of the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) has already been followed.
    • Art. 8 the suggestion of the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) should not be followed because indeed when someone presents himself on the basis of exceptional gifts. these must include “godliness, humility and modes­ty,” for the danger is not unreal that in such cases wrong motives have crept in or wrong attitudes prevail.
    • Art. 9    see Consideration under Article 5.
    • Art. 11  a. the recommendation of the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) should be followed because the dismissal is not from the ministry as such, but from his ministry in that particular congregation. Therefore this should be changed to read “from his service within the congrega­tion.” Th e time period of three years is also appropriate with a view to a possible appeal to general synod;
      • b. the proposal of the Church at Orangeville should not be adopted since it is too indefinite while the purpose of the Article is exactly to fix a period of time;
      • c. the suggestion of the Rev. M. Werkman should not be followed because one of the possibilities can be present. but also both, whereas his suggestion would imply that it must be one or the other.
    • Art. 13 the proposal of the Church at Hamilton to add ·’for physical or psychical reasons” is not a necessary clarification, for it would simply be a stating of what is obvious.
    • Art. 15 a. the recommendation of the Church at Smithville to specify that ministers should preach the Word and administer the sacraments within our federation only is not to the point for this Article concerns the position of a minister within the federation of Churches;
      • b.    the unclear suggestion of br. Gelderman does not contain grounds and should not be followed
    • Art. 16 the recommendation of the Church at Hamilton to change “doctrine of salvation” to “doctrine of the Scriptures” should not be followed, be­ cause the expression “doctrine of salvation” does not limit but rather qualifies the purpose of instruction to the youth.
    • Art. 17 br. Gelderman’s question is not pertinent, for the matter of equality among elders and deacons is found in Article 25.
    • Art. 18 the recommendation of the Church at Hamilton need not be followed; one should see here no distinction between “the (true) faith” and “their (personal) faith.”
    • Art. 19  a.  the recommendation of the Church at Hamilton can not be included as is, for the “professors of theology” are appointed by the Board of Governors upon the direction of the General Synod. Besides, the appointment of professors by the Board has been amply regulated in the Canadian Reformed Theological College Act, 1981 and the By-Laws;
      • b   the proposal of the Church at Smithville to retain the essence of old
    • Art. 18 has merit, for it may be expected especially of the Doctors of Theology and the professors that they serve not only the students but also the Churches in expounding the Scriptures and vindicating the sound doctrine against heresies and errors. Since the description of the task of professors limits itself solely to the training for the ministry, the words of old Art. 18 can not be inserted here.
    • Art. 23 it is not necessary to adopt the recommendations of the Churches at Burlington to stipulate that deacons maintain good contact with other agencies of support, since the necessity for such contact is self-evident and support for persecuted “strangers” will normally not be refused.
    • Art. 30 the proposals of the Churches at Burlington (Ebenezer) and Hamilton should not be followed, for the addition re “urgent matters of common concern “would defeat the purpose of the preceding stipulation, name­ly to prevent new issues from being placed before major assemblies hastily and unlawfully before having been dealt with in the minor as­semblies.
    • Art. 32 the proposal of the Church at Smithville and br. J. Gelderman re “in­structions” need not be followed since the revised version does not ex­clude the giving of instructions.
    • Art. 35 the Churches at Burlington-South and Hamilton, as well as the brethren L. VanZandwijk and E. Witten propose to retain the sentence “Further­ more his office shall cease when the assembly has been ended.” Fear is expressed that exclusion of this part of the Article will lead to some form of hierarchy or to the creation of permanent “higher” bodies or offices. This sentence could be maintained as follows, “In major as­semblies the office of the president shall cease when the assembly has ended.” The Committee for Revision does not consider this addition objectionable.
    • Art. 37 it is not necessary to accede to the recommendation of the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) since the leadership of Christ over the Church is sufficiently expressed in Article 29-31 of the Belgic Confession.
    • Art. 38, 39, 40 a. various Churches object to the unexpected change that in the final redaction the deacons are included in the consistory and express concern about the fact that this major change is proposed so short­ly “before the convening of Synod,” leaving the Churches very lit­tle time to study such an important change. This objection can not be denied;
      • b.   the Committee for Revision is mistaken when it considers this change to be “in complete harmony with the Belgic Confession,” for not only does the Confession use the term “council,” but also a general con­fessional term should not be seen as being in conflict with further church-political distinctions. That the ministers, elders and deacons form the council of the Church (Belgic Confession Art. 30) does not necessarily imply that the deacons therefore belong to the consistory;
      • c.   it is important that in harmony with the teaching of the Scriptures and the Form for Ordination, the elders and deacons be kept dis­tinct, also with respect to the body which is called to govern the Church. The present proposal may cause confusion here. That con­ fusion is not taken away by the addition of Article 39, for this Article does not stipulate that elders and deacons shall meet separately “to deal with matters specifically pertaining to the respective special of­fices,” but may do so (if they wish). The Church at Cloverdale is cor­rect in stating “as a result our Church Order has been considerably weakened. It gives the Churches complete freedom to interpret the occasions when the deacons should be present. Moreover, it would be quite possible that the deacons will be allowed to attend all the meetings of the consistory. By trying to avoid confusion in the names of the consistory, this change will create confusion in something far more important. namely. the proper understanding of elders and deacons”.
      • d.   it is not wise to change longstanding terminology which has a strong principial basis. Also the Dutch sister Churches in their revision have maintained the terminology as used in the Reformed Churches for centuries:
      • e.   the use of the term “council” does not really solve the problem of terminology and should not be included in the text of the Church Order;
      • f.    the Advisory Committee proposes that the version given in the Pro­ visional Report 1981 on the Articles 3. 38. 39 be adopted.
    • Art. 42 it is wise to follow the recommendation of the Church at Smithville that some regularity be maintained with respect to the meetings of the deacons. The stipulation “as a rule once a month” is not as restrictive as the original rule whenever necessary. every week.” and could very well be included.
    • Art. 43 the proposal of the Church at Burlington-South to retain the old Article 43 need not be followed since the substance of this Article has been clearly maintained in proposed Art. 44 also with respect to “other ma­jor assemblies” than class is.
    • Art 44 the suggestion of the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) should not be followed because the expression “classis” and “classical meetings” are used interchangeably by the Committee.
    • Art. 46 a. the suggestion of the Church at Hamilton to delete the clause re­garding “great distances” should be followed. since present-day means of transportation render this clause obsolete Furthermore. the danger is there that this clause might be used as an excuse not to conduct Church visitation:
      • b. br. J. Gelderman’s observation that much has been deleted from this Article is correct, yet this does not imply that the deleted mat­ters may not be discussed during Church visitation. The notion is preserved in the phrase “to inquire…whether the adopted order is being preserved”
    • Art. 52 a. the Church at Hamilton’s proposal to specify a certain order of wor­ship can not be accepted because such an order has never been adopted:
      • b. br. Gelderman’s proposal to retain “Catechism, which at the pres­ent time is accepted in. the Canadian Reformed Churches” need not be followed. since in the revision the further qualification “Heidelberg” has been added, which obviously is one of the Three Forms of Unity.
    • Art. 55  the suggestion of the Church at Burlington-South need not be followed, as the final revision has already improved on the text of this Article.
    • Art. 57 the proposal of the Church at Carman to stipulate that only children of communicant members may be baptized should not be followed, for such a rule was never included in the Church Order, even if such a practice might be desirable
    • Art. 58 a. the suggestion of the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) to have the expression “attend a school” changed to “receive an education” should not be followed, since the phrase “to the best of their abil­ity” reckons with various contrary situations which may arise;
      • b.   the Churches at Burlington-South, Hamilton, Smithville and br. J. Gelderman recommend an explicit reference to “the promise made at the baptism font.” The matter of the school has been addressed sufficiently in this Article and a reference of this kind, which has never been in this Article, should not be inserted. Even if such a reference is not included now, this does not mean that no relationship exists between the baptismal vows and the instruction at school.
    • Art. 62 a. the proposal of the Church at Burlington-South should not be fol­lowed. for a church order should not try to exhaustively regulate ex­ceptional matters;
      • b.   the recommendation of the Church at Hamilton should not be fol­lowed. for after an attestation has been issued to a certain member, the consistory has no supervision over such a member. Whether a notice shall be given must be left up to the consistories and need not be regulated in the Church Order;
      • c.   the proposal of the Church at Smithville re attestations should be accepted for it gives a clearer rule regarding the practice concern­ing attestations.
    • Art.  63   the proposal of the Church at Burlington (Ebenezer) to delete “as are in accordance with the Word of God” should not be followed, because it is an essential provision with respect to the ministers, whereas the phrase “only in the Lord” refers to the members.
    • Art. 65 since several Churches recommend that old Article 65 be retained, and the Committee has already formulated a revised version, this Article should be included as proposed
    • Art. 66 the proposal of the Church at Hamilton to mention specifically “secret sins” of which the sinner repents need not be adopted, because it is clear the entire Article is based on relevant passages from Matthew 18. Besides, the purpose of this Article is not to determine what the mem­bers shall do, but under which conditions the consistory may only become involved.
    • Art. 67 since the Churches have accepted forms for the ex-communication of non-communicant members, regulation of this matter in the Church Order is not out of place. Baptized. non-communicant members do have a lawful place and position in the Church. be it different from that of communicant members, for by baptism they are “integrated into the Chris­tian Church” (Lord’s Day 27. Q. & A. 74). These members do form a part of the communion of saints, so the term “ex-communication” is applicable to them even if they have not been admitted to the commu­nion of the table. The objections of the brs. J. Hendricks and J Gelder­ man need not be sustained.
    • Art. 68 br. J. Gelderman’s question has been sufficiently answered in the Pro­ visional Report of December 1981.
    • Art. 69 it would be unwise to make exact stipulations concerning the readmis­sion of noncommunicants, since circumstances may vary. Consistories will have to use their discretion.
    • Art. 70 br. J. Gelderman gives no reason why the reference to the civil govern­ment in Art. 70 (and 71) should be retained.
    • Art. 83   not only present-day circumstances, but especially the nature of the work of the deacons renders it unnecessary to retain old Art. 83. Caring for the poor includes as a matter of course also caring for the “departing poor.” The argument given in the Provisional Report 1981 is convincing.

D.  RECOMMENDATIONS

Synod decides:

  • 1.  to thank the Committee on the Revision of the Church Order for the faithful completion of their mandate.
    • ADOPTED
  • 2.  not to accede to the requests of br. C. Groenewegen.
    • ADOPTED
  • 3.  to adopt the revised Church Order, with the following amendments:
    • Art. 3    add: “after preceding prayers” (8th line).
      • ADOPTED
    • Art. 4   add: “Have been declared eligible in, or” (5th line).
      • ADOPTED
    • Art. 5     add: “and concurring advice” (11th line).
      • ADOPTED
    • “from the Church only, in case he remains within the same classis”(21st line). 
      • ADOPTED
    • Art. 9    add: “of the Church only, if he remains within the same classis” (6th line).
      • ADOPTED
    • Art. 11 change : “from his ministry” to “from his service within the congregation” (4th line).
      • ADOPTED
    • “two” to “three” (8th line).
      • ADOPTED
    • Art. 35 add: “In major assemblies the office of the president shall cease when the assembly has ended” (8th line).
      • ADOPTED
    • Art. 38 adopt Article 38, 39 of the Provisional Draft 1981.
      • ADOPTED
    • add: “as a rule” to Art. 38 of the Provisional Draft (4th line – before “the ministers shall preside”).
      • ADOPTED
    • Art. 42 add: “as a rule once a month” (2nd line).
    • change: “in” to “to” (4th line).
      • ADOPTED
    • Art. 46 delete: “unless the great distances render this inadvisable” (3rd line).
      • ADOPTED
    • Art. 62  add: “after previous announcements to the congregation” (3rd line).
      • ADOPTED
    • change : “two of its members” to “chairman and clerk” (4th line).
      • DEFEATED
    • Art. 65 insert Article 65 re funerals, and from thereon move up all numbers by one.
      • ADOPTED
  • 4.  to have the Revised Church Order published in the Book of Praise, and as a separate booklet for use in the Churches (Acts 1980, Art. 122, D, 6, b).ADOPTED
  • 5.  to pass on copies of the adopted revised Church Order to the Committee for Correspondence with Churches Abroad in order that the sister Churches may be informed of our decisions.
    • ADOPTED

Minority Report

Observations: as in the report of the advisory Committee Ill.

Considerations:

  • a.  the Committee for revision of the Church Order is completely correct in consid­ering this change to be “in complete harmony with the Belgic Confession.” where we read that besides the ministers there must be “also elders and deacons, who, together with the pastors, form the council of the Church.” (Dutch : “om met de herders te zijn als de raad der Kerk” = de kerkeraad.);
  • b.  that the ministers, elders and deacons form the council of the Church (Art. 30 Belgic Confession) implies necessarily that the deacons therefore do belong to the consistory;
  • c.  using the term “council” for the minister, elders and deacons and the term “con­sistory” for the minister with the elders, as proposed by some Churches, assumes a difference between council and consistory and is therefore confusing and should not be inserted in the text of the Church Order;
  • d.  Art. 39 of the Church Order as proposed by the Committee on the Revision of the Church Order provides sufficient room for conducting separate meetings to deal with the matters specifically pertaining to their respective special offices:
  • e.  the wording of Art. 38, as proposed by the Committee on Revision of the Church Order does not interfere with the practice of the local Churches, but will pro­ mote the cooperation between elders and deacons.

Recommendation:

Synod decides:

  • as concerning Art. 38 and Art. 39 to adopt in the Revised Church Order the final proposal of the Committee on the Revision of the Church Order.
  • Since the Majority Report is adopted, the Minority Report is not voted upon.

ADOPTED