GS 2001 art 86

GS 2001 Article 86Book of Praise – Ordinations Forms: Change answer to “I do”

Committee 3 presented its proposal regarding the overture from Regional Synod West to change the answer in the forms for ordination to “I do.”  Synod adopted the following:

1. Material

Letter from Regional Synod West,Dec.5,2000.

2. Admissibility

Regional Synod West provides new grounds for dealing with the matter. This letter is therefore admissible (CO Article 33).

3. Observations

  • 3.1. Regional Synod West overtures General Synod 2001 to change the expected answer in the Forms for Ordination to “I do.”
  • 3.2. Regional Synod points out that Synod Cloverdale 1983 made revisions to the current Liturgical Forms. Without grounds Synod changed the expected answer “I do” in the Forms for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons to read, “I do with all my heart.”
  • 3.3. Regional Synod notes that “Synod 1989 dealt with an appeal concerning this change brought by a brother who felt it went against his conscience ‘to say more than what God teaches in His Word.’” Synod 1989 defended the change by speaking of the solemnity of a vow (Acts 1989,Art.108,p.76).
  • 3.4. Regional Synod is of the opinion “that the matter can be proposed again on the new ground that the Forms for Ordination are not in harmony with the other Liturgical Forms which expect a simple ‘I do’ in response to questions asked. It appears that the Synods which dealt with the matter thought of unity only among the Forms for Ordination and not of unity among all the Liturgical Forms.”  
  • 3.5. Regional Synod argues that: “The existing divergence is arbitrary, giving the impression that the vows for the offices are in a higher category than vows made in connection with baptism, profession of faith or marriage. Considering that it is the Forms pertaining to the office which have a more ostentatious answer, unwittingly one may rekindle the idea that the vows of the ‘clergy’ are more weighty than those of the ‘laity.’” 
  • 3.6. Regional Synod also makes reference to the forms used by the Dutch sister churches, “where the expected answer consistently is ‘Ja’ (Yes).”

4. Considerations

  • 4.1. Synod agrees with Regional Synod West that there should be consistency between the expected answers as found in the various forms that are in use in the churches.
  • 4.2. The present inconsistency can indeed feed the notion that the vows in the Forms for Ordination are weightier than other vows made in the church.

5. Recommendations

Synod decide:

  • 5.1. That the expected answer to the questions posed in the Forms for Ordination should be changed to “I do.”
  • 5.2. To mandate the Standing Committee for the Book of Praise to incorporate this change in future editions of the Book of Praise.