GS 2013 – Article 149
3.3. Some letters deal with major items and require input and direction from Synod, including the following:
Article 43 – Admission to the Lord’s Supper
A number of churches wrote about the current wording of this article, which refers to the consistory admitting “visitors who profess the Reformed faith provided that it secures from them a satisfactory testimony in either written or verbal form about their doctrine, life and church membership.” There continues to be concern that an individual guest may give a verbal testimony about his own doctrine, life and church membership, while the greater responsibility to provide such a testimony should rest with the visitor’s consistory. However, as Synod Burlington 2010 noted, “The elders of the local church are directly responsible for the doctrine and life of their members. Visitors, on the other hand, constitute ‘exceptions’ and it needs to be understood that ‘exceptions’ are always hard to regulate… The admission of visitors from churches with which we maintain ecclesiastical fellowship is best served by a letter of testimony, but it should be understood that very few churches in North America are familiar with such a practice” (Article 151). Nevertheless, because of the Biblical principle of establishing truth on the basis of two witnesses, the joint committee ought to consider making an addition to the wording of the proposed article to reflect a preference for a written testimony about the member from his consistory.