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All Articles For Vanden, Berg G

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The second part of the Form for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons deals with the office of the deacon. This Form is rather brief, dealing with just two matters. First of all the origin and institution of the office is recorded, and this is followed by a brief description of the office itself. To these matters we will return presently, but let us first make some general observations.

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Frequency of Meeting If the rule of Article 50 of the Church Order were ob­served, our Synod would meet every other year instead of every year as it does now. Joh. Jansen tells us that the Reformed Churches had originally desired an annual synod but due to disturbed civil conditions and intervention by the government this ideal could not be realized. This explains the provision of the Church Order stipulating that “the general synod shall ordinarily meet once every two years unless there be urgent need to shorten the time.”

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In our previous writing we began to discuss the 49th article of our Church Order; an article that treats the sub­ject of the appointment of synodical committees. Today the provisions of this article apply to all of the committees which are appointed by the Synod whereas originally it applied specifically to one central committee. Various committees are given different mandates and, functioning during the interim between Synods, they are to “execute everything ordained by Synod . .

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The branch of study that is denoted by the above caption is one that is extremely wide in scope. The average reader undoubtedly thinks of Church Polity in terms of the eighty-six articles of our own accepted Church Order. The scope, however, of this subject is far broader than this. Properly speaking it would comprehend a study of all the various Ecclesiastical Polities that have been and are now found in the church world.

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Among other things the first article of our Church Order speaks of the necessity of assemblies in the church for the maintenance of good order. By these assemblies is not meant the gathering of the congre­gation in divine worship but rather the meetings of such ecclesiastical assemblies as the Consistory, Clas­sis and Synod. Concerning these assemblies we will write, D.V., in connection with later articles.

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