All Articles For Vanden, Berg G

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“In these assemblies ecclesiastical matters only shall be treated.” Such is the wording of Article 30. It would seem that further comment on the above statement is altogether unnecessary since the fact stated follows from the very nature of things. It is obvious that a farmer shall concern himself with things pertaining to agriculture, a doctor with medicine, a teacher with pedagogy, etc. Isn’t it then rather redundant to say that the church shall treat only those matters that pertain to and concern the church? 

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The question of the nature and extent of the jurisdiction of a Classis over a Consistory is of fundamental importance!  The exercise of this jurisdiction, either properly or improperly, has an important effect upon the ecclesiastical life of the churches and certainly has affected the history of our Protestant Reformed Churches from the very time of their origin until, the present day. 

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The task of the deacon is manifold. If our discussion of this office has been somewhat prolonged, it is only because we desire to emphasize the importance and difficulty of the labors of these spiritual ministers of mercy in a time in which much of the proper esteem for this office has been lost. The deacon is more than a financial advisor, bookkeeper or accountant of the church.

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The word from which the term “deacon” is derived and that also expresses the idea of the office we are at present discussing is the Greek word “diakonos.” It is rather interesting to note that of the thirty times that this word appears in the noun form in the New Testament it also appears in the verbal form)? it is translated by the English word “deacon” only three times in the King James version.

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Matters to be treated in the major ecclesiastical assemblies are of two sorts. First of all there are those things which cannot be finished in the minor assemblies. To these things belong matters of protest, matters that are too complicated and difficult for a minor assembly to decide, and overtures from local churches. In respect to the first mentioned, one party or several parties are dissatisfied with the decisions taken in the minor assemblies and, consequently, appeal to the broader gathering.

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But is this conclusion just? Not according to our opinion. It is natural that a Classis deposes a minister of the Word according to the rule: “Who installs also deposes.” The sphere of the minister of the Word reaches further than the local church. Therefore, the Classis must decide with respect to the installation into the office as well as with respect to the deposition of the minister of the Word. In case a local church wants to maintain a heretical minister in spite of the Classis, she would then lose the right to belong to the federation of churches (denomination).

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The relation of the local church to the denomination is comparable to the relation of a member to the local church. In both cases the joining is voluntary. Iti relation to Christ, it is an act of obedience to the command of Christ because neither a member nor a local church ought to remain separate but should unite themselves with other members of the body of Christ. Yet, from their side, in relation to the denominational bond it remains a voluntary act.

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