All Articles For Vanden, Berg G

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“The office peculiar to the deacons is diligently to collect alms (aalmoezen) and other contributions of charity (andere armengoederen), and after mutual counsel, faithfully and diligently to distribute the same to the poor as their needs may require it; to visit and comfort the distressed and to exercise care that the alms are not misused; of which they shall render an account in consistory, and also (if anyone desires to be present) to the congregation, at such a time as the consistory may see fit.” (Art. 25, Church Order) 

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The question of the authority of Synod or Classis is a very significant one that presses for attention repeatedly throughout the history of Reformed Churches. The question itself we purpose to discuss extensively in connection with later articles in the Church Order but we cannot refrain from commenting upon it here because: (1) Article 15 specifically speaks of “the consent and authority of the synod or classis” and (2) it is a burning issue throughout our recent history as churches.

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The principle of the sixty-second article of our Church Order is that the consistory of each church is empowered to determine various matters concerning the administration of the Lord’s Supper. There are certain essential elements that belong to the sacrament which the consistory itself may not change. Christ has instituted this sacrament in the church and the fundamental elements of that institution must be preserved lest the symbolism and significance of it be destroyed. In the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, however, there are also those things which may be considered incidental or non-essential. In our last article we mentioned...

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“For ye have the poor always with you; but Me ye have not always.”  These are the words of Jesus which were spoken at the time of His anointing in Bethany by Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Judas, the betrayer, had severely criticized this act of love and complained that the money spent could have been used better if given to the poor. After the Lord condemned this unjust criticism of a perfectly legitimate deed of love, He turned to His disciples and in them to the church to whom He spoke the above quoted words. 

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The committee, appointed by the Synod of 1924 to study the question whether or not a Classis may depose a Consistory, was divided in its report. The first part of that report or the report of that part of the committee that answered this question in the affirmative appeared in the foregoing articles. The other side now follows:

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“The administration of the Lord’s Supper shall take place only there where three is supervision of elders, according to the ecclesiastical order in a public gathering of the congregation.” —Article 64, D.K.O. In many Reformed circles today the provision of the sixty-fourth article of our Church Order either has already or is fast becoming an obsolete thing. The spirit of individualism, so prevalent in this age in the world, seems to reflect itself more and more in the church as she repels various forms of authority and ecclesiastical supervision. Old traditions are discarded or conveniently ignored and substituted with the...

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d) In the first volume of “Politica Ecclesiastica,” Voetius answers thirty-four particular questions that relate to the matter of ecclesiastical power. Question 22 is: “As part of the ecclesiastical power, does it belong to the Synodical gathering of the churches to exercise the right of excommunication in the event of misgovernment or incurable evil?” (atque ab ea exerceri). The familiar answer is: “I do not see why this cannot be done in cases and events such as mentioned above.” 

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The last time we quoted the twenty-sixth article in full and will, therefore, not repeat it here. The reader may consult his church order or The Standard Bearerof July 1, 1956. The original rendering of this article as taken from Jansen’s “Korte Verklaring” reads: “De Diakenen zullen, ter plaatse waar huiszitten-meesters of andere aalmoezeniers zijn, van deze begeeren goede correspondentie met hen te willen houden, ten einde de aalmoezen te beter uitgedeeld mogen worden onder degenen “die meest gebrek hebben.” 

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