All Articles For Vanden, Berg G

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To the liturgy of the Reformed Churches belongs the Form For Excommunicating impenitent persons from the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. This form may be found in the back of our Psalters, along with our other Confessions. It may be divided into four main parts. The first part contains an informative section, in which the congregation is made aware of the sin and impenitence of the offender and the necessity of excommunicating him. This is followed by a short paragraph in which the act of excommunication itself is described.

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Exhortation and Prayer The congregation which instrumentally enacts the excommunication of the impenitent brother, is no better or more worthy than he who is excommunicated. Each member of the church, as they witness the excommunication, must feel in their hearts that apart from the grace of God this is also their just portion. None of us deserves a place in God’s Kingdom. It is only the grace of God that continually leads us to repentance that gives us that place and preserves us in it.

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It is not very often that the Form for Readmitting Excommunicated Persons is used by the church. This stems, first of all, from the fact that the Form of Excommunication is not used very often. Usually those members of the church who are worthy of excommunication do not allow themselves to be publicly excommunicated with the form. They rather resign their membership after they have been placed under the first or second step of ecclesiastical censure.

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The whole Word of God is, of course, applicable to every facet of the function of the church but, if we may single out the particular Word of God in I Corinthians 14 and apply it specifically to a singular ecclesiastical function, we would say that it especially applies to the worship of the church. We refer particularly to the exhortation in I Cor.

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The part of the communion form that we want to consider in this article is the concluding paragraph of the preparatory part of this form. From a practical point of view this paragraph is very significant. In the preceding section which dealt with the matter of self examination we discovered, among other things, that we are all dead in sin and deserving of the curse of God. Further, those who are defiled with many sins are enjoined upon the command of Christ and the apostle Paul to keep themselves from the table of the Lord.

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To what end or purpose did the Lord institute His Supper in the church?  It is with this question that the next main section of the Communion Form is concerned. We must not only be subjectively prepared to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the proper way, so that we may be received of God in mercy and be made partakers of all His benefits, but we must also understand objectively what we are doing. If this is not the case with us, the celebration of the sacrament becomes nothing more than a dead formalism. 

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Introduction At some time or another you have undoubtedly heard the expression: “Ministers are born, not made.” The expression has been used with more than a singular application. It is subject to diverse interpretations, but the one main thought which it conveys is very clear. The point is that ministers of the Word are the product of God’s making, not man’s. In the latter sense of the word, ministers cannot be made.

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