The Rev. De Roer writes in Concordia that he is afraid that at our next Synod the decision concerning the Declaration of Principles will hinge upon the question whether a president is chosen from the delegates of Classis West or from those of Classis East. He argues that seeing that the president cannot have a vote, and seeing that the delegates from each classis have their minds made up concerning the Declaration, and seeing that the president that is to be elected cannot vote on the Declaration, therefore it is possible that the Declaration will pass by a vote of 8 to 7.
Now, in the first place, I hope that the Synod will not prove to be a mere voting machine, but that the delegates, however they may have made up their minds before the Synod, will listen to arguments from the Confessions and Scripture, as well as from the Church Order, and that these arguments will be carefully weighed and the final result will be accordingly. I would suggest that at the Synod we either have a couple of stenographers or, better still, have a couple of wire recorders to record all the arguments, in order that they can be weighed even afterwards.
But, secondly, I do not believe that the argument of the Rev. De Boer is quite correct. I know that it is usually understood that the president of synod or of any gathering cannot have a deciding vote except in case of a tie. And of course, a tie could not possibly occur at our synod, where there are 16 delegates, and therefore 15 outside of the president. However, I do not believe that this traditional view is correct. No delegate, not even the president, can be deprived of his right to vote. And he has that right, not only in case of a tie, but even if his vote should cause the result of a tie.
It is well that this be understood. For otherwise we might even have trouble in electing a president, since no one would accept that position on condition that he could not vote, especially on the Declaration. In that case we will probably have to elect a president by lot.
But seeing this is not the case, no one needs to hesitate to occupy the chair at our next synod.