An Established Practice
An Established Practice
The twenty-third article of our church order states that one of the duties of the office of elder is “to visit the families of the congregation, in order particularly to comfort and instruct the members, and also to exhort others in respect to the Christian religion.” The original rendering of this was much more explicit.
In our last article we introduced a question concerning the propriety of baptizing children that have been adopted by Christian parents. Is it correct that such children, who may or may not have been born in the covenant line historically, are the proper subjects of baptism? Is it not more correct as well as much safer, especially with those that have been born outside of the historic covenant line, to wait until they reach the years of discretion?
We are still busy with the eleventh article of the church order. Besides speaking of the obligation of the consistory to properly support the minister of the congregation so that “he may be free from all worldly cares and avocations while dispensing spiritual blessings,” this article also speaks of dismissing ministers from the service of the church. Concerning this matter the article states: “And shall not dismiss them from service without the knowledge and approbation of the classis and of the delegates of the (particular) synod.”
“Students, who have received permission according to the rule of this matter, and persons who have according to Article 8 been judged competent to be prepared for the ministry of the Word, shall, for their own training, and for the sake of becoming known to the congregations, be allowed to speak a word of edification in the meeting for public worship.” (Art. 20, D.K.O.)
Is it proper for the church to administer the sacrament of baptism to children that have been adopted? Quite naturally this question should be preceded by another. Is it proper to adopt and to give out children for adoption?
The church order speaks of the duties of the elders in more than one place. In the sixteenth article it is stated that their task is, together with the minister of the Word, to exercise church discipline and to see to it that everything is done decently and in good order. To this is added in the twenty-third article that elders are called upon to exercise supervision or oversight over their fellow officebearers, the ministers and deacons, and to properly engage in the work of family visitation.
Rev. Cammenga is pastor of Southwest Protestant Reformed Church in Grandville, Michigan. “Secret sins of which the sinner repents, after being admonished by one person in private or in the presence of two or three witnesses, shall not be laid before the consistory.” Church Order, Article 73. Introduction This is the section of the Church Order that deals with Christian discipline. The opening articles of this section make plain the conviction of our Reformed fathers that Christian discipline does not begin with the consistory, but with the members of the congregation mutually. They were convinced of this because this...
Our Church Order answers the above question by stating that baptism is to be administered to “children of Christmas.” This answer is rather general. Its indefiniteness creates the possibility of raising various questions and it is of little value in solving the problems that arise in abnormal circumstances. Rev.
Beginning with Article 56, our Church Order devotes nine articles to the subject of the Sacraments. The first five, Articles 56 to 60 inclusive, deal with various questions relating to the sacrament of Holy Baptism and the last four, Articles 61 to 64 inclusive, treat the subject of the Lord’s Supper. In our discussion of this subject, we are not to treat the doctrinal aspect of the sacraments.