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All Articles For Decency and Order

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E. Bodies To Which Appeals Are To Be Directed  Article 31 states clearly that appeals are to be made from the minor assemblies to the major assemblies. That means that decisions of Consistories may be appealed to Classis, and the latter in turn may be appealed to Synod. On this point there is agreement among all who adhere to Reformed polity. As such it creates no occasion for dispute but unless we say more than this we do not do justice to the underlying principle that is involved here. 

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1. To Whom Must the Contention of the Appeal Be Proved?  Under this subheading we are concerned with the question whether, when an appeal is made to an ecclesiastical body, the appellant must prove his contention to the satisfaction of the body to which the appeal is directed or whether it is sufficient that he proves to himself that the decision questioned is contrary to the Word of God or the Church Order. That is the question! 

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For some time now we have been busy in this department with the decision of the Christian Reformed Synod of 1926 in which they took the position that it is proper for a Classis to depose elders, deacons and ministers of the Word. This decision was based in part upon Article 36 of the Church Order. It followed the reasoning that since this article speaks of the jurisdiction of the Classis over the Consistory, this jurisdiction includes the prerogative to exercise the power of deposition from the office.

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In our last article we made mention of the report of the committee of pre-advice, submitted to the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church in 1926, and dealing with the matter of Classical jurisdiction or authority (Art. 36). This report was the fruit of the committee’s labor over a double report by a study committee that could not arrive at agreement in its conclusions. It was finally in consequence of the report of the committee of pre-advice that the Synod acted, upholding Classis Grand Rapids West in its action of deposing the Consistories of Kalamazoo and Hope. 

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“In time of war, pestilence, national casualties, and other great afflictions, the pressure of which is felt throughout the churches, it is fitting that the classis proclaim a day of prayer.” —Article 66, D.K.O. Already in the earliest redaction of our Church Order, provision was made for the calling of special days of prayer in the churches. Originally the above article of the Church Order read as follows: “In times of war, pestilence, depression, persecution of churches, and other general calamities, the ministers of the churches shall request the government that upon its authority and order public fast and prayer...

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LITURGICAL PRAYERS (Cont.)  In our last article mention was made of the liturgical prayers that have been adopted in Reformed Churches but which are used very little, if at all, in our present time. Historically, these prayers also belong to our churches and may be used in them although they have not been incorporated in the back of the Psalter with the rest of our liturgy. 

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