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All Articles For Decency and Order

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“As Christian discipline is of a spiritual nature, and exempts no one from civil trial or punishment by the authorities, so also besides civil punishment there is need of ecclesiastical censures, to reconcile the sinner with the church and his neighbor and to remove the offense out of the church of Christ.”—Article 71, D.K.O. “The Lord Jesus Christ hath instituted Church Discipline, in order to remove scandals, and prevent their unhappy effects; and no church can, without the faithful and spiritual application of it, hope for His countenance and blessing.”—R.P. Testimony “The impartial and prudent exercise of Church Discipline is...

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One of the oldest customs in Reformed Churches is the practice of preaching once a Sunday from the Heidelberg Catechism. It is said that the practice began as early as 1566. Twelve years later the Synod of Dordt decided that after the Lord’s Supper had been served on Sunday afternoons the minister should proceed to preach on the Catechism as usual but it was not until 1586 that a synodical decision governing this matter was incorporated into the Church Order. At that time the Synod of ‘s Gravenhage adopted the following: “The ministers shall everywhere on Sunday, ordinarily in the...

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The content of Article 71 of our Church Order is contained in two separate articles in the 1956 proposed revision of the Church Order by the Christian Reformed Church. These articles read: “Art. 71—Christian discipline is spiritual discipline and exempts no one from civil trial and punishment; nor does action by the civil authorities exempt one from discipline by the church. “Art. 72—The purpose of Christian discipline is the maintenance of God’s honor, the restoration of the sinner, and the removal of offence from the church of Christ.” Substantially these two articles are the same as Article 71 of our...

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“In the churches only the 150 Psalms of David, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Twelve Articles of Faith, the Songs of Mary, Zacharias and Simeon, the Morning and Evening Hymns, and the Hymn of Prayer before the sermon shall be sung.”(Article 69, D.K.O.) The Christian Reformed redaction of this article of the Church Order is as follows: “In the churches only the 150 Psalms of David and the collection of hymns for church use, approved and adopted by Synod, shall be sung. However, while the singing of the Psalms in divine worship is a requirement, the use of...

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For nearly four hundred years the Reformed churches have followed the established practice of preaching from the Heidelberg Catechism. Although this practice has been criticized and by some even regarded as undesirable, the common objections that have been raised have little merit. The objection that catechism preaching is not preaching of the Word we have already considered and found to be untrue. On the contrary, when the truths of the Word of God are preached according to the systematic arrangement of the Catechism, the church will be instructed and built up in the knowledge of the truth far more effectively...

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Adult Baptism  A practical problem that arises in connection with the administration of adult baptism concerns the age limit where infant baptism ceases and the subject of baptism must be treated as an adult. A very significant difference in infant and adult baptism lies in the fact that in the former the parents assume the responsibility for the covenant instruction and training of the child that is baptized while in the latter the subject of baptismhimself assumes these baptismal obligations. His baptism follows upon his confession of faith.

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Upon whom is the labor of ecclesiastical discipline and censure to be applied? This question is of significance, not only to those who are entrusted with the responsibilities of this labor, but also because the effectiveness of the work is determined by its being performed upon the proper object. Discipline applied unnecessarily (i.e. unlawfully) loses its effectiveness as a power from Christ, binding on earth and in heaven, and discipline neglected cannot be a force removing offense from the church and reconciling the sinner to the church. Reformed Churches have never accepted the notion and practice of the Roman Catholics...

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The Historical Argument The matter of hymns and the various questions relating to the feasibility of introducing them in the worship services of our churches, as is currently being considered, is nothing new, Although the question of revising Article 69 of the Church Order has not been proposed before in our ecclesiastical assemblies, the subject of hymns has been freely discussed and the desire to have them openly expressed. As soon as seven and eight years after the origin of our churches (this was during the time that the Christian Reformed Church adopted the hymnal for use in said church)...

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