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All Articles For Ministering to the Saints

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph,, Wisconsin. Previous article in this series: December 1, 3008, p. 107. That the congregation supports her diaconate by giving, and that such giving is an act of worship, we have noted in the previous two articles in this series. We should not conclude, however, that we fulfill our calling to support the diaconate only occasionally (once a week or less), and in the space of a moment, by putting money in the collection plate. Rather, the support of the deacons has implications for all of our life. Specifically, the...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. Previous article in this series: March 15, 2009, p 274. Digressing from our examination of the office of deacon, we are examining the congregation’s obligation to support the gospel ministry. That this is her obligation, and the obligation of every mature individual and of every head of household in the church, we have asserted in our last article. In conclusion we noted that our support of the gospel ministry, just like our support of the diaconate, must be carried out with sincerity and simplicity of heart, willingly and...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. Under what circumstances might a deacon resign from office, or be removed from office, before his term is finished? The difference between resignation from office and removal from office should be clear to us all. In the instance of resignation, the deacon himself takes the initiative to be released from the honor and work of the office, and seeks the approval of the council. In the instance of removal from office, on the other hand, the consistory takes this initiative, having judged the deacon to be unworthy of...

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Rev. Gritters is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan. After the shock of the first few consistory meetings is over, and the elder takes stock of his gifts and calling, he ought to be busy getting to know the flock under his care. He already knows them partially. Now the knowledge must increase in both breadth and depth. Aside from other essential labors to qualify himself for the work (see the following articles, God willing), he must come to know the sheep. Necessary knowledge No one will disagree that without this knowledge an elder is really impotent...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Byron Center, Michigan. Having sketched the history and basis of the diaconate, we must now explain in more detail what this office is. Doing this will continue to impress on us that the office is necessary for the church and has a solid basis in Scripture. The nature of this office is well summarized by this definition of the term “diaconate”: the diaconate is that office in the church of Jesus Christ which is particularly devoted to works of mercy and the care of the church’s poor. But this raises...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. Deacons in Reformed churches are often expected to perform various duties. The most obvious to the members of the church is that they take all the collections and they care for the financial affairs of the church. As a result, one of the deacons is often made the bookkeeper of the church, and it falls to the deacons to prepare a budget for the coming year. Perhaps they are asked to perform other duties as well, for example, organizing events such as church picnics or serving as the...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Byron Center, Michigan. In the last article we noted that the diaconate is an office of authority. Before treating other aspects of the nature of the diaconate, we add this appendix to the subject of authority, in which we will show that authority requires confidentiality on the part of officebearers. Of the need for confidentiality in the work we must all be reminded regularly. The pastor (or the vice-president of the council in the absence of a pastor) does well to remind the officebearers of this need at the annual...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. The fundamental work of the deacons in God’s church is the relief of the poor and needy. In order to do this work, the deacons must have the means available to relieve those in need. It comes as no surprise, then, that Reformed churches require their deacons “diligently to collect alms and other contributions of charity” (Church Order, Article 25), and again, to “collect and preserve with the greatest fidelity and diligence, the alms and goods which are given to the poor: yea, to do their utmost endeavors,...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. The first aspect of the fundamental work of the deacons is that of collecting the alms. This must be first in priority, as well as in time, for immediate needs must be immediately relieved. They must be relieved immediately, partly because of their urgency. Such needs must also be relieved immediately as a picture of how our Savior supplies our needs. Our Heavenly Father always gives us our immediate needs immediately. Trusting He will do this, we pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” And when we...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Byron Center, Michigan. In writing on the nature of the diaconate, we are explaining how the characteristics of an office in the church of Jesus Christ apply to the diaconate. We defined an office as “a position given by God to men, in the sphere of the covenant, in which He authorizes them to serve Him in that sphere.” The characteristic of office which we have already examined is that of authority. Deacons have authority. Authority implies service. Authority is never simply glitter and glamour, merely a respectable position, devoid...

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