Church Order

Church Order (86)

Essentially, this is the Church Order of Dordrecht, adopted by the great Synod of Dordrecht in 1618-1619. At the very beginning of our independent history we adopted the Keegstra and VanDellen 1915 edition of the Church Order of Dordrecht, which had been adopted by the Christian Reformed Church in 1914. In 1920 the Christian Reformed Church adopted an English translation of that Dutch version. This translation was adopted by our synod of 1944. At the Synod of 1946, however, changes were made as follows: the word “church” was changed to “churches” in Article 86, second instance; and the word “consent” was changed to “advice” in Articles 76 and 77. The ground for this change was given as follows: “The choice of the words indicated (that is, the singular ‘church’ and the word ‘consent’) reveals a hierarchical church polity.” We might have added to this ground the observation that the translation indicated was a corruption of the original Dutch edition, instead of a faithful translation.

Since that time, our synods have appended to some of the articles the various decisions referred to above, and have also made a few changes in the articles themselves, thus giving us our own published edition of the priceless Church Order of Dordrecht!

It is our humble prayer that the only King of the church, our Lord Jesus Christ, will bless our use of it unto the obedience of love. May this obedience be always to the praise and adoration of His and our Father above, whose injunction resounds in the churches from age to age: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40).

Published, March 1947.
Revised and Reprinted, 1961.
Revised and Reprinted, 1983.
Updated, 1992.
Updated and Reprinted, 1996.
Revised and Reprinted, 2002.
Updated and Reprinted, 2007.
Updated and Reprinted, 2010.

References relative action by the synods on translation of the Church Order, compilation of by-laws, gathering of related material, and publication of same:
Synod of 1943 — Articles 61, 64, 65, 71, 75, 76;
Agenda, p. 81.
Synod of 1944 — Articles 59, 61-68, Suppl. XIV.
Synod of 1945 — Articles 41, 51-57, 66.
Synod of 1946 — Articles 17, 19.
Synod of 1959 — Article 23, Suppl. V.
Synod of 1960 — Articles 23, 27, 28, Suppl. XII.
Synod of 1961 — Article 18, Suppl. VI.
Synod of 1977 — Article 79.
Synod of 1981 — Article 47.
Synod of 1983 — Article 37.
Synod of 1987 — Article 41.
Synod of 1996 — Article 69.
Synod of 1999 — Article 48.
Synod of 2002 — Article 51.
Synod of 2006 — Article 54.
Synod of 2010 — Article 78.

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