JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 14

About (223)

PRC Standards (216)

Major & Minor Confessions, Liturgical Forms
Other Online Literature

View items...

Lord's Day 5

  • Q. 12. Since then, by the righteous judgment of God, we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, is there no way by which we may escape that punishment and be again received into favor?
    A. God will have His justice satisfied;1 and therefore we must make this full satisfaction, either by ourselves or by another.2

  • Q. 13. Can we ourselves then make this satisfaction?
    A. By no means;3 but on the contrary we daily increase our debt.4

  • Q. 14. Can there be found anywhere one who is a mere creature, able to satisfy for us?
    A. None; for, first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man hath committed;5 and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin, so as to deliver others from it.6

  • Q. 15. What sort of a mediator and deliverer then must we seek for?
    A. For one who is very man,7 and perfectly righteous; and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is also very God.8

  1. Ex. 20:5.

  2. Deut. 24:16. 2 Cor. 5:14, 15.

  3. Job 9:2, 3. Job 15:14- 16.

  4. Mat. 6:12. Isa. 64:6.

  5. Ezek. 18:20.

  6. Rev. 5:3. Psa. 49:7, 8.

  7. 1 Cor. 15:21. Rom. 8:3.

  8. Rom. 9:5. Isa. 7:14.

Lord's Day 4

  • Q. 9. Doth not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in His law that which he cannot perform?
    A. Not at all; for God made man capable of performing it;1 but man, by the instigation of the devil,2 and his own wilful disobedience, deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts.3

  • Q. 10. Will God suffer such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?
    A. By no means; but is terribly displeased4 with our original as well as actual sins; and will punish them5 in His just judgment temporally and eternally, as He hath declared, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.6

  • Q. 11. Is not God then also merciful?
    A. God is indeed merciful,7 but also just;8 therefore His justice requires that sin which is committed against the most high majesty of God be also punished9 with extreme, that is, with everlasting punishment10 of body and soul.

  1. Eccl. 7:29.

  2. John 8:44. 2 Cor. 11:3. Gen. 3:4, 13.

  3. Rom. 5:12.

  4. Psa. 5:5.

  5. Rom. 1:18. Deut. 28:15. Heb. 9:27.

  6. Deut. 27:26. Gal. 3:10.

  7. Ex. 34:6.

  8. Ex. 20:5. Job 34:10, 11.

  9. Psa. 5:5, 6.

  10. Gen. 2:17. Rom. 6:23.

Lord's Day 3

  • Q. 6.  Did God then create man so wicked and perverse?
    A.  By no means; but God created man good,1 and after His own image,2 in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love Him, and live with Him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise Him.3

  • Q. 7.  Whence then proceeds this depravity of human nature?
    A.  From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise;4 hence our nature is become so corrupt, that we are all conceived and born in sin.5

  • Q. 8. Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?
    A. Indeed we are,6 except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.7

  1. Gen. 1:31.

  2. Gen. 1:26, 27. Col. 3:10. Eph. 4:24.

  3. Eph. 1:6. 1 Cor. 6:20.

  4. Gen. 3:6. Rom. 5:12, 18, 19.

  5. Psa. 51:5. Gen. 5:3.

  6. Gen. 6:5. Job 14:4. Job 15:14, 16.

  7. John 3:5. Eph. 2:5.

Lord's Day 2

  • Q. 3.  Whence knowest thou thy misery?
    A.  Out of the law of God.1
  • Q. 4.  What doth the law of God require of us?
    A.  Christ teaches us that briefly, Matt. 22:37-40, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and the great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.2
  • Q. 5.  Canst thou keep all these things perfectly?
    A.  In no wise;3 for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbor.4
  1. Rom. 3:20.

  2. Luke 10:27.

  3. Rom. 3:10. 1 John 1:8.

  4. Rom. 8:7.
    Tit. 3:3.

Lord's Day 1

  • Q. 1.  What is thy only comfort in life and death?
    A.  That I with body and soul,1 both in life and death, am not my own,2 but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;3 who, with His precious blood,4 hath fully satisfied for all my sins,5 and delivered me from all the power of the devil;6 and so preserves me7 that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;8 yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,9 and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life,10 and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.11

  • Q. 2.  How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?
    A.  Three:12 the first, how great my sins and miseries are;13 the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries;14 the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance.15

  1. 1 Cor. 6:19, 20.

  2. Rom. 14:7-9.

  3. 1 Cor. 3:23.

  4. 1 Pet. 1:18, 19.

  5. 1 John 1:7.

  6. 1 John 3:8. Heb. 2:14, 15.

  7. John 6:39. John 10:28, 29.

  8. Luke 21:18. Matt. 10:30.

  9. Rom. 8:28.

  10. 2 Cor. 1:22. 2 Cor. 5:5.

  11. Rom. 8:14. Rom. 7:22.

  12. Luke 24:47.

  13. 1 Cor. 6:10, 11. John 9:41. Rom. 3:10, 19.

  14. John 17:3.

  15. Eph. 5:8-10.

Formula of Subscription

[toggle state="close" title="Introduction"]

The Formula of Subscription arose out of a desire to preserve unity in the church, which unity is based squarely on oneness in doctrine. One who subscribes to (signs) this form expresses his agreement with the confession of the church.


Early in their history, the Reformed churches displayed great concern for unity and doctrinal purity by requiring the ministers to sign the two existing creeds—the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession. The great Synod of Dordrecht (1618-l9) drew up a formula of subscription and required (in the Church Order, Articles 53 and 54) ministers, professors of theology, and school masters to sign it. The same synod however left to the discretion of the individual classes the question of whether and how the elders should subscribe. In practice, the elders often did so, and the Christian Reformed Church in America, just four years after her organization in 1857, officially decided that “the formulas are to be unconditionally subscribed by ministers, elders, deacons, and teachers.” Thus Article 54 of the church order was changed by the Christian Reformed Church to require elders and deacons to subscribe, and the form was altered to include them. This is the form adopted and still in use by the Protestant Reformed Churches.


The Formula of Subscription includes four elements. First, it expresses complete agreement with all the articles and doctrines of the three Reformed creeds, the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dordrecht. Secondly, the form states a promise to teach and defend these doctrines. Thirdly, it contains a promise to combat all errors contrary to these confessions in order to keep the church free from them. Finally, it expresses a promise to be honest in the churches in all matters of doctrine, so that if a subscriber later changes his mind or has doubts on any doctrines, he promises not to promote them, but to bring it to the attention of his consistory, and to submit to the judgment of the consistory, classis, and synod.


The Formula of Subscription requires complete agreement with all the doctrines contained in the Reformed creeds. Over the years attempts have been made by various Reformed churches to soften this declaration of complete agreement with the doctrines. The result has been accelerated apostasy in such churches. Time and again the faithful remnant returned to this form, as, for example, the 1834 Secession and the 1886  Doleantie under Dr. Abraham Kuyper. Thus it is of utmost importance for the unity and purity of the church that all officebearers who sign the formula of subscription do so with no reservations whatsoever, and that the church hold them to their promises. Doctrinal purity is vital for the existence of the church, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). She can expect God’s blessing in no other way.


We, the undersigned, professors of the Protestant Reformed Churches, ministers of the Gospel, elders, and deacons of the Protestant Reformed congregations of ................, of Classis.........., do hereby sincerely and in good conscience before the Lord, declare by this, our subscription, that we heartily believe and are persuaded that all the articles and points of doctrine, contained in the Confession and Catechism of the Reformed Churches, together with the explanation of some points of the aforesaid doctrine, made by the National Synod of Dordrecht, 1618-'19, do fully agree with the Word of God.

We promise therefore diligently to teach and faithfully to defend the aforesaid doctrine, without either directly or indirectly contradicting the same, by our public preaching or writing.

We declare, moreover, that we not only reject all errors that militate against this doctrine and particularly those which were condemned by the above mentioned synod, but that we are disposed to refute and contradict these, and to exert ourselves in keeping the church free from such errors. And if hereafter any difficulties or different sentiments respecting the aforesaid doctrines should arise in our minds, we promise that we will neither publicly nor privately propose, teach, or defend the same, either by preaching or writing, until we have first revealed such sentiments to the consistory, classis, and synod, that the same may be there examined, being ready always cheerfully to submit to the judgment of the consistory, classis, and synod, under the penalty in case of refusal to be, by that very fact, suspended from our office.

And further, if at any time the consistory, classis, or synod, upon sufficient grounds of suspicion and to preserve the uniformity and purity of doctrine, may deem it proper to require of us a further explanation of our sentiments respecting any particular article of the Confession of Faith, the Catechism, or the explanation of the National Synod, we do hereby promise always to be willing and ready to comply with such requisition, under the penalty above mentioned, reserving for ourselves, however, the right of an appeal, whenever we shall believe ourselves aggrieved by the sentence of the consistory, the classis, or the synod, and until a decision is made upon such an appeal, we will acquiesce in the determination and judgment already passed.

Form for the Confirmation of Marriage before the Church

Whereas married persons are generally, by reason of sin, subject to many troubles and afflictions; to the end that you N. and N., who desire to have your marriage bond publicly confirmed, here in the name of God, before this Church, may also be assured in your hearts of the certain assistance of God in your afflictions, hear therefore from the Word of God, how honourable the marriage state is, and that it is an institution of God, which is pleasing to him. [Wherefore he also will (as he has promised) bless and assist the married persons, and on the contrary, judge and punish whoremongers and adulterers.]

I. In the first place you are to know, that God our Father, after he had created heaven and earth, and all that in them is, made man in his own image and likeness, that he should have dominion over the beasts of the field, over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air. And after he had created man, he said, It is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a help meet for him. And the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father, and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh (Gen. 2:18, 21-24). Therefore ye are not to doubt, but that the married state is pleasing to the Lord, since he made unto Adam his wife, brought and gave her himself to him to be his wife; witnessing thereby that he does yet as with his hand bring unto every man his wife. For this reason the Lord Jesus Christ did also highly honour it with his presence, gifts and miracles, in Cana of Galilee, to show thereby that this holy state ought to be kept honourably by all, and that he will aid and protect married persons, even when they are least deserving it.

[But that you may live godly in this state, you must know the reasons, wherefore God has instituted the same. The first reason is, that each faithfully assist the other, in all things that belong to this life, and a better.

Secondly. That they bring up the children, which the Lord shall give them, in the true knowledge and fear of God, to his glory, and their salvation.

Thirdly. That each of them, avoiding all uncleanness and evil lusts, may live with a good and quiet conscience.

For, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and every woman her own husband (1 Cor. 7:2); insomuch that all, who are come to their years, and have not the gift of continence, are bound by the command of God, to enter into the marriage state, with knowledge and consent of parents, or guardians and friends; so that the temple of God, which is our body, may not be defiled; for, whosoever defileth the temple of God, him shall God destroy (1 Cor.3:17).]

II. Next, you are to know, how each is bound to behave respectively towards the other, according to the word of God.

First. You, who are the bridegroom, must know, that God has set you to be the head of your wife, that you, according to your ability, shall lead her with discretion; instructing, comforting, protecting her, as the head rules the body; yea, as Christ is the head, wisdom, consolation and assistance to his Church. Besides, you are to love your wife as your own body, as Christ has loved his Church: you shall not be bitter against her, but dwell with her as a man of understanding, giving honour to the wife as the weaker vessel, considering that ye are joint heirs of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered. And since it is God's command, that the man shall eat his bread in the sweat of his face (Gen. 3:19), therefore you are to labour diligently and faithfully, in the calling wherein God has set you, that you may maintain your household honestly, and likewise have something to give to the poor.

In like manner, must you, who are the bride, know how you are to carry yourself towards your husband, according to the Word of God. You are to love your lawful husband, to honour and fear him, as also to be obedient unto him, in all lawful things, as to your Lord, as the body is obedient to the head, and the Church to Christ. You shall not exercise any dominion over your husband, but be silent: for Adam was first created, and then Eve, to be a help to Adam; and after the fall, God said to Eve, and in her to all women, "your will shall be subject to your husband." [You shall not resist this ordinance of God, but be obedient to the word of God, and follow the examples of godly women, who trusted in God, and were subject to their husbands; "as Sarah was obedient to Abraham, calling him her lord": you shall also be a help to your husband in all good and lawful things, looking to your family, and walking in all honesty and virtue, without worldly pride, that you may give an example to others of modesty.]

Wherefore you N. and you N., having now understood that God has instituted marriage, and what he commands you therein; are you willing thus to behave yourselves in this holy state, as you here do confess before this Christian assembly, and desirous that you be confirmed in the same?

Answer. Yes.

Whereupon the Minister shall say:

I take you all, who are met here to witness, that there is brought no lawful impediment.

Further to the married persons.

Since then it is fit that you be furthered in this your work, the Lord God confirm your purpose, which he has given you; and your beginning be in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Hereupon they shall join hands together, and the Minister speak first to the bridegroom.

N. Do you acknowledge here before God and this his holy Church, that you have taken, and do take to your lawful wife, N., here present, promising her never to forsake her; to love her faithfully, to maintain her, as a faithful and pious husband is bound to do to his lawful wife; that you will live holily with her; keeping faith and truth to her in all things according to the holy gospel?

Answer: Yes.

Afterwards to the bride.

N. Do you acknowledge here before God, and this his holy Church, that you have taken, and do take to your lawful husband, N., here present, promising to be obedient to him, to serve and assist him, never to forsake him, to live holily with him, keeping faith and truth to him in all things, as a pious and faithful wife is bound to her lawful husband according to the holy gospel?

Answer. Yes.

Then the Minister shall say:

The Father of all mercies, who of his grace has called you to this holy state of marriage, bind you in true love and faithfulness, and grant you his blessing. Amen.

Hear now from the Gospel, how firm the bond of marriage is, as described, Matt. 19:3-9:

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whose marrieth her which is put away does commit adultery.

Believe these words of Christ, and be certain and assured, that your Lord God has joined you together in this holy state. You are therefore to receive whatever befalls you therein, with patience and thanksgiving, as from the hand of God, and thus all things will turn to your advantage and salvation. Amen.


Almighty God, Thou, who dost manifest thy goodness and wisdom in all thy works and ordinances; and from the beginning hast said, that it is not good that man be alone and therefore hast created him a help meet to be with him, and ordained that they who were two should be one, and who dost also punish all impurity; we pray thee, since Thou hast called and united these two persons in the holy state of marriage, that Thou wilt give them thy Holy Spirit, so that they in true love and firm faith may live holy according to thy divine will and resist all evil. Wilt Thou also bless them as Thou hast blessed the believing fathers, thy friends and faithful servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; in order that they as coheirs of the covenant which Thou hast established with these fathers, may bring up their children, which Thou wilt be pleased to give them, in the fear of the Lord, to the honour of thy holy name, to the edification of thy Church and to the extension of the holy gospel. Hear us, Father of all mercy, for the sake of Jesus Christ, thy beloved Son, our Lord, in whose name we conclude our prayer:

Our Father which is in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, for ever. Amen

Hearken now to the promise of God, from Psalm 128:

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house; thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord. The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life; yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.

The Lord our God replenish you with his grace, and grant that ye may long live together in all godliness and holiness. Amen.

Form for the Ordination (or Installation) of Missionaries

Beloved in our Lord and Saviour and all here present.

It is known to you that our brother N. N., called by the .......................... Protestant Reformed Church as missionary minister of the Word among the Heathen (Dispersed), (and recently examined by the Classis of ..............) is now to be publicly ordained (installed) as missionary.

We, therefore, request thee, beloved brother N. N., to arise and to attend to a short declaration touching the office of missionary ministers of the Word.

Since our God, according to his infinite mercy, has chosen a Church unto everlasting life, and gathers it by his blessed gospel, out of every nation, and of all tribes and peoples and tongues, unto the fellowship of his Son, in unity of the true faith, therefore our risen Saviour has ordained an office and has called men, to carry the message of salvation to all peoples, commanding his apostles, and in them all lawful ministers of the Word: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). For he that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fulfil all things, gave some to be apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ. And the Apostles, responding to this, went forth into the world declaring the whole counsel of God, particularly repentance, and remission of sins, through faith in Jesus Christ, testifying: For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). But all things are of God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation: to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation. We are ambassadors, therefore, on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

Without this word of reconciliation, faith in Christ and consequently salvation, is and remains forever impossible, for Holy Scripture says,

Acts 4:12: And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved; and elsewhere: How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:14, 15, 17.

Although all ministers of the Word have in common, that to them is committed the preaching of the Gospel, the administration of the Sacraments, the government of the Church, and the maintenance of Christian discipline, yea, all, that, according to the Word of God belongs to the office of pastor and teacher: and although from the difference of field of labour no difference is resulting, concerning office, authority or dignity, since all possess the same mission, the same office and the same authority, yet not withstanding this, it is necessary that some labour in the congregations already established, while others are called and sent to preach the Gospel to those without, in order to bring them to Christ. And let each man abide in that calling wherein he was called by the Church of God and consequently by God himself and whereunto each has received gifts, until it pleases the Lord to lead him along a lawful way to a different field of labour.

Unto the Heathen

That unto the Heathen also these glad tidings must be brought appears plainly from Matt. 28:19, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

The same was revealed to Peter by showing him as it were a great sheet let down by four corners upon the earth, wherein were all manner of beasts, and thereupon commanding him to go down to the Gentile Cornelius, saying: Arise, and get thee down, and go with them, nothing doubting; for I have sent them (Acts 10:20). Likewise he spoke to Paul in a vision in the temple: Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles (Acts 22:21).

This divine charge was also carried out by the church of Antioch, when they, after fasting and prayer, laid their hands upon Barnabas and Saul and sent them away to preach the gospel also unto the Gentiles (Acts 13). And when they on their first missionary journey had arrived at Antioch in Pisidia they testified to the contradicting Jews: Lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so has the Lord commanded us, saying: I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles; that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 13:46, 47).

And besides all this it is evident that the work of missions is the task of the Church since the Lord Jesus himself calls his Church the salt of the earth, and says: Ye are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand (Matt. 5:14, 15).

Unto the Dispersed

That unto the Dispersed also these glad tidings must be brought is plainly inferred from what God says in Ezekiel 34:11-16: For thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie down in a good fold, and on fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I myself will feed my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and will bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. I will feed them in judgment.

That the Lord does this by means of his servants, is clearly shown by the way wherein God, in the same chapter, rebukes the unfaithful shepherds: Neither have ye brought again that which was driven away," and expresses his holy indignation because: "My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my sheep were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and there was none that did search or seek after them (Ezek. 34:4, 6).

The same also follows from the fact that Jesus who Himself was sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, calls the Church the salt of the earth, while besides all this, the example of the Apostle Paul teaches us plainly that it is our high calling to bring the bread of life to our dispersed brethren after the flesh everywhere, and therefore certainly first of all in our own country, to gather them, if possible, as congregations of our Lord.

And since thou, beloved brother, are now called and are now being sent to labour among the Heathen (Dispersed), thou are to consider which important duties, are thereby devolving upon thee:

In the first place thou are to bring to their attention by all fit and lawful means, the glad tidings that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners. All thine actions, thy speaking and thy silence, yea, all thine influence is to cooperate to recommend the gospel of Christ. Let thy conversation be without covetousness; abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good, that thou mayest be able to say with the Apostle Paul: For though I was free from all men I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more ... I am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected (1 Cor. 9:19, 22, 27).

Secondly, thou are holden, if it pleases Gods to make thy work fruitful unto the gathering of a church, to administer the Sacrament of Holy Baptism according to the institution of the Lord and the requirement of the covenant.

Furthermore, thou are called wherever it is necessary and possible to ordain elders and deacons even as Paul charged Titus, saying, For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge (Tit. 1:5). But lay hands hastily on no man.

Moreover, there is committed unto thee, as minister of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God, the administering of the Holy Supper of the Lord according to the institution of Christ.

Besides this, there is commended unto thee the maintaining of Christian discipline in the midst of the congregation, by faithful use of the keys of the Kingdom, as our Lord Jesus has spoken: Go, show him his fault, between thee and him alone, etc. (Matt 18:15) And afterward: Verily I say unto you, what things soever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven (Matt. 18:18).

And finally, beloved brother, be a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, and a careful shepherd of the flock. Preach the Word, be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching (2 Tim. 4:2). Be an example to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity... Give heed to reading, to exhortations, to teaching. Neglect not the gift that is in thee... Be diligent in these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy progress may be manifest unto all. Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching. Continue in these things; for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee (1 Tim. 4:12b-16).

And that now everyone present may hear, beloved brother, that thou art willing, and ready to undertake the ministry of the Word among the Heathen (Dispersed), thou art requested to answer sincerely the following questions:

First. I ask thee whether thou feelest in thy heart that thou art lawfully called of God's Church and therefore of God himself, to this holy ministry?

Secondly. Whether thou dost believe the books of the Old and New Testament to be the only Word of God, and the perfect doctrine unto salvation, and dost reject all doctrines repugnant thereto?

Thirdly. Whether thou dost promise faithfully to discharge thine office, according to the same doctrine as above described, and to adorn it with a godly life; also, to submit thyself, in case thou should become delinquent either in life or doctrine, to ecclesiastical admonition, according to the public ordinance of the churches?

Answer: Yes; truly, with all my heart.

Then the Minister, who demanded those questions of him, while he and other Ministers who are present, shall lay their hands [This ceremony shall not be used in the case of those who have before been in the Ministry.] on his head, shall say:

Go then, beloved brother, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. God our heavenly Father, who has called thee to his holy ministry, enlighten thee with his Holy Spirit, strengthen thee with his hand and so govern thee in thy ministry, that thou mayest do gently and fruitfully walk therein, to the glory of his Name, and the propagation of the Kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ." Amen.

Form for the Installation of Professors of Theology

Beloved brethren, it is known unto you that our brother in the holy ministry, N. N., has been called by our last Synod to the important office of professor of theology at our Theological Seminary. To our joy he has accepted this call and we are now assembled to install him in office. For which purpose we request thee, brother N. N., to arise and to listen to that which belongs to this office, and is placed by the Lord and the Church in thy charge.

Since our God, who is rich in mercy, has chosen in his great love a Church unto himself for the inheritance of eternal life, and will gather this Church through his Spirit and Word to the fellowship of his Son, in the unity of true faith, and to the increase of the knowledge of his will, so it pleases him to call men by his Holy Spirit, who as ministers of the Word are to preach the glad tidings of salvation among those who already belong to the Church and among those outside, who are yet without the knowledge of God's ways.

The first messengers of peace in the days of the New Testament were immediately taught by our Lord Jesus Christ, and were by him personally trained and sent. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit he gave them great diversities of extraordinary gifts and knowledge of the mysteries of salvation of sinners and the upbuilding of saints. Because these extraordinary methods, however, lasted only as long as the Lord judged them to be necessary for the founding of his Church among the nations, the necessity was soon felt of training youths and men for the holy ministry under the ordinary dispensation of the Spirit by the regular methods of education. And this especially in virtue of what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:2, And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. The Apostle here points to what he had himself done and what he required of his disciple Timothy.

In obedience to this apostolic direction this training was originally done by learned and capable overseers of the Church. Later the schools of Alexandria, Antioch, and other important cities were especially engaged in this work. And when toward the end of the middle ages and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries universities arose in various places, theology was not incorporated merely as a faculty with other faculties, but usually recognized as Queen of Sciences. This was the more easily done because the Church, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, exercised authority over or concerned itself with everything.

As long as a university is founded on the basis of Holy Scripture, accepts the confession of a certain denomination, and this denomination has part control in the appointing of professors of theology, it cannot be disapproved of that future ministers of the Word should receive their education at such an institution.

Since, however, Paul in Romans 3:2 expressly declares that the church of the old dispensation, and therefore also the church of the new dispensation, was given the special prerogative that to her were entrusted the oracles of God, it follows therefore that the Church has a divine mission to proclaim the word of God, to collect from the Word of God her standards of faith, to study theology according to these words, and further to advance what is in direct connection with this study.

Conscious of this calling our Church has also established a Theological School and called the reverend brother, N.N., to devote his talents to this School.

In behalf of our Church the Curators charge thee, esteemed brother, with the task of instructing and establishing in the knowledge of God's Word the students who hope once to minister in his Church. Expound to them the mysteries of the faith; caution them in regard to the errors and heresies of the old, but especially of the new day; seek to explain how they not alone as teachers are to instruct but also as pastors are to shepherd the flock of the Lord. Assist in maintaining order and discipline among the disciples, that our Seminary may continue to enjoy the respect, the support, the appreciation, the love and the prayer of the Church. Be a good example to the students, that they may not only profit from thy learning, but also find in thee a living illustration of the power and practice of true godliness.

Be engaged in all of this according to the measure of the gifts God gave thee, in dependence on the Lord's help and the light of the Holy Spirit. And that it may now publicly appear that thou, highly esteemed brother, art thus disposed, thou art to answer the following questions:

First. I ask thee, dost thou feel in thy heart that thou art lawfully called of God's Church and therefore of God himself to this office?

Secondly. Dost thou believe the books of the Old and New Testament to be the only Word of God? Dost thou reject all doctrine repugnant thereto, and dost thou accept the doctrinal standards of this Christian Church as the truest expression of the doctrine of salvation?

Thirdly. Dost thou promise faithfully to discharge thy office according to the same doctrine above described, and to adorn it with a godly life?

Fourthly. Dost thou promise to submit thyself, in case thou shouldest become delinquent, either in life or doctrine, to the ordinance of the Church, and if necessary, to Church discipline?

Answer: Yes, with all my heart.

Form of Ordination of Elders and Deacons

When ordained at the same time. But if they are ordained separately this form shall be used as occasion requires.

Beloved Christians, you know that we have several times published unto you the names of our brethren here present, who are chosen to the office of elders and deacons in this Church, to the end that we might know whether any person had aught to allege, why they should not be ordained in their respective offices; and whereas no one has appeared before us, who has alleged anything lawful against them, we shall therefore at present, in the name of the Lords proceed to their ordination.

But first, you, who are to be ordained, and all those who are here present, shall attend to a short declaration from the word of God concerning the institution and the office of elders and deacons.

Of the elders is to be observed, that the word elder or eldest (which is taken from the Old Testament, and signifies a person who is placed in an honourable office of government over others), is applied to two sorts of persons who minister in the Church of Jesus Christ: for the apostle says, the elders that rule well, shall be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the Word and doctrine (1 Tim. 5:17). Hence it is evident that there were two sorts of elders in the Apostolic Church, the former whereof did labour in the Word and doctrine, and the latter did not. The first were the ministers of the Word and pastors, who preached the gospel and administered the sacraments; but the others, who did not labour in the Word, and still did serve in the Church, bore a particular office, namely, they had the oversight of the Church, and ruled the same with the ministers of the Word. For Paul (Rom. 12), having spoken of the ministry of the word, and also of the office of distribution or deaconship, speaks afterwards particularly of this office, saying, "he that ruleth let him do it with diligence; likewise, in another place he counts government among the gifts and offices which God has instituted in the Church (1 Cor. 12). Thus we see that these sorts of ministers are added to the others who preach the gospel, to aid and assist them, as in the Old Testament the common Levites were to the priests in the service of the tabernacle, in those things which they could not perform alone: notwithstanding the offices always remained distinct one from the other. Moreover, it is proper that such men should be joined to the ministers of the Word in the government of the Church, to the end, that thereby all tyranny and lording may be kept out of the Church of God, which may sooner creep in, when the government is placed in the hands of one alone, or of a very few. And thus the ministers of the Word, together with the elders, form a body or assembly, being as a council of the Church, representing the whole Church; to which Christ alludes when he says, Tell the Church (Matt. 18:17) which can in no wise be understood of all and every member of the Church in particular, but very properly of those who govern the Church, out of which they are chosen.

Therefore, in the first place, the office of elders is together with the ministers of the Word, to take the oversight of the Church, which is committed to them, and diligently to look, whether every one properly deports himself in his confession and conversation; to admonish those who behave themselves disorderly, and to prevent, as much as possible, the sacraments from being profaned: also to act (according to the Christian discipline) against the impenitent, and to receive the penitent again into the bosom of the Church, as does not only appear from the above mentioned saying of Christ, but also from many other places of Holy Writ, as 1 Corinthians 5, and 2 Corinthians 2, that these things are not alone entrusted to one or two persons, but to many who are ordained thereto.

Secondly. Since the apostle enjoins, that all things shall be done decently and in order, amongst Christians, and that no other persons ought to serve in the Church o£ Christ, but those who are lawfully called according to the Christian ordinance, therefore it is also the duty of the elders to pay regard to it, and in all occurrences, which relate to the welfare and good order of the Church, to be assistant with their good counsel and advice, to the ministers of the Word, yea, also to serve all Christians with advise and consolation.

Thirdly. It is also the duty particularly to have regard unto the doctrine and conversation of the ministers of the Word, to the end that all things may be directed to the edification of the Church; and that no strange doctrine be taught, according to that which we read, Acts 20, where the apostle exhorts to watch diligently against the wolves, which might come into the sheepfold of Christ; for the performance of which, the elders are in duty bound diligently to search the Word of God, and continually be meditating on the mysteries of faith.

Concerning the deacons: of the origin and institution of their office we may read, Acts 6, where we find that the apostles themselves did in the beginning serve the poor, At whose feet was brought the price of the things that were sold: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. But afterwards, when a murmuring arose, because the widows of the Grecians were neglected in the daily ministrations men were chosen (by the advice of the apostles who should make the service of the poor their peculiar business, to the end that the apostles might continually give themselves to prayer, and the ministry of the Word. And has been continued from that time forward in the Church, as appears from Romans 12, where the apostle, speaking of this office, says, He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity. And 1 Corinthians 12:28 speaking of helps, he means those, who are appointed in the Church to help and assist the poor and indigent in time of need.

From which passage we may easily gather, what the deacon's office is namely, that they in the first place collect and preserve with the greats fidelity and diligence, the alms and goods which are given to the poor: yea, to do their utmost endeavours, that many good means be procured for the relief of the poor.

The second part of their office consists in distribution wherein are not only required discretion and prudence to bestow the alms only on objects of charity, but also cheerfulness and simplicity to assist the poor with compassion and hearty affection: as the apostle requires (Rom. 12, and 2 Cor. 9). For which end it is very beneficial, that they do not only administer relief to the poor and indigent with external gifts, but also with comfortable words from Scripture.

To the end therefore, beloved brethren, N., N., that every one may hear, that you are willing to take your respective offices upon you, ye shall answer to the following questions:

And in the first place I ask you, both elders and deacons, whether you do not feel in your hearts, that ye are lawfully called of God's Church, and consequently of God himself, to these your respective holy offices?

Secondly. Whether ye believe the books of the Old and New Testament to be the only Word of God, and the perfect doctrine of salvation, and do reject all doctrines repugnant thereto?

Thirdly. Whether ye promise, agreeably to said doctrine, faithfully, according to your ability, to discharge your respective offices, as they are here described? ye elders in the government of the Church together with the ministers of the Word; and ye deacons in the ministration to the poor? Do ye also jointly promise to walk in all godliness, and to submit yourself, in case ye should become remiss in your duty, to the admonition of the Church?

Upon which they shall answer: Yes.

Then the Minister shall say:

The Almighty God and Father, replenish you all with his grace, that ye may faithfully and fruitfully discharge your respective offices. Amen.

The Minister shall further exhort them, and the whole congregation, in the following manner:

Therefore, ye elders, be diligent in the government of the Church, which is committed to you, and the ministers of the Word. Be also, as watchmen over the house and city of God, faithful to admonish and to caution every one against his ruin; Take heed that purity of doctrine and godliness of life be maintained in the Church of God. And, ye deacons, be diligent in collecting the alms, prudent and cheerful in the distribution of the same: assist the oppressed, provide for the true widows and orphans, show liberality unto all men, but especially to the household of faith.

Be ye all with one accord faithful in your offices, and hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience, being good examples unto all the people. In so doing you will purchase to yourselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith, which is in Christ Jesus, and hereafter enter into the joy of our Lord.

On the other hand, beloved Christians, receive these men as the servants of God: count the elders that rule well worthy of double honour, give yourselves willingly to their inspection and government. Provide the deacons with good means to assist the indigent. Be charitable, ye rich, give liberally, and contribute willingly. And ye who are in need, look unto God in your need and thank Him, who by His Holy Spirit makes His church willing and able to supply your needs. Follow Christ, for the food of your souls, but not for bread. Let him that has stolen [or who has been burdensome to his neighbours] steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the things which are good, that he may give to him that needeth (Eph. 4:28). Each of you, doing these things in your respective callings, shall receive of the Lord, the reward of righteousness. But since we are unable of ourselves, let us call upon the name of the Lord saying:


O Lord God and heavenly Father, we thank thee that it has pleased thee, for the better edification of thy Church, to ordain in it, besides the ministers of the Word, rulers and assistants, by whom thy Church may be preserved in peace and prosperity, and the indigent assisted; and that Thou hast at present granted us in this place, men, who are of good testimony, and we hope endowed with thy Spirit. We beseech thee, replenish them more and more with such gifts as are necessary, for them in their ministration; with the gifts of wisdom, courage, discretion, and benevolence, to the end that every one may, in his respective office, acquit himself as is becoming; the elders in taking diligent heed unto the doctrine and conversation, in keeping out the wolves from the sheepfold of thy beloved Son; and in admonishing and reproving disorderly persons. In like manner, the deacons in carefully receiving, and liberally and prudently distributing of the alms to the poor, and in comforting them with thy holy Word. Give grace both to the elders and deacons, that they may persevere in their faithful labour, and never become weary by reason of any trouble, pain or persecution of the world. Grant also especially thy divine grace to this people, over whom they are placed, that they may willingly submit themselves to the good exhortations of the elders, counting them worthy of honour for their work's sake; give also unto the rich, liberal hearts towards the poor, and to the poor grateful hearts towards those who help and serve them; to the end that every one acquitting himself of his duty, thy holy name may thereby be magnified, and the kingdom of thy Son Jesus Christ, enlarged, in whose name we conclude our prayers, saying:

Our Father which is in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Subscribe to this RSS feed

Contact Details


  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Reading Sermon Library
  • Taped Sermon Library

Synodical Officers

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Interim)
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Synodical Committees

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Classical Officers

Classis East
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Classis West
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.