CRC Church Order Commentary

Comments (7)

I don't really care to toot my own horn, but ship date for my newly written CRC Church Order (according to Faith Alive Resources) is January 10. The book features a treatment of each article of our Church Order—half of it exposition, being theological, historical or practical in nature, the other half of it real life questions and answers that I have received and written over many years of work at Calvin Theological Seminary. It just strikes me that this book might be good fodder for this Church Order Forum. I would appreciate a discussion of any of it. I have broad enough shoulders to entertain hefty criticism of the negative kind and will receive with humility any favorable reactions. All that is not important. What is important is that we as members of the CRCNA learn once again what the basics of our church government are and how they function in our communities. So let me hear from you in the New Year after you order the book at Faith Alive. Thanks. I look forward to many discussions here. Have a great year of our Lord, 2011.

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Participant

Sorry.  That first sentence should say CRC Church Order COMMENTARY.  Newly writing a Church Order is not really my style!  Only a synod could do that.

Admin

Henry,

Come on....that was barely half a toot.

A full toot of the horn should really include a link so we can read the sample chapter and, of course, buy! Let me help you out:

http://www.faithaliveresources.org/Products/155303/christian-reformed-church-order-commentary.aspx

This may not reach mass-market status with an interview by Oprah, distribution through Costco, and the rest. Not to shatter any dreams, of course.

But Christian Reformed pastors, elders, and entire congregations are in debt to you for putting this all down. And to Faith Alive for publishing it. Thank you.

I've got my order in ....

Got mine in the mail today!  Woo hoo!

Community Builder

I just got my shiny new copy!

I read the first chapter of your book.   I think technically it was well-written.   However, I suspect your book simply explains and supports the status quo.   Which is okay I suppose for those who enjoy the status quo. 

Where I have problems with the church order are some of its inconsistencies, where it contradicts itself.    For example, it states all the offices are equal in importance and then proceeds to have about 20 articles or more on the office of "minister of the word", and one article shared between elders and deacons.   I get the impression sometimes that the church order is as much a professional document for maintaining the professionalism of "ministering" as it is for order in the church. 

Many of the ideas in the church order seem to be predicated on worldly hierarchies and institutions, rather than on a careful examination of scripture.   This is no less true today than when it was written, although the worldly priorities have changed and have thus affected the church order subsequently. 

The idea of distinguishing ministerial associates from ministers in terms of function, and the underlying impact on retirement, pension funds etc., distort the true roles and significance of pastoring, preaching, leading, teaching.  

The sometimes duplicity in the church order, where for example it identifies "ministers" as leading the sacraments, without any biblical or scriptural warrant for doing so, and yet technically the order does not mandate or forbid elders or deacons from leading these sacraments...., but the impression is left to the point that people think it is another rule. 

The unscriptural, or at least very contrived reasoning, that limits elders from presenting the blessing or benediction....

The regulation upon regulation, precept upon precept, that imposes a hierarchical requirement (rather than a suggestion or an opportunity) for congregations to require the blessing of classis for decisions that ought to be their's alone.   

There is more that could be said, but I find that I had more respect for the church order as a christian document before I studied it closely, than afterwards. 

 

Professor DeMoor,

Military chaplains in the CRCNA at nearing a crossroads.  In the near future, our CRC Chaplaincy Committee will have to provide a statement to the Department of Defense regarding what we can and cannot do regarding ministry to and with persons in same-sex relationships.

Many of the issues are black and white.  For example, we are not permitted to officiate at a same sex marriage ceremony.  However, some issues are less clear.  For example, can we co-celebrate communion with another chaplain who comes from a denomination that endorses same-sex relationships?  Is there a difference between co-celebrating with a heterosexual UCC pastor or a practicing gay UCC pastor?  Both would endorse same-sex relationships, but only one actually practices it.

We are hesitant to make agreement on same-sex relationships the litmus test of whether or not we co-celebrate communion.  Although it is a hot issue, I don't think that it is on the level of core doctrines like justification by faith, the virgin birth, or the inspiration of scripture.

 

What guidance does our church order have for us?  Your thoughts would help us in the process of formulating a policy that would be sensitive to multi-denominational environment in which we operate each day.

 

Dave Jeltema

Chaplain, US Navy

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