Do Previous Elders Need to Re-Sign the Covenant for Office Bearers If Serving at a New Church?

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When a person who has served as in elder in a CRC, and therefore has already signed the Covenant for Office Bearers there, moves to a new CRC and is elected elder, does he need to sign the Covenant for Office Bearers in his new church?

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You definitely need to re-sign if you change classes, so it seems like you would in a new congregation as well.  Steve

Participant

That is standard procedure, to re-sign the Covenant for Officebearers when changing churches as well as classes.
Ken

Community Builder

When ministers move into a new classis, they also need to re-sign the Covenant. They are, after all, 'merely' elders.

Community Builder

I agree with Steve.

I've moved around a fair bit over the years, from church to church and classis to classis. I always had to re-sign the Form of Subscription when I changed classis.

And when the new Covenant was adopted last year, all members -- ministers and elders -- were required to sign the new Covenant.

Participant

Elders and Deacons serve for an average of two to three years. Sometimes they do not serve for sewveral years between callings. Many things can change over time, including ones opinions and agreement with all confessions.
Ken

This decision should be left up to the confidence of the church council.  While it is true that a person's opinion could change, or, that the church could change its confessions, this is not limited to that magic period between periods of service, and could potentially happen at any time, including six months after signing such document.   Therefore, the agreement as originally signed should continue to stand until otherwise noted.  It should also be remembered that the profession of faith is also a covenant very similar to this, since it assumes agreement with the confessions of the church as well as agreement to living a life of faith in agreement with the confessions which indicate scripture as ultimate authority (superior to the confessions).   The primary issue is not even whether one signs, but whether one demonstrates agreement in statements, life, sermons, etc.   Whether one has signed or not, any professing member would be subject to similar agreement. 

In practice of course, it is up to the body to decide.  And the potential for changes of mind is not a main factor since we promise to bring such changes of mind to the council we are responsible to.  However, the commitment you make by signing is to function in THIS context within the bounds of the confessions.  So when you join a new council or classis it seems very appropriate to reaffirm the commitment made in the other council or classis.  At the beginning of each synod every delegate reaffirms their commitment that in the context of the synodical meetings they will work within those boundaries.  If this is done as a formality, it is of no value, of course.  But, it seems to me to be a very good practice.

Participant

John, remember that elders have terms, thaey are not elders for life as in some other denominations. I would expect to reaffirm my agreement when moving to a new church or classes.   Ken

Ken P, I shouldn't really respond to this, because I don't think it is that important... but, do you really think that whether elders are elders for life is relevant to this question?   At Classis, we don't ask everyone to sign everytime, even though they may not have attended for awhile;  only those who have not attended before are asked to sign.  An elder who moves from one church to another in the same classis is not asked to sign again if he has attended before.   I am fine with your expectations, but as I said, the requirement should be left to the local body to decide. 

Participant

Point well taken, John. I think it is important that since these decisions were made by representative bodies, originating at the individual churches, we should honor them until such time that those decisions are changed. As Stated Clerk, I see the need to follow a set of standards that we all work with. Perhaps the question is better posed... Why wouldn't an elder want to sign the form a second time in a new church?
Ken

I would like you to have the last word on this, Ken, but in courtesy to your question... regardless of the answer, whether he wants to or doesn't, isn't the issue.   But perhaps, "let your yes be yes", do not swear, (or over ligitize).  I suppose we could baptize people over and over too, why wouldn't we want to?   why not make profession of faith on a regular basis, why wouldn't anyone want to?  Again, we are spending too much time on something of relatively small importance.  Protocols, posturing, priorities? 

The question is, to whom are you making the commitment when you sign.  The answer is not "The whole world" or "The whole denomination" but rather, "The body to which you belong."  Whether that is the council, classis or synod.  When you become a part of a new body, you reaffirm your commitment to operate in the new context according to the confessions. 

Participant

Thanks, Steve... well put! I guess if someone really wants to change that procedure they could send an overture :)

Ken