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Current Issues

At the end of each month, I hope to list some of the things in CRC life that cause people to ask me for advice. I do not list them all. That would bore you to tears. But these "some" are ones that you may have thought about as well.

Church Order
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Public Thanks

Henry, I see your name floating around here, so I am going to address you on behalf of myself and the church. Thanks for your wonderful work on the church order commentary. It is of great service to me and to the church as a whole.

Church Order
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Representative Government?

We have an elder in our church who has stated that he "represents" a certain number of people that he feels are neglected, although they are long time members, some with a lot of influence. I thought that our form of church government was not to be representative. Any thoughts?

Church Order
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Does a US pastor need a license to officiate at a Canadian wedding?

WARNING TO ALL CRC MINISTERS: I have received word that ministers serving USA churches are officiating at weddings in Canadian provinces without first obtaining a licence to do so. Please note that all Canadian provinces, unlike some states in the USA, require advance licensing. Not arranging for such, perhaps through Stated Clerks of the Classis in which the church is located, could lead to a marriage not being legal.
Church Order
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What are the guiding principles for Christian counseling?

In some readings and conversations I've come across concerning modalities in counseling in Christian circles, I've noted at least two positions; the integrationists and the non integrationists with a few variations along a continuum. Is there an official position or guiding principle on the issue in the denomination? Ex: Is the council within reason to mandate particular non churched based (integrationist) counseling to its member which does conflict with her convictions (nouthetic ??) on the counseling continuum?
Church Order
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What is the CRC position on the casting of lots in church elections?

Is there any consensus or agreement among the readers/church leaders concerning the casting of lots in the election of church officers. Scripture certainly notes the casting of lots many times in the life of Christ and in the early church. Some commenters to a post in the "Church Administration" network describe the use of it in there church in a very edifying manner but are we "OK" as far as church order goes? I am not a student of the Church Order and sometimes while reading it reads like a legal document subject to much interpretation. Any thoughts or comments out there?
Church Order
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What are the guidelines for serving communion at weddings?

In the "Current Issues" thread, Kathy Smith asked me to say a few things about serving communion at weddings, for all, or just for bride and groom. I'm happy to start a conversation and am therefore starting this new thread for this topic. I'm even more eager to hear from many others what their opinions are. But perhaps this will be a good place to start. In the Reformed tradition we have generally reserved the celebration of communion for a worship service called by and supervised by the local consistory (minister and elders), an "official" worship service or, as the Church Order has it in...
Church Order
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What does it mean "to submit to the judgment of the council, classis, or synod?"

Synod just sent the revision to the Form of Subscription back for further review. So, we are still using the current form. I have been reading and re-reading the form recently in an attempt to understand one part: "We are prepared moreover to submit to the judgment of the council, classis, or synod, realizing that the consequence of refusal to do so is suspension from office." What does it mean to submit to the judgement of synod? I know that it doesn't mean that office-beareres have to agree with synod on everything. But, it does seem to preclude certain methods of expressing disagreement...
Church Order
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Which office discusses and decides who is eligible for call to Elders and Deacons?

In the CRC Church Order, Article 4 seems to make clear that the calling of Elders and Deacons is entirely the responsibility of the Council and clearly spells the process out. Article 35a seems to give a little wiggle room where the Consistory can say it determines the qualities of who is eligible because 35a states the Council "Approves" the nominations as one of the example of its tasks. Throughout the Church order, it takes great pains to describe the tasks of each of the 3 offices and what they do. It goes to the extreme in 35b & c and states in those articles (paraphrased here,) that...
Church Order
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How can a church make changes to structure while staying within the church order guidelines?

The church order sets out a structure of governance for CRC churches however, it doesn't help when there is a need to change the structure. Many churches, mine included, are struggling with the need to change how the church is governed but there is little help from the church order and denominational office in this regard. What resources have other people found to help in this area? Has your church been able to make changes while at the same time staying within the church order guidelines?
Church Order
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Should we still practice "mutual censure" at Classis meetings?

This perhaps is a question for Henry DeMoor, but I would assume there are others who might like to give an opinion. Prior to the Church Order revision in '65, there was an article that required "mutual censure" at Classis meetings- Art. 43: At the close of the Classical, and other major assemblies, censure shall be exercised over those, who in the meeting have done something worthy of punishment, or who have scorned the admonition of the minor assemblies. VanDellen and Monsma explain in their commentary this censure is done by the assembly and not the president or consistories as two other...
Church Order
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Once an elder, always an elder?

I was ordained as an elder and served my 3 year term. Now that I am done with that term, am I still considered to be an elder? If I happen to be at a service where there is a call for elders to participate in Communion or laying on of hands for an ordination service, may I participate as en elder?
Church Order
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Is congregational approval required to lease part of our building?

New to this list--pardon if the topic has been addressed before. Our church has an offer from a cell phone company to lease a part of our building for placement of a booster antenna. Assuming that all our questions and concerns are answered to council's satisfaction, must the measure still come before a congregational meeting for approval? This is not a revenue expenditure (happily, the opposite!) but it does entail leasing church property so might qualify as a 'money matter.' Thanks for any advice you can give.
Church Order
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Is there any rule about having an equal number of elders and deacons?

We have assigned roles for out elders and deacons (E.G. Worship Elder; Youth Elder; Compassion Deacon; Finance Deacon). We currently have five elders and five deacons. We believe that one of our positions that is currently filled by a deacon would better be filled by an elder. Is it acceptable to have six elders and four deacons?
Church Order
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License to Exhort -- May a council use an approved lay person lead in worship, including preaching?

A number of years ago, church order made provisions for a local congregation to request Classis to approve a lay leader the license to exhort for a varitey of reasons. The one I was familiar with was a congregation remotely located and this person licensed to exhort could assist the pastor with leading in worship and was approved to exhort after examination by the local classis. It is now my understanding that this work can now be met with the office of the Commisioned Pastor. Again, one who has been examined by the local classis and can now assist the pastor in the leading of worship and to...
Church Order
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What are the "licensed to exhort" boundaries?

As an EPMC student at [a seminary in Canada] now licensed to exhort, I find it very difficult to know where the boundaries are in terms of what I am permitted to do and what I am not permitted to do. I would like to do only that which is appropriate and to be humble enough in my conduct so as not to give offense. Please provide some guidance in this area. This question is from a real-life situation to which Dr. Henry DeMoor has responded to based on his extensive knowledge of the Christian Reformed Church Order. The first answer given has been taken from the Christian Reformed Church Order...
Church Order

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