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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 1018-6441

Abstract

STRAUSS, P.J.. The ecclesiastical authority of the assemblies in church as in the church order of the Dutch Reformed Church. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2008, vol.42, n.2, pp. 239-252. ISSN 1018-6441.

The point in discussion in this article is Article 20.1 of the church order of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC). In accepting the first version of this church order, the first general synod of the DRC in 1962 used the church orderof 1959 of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (RCN) as an example. The exact wording of Article 20.1 happened to be part of the latter. Article 20.1 gives an indication of the authority of assemblies because this is nowhere else attended to in the church order of the DRC. It explains that the authority of church governing bodies like assemblies comes from Christ. He as the actual Head of the church lends authority to these assemblies, without abdicating his position as the Head of his church. He remains the Source and Owner of ecclesiastical authority. This means that ecclesiastical authority is founded and based on the Word of God by which it sumultaneously is limited. In exercising it's authority, an assembly is also bound to do it in accordance with the character of the church. To speak of authority in the church is not in conflict with the character of the church as a community of believers connected by love.

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