Free Reformed Churches of Australia

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For a further understanding of the Church Order you we may refer you to:

Principles and Practice of Reformed Church Polity.
 

 
 
Church Order of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia
 
as adopted at the 1994 Synod of Byford
 

Note:  Articles in italic print are in force until  classes  have been formed.

 
INTRODUCTION

ARTICLE 1 - Purpose and Division

For  the maintenance of good order in the church of Christ it is necessary to have:
I offices and supervision of doctrine;
II assemblies;
III worship, sacraments and ceremonies, and
IV discipline.

 

I. OFFICES AND SUPERVISION OF DOCTRINE

 

ARTICLE 2 - The offices

The offices are those of the minister of the Word, of the  elder, and of the deacon.

ARTICLE 3 - The calling to office

A. All office-bearers

No  one  shall take any office upon himself without  having  been lawfully  called thereto. The calling to office shall take  place by  the consistory with the deacons, with the cooperation of  the congregation,  after  prayer, and in accordance  with  the  local regulations adopted for that purpose. Prior to the ordination  or installation the names of the appointed brothers shall be public ly announced to the congregation for its approval on at least two consecutive  Sundays. If no lawful objection is  brought  forward the  ordination or installation shall take place with the use  of the adopted Form.

B. Elders and deacons

The  consistory with the deacons shall give the congregation  the opportunity  to draw the attention of the consistory to  brothers deemed  suitable for the respective offices. The consistory  with the  deacons shall present to the congregation at the most  twice as many candidates as there are vacancies to be filled. From this number  the congregation shall choose as many  office-bearers  as are  needed. Those elected shall be appointed by  the  consistory with the deacons.
If  necessary the consistory with the deacons may present to  the congregation  the same number of candidates as there  are  vacancies.

C. Ministers

Before a vacant church extends a call the advice of the  counsel lor  shall be sought. The approval of classis shall  be  required for a repeated call to the same minister for the same vacancy.

ARTICLE 4 - Bound to a church

No  one shall serve in the ministry unless he is bound to a  certain church.

ARTICLE 5 - Eligibility for the ministry

A. Eligibility

Only those shall be called to the office of minister of the  Word who
(1) have been declared eligible for call by the churches; or
(2) are already serving in that capacity in one of the  churches; or
(3)  have  been declared eligible or are serving in  one  of  the churches  with  which  The Free Reformed  Churches  of  Australia maintain  a sister relationship. The churches shall  observe  the general  ecclesiastical ordinances for the eligibility  of  those ministers who have served in these sister-churches.

B. Declared eligible

Only those shall be declared eligible for call within the churches who
(1) have passed a preparatory examination by the classis in which they  live, which examination shall not take place  unless  those presenting  themselves for it submit the necessary  documents  to prove  that  they  are members in good standing  of  one  of  the churches  and  have successfully completed a course of  study  as required by the churches; or
(2) have satisfied the requirements of Article 8; or
(3) have satisfied the requirements of Article 9.

ARTICLE 6 - Ordination and installation of ministers of the Word

A.  Regarding those who have not served in the  ministry  before, the following shall be observed:

1.  They  shall be ordained only after classis has  approved  the call.

Classis shall approve the call   

a.  upon satisfactory testimony concerning the soundness of  doctrine and conduct of the candidate, attested by the consistory of the church to which he belongs; and
b.  following  a  peremptory examination of  the  candidate  with satisfactory  results. This classis examination shall take  place with the cooperation and concurring advice of deputies of synod.

2. For the ordination they shall also show to the consistory good testimonials  concerning  their  doctrine and  conduct  from  the church(es)  to which they have belonged since  their  preparatory examination.

B. Regarding those who are serving in the ministry the  following shall be observed:

They shall be installed after classis has approved the call.

1. For this approval as well as for the installation the minister shall show good testimonials concerning his doctrine and conduct, together with a declaration from the consistory with the  deacons and from classis that he has been honourably discharged from  his service  in that church and classis, or from the church  only  in case he remains within the same classis.

2. For the approval of a call of those who are serving in one  of the  churches with which The Free Reformed Churches of  Australia maintain  a  sister relationship a colloquium shall  be  required which  will deal especially with the doctrine and polity  of  The Free Reformed Churches of Australia.

C. The approval of a call shall require written certification  by the calling church that the required announcements were made  and that the congregation has approved the call.

ARTICLE 7 - From one church to another

A  minister  once lawfully called shall not leave the  church  to which  he is bound to take up the ministry elsewhere without  the consent  of his consistory with the deacons and the  approval  of classis.  Likewise,  no church shall receive him  unless  he  has presented a proper certificate of release from the church and the classis  where he served, or from the church only if  he  remains within the same classis.

ARTICLE 8 - Exceptional gifts

Persons  who have not pursued the regular course of theological study  shall  not  be admitted to the ministry  unless  there  is convincing  evidence  of their exceptional  gifts  of  godliness, humility, modesty, good intellect, and discretion, as well as the gift of public speech. When any such person presents himself  for the ministry, classis shall (with synodís prior approval) examine him,  and upon a favourable outcome allow him, as  candidate,  to speak  an edifying word in the churches of the classis for a  set period  of time. Thereafter the classis shall further  deal  with him  as  it  shall deem edifying,  observing  the  ecclesiastical regulations adopted for this purpose.

ARTICLE  9 - Admission of ministers who have recently joined  the church

A minister of the Word who has recently joined one of the churches  and originates from a church with which the churches  do  not maintain  a  sister relationship shall only be  admitted  to  the ministry  with great caution. He shall not be  declared  eligible for call within the churches unless he has been well tested for a reasonable  period of time and carefully examined by the  classis in  whose area he lives. This classis examination shall  be  conducted with the cooperation of the deputies of synod.

ARTICLE 10 - Officiating in another church

No  one  shall preach the Word or administer  the  sacraments  in another  church without the permission of the consistory of  that church.

ARTICLE 11 - Proper support

The  consistory, with the deacons, on behalf of the  congregation which it represents in this matter, shall provide for the  proper support of its minister(s).

ARTICLE 12 - Call to an extraordinary task

If  a minister accepts a call or an appointment to an  extraordinary  task  the nature of the relationship between  him  and  the church to which he is bound must be arranged with the consent of the classis. Some ministers may be appointed for the training  of students for the ministry, others may be called for mission work.

ARTICLE 13 - Retirement of ministers

If  a minister of the Word, by reason of age, sickness or  otherwise,  is  rendered  incapable of performing the  duties  of  his office  he shall retain the honour and title of minister  of  the Word.  He  shall also retain his official bond  with  the  church which  he served last, and this church shall  provide  honourably for his support. The same obligation exists towards a  ministerís widow and orphans.

ARTICLE 14 - Dismissal

The consistory with the deacons shall not dismiss a minister from his  bond with the congregation without approval of  classis  and the concurring advice of the deputies of synod.

ARTICLE 15 - Bound for life

A  minister  of the Word, once lawfully called, is bound  to  the service of the church for life and therefore not allowed to enter upon  another vocation unless it be for exceptional and  substantial  reasons. The decision of his consistory to relieve  him  of his office in order to enter upon another vocation shall  receive the  approval of classis, with the concurring advice of  deputies of synod.

ARTICLE 16 - Task of ministers

The task of ministers is to faithfully lead in prayer, preach the Word  and administer the sacraments. They shall watch over  their fellow  office-bearers and over the congregation.  Together  with the  elders they shall exercise church discipline and see  to  it that everything is done decently and in good order.

ARTICLE 17 - Training for the ministry

The churches shall support or, if possible, maintain an  institution  for the training for the ministry. The task of the  professors of theology is to expound the Holy Scriptures and to  defend the  sound  doctrine  against heresies and errors,  so  that  the churches may be provided with ministers of the Word who are  able to fulfil the duties of their office as these have been described above. The churches together are obliged to provide properly  for the professors of theology and for their widows and orphans.

ARTICLE 18 - Students of theology

The  churches shall strive to ensure that there are  students  of theology, extending financial aid where necessary.

ARTICLE 19 - Task of missionaries

When  ministers  of the Word are sent out as  missionaries,  they shall  in the specific region assigned to them proclaim the  Word of  God, administer the sacraments to those who have come to  the profession  of  their faith, teaching them to  observe  all  that Christ  has commanded His church, and ordain elders  and  deacons when  this appears feasible, according to the rules given in  the Word of God.

ARTICLE 20 - Task of elders

The  elders shall together with the ministers of the Word  govern the  congregation  with  pastoral care and  discipline.  For  the upbuilding  of  the congregation they shall  make  homevisits  as often as is profitable but at least once a year. They shall watch that  their  fellow office-bearers are faithful in  carrying  out their  duties and ensure that in the congregation  everything  is done decently and in good order.

ARTICLE 21 - Task of deacons

The  deacons  shall  perform the ministry of  mercy.  They  shall acquaint themselves with difficulties; visit, help and  encourage where there is need; and urge church members to render assistance where  necessary. They shall collect and manage the gifts of  the congregation, and after mutual consultation distribute them where there  is need. The deacons shall give account of their  policies and management to the consistory.

ARTICLE 22 - Equality of respective duties

In the local congregation equality shall be maintained among  the ministers,  among  the elders, and among the  deacons,  regarding their respective duties, and in other matters, as much as  possible.

ARTICLE 23 - Term of office

The elders and deacons shall serve two or more years according to local  regulations, and a proportionate number shall retire  each year. The places of the retiring office-bearers shall be taken by others  unless  the consistory with the deacons judges  that  the circumstances and the well-being of the church render it  advisable  to  call them into office again. In that case  the  rule  of Article 3 shall be observed.

ARTICLE  24  -Subscription to the Confession  by  ministers  and teaching staff

All ministers of the Word and all teaching staff at the theological  seminary shall subscribe to the Three Forms of Unity of  The Free Reformed Churches of Australia by signing the Form(s) adopted for that purpose. Anyone refusing to subscribe in that  manner shall  not be ordained or installed in office. Anyone who,  being in  office, refuses to do so shall because of that very  fact  be immediately suspended from office by the consistory, and  classis shall not receive him. If he obstinately persists in his  refusal he shall be deposed from office.

ARTICLE 25 - Subscription to the Confession by elders and deacons

Elders  and deacons shall also subscribe to these Three Forms  of Unity by signing the Form adopted for that purpose. Anyone  being in office who refuses to do so shall because of that very fact be immediately suspended from office by the consistory. If he obstinately persists in his refusal he shall be deposed from office.

ARTICLE 26 - False doctrine

To  ward off false doctrines and errors the ministers and  elders shall use the means of instruction, of refutation, of warning and of  admonition, in the ministry of the Word as well as in  Christian teaching and family visiting.

ARTICLE 27 - Office-bearers and the government

The office-bearers shall impress upon the congregation its  obligation to be obedient and show respect to the government, because God  has  instituted  it. They must set a good  example  in  this regard and by means of proper communication invoke the government to protect the ministry of the church.

 

II. ASSEMBLIES

 

ARTICLE 28 - The ecclesiastical assemblies

Three kinds of ecclesiastical assemblies shall be maintained: the consistory, the classis, and the synod.

ARTICLE 29 - Proceedings

The proceedings of all assemblies shall begin and end with  prayer.

ARTICLE 30 - Authority of the assemblies

These assemblies shall only deal with ecclesiastical matters  and n  an  ecclesiastical manner. A major assembly shall  deal  only with matters which could not be finished in the minor assembly or which  belong to its churches in common. A new matter may be  put on its agenda only when the minor assembly has dealt with it.

ARTICLE 31 - Appeals

If anyone complains that he has been wronged by the decision of a minor  assembly  he shall have the right of appeal to  the  major assembly;  and  whatever may be agreed upon by  a  majority  vote shall  be considered settled and binding, unless it is proved  to be in conflict with the Word of God or with the Church Order.

ARTICLE 32 - Credentials and voting

Delegates to a major assembly shall bring with them their credentials,  signed by the minor assembly. They shall have a  vote  in all matters except those in which either they themselves or their churches are directly involved

ARTICLE 33 - Proposals

Matters  once decided upon may not be proposed again unless  they are substantiated by new grounds.

ARTICLE 34 Chairman and clerk

In  all  assemblies there shall be a chairman and  a  clerk.  The chairmanís task is to present and explain clearly the matters  to be  dealt  with and ensure that every one observes due  order  in speaking; he shall deny the floor to those who argue about  minor things  or who let themselves be carried away and cannot  control their  emotions, and discipline those who refuse to  listen.  His task shall cease when the assembly ends. The clerk shall keep  an accurate record of all things worthy of being recorded.

ARTICLE 35 - Jurisdiction

The classis has the same jurisdiction over the consistory as  the synod has over the classis.

ARTICLE 36 - Consistory

In  all  churches  there shall be a consistory  composed  of  the minister(s)  of the Word and the elders. It shall meet  regularly and  be  chaired by the minister. If a church is served  by  more than one minister they shall chair in turn. The consistory  shall also  meet regularly with the deacons to deal with those  matters as  described for that purpose by the Church Order,  and  further with  all  things which the consistory  considers  necessary  for general management, including the material affairs of the church.

ARTICLE 37 - Consistory and the deacons

Where  the number of elders and deacons is small the deacons  may be  added  to  the consistory by local  arrangement.  This  shall invariably  be  done where there are less than three  elders  and less than three deacons. In these circumstances matters  pertaining  to  supervision  and discipline shall be  handled  with  the advice  of  the deacons and matters pertaining to the  office  of deacons with the advice of the elders.

ARTICLE 38 - Constitution of a consistory

If a consistory is to be constituted for the first time or  anew, the advice of classis shall be sought.

ARTICLE 39 - Places without a consistory

Places  where  as yet no consistory can be constituted  shall  be assigned by classis to the care of a neighbouring consistory.

ARTICLE 40 - Meetings of deacons

The  deacons shall meet regularly to deal with the  matters  pertaining to their office. Their meetings shall begin and end  with prayer.

ARTICLE 41 - Classis

Neighbouring  churches shall come together in a classis by  delegating  a minister and an elder, or if a church has no  minister, two  elders.  Classes  shall be held at least  once  every  three months. The ministers shall be chairman in rotation, or one shall be chosen to be chairman; however the same minister shall not  be chairman twice in succession. The chairman shall ask whether  the ministry  of the office-bearers is being continued,  whether  the decisions of the major assemblies are being honoured and  whether there  is any matter in which the consistories need the  judgment and  help of classis for the proper government of  their  church. Every  classis shall determine where and when the churches  shall meet again. The last classis before synod shall choose  delegates to that synod.

ARTICLE 42 - Ministers who are not delegated to a classis

If  two or more ministers are serving the same church, those  who have not been delegated shall have the right to attend classis in an advisory capacity.

ARTICLE 43 - Counsellors

Each vacant church shall request classis to appoint as counsellor the  minister it desires as such, to the end that he  may  assist the consistory in maintaining good order and especially may  lend his aid in the matter of the calling of a minister; he shall also sign the letter of call.

ARTICLE 44 - Church visitors

Each year classis shall authorise at least two of the more  experienced and able ministers to visit the churches in that year. If necessary the classis may authorise a capable elder to carry  out this task together with a minister. It shall be the task of these visitors to inquire whether all things are regulated and done  in full  harmony  with the Word of God, whether  the  office-bearers fulfil  the duties of their office faithfully as they have  promised,  and whether the Church Order is being observed  and  maintained  in  every respect, in order that they may  in  good  time fraternally admonish those who are found negligent in any  thing, and  that  by  their good counsel and advice all  things  may  be directed  towards  the edification and preservation  of  Christís church.  They  shall submit written reports of  their  visits  to classis

ARTICLE 45 - Synod

The  synod  shall be held once every three  years.  Each  classis shall  delegate  two ministers and two elders to  synod.  At  the close  of  synod the time and place for the next synod  shall  be determined and a church shall be appointed to convene it. A synod shall  be convened before the appointed time if according to  the judgment of at least two classes this appears necessary. Its time and  place shall be decided by the church appointed as  convening church for the next regular synod, subject to the approval of its classis .

ARTICLE 46 - Relationship with other churches

The relationship with other churches shall be regulated by synod. With  churches of Reformed confession sister relations  shall  be maintained as much as possible. On non-essential points of ecclesiastical practice other churches shall not be rejected.

ARTICLE 47 - Censure in classis and synod

At  the close of the major assemblies censure shall be  exercised over  those  who  in the meeting have done  something  worthy  of reproof.

ARTICLE 48 - Deputies of major assemblies

Each  synod shall appoint deputies who are to assist the  classes in  all matters provided for in the Church Order. A  classis  may request  these deputies to assist in cases of  special  difficulties. Each synod shall also appoint deputies to carry out its own decisions.  Different  deputies  shall be appointed  as  much  as possible  for  separate matters. All deputies shall  keep  proper record of their work and submit a written report.

ARTICLE 49 - Archives

The  assemblies  shall ensure that proper care is  taken  of  the archives.

ARTICLE 50 - Mission

The churches shall endeavour to fulfil their missionary task.  In doing so they shall observe the provisions of this Church  Order. When  churches  cooperate in mission work they shall as  much  as possible observe the division into classes.

 

III. WORSHIP, SACRAMENTS AND CEREMONIES

 

ARTICLE 51 - Administration of sacraments

The sacraments shall be administered only in a church service  by a  minister  of the Word with the use of the adopted  Forms,  and under the supervision of the elders.

ARTICLE 52 - Baptism of infants

The consistory shall ensure that the covenant of God is sealed by baptism to the children of believers as soon as feasible.

ARTICLE 53 - Baptismal promise and education

The consistory shall make sure that the parents honour their vows to instruct their children, to the utmost of their power, in  the doctrine of the Scriptures as summarised in the confessions,  and to  have them instructed in the same by the instruction  provided by the consistory.
In  accordance with the same vow, the consistory shall see to  it that  the  parents, to the best of their ability,  and  with  the cooperation  of  the  communion of saints,  give  their  children education (as stipulated by the civil government) which is  based on Scripture and Confession.

ARTICLE 54 - Public profession of faith

Those  who desire to publicly profess their faith shall be  examined  by the consistory on their motivation and knowledge of  the doctrine of Godís Word. The public profession shall take place in a church service, with the use of the adopted Form.

ARTICLE 55 - Baptism of adults

Adults  who  have  not been baptised shall be  grafted  into  the Christian church by holy baptism upon their public profession  of faith.

ARTICLE 56 - Lordís Supper

The  Lordís Supper shall be celebrated at least once every  three months.

ARTICLE 57 - Admission to the Lordís Supper

The  consistory shall admit to the Lordís Supper only  those  who have  made  public profession of the Reformed faith  and  lead  a godly  life. Members of sister churches shall be admitted on  the basis  of a good attestation concerning their doctrine  and  conduct.

ARTICLE 58 - Church records

The  consistory shall maintain Church records in which the  names of  the  members and the dates of their  birth,  baptism,  public profession of faith, marriage, and departure or death are properly recorded.

ARTICLE 59 - Attestations for communicant members

Communicant  members  who move to another congregation  shall  be given,  following appropriate announcements to the  congregation, an  attestation regarding their doctrine and conduct,  signed  on behalf  of the consistory by two authorised office-bearers.  This attestation  shall  also record their children who have  not  yet made public profession of faith. The consistory of the  congregation concerned shall be notified in due time.

ARTICLE 60 - Attestations for non-communicant members

An attestation for a non-communicant member shall be sent directly to the consistory of the church concerned with the request  to take the member under its supervision and discipline.

ARTICLE 61 Support after departure

When  members depart to another congregation where they  will  be cared  for in institutions, aged persons homes or nursing  homes, they shall in respect of deacon support remain under the care  of the church they are leaving. If this is not possible support will be arranged by consultation between the consistories and  deacons concerned.

ARTICLE 62 - Church services

The  consistory shall call the congregation together  for  church services twice on the Lordís Day.

ARTICLE 63 - Catechism preaching

The consistory shall ensure that as a rule once every Sunday  the doctrine of Godís Word as summarised in the Heidelberg  Catechism is proclaimed, preferably in the afternoon service.

ARTICLE 64 - Psalms and hymns

In  the  church services only the psalms and  hymns  approved  by synod shall be sung.

ARTICLE 65 - Ecclesiastical feast days

On  Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Ascension Day  and at Pentecost the consistory shall call the congregation  together for  church  services. The sacred events which  the  congregation commemorates  in particular on these days shall therein  be  proclaimed.

ARTICLE 66 - Days of prayer

In  times of war, general calamities and other great  afflictions the  presence of which is felt throughout the churches a  day  of prayer may be proclaimed by the church appointed for that purpose by synod.

ARTICLE 67 - Marriage

The consistory shall ensure that the members of the  congregation marry only in the Lord, and that the ministers - as authorised by the consistory - solemnise only such marriages as are in  accordance with the Word of God. The solemnisation of a marriage  shall take  place  in a private ceremony, with the use of  the  adopted Form.

ARTICLE 68 - Funerals

Church services shall not be conducted for funerals.

 

IV. CHURCH DISCIPLINE

 

ARTICLE 69 - Aim of discipline

Church discipline shall be exercised in accordance with the  Word of God and to His honour. Its aim is to reconcile the sinner with God and the neighbour, and to remove the offence from the  church of Christ.

ARTICLE 70 - Mutual responsibility

If  anyone  departs from the pure doctrine or  is  delinquent  in conduct  and this is a secret matter which does not give rise  to public  offence,  the  rule which Christ  clearly  prescribes  in Matthew 18 shall be observed.

ARTICLE 71 - Consistory involvement

The  consistory shall not deal with any report of sin  unless  it has  first ascertained that both private admonitions and  admonitions  in  the  presence of one or two  witnesses  have  remained fruitless, or the sin committed is of a public character.

ARTICLE 72 - Repentance

When someone repents of a public sin or of a sin which had to  be reported  to  the  consistory, the latter shall  not  accept  his confession  of  sin unless the member concerned  has  shown  real amendment.  The consistory shall determine whether the  congregation shall be informed afterwards.

ARTICLE 73 - Discipline in respect of communicant members

A  communicant member who obstinately rejects the  admonition  by the consistory or who has committed a public or some other  serious sin shall be suspended from the Lordís Supper. If he  continues  to  harden  himself in sin, the  consistory  shall  publicly announce this to the congregation so that the congregation may be engaged in prayer and admonition and the excommunication may  not take place without its cooperation.

ARTICLE 74 - Announcements during the procedure

In the first public announcement the name of the sinner shall not be  mentioned. In the second public announcement, which shall  be made only after the advice of classis has been obtained, the name and address of the sinner shall be mentioned. In the third public announcement a date shall be set at which the excommunication  of the sinner shall take place in accordance with the adopted  Form. The  time  interval between the various  announcements  shall  be determined by the consistory.

ARTICLE 75 - Re-admission

When  someone who has been excommunicated repents and desires  to be again received into the communion of the church, the congregation  shall  be informed of this desire in order to  see  whether there  are  any lawful objections. The time  between  the  public announcement and the re-admission of the sinner shall be not less than  one month. If no lawful objection is raised the re-  admission shall take place, with the use of the adopted Form.

ARTICLE 76 - Suspension and deposition of office-bearers

If  a minister, elder or deacon has committed a public or  otherwise gross sin, or refuses to heed the admonitions by the consistory,  he shall be suspended from office by the judgment  of  his own consistory and of the consistory of a neighbouring  congregation.  In the case of a minister this  neighbouring  congregation shall  be appointed by the classis. If he hardens himself in  the sin, or if the sin committed is of such a nature that he can  not continue in office, an elder or a deacon shall be deposed by  the judgment  of the above-mentioned consistories. Classis, with  the advice  of the deputies of synod, shall judge whether a  minister is to be deposed.

ARTICLE 77 - Serious and gross sins on the part of office-bearers

As serious and gross sins which are grounds for the suspension or deposition  of office-bearers the following are to  be  mentioned particularly: False doctrine or heresy, public schisms,  blasphemy, simony, faithless desertion of office or intrusion upon  that of  another, perjury, adultery, fornication, theft, acts of  violence,  habitual drunkenness, brawling, unjustly  enriching  oneself;  and further all such sins and serious  misdemeanours  that rate as ground for excommunication with respect to other  members of the church.

ARTICLE 78 - Christian censure

The ministers, elders, and deacons shall mutually exercise Christian  censure  and shall exhort and kindly admonish  one  another with regard to the execution of their office.

ARTICLE 79 - Discipline in respect of non-communicant members.

A baptised member shall be admonished by the consistory when  he as an adult fails to make public profession of faith or where  in other respects he is not loyal to the calling to new obedience in Godís  covenant. If he obstinately rejects the admonition of  the consistory and thereby clearly demonstrates that he is  indifferent and averse to the covenant or is even hostile to the  service of  the Lord, the matter shall be made known to the  congregation without  mentioning the name of the sinner; and the  congregation shall  be urged to pray for him. If the member continues  in  sin and  is  unwilling to listen to the admonitions,  then  with  the advice  of the classis the consistory shall make a second  public announcement,  mentioning  the name of the sinner  and  the  term after which the excommunication shall take place. If he does  not in  the said term show any real repentance, the consistory  shall in a church service exclude him from the communion of the church, using the adopted Form. If he, after this excommunication,  comes to repentance and desires to rejoin the communion of the  church, he  shall  be admitted by way of his public profession  of  faith after the consistory has made his repentance known to the congregation.

 

CONCLUDING ARTICLES

ARTICLE 80 - No lording over others

No  church shall in any way lord it over other churches,  no  office-bearer over other office-bearers.

ARTICLE 81 - Observance and revision of the Church Order

These articles, which regard the lawful order of the church, have been adopted with common accord. If the interest of the  churches demands  such,  they may and ought to be  changed,  augmented  or diminished.  However no consistory or classis shall be  permitted to  do  so, but they shall endeavour diligently  to  observe  the provisions  of  this Church Order as long as they have  not  been changed by synod.

For a further understanding of the Church Order you we may refer you to:

Principles and Practice of Reformed Church Polity.