Notes on the General Synod by David D. Demarest

I have not written much here lately. In part because the demands of pastoral ministry have been high, in part because my doctoral research is demanding, and in part because I recently finished work on a book discussing the foundational principles of Reformed church polity, I will announce more about that when there is more … More Notes on the General Synod by David D. Demarest

Of Classes and Congressional Districts

There has been a good deal of discussion lately in some segments of the Reformed Church in America over concerns about a supposed “disproportionate representation” stemming from the reality that classes are different sizes (in terms of both numbers of churches and size of churches) but they each register a single vote on constitutional amendments. … More Of Classes and Congressional Districts

Reformed Church General Synod 2017: Deacons in Broader Assemblies

This is part of a series of posts about the items and topics before the General Synod 2017.  Other posts in this series: Commissioned Pastors, Part 1: Foundations Commissioned Pastors, Part 2: Recommendations before General Synod Overtures on Declarative Authority *** While human sexuality will be the topic on everyone’s mind (even if it is … More Reformed Church General Synod 2017: Deacons in Broader Assemblies

Declarative Authority and the General Synod

The Book of Church Order, in its Preamble, notes three types of authority that Christ has given to the church: ministerial, declarative, and spiritual. Ministerial authority is the right to act as Christ’s servants. Declarative authority is the right to speak in his name within the limits set by Scripture. The church shall declare what is … More Declarative Authority and the General Synod

Governance by Assembly and the Problem of Representation (Part I)

Few concepts cause more difficulty than the principle of representation and what this means in the church. This is particularly the case with those of us who are used to a representative democracy because similar terms are often used to address very different concepts. The Representative Principle. The power which Jesus Christ bestows upon his church … More Governance by Assembly and the Problem of Representation (Part I)

The Reformed Church and the Problem of Hierarchy

From time to time, more frequently as of late, there have been calls for the General Synod to make authoritative scriptural interpretations and insist that everyone act in accordance with statements of the General Synod (well, a select few statements). The reasoning is that if the General Synod is the highest assembly, the rest of … More The Reformed Church and the Problem of Hierarchy