Study Session #9: Reformed Theology of Church Government

Imagine a world where there were no standard “rules of the road” for driving – how safe would you feel? Every time we get into a car, we are trusting that all the drivers around us will adhere to the same rules of the road, and not randomly swerve into our lane or haphazardly drive over road barriers and speed through stop signs. Just as society at large needs standards of safety and consistency, so too does the Church.

Our God is a God of order, and when there are order and standards in the Church (I Cor. 14:40), we can have a certain level of trust that those around us are on the same page as we are. One way that the historical Reformed church attains this order is through a Church Order (a written document containing articles with rules and guidelines for how the church is run, such as: how to deal with difficult situations that arise in the church, how a pastor is ordained, and how church discipline of its members should be conducted.) This page (from the Lynden URC) contains the Three Forms of Unity and other important documents to which the federation ascribes.

This ninth, and last, study session was led by Rev. Mark Vander Pol finishing up the overview series of Covenant Theology on Biblical Theology of Church Government. Rev. Vander Pol began with a question of why we need order/rules in life rather than every person doing what they want. There is safety in having everyone in a local church, classis (region of churches), and federation of churches be in consensus on how to conduct “government” in the church. Christ is the Head of the Church – and in no way do the articles of the URC Church Order supersede Christ’s instructions for the Church, but we believe that the articles are biblical and hold to the teachings in the Bible. The Church Order was written by men who not infallible, and can therefore be revised (the current Church Order is on its 8th edition). This last session discussed the history of URC Church Order and expanded on the individual Articles contained within. Another aspect discussed in the study was the difference between the federation of churches within the URC and the denomination of other closely related (Presbyterian) churches.

*Please excuse some of the “choppiness” and “gaps” of this audio – sections had to be cut out due to file upload limits of the website.

The study was opened with a word of prayer from Rev. Vander Pol and a few announcements from John W.:

  • Evening services began on March 10th at 5pm. Evening will be held at Lighthouse Christian School, where we had these Bible study sessions. These are full worship services, modeled after Lynden URC services, including the sacraments such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper (most likely the first Sunday of the month). Any who are interested in transferring membership from a current church to be under the leadership of the URC may pursue that when services begin. We look forward to seeing everyone at our first service!
  • The deacons at Lynden URC continue to oversee all contributions for this church plant from both Gig Harbor attendees and members of the Lynden URC as well. Remember that should this church plant not succeed, all unused funds will be given to other church plant funds from within the URC. We are very thankful for everything that God has done already for this work! 
  • There is a list of qualified candidates for the pulpit that are being discussed by the Lynden URC.
  • As we are a community of saints, we urge everyone to pray for each other, and for specific, personal needs and requests, not just the church plant as a whole. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have a personal prayer request and/or to find out how you can pray for others in the community. 
  • Please contact us for more information on the church plant in general or how to support the church plant.

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