The composition of reformed church orders: A theological, reformed and juridical perspective

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Many reformed church orders, which reflect the Dort Church Order of 1619, albeit revised, still apply its subdivision into these four chapters: first, offices (dienste); second, general assemblies (samekomste); third, doctrine, sacraments and other ceremonies (leer, sakramente en seremonies); and fourth, church discipline (kerklike tug). This article focuses on the composition of church orders. The research question is the following: How are reformed church orders composed and what it the ecclesiological or juridical rationale behind this
composition? The article contains sections on the composition and the ecclesiological legitimation of the Dort Church Order of 1619 and its predecessors, the Reformed Churches in the East-Indies (Batavia), the Algemeen Reglement of 1816, the Reformed Church Order of 1951, the church order of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands of 2004, and the major shift from the perspective of canon law to reformed church polity. Reformed church orders
contain both doctrinal and disciplinary regulations in relation to three notae ecclesiae of a reformed church. However, there is more at issue than the theological nature of the composition of the Dort Church Order and its successors, namely their relation to the Institutes of Justinian.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalIn die Skriflig
Issue number2
Early online date29 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • reformed church polity
  • Dort Church Order 1619
  • Justinian
  • canon law


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