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 Table of Contents

Introduction
by J. C. Wenger
The Articles:
VIII. Church
IX. Church Offices
X. Holy Supper
XI. Washing Feet
XII. Matrimony
XIII. Authorities
XIV. Revenge
XV. Oaths
XVI. The Ban
XVII. Shunning
XVIII. Judgement

Signers
of the Confession

Postscript

 
 

Home Historical Committee


The Dordrecht Confession of Faith, 1632

IX. Of the Election, and Offices of Teachers, Deacons, and Deaconesses in the Church

Concerning the offices and elections in the church, we believe and confess, that, since without offices and ordinances the church cannot subsist in her growth, nor continue in building, therefore the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, as a husbandman in His house, has instituted, ordained, enjoined, and commanded His offices and ordinances, how everyone is to walk therein, and give heed to and perform His work and calling, as is meet, even as He Himself, as the faithful, great, chief Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, was sent, and came into the world, not to bruise, break, or destroy the souls of men, but to heal and restore them, to seek the lost, to break down the middle wall of partition, to make of twain one, and thus to gather of Jews, Gentiles, and all nations, one flock, for a church in His name, for which-that no one should err or be lost-He Himself laid down His life, thus ministering to their salvation, and liberating and redeeming them, (mark) wherein no one else could help or assist them. Eph. 4:10-12; I Pet. 2:25; Matt 12:19 18:11 Eph. 2:14; Gal. 3:28; John 10:9, 11, 15; Ps. 49:8.

And that He, moreover, before His departure, left His church supplied with faithful ministers, apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, whom He before, through the Holy Ghost, had chosen with prayer and supplication; that they might govern the church, feed His flock, and watch over, protect, and provide for it, yea, do in all things, as He had done before them, had taught, by example shown, and charged them, to teach to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded them. Luke 10:1; 6:12, 13; John 2:15.

That the apostles, likewise, as faithful followers of Christ, and leaders of the church, were diligent in this respect, with prayer and supplication to God, through the election of brethren, to provide every city, place, or church, with bishops, pastors, and leaders, and to ordain such persons thereto, who would take heed unto themselves, and unto the doctrine and flock, who were sound in faith, pious in life and conversation, and of good report without as well as in the church; that they might be an example, light, and pattern in all godliness and good works, worthily administering the Lord's ordinances--baptism and supper-and that they might everywhere (where such could be found) appoint faithful men who would be able to teach others also, as elders, ordaining them by the laying on of hands in the name of the Lord, and provide for all the wants of the church according to their ability; so that, as faithful servants, they might husband well their Lord's talent, get gain with it, and, consequently, save themselves and those who hear them. I Tim. 3:1; Acts 23:24; Titus 1:5; I Tim. 4:16; Titus 2:1, 2; I Tim. 3:7; II Tim. 2:2; I Tim. 4:14; 5:2; Luke 19:13.

That they should also see diligently to it, particularly each among his own over whom he has the oversight, that all places be well provided with deacons (to look after and care for the poor), who may receive the contributions and alms, in order to dispense them faithfully and with all propriety to the poor and needy saints. Acts 6:3-6.

And that also honorable aged widows should be chosen and ordained deaconesses, that they with the deacons may visit, comfort, and care for, the poor, feeble, sick, sorrowing and needy, as also the widows and orphans, and assist in attending to other wants and necessities of the church to the best of their ability. I Tim. 5:9; Rom. 16:1; Jas. 1:27.

Furthermore, concerning deacons, that they, especially when they are fit, and chosen and ordained thereto by the church, for the assistance and relief of the elders, may exhort the church (since they, as has been said, are chosen thereto), and labor also in the Word and in teaching; that each may minister unto the other with the gift he has received of the Lord, so that through mutual service and the assistance of every member, each in his measure, the body of Christ may be improved, and the vine and church of the Lord continue to grow, increase, and be built up, according as it is proper.

 

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