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The liturgical forms for baptism, the Lord's Supper, and marriage were derived from the Palatinate liturgy which in turn received them largely from John Calvin. These were translated into the Dutch language and revised by Peter Dathenus. The other forms were also gathered or written by Dathenus. All of them were officially approved for church use by the Synod of Dordt in 1618 and 1619.


God is a God of order. God has delegated authority to govern in each sphere of human life -home life (parental authority), societal life (civil authority), work life (institutional authority), and also for church life (ecclesiastical authority). AI! is to be done according to God's will, in agreement with His Word, and "decently and in good order" in the church of God. Wherefore Paul instructs the church, "Let all things be done decently and in order" (I Corinthians 14:40), "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints" (I Corinthians 14:33).

The orderly governing of God's church requires a church government and a church order. Various views regarding church government have been promoted. The following represent the major forms that have been instituted in the church.

1. Anti-church government - The Quakers (Friends), Plymouth Brethren, and other religious groups have rejected all forms of external church organization and government. This view believes only in the inward communications and movements of the Holy Spirit to lead, and rejects all outward church structure, including the church offices of minister, elder, and deacon.

2. State-controlled government - This form is often called the Erastian system of church government. It is named after Erastus (1524-1583) who believed that the church owed its existence to, and should therefore be governed by, the state. The ministers are called to preach, but the ruling and disciplining power resides with the state.

Why are both the structure and tone of church government very important?


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