Original Research - Special Collection: Synod of Dordrecht (1618-1619) - Synod's meaning and influence in South Africa

Een verkennend onderzoek naar de receptie van een anti-hiërarchisch beginsel in Nederlandse kerkorden van het gereformeerde type

Klaas-Willem de Jong
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 2 | a2350 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i2.2350 | © 2018 Klaas-Willem de Jong | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 January 2018 | Published: 24 October 2018

About the author(s)

Klaas-Willem de Jong, Department of Church Law, Protestant Theological University, Netherlands


No authority or domination: An exploratory study of the reception of an anti-hierarchical principle in Dutch reformed-type church orders. The Confessio Gallicana (1559) states: ‘We believe that all true pastors, wherever they may be, have the same authority and equal power under one head, one only sovereign and universal bishop, Jesus Christ; and that consequently no Church shall claim any authority or dominion over any other’ (Cochrane 2003:155). In this study I explore the reception of this article in the successive reformed church orders in the Netherlands, especially in those of the period up to and including the Synod of Dordrecht (1618–19) and in the recent one of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (2004). I conclude that the principle behind the cited provision has been incorporated into the mentioned church orders, but with different wordings, for different purposes and in the context of different theological concepts. Secondly, I conclude that there is a direct link between this provision and the 77th article of the church order of The Hague (1586), albeit that its range in the latter one is larger. The wording as well as the direct context of the provisions in the Dortian church order is the same as in its predecessors of 1586. In this regard the Dortian church order does not represent any change. Finally, I conclude that the church order of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands continues an old tradition, though it gives the principle a new scope, a new content and a new shape.


dortian church order; church order of the 'Protestantse Kerk in Nederland'; anti-hierarchical principle


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