Original Research - Special Collection: Law and Justice Conference

Serving the peace? Disorder, order, and peace in church polity

Leon van den Broeke
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 1 | a2602 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2602 | © 2020 Leon van den Broeke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 February 2020 | Published: 21 December 2020

About the author(s)

Leon van den Broeke, Centre for Church and Mission in the West, Theologische Universiteit Kampen, Kampen; Department of Beliefs and Practices, Faculty of Religion and Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands


If a church order rules that the peace should be served, what does that mean? It is the aim of this contribution to deal with the legal history of the phrase ‘to serve the peace’ as from the 16th-century Reformed synodical acts and church orders. This includes an understanding of two New Testament key words from 1 Corinthians 14: ἀκαταστασίας [disorder], είρήνη [peace], εύσχημόνως [decently or fitting] and ταξις [taxis]. Moreover, it researches what ‘to serve the peace’ means in situations of ecclesiastical and societal injustice. Therefore, the expertise of both scholars in church polity, law and New Testament will be included. Also, this contribution focuses on the question whether church orders are or ought to be peace church orders. This is not to ignore conflict, disunity and struggle, but to relate to it and overcome this. With the assistance of a church order, a church should fight injustice and disorder and foster peace. This is an assignment for the church and for interpersonal relationships. However, it is also a divine gift, as church polity should not overlook the eschatological dimension of peace. Church order might prevent the survival of the fittest in the church. Church polity might indeed create peace and overcome injustice. The opposite of disorder is not order, or more order in the sense of overregulation, but peace that can be restored by church polity.


Peace; Disorder; Order; Church order; Church polity; Justice; ταξις; εύσχημόνως


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