Original Research

The reformed confessions and church membership ethically appraised

Herm J.G. Zandman
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 41, No 1 | a299 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v41i1.299 | © 1970 Herm J.G. Zandman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2007 | Published:

About the author(s)

Herm J.G. Zandman, School for Ecclesiastical Sciences, Potchefstroom campus, Nort-West University, South Africa

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The reformed churches historically call themselves confessional churches, with the confessions adopted by church councils being the yardstick according to which membership is either permitted or refused. The reformed churches consequently consider it necessary for all members of the church to express agreement with the confessions. The reason why the confessions are held as the summary standard of belief is founded in the conviction that they are faithful expressions of the teachings handed down from the apostles.


These confessions have been attributed a twofold purpose regarding their function in the reformed churches. Firstly, they protect believers and congregations from error, and secondly, they help attain unity of faith among the believers in the reformed churches – both at the congregational and denominational level.


Currently this view is under siege from those who hold the conviction that the traditional approach of giving the confessions such prominence is too narrow and binding in terms of who may or may not be awarded membership of the reformed churches.


This article seeks to consider the place of the confessions and to evaluate the claim that de-emphasis on the confessions is desirable in order to celebrate the unity of all believers. Furthermore, the article seeks to demonstrate that ethical integrity is contingent on seeking to exercise church government within the demarcation of the confessional framework.


Apostolic Teaching; Basic Tenets Contained In The Confessions; Confessions; Normative To Combat Error; Confessions; Professed Base Of Unity Among Reformed Church Members; Confessions; Restrictive Nature Of Regarding Membership In The Reformed Church


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