APPENDIX FOR LISTENING TOGETHER WORKSHOPS
PART ONE: COVENANT
Genesis 12:1-3 (God’s covenant with Abraham)
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (new covenant: I will be their God)
Luke 22:14-23 *see also Hebrews 8:1-13 (Jesus brings a new covenant)
Luke 24:13-35 (Emmaus Road)
1 Corinthians 1: 10-17 (“I belong to Paul, I belong to…”)
1 Corinthians 6:1-11 (lawsuits among believers)
Matthew 18:15-22 (confronting one another, and forgiveness)
Acts 6:1-7 (complaints about neglected widows)
Acts 11:1-18 (circumcised believers criticize Peter re: Gentiles)
See also: James 4:1-12, Philippians 3:15 (Acts 15 will be used later in the process)
Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 21
Q. What do you believe concerning “the holy catholic church”?
A. I believe that the Son of God through his Spirit and Word, out of the entire human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, protects, and preserves for himself a community chosen for eternal life and united in true faith. And of this community I am and always will be a living member.
1 John 10:14-16; Acts 20:28; Rom. 10:14-17; Col. 1:18 2 Gen. 26:3b-4; Rev. 5:9 3 Isa. 59:21; 1 Cor. 11:26 4 Matt. 16:18; John 10:28-30; Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:3-14 5 Acts 2:42-47; Eph. 4:1-6 6 1 John 3:14, 19-21 7 John 10:27-28; 1 Cor. 1:4-9; 1 Pet. 1:3-5
Q. What do you understand by “the communion of saints”?
A. First, that believers one and all, as members of this community, share in Christ and in all his treasures and gifts.
Second, that each member should consider it a duty to use these gifts readily and joyfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.
1 Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 6:17; 12:4-7, 12-13; 1 John 1:3
2 Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:20-27; 13:1-7; Phil. 2:4-8
Q. What do you believe concerning “the forgiveness of sins”?
A. I believe that God, because of Christ’s satisfaction, will no longer remember any of my sins or my sinful nature which I need to struggle against all my life.
Rather, by grace God grants me the righteousness of Christ to free me forever from judgment.
1 Ps. 103:3-4, 10, 12; Mic. 7:18-19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; 1 John 1:7; 2:2
2 Rom. 7:21-25
3 John 3:17-18; Rom. 8:1-2
Excerpt from Sacrament of Baptism
…Baptism is the sign and seal of God’s promises to this covenant people.
In baptism God promises by grace alone:
to forgive our sins;
to adopt us into the Body of Christ, the Church;
to send the Holy Spirit daily to renew and cleanse us;
and to resurrect us to eternal life.
…Yet, when we fall into sin, we must not despair of God’s mercy,
nor continue in sin,
for baptism is the sign and seal
of God’s eternal covenant of grace with us.
…[to the parents/guardians]
Do you promise
to instruct this child/these children
in the truth of God’s word,
in the way of salvation through Jesus Christ;
to pray for them, to teach them to pray;
and to train them in Christ’s way by your example,
through worship, and
in the nurture of the church?
I do, and I ask God to help me.
[to the congregation]
Do you promise to love, encourage, and support
these brothers and sisters
by teaching the gospel of God’s love,
by being an example of Christian faith and character, and
by giving the strong support of God’s family
in fellowship, prayer, and service?
THE BAPTISMAL COVENANT
N (use Christian name; omit surname),
For you Jesus Christ came into the world;
for you he died and for you he conquered death;
All this he did for you, little one,
though you know nothing of it as yet.
We love because God first loved us.
N (use Christian name; omit surname),
I baptize you in the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
DECLARATION, BLESSING, AND WELCOME
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
the only King and Head of the Church,
this child/these children of God is/are now
received into the visible membership of the holy catholic Church,
engaged to confess the faith of Christ, and
to be God’s faithful servant/s until life’s end.
Excerpt from Sacrament of Communion
Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ,
the holy Supper which we are about to celebrate
is a feast of remembrance, of communion, and of hope.
We come in remembrance
that our Lord Jesus Christ was sent of the Father into the world
to assume our flesh and blood
and to fulfill for us all obedience to the divine law,
even to the bitter and shameful death of the cross.
By his death, resurrection, and ascension
he established a new and eternal covenant of grace and reconciliation
that we might be accepted of God and never be forsaken by him.
We come to have communion with this same Christ
who has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the world.
In the breaking of the bread he makes himself known to us
as the true heavenly Bread that strengthens us unto life eternal.
In the cup of blessing he comes to us as the Vine
in whom we must abide if we are to bear fruit.
We come in hope,
believing that this bread and this cup
are a pledge and foretaste of the feast of love
of which we shall partake when his kingdom has fully come,
when with unveiled face we shall behold him,
made like unto him in his glory.
Since by his death, resurrection, and ascension
Christ has obtained for us the life-giving Spirit
who unites us all in one body,
so are we to receive this Supper in true love,
mindful of the communion of saints.
Excerpt from Membership Liturgy
[TO THE CANDIDATE]
N__________________, will you, before God and these your brothers and sisters in Christ, repeat and renew the promises you made when you were accepted into communicant membership in Christ’s Church?
Do you accept the Gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ revealed in the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the only way to eternal life?
Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner, sinful by nature, but that by the grace of God alone your sins have been forgiven and your old nature put to death, so that you may be brought to newness of life and set apart as a member of the body of Christ?
Do you promise to pray for yourself and for others, seeking God’s guidance as together we seek to grow in knowledge and understanding of the faith?
Do you promise to show in your own person the joy of new life in Christ by active participation in the life of the Church and by faithful attendance to worship, service, and the offering of prayers and gifts, to the glory of God?
Do you promise to accept the spiritual guidance of the Church, obeying its doctrines and its teaching, and do you promise to walk in the spirit of Christian love with the congregation, seeking the things that make for unity, purity, and peace?
[TO THE CONGREGATION]
Do you, the members of this congregation, welcome these brothers and sisters into the community of faith as communicant members and pledge to them your love, your prayers, and your encouragement as they live the Christian life with us?
PART TWO: BIBLICAL UNITY
The Declaration for Ministers of Word and Sacrament
(This Declaration shall be made orally by the candidate in the presence of the classis at the time of ordination or installation. The newly ordained or installed Minister of Word and Sacrament shall then sign a book containing the declaration.)
I, ________________________________, in becoming a minister of the
Word of God in the Reformed Church in America, within the Classis of
_________________, sincerely and gladly declare before God and with you
that I believe the gospel of the grace of God in Jesus Christ as revealed in
the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and as expressed in the Standards of the Reformed Church in America. I accept the Scriptures as the only rule of faith and life. I accept the Standards as historic and faithful witnesses to the Word of God.
I promise to walk in the Spirit of Christ, in love and fellowship within the
church, seeking the things that make for unity, purity, and peace. I will
submit myself to the counsel and admonition of the classis, always ready,
with gentleness and reverence, to give an account of my understanding of the Christian faith. I will conduct the work of the church in an orderly way and in accordance with the Liturgy and the Book of Church Order.
Trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for strength, I pledge my life to preach and teach the good news of salvation in Christ, to build up and equip the church for mission in the world, to free the enslaved, to relieve the oppressed, to comfort the afflicted, and to walk humbly with God.
I ask God, and you His servants, to help me so to live until that glorious day
when, with joy and gratitude, we stand before our great God and King.
Excerpt from the order and installation of Elders and Deacons:
The presiding minister addresses the congregation:
Members of N_________________ Church,
please rise to affirm your covenant
with the elders and deacons
whom God has given us.
Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ,
do you receive in the name of the Lord,
these deacons and elders
as duly elected and ordained servants of Christ?
Do you promise to respect them
for the sake of the offices
for which they have been chosen and ordained?
Do you promise to encourage and pray for them,
to labor together in obedience to the gospel
for the unity, purity, and peace of the church,
the welfare of the whole world, and
the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Beloved people of God,
receive these deacons and elders as Christ’s own servants.
Support them in love, that their work may bear fruit.
In the name and by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ,
I declare that these brothers and sisters
are duly installed deacons and elders in this church.
Thanks be to God.’
PART THREE: DIVISION AND RESTORATION
Dennis Voskuil’s paper
PART FOUR: GOD’S INTENDED FUTURE FOR THE RCA
Philippians 1:3-11 (the one who began a good work among you)
Ephesians 1:15-23 (Paul’s prayer for believers: wisdom and revelation)
Ephesians 3:14-21 (Pauls’ prayer: now to him who by the power at work…)
Revelation 7:9-17 (Salvation belongs to our God)