Discipline of office–bearers according to article 66 of the church order in the Reformed Confessing Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RCCC)
This dissertation discusses the procedure used to discipline office–bearers according to article 66 of the Church Order of the Reformed Confessing Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most of the members of the above–mentioned church belong to the Bantu–Luba people. According to their cultural faith, they do not –believe that they are born sinners, but that a sin is something that comes from outside, something that one may either get hold of if one wishes to, or avoid if one does not wish or like to have. We may therefore assume that, in addition to the Bantu–Luba people, many other Bantu people in Africa likewise have this conception of sin. Our study of the Bantu–Luba people’s false concept of sin show according to the Muntu–Luba, to sin means to harm one’s fellowman, or to transgress the ancestors’ law. However, we will show that God is not involved in all this. This is one of the many reasons why office–bearers become angry and cause trouble and when they are to be disciplined for transgression. This is what inspired me to try and shed some light on the matter by means of the Word of God which stress that man is a born sinner and that sin comes from his heart. To achieve this goal, we have to examine church history, especially that of the Reformation in the 16th century, a period known as “the theatre’’ of the greatest religious revolution. There we see the importance of “ecclesiastical discipline” which is the third mark of a true church. A disobedient church is a church on the way to its downfall. Two case–studies are used, one on adultery and one on simony, to show how the application of the prescribed procedure according to article 66 of the church order has openly caused trouble and problems in the church. We propose the amendment of one part of the article which contains a hierarchical element in order to give back authority to the Church Council as the appropriate body entitled to decide on the suspension or dismissal of office5 bearers (Pastor, Elder, and Deacon) with consultation of the deputies of the classis and of the Provincial Synod. Finally, my intention is to submit the above–mentioned amendment to the General Synod as a proposal to be approved and to be included as the procedure for the discipline of office–bearers, and to serve as the replacement of the current article.
- Theology