Online Reformed Church Order Resources

11 June 2022 by Wes Bredenhof

Many Reformed churches, especially those with a Dutch heritage, have a Church Order based on the Church Order of Dort. Commentaries can be hard to come by, especially if you’re outside of North America. A brother from Indonesia was asking me about what’s available online and these are the links I shared with him:

With Common Consent — W.W.J. VanOene

This is, in my view, still the best commentary available on the Canadian Reformed Church Order. Practically oriented.

The Church Order Commentary (Third Edition) — Idzerd Van Dellen and Martin Monsma

Published in 1954, this is a commentary on the old Christian Reformed Church Order, which aligned quite closely with Dort. It’s especially valuable for its historical information.

Decently and in Good Order — G. Van Rongen

Rev. G. Van Rongen was one of my predecessors at the current church I’m serving. He wrote this as a commentary on the Church Order of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia. This edition was published in 2005 and since then there have been a few small changes to the FRCA CO.

Officebearers Dot Com

I believe this website is operated by Rev. Dr. Karlo Janssen — who did his doctoral research in the area of church polity (you can find his dissertation online here). For church order purposes, check out the link “Topics” for some discussion about how to apply various principles of Reformed church polity.

ChurchOrder Dot Org

This website is run by Rev. Anthon Souman. It’s still relatively undeveloped, but promises more commentary in the future. Keep an eye on it.

Foundational Principles of Reformed Church Government

This document was originally prepared by the United Reformed Churches of North America. It eventually became part of the merger negotiations between the URCNA and the Canadian Reformed Churches.  It has no official standing in the CanRC, but it is included with the Church Order of the United Reformed Churches. It was also intended to be incorporated into the Joint Church Order of the merged CanRC/URCNA.  It’s a helpful summary of the principles under-girding Reformed church government in the line of Dort. 

The History and Character of Our Reformed Church Order

A brief introduction to the background and nature of our form of government.