A question period — as stated before — is only an opportunity to ask questions and possibly to receive answers. This applies to broader assemblies as much as it applies to consistories. A classis is no exception.
Usually there are two question periods on the classical agenda: a "personal question period" and a "question period ad Art. 44." As for the "personal question period," strictly speaking it is there only to ask questions about what transpired at the meeting or about difficulties or uncertainties one may have in specific matters. It should be remembered that this is a major assembly, not a consistory.
The "question period ad Art. 44" is the one mentioned in this article. It is a question period in which not so much the churches ask questions but in which the president asks the churches questions. At least, this is what the text of this article requires.
 Frankly, we cannot see the sense of the first part of the president's questions. They will have made sense in the early years after the Reformation, when things were oftentimes in a disorganized state. They also may make sense in days of deformation and general slackening, but at the present time and even for as long as this writer has taken part in ecclesiastical assemblies he could or cannot see any sense in asking "whether the ministry of the office-bearers is being continued, whether the decisions of the major assemblies are being honoured." If it happened in the past that the president did ask these questions, an incredulous look might appear on the faces of several members of the assembly as if the president were pulling a trick on them. To them the "question period ad Art. 44" was only the provision in the second part of this paragraph: do you need the help of classis? The other questions only produced a smile which accompanied their emphatic "Yes!"
That the questions contained in the first half are asked at the church visitation does make sense. There they are in place and there they should be asked and answered, and the latter with more than a simple "Yes" or "No," which is all that is needed at classis. As a means of mutually taking heed of each other the classical questions are totally inadequate as well as slightly out of place.
The "que.stion period ad Art. 44" also provides the churches with the opportunity to receive help "for the proper government of their church."
It is at this moment that a church can ask for advice as to how to deal with certain situations as well as whether to proceed or not to proceed with specific disciplinary action and also announce the name of the sinner.
We are to differentiate between "advice" and "advice." In the one case a church is bound by the advice it receives, in the other case it is not.
Our Church Order provides that in certain matters the advice of classis shall be asked. The above question whether a consistory may proceed with the discipline is one of these cases. In this and the other instances which are mentioned in our Church Order a church is bound by the advice. That is what the churches have agreed upon.
If, however, a church comes to classis and puts one or other difficulty before it, stating that the consistory could not reach a definite conclusion in spite of many efforts in that direction, and therefore would like to have the advice of classis, or if a consistory has come to a conclusion but is not totally convinced that it is the right one and therefore would like to hear the advice of classis before proceeding with the matter, this church is not bound by the judgment or advice expressed. The consistory will certainly keep this in mind when considering the matter again after the brothers have reported on the classical advice and will not but for serious reasons deviate from it. But the ultimate decision is the consistory's. It does have the right to decide differently.
No consistory should abuse this opportunity by presenting all sorts of questions and "problems," nor should any consistory come to a classis in order to shirk its own responsibility. It should be remembered that the ultimate responsibility rests with the consistory and that in this case a consistory can
 never hide behind a classical advice or judgment. Even when advice is asked as stipulated in the Church Order, a consistory must have come to the conclusion that it should proceed with the discipline or any other action for which classical advice is required.