Article 28 — The ecclesiastical assemblies
II. THE ASSEMBLIES
Three kinds of ecclesiastical assemblies shall be maintained: the consistory, the classis, and the synod.
On the basis of all this our Church Order distinguishes between three ecclesiastical assemblies:
1. the consistory;
2. the classis;
3. the synod.
The consistory consist of ministers and elders. It is the only assembly directly based on holy Scripture.
The classis consists of delegates from the consistories of churches in a certain region.
Together with the synod we call it: a major assembly, which does not mean: a higher authority with more power, but simply an assembly formed by a larger number of churches through their representatives.
The name “classis” has been derived from a Greek and a Latin word which means: to call together.
The Articles of Wesel, 1568 advised the creation of classes for the establishing and preserving of consensus in doctrine, ceremonies, and church discipline, and for common actions and mutual consultation in matters of importance regarding common interests.
Consequent on the appointment of delegates the consistory has the right, if
necessary, to put all the decisions made by a classis to the test.
The synod is an assembly consisting of delegates sent by each classis.
This ecclesiastical assembly cannot be based on Acts 15: 6. This “Jerusalem meeting” was of a different nature. It consisted of the apostles and the elders of the congregation of Jerusalem. The young churches were in need of some advice and even rules, given them by Christ’s apostles and the leaders of the ‘mother-church’. This situation was different from those held later on when church life had become well-organized — according to, e.g., the Pastoral Epistles of the apostle Paul. The ‘Jerusalem meeting’ was definitely not a synod!