Article 35 — Jurisdiction
The classis has the same jurisdiction over the consistory as the synod has over the classis.
For a time let us replace the word “jurisdiction” by “arbitration”, then it will be clear what this article is intended to convey. The major assemblies have been established also in order to act as arbiters, so that the peace of the churches may be preserved.
Article 35, then, is sequel to Article 31. In matters of appeal and suchlike the churches, by mutual agreement, have granted authority to the classis in respect of the consistory, and the synod has the same in respect of the classis.
This form of authority is fundamentally different from the authority the consistory has over the congregation. This is an ‘official’ kind of authority by virtue of the office of the office-bearers, and is why no mention is made in this article of the authority of the elders.
We may repeat: The major assemblies are no ’higher authorities’. A major assembly is just an assembly of delegates from a larger number of churches, but this does not increase their authority.
Meanwhile it may be clear that this article is also intended to prevent the churches from falling into the chaos and arbitrariness or independentism.