HG Kruger, Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit (http://cpru.ukzn.ac.za/Homepage.aspx)
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4001, South Africa.
Calvin described the fallacy of the Pope as head of the church in his Institutes (Inst 4.6). Christ is the only and supreme Head of the Church. This truth is based on Scripture (Matthew 23:8; Matthew 23:10; John 10:14; Ephesians 1:20-23; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18 etc.) and eternalized in the Belgic Confession (Art 27, 28, 31, 32) and Heidelberg Catechism (Sunday 48).
According to Scripture, Christ is King and He governs through His Word and Spirit (Heidelberg Catechism Sunday 12, 48; Mt 20:19; John 16:13-14; Belgic Confession Art 29, 36; Calvin Inst. 4.11.4; 4.12.2;)
With these confessions of faith (based on Scripture), the rule of the Pope (as head of the church) was supposed to be permanently neutralised.
However, a silent revolution took place (in South Africa perhaps after the 1950’s) by which Christ as the only Head of the Church were replaced by man, through democratic decisions (majority vote – 50% plus one) about principles from Scripture. The original meaning of the Church order of Dordtrecht in 1816 (Art 30 – In these assemblies only ecclesiastical matters shall be dealt with and that in an ecclesiastical manner.) was understood to require consensus about principles described in scripture. Appeal against decisions (Art 31 – If anyone complains that he has been wronged by a decision of a minor assembly, he may appeal to a major ecclesiastical assembly and that which is decided by majority vote shall be considered settled and binding unless it is proved to conflict with the Word of God ….. ) were understood to provide justice about errors in decisions by an assembly.
A small minority of local assemblies in South Africa (worldwide as well) still practice the principle that voting is not allowed on principles from the Bible. If consensus cannot be reached, the issue is ruled off the table. It can be placed back on the agenda at a later stage when more study was performed. If reasonable consensus is reached, those with an opposing view are given the opportunity to conform with the majority position. If they are willing to conform, the majority view is accepted. If they are not willing to conform, the assembly is not yet ready to make a decision and the discussion is postponed so that more study can be achieved. This is based on Art 32 of the Belgic Confession (Therefore we reject all human inventions and laws introduced into the worship of God which bind and compel the consciences in any way. We accept only what is proper to preserve and promote harmony and unity and to keep all in obedience to God).
The result of majority vote on principles from Scripture is that the modern Pope (democratic decisions by man) was gradually introduced through a silent revolution to overthrow the reign of Christ. This unholy analogy with the Pope goes further. Acts 15 is often abused to install Godly authority to democratic decisions by assemblies, sometimes in direct contrast to what the Word teaches us. The translation of Acts 15:28 in the Afrikaans Bible reads: “The Holy Spirit and we decided ….”.
The shocking reality is that elders and ministers simply don’t seem to care! It is impossible that those grafted into Christ by true faith should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 64; Matthew 7:18; John 15:5). Elders and ministers that have true faith will therefore always ensure that they serve Christ as the only Head and King. He will rule through his Word and Spirit.
When they are aware of the fallacy of the modern Pope, and they choose not to oppose it, we can accept that their faith is corrupt. In the light of the large scale of formerly Reformed churches in the world that have abandoned these principles from the Reformation, it can be stated that (humanly speaking) the reformation is dead.