1. Title

Ratification in Reformed Church Polity.

2. Defining the problem and aims

Ratification (ratificatio) in Reformed Church Polity is an area of indistinctness and controversy. Its origins are unknown. Among Reformed Church theologians there is no consensus about the relationship between ratificatio and ratihabitio as well as the contents of ratificatio. The main aim of this study is to investigate the importance of ratification for the Reformed Church government.

3. Method of investigation

To define ratification in the context of Reformed Church Polity, it is necessary to investigate the meaning thereof in secular law, as well as how and with what contents it was assimilated into the Reformed Church Order.
For the functioning of ratification in Reformed Church Polity all appropriate principles and articles in the Church Order are to be studied.
The use of ratification in the implementation of the Reformed Church Polity is described in a critical-historical context.

4. Main findings

  • Ratificatio as an essential part of ratihabitio is a term from the Representation Law, which has been taken into the Reformed Church Order since 1581.
  • Ratihabitio in the Reformed Church Polity can be defined as the act of law of a minor assembly by which the decisions of a major assembly are tested, declared valid, accepted (ratified) and implemented in the light of the Bible, Confession and articles of the Church Order.
  • Measured to the five fundamental principles of Reformed Church Polity, ratification is a pure act of Reformed Church Polity which forms an essential part of the Reformed Church government.
  • Ratification is basic to several articles of the Reformed Church Order.
  • Study of the application of ratification in the Dutch and South African church history shows the importance of the correct implementation of ratification.

5. Conclusion

Meticulous application of ratification results in consistories who treat their governing task with the necessary zeal and who appreciate the validity of decisions made by major assemblies. Above all, Christ, the absolute Monarch of the church, is glorified.