Era of Reform Ecclesiastical Ordinances
Era of Reform

Constitution for the church of Geneva drafted by John Calvin.

Calvin's order of ministry emphasized discipline and service

After Calvin had returned from exile to Geneva in 1541, he drafted an ecclesiastical constitution for the city and required its approval as a condition for again assuming the pastorate of the city. With some modifications this draft was approved by the political authorities. This constitution set in place a Calvinist church order. In terms consistent with Calvin's theology, it called for a strict church discipline and a collegial ordering of ministry with four offices. Pastors were assigned the duties of preaching, administering the sacraments, and assisting in the exercise of discipline. Doctors or Teachers were appointed to teach and catechize the community. Elders were appointed to assist the pastors in the maintenance of church discipline. Deacons were assigned responsibility for assisting the sick and the poor. Another prominent feature of this church order is its provision for a consistory of pastors and elders to hear cases of church discipline. The consistory possessed the right to excommunicate persistent sinners.

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