The Classis and Presbytery at Issue

“The Collegial Bishop Revisited: The Classis and Presbytery at Issue”. Academic conference (two days), organized by the Deddens Kerkrecht Centrum (NL), the Theologische Universiteit Kampen (NL) and the Reformed Church Center at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary NJ (USA).

In spring 2008 an international conference on the classis/presbytery was organized by the Centre for Religion and Law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the New Brunswick Theological Seminary NJ, USA. After ten years it is time for an update. What are its current status, developments and issues?

This conference will allow you to explore the range of questions that are raised in the context of the classis continuing to exist and function in a central way. Does the classis/presbytery indeed function in an episcopal role?

The classis/presbytery faces growing pressure both from “below” and “above.” What role does this “middle judicatory” have within the presbyterial/synodical system when faced with congregationalism on the one side and centralization of ecclesial authority on the other? Does the classis/presbytery indeed function in an episcopal role? Can we continue to think of classes/presbyteries as fundamentally gatherings of office-bearers when the notion of office itself is in question in some quarters?

Moreover, classes find themselves faced with challenges presented by ecclesiological expressions (e.g., “missional church,” “priestly community”). Classes/presbyteries have historically been formed geographically. New expressions challenge such arrangements.

Join us in this two-day conference. Keynote speakers are Allan J. Janssen (NBTS) and Leon van den Broeke (TUK and VU). A reflection will be given by René de Reuver, the secretary-general of the Protestants Church in the Netherlands. Besides them other theologians will speak: Joseph Small, Kathy Smith, Hilbrand van Eeken, Roel Kuiper, Hans Schaeffer, Klaas-Willem de Jong, Adam Csukas and John Chalmers a.o.

The conference will be held in English. Dinner, lunches and outdoor activity are included.

Read an interview with Leon van den Broeke about this conference at

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