This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (June 2011)
Church Order is the systematically organised set of rules drawn up by a qualified body for the church. From the point of view of civil law, the church order can be described as the internal law of the church. A church order explains precisely what a document is, in a clinical and matter of fact tone, without conveying the spiritual nature of the document.
The authority of a church order is very closely linked to its relationship to Scriptures and the confessional texts of a church. The fact that a church order provision is supported directly or indirectly by the Scriptures will to some degree, though not essentially, affect its authority.
Evolution of Church Order
The British Biblical scholar, B.H. Streeter identifies the Johannine epistles as the culmination of the New Testament understanding of church order with the author of Third Epistle of John confronting a serious matter as an official with recognized authority and experience who calls himself an 'Elder' yet functions more like an Archbishop of later development.
- (in English) P. Coertzen. Church and Order. Belgium: Peeters.
- Streeter, B.H. (1929). The Primitive Church. New York: The MacMillan Co. p. 92.