Actually, I have no desire to dump the BCO, that slim orange book of church government and discipline for the Reformed Church. Rather, I find myself surrounded by many who apparently would like to get rid of it, who have no use or respect for it. Frankly, I believe that many of them have no understanding of it, either. Others might value it a little more highly. But when it becomes inconvenient, when it would have them act in a way counter to their inclinations or emotions, they ignore it, claiming that it is obsolete, out of date, impractical or unworkable.
Sure, the BCO is not perfect. There are errors. It seems, at times, incomplete.
The BCO, on most every page, reflects our values and beliefs about the good news of Jesus Christ. It is a theological and pastoral manifesto for how we are to live together in the light of that good news. The prescriptions and proscriptions it contains (and those it chooses to omit) arise out of decisions concerning our shared understanding of the Christian life. It states how we have agreed to live and work together. It is an agreement not of convenience but of Grace and Love, these as shown and sown by Christ.
But we live in a time of convenience. The imperatives of the convenient, the comfortable, the emotionally satisfying, these all drive our ecclesial decision-making far more than do the initiative of Grace and the law of Love. Then the actions of our assemblies and judicatories arise from hungers and thirsts incited but never slaked by those hyperventilating imperatives.
I know the church is not perfect. (It’s a truth not easy for me to accept, just as it is not easy to accept about myself.) But when this community I love consistently refuses to live according to its own theological agreements, I simply despair.
I close with the words of Christ, which are both challenge and blessing, law and gospel: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”