Why Creeds and Constitutions?
I would affirm that creeds and constitutions are for the purpose of providing protection for the weak, the helpless, and the ever-changing minorities in a body.
The majority and the strong do not need constitutions and creeds because they always have the votes, the wealth, the offices to impose their will. The creeds and constitutions provide some measure of defense against the whims and unusual interpretations that may sweep over any body of people. Among the great gifts to the world of the Reformation are constitutions, which establish the order by which free people agree to govern themselves under God. A strong man is often able to dominate an assembly and bend it to his will; constitutions are a protection against this.
The reason that constitutional amendments require several steps is precisely for this. We are to be governed by rules and law, not by legislative pronouncements. President Bush was elected according to law, according to the constitution and law as prescribed by the governing agreement of the United States. Lawless people said, “But he didn’t get a majority of the popular vote. The will of the people should be heard.” Yes, but we do not elect presidents by the popular vote. That is a humanistic sentiment that the modern democratic party is suffering from right now in their primaries.
The weak tremble when constitutions are set aside or circumvented.
The constitution of the RCUS is amended by a two-fold process: vote of synod, and vote of the classes, where the little classes have as much a voice as the large ones. This is to be somewhat of a bulwark against the tyranny of the majority. If such bulwarks are not maintained for the defense of the minority, who is often in the right, liberty for the minority is swept away in a sea of votes. This is also the result of over-centralization of the decision-making process, where big voting blocs swallow up little ones.
But, as we have seen in the modern secular political scene, "no" doesn’t mean "no." It means we will go after little victory after little victory until our view is ratcheted into the public arena. We will keep declaring victory no matter how many times we are defeated. And so we have private agenda after private agenda imposed little by little upon the weak and the helpless.
The classes that voted against the constitutional amendment were exercising their constitutional right. They were acting in a godly and constitutional way, for a large classis with many votes in synod has no right to impose their will on the small one. This is also a reason why I think our Synod should be a representational assembly, as a further protection against the tyranny of the majority, which is always the destruction of small republics, including small churches. [I recommend the Federalist Papers on this topic.] I tremble for Reformed government if these protections are over-ridden. Denial of sovereignty and limited government were both considered great walls that protected the freedom of the people, both men and women.
Two important cautions:
"If twenty million people say a stupid thing; it is still a stupid thing."
"If everybody disagrees with you; you are probably wrong."
C. W. Powell. Trinity Covenant Reformed Church RCUS