“Playing with unseasonable allegories”
In 1568, at the first great gathering of Reformed believers from the Lowlands in Wezel for the organizing of the churches, a church order of sorts was put together. It was from this beginning that the church order, which was eventually ratified at the great synod of Dort 1618/19 and which still forms the basis of our own church order today, was developed. Of particular interest for our own topic is article 15 from chapter eight of this document. After the previous article has described offences which cannot ever be tolerated in ministers of the church, a list of offences is given which, while they may be tolerated for a time, are nevertheless grounds for admonition and censure. The previous category of offences requires immediate deposition. Offences of the second category will only lead to further disciplinary measures if they are repeated a second or third time. Among such offences we find “playing with unseasonable allegories.” In the late 16th and early 17th centuries there were even consistories which fined ministers the sum of one guilder for using allegory in a sermon (Van Deursen, 58).