Regulations For Worship
This is a summary of the guideline prepared by the Istanbul Protestant Church Foundation and presented on December 22, 2002 to the Directorate General of Foundations of the Republic of Turkey as the STATUTES of our churches. The original has 19 pages and 10 articles, concluding in Section 10.3.4.
Some articles and provisions of this Guideline shall not be reproduced here in their enirety because they are found in other sections of this website and or in the "Catechism of the Churches under the Foundation." You may access the entire text at RUGULATIONS FOR WORSHIP (only available in Turkish and Spanish).
The Istanbul Protestant Church Foundation's
Regulations For Worship
1. CONSTITUTION, NAME AND AIMS:
1.1. The Istanbul Protestant Church Foundation (hereinafter be referred to as "the Foundation") ratified its Constitutional Document through Notary number 7 of Beyoğlu on September 28, 1999 and was recorded in the registry of foundations according to order number E.1999/646 of the 4th civil court in Beyoğlu on November 10, 1999. The Foundation has thus acquired its legal status according to the Civil Law of the Republic of Turkey (hereinafter: RT), completing its process by the ratification of the mentioned Constitutional Document, as reported on page 89 of the Official Gazette numbered 24442 and dated on June 24, 2001.
1.2. AIMS of this Regulation. In accordance with Articles 4-G and 4-H of the Constitutional Document of the FOUNDATION, the aims of this regulation are to establish the guidelines of worship and management practices to be followed by churches and places of worship linked to the Istanbul Protestant Church Foundation.
Article 4-G: "To define the essential concept of worship (characteristics and practices), and if required devoloping regulations concerning it."
Article 4-H: "To Develop statutes [...] related to the activities of the Foundation, including the Church."
3. GENERAL STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH:
3.2. Definition of Church: According to its original meaning two distinctions need to be made:
3.2.1. The Universal Church: Refers to all believers in Christ who throughout history are called to be saints (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2), who are "the congregation of the firstborn who are recorded in heaven" (Hebrews 2:23). This community of believers is beyond any denomination and has no visible structure (Mark 9:38-40). It is a divine and supernatural institution (Matthew 16:18) built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, the twelve apostles, and the New Testament (Ephesians 2:19-20; Jude 3, 17). The total number of true believers is only known by God (2 Timothy 2:19). The head of the Universal Church is exclusively the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:14, 5:23; Colossians 1:18; 2:19).
3.2.2. The Local Church: Is the faith community which invokes the name of Jesus (Matthew 18:18.20) and meets in a specific location (e.g. as seen in 1 Corinthians 1:2) under His Lordship and with His authority (1 Corinthians 5:4) for the practice worship, prayer, fellowship, spiritual edification, Christian service and the proclamation of the Gospel (Acts 2:42). Each congregation is made up of attending members (Hebrews 10:24-25; 13:7,17) that are joined together by the bonds of Christian love (Colossians 3:14; Ephesians 4:15-16). The local government of the church is formed by the "elders" (members elected as leaders) ratified by the congregation (Titus 1:5).
4. ARCHIVING OF DOCUMENT:
5. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP:
5.1. Anyone who receives salvation in Christ and is 'born again' (John 3:3, 6) is automatically a natural member of the Universal Church (Ephesians 1:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
5.2. Christian worship is both a private and public devotion. Every believer meets hie/her spiritual needs under the umbrella of a local church (1 Corinthians 12:13-27; Ephesians 4:15-16).
Church membership is different from the Foundation membership. The first is religious in nature [spiritual], while the second is of a legal nature.
6. WORSHIP AND PRACTICES:
6.1. The Christian Faith does not discriminate based on language, race, or culture. The Protestant Churches of Turkey respects the habits, customs, and general culture, as long as they are not in clear conflict with the commandments of the Word of God. In this sense the churches linked to the Foundation express their adoration in the Turkish language and safeguard the values and common interests of the country.
6.2. Elementary Requirements of Faith: The most important among these conditions, as well-specified in the NT, is the worship meeting of the congregation (e.g. Hebrews 3:12-13, 10:23-25).
6.2.1. In accordance with its officially ratified aims, the Foundation assigns the pertinent halls from its premises and facilities for worship, so that Protestants may meet their religious needs [requirements of the faith].
6.3. Reason for Ecclesial Practice. The church exists to: (a) glorify God by all means (1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 1:6,12,14), (b) announce His virtues (1 Peter 2:9), and (c) to reach the maturity of the fullness in Christ (Ephesians 4:13). To do this:
7. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH:
8. GRANTS, FUNDS, AND PATRIMONY:
9. TRAINING AND APPOINTMENT OF CHURCH STAFF:
10. INTER-CHURCH RELATIONS:
10.3. Advisory Commitee: the communities linked to the Foundation will set an "Advisory Committee" consisting of one representative from each community of believers (one of the elders, or in his absence the assistant or deputy appointed for that purpose) for the purposes of: (a) fulfilling joint obligations to the Foundation in a coordinated and combined manner, (b) budgeting proposals for projects and/or requesting the financing thereof, and (c) promoting communication, fellowship and cooperation among individual churches.
10.3.1. The Advisory Commitee shall meet at least once a year (before the Annual General Meeting of the Foundation that sets the budget) to decide on common annual projects and submit proposals for the forthcoming year.
The Foundation, in its general assembly, is the only body authorized to make changes to the rules of worship and/or practices set forth in this document. All churches linked to the Foundation are required to comply with any changes made.