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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 47 : The Principles and Elements of Public Worship

Paragraph 6 :

47-6. The Lord Jesus Christ has prescribed no fixed forms for public worship but, in the interest of life and power in worship, has given His Church a large measure of liberty in this matter. It may not be forgotten, however, that there is true liberty only where the rules of God’s Word are observed and the Spirit of the Lord is, that all things must be done decently and in order, and that God’s people should serve Him with reverence and in the beauty of holiness. From its beginning to its end a service of public worship should be characterized by that simplicity which is an evidence of sincerity and by that beauty and dignity which are a manifestation of holiness.

[DIGEST: What we have now as chapter 47 was not part of either the Proposed Book of Church Order (1973) or the Book of Church Order as adopted by the first General Assembly later that same year. Rather, this chapter, with its nine paragraphs, dates to 1975 when this text was presented by the Constitutional Documents Committee, as part of its proposed revision of the Directory. [M3GA, 3-15, pp. 55-56] This chapter, originally numbered as chapter 48, presents entirely new text not previously part of any prior Presbyterian Book of Church Order. The chapter was renumbered as chapter 47 when the original chapters 8 and 9 were merged in 1980. No changes to paragraph 47-6 have been made since adoption in 1975.

ANTECEDENT TEXTS:
1975, 48-6, [M14GA, p. 339]
The Lord Jesus Christ has prescribed no fixed forms for public worship but, in the interest of life and power in worship, has given his church a large measure of liberty in this matter. It may not be forgotten, however, that there is true liberty only where the rules of God’s Word are observed and the Spirit of the Lord is, that all things must be done decently and in order, and that God’s people should serve him with reverence and in the beauty of holiness. From its beginning to its end a service of public worship should be characterized by that simplicity which is an evidence of sincerity and by that beauty and dignity which are a manifestation of holiness.

[No comparable text in any of the following editions:]
1. PCA 1973, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text
3. PCUS 1933
4. PCUS 1925
5. PCUS 1894



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Chapter Index [links to Par. 1 of each chapter]:
FoG..
1
2
3.
4
5.
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
§4
§5
RoD
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
§2
§3
§4
§5
§6
§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]