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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 1 : The Doctrine of Church Government

Paragraph 4 : Its Officers.

1-4. The officers of the Church, by whom all its powers are administered, are, according to the Scriptures, teaching and ruling elders and deacons.

[DIGEST : The current PCA text remains unchanged from that of the Proposed BCO (1973), which latter text implemented the change to "Teaching Elder" in place of "Minister", which latter term was used in prior PCUS editions.]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS :

1. PCA 1973, 1-4, Approved text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, page 129
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 1-4, Proposed text, p. 3
The officers of the Church, by whom all its powers are administered, are, according to the Scriptures, Ruling and Teaching Elders, and Deacons.

1. PCUS 1933, 1-4

2. PCUS 1925, 1-4
and
3. PCUS 1879, I-4.

The officers of the Church, by whom all its powers are administered, are, according to the Scriptures, Ministers of the Word, Ruling Elders, and Deacons.

PCUS 1869 draft, I-4.
The officers of the Church, by whom all its powers are administered, according to the Scriptures, are, Presbyters who both rule, and labour in word and doctrine; Presbyters who rule; and Deacons; all which offices are ordained and defined by Christ, the Lawgiver.

PCUS 1867 draft, I-4.
The officers of the church, by whom all its powers are administered, according to the Scriptures, are presbyters (or bishops) and deacons, whose offices are ordained, defined and limited by God himself. As ecclesiastical rulers, these presbyters, or elders, are of the same rank, dignity and authority; but they are divided into two classes, viz: those who both teach and rule, and those who rule only.

PCUSA 1789, Form of Government, Chapter II - The Officers of the Church, paragraph 2
The ordinary and perpetual officers, in the church, are, Bishops or Pastors; the representatives of the people, usually styled Ruling Elders, and Deacons.

The Presbyterial Form of Church Government...Agreed upon by the Westminster Assembly of Divines...(1645), "Of the Officers of the Church"
The officers which Christ hath appointed for the edification of his church, and the perfecting of the saints, are, some extraordinary, as apostles, evangelists, and prophets, which are ceased. Others ordinary and perpetual, as pastors, teachers, and other church-governors, and deacons.

COMMENTARY:

F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 15-16), on I-4 :
4.--IV. The officers of the Church, by whom all its powers
the other powers as well as powers of government strictly,
are administered, are, according to the Scriptures, Ministers of the Word, Ruling Elders, and Deacons.

The power is vested in the body, but it is to be administered, not by the whole body, nor by committees appointed from the body, but by permanent Officers. These officers are not all one class, appointed to different functions from time to time, nor two classes only, as Elders and Deacons, the Elders being assigned from time to time to different works, but three classes: Ministers of the Word, Ruling Elders, and Deacons.



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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]