PCA HISTORICAL CENTER
Archives and Manuscript Repository for the Continuing Presbyterian Church


The Historical Development of the Book of Church Order

Chapter 3 : The Nature and Extent of Church Power

Paragraph 5 : Its Call

3-5. The Church, with its ordinances, officers and courts, is the agency which Christ has ordained for the edification and government of His people, for the propagation of the faith, and for the evangelization of the world.

[Historical Summary : The current PCA text has remained unchanged from PCUS 1879 and subsequent editions. In the printing of PCA 1973 in the Minutes of the First PCA General Assembly, a typographical error resulted in the omission of a comma after "people".]

BACKGROUND & COMPARISON:
PCA 1973, Adopted text for 3-5, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, page 129
The Church, with its ordinances, officers, and courts, is the agency which Christ has ordained for the edification and government of his people for the propagation of the faith, and for the evangelization of its world.

Continuing Presbyterian Church, 1973 Proposed text, 3-5
The Church, with its ordinances, officers, and courts, is the agency which Christ has ordained for the edification and government of his people, for the propagation of the faith, and for the evangelization of the world.

PCUS 1879, II-3-4.

The Church, with its ordinances, officers, and courts, is the agency which Christ has ordained for the edification and government of His people, for the propagation of the faith, and for the evangelization of the world.

PCUS 1869 draft, II-3-5.
The Church, with its organized capacity, with its ordinances, officers, and courts, is the only agency which Christ hath ordained, for its own edification and government, for the propagation of the faith, and for the evangelization of the world.

PCUS 1867 draft, II-3-5.
The church in its organized capacity, with its officers and courts, is the sole agency which Christ hath ordained for its own edification and government, for the propagation of the faith, and for the evangelization of the world.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, pp. 28-29), on II-3-4 :
18.--IV. The Church, with its ordinances, officers, and courts, is the agency which Christ has ordained for the edification and government of His people, for the propagation of the faith, and for the evangelization of the world.
The meaning is not that the Church and its ordinances, etc., but that the Church, is the agency, and that to the Church, as equipment for its work, have been given, besides its life in all its members in varied forms and relations, especially ordinances, which are in the Scriptures, and officers and courts. The Church, then, and not the government of the Church, is the agency which Christ has ordained for this end : the edification and government of his people, the propagation of the faith from generation to generation, and the evangelization of the world. This work of edification and evangelization is not the work of church officials alone, but of the whole Church ; and it is not a work for voluntary combinations of saints and others to do, but for the Church only. While work done by members of the Church in voluntary societies among themselves, more or less apart from ecclesiastical organization, is work done by the Church, yet organizations, to do what the Church as an organization may do, tend to weaken and belittle the Church. Whatever is accomplished by organizations and societies for the edification of saints and the evangelization of the world, is not due to their not being Church so much as to the Church's putting forth its energies in them.
An exercise of ecclesiastical power, though put forth by courts or officers appointed according to the Scriptures, fails of the divine sanction, unless it conforms to the law of Christ ; and likewise will it fail of this sanction as an exercise of power, however fully it otherwise conforms to his law, if it is put forth by the unauthorized. For
19.--V. The exercise of ecclesiastical power, whether joint or several, has the Divine sanction, when in conformity with the statutes enacted by Christ, the Lawgiver, and when put forth by courts or by officers appointed thereunto in His Word
.


Chapter Index [links are to Paragraph 1 in 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]

©PCA Historical Center, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO, 2017. All Rights Reserved.