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 6 : Its Divine Sanction

3-6. 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.

[Historical Summary : The current PCA text remains unchanged from editions back to PCUS 1879, apart from the latter's capitalization of the word "divine".]

BACKGROUND & COMPARISON:
1. PCA 1973, Adopted text for 3-6, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, page 129
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church, 1973 Proposed text, 3-6
3. PCUS 1933, IV-§19
4. PCUS 1925, IV-§19
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.

PCUS 1879, II-3-5.

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.

PCUS 1869 draft, II-3-6
Every exercise of ecclesiastical power, whether joint or several, hath the divine sanction, when in conformity with the statutes of the kingdom enacted by Christ, the Lawgiver, not only because of this conformity, but also because put forth by courts or by officers appointed thereunto in His Word.

PCUS 1867 draft, II-3-6.
Every exercise of ecclesiastical power, whether joint or several, hath the divine sanction, when in conformity with the statutes of the kingdom enacted by the great Lawgiver himself, not only because of this conformity, but also because put forth by courts or by officers appointed thereunto in his word.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, pp. 29), II-3-6 :
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.
And this holds even when the persons are in an office to which Christ has not really appointed them by his Spirit, but when he has appointed the office in his Word, and they have come into the office in the governmental method prescribed in Scripture. And it is important to remember that to resist official authority, put forth within the limitations here indicated, even by men secretly wicked themselves, is to resist Christ in his official dignity
.


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.