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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 10 : Church Courts in General

Paragraph 2 :

10-2. These courts are church Sessions, Presbyteries, and the General Assembly.

[Note : In substance, the current PCA text is that of the 1867 PCUS draft, noting that the PCA differs from the PCUS in not having Synods as part of its court structure.]

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, 11-2, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 132
These courts are, church Sessions, Presbyteries, and the General Assembly.

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 11-2, Proposed text, p. 11
These courts are, church Sessions, Presbyteries, and the General Assembly

PCUS 1933, XII, § 52
and
PCUS 1925, XII, § 52
These courts are, church Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, and the General Assembly.

PCUS 1879, V-1-2

These courts are church Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, and the General Assembly.

PCUS 1869 draft, V-1-2
The courts of this Church are, Church-sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, and the General Assembly.

PCUS 1867 draft, V-1-2
The courts of this church are, church-sessions, presbyteries, synods, and the general assembly.

Northern Tradition:
PCUSA 1821, VIII

It is absolutely necessary that the government of the church be exercised under some certain and definite form. And we hold it to be expedient, and agreeable to Scripture and the practice of the primitive Christians, that the church be governed by congregational, presbyterial, and synodical assemblies. In full consistency with this belief, we embrace in the spirit of charity, those Christians who differ from us, in opinion or in practice, on these subjects.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 63), on V-1-2 :
53.--II. These courts are : Church Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, and the General Assembly.
The first is called church Session, as being the sitting together of the Elders of a church ; the second, Presbytery, as having assigned to it more fully than any other all the joint powers of Presbyters ; the third, Synod, as being the coming together of many Presbyters ; and the fourth, the General Assembly, as being the assembly in which the whole Church convenes.



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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]