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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 13 : The Presbytery

Paragraph 3 : On the Certification of Ruling Elders

13-3. Every ruling elder not known to the Presbytery shall produce a certificate of his regular appointment from the Session of the church which he represents.

[Historical Summary : The current PCA text is unchanged from that of PCUS 1925 and differs from PCUS 1879 only by the capitalization of "Church". Stylistically the tendency of the later editions is to employ a lowercase usage of "church" to refer to the local congregation, capitalizing the word only when referring to either the denomination or to the Church universal. None of the various editions appears to be completely consistent, however, in using this convention.

Background and Comparison :

1. PCA 1973, 14-3, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 134
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 14-3, Proposed text, p. 14
3. PCUS 1933, XV, §72
4. PCUS 1925, XV, §72
Every Ruling Elder not known to the Presbytery shall produce a certificate of his regular appointment from the Session of the church which he represents.

PCUS 1879, V-4-2

Every Ruling Elder not known to the Presbytery shall produce a certificate of his regular appointment from the Session of the Church which he represents.

PCUS 1869 draft, V-4-3
Every Ruling Elder, not known to the Presbytery, shall produce a certificate of his regular appointment from the Session of the Congregation which he represents.

PCUS 1867 draft, V-4-3
Every elder shall produce a certificate of his regular appointment from the session of the congregation which he represents.

PCUSA 1789, IX-3
[final sentence of this paragraph]
...Every elder, not known to the presbytery, shall produce a certificate of his regular appointment, from the church which he represents.[c]
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[c] Acts 15:1-6; I Cor. 14:26, 33, 40. Let all things be done to edifying.--For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints--Let all things be done decently, and in order.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 92), on V-4-2 :
73.--II. Every Ruling Elder not known to the Presbytery shall produce a certificate of his regular appointment from the Session of the Church which he represents.
This implies that a Ruling Elder may not sit in Presbytery unless regularly appointed by his Session ; but there is no prescription for how long he may be appointed.



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I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
§4
§5
RoD
27
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35
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46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
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DfW
47
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63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]