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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 13 : The Presbytery

Paragraph 9 :

13-9. The Presbytery has power to receive and issue* appeals, complaints, and references brought before it in an orderly manner. In cases in which the Session cannot exercise its authority, it shall have power to assume original jurisdiction. It has power:
a. To receive under its care candidates for the ministry; to examine and license candidates for the holy ministry; to receive, dismiss, ordain, install, remove and judge ministers;
b. To review the records of church Sessions, redress whatever they may have done contrary to order and take effectual care that they observe the Constitution of the Church;
c. To establish the pastoral relation and to dissolve it at the request of one or both of the parties, or where the interest of religion imperatively demands it;
d. To set apart evangelists to their proper work; to require ministers to devote themselves diligently to their sacred calling and to censure the delinquent.
e. To see that the lawful injunctions of the higher courts are obeyed.
f. To condemn erroneous opinions which injure the purity or peace of the Church; to visit churches for the purpose of inquiring into and redressing the evils that may have arisen in them; to unite or divide churches, at the request of the members thereof; to form and receive new churches; to take special oversight of churches without pastors; to dissolve churches; to dismiss churches with their consent.
g. To devise measures for the enlargement of the Church within its bounds; in general, to order whatever pertains to the spiritual welfare of the churches under its care;
h. And, finally, to propose to the Assembly such measures as may be of common advantage to the Church at large.
______
*Editor's note: "Issue" means "settling the issue of the case."

[Historical Summary : The Proposed Book of Church Order(1973), building upon PCUS 1933, made only one substantive change to the paragraph found in that earlier edition, adding "...to dismiss churches with their consent,...". This addition reflects the PCA polity which vests and insures the right of property ownership with the congregation, rather than the presbytery.

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, 14-1, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 134
and
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 14-7, Proposed text, p. 15
The Presbytery has power to receive and issue appeals, complaints, and references brought before it in an orderly manner and in cases in which the Session cannot exercise its authority, shall have power to assume original jurisdiction; to receive under its care candidates for the ministry; to examine and license candidates for the holy Ministry; to receive, dismiss, ordain, install, remove and judge Ministers; to review the records of church Sessions, redress whatever they may have done contrary to order and take effectual care that they observe the Constitution of the Church; to establish the pastoral relation and to dissolve it at the request of one or both of the parties, or where the interest of religion imperatively demands it; to set apart Evangelists to their proper work; to require Ministers to devote themselves diligently to their sacred calling and to censure the delinquent; to see that the lawful injunctions of the higher courts are obeyed; to condemn erroneous opinions which injure the purity or peace of the Church; to visit churches for the purpose of inquiring into and redressing the evils that may have arisen in them; to unite or divide churches, at the request of the members thereof; to form and receive new churches; to take special oversight of churches without Pastors; to dissolve churches; to dismiss churches with their consent, to concert measures for the enlargement of the Church within its bounds; in general, to order whatever pertains to the spiritual welfare of the churches under its care; to appoint Commissioners to the General Assembly; and, finally, to propose to the Assembly such measures as may be of common advantage to the Church at large.

PCUS 1933, XV-76
PCUS 1925, XV-76
The Presbytery has power to receive and issue appeals, complaints, and references brought before it in an orderly manner and in cases in which the Session cannot exercise its authority, shall have power to assume original jurisdiction; to receive under its care candidates for the ministry; to examine and license candidates for the holy ministry; to receive, dismiss, ordain, install, remove and judge Ministers; to review the records of church Sessions, redress whatever they may have done contrary to order and take effectual care that they observe the Constitution of the Church; to establish the pastoral relation and to dissolve it at the request of one or both of the parties, or where the interest of religion imperatively demands it; to set apart Evangelists to their proper work; to require Ministers to devote themselves diligently to their sacred calling and to censure the delinquent; to see that the lawful injunctions of the higher courts are obeyed; to condemn erroneous opinions which injure the purity or peace of the Church; to visit churches for the purpose of inquiring into and redressing the evils that may have arisen in them; to unite or divide churches, at the request of the members thereof; to form and receive new churches; to take special oversight of churches without Pastors; to dissolve churches; to concert measures for the enlargement of the Church within its bounds; in general, to order whatever pertains to the spiritual welfare of the churches under its care; to appoint Commissioners to the General Assembly; and, finally, to propose to the Synod or to the Assembly such measures as may be of common advantage to the Church at large.

PCUS 1879,


PCUS 1869 draft, V-4-1

PCUS 1867 draft, V-4-1

Northern Tradition :
PCUSA 1821, 10-2

OPC 2003, 14-1 – 3


BPC 2003, 9-1


 

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
, on Chapter 2, section 1 :
"The



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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]