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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 14 : The General Assembly

Paragraph 4 :

14-4. Each commisioner, before his name shall be enrolled as a member of the Assembly, shall produce appropriate credentials.

[DIGEST: The current PCA text dates to _________.]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS:
PCA 1973, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly,
Each Commissioner, before his name shall be enrolled as a member of the Assembly, shall produce from his Presbytery a commission under the hand of the Moderator and Clerk in the following or like form, namely :
"The Presbytery of ____________________, being met at ____________________ on the ___________ day of _________, doth hereby appoint A.B., Teaching Elder [or Ruling Elder, as the case may be], to be a Commissioner on behalf of this Presbytery to the next General Assembly of the National Presbyterian Church, to meet at ______________________, on the ____________day of ________A.D., or wherever and whenever the said Assembly may happen to sit ; to consult, vote and determine on all things that may come before that body, according to the principles and Constitution of this Church and the Word of God. And of his diligence herein he is to render an account at his return.
"Signed by order of the Presbytery.
(C.D.) Clerk.
(A.B.) Moderator."

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text,
Each Commissioner, before his name shall be enrolled as a member of the Assembly, shall produce from his Presbytery a commission under the hand of the Moderator and Clerk in the following or like form, namely :
"The Presbytery of ____________________, being met at ____________________ on the ___________ day of _________, doth hereby appoint A.B., Teaching Elder [or Ruling Elder, as the case may be], to be a Commissioner on behalf of this Presbytery to the next General Assembly of the _____________________________, to meet at ______________________, on the ____________day of ________A.D., or wherever and whenever the said Assembly may happen to sit ; to consult, vote and determine on all things that may come before that body, according to the principles and Constitution of this Church and the Word of God. And of his diligence herein he is to render an account at his return.
"Signed by order of the Presbytery.
(C.D.) Clerk.
(A.B.) Moderator."

1. PCUS 1933, XVII, 88
2. PCUS 1925, XVII, 88
and
3. PCUS 1879, V-6-3
Each Commissioner, before his name shall be enrolled as a member of the Assembly, shall produce from his Presbytery a commission under the hand of the Moderator and Clerk in the following or like form, viz :
The Presbytery of ____________________, being met at ____________________ on the ___________ day of _________, doth hereby appoint A.B., Minister [or Ruling Elder, as the case may be], and in case of his absence, then C.D., Minister [or Ruling Elder, as the case may be], to be a Commissioner on behalf of this Presbytery to the next General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, to meet at ______________________, on the ____________day of _____________A.D., or wherever and whenever the said Assembly may happen to sit ; to consult, vote and determine on all things that may come before that body, according to the principles and Constitution of this Church and the Word of God. And of his diligence herein he is to render an account at his return.
"Signed by order of the Presbytery.
(C.D.) Clerk.
(A.B.) Moderator

PCUS 1869 draft, V-6-3
Each Commissioner, before his name shall be enrolled as a member of the Assembly, shall produce from his Presbytery a commission under the hand of the Moderator and Clerk, in the following or like form, viz:

“The Presbytery of ____________________, being met at ____________________ on the _________day of __________, doth hereby appoint A. B., Bishop of the Congregation of _______________________ [or Doctor, or Evangelist, or Ruling Elder; of the Congregation of ___________________________ as the case may be;] and in the case of his absence, then C. D., Bishop of the Congregation of ______________________ [or Doctor, or Evangelist, or Ruling Elder of the Congregation of _________________________, as the case may be,] to be a commissioner on behalf of this Presbytery, to the next General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, to meet at ________________, on the ______________ day of _____________, A.D. or wherever and whenever the said Assemble [sic] may happen to sit; to consult, vote, and determine on all things that may come before that body, according to the principles and Constitution of this Church and the Word of God. And of his diligence herein, he is to render an account of his return.
Signed by order of the Presbytery,
(A. B.,) Moderator.
(C. D.,) Clerk.

PCUS 1867 draft, V-6-4
Each commissioner before his name shall be enrolled as a member of the assembly, shall produce from his presbytery or synod a commission under the hand of the moderator and clerk in the following or like form, viz:
“The Presbytery of ______________________, being met at on the day of _________, doth hereby appoint A. B., bishop
of the congregation of ____________ [or doctor, or evangelist, or ruling elder of the congregation of __________
as the case may be;] and in case of his absence, then C. D., bishop of the congregation of _________________ [or doctor, or evangelist, or ruling elder of the congregation of _________________ as the case may be,] to be a commissioner on behalf of this presbytery, to the next general assembly of the Presbyterian church in the United States, to meet at _____________, on the day of _____________, A.D. or wherever and whenever the said assembly may happen to sit; to consult, vote, and determine on all things that may come before that body, according to the principles and constitution of this church and the word of God. And of his diligence herein, he is to render an account at his return.
Signed by order of the Presbytery,
(A. B.,) Moderator.
(C. D.,) Clerk.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. ), on V-6-3
88.--III. Each Commissioner, before his name shall be enrolled as a member of the Assembly, shall produce from his Presbytery a commission under the hand of the Moderator and Clerk
The end of these requirements is to prevent the possibility of anyone coming in who has not been appointed by his Presbytery ; and they were more necessary when there was no telegraph and like means of rapid communication, and when there was danger that the civil power might appoint men to attend as members ; but doubtless now, the end being secured, it would be no violation of the intent of the Constitution if the Assembly, after being constituted, should permit a delegate to sit without producing his written commission, in case it had been misplaced or, by accident, had not been made out. The requirement of the Moderator's signature is a modification of the provision in the last sentence of 56.
in the following or like form, viz.: "The Presbytery of ____________________, being met at ____________________ on the ___________ day of _________, doth hereby appoint A.B., Minister [or Ruling Elder, as the case may be], and in case of his absence, then C.D., Minister [or Ruling Elder, as the case may be], to be a Commissioner on behalf of this Presbytery to the next General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, to meet at ______________________, on the ____________day of _____________A.D., or wherever and whenever the said Assembly may happen to sit ; to consult, vote and determine on all things that may come before that body, according to the principles and Constitution of this Church and the Word of God. And of his diligence herein he is to render an account at his return.
"Signed by order of the Presbytery.
(C.D.) Clerk.
(A.B.) Moderator
A commissioner is appointed to sit in one Assembly ; but, if a Presbytery so chooses, it may appoint the same man as often as it will. If an Assembly adjourns to a continuance of its sessions, the commissioners already appointed have the right to sit in the adjourned sessions; but a Presbytery would certainly have the right to withdraw a commission once issued, and to commission another to the same Assembly at any time. So, if neither the principal delegate nor his alternate can attend, the Presbytery would have the right to make a new appointment. And the alternate, appearing at any time, even after the principal has been enrolled, would have the right to sit in the absence of his principal. In other words, a Presbytery cannot be deprived of its right to full representation in all the sessions of the Assembly. "One Assembly" means one meeting of the Assembly. (See definition of "meeting" under 79.)
A Presbytery may appoint as delegate to the General Assembly any Ruling Elder belonging to a church under its jurisdiction, including even a Ruling Elder not at the time in official relations with any church.



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I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
§4
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RoD
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DfW
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