.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 15 : Ecclesiastical Commissions

Paragraph 4 :

15-4. The General Assembly shall elect a Standing Judicial Commission to which it shall commit all judicial cases within its jurisdiction. This commission shall consist of twenty-four (24) members divided into four classes of three teaching elders and three ruling elders in each class. Each class shall serve a four-year term and each subsequent Assembly shall declare the Standing Judicial Commission as a whole to be its commission. Nominations and vacancies shall be filled according to BCO 14-1(11), with nominations allowed from the floor. No person may be elected if there is already a member of the commission from the same Presbytery; but if a person is elected and changes Presbytery, he may continue to serve his full term. No person may serve concurrently on the General Assembly’s Standing Judicial Commission and any of the General Assembly’s permanent committees.

DIGEST: In the original edition of the PCA BCO, this chapter was designated as Chapter 16. In 1985 this paragraph was added as new text, replacing a previous pargraph having the same number [cf. M13GA, 13-18, Item 5, p. 78]; In 1988, 15-1, 15-3, 15-4 and 15-5 were amended at the 16th General Assembly, the Presbyteries having first consented to the changes by vote of 29 to 13. [See M16GA, 16-10, Item 1, p. 88]; 1993 [M21GA, 21-10, Item 2, p. 48]; 1997 [M25GA, 25-17, Item 3, p. 114]; 2006 [M34GA, 34-8, Item 2, p. 55-57]. A further proposed amendment was defeated in 2007 [M35GA, 35-10, Item 1, p. 55-57]

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1988, 15-4
The General Assembly shall elect a Standing Judicial Commission to which it shall commit all judicial cases within its jurisdiction. This commission shall consist of twenty-four (24) members divided into four classes of three teaching elders and three ruling elders in each class. Each class shall serve a four-year term. Nominations and vacancies shall be according to BCO 14-1(11), with nominations allowed from the floor. No person may be elected if there is already a member of the commission from the same presbytery; but if a person is elected and changes presbytery, he may continue to serve his full term.

PCA 1985, 15-4
The General Assembly shall have power to commit to a commission, consisting of not less than three elders, the task of forming a provisional Presbytery in a foreign country where there exists no compatible indigenous presbyterian and reformed church. Such a commission shall have authority to act as the Presbytery in all matters pertaining to the establishment and ordering of a national church and shall report annually to the General Assembly. The commission shall be dissolved when there are at least three national Teaching Elders and three organized churches under its care, and these shall then constitute a separate national church.

PCA 1973, Adopted text, 16-1, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly,
[no comparable text]

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text,
[no comparable text]

PCUS 1933,
[no comparable text]

PCUS 1879,

[no comparable text]

PCUS 1869 draft,
[no comparable text]

PCUS 1867 draft,
[no comparable text]

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. ), on :

[no comparable coverage of this subject in this chapter]

 

2004
Overture: #10, from Nashville Presbytery, to Committee on Constitutional Business, Bills and Overtures
Title: “Amend BCO 15-4 to Allow One TE and One RE from the Same Presbytery to Serve on SJC”
Whereas , BCO 15-4 states, “The General Assembly shall elect a Standing Judicial Commission to which it shall commit all judicial cases within its jurisdiction. This commission shall consist of twenty-four (24) members divided into four classes of three teaching elders in each class. Each class shall serve on a four-year term and each subsequent Assembly shall declare the Standing Judicial Commission as a whole to be its subcommission. Nominations and vacancies shall be filled according to BCO 14-1 (11), with nominations allowed from the floor. No person may be elected if there is already a member of the commission from the same presbytery…” and
Whereas, six members of the SJC are to be elected by the General Assembly each year, but frequently there are not six nominees nominated by Presbyteries, and
Whereas, in 1999 nominations for the SJC totaled 4, consisting of 1 TE and 3 REs, and
Whereas, in 1999 the chairman of the GA Nomination Committee encouraged, from the floor, all presbyteries to turn in nominations because their pool was woefully short, and
Whereas, in 2000 nominations for the SJC totaled 3, consisting of 2 TEs and 1 RE, and
Whereas, in 2000 the chairman of the GA Nomination Committee pleaded, from the floor, with all presbyteries to turn in nominations because their pool was woefully short, and
Whereas, in 2001 nominations for the SJC totaled 5, consisting of 3 TEs and 2 REs; and
Whereas, in 2001 the chairman of the GA Nomination Committee requested, from the floor, all presbyteries to turn in nominations because their pool was woefully short, and  
Whereas, in 2002 nominations for the SJC totaled 3, consisting of 1 TE and 2 REs, and  
Whereas, in 2002 the chairman of the GA Nomination Committee encouraged, from the floor, all presbyteries to turn in nominations because the pool was woefully short, and  
Whereas, in 2003 nominations for the SJC totaled 4, consisting of 2 TEs and 2 REs, and  
Whereas, in 2003 the chairman of the GA Nomination Committee pleaded, from the floor, with all presbyteries to turn in nominations because their pool was woefully short, and
Whereas, some Presbyteries may have more than one man qualified and willing to serve on the SJC, and
Whereas, allowing one Teaching Elder and one Ruling Elder from the same Presbytery could help alleviate the shortage of men qualified and willing to serve on the SJC,
Therefore be it resolved that the Book of Church Order be amended by striking and adding the following (deletion indicated with strikethrough, addition indicated in bold):
15-4. The General Assembly shall elect a Standing Judicial Commission to which it shall commit all judicial cases within its jurisdiction. This commission shall consist of twenty-four (24) members divided into four classes of three teaching elders and three ruling elders in each class. Each class shall serve a four-year term and each subsequent Assembly shall declare the Standing Judicial Commission as a whole to be its commission. Nominations and vacancies shall be filled according to BCO 14-1(11), with nominations allowed from the floor. No person may be elected if there is already a member of the commission from the same Presbytery; Each Presbytery may have one Teaching Elder and one Ruling Elder serve on the Standing Judicial Commission, but no more at any one time. Yet, but if a person is elected and changes Presbytery, he may continue to serve his full term. No person may serve concurrently on the General Assembly’s Standing Judicial Commission and any of the General Assembly’s permanent committees.

Adopted by Nashville Presbytery, at the stated meeting on April 13, 2004.
Attested by: /s/ Jack L. Watkins, Stated Clerk of Presbytery

 

 



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11
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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
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46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
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§5
§6
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§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
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60
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62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]