.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 16 : Church Orders - The Doctrine of Vocation

Paragraph 3 :

16-3. Upon those whom God calls to bear office in His Church He bestows suitable gifts for the discharge of their various duties. And it is indispensable that, besides possessing the necessary gifts and abilities, natural and acquired, every one admitted to an office should be sound in the faith, and his life be according to godliness. Wherefore every candidate for office is to be approved by the court by which he is to be ordained.

[Historical Summary : Formerly 17-3. Of note here is how PCUS 1879 has the exact same wording, but with the final two sentences reversed in their order. Does that change make any difference in the sense of the paragraph?]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, pp. 136-137
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text, p. 20-21
3. PCUS 1933, XIX, § 98
4. PCUS 1925, XIX, § 98
Upon those whom God calls to bear office in His Church He bestows suitable gifts for the discharge of their various duties. And it is indispensable that, besides possessing the necessary gifts and abilities, natural and acquired, every one admitted to an office should be sound in the faith, and his life be according to godliness. Wherefore every candidate for office is to be approved by the court by which he is to be ordained.

PCUS 1879, VI-1-3

Upon those whom God calls to bear office in His Church He bestows suitable gifts for the discharge of their various duties. Wherefore every candidate for office is to be approved by the court by which he is to be ordained. And it is indispensable that, besides possessing the necessary gifts and abilities, natural and acquired, every one admitted to an office should be sound in the faith, and his life be according to godliness.

PCUS 1869 draft, VI-1-4
Upon those whom God calls to bear office in His Church, He bestows suitable gifts for the discharge of their various duties. Wherefore, every candidate for office is to be examined and approved by the court by which he is to be ordained. And it is indispensable that, besides possessing the natural and acquired gifts and abilities which are needful, every one admitted to an office should be sound in the faith, and his life and conversation be according to godliness.

PCUS 1867 draft, VI-1-4
Those whom God calls to bear office in his church, he furnishes with suitable gifts for the discharge of their various duties. Wherefore, every candidate for office is to be examined and approved by the court by which he is to be ordained. And it is indispensable that, besides the natural and acquired gifts and abilities which are needful, every one admitted to an office should be sound in the faith, and his life and conversation be according to godliness.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 123), on VI-1-3:

98.--III. Upon those whom God calls to bear office in his Church he bestows suitable gifts for the discharge of their various duties. Wherefore every candidate for office is to be approved by the court by which he is to be ordained. And it is indispensable that, besides possessing the necessary gifts and abilities, natural and acquired, every one admitted to an office should be sound in the faith, and that his life and conversation be according to godliness.
It is a serious omission, when a court inducts into office, as a matter of course,those elected by the people. Before ordination the court is bound to inquire into three things concerning the man elected : his possession of the necessary gifts ; his soundness in the faith ; and his life and behavior. The court may make this inquiry before election, but it must make it some time before ordination or installation.



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I. King & Head of Church
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