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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 17 : Doctrine of Ordination

Paragraph 3 : Ordained to a Definite Work

17-3. As every ecclesiastical office, according to the Scriptures, is a special charge, no man shall be ordained unless it be to the performance of a definite work.

[Historical Summary : The PCA text has, from inception in 1973 to current, been identical with that of PCUS 1879.]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, 18-3, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 137
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 18-3, Proposed text, p. 21
3. PCUS 1933, XX, § 101
4. PCUS 1925, XX, § 101
5. PCUS 1879, VI-2-3

As every ecclesiastical office, according to the Scriptures, is a special charge, no man shall be ordained unless it be to the performance of a definite work.

PCUS 1869 draft, VI-2-2
As every ecclesiastical office, according to the Scriptures, is a special charge, no man ought to be ordained, unless it be to the performance of a definite work.

PCUS 1867 draft, VI-2-2
No man ought to be ordained to any office in the church, unless he is lawfully called thereto. And since every ecclesiastical office, according to the Scriptures, is a special charge, no man ought to be ordained, unless it be to the performance of a definite work lawfully belonging to some office in the church.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 124-125), on VI-2-3 :
101.--III. As every ecclesiastical office, according to the Scriptures, is a special charge, no man shall be ordained unless it be to the performance of a definite work.
If a man is ordained as Deacon, it must be to serve in some definite work of distribution ; if as a Ruling Elder, to some definite work of ruling ; and if as a Minister, it must be to some definite ministerial work. If that particular work ceases, or he ceases to be engaged in it, the exercise of his office is suspended until he is called to some other definite work ; but as assisting to rule in the Church courts is always a part of the definite work to which a Minister or a Ruling Elder is ordained, this function of his office never suffers suspense, so long as he is a member of a court. If an officer is called to another definite work than that to which he was originally ordained, he must be ordained to this new work also ; but this secondary ordination is, for distinction's sake, called installation. For the same reason, the term "installation" is used of that part of original ordination which relates especially to the definite work.



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I. King & Head of Church
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§4
§5
RoD
27
28
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31
32
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35
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II. Preliminary Principles
§1
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DfW
47
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[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]