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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 20 : The Election of Pastors

Paragraph 7 :

20-7. If any church shall choose to designate its ruling elders and deacons, or a committee to sign its call, it shall be at liberty to do so. But it shall, in such case, be fully certified to the Presbytery by the minister or other person who presided, that the persons signing have been appointed for that purpose by a public vote of the church, and that the call has been in all other respects prepared as above directed.

[Historical Summary : The first sentence of the current PCA text has updated the language from that of PCA 1973, and this change dates to _____. The second sentence of this paragraph remains unchanged from that of PCUS 1925, and with only minor differences, is still that of the PCUS 1867 draft.]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, 21-7, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 140
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 21-7, Proposed text, p. 27
3. PCUS 1933, XXIII, §127
4. PCUS 1933, XXIII, §127

If any church shall choose to subscribe its call by the Ruling Elders and Deacons, or by a committee, it shall be at liberty to do so. But it shall, in such case, be fully certified to the Presbytery by the Minister or other person who presided, that the persons signing have been appointed for that purpose by a public vote of the church, and that the call has been in all other respects prepared as above directed.

PCUS 1879, VI-3-7

But if any church shall choose to subscribe its call by the Ruling Elders and Deacons, or by a committee, it shall be at liberty to do so. But it shall, in such case, be fully certified to the Presbytery by the Minister, or other person who presided, that the persons signing have been appointed for that purpose by a public vote of the church ; and that the call has been, in all other respects, prepared as above directed.

PCUS 1869 draft, VI-3-7
But if any Congregation shall choose to subscribe its call by the Ruling Elders and Deacons, or by a committee, it shall be at liberty to do so. But it shall, in such case, be fully certified to the Presbytery by the Minister or other person who presided, that the persons signing have been appointed for that purpose by a public vote of the Congregation; and that the call has been, in all other respects, prepared as above directed.

PCUS 1867 draft, VI-3-7
But if any congregation shall choose to subscribe its call by the elders and deacons, or by a select committee, it shall be at liberty to do so. But it shall, in such case, be fully certified to the presbytery by the minister or other person who presided, that the persons signing have been appointed for that purpose by a public vote of the congregation; and that the call has been, in all other respects, prepared as above directed.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 132) on VI-3-7:

108.--VII. But if any church shall choose to subscribe its call by the Ruling Elders and Deacons, or by a committee, it shall be at liberty to do so. But it shall, in such case, be fully certified to the Presbytery by the Minister, or other person who presided, that the persons signing have been appointed for that purpose by a public vote of the church ; and that the call has been, in all other respects, prepared as above directed.
This provision is for convenience ; but the obligations of the people are the same as if they all themselves signed. That they may not lightly enter into obligations, it would be well, unless they are already familiar with them, to read over to the congregation, when about to enter upon an election, the obligations that are to be assumed.



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I. King & Head of Church
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[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]