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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 20 : The Election of Pastors

Paragraph 11 :

20-11. If the congregation or other field of labor to which a minister, licentiate, or candidate is called, be under the jurisdiction of a different Presbytery, on his acceptance of a call he shall be furnished with the proper testimonials, and required to repair immediately to the Presbytery, in order that he may be regularly inducted into his office. (See BCO 21).

[Historical Summary : Minor differences appear in the current PCA text when compared with PCA 1973 and prior texts back to PCUS 1925. The nature of these differences raises the question whether these might be printer's errors rather than amended changes. Aside from the lack of capitalization for the term "minister", the current text lacks a comma after "congregation" and we note especially that the older texts have "that Presbytery", while the current PCA text has "the Presbytery", which usage seems potentially confusing.]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, 21-11, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 140
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 21-11, Proposed text, p. 28
3. PCUS 1933, XXIII, §131
4. PCUS 1925, XXIII, §131
If the congregation, or other field of labor, to which the Minister, or licentiate, or candidate is called, be under the jurisdiction of a different Presbytery, on his acceptance of a call he shall be furnished with the proper testimonials, and required to repair immediately to that Presbytery, in order that he may be regularly inducted into his office.

PCUS 1879, VI-3-9
If the call be to a Minister or probationer of another Presbytery, the commissioners appointed to prosecute the call shall produce an attested certificate from their own Presbytery that it has been laid before that body and found in order, and that permission has been granted them to prosecute it before the Presbytery to which he belongs.


PCUS 1869 draft, VI-3-9
If the call be to a Minister or probationer of another Presbytery, the commissioners of the Congregation appointed to prosecute the call must be prepared to produce an attested certificate from their own Presbytery that it had been laid before that body and found in order; and that permission had been granted them to prosecute it before the proper Presbytery.

PCUS 1867 draft, VI-3-9
If the call be to a minister or probationer of another presbytery, the commissioners of the congregation appointed to prosecute the call must be prepared to produce an attested certificate from their own presbytery that it had been laid before that body and found in order, and that permission had been granted them to prosecute it before the proper presbytery.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, pp. 132-133) on VI-3-9:

110.--IX. If the call be to a Minister or probationer of another Presbytery, the commissioners appointed to prosecute the call shall produce an attested certificate from their own Presbytery that it has been laid before that body and found in order, and that permission has been granted them to prosecute it before the Presbytery to which he belongs.
It is an irregular procedure for the Pastor elect to change Presbyteries before the call has been placed in his hands. Indeed, he need have no opinion, or at least give no assurance of what his answer will be, until after the call is placed in his hands ; for only so can the church and the Presbyteries speak their mind to him before he speaks his mind to them, as the Book contemplates.



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FoG..
1
2
3.
4
5.
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
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
44
45
46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
§2
§3
§4
§5
§6
§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]