.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 21 : The Ordination and Installation of Ministers

Paragraph 1 :

21-1. No minister, licentiate or candidate shall receive a call from a church but by the permission of his Presbytery. When a call has been presented to the Presbytery, if found in order and the Presbytery deems it for the good of the Church, they shall place it in the hands of the person to whom it is addressed.
Ordinarily a candidate or licentiate may not be granted permission by the Presbytery to move on to the field to which he has been called, prior to his examination for licensure or ordination. Likewise an ordained minister from another Presbyterian Church in America Presbytery or another denomination, ordinarily shall not move on to the field to which he has been called until examined and received by Presbytery.

[Historical Summary : The current PCA text has updated language, using "deems" in place of "deem" and also does not capitalize "minister". Otherwise the text is that of PCUS 1925.

In 2007, Overture 4 from Westminster Presbytery comes before the 35th General Assembly. This Overture, in response to the ruling on Judical Case 2004-8, seeks to amend BCO 21-1 to read as follows:

"No minister, licentiate, or candidate shall receive a call from a church but by permission of his Presbytery. When a call has been presented to the Presbytery, if found in order and the Presbytery deems it for the good of the Church, they shall place it in the hands of the person to whom it is addressed. Presbytery shall discern to the best of its ability that the man receiving the call meets the character requirements of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:3-9, as well as adhering to the doctrinal standards of the Presbyterian Church in America. In cases where Presbytery judges that the man is not ready to assume pastoral responsibilities, or that he may bring difficulty to himself, his family and/or the congregation, then the man shall be counseled not to accept the call. If the congregation and the man to whom the call is addressed persist in the pursuit of the relationship, Presbytery still retains the right to deny the call if Presbytery deems such denial is for the good of the Church. This right of Presbytery is not to be construed as contrary to the right of a congregation to elect its own officers
.”

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, 22-1, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 140
and
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 22-1, Proposed text, p. 28
No Minister, licentiate or candidate shall receive a call from a church but by the permission of his Presbytery. When a call has been presented to the Presbytery, if found in order and the Presbytery deem it for the good of the Church, they shall place it in the hands of the person to whom it is addressed.
A candidate or licentiate may be granted permission by the Presbytery to move on to the field prior to his ordination examination. Ordinarily, an ordained Minister from another Presbytery or denomination shall not move on to the field until received by the Presbytery.

PCUS 1933, XXIV, §132
and
PCUS 1925, XXIV, §132
No Minister, licentiate or candidate shall receive a call from a church but by the permission of his Presbytery. When a call has been presented to the Presbytery, if found in order and the Presbytery deem it for the good of the Church, they shall place it in the hands of the person to whom it is addressed.

PCUS 1879, VI-5-1

No Minister or probationer shall receive a call from a church but by the permission of his Presbytery. When a call has been presented to the Presbytery, if found in order, and the Presbytery deem it for the good of the church, they shall place it in the hands of the person to whom it is addressed.

PCUS 1869 draft, VI-5-1
No Minister or probationer shall receive a call from a Congregation but by the permission of his Presbytery. When a call has been presented to the Presbytery, if found in order, and the Presbytery deem it for the good of the Church, they shall place it in the hands of the person to whom it is addressed.

PCUS 1867 draft, VI-5-1
No minister or probationer shall receive a call from a congregation but by the permission of his presbytery. When a call has been presented to the presbytery, if found in order, and the presbytery deem it for the good of the church, they shall place it in the hands of the person to whom it is addressed.

PCUSA 1797, XV-1
No bishop shall be translated from one church to another, nor shall he receive any call for that purpose, but by the permission of the presbytery.

The Form of Presbyterial Church-Government...agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster... (1645)

The Directory for the Ordination of Ministers.
It being manifest by the word of God, that no man ought to take upon him the office of a minister of the gospel, until he be lawfully called and ordained thereunto ; and that the work of ordination is to be performed with all due care, wisdom, gravity, and solemnity, we humbly tender these directions, as requisite to be observed.
1. He that is to be ordained, being either nominated by the people, or otherwise commended to the presbytery, for any place, must address himself to the presbytery, and bring with him a testimonial of his taking the Covenant of the three kingdoms ; of his diligence and proficiency in his studies ; what degrees he hath taken in the university, and what hath been the time of his abode there ; and withal of his age, which is to be twenty-four years ; but especially of his life and conversation.
2. Which being considered by the presbytery, they are to proceed to enquire touching the grace of God in him, and whether he be of such holiness of life as is requisite in a minister of the gospel ; and to examine him touching his learning and sufficiency, and touching the evidences of his calling to the holy ministry ; and, in particular, his fair and direct calling to that place.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 141-142) on : VI-5-1
Section V.--Of the Ordination of Ministers, and the Formulation and Dissolution of the Pastoral Relation.
The relation of a Minister to a church as one of its officers is treated apart from the like relation of a Ruling Elder or Deacon, because this the Session controls, and that the Presbytery. The section falls into three parts--seven paragraphs on the ordination of Pastors ; six paragraphs of special regulations to cover cases not provided for in the preceding paragraphs ; and one paragraph on the dissolution of the pastoral relation. The seven paragraphs on the ordination of Pastors have three on the steps antecedent to the ordination, one on the placing of the call, one on the acceptance of it, and one on trials with a view to ordination ; and three on the ordination itself, one on the obligations of the candidate, one on the obligation of the church, one on the act of ordination, and one on the recognition of the new Pastor.
116.--I. No minister or probationer shall receive a call from a congregation but by the permission of his presbytery. When a call has been presented to the presbytery, if found in order, and the presbytery deem it for the good of the church, they shall place it in the hands of the person to whom it is addressed.
The principle is fundamental, that neither Minister nor church may enter into the pastoral relation without the consent of Presbytery ; and the establishment of what is virtually the pastoral relation without the regular process and installation, whatever the relation may be called, is subversive of our system. Even for the Minister to signify his own mind concerning his proposed relation to the church before the Presbytery has acted will often tend to render the interposition of the Presbytery impracticable. The ideal would be for the called to give no indication of his own mind, and not to be consulted at all, until after the Presbytery has put the call into his hands.



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FoG..
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4
5.
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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
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§4
§5
RoD
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
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38
39
40
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44
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II. Preliminary Principles
§1
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§4
§5
§6
§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
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51
52
53
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55
56
57
58
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60
61
62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]