.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 25 : Congregational Meetings

Paragraph 9 :

25-9. All particular churches shall be entitled to hold, own and enjoy their own local properties, without any right of reversion whatsoever to any Presbytery, General Assembly or any other courts hereafter created, trustees or other officers of such courts.

[Historical Summary : Another key and defining text for the nature and character of the Presbyterian Church in America, in which the founding fathers were adamant to establish the property rights of the local congregation as a safeguard against potential financial and spiritual abuse by denominational hierarchy. Two changes of note have been made in BCO 25-9 since 1973. In place of "synod" the text now has "General Assembly" and the final clause has been modified. These changes were approved in ________. ] See also, under "Commentary" below, the text of this paragraph as proposed in 1973 by Dr. G. Aiken Taylor.

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, 26-9, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 144
and

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 26-9, Proposed text, p. 37
All particular churches shall be entitled to hold, own, and enjoy their own local properties, without any right of reversion whatsoever to any presbytery, synod, or any other courts hereafter created, its trustees or other officers.

PCUS 1933
[no comparable text]

PCUS 1925
[no comparable text]

PCUS 1879
[no comparable text]

PCUS 1869 draft
[no comparable text]

PCUS 1867 draft
[no comparable text]

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898)
[no comparable text for discussion]

G. Aiken Taylor, Paragraph on Property -- For Proposed Book of Church Order
Among the Papers of Dr. G. Aiken Taylor is a copy of the Proposed Book of Church Order, with a slip of paper attached bearing the following text for BCO 25-9 and signed by Dr. Taylor. Portions of Dr. Taylor's suggested text were, upon discussion, moved to a separate paragraph and became BCO 25-10.

Paragraph on Property -- For Proposed Book of Church Order
All participating churches shall be entitled to hold, own and enjoy their own local property, without any right of revision whatsoever to (name of Church), its presbyteries, synods or any other court hereafter created, its trustees, or other officers.
The provisions of this chapter are to be construed as a solemn covenant, whereby the Church as a whole undertakes never to attempt to secure possession of the property of any congregation against its will, whether or not such congregation remains within or chooses to withdraw from this body.
All officers and courts of the Church are prohibited from making any such attempt and the provisions of these two sections (above) are unamendable and irrevocable.

[signed : G.A. Taylor]

 



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11
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15
16
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18
19
20
21
22
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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
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§5
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§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
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52
53
54
55
56
57
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63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]