.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Preface to the Book of Church Order

I. King and Head
of the Church
II. Preliminary Principles
III. The Constitution Defined

Section 1 : The King and Head of the Church
Paragraph 3 : His Orders

3. Christ as King, has given to His Church, officers, oracles and ordinances; and especially has He ordained therein His system of doctrine, government, discipline, and worship; all which are either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced therefrom; and to which things He commands that nothing be added, and that from them naught to be taken away.

 

PCUS 1879, Chapter II. Of the Church, Section 1.--Of its King and Head, paragraph 3
Christ as King, has given to His Church, officers, oracles and ordinances; and especially has He ordained therein His system of doctrine, government, discipline, and worship; all which are either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced therefrom; and to which things He commands that nothing be added, and that from them naught to be taken away.

PCUS 1869 draft, II-1-3
Christ, as King, hath given to His Church officers, oracles and laws; and especially hath He ordained therein His own system of doctrine, government, discipline, and worship; all which are either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced therefrom; and to which things He commands that nothing be added, nor from them aught be taken away.

PCUS 1867 draft, II-1-3.
Christ, as King, hath given to his church officers, oracles and laws; and especially hath he ordained therein his own system of doctrine, government, discipline, and worship; all which is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced therefrom; and to which things he commands that nothing be added, nor from them aught be taken away.

PARALLEL TEXTS:

OPC 2005, Form of Government, I-3
Christ orders his church by the rule of his Word; the pattern of officers, ordinances, government, and discipline set forth in Scripture is therefore to be observed as the instruction of the Lord. Church government must conform to the scriptural pattern and follow the specific provisions revealed in the New Testament. In those circumstances not specifically ordered by Scripture the church must observe the general rules of the Word. Among the biblical admonitions applicable to all circumstances are those requiring that all things must be done decently, in order, and for edification. A particular form of church government is bound to set forth what Christ requires for the order of his church and to arrange particular circumstances only in the manner, to the degree, and for the purpose that the Lord of the church has appointed in Scripture. The presbyterian form of government seeks to fulfill these scriptural requirements for the glory of Christ, the edification of the church, and the enlargement of that spiritual liberty in which Christ has set us free. Nevertheless, while such scriptural government is necessary for the perfection of church order, it is not essential to the existence of the church visible.


COMMENTARY:
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, pp. 21-22), on Chapter II, Section 1, Paragraph 3
10.--III. Christ as King, has given to His Church, officers, oracles and ordinances; and especially has He ordained therein His system of doctrine, government, discipline, and worship; all which are either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced therefrom; and to which things He commands that nothing be added, and that from them naught to be taken away.
Each of the four clauses of this paragraph is important. The first enumerates the gifts of the King to his Church under three heads : officers ; oracles, which are the Scriptures ; ordinances, which comprise all things that he has ordered to be done. None of these gifts are originated by the Church or by human invention, but they are all gifts of Christ as King. The second clause names especially as among his ordinances his fourfold system of doctrine, which is expounded in the doctrinal symbols ; government, the form of which is set forth in this book ; discipline, the regulations for which are laid down in the Rules of Discipline ; and worship, the directions for which are given in the Directory for Worship. Everything ought to be done as the King has ordained. But where are we to learn what he has ordained? In Scripture. There we shall find all his ordinances, it is his entire oracles, and it shows what officers he has appointed, and with what functions. If anything is not expressly set down in Scripture, it may be deduced from it, not by fanciful imagination, but by correct inference. What seems incomplete is to be completed by application of the principles set down in Scripture ; for the King allows no man or set of men, whatever offices they may hold in his Church, to add or subtract. This paragraph justifies the first sentence of this exposition, that the supreme standard, the one rule of faith and practice of the Presbyterian Church in the United States is the Bible. To this, both the first and the final appeal must always be made.
But it would be a great mistake to suppose that the only connection of Christ with the present government of the church is through the mere language of Scripture as interpreted by men.

 



©PCA Historical Center, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Index [links to Par. 1 of each chapter]:
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]