PCA HISTORICAL CENTER
Archives and Manuscript Repository for the Continuing Presbyterian Church


The Historical Development of the 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 5 : His Present Ministry

5. Since the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven, He is present with the Church by His Word and Spirit, and the benefits of all His offices are effectually applied by the Holy Ghost.

[Historical Summary : The present PCA text dates to the PCUS 1869 draft. The wording of the 1867 draft is identical in the first two clauses, but differs in the final clause.

ANTECEDENT TEXTS :
1. PCA 1973, Preface, II-§4, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, page 128
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Preface, II-§4, Proposed text, p. 3
3. PCUS 1933, II-§11
4. PCUS 1925, II-§11
Since the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven, he is present with the Church by his Word and Spirit, and the benefits of all his offices are effectually applied by the Holy Ghost.

PCUS 1879, Chapter II. Of the Church, Section 1.--Of its King and Head, paragraph 4

and
PCUS 1869 draft, II-1-4

Since the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven, He is present with the Church by His Word and Spirit, and the benefits of all His offices are effectually applied by the Holy Ghost.

PCUS 1867 draft, II-1-4.
Since the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven, he is present with the church by his word and Spirit, and all his offices are sustained in the church by the Holy Ghost.

PARALLEL TEXTS:
OPC 2005, Form of Government, I-4
Jesus Christ, having ascended into heaven, abides in his church by the Holy Spirit whom he has sent. Through his Spirit he has given his Word revealing his ordinances; through the Spirit also he exerts his saving and governing power in the teaching of his Word and the administration of his ordinances. Only by the gifts and calling of the Spirit are men endued and qualified for office in Christ's church.


COMMENTARY:
F.P. Ramsay,
Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 22), on Chapter II, Section 1, Paragraph 4
11.--IV. Since the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven, He is present with the Church by His Word and Spirit, and the benefits of all His offices are effectually applied by the Holy Ghost.
Not only by the word, but also by the Holy Spirit, is the ascended Christ present with his Church ; and thus he is ever effectually discharging all his offices in his own living presence through the human media.
The whole section makes the Church to be but the completion of Christ, his bodying of himself forth : take him away, take away his living activity, and the Church is nothing, and its authority is nothing.

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]

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