.

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 2 : The Preliminary Principles
Paragraph 6 : On the Election of Officers

6. That, though the character, qualifications and authority of church officers are laid down in the Holy Scriptures, as well as the proper method of their investiture and institution, yet the election of the persons to the exercise of this authority, in any particular society, is in that society.

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, page 128
That, though the character, qualifications and authority of church officers are laid down in the Holy Scriptures, as well as the proper method of their investiture and institution, yet the election of the persons to the exercise of this authority, in any particular society, is in that society.

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text, Preface, Preliminary Principles, paragraph 2
That, though the character, qualifications and authority of church officers are laid down in the Holy Scriptures, as well as the proper method of their investiture and institution, yet the election of the persons to the exercise of this authority, in any particular society, is in that society.

PCUS 1879
PCUS 1869 draft
and
PCUS 1867 draft
[we have not located printed editions of the PCUS Constitution which include the Preliminary Principles. Reportedly the first edition, printed in 1861, did include the Principles, but we have been unable to locate subsequent editions with this material included.]



Commentary :
Hodge, J. Aspinwall, What Is Presbyterian Law? (Philadelphia, 1882, pp. 26) :
VI. What is the sixth principle
?
"The election of persons to the exercise of this authority, in any particular society, is in that society."
What officers can be appointed in the church?
"The character, qualifications and authority of church officers, are laid down in the Holy Scriptures, as well as the proper method of their investiture and institution."
By whom are officers to be chosen?
The right of election belongs to those over whom the authority is to be exercised. Pastors, Ruling Elders and Deacons must be elected by the particular churches in which they hold office.[1]
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[1] Form of Government [PCUSA], chs. xiii., xiv., xv.

 



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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]