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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 28 : Discipline of Noncommuning Members

Paragraph 3 : Of the Church's Relationship with the Children

28-3. The Church should maintain constant and sympathetic relations with the children. It also should encourage them, on coming to years of discretion, to make confession of the Lord Jesus Christ and to enter upon all privileges of full church membership. If they are wayward they should be cherished by the church and every means used to reclaim them.

[Historical Summary : The current PCA text dates to ____. What had been the first sentence is now broken up into two, and the first word of the final sentence is now "If" instead of "Even".]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, RoD, 2-3, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 145
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 2-3, Proposed text, pp. 39-40
3. PCUS 1933, RoD, II-§170
4. PCUS 1925, RoD, II-§170

The Church should maintain constant and sympathetic relations with the children, and should encourage them on coming to years of discretion to make confession of the Lord Jesus Christ and to enter upon all the privileges of full church membership. Even if they are wayward they should be cherished by the Church and every means used to reclaim them.

PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, II-3

When the children of the Church arrive at years of discretion, they are bound to discharge all the duties of Church members. If they give evidence of saving faith in Christ, together with a correct walk and conversation, they should be informed that it is their privilege and duty to make a profession of faith in Christ, and to come to His table. If they exhibit a wayward disposition, and associate themselves with the profane, the Church should still cherish them in faith, and ought to use all such means as the Word of God warrants and the Christian prudence of church officers shall dictate, for reclaiming them and bringing them to appreciate their covenant privileges, and to discharge their covenant obligations.


PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, II-3
When the children of the Church arrive at years of discretion, they are bound to discharge all the duties of Church-members. If
they exhibit knowledge to discern the Lord’s body, together with a correct walk and conversation, they are to be informed that it is their privilege and duty to make a profession of faith in Christ, (receiving baptism if not baptized), and to come to His table. If they exhibit a wayward disposition, and associate themselves with the profane, the Church must still cherish them in faith, and look after them as a
parent yearning over straying children, and ought to use all suitable means, such as the Word of God warrants, and the Christian prudence of Church officers shall dictate for reclaiming them, and bringing them to appreciate their covenant-privileges, and to discharge their covenant obligations.

PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, II-4
When the children of the church arrive at years of discretion, they are bound to discharge all the duties of church-members. If
they exhibit knowledge to discern the Lord’s body, together with a correct walk and conversation, they are to be informed that it is their duty to make a profession of faith in Christ, (receiving baptism if not baptized), and to come to his table. If they exhibit a wayward disposition, and associate themselves with the profane, the church must still cherish them in faith, and look after them as a parent yearning over straying children, and ought to use all suitable means, such as the word of God warrants, and the Christian prudence of church-officers shall dictate for reclaiming them, and bringing them to appreciate their covenant-privileges, and to discharge their bounden duties.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, pp. 175-176), on II-3:
149.--III. When the children of the Church arrive at years of discretion, they are bound to discharge all the duties of Church members. If they give evidence of saving faith in Christ, together with a correct walk and conversation, they should be informed that it is their privilege and duty to make a profession of faith in Christ, and to come to His table. If they exhibit a wayward disposition, and associate themselves with the profane, the Church should still cherish them in faith, and ought to use all such means as the Word of God warrants and the Christian prudence of church officers shall dictate, for reclaiming them and bringing them to appreciate their covenant privileges, and to discharge their covenant obligations.
(Cf. 29.) It is not contemplated that the individual child will first ask admission to the Lord's table, but that the Pastor or other representative of the Session will inform the child that the Session advises it of its privilege and duty. At the same time, although there should be evidence of saving faith, but such behavior as would call for censure of a communicating member, the child is not to be thus advised. Yet all proper means are to be used to bring even the most wayward to fulfill their covenant obligations. The theory lying back of this paragraph is, that the children of the Church will, normally, as they grow into responsible persons, find themselves having faith in Christ and living in obedience to him ; and that, where this result does not appear, the church and the parent should be filled with solicitude to bring them to this personal submission, working in the expectation that God will effectually call them.



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FoG..
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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
.§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]