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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 31 : The Parties in Cases of Process

Paragraph 4 :

31-4. Every indictment shall begin : "In the name of the Presbyterian Church in America," and shall conclude, "against the peace, unity and purity of the Church, and the honor and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the King and Head thereof." In every case the Church is the injured and accusing party, against the accused.

[DIGEST : The current text remains that of PCA 1973 and the Proposed BCO, except of course for the change in the name of the denomination, effected in 1974.]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS :
PCA 1973, RoD, 5-4, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 146
Every indictment shall begin : "In the name of the National Presbyterian Church," and shall conclude, "against the peace, unity and purity of the Church, and the honor and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the King and Head thereof." In every case the Church is the injured and accusing party, against the accused.

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 5-4, Proposed text, p. 42
Every indictment shall begin : "In the name of the ________________________," and shall conclude, "against the peace, unity and purity of the Church, and the honor and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the King and Head thereof." In every case the Church is the injured and accusing party, against the accused.

PCUS 1933, RoD, V-§185
and
PCUS 1925, RoD, V-§185
Every indictment shall begin : "In the name of the Presbyterian Church in the United States," and shall conclude, "against the peace, unity and purity of the Church, and the honor and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ as the King and Head thereof." In every case the Church is the injured and accusing party, against the accused.

PCUS 1879, RoD, V-4

and
PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, V-7

Every indictment shall begin: “In the name of the Presbyterian Church in the United States,” and shall conclude, “against the peace, unity and purity of the Church, and the honour and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the King and Head thereof.” In every case the Church is the injured and accusing party, versus the accused.

PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, V-4
Every indictment shall begin: “In the name of the Presbyterian church in the United States,” and shall conclude, “against the peace, unity and purity of the church, and the honor and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the King and Head thereof.” In every case the church is the injured and accusing party, versus the accused.

COMMENTARY :

F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. ), on :
164.--IV. Every indictment shall begin: “In the name of the Presbyterian Church in the United States,” and shall conclude, “against the peace, unity and purity of the Church, and the honour and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the King and Head thereof.” In every case the Church is the injured and accusing party, versus the accused.
This last sentence must hold, even when the court accepts a voluntary prosecutor prosecuting a personal offence against himself. His acceptance by the court of this Church constitutes him the representative of the Church ; hence the form prescribed for the beginning of every indictment. The form prescribed for the ending of every indictment shows that the Church herself has no rights except as united with her King and Head. It matters not what specifications, or what references to the standards or to the Scriptures, may or may not come in the body of the indictment, the indictment must assert that the thing charged is a sin against Christ.



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FoG..
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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]