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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 31 : The Parties in Cases of Process

Paragraph 7 :

31-7. When the prosecution is instituted by the court, the previous steps required by our Lord in the case of personal offenses are not necessary. There are many cases, however, in which it will promote the interests of religion to send a committee to converse in a private manner with the offender, and endeavor to bring him to a sense of his guilt, before instituting actual process.

[DIGEST : The current text remains unchanged from that of PCA 1973, the Proposed BCO, and all PCUS editions from 1933 back to PCUS 1879.]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS :
1. PCA 1973, RoD, 5-7, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 147
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 5-7, Proposed text, p. 42
3. PCUS 1933, RoD, V-§188
4. PCUS 1925, RoD, V-§188
5. PCUS 1879, RoD, V-7

When the prosecution is instituted by the court, the previous steps required by our Lord in the case of personal offences are not necessary. There are many cases, however, in which it will promote the interests of religion to send a committee to converse in a private manner with the offender, and endeavour to bring him to a sense of his guilt, before instituting actual process.

PCUS 1876 draft, Rules of Discipline, V-7
When a prosecution is instituted by the court, the previous steps required by our Lord in the case of personal offences, are not necessary. There are many cases, however, in which it will better promote the interests of religion to send a committee to converse in a private manner with the offender, and endeavour to bring him to a sense of his guilt, than to institute actual process.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, V-4

and
PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, V-4
In cases of prosecution instituted by the court, the previous steps required by our Lord, in the case of personal offences, are not necessary. There are many cases, however, in which it will better promote the interests of religion to send a committee to converse in a private manner with the offender, and endeavor to bring him to a sense of his guilt, than to institute actual process.

PCUSA 1858, III-3
In cases of prosecution by common fame, the previous steps required by our Lord, in the case of personal offences, are not necessary. There are many cases, however, in which it will better promote the interests of religion to send a committee to converse in a private manner with the offender, and to endeavour to bring him to a sense of his guilt, than to institute actual process.

PCUSA 1789, Forms of Process, I-5
The judicatory, in many cases, may find it more for edification, to send some members to converse, in a private manner, with the accused person ; and, if he confesses guilt, to endeavour to bring him to repentance, than to proceed immediately to citation.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 189-190), on V-7:
167.--VII. When the prosecution is instituted by the court, the previous steps required by our Lord in the case of personal offences are not necessary. There are many cases, however, in which it will promote the interests of religion to send a committee to converse in a private manner with the offender, and endeavour to bring him to a sense of his guilt, before instituting actual process.
And the principle would seem to require this to be done in all cases where the offence appears to have been against the court, or its members as such.



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I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
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RoD
27
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32
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DfW
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63
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