.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 31 : The Parties in Cases of Process

Paragraph 8 :

31-8. Great caution ought to be exercised in receiving accusations from any person who is known to indulge a malignant spirit towards the accused; who is not of good character; who is himself under censure or process; who is deeply interested in any respect in the conviction of the accused; or who is known to be litigious, rash or highly imprudent.

[DIGEST : The current text remains unchanged from that of PCA 1973, the Proposed Book of Church Order (1973), and all PCUS editions from 1933 back to the PCUS draft edition of 1867. Behind that text stands the PCUSA draft of 1858, which differs only in the use of commas instead of semi-colons.]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS:
1. PCA 1973, RoD, 5-8, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 147
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 5-8, Proposed text, p. 42
3. PCUS 1933, RoD, V-§189
4. PCUS 1925, RoD, V-§189
5. PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, V-8

6. PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, V-8
7. PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, V-8
Great caution ought to be exercised in receiving accusations from any person who is known to indulge a malignant spirit towards the accused; who is not of good character; who is himself under censure or process; who is deeply interested in any respect in the conviction of the accused; or who is known to be litigious, rash, or highly imprudent.

PCUSA 1858 draft, III-8
Great caution ought to be exercised in receiving accusations from any person who is known to indulge a malignant spirit towards the accused, who is not of good character, who is himself under censure or process, who is deeply interested in any respect in the conviction of the accused, or who is known to be litigious, rash, or highly imprudent.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 190), on V-8:
168.--VIII. Great caution ought to be exercised in receiving accusations from any person who is known to indulge a malignant spirit towards the accused; who is not of good character; who is himself under censure or process; who is deeply interested in any respect in the conviction of the accused; or who is known to be litigious, rash, or highly imprudent.
This makes it clear that the court is not obliged, either itself to institute process by appointing a prosecutor, or to order the beginning of process by accepting a voluntary prosecutor ; for, since the prosecutor represents the Church, it is a serious matter to give one such rights. But the court may, on the ground of accusations brought before it, originate an investigation, and institute process, without appointing as prosecutor him who volunteers to be prosecutor. The court is not bound to assign its reasons for not accepting one as a voluntary prosecutor.

Charles Hodge, on Chapter 3, paragraph 8 of "
The Revised Book of Discipline" (1858), p. 701.
The eighth section directs that great caution should be exercised in entertaining charges presented by malignant, disreputable, or interested parties.



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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]