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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 34 : Special Rules Pertaining to Process Against a Minister
(Teaching Elder)

Paragraph 4 :

34-4 a. When a minister accused of an offense is found contumacious (cf. 32-6), he shall be immediately suspended from the sacraments and his office for his contumacy. Record shall be made of the fact and of the charges under which he was arraigned, and the censure shall be made public. The censure shall in no case be removed until the offender has not only repented of his contumacy, but has also given satisfaction in relation to the charges against him.
34-4 b. If after further endeavor by the court to bring the accused to a sense of his guilt, he persists in his contumacy, he shall be deposed and excommunicated from the Church.

[DIGEST: The current PCA text dates to 1999 [M27GA, 27-12, Item 5, p. 60-63].

ANTECEDENT TEXTS:
1. PCA 1973, 8-4, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 149
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 8-4, Proposed text, p. 47
3. PCUS 1933, VIII-§220
4. PCUS 1925, VIII-§220
If a Minister accused of an offence, having been twice duly cited, shall refuse to appear before the Presbytery, he shall be immediately suspended. And if, after another citation, he shall still refuse to attend; he shall be deposed as contumacious, and suspended or excommunicated from the Church. Record shall be made of the judgment and of the charges under which he was arraigned, and the sentence shall be made public.

PCUS 1879, VIII-4

If a Minister accused of an offence, having been twice duly cited, shall refuse to appear before the Presbytery, he shall be immediately suspended. And if, after another citation, he still refuse to attend; he shall be deposed as contumacious, and suspended or excommunicated from the Church. Record shall be made of the judgment and of the charges under which he was arraigned, and the sentence shall be made public.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, VIII-4
If a Minister accused of an offence, being twice duly cited, shall refuse to appear before the Presbytery, he shall be immediately suspended. And if, after another citation, he still refuse to attend, he shall be deposed as contumacious, and suspended or excommunicated from the Church. Record shall be made of the judgment and of the charges under which he was arraigned, and the sentence be made public.

PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, VIII-4
If a minister accused of an offence, being twice duly cited, shall refuse to appear before the presbytery, he shall be immediately suspended. And if, after another citation, he still refuse to attend, he shall be deposed as contumacious, and suspended, or excommunicated from the church. Record shall be made of the judgment and of the charges under which he was arraigned, and the sentence be made public.

PCUSA 1858, Revised Book of Discipline, V-10
If a minister accused of atrocious crimes, being twice duly cited, shall refuse to attend the Presbytery, he shall be immediately suspended. And if, after another citation, he still refuse to attend, he shall be deposed as contumacious, end suspended or excommunicated from the Church.

PCUSA 1815, Forms of Process, II-8
If a minister, accused of atrocious crimes, being twice duly cited, shall refuse to attend the presbytery, he must be immediately suspended. And if, after another citation, he still refuse to attend, he shall be deposed as contumacious.

PCUSA 1789, Forms of Process, II-8
If a minister, accused of atrocious crimes, being three times duly cited, shall refuse to attend the presbytery, he must be immediately suspended. And if, after another citation, he still refuse to attend, he shall be deposed as contumacious.


COMMENTARY:
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order, (1898, pp. 211-212), on VIII-4
199.--IV. If a Minister accused of an offence, having been twice duly cited, shall refuse to appear before the Presbytery, he shall be immediately suspended. And if, after another citation, he still refuse to attend; he shall be deposed as contumacious, and suspended or excommunicated from the Church. Record shall be made of the judgment and of the charges under which he was arraigned, and the sentence shall be made public.
As, in the second citation, he was given notice that, if he did not appear, or, appearing, did not plead, he would be dealt with for contumacy according to this paragraph (see par. 177), we must understand here "or refuse to plead" after "refuse to appear." After the second citation in the case of a private member, the Session suspends him and publishes sentence; but in the case of a Minister, the Presbytery suspends (from the ministry), and issues a third citation. After this third citation, the Minister is suspended or excommunicated from sealing ordinances, having been already suspended from office ; and then the sentence is made public.
The Presbytery may publish the sentence without publishing even the nature of the charges (except so far as the sentence itself makes known the charges or their nature). If the accused is suspended after the third citation, there is no provision for proceeding afterward to deposition and excommunication without a trial. The difference between the Minister and the other sort of church member is this : the church member can only be suspended for contumacy at first, but may afterwards be excommunicated and deposed without trial if the contumacy continue (194) ; and the Minister may be excommunicated after the third citation without trial, but not later if not then. The Minister must be deposed after the third citation.


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