.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

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

Paragraph 7 : Of Suspension and Deposition

34-7. When a minister, pending a trial, shall make confession, if the matter be base and flagitious,
such as drunkenness, uncleanness, or crimes of a greater nature, however penitent he may appear
to the satisfaction of all, the court shall without delay impose definite suspension or depose him from the ministry.


[DIGEST: The current PCA text dates to 1990 [M18GA, 18-8, Item 4, p. 47].

ANTECEDENT TEXTS:
1. PCA 1973, 8-7, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 149
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 8-7, Proposed text, p. 47
3. PCUS 1933, VIII-§223
4. PCUS 1925, VIII-§223
5. PCUS 1879, VIII-7

When a Minister, pending a trial, shall make confession, if the matter be base and flagitious, such as drunkenness, uncleanness, or crimes of a higher nature, however penitent he may appear to the satisfaction of all, the court shall, without delay, suspend him from the exercise of his office, or depose him from the ministry.

PCUS 1869 draft, VIII-7
When the Presbytery is about to proceed to the trial of a Minister, and he arises and makes confession, if the matter is base and flagitious, such as drunkenness, uncleanness, or crimes of a higher nature, however penitent he may appear to the satisfaction of all, the court shall, without delay, suspend him from the exercise of his office, or depose him from the ministry.

PCUS 1867 draft, VIII-7
When the presbytery is about to proceed to the trial of a minister, and he arises and makes confession, if the matter is base and flagitious, such as drunkenness, uncleanness, or crimes of a higher nature, however penitent he may appear to the satisfaction of all, the court must, without delay, suspend him from the exercise of his office, or depose him from the ministry.

Northern Tradition :
PCUSA 1821, V-10
At the next meeting of the presbytery, the charges shall be read to him, and he shall be called upon to say whether he is guilty or not. If he confess, and the matter be base and flagitious; such as drunkenness, uncleanness, or crimes of a higher nature, however penitent he may appear, to the satisfaction of all, the presbytery must, without delay, suspend him from the exercise of his office, or depose him from the ministry; and, if the way be clear for the purpose, appoint him a due time to confess publicly before the congregation offended, and to profess his penitence.

COMMENTARY:
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 213), on VIII-7 :
202.--VII. When a Minister, pending a trial, shall make confession, if the matter be base and flagitious, such as drunkenness, uncleanness, or crimes of a higher nature, however penitent he may appear to the satisfaction of all, the court shall, without delay, suspend him from the exercise of his office, or depose him from the ministry.
Confession shall not save him from deposition, or, at least, from suspension from office ; for discipline is not only for the reformation of the offender, but also for the honor of religion.



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