.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 35 : Evidence

Paragraph 6 :

35-6. The oath or affirmation to a witness shall be administered by the Moderator in the following or like terms:
Do you solemnly promise, in the presence of God, that you will declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your knowledge in the matter in which you are called to witness, as you shall answer it to the great Judge of the living and the dead?
If, however, at any time a witness should present himself before a court, who for conscientious reasons prefers to swear or affirm in any other manner, he should be allowed to do so.

[Historical Summary : The current PCA text remains unchanged from that of PCA 1973. The Proposed BCO, following that of PCUS 1933 and earlier PCUS editions, had "You solemnly promise..." instead of "Do you solemnly promise...". Also, the older language of "the quick and the dead" was updated in 1925 to "the living and the dead" Otherwise the paragraph has in substance remained consistent from 1858 to the present.]

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, 9-6, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 149
The oath or affirmation to a witness shall be administered by the Moderator in the following or like terms: "Do you solemnly promise, in the presence of God, that you will declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your knowledge in the matter in which you are called to witness, as you shall answer it to the great Judge of the living and the dead?" If, however, at any time a witness should present himself before a court, who for conscientious reasons prefers to swear or affirm in any other manner, he should be allowed to do so.

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 9-6, Proposed text, p. 49
The oath or affirmation to a witness shall be administered by the Moderator in the following or like terms: "You solemnly promise, in the presence of God, that you will declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your knowledge in the matter in which you are called to witness, as you shall answer it to the great Judge of the living and the dead." [sic: ?] If, however, at any time a witness should present himself before a court, who for conscientious reasons prefers to swear or affirm in any other manner, he should be allowed to do so.

PCUS 1879, IX-6

The oath or affirmation to a witness shall be administered by the Moderator in the following or like terms: "You solemnly promise, in the presence of God, that you will declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your knowledge in the matter in which you are called to witness, as you shall answer it to the great Judge of the quick and the dead.[sic : ?"] If, however, at any time a witness should present himself before a court, who, for conscientious reasons, prefers to swear or affirm in any other manner, he should be allowed to do so.

PCUS 1869 draft, IX-6
The oath or affirmation to a witness shall be administered by the Moderator in the following or like terms: “You solemnly promise, in the presence of the omniscient and heart-searching God, that you will declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your knowledge, in the matter in which you are called to witness, as you shall answer it to the great Judge of quick and dead.” If, however, at any time a witness should present himself before a court, who, for conscientious reasons, prefers to swear or affirm in any other manner, he shall be allowed to do so.

PCUS 1867 draft, IX-6
The oath or affirmation to a witness shall be administered by the moderator in the following or like terms: “You solemnly promise, in the presence of the omniscient and heart-searching God, that you will declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your knowledge, in the matter in which you are called to witness, as you shall answer it to the great Judge of quick and dead.” If, however, at any time a witness should present himself before a court, who, for conscientious reasons, prefers to swear or affirm in any other manner, he shall be allowed to do so.

PCUSA 1859, VII-8
The oath or affirmation to a witness, shall be administered by the Moderator, in the following or like terms: “You solemnly promise, in
the presence of the omniscient and heart-searching God, that you will declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your knowledge, in the matter in which you are called to witness, at you shall answer it to the great Judge of quick and dead.” If, however, at any time a witness should present himself before a judicatory, who, for conscientious reasons, prefers to swear or affirm in any other manner, he shall be allowed to do so.


UPCNA 1867, 7-

OPC, 1988, IV.
Any

Other:
ARP, 1958, §V-

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 217-218), on IX-6 :
211.--VI. The oath or affirmation to a witness shall be administered by the Moderator in the following or like terms: "You solemnly promise, in the presence of God, that you will declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your knowledge in the matter in which you are called to witness, as you shall answer it to the great Judge of the quick and the dead.[sic : ?"] If, however, at any time a witness should present himself before a court, who, for conscientious reasons, prefers to swear or affirm in any other manner, he should be allowed to do so.
But in no case should one be allowed to testify at all without agreeing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, in answer to all questions that he answers.



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I. King & Head of Church
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RoD
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