.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 37 : The Removal of Censure

Paragraph 3 :

37-3. When the court shall be satisfied as to the reality of the repentance of an indefinitely suspended offender, he shall be admitted to profess his repentance, either in the presence of the court alone or publicly. At this time the offender shall be restored to the Sacraments of the Church, and/or to his
office, if such shall be the judgment of the court. The restoration shall be declared to the penitent in the words of the following import:
Whereas, you, ______________, have been debarred from the Sacraments of the Church (and/or from the office of teaching elder, or ruling elder, or deacon), but have now manifested such repentance as satisfies the church, we, the _______________ Church Session (or Presbytery), do hereby, in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, absolve you from the said sentence of suspension from the Sacraments (and/or your office) and do restore you to the full communion of the Church (and/or the exercise of your said office, and all the functions thereof).
After which there shall be prayer and thanksgiving.


[Historical Summary : 1990 [M18GA, 18-8, Item 4, p. 48] & renumber remaining, from old 37-3 to end of chapter .]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, RoD, 11-2, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 151
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 11-2, Proposed text, p. 52
3. PCUS 1933, RoD, XI-§249
4. PCUS 1925, RoD, XI-§249
5. PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, XI-2
When the court shall be satisfied as to the reality of the repentance of a suspended offender, he shall be admitted to profess his repentance, either in the presence of the court alone or publicly, and be restored to the sacraments of the Church, and to his office,
if such be the judgment of the court, which restoration shall be declared to the penitent in the words of the following import:
Whereas, you, A.B., have been debarred from the sacraments of the Church (and from the office of the gospel Ministry, or Ruling Eldership, or Deaconship), but have now manifested such repentance as satisfies the church, we, the Session (or Presbytery) of C.D., do hereby, in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ absolve you from the said sentence of suspension, and do restore you to the full communion of the Church (and the exercise of your said office, and all the functions thereof).
After which there shall be prayer and thanksgiving.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, XI-2
When the court shall be satisfied as to the reality of the repentance of an offender, he shall be admitted to profess his repentance, either in the presence of the court alone, or publicly, according to the manner in which the sentence had been inflicted, and be restored to the sacraments of the Church, which restoration shall be declared to the penitent in the words of the following import:
Whereas, you, A. B., have been debarred from the sacraments of the Church [and from the office of the gospel ministry, or eldership or deaconship,] but have now manifested such repentance as satisfies the Church, we, the Session [or Presbytery] of C. D., do hereby, in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, absolve you from the said sentence of suspension, and do restore you to the full enjoyment of sealing ordinances [and to the exercise of your said office, and all the functions thereof.]”
After which there shall be prayer and thanksgiving.

PCUS 1867 draft,
When the court shall be satisfied as to the reality of the repentance of an offender, he shall be admitted to profess his repentance, either in the presence of the court alone, or publicly, according to the manner in which the sentence had been inflicted, and be restored to the sacraments of the church, which restoration shall be declared to the penitent in the words of the following import:
Whereas, you, A. B., have been debarred from the sacraments of the church [and from the office of the gospel ministry, or eldership or deaconship,] but have now manifested such repentance as satisfies the church, we, the session [or presbytery] of C. D., do hereby, in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, absolve you from the said sentence of suspension, and do restore you to the full enjoyment of sealing ordinances [and to the exercise of your said office, and all the functions thereof.]”
After which there shall be prayer and thanksgiving.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 226-227), on XI-2:
228.--II. When the court shall be satisfied as to the reality of the repentance of a suspended offender, he shall be admitted to profess his repentance, either in the presence of the court alone or publicly, and be restored to the sacraments of the Church, and to his office,
if such be the judgment of the court, which restoration shall be declared to the penitent in the words of the following import:
Whereas, you, A.B., have been debarred from the sacraments of the Church (and from the office of the gospel Ministry, or Ruling Eldership, or Deaconship), but have now manifested such repentance as satisfies the church, we, the Session (or Presbytery) of C.D., do hereby, in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ absolve you from the said sentence of suspension, and do restore you to the full communion of the Church (and the exercise of your said office, and all the functions thereof).
After which there shall be prayer and thanksgiving
.
The court is not obliged to restore upon satisfactory repentance, since, in some cases, continuance of suspension may be necessary to remove all scandal ; nor is restoration to office obliged to accompany restoration to the sacraments. The "and" at the beginning of each set of brackets must be interpreted as equivalent to "or" also. Cf. remarks on 224.



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I. King & Head of Church
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