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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 37 : The Removal of Censure

Paragraph 8 :

37-8. In the restoration of a minister who is under indefinite suspension from the Sacraments, and/or his office, or has been deposed, it is the duty of the Presbytery to proceed with great caution. It should first admit him to the Sacraments, if he has been debarred from them. Afterwards it should grant him the privilege of preaching on probation for a time, so as to test the sincerity of his repentance and prospect of his usefulness. When satisfied in these respects, the Presbytery shall take steps to restore him to his office. But the case shall always be under judicial consideration until the declaration
of restoration has been pronounced.


[Historical Summary : The current PCA text dates to 1990 [M18GA, 18-8, Item 4, p. 48], where the statement in the first sentence was refined so as to refer specifically to indefinite suspension.]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, RoD, 11-7, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 152
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 11-7, Proposed text, p. 54
3. PCUS 1933, RoD, XI-§254
4. PCUS 1925, RoD, XI-§254

In the restoration of a Minister who has been suspended or deposed, it is the duty of the Presbytery to proceed with great caution. It should first admit him to the sacraments, if he has been debarred from them, and afterwards should grant him the privilege of preaching on probation for a time, so as to test the sincerity of his repentance and the prospect of his usefulness, and when satisfied in these respects the Presbytery shall take steps to restore him to his office. But the case shall always be under judicial consideration until the sentence of restoration has been pronounced.

PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, XI-7

In proceeding to restore a suspended or deposed Minister, it is the duty of the Presbytery to exercise great caution; first admitting
him to the sacraments, if he has been debarred from the same, afterwards granting him the privilege of preaching for a season on probation, so as to test the sincerity of his repentance and the prospect of his usefulness; and finally restoring him to his office. But the case shall always be sub judice until the sentence of restoration has been pronounced.


PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, XI-7
In proceeding to restore a suspended or deposed Minister, it is the duty of the Presbytery to exercise great caution; first admitting
him to the sacraments, afterwards granting him the privilege of preaching for a season on probation, so as to test the sincerity of his repentance and the prospect of his usefulness; and finally restoring him to his office. But the case shall always be sub judice until the sentence of restoration has been pronounced.

PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, XI-7
In proceeding to restore a suspended or deposed minister, it is the duty of the presbytery to exercise great caution; first admitting
him to the sacraments, afterwards granting him the privilege of preaching for a season on probation, so as to test the sincerity of his repentance and the prospect of his usefulness; and finally restoring him to his office. But the case shall always be sub judice until the sentence of restoration has been pronounced.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. ), on :
"The



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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]