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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 42 : Appeals

Paragraph 12 :

42-12. If an appellant manifests a litigious or otherwise un-Christian spirit in the prosecution of his appeal, he shall receive a suitable rebuke by the appellate court.

[Historical Summary : The text of this paragraph remains identical with that of PCUS 1925. It has been numbered as 42-12 since 1984 [M14GA, 12-14, Item 5-g, p. 89]. Prior PCUS editions and the 1858 PCUSA draft were identical in the first clause.

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, RoD, 16-10, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 154
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 16-10, Proposed text, p. 58
3. PCUS 1933, RoD, XVI-§282
4. PCUS 1925, RoD, XVI-§282
If an appellant manifests a litigious or otherwise unchristian spirit in the prosecution of his appeal, he shall receive a suitable rebuke by the appellate court.

1. PCUS 1879,
Rules of Discipline, XIII-3-10
2. PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, XIII-3-10
3. PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, XIII-3-10
4. PCUSA 1858 draft, Revised Book of Discipline, VIII-3-11
If an appellant is found to manifest a litigious or other unchristian spirit in the prosecution of his appeal, he shall be censured according to the degree of his offence.

Pardovan's Collections (1706; rpt 1770), Book IV, Chapter V, Of Appeals, p. 253
If the presbytery do not sustain the appeal, and find there hath been some fault, passion, or culpable mistake in the appellant, the presbytery is to inflict some censure, such as a reproof before the presbytery, or appoint an acknowledging of their precipitancy before their own session or such like, on these appealers they find to have ben malicious and litigious, thereby to prevent unnecessary appeals, and that besides remitting back to the session, to stand either to the censure of the session, if it be inflicted already, or to sist* themselves during the process, if it be depending.
[*sist = to stop, stay or halt a legal process or procedure by means of a judicial decree; a term used in both civil and ecclesiastical courts]

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 248), on XIII-3-10:
264.--X.. If an appellant is found to manifest a litigious or other unchristian spirit in the prosecution of his appeal, he shall be censured according to the degree of his offence.
The right of appeal is not given with any other intent than that those who sincerely believe wrong has been done may bring the higher courts to pass upon the issue ; and to abuse this favor is a peculiarly censurable offence. Of course, no censure for such offence can be passed except after confession or process before the court having original jurisdiction over the offender ; but the superior court before which the offence is committed should call the attention of the court of first resort to the question of dealing with the offender.



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I. King & Head of Church
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RoD
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DfW
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[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]