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The Historical Development of the Book of Church Order

Chapter 21 : The Ordination and Installation of Ministers

Paragraph 6 :

21-6. Questions to Congregation*
The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the presiding minister shall propose to the church the following questions:
1. Do you, the people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive _________________, whom you have called to be your pastor?
2. Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?
3. Do you promise to encourage him in his labors, and to assist his endeavors for your instruction and spiritual edification?
4. Do you engage to continue to him while he is your pastor that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised, and to furnish him with whatever you may see needful for the honor of religion and for his comfort among you?

*For assistant minister, address the Session omitting the last phrase of questions 1 and 2.

[Historical Summary : Aside from the addition of the note pertaining to the assistant minister, the current PCA text remains unchanged from PCUS 1879 and is nearly identical with PCUSA 1789. Minor differences of spelling and capitalization distinguish the earlier PCUS drafts of 1867 and 1869, while the notable difference with PCUSA 1789 is the latter's use of "shall demand" in the opening sentence, in place of PCUS and PCA wording "shall propose".]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, 22-6, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 141
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 22-6, Proposed text, p. 30
3. PCUS 1933, XXIV, §137
4. PCUS 1925, XXIV, §137
5. PCUS 1879, VI-5-5
Questions to the Congregation
The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the presiding Minister shall propose to the church the following questions:
(1) Do you, the people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive ______________, whom you have called to be your Pastor?
(2) Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?
(3) Do you promise to encourage him in his labors, and to assist his endeavors for your instruction and spiritual edification?
(4) And do you engage to continue to him while he is your Pastor that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised, and to furnish him with whatever you may see needful for the honor of religion and for his comfort among you?

PCUS 1869 draft, VI-5-5
The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the presiding Minister shall propose to the Congregation the following questions:
1. Do you, the people of this Congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive ______________ whom you have called, to be your Pastor?
2. Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?
3. Do you promise to encourage him in his labours, and to assist his endeavours for your instruction and spiritual edification?
4. And do you engage to continue to him while he is your Pastor, that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised, and to furnish him with whatever you may see needful for the honour of religion and for his comfort among you?

PCUS 1867 draft, VI-5-5
The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the presiding minister shall propose to the congregation the following questions:
1. Do you, the people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive ______________, whom you have called, to be your pastor?
2. Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?
3. Do you promise to encourage him in his labours, and to assist his endeavours for your instruction and spiritual edification?
4. And do you engage to continue to him while he is your pastor, that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised, and to furnish him with whatever you may see needful for the honor of religion and for his comfort among you?

PCUSA 1789, XIV-§11
The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the moderator shall demand of the people :
1. Do you, the people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive ______________, whom you have called, to be your minister?
2. Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth, with meekness and love ; and to submit to him, with humility, in the due exercise of discipline? [m]
3. Do you promise to encourage him, in his arduous labor, and to assist his endeavours for your instruction and spiritual edification? [n]
4. And do you engage to continue to him, while he is your pastor, that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised; and whatever else you may see needful, for the honour of religion, and his comfort among you. [o]
[m] James 1.21 ; Heb. 13.17.
[n] 1 Thess. 5.12, 13.
[o] 1 Cor. 9.7-15.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, pp. 147-149) on VI-5-5:
120--V. The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the presiding Minister shall propose to the church the following questions:
It appears that only a Minister may preside on such an occasion.
(1) Do you, the people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive ______________________, whom you have called to be your Pastor?
These four questions replace the one question asked the church, paragraph 112, at the installation of Ruling Elders and Deacons, and, by laying more emphasis upon these obligations to a Minister than upon the like obligations to them, again indicate the greater dignity and importance of the order of Ministers.
It is conceivable that the church may change its mind between the election and the installation ; and if so, here would be the place, if it has not been done already, to show this change of mind by refusing to answer affirmatively. And should there be such a refusal by the members generally, or by so large a number as to indicate such a change of mind, the Presbytery should not proceed with the installation.

(2) Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?
This is a specific promise not to do what members of the church are so liable to do, receive the preaching with adverse criticism, and resist or disapprove discipline.
(3) Do you promise to encourage him in his labors, and to assist his endeavors for your instruction and spiritual edification?
Here is emphasized a thing so commonly neglected by the members of the church, and yet so much needed by the Pastor, an obligation the more sacred because indefinable.
(4) And do you engage to continue to him while he is your Pastor that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised, and to furnish him with whatever you may see needful for the honor of religion and for his comfort among you?

It being assumed that the church in its call has promised a competent worldly maintenance, it here repeats that promise, especially promising not to discontinue or diminish the same on account of any disaffection arising, until discharged from this obligation by the dissolution of the pastoral relation ; and to this is added a promise that to this minimum shall be added whatever, if anything, is needful to the honor of religion or the comfort of the Pastor.
A beautiful undertaking ! But who is bound to do this? Each individual to the extent of his particular promise already made? Yes and No. The individual is bound in just the sense and to just the extent in which every member of a body is bound for its obligations ; his obligation is not limited or measured by the pro rata which he may have undertaken to pay, except so far as the terms or conditions of that promise may define his relations to his fellow members ; for his obligation is not immediately to the Pastor, but to the church. It is the church that is under obligation to the Pastor ; and its whole ability in property and in its resources of contributions from its members is under pledge.
This being true, a church ought not to enter into an obligation beyond its reasonable ability to meet, nor ought a Presbytery to permit it. But since a church ought not to promise anything less than a competent support, a church not really able to give such a support ought not to continue as a distinct church. By sharing the support of a Pastor with one or more neighboring churches, or by receiving a fixed aid from Presbytery or other source, a church not able alone to have a Pastor may yet have a Pastor agreeably to these principles



Chapter Index [links are to Paragraph 1 in 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]

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