.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Preface to the Book of Church Order

I. King and Head
of the Church
II. Preliminary Principles
III. The Constitution Defined

Section 2 : The Preliminary Principles
Paragraph 4 : Of Truth and Godliness

4. That godliness is founded on truth, and a great touchstone of truth, its tendency to promote holiness; according to our Saviour's rule, "by their fruits ye shall know them." And that no opinion can be either more pernicious or more absurd than that which brings truth and falsehood upon the same level, and represents it as of no consequence what a man's opinions are. On the contrary, we are persuaded that there is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise it would be of no consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it.

[Note : Changes instituted in 1974 include: 1. Godliness is founded on truth." ; 2. "that which brings truth and falsehood upon the same level." ; "consequence what a man's opinions are." (M2GA, 2-70, p. 55)

Background and Comparison :

PCA 1973, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, page 128
That truth is in order to goodness; and a great touchstone of truth, its tendency to promote holiness; according to our Saviour's rule, "by their fruits ye shall know them." And that no opinion can be either more pernicious or more absurd than that which brings truth and falsehood upon a level, and represents it as of no consequence what a man's opinions are. On the contrary, we are persuaded that there is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise it would be of no consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it.

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text, Preface, Preliminary Principles, paragraph 2
That truth is in order to goodness; and a great touchstone of truth, its tendency to promote holiness; according to our Saviour's rule, "by their fruits ye shall know them." And that no opinion can be either more pernicious or more absurd than that which brings truth and falsehood upon a level, and represents it as of no consequence what a man's opinions are. On the contrary, we are persuaded that there is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise it would be of no consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it.

PCUS 1879
PCUS 1869 draft
and
PCUS 1867 draft
[we have not located printed editions of the PCUS Constitution which include the Preliminary Principles. Reportedly the first edition, printed in 1861, did include the Principles, but we have been unable to locate subsequent editions with this material included.]



Commentary :
Hodge, J. Aspinwall, What Is Presbyterian Law? (Philadelphia, 1882, pp. 25) :
IV. What is the fourth principle?
"That truth is in order to goodness ; and the great touchstone of truth, its tendency to promote holiness, according to our Saviour's rule, 'By their fruits ye shall know them."
What is the connection between truth and go
odness?
Truth is the only source of goodness, and goodness is the fruit and test of truth. "No opinion can be more pernicious or more absurd, than that which brings truth and falsehood upon a level, and represents it as of no consequence what a man's opinions are." "There is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise it would be of no consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it."



©PCA Historical Center, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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]